• OPINION \ Nov 21, 2012
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    War or Peace? By Jack Sara
War or Peace? By Jack Sara For many Palestinians, there was never a time when we knew real peace; certainly those of my age never had it.

All that we heard was of war, occupation, revolts, Intifada, fighting, shooting, bombing, invasion and explosions.

These are words that are hard for the ears to hear, and especially this week, when a new confrontation is going on against Gaza. Through this past week scores of people were killed, most of them Palestinians and a few Israelis.

Of course, the heart of God is not pleased with the death of anyone, on any side. We should have the same heart. Death for humans is not from the will of God. On the contrary, he desires life and life abundant to be their fortune.

In John 10:10 Jesus clearly states that Satan came to destroy and kill, but Jesus came to give abundant life.

In Ecclesiastics 3, Solomon writes that there is time for everything, including time for war and time for peace.

We, as believers, are called to seize the time, whatever the situation. If it’s a time of peace or time of war, it is always a chance for us to glorify God through our deeds and actions and through our statements, but more than that, through our outreach to the people in need through the love of Christ.

I believe that war is never the will of the Lord. He never intended it, nor did he intend death.

In James 4:1-3, the apostle teaches the believers that strife and fighting comes from the nature of sin that we inherited from Adam. He asks, “Where does this war come from?” He answers, “It comes from our fallen nature, from our evil desire to control and to kill, and from envy and strife.

James answers a very important question. He points to the root of war and murder being the fallen nature of humans.

In Genesis 4, the common story of Cain and Abel is one of the most tragic stories of all. A brother kills his brother. The Lord comes to him and asks what happened to his brother. He answers in anger and intensity, “Am I my brother keeper?” No repentance, no shame. Deep in his heart, he feels that what he has done is fair. Envy drives humans to break the most basic commandment of all: Do not murder (Dt. 5:17).

John also brings up the story of Cain and Abel with an important note. He said: "Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. Why did he murder him? He murdered him because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous." (1 John 3:12)

The main reason for war is the evil of men. Some would say we do war to bring peace, but this is an unjustifiable cause for killing other people and bringing devastation to another nation.

As Christian believers, we recognize the presence of evil in the world. “All have sinned and lack the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We know that sin is the root of all evil; it’s the main cause for murder and war.

When God created human beings, he created them in his own image, the Imago Dei that no other creature has. That’s why murder is one of the worst sins to commit.

Probably, someone will come to us and ask, “Didn’t God command his people to kill and drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan? Why, then, did he forbid killing?”

The best answer I can give is that we need to look at the people of Israel in the past as the water, which was poured out on the people at the time of Noah, or the fire, that came on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah at the time of Abraham. So God used his people to show his anger at sin and evil. We cannot forget that when his people also sinned, he judged them in a very tough way.

We are talking here about the character of God, his holiness, which does not tolerate sin.

When God brought the Hebrews out of Egypt, he used them as a tool of judgment towards those nations that did the utmost atrocities against God, including offering their own children on the altars of false gods. God’s judgment on these nations came through the Israelites. Of course, this was only for that dispensation and God has never done that again.

Certainly the church, the people of God, will never be used again to execute death and judgment on any people. On the contrary, the church now ought to declare peace, love and care for all humanity, representing God’s heart of love for the nations.

Believers, by all means, should not be involved in shedding blood. One strong example from the Bible is David. He was called the “man after God’s own heart.”(Acts13: 22) But this man who was after God’s heart wasn’t allowed to build a temple for him, because he had blood on his hands and he was involved in war. (I Chron. 28: 2, 3).

We are called to build and seek God’s Kingdom and, with Jesus, build his church. We are his holy temples, and can we then be involved in war? No way. Those who are involved in building and expanding God’s kingdom ought to focus their energy and strength in advancing the Gospel.

Jesus taught us to be peace makers. “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9). If peace builders & peace makers are God’s children, then what description would describe the war makers? Children of whom? Instead of blessed, what we would we say?

In times of war, what does God want from us?

As believers in the midst of the storm, what should we do? How should we react? How can we control our emotions?

1. We need to be involved in intercessory prayer.

2. We need to stop being apathetic and get involved in active service for our people.

3. We need to realize the importance of the Gospel. The worst tragedy of all is not war; it’s not destruction. It’s people going to die without a chance of meeting the savior, Jesus. That’s why we need to be involved in an active way in sharing the Lord Jesus with those who don’t know him.

4. We need to take initiatives in building relationships with brothers and sisters of a people with whom we are at war, such as Palestinian believers and Israeli believers. There should be multiple initiatives for dialogue, fellowship & prayer. This could serve to become a bridge for peace. We need to encourage it more; we need to be involved more and more.