How do you navigate polarizing events?

How do you navigate polarizing events?

As I write, social media and news organizations are awash with various perspectives on Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel. The stories and pictures recount disturbing atrocities.

For me, this crisis reminds me of a religious pilgrimage our family took to Israel. It was incredible to visit the same places where Jesus had lived. Our tour guide was a Palestinian Christian. Listening to his experiences and perspective on Israel was eye-opening.

Today, while I live in America, my neighbor is Israeli. I care about him and the welfare of his family and friends in Israel.

For these reasons, I feel an emotional connection to the suffering of the Israelis, who are reeling from the scenes of savagery that are being unveiled in the news. At the same time, I feel connected to the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza, who face incredible challenges.

So, I have tried to hear and listen to what people on various sides are sharing about this conflict. For instance, Isaac Saul, a Jew who lived in Israel, attempts to summarize both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine voices in this article:

I’ve also reflected on a statement from Christian leaders in Jerusalem:

The Holy Land, a place sacred to countless millions around the world, is currently mired in violence and suffering due to the prolonged political conflict and the lamentable absence of justice and respect for human rights. We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, have time and again appealed for the importance of respecting the historic and legal Status Quo of the holy shrines. In these trying times, we come together to raise our voices in unity, echoing the divine message of peace and love for all humanity.

As custodians of the Christian faith, deeply rooted in the Holy Land, we stand in solidarity with the people of this region, who are enduring the devastating consequences of continued strife. Our faith, which is founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ, compels us to advocate for the cessation of all violent and military activities that bring harm to both Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

We unequivocally condemn any acts that target civilians, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or faith. Such actions go against the fundamental principles of humanity and the teachings of Christ, who implored us to “love your neighbour as yourself” {Mark 12:31).

It is our fervent hope and prayer that all parties involved will heed this call for an immediate cessation of violence. We implore political leaders and authorities to engage in sincere dialogue, seeking lasting solutions that promote justice, peace, and reconciliation for the people of this land, who have endured the burdens of conflict for far too long.

In our capacity as spiritual leaders, we extend our hands to all those who suffer, and we pray that the Almighty may grant comfort to the afflicted, strength to the weary, and wisdom to those in positions of authority. We call upon the international community to redouble its efforts to mediate a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land, based on equal rights for all and on international legitimacy.

Let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). In the spirit of this divine message, we implore all to work tirelessly towards an end to violence and the establishment of a just and lasting peace that will allow the Holy Land to be a beacon of hope, faith, and love for all.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all during these challenging times.

- The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem

Most fundamentally, our community is walking through Matthew 5-7 together. Each week, we are studying one verse, or a short section, of these fundamental teachings from Jesus.

As part of my extended studies on the Sermon on the Mount, I recently explored the question, “Why are peacemakers persecuted?” in an essay:

I concluded,

So if you trust Jesus with your life – even your eternal destiny – then Jesus asks you to…

  • Oppose wicked leaders and all injustice

  • Imitate Jesus in our responsibilities

  • Invite people to experience God’s love

  • Advocate for justice and righteousness

  • Serve our neighbors

  • Restore Creation to wholeness

It seems to me that some see this conflict only through Israeli eyes. Others see it exclusively through Palestinian eyes. Inevitably, I am looking at it as an American.

That is my starting point.

Yet, if we can only see part of the picture, then how will we ever find justice and peace?

Is it possible to see through the eyes of another?

What does it look like to pause, take a deep breath, open our hearts to God, and look at this situation through the Messiah’s eyes?

How do we see and value the needs of the most vulnerable, whatever their citizenship, ethnicity, or geographical location?

I don’t know that any of us are geopolitical experts. Even if we were, I doubt that our conversation would change any nation’s foreign policy or military strategy.

Still, I feel that these issues burden our hearts and awaken our consciences. So here are the questions I’m wrestling with:

  • How does my engagement with this issue form me into Christlikeness?

  • How can I discuss this issue in a way that reflects God’s heart for the vulnerable?

  • Will my witness reflect Christ to those around me? (Or show a partisan bent?)

  • What does it mean to be a peacemaker in a time of terrorism and war?

I’m curious to hear what you think.


Carson, I see the struggle in Israel as the fulfillment of Prophecy. There is one foretold of that will bring peace to the middle east, and a statue of him will be placed in the “Holy of Holies. I cry literally for brothers and sisters that are in Israel and Palestine. As YESHUA said” blessed are the peacemakers as they will be called " The son’s of GOD, and Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. I can answer 2 of those questions now…Will my witness reflect CHRIST to those around me?(Or show partisan bent) My witness ALWAYS reflects Christ…doesn’t matter who I’m talking to I have no prejudice
What does it mean to be a peacemaker in a time of terrorism and war? We(christians) have always been at war. One of our rules is …if at all possible, if left up to you be at peace with all .Remaining calm and allowing Triune GOD to HELP is essential. I am a violent Woman and this helps me be Christ like…I can do all things through CHRIST that strengthens me, I call on HIM when I feel Lex(my unsaved soul, still walking out her salvation) and HE ALWAYS, helps me.

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