Please allow me to spend a moment in someone else’s shoes.
If our mayor one day announced that half of my house now belonged to my neighbor, and forced my family to live in the other half while the new family spread out in what used to be my bathroom, bedroom, and study…I would be very angry. And if this new family invited their relatives to move in also, taking more and more rooms, forcing me into the basement, my anger would only increase. And if I took this injustice to the US Supreme Court, only to have them rule in favor of my neighbor and move my family into our garage while my neighbor’s family took over my entire house and changed the locks, I would despair. And unfortunately, if I’m completely honest, this despair might even turn to violence.
The violence would NOT be justified, of course. It never ever is. But I must admit that if I were pushed into a corner long enough, I just might throw a punch. Or fire a rocket.
But let me also step into my neighbor’s shoes.
After being viciously mistreated in our last neighborhood, if the mayor gave my family legal right to half of a house in a safe neighborhood, in a neighborhood where our family tree began and where we once lived long ago, I would gratefully accept. Even if it already had a family in it. And in my thankfulness for a safe home and fear of ever going back to the abuse of the old neighborhood, I would most certainly invite my loved ones to enjoy the security of this new home. Even if it already had a family in it. And if the other family got angry and violent and threatened my kids, you better believe I would fight back. Every dad has the duty to protect his family.
The violence would NOT be justified, of course. It never ever is. But I must admit that if my family was threatened long enough, I just might throw a punch. Or drop bombs from fighter jets.
I’m learning that this conflict cannot be reduced to “good guys vs bad guys”.
One of my heroes (Christian peace activist Sami Awad) explained to us that this conflict is NOT simply Israeli vs Palestinian or Jew vs Muslim…but it’s ultimately a conflict between those who want peace and those who don’t. There are wonderful, peaceful men and women on both sides (I’ve met many of them), and dangerous saboteurs on both sides (which we see on the news all the time).
And so, personally, I’m not trying to decide which nation is 100% right so I can 100% support them AGAINST the other nation. It’s just not that simple. But in the name of Jesus, I want to find and support the peace-makers on every side. These are really dark days, but we can’t give up.