Gaza: No Justice - No peace!
Know Justice – Know Peace!
The arrival and development of mass communication via Radio, TV and Internet has enabled mankind to get information of events as they are unfolding. Injustice and its often horrendous results are quickly exposed and rightly inflame our natural sense of justice. Many are deeply troubled when individuals, groups, governments and nations do what is clearly wrong. Not just human beings but all major religions agree that wrong doing cries out for revenge, for punishment. However, history shows that when people apply those remedies the result has not been lasting peace. The purpose of this writing is to explain how God deals with injustice and what kind of peace He offers according to the Bible.
God of Justice and Peace
The God of peace is just (Philippians 4:9, Deuteronomy 32:4). Lives of those who truly know Him will be marked by doing what is right and by peace. Both belong inseparably together and have been missing increasingly in this world ever since Adam and Eve’s disobedience towards their Maker. Similarly to a snowball that becomes more and more intermingled and bigger as it is rolling down a mountain, injustice has increased to an almost unbearable extent. Who can stop it or avoid committing more wrongs while trying to put things right? Who is able to determine truth from falsehood in the heat of battle? Depending on one’s perspective it can be difficult to see why things are perceived as unjust by an enemy.
The situation in Gaza is a case in point. Graphic media reports of small children suffering horribly under the onslaught of Israeli soldiers enrage those who are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Others who side with the Jewish state are saddened by the bloody and burnt faces of babies but justify what has happened by what they call ‘collateral damage’. Is it not just self defence from regular missile attacks launched by Hamaz, a terror organisation that was founded with the goal to destroy Israel? Hamaz sees itself as freedom fighters that are in conflict against a nation who keeps them effectively prisoners in their own territory. Whose land is it anyway? Does the Quran and the Bible not speak about God having given it to the Jews (Surah Al-A’raf, 7 verses 133-138, Joshua 1:1-5)? To add to the complex picture, Mousab Hassan, son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founder of Hamaz recently announced his decision to follow Jesus as described in the Bible. Mousab was appalled when he found out that Hamaz reigns in terror and was not even shying away from torturing and killing its own members. What kind of freedom do they propagate? Jesus’ command to his followers to love their enemies compelled Mousab, one of the leaders of the Islamic youth movement in Gaza, to find out more about this unique and strange teaching (1, 2).
Love your enemy! Where is the justice in that?
How can Jesus command his followers to forgive sinners and to love them? Would that not be grossly unjust? Indeed it would if it was not for what God said in the Tawrat:
‘Punishment is mine and reward, at the time of the slipping of their feet:
for the day of their downfall is near, sudden will be their fate.’
Punishment must be given for justice sake. Yet it is God Himself who will execute it in His ways. In fact, He has already done so to the extent that we can justly love our enemies here and now because their punishment has been dealt with by Jesus the Messiah.
Meaning of Messiah
The Quran too calls Jesus ‘al Masih’, ‘the Messiah’ (Surah Al Imraan, 3, verse 45). However, it does not explain the meaning of the term. Neither does it provide the reason why the title was exclusively given to him. In contrast to that obscurity, the Messiah fulfils a central role in the Biblical revelations. The Hebrew word means ‘anointed one’, translated into English as ‘Christ.’ The term has been used on different occasions mapping out the work of the one to come, foreshadowing the ultimate Messiah. He is chosen by God, he saves his people, he judges God's enemies and will eventually rule all the nations in justice and righteousness for eternity. He is described as a God like figure, living in heaven and becoming a man who took the punishment for sin that we deserved. (Isaiah 9:6-7, 53:1-12, Daniel 7:13-14)
The good news is that peace is possible in Gaza and all other places of conflict because justice has been done by God Himself! However, what happens if God’s peace plan is rejected? In the Injeel we read,
‘As far as it is possible for you be at peace with all men.’
God’s incredibly generous offer extends to everyone but it will only be enjoyed by people who accept it. Forgiveness and love can be passed on by those alone who have experienced them in their own lives with God’s help. He has empowered governments to keep law and order, with forceful means if necessary (Romans 13:1-8). Authorities who fulfil their purpose will act on behalf of those who are oppressed. If they do not then God will punish them severely on the day of judgement with everlasting hell. The same will happen to everyone else who refuses His ways.
What should be done in the meantime by those who have accepted God’s justice and therefore experience His peace? That state of completeness and wellbeing is not dependent on circumstances but on the relationship they have with their Saviour. People, groups or nations who stubbornly refuse to be set free from the prison of their own hatred and selfishness will have to be confronted with peaceful, good and persuasive means (e.g. Martin Luther King). This may be a long and painful process which can be endured only by not loosing sight of the way of Jesus who has prepared a place for them in paradise. It is their real, final and everlasting homeland. May the God of Peace be with you as you get to know His Justice.
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