Monday, July 17, 2006

Perpetuating Suffering is Never Excusable

In a previous post, I discussed the situation for non-Jewish resident aliens living inside ancient Israel. In short, foreigners who wanted to live in Israel were to be treated the same as Jewish citizens and enjoy the same rights and privileges. The Jews were not allowed to mistreat, exploit, or oppress any foreigner in the same way that they themselves were oppressed while in captivity in Egypt.

Today in Israel we see oppression of Palestinians by Israelis. The political situation does not matter. Disputes over who owns what land do not matter. It does not matter who fired the first rocket at whom. What does matter is that innocent human beings are suffering. That is a fact.

As the side with the most power in the conflict, Israel should be the first to come to the aid of innocents whether they be Israelis or Palestinians. Countries that say they support Israel should point out where Israel is falling short and make an effort to help correct the situation. The United States is led by a man who claims Jesus Christ as his favorite philosopher. If this is so, then this man knows that Jesus preached reconciliation, reaching out in love to our enemies. For this man to say simply that Israel should exercise restraint in an effort to reduce collateral damage is merely an approval of the continuation of suffering.

A long time ago, when the first king of Israel did a terrible injustice to innocent people, someone was bold enough to step up and confront that king’s actions. If the leader of the United States is the Christian that he is purported to be, then he too will step up and point out when injustice is taking place. He will not offer tacit approval by turning a blind eye.

This, in fact, should be the attitude of all Christians. Instead of being on the side that’s most powerful or that’s “right,” we should be on the side of the one who is suffering, and that may mean we have to be on both sides or not choose a side at all. There is no “you’re either with us or against us” if innocent people are suffering on the other side.


Tony Arnold said...

Funny, but once again I posted something this morning that relates to your post but I had not read your post yet.

This keeps happening, probably because the same things in this world or troubling our heart.

Anyway great post JMG, right on.


JMG said...

Well, you know what they say about great minds.

Justin said...

I think its important to realize that there are palestinians living in Israel now... and not just in Gaza or the west bank. And the Israelis don't harm these people.

The problem is Hamas. If we're talking Israel and God and the Old Testament, I don't know that we can say that God would necessarily say to just open up the borders and be nice. We have to remember God asked the Jews to do some pretty crazy stuff that is way more barbaric than anything they do now.

Just another point. I'm gonna link you on my blog.

Where do you go to church?

JMG said...

Justin, thanks for visiting and commenting, and thanks also for the link. I'll link you here as well.

"We have to remember God asked the Jews to do some pretty crazy stuff that is way more barbaric than anything they do now."

Some of us have been struggling with this issue over at the Mere Discipleship blog. "This post" is one example.