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Is Peace Possible? 03/07/2008

Israeli families mourn the loss of nine seminary students.

This week, an armed man walked into a Jewish seminary and opened fire on students, killing nine and injuring 10 more. Most of the innocent victims were 15 or 16 years old. The murderer, a Palestinian man living in Jerusalem, was apparently distraught over the 126 people that had been killed the previous week in the ongoing bloodshed between Arabs and Jews. After the rampage, Arabs held a parade to celebrate the death of infidels.

Still, the "peace talks" drag on in a process that is as ineffective as it is tragic. Leaders say nice words. Diplomats shake hands. Pledges are signed. But there is no peace.

How should a Christian respond to this situation? After all, both religions have rejected the Prince of Peace. And make no mistake, this is not a simple land grab or border dispute. The conflict surrounding the Jewish state is a product of pure hatred. It is a culture of death. There is no widespread desire for peace, only the annihilation of a specific group of people.

Christians tend to side with the Jews as "God's chosen people," even though Paul made it clear that Jesus gave his life for both Jew and gentile. His point was simply that everyone has to be connected to God through Jesus in order to be redeemed from the sin of the world. This principle puts everyone on equal footing before God, including Arabs.

So again, how should Christians respond to the current conflict? Without Christ, can we really look to either side for peace?

The answer is found in the words of Jesus Christ. Following his famous Sermon on the Mount, in which he said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God," he says to his followers, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Christians do a disservice to both Jews and Arabs when they bow down to political correctness or so-called religious tolerance. We must unapologetically point to Jesus Christ as the answer to all hatred and violence. This does not mean forcibly converting them to some politically expedient form of Christianity. Jews and Arabs do not have to accept Jesus as the Messiah in order for us to care about their well-being. Christians should promote peace and the protection of innocent life everywhere. This is holding up the Light of the world to "everyone in the house" and persisting in good deeds toward all people.

Politically, the state of Israel has suffered immense attack. The Palestinians have a dozen Muslim countries that they could call home. Israelis have no other Jewish home. Hamas and other deadly organizations use women and children in suicide attacks to kill civilians. The Israelis appear to be fighting only for the right to survive. So Israel holds the high ground in the current political arena. But their hope still lies in the same place as the Arabs and it's not in the West, a peace accord or a final military victory. It is in Jesus Christ alone.

Our elected leaders must continue acting as peacemakers, discouraging the types of attacks that took place this week and pressing for restraint in military reprisals. But politicians will not change the hearts of those whose fathers, sons and brothers have been killed on either side. Only a miraculous transformation of the human spirit can end the cycle of hatred, murder and revenge. Otherwise, there is no hope.

Peace will only come to Jerusalem when the people of both sides of the divided city are united under the authority of the one who rode into that city on the back of a donkey 2,000 years ago. They must lay their bitterness and pain at his feet as those long-ago greeters laid the palm branches before him. We cannot force those locked in conflict to accept this message, but we cannot hide it or cloud it in watered down language.

The Middle East's only hope for peace lies in Jesus Christ. This is the message we hold as truth and it needs to be heard. This is the role of Christians in this conflict. It is spiritual. It is critical. And it is the only way to achieve real peace.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 764

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.