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JUANITA WEISS COLUMN Love & War: A Reflection on the Hamas/Israel Conflict
“All’s fair in love and war,” they say. If that is so, let’s allow this current war between Israel and Hamas (Operation Protective Edge) to remind us of how Satan, the enemy of our souls, knows nothing of love, only war. Satan’s aim is to discredit our God by attacking mankind, the crown of creation—and he pulls all stops to do it. I watched media footage of Hamas soldiers raising their heads above their underground lair, like deadly vipers, to snipe soldiers in the Israeli Defense Force. “Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads” (Psalms 7:16-17) I saw reporters travel through Hamas’ subterranean tunnels that must have required painstaking hours to burrow through dirt, rock, and silt to infiltrate Israel’s territory. Like feral rats, Hamas soldiers snaked their way through miles of tightness to smuggle weapons and venom. “The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden” (Psalms 9:15). I listened to news reports of Hamas using the innocent Palestinians as human shields, firing their rockets from civilian areas, knowing that Israel tries to avoid casualties among the innocent. “For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land” (Psalm 37:9). When one civilian complex in Gaza was hit by Israeli missiles, a Palestinian proclaimed to the reporter, “There is no Hamas here!” The questions remains, “Where are they, then?” Do the Palestinians not know where Hamas soldiers are hiding in a land area of 139 miles? Do they not know where a large cache of missiles is being stored and from where they are being launched? “They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land” (Psalm 35: 20) What’s my agenda? In a war, that’s what we must all ask. Do I court the devil to despise my brother? In a poem by Robert Browning, “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister,” the speaker is a monk, who hates a fellow monk (Brother Lawrence). His hatred runs so deep that he sells his own soul to the devil in hopes that somehow he will ensnare Brother Lawrence in the transaction. My prayer is that we would realize our true enemy. In the spiritual battle, it is satan. In this natural battle, the enemy of Israel is Hamas; the enemy of the Palestinians is Hamas—even though they have been deceived by Hamas to believe the opposite. What if the Palestinians worked together with Israel against their common enemy? Their lives and the lives of the Israelis would be so much better. Israel has been fighting for the safety of its citizens. Hamas fights because of their hatred of Israel—and whoever can be used to feed this hatred, they will use them. May we never cry, “There is no Hamas here!” —all the time we are hiding the enemy and feeding into his hatred! Let us never cry, “There is no Hamas here,” not when the enemy has eroded our economy, delighted in our living in poverty and substandard conditions, deceived us into accepting a lie, and rejoiced in our hating those who mean us no harm. As in the spiritual, let us not sell our souls in hopes of ensnaring the enemy. Let our hatred not run so deeply! Let’s do as Yeshua did and not allow our hatred for the enemy determine how we fight a war. In Yeshua’s war against sin, he fought it with love. May we do the same! Let’s make sure we are praying!
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