There will be wars and rumors of wars. When Jesus opened up the future to His disciples He said there would be wars and bloodshed to the end. He also said He brought a sword to the earth, and that His word, His teachings, and His principles would cause divisions, even though He promised them peace. The peace He offered was peace with God and our conscience, not peace with our neighbors. Why are we fighting? What are the issues between these religions? Is it even about religion? Could it be selfish pride cloaked in religion? Each group says they are following their Leader, defending His cause, fighting the fight of faith. Why do they all say that God is love and we should love each other, but end up killing each other?
It may be because many misunderstand the stories in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. The Bible records several stories where God allows Israel to wipe out the enemy–all the men, women, children, and even their pets; and they (Isis, and other countries) think it’s a good thing for them to do, too. It’s true that God commanded the Israelites to clean out the Canaanites before they took over the land, but few people realize that God wanted to drive out the evil, seductive, depraved people with hornets, surgically, one at a time, so Israel wouldn’t have to, and He would be careful as to who stayed and who left. He didn’t want Israel to lift a finger; He wanted them to pray. God wanted to drive the evil Canaanites out so they wouldn’t negatively influence His newly liberated people. But Israel too, rebelled, and insisted that they do it themselves; they wanted to be like the countries around them and kill with sword and spear, and this time God let them do it.
History shows, that too much force produces fear, and fear produces rebellion. Take the story of the flood. The world had become so wicked that God had to eliminate the opposition to keep from losing contact with the last eight decent people on earth, the last earthly remnant that would listen to Him. If He hadn’t, the whole demonstration would have ground to a halt. Flooding the world was an emergency measure, but it came with a cost. What happened after the flood? Those who lived later were afraid that God would wipe out the world again. They didn’t believe He would keep His promise not to flood the world again, so they built the tower of Babel to escape Him. They rebelled. They also demonstrated an important principle: force produces fear, and fear produces rebellion and hatred.
It just might be that there has been too much force in the Middle East and from every side. It just might be that some people have been ground down so far that there are no other options for them than to rebel and retaliate.
After the American Civil War, President Lincoln made sure that the South was rebuilt and treated as family, and their roads and ports and industries were rebuilt. After WWII, and after learning from the mistakes from WWI, President Truman initiated the Marshall Plan, and we rebuilt Europe, including our arch enemy Germany, and now they are our stable friends. And though it wasn’t done under the Marshall Plan, it was done with the same philosophy–we helped rebuild Japan, Taiwan, Israel, and others. Now look at the results. Maybe the time has come for a Middle East Marshall Plan. Why not attempt to rebuild the infrastructure in Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan? Would they still fight if they had great jobs, plenty of food, decent homes, and a positive hope for the future?
History has shown you can’t destroy evil with force, you can only keep it in check for a short time. How does good conquer evil in the long-run? How did Jesus conquer evil when He was here? If we are serious about peace, we will try to win the world through kindness and love, fish and barley loaves, and hospitals. Let’s fulfill Jesus’s words: the world will know you are my disciples if you have love one for another.