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Jimmy Carter and Hamas

The news today includes reports about former Jimmy Carter’s plans to meet with Hamas leaders over objections from the Administration and even his own party.

In an article by Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press, the former president’s response was, “I think that it’s very important that at least someone meet with the Hamas leaders to express their views, to ascertain what flexibility they have, to try to induce them to stop all attacks against innocent civilians in Israel and to cooperate with the Fatah as a group that unites the Palestinians, maybe to get them to agree to a cease-fire – things of this kind”

Now, I’m obviously not Jimmy Carter’s President, party leader, or God. I’m not smart enough to know whether his actions will do any good. I’m also not suggesting that any government does not have a responsibility to use force if necessary to protect its own borders and the security of its citizens. But my hunch is that Jimmy Carter’s faith is motivating him to try and be a peacemaker instead of bowing to the ultimately unsolvable problems of the Middle East and world.

As we try to think this through for ourselves, see if this makes sense to you. According to the prophets of Scripture, the ultimately unsolvable problems of the world affect not only the Middle East but all nations. The conflict in the Middle East is actually God’s showcase and national object lesson for the problems of a whole world that has turned it’s back on God.

So if that’s true, are we assuming that no one should be naïve enough to think that peace– without the heavy-handed military options of war– is possible in the Middle East prior to the return of Christ? Are we also saying that there is no need for peacemakers who will try to show concern for both parties in the conflicts of our lives? Are we saying that there is no need to love our enemies, seek racial reconciliation, justice in poverty, or wise management of resources because all of these problems will be with us until Jesus comes? Are we thinking that real peacemakers won’t run the risk of being both loved and hated by both sides?

Or are these the wrong questions? Help me. What do you think? In any case they are the kinds of questions that are behind my posts of the last couple of days on, Holding My Breath, and The Promise.

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8 Responses to “Jimmy Carter and Hamas”

  1. Your Love Inspires says:

    “Blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”
    Matthew 5:9 (NLT)

    Jimmy Carters work in the Middle East is a heartfelt Christian act. Heavy handed military options only seem to make this tragic situation worse and are certainly not the path that The Gospel lays out for us as Christians. From what we continue to see unfolding every day, someone has to step out of the world and try the way of God. How many are repelled from Jesus by those who consider other men, women, and children expendable as “collateral damage”. Let us ponder for a moment how we would view a “Christian nation” if we were on the receiving end of loss, brutality, and injustice, while others profit off the wages of war. Let us consider our neighbors as ourselves for the greater good of restoration.
    What would Jesus call us to do?

  2. sallyapatterson says:

    God bless you and anyone who takes up the cross of Jesus. God bless former president Jimmy Carter for standing and delivering. I also remember a peace maker,former president Richard Nixon, in a very positive way as he stepped out and tried to touch China in a very difficult time. Because President Nixon did act on his personal relationship with Jesus and his commitment to peace, China is important in the world. China would not be where it is at today without the reached out hand of former President Nixon. As I said before, God bless any person who steps out of the narrow box that this current society is in.

  3. Mike says:

    After reading all these comments, I read again the news stories about J. Carter’s visit to Hamas through a different lense. Yet I think much of the opinion against Carter’s efforts comes from the hatred that is voiced by the opponents of the Bush administration, and that offends people’s loyalties and patriotism. Now I know that our loyalty is to God first, but it is difficult to get around quotes like, “I do believe Democrats will make a drastic change in American foreign policy. I hope they are able to fix the damage done by [President] Bush and the Republicans and engage again in a very positive way with the Arab and Muslim world, where most of their vital interests lie.”

    It is difficult to understand, but one must realize that Jimmy Carter is a bigger man than we may think, and his willingness to meet with Hamas in no way means that he is “siding” with them or that he condones their terrorist actions.

    It’s too easy to make the knee jerk reaction that says “Hamas hates everyone who’s not Muslim, and therefore there’s no talking to them.” And maybe Carter will in fact meet with that type of “my way or the highway” resistance when he gets over there, and maybe he won’t. We’ll just have to pray and see.

  4. Clive Belsham says:

    Jimmy Carter is a great hero of mine and I think that he is being very brave to try and promote peace in Palestine.

    However the Palestinians are merely pawns in a much bigger game.

    A Political Solution is not possible:
    What I do know is that if the Palestinians put down their arms there would be peace but if the Isrealis put down their arms they would all be slaughtered – man woman and child.

    So then we have to try another way and that is God’s way to change the Palestinian Nation one person at a time.

  5. daisymarygoldr says:

    Every human being yearns for peace and a Christian longs for it all the more. The Bible refers to a peace that is of the world which is different from the peace that Jesus brought from above (John 14:7) Political peace that is being used to solve conflicts will no doubt foster a temporary peace but will never be able to produce lasting peace that surpasses all understanding. Colossians 1:20 says that Christ “made peace through His blood shed on the cross, to reconcile all things unto Himself.” As ambassadors for Christ, Christians are given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18-20). We ought to be peacemakers by presenting the gospel of Christ because there is no known peace apart from God and His righteousness. If Jimmy Carter is planning to present Christ and the gospel to the Hamas leaders then surely there should be some light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, if the whole world would submit to God’s truth will there be any more conflict? Our Lord said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34). The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph 6:17) will stir conflicts rather than bring peace amongst them who refuse to believe. Therefore, Christ who himself is our peace (Eph 2:14) will be THE ONE to bring peace to this strife-ridden world. Meanwhile we the followers of Christ should continue to “love our enemies, seek racial reconciliation, justice in poverty, or wise management of resources” by preaching the gospel of peace to one and all (Romans 10:15).

  6. eltonteng says:

    Let’s hope that Hamas’ current position is similar to that of Egypt in 1979 where the Hamas’ leadership is looking for an honorable retreat. This will help Jimmy Carter’s legacy as an unofficial diplomat. Last I checked, though, Hamas is holding all the cards in the Gaza Strip politics and street power.

    If Carter’s effort to work with the Hamas turns out to be along the lines of North Korea and Venezuela, it would go on to tarnish Carter’s legacy as a diplomat with the “carrots” to be extremely naive.

  7. berean4jesus says:

    Jimmy Carter is an agent of some very powerful people(about 30-50 in total) and Hamas was constructed by black operations many years ago. They are each sides of ther same coin playing off of one another in a great big act to fool the people of the world and to take the attention off of the fact that the soldiers should be all called back to their respective countries. That is the issue-the soldiers getting out-and not Carter and Hamas!

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