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?