Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How God's children hold the keys to peace in the Middle East and beyond.

As I write this, the Middle East is ablaze - ancient cities ruined, counties torn apart, hatred spiraling out of control, an unprecedented exodus of people stream from their homelands (a staggering number of whom have been refugees for almost 70 years!) and entire nations imprisoned and chained to occupations and the traumas of the past.

Courtesy of Alice PopKorn
"Peace in the Middle East."

Is it me or is that one of the world's oldest clichés? The church has long been taught that one day there will be peace, 'when the Messiah returns'. In the meantime, we have to sit tight, pray and endure.

Are you familiar with the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (circa 1953)? In it two characters wait seemingly endlessly for a certain Godot to arrive... but he never does. I'm not saying Godot is supposed to be God, in fact the playwright himself denied it. But what are we doing sitting around? And just what exactly are we waiting for?

We have prayed for peace for countless years; we want it desperately... but let me raise the tantalizing question; what if we are the answer to those prayers? Did Jesus not call the sons of God peacemakers (Matt 5:9)? He said it, not me! Then it not only remains for us to seek this peace, instead it beckons us to start making peace! And if Jesus said we could make peace, then we can. 

To every son and daughter of the East who has received the fullness of Grace through Jesus Christ - peace starts with you. It's not an impossible dream... it's our calling in Christ. And here's how we can bring peace to our troubled lands.

1) Know that your sins are forgiven.

Do you still hold on to regrets and guilt? Look at the cross, see your sins fully paid for and walk in the peace of Christ, your inheritance. Before you seek peace in the land, seek peace in your heart. He is the Prince of Peace and He gladly gives you all He is. We need to know and cherish how fully forgiven we are. See Jesus as the Lamb of God who truly washed yours sins away, not just those of yesterday, but those of today and even tomorrow. This is where peace starts... your heart. You are clean, you are forgiven, and you are righteous. Rest and be at peace, in Him.

2) Forgive as you've been forgiven.

See who has hurt you - whether they are friends or nations. And begin to forgive them. Believe me, this will bring healing not just to your hearts, but to your body as well. Forgive... you can do it, because you are yourself already forgiven and set free from the bondage of condemnation. Open your mouth and say "I forgive them."... even today.

3) Derail your mind from what the world is teaching you.

When you're born in the East, you're born with a multitude of identities; your tribe, your religion, your sect, your village, your ethnicity, and finally, your nation. They tell you who to hate and who to love, who to fear and who to welcome, who to defend and who to avenge, and who is right and who is wrong. Unshackle your mind from the world! You are no longer of it to take up their opinions. You are the body of Christ and you need to start seeing people - especially 'the enemy' - as if you were the very eyes of Christ. We are being taught ever increasingly to hate and fear others, but as the sons and daughters of God, we need fear no one, no power, no weapon and no army! And, above all, we have the love of God poured in our hearts by the Spirit so that now we can embrace every one around us, even our enemies.

4) Start small.

It starts with how you treat and think about the people around you, those you come in contact with. The "_____ian" man there or that "______" woman here. We tend to want to put them in boxes and stereotype them... you know what, even if there's truth to the stereotype, so what? We're called to something more than that. Every man and woman, boy and girl, child and elder on this planet is created in the image of God, a precious soul deemed so worthy by our Father in heaven that He sent His Son to die for them - stop seeing them through the eyes of society, as people who come from here or there and instead look and see them as souls... and remember, you are the Living Christ to them, even His aroma.

5) Seek forgiveness on behalf of your people.

Understand that our nations and peoples, are guilty and condemned on a national level. They will never say it, but deep down they know it - that as a group or nation - they have committed atrocities - and maybe still are. This guilt eats away at their national psyche; and so it needs to be acknowledged and forgiven; first to God and then to others. In fact, this is what it means to be part of the Royal Priesthood of Christ. Daniel, for example, did the impossible because he somehow foresaw this. Because of his prayers, this lone soul paved the way for the return of his people to their homeland after 70 years of exile... and it was because he interceded for them. Jesus calls us kings and priests and it's high time we entered into that calling.

6) Break the victim mentality

Let me take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a prime example of this; this isn't a biblical battle, it's a satanic war and you have got to be almost intentionally blind to not know what is really going on. Besides the fact that these two peoples are far more related to each other by blood ties (i.e. genes) and history than they think (you have no idea, but I find that irrelevant for this blog), both of their respective 'nations' are traumatized by the past. This has led them to embrace a victim mentality at a national level that has eroded their values and firmly placed them in the hands of Satan. Whether it's the Holocaust or the Nabka, these tragic and demonic acts of cruelty are still murdering, stealing and destroying lives and nations today. Vengeance, apathy, hatred, cruelty... ladies and gentleman, the fruits of hell, and they are delighting the devil as the curse has full sway over them.

You need to stop believing the lie that you are a victim. I don't care, what they did, how many died or where you are now... in Christ, you are a victor. The past doesn't have to dictate your present or your future - without Christ, those words can ring hollow but with Jesus it's a totally different story.

I've written from a Middle Eastern perspective, but these are the keys for us to start making peace in our lands, near and far. Understand who you are in Christ. Understand His will for you. Never doubt it for a single second... we are called to this mighty and glorious inheritance in Christ. And greater things are coming still...

"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." Isa 60:1-3 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 

Martin Luther King Jr.

By David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog - Discover your inheritance!

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