I meet people who love the Jewish people, their heritage and history, their culture, food, and religion. These people also tend to root for, support, defend, and otherwise embrace Israel as a nation state.
I meet people who love the Arab people, their heritage and history, their culture, food, and possibly their religion. These people also tend to root for, support, at times defend, and otherwise embrace Lebanon or Egypt or other Arab World nation states.
Mostly these two groups, those supporting Jews and those supporting Arabs, stand alongside one but not the other body of people. In other words, it’s like never the twain shall meet, an eternal juxtaposition. It’s assumed or sometimes stated in bold relief: “Love the Jews not the Arabs” or “Love the Arabs but never Jews.” It’s like Jews are North Pole and Arabs are South Pole, Jews are Water and Arabs are Oil, Jews are This and Arabs are That. Never, under any circumstances, are the two great bodies of people brought together. They’re invariably stated as “Versus” but never “And.”
But in the Scripture, God said, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
The Bible also says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” By “Greek” the Scripture means non-Jews. It means Gentiles. It means Arabs and Native Americans and Australian Aborigines. It means all who are not Jews. So the divine point is that “in Christ Jesus” no ethnic, racial, or gender barriers exist.
The Scripture reinforces this understanding of God and the human race, stating, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” No difference between Jew and Gentile. “Everyone” who calls…will be saved.
If you believe the Bible for what it claims that it is, the Word of God, and if you believe what it says in these verses, than you cannot join either the Pro-Jew or Pro-Arab group if it means you must therefore be at odds with or perhaps despise the other. No exclusive “this side only” position is presented or promoted in Scripture. A Christian worldview demands a Pro-Jew and a Pro-Arab mentality. We not only need not, we must not, take sides one against the other.
To say one supports Jews still leaves room to acknowledge that Israel is a secular nation state that acts in its own interest, and as such, should be subject to critique—just like the United States and all other countries of the world. To say one supports Arabs still leaves room to recognize that some Arabs give themselves to extremist religious views that in turn lead them toward violence. Loving a people is not the same as giving each individual or even a nation state a free pass to do as it wills without regard for human rights and civilized values.
Yet some Christians, including some Christian leaders, unwisely make comments suggesting or stating outright that “Israel can do no wrong” or “Palestinians should be banished from the Holy Land” or “Arabs are our enemies.” A few, though certainly fewer, unwisely make comments suggesting or stating outright that “Arab nations can do no wrong” or “Israel (and/or Israelis) should be banished from the Middle East,” or “Jews are our enemies.”
How, though, can they justify these negative, nasty, ill advised, and wrong perspectives based upon Scripture? The answer is: they cannot. Scripture doesn’t teach or even fairly lend itself to this kind of simplistic and harmful binary thinking.
Put simply, God loves all people in his creation and calls all to himself. He doesn’t write some of them off as if they are lesser humans. Remember how Blacks were viewed as sub-human or not human by many in the 19th Century and well into the 20th Century? It wasn't biblically justifiable toward Blacks, and such an attitude isn't biblically justifiable toward Jews or Arabs.
In a truly Christian worldview it is both commanded by God and possible to love all humankind, even as we “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” We are divinely commissioned to love all people, even as Christ first loved us, and even as we recognize that not all members of any group will always behave properly or do what is right—the same as all people. Arguing for attitudes or perspectives a Christian worldview demands is not pollyanna thinking. What the world does is one thing; what Christians do or say must often be another.
It’s simple, but it’s good theology: "Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world." For Christians, it’s Jews and Arabs.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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