Can We Care About Gaza? Kevin H
My family and I live in the city of Philadelphia, a city of which many of you are familiar, some of you even live here yourself, too. The population of Philadelphia is about 1.5M to 1.6M people and it has a land area of about 140 square miles.
For comparison sake, the land of Gaza holds over 2M people and has a land area almost identical to Philadelphia, about 140 square miles.
Now imagine for a second, a scenario where 500,000 more people are placed into Philadelphia to live. Those of us who know Philadelphia know that the city doesn’t exactly have an overabundance of open space, and then on top of that, nobody (existing population + the 500,000) is allowed to leave on any border – into the rest of Pennsylvania or into New Jersey. Then imagine that an outside entity starts bombing the heck out of the city, invades it with armed soldiers, tanks, and other armored vehicles, cuts off electricity, running water, and gas delivery into the city, causing just about all businesses to close, most hospitals and medical facilities to become dysfunctional, countless families and people to become homeless and displaced, and great death, destruction, and suffering occurring all around.
Being Americans, we can’t nearly imagine what it would be like to be caught up in such a situation, yet this is the reality of Palestinians right now living in Gaza. Even if all the attacks and restrictions can be justified by the rooting out and destroying of evil men and organizations that started a barbaric war and now are tragically hiding among civilian populations, life for the people of Gaza right now is a living hell with no end in sight.
For those of us who are Christians, this reality ought to bring us great anguish and concern for the people of Gaza, even if we don’t like or agree with some of the things they have done. But has it?
From my vantage point, I have seen some Christians express care and concern for the Palestinians plight, but I have also seen many at best ignore or refuse to acknowledge any suffering by the Palestinians while at the same time often expressing great care and concern for the Israelis, or at worst speak of the Palestinians as a people group in dehumanizing ways, even to the point of saying they deserve to be wiped out as a people.
The rise of antisemitism during this time has been awful and there is absolutely no excuse for such hateful attitudes towards Jewish people, but likewise, the hatred that is being expressed towards Palestinians (overtly or passively by refusing to acknowledge their suffering) is no better.
For those of us who follow Christ, we ought not to have any part of any of these hateful prejudices. Admirably, some Christians do not partake in any such things and some even speak out against such hate, no matter where it’s coming from or who it’s pointed towards. Sadly, however, we are also seeing a good many Christians who will only speak out against one of these types of hatred, and worse yet, even participate in the other types of hatred.
This should not be and yet it is. May we as the Body of Christ show God’s love to everyone, especially those who are experiencing great need and suffering, and may we root out the callousness and hate that lives among us.
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” – I John 3:17
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” – James 2:1
“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.'” – I Corinthians 5:12-13