The (real) wall that divides
Conflicts are inevitable. I don’t know of any one family that doesn’t have them, so how could we expect the absence of conflict between entire people groups? The way I see it, the current conflict between Israel and Palestinians is one massive, long-time family conflict…from the time of Isaac and Ishmael and Jacob and Esau.
Like many, I’ve been riveted to news of this most recent war between Israel and Hamas. I have family in Israel. I have friends and colleagues serving in Israel. Maybe you do too. All political and religious views aside, it’s tremendously disturbing and heartbreaking to see the suffering and loss of both Israelis and Palestinians in this conflict.
The recent resurgence of war in the Middle East makes me reflect on the walls and barriers—or should we say reinforced borders—that divide people. Barriers don’t just define territory and add some measure of security; they also reflect that the relationship between people on either side of the barrier is amiss. Tearing down a barrier without dealing first with the animosity between the parties could never bring peace or relief.
So what’s the solution? I believe Yeshua (Jesus) is the only one who can fix and heal what we have broken. The Gospels record, at his death, the tearing of the most significant barrier of all: the curtain in the ancient Jewish Temple’s Most Holy Place. That curtain was meant to keep separation between a set-apart God and imperfect people.
From the time of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, this curtain separated all people, except the high priest, from directly encountering God. (Leviticus 16; Numbers 18:7).
This curtain, the entire Temple and sacrificial system were designed not only to let us know that we fall short of God’s standards, but to make a way for us to have relationship with Him. I think you’d agree with me that many of our choices can erect interpersonal barriers between us and God and between man and man (women included!).
The Bible boldly declares a new reality for Jews and Gentiles who have been transformed by Messiah:
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…, that he might create in himself one new man (person) in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:14-16)
Herein lies the beginning of real peace and reconciliation. Through Messiah, we can know God’s forgiveness, love, healing power, peace even in the midst of troubling times. He then teaches us and empowers us to love by God’s standards, forgive and be a source of healing and tikkun olam in this broken world that looks for hope and help.
We shouldn’t settle for anything less.
I’d love to hear what you think or if you’d like to know how to have real, lasting peace through Yeshua. Shalom and God bless you.
Karl deSouza is on staff with Jews for Jesus in Paris, France. He was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and his parents moved to Quebec in Canada when he was a child. It was not until his senior year at Concordia University in Montreal that he came to know Jesus as his Messiah. Since that time, both his parents have come to faith. His mother is from the Bene-Israel Jewish community in India. Karl received his master's degree from Heritage Theological Seminary in Cambridge Ontario. He is married to Kristen, a Korean believer. They have three children.