Israel-Hamas Reflection | JOE AMARAL

I determined a long time ago to always be vulnerable and transparent. Sometimes, that means admitting to things that I’m ashamed of. Some people may see that as being weak, but I have found the opposite to be true. When we are open and honest with people about our failures and struggles, it creates a bond and trust with those we are trying to reach.

Recently, as we were preparing for our 100 Huntley Street episode to address the war in Israel after the recent attack by Hamas, I was confronted with a feeling I’d never had before, and it was…

“How do I pray for people who are committing such brutal and abhorrent actions?”

I found myself thinking back to what was going on in the mind of Jesus as he hung on the cross just moments before he died. He prayed a prayer that many of us are incapable of praying. He asked his Father to forgive the very soldiers who had placed the nails in his hands and feet, declaring that they did not know what they were doing.

When I contrast the prayer of Jesus to the actions I saw Hamas carry out against innocent civilians, Holocaust survivors, families in their homes, and children, and seeing that they carried out these actions knowingly and on purpose, I don’t know how to pray. These terrorists knew exactly what they were doing, so how could I ask God to help me forgive them? I don’t know how much more open and transparent I can be about this issue.

As I was driving into the studio and fighting back tears, I felt God’s loving and reassuring presence in the car. The anger and frustration I had been carrying began to melt. It didn’t all disappear, but the intensity of those emotions was definitely dissipating. I began to pray a prayer that I was uncomfortable with, but I knew I had to pray. And it was this:

“God, break my heart for what breaks yours.”

In that moment, I wanted to feel the pain and suffering of the innocents of Israel and Gaza. With all of its intensity, it began to wash over me.

As a father, I began to imagine what our Father in heaven was feeling when his children were carrying out such horrible and deplorable actions. In the midst of anger, frustration, and if I’m being totally honest, even some hatred toward those terrorists, God began to change the way I was thinking about this war. The Bible reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that, “we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood.” It’s important to remember that when all we can see is flesh and blood being senselessly murdered. As followers of Jesus, we need to understand the spiritual reality behind such events. That same scripture reminds us that there are rulers and authorities of evil that we wrestle against.

We know that the time of the “prince of the air” is limited. That’s why it’s so important that we pray that the Prince of Peace, Jesus, would rule and reign in the hearts of the people in Israel and Gaza. Can you imagine such a thing? I’m asking us to pray that Jesus would rule and reign in the hearts of those involved in this devastating war. It’s not about praying for one side to destroy the other or for one side to win. In that scenario, the reality is, no one wins.

However, when Christ begins to rule in the hearts of men and women, that’s when true peace will come, first to the individual, then to the region. Let’s pray that God will use the believers in Israel and Gaza to pray for people around them. Let’s pray that God will supernaturally reveal himself to those making the decisions to escalate this war.

The best way to pray for those we consider to be our enemies is for them to experience the life-changing power of Jesus the Messiah. Join me in this audacious prayer. No man can bring a solution or resolution; only God can do that.