COMMENTARY: Remedy for a World Gone Wrong
All around us, the world seems to have been turned on its head. But there’s a solution to the murder and mayhem
Plans have been revealed for the launch of a new party to ‘break the mould’ of British politics. But we don’t need a new party. We need a new heart, awakened by the Spirit of God from dreams of a man-made paradise in which we all sing from same the secular ‘hymn-sheet’ where nothing is absolutely right or wrong.
This kind of thinking has only ever produced a nightmare scenario of violence, lawlessness and utter selfishness.
Britain has been hit by the terrifying news that the streets of London have now become more dangerous than those of New York. And in the Middle East, the Syrian government would appear to have unleashed chemical weapons on its own people, killing 200 and wounding 1,000 more – mainly women and children. And Russia responds by calling this a fabrication.
A little further south, on the border of Gaza, rioters provoke the Israeli Defence Force with a so-called ‘March of Return’ (see photo). Some would have us believe this is a legitimate protest at Israeli brutality and oppression, and for the right of refugees (and their descendants) to return to the Jewish state. But what is the truth?
Well, the protestors deliberately chose the Jewish feast of Passover to mount their frustration, no doubt particularly mindful of the imminent 70-year celebration of Israel’s rebirth as a nation.
Actually, the refugee situation affecting the Palestinian people is a crisis of their own making resulting from fierce opposition to the creation of modern Israel by her surrounding Arab states who immediately set upon the newly-born nation with the full force of their armies (like the dragon depicted in Revelation 12), warning Arabs living there to flee the country so they wouldn’t get caught up in the impending invasion.
Israeli leaders, however, tried to persuade their Arab residents to stay, but to no avail – hence creating a totally unnecessary humanitarian crisis. And those who promised their swift return in the wake of Arab victory refuse to take any responsibility for their welfare. They are simply used as political pawns enabling anti-Semites to point the finger of blame at Israel for almost everything wrong with the world.
Malcolm Powell, who was 12 at the time of Israel’s rebirth (in 1948), recalls reading and hearing at the time “that the Israelis were touring the Arab Muslim villages with loudspeakers urging them to remain, and to ignore orders to flee from the Muslim countries about to attack the new state.”
And while these self-inflicted refugees are estimated to have numbered some 800,000, little is discussed in media circles about the 846,000 Jewish refugees forced out of Arab countries at the same time, who lost land and property equivalent to four times the size of Israel, not to mention the many Holocaust survivors from Europe who had lost everything.
Quite apart from the refugee issue, Gaza was very much part of Israel until the world’s politicians managed to persuade former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to pull out of the enclave in a ‘land for peace’ exchange. But ever since the 2005 withdrawal, terror group Hamas has used Gaza to launch a constant volley of rockets into Israeli territory where frightened residents have hardly had a moment’s peace in more than a dozen years. They have also been subject to the constant fear of terrorists tunnelling under their homes with the intention of taking hostages and killing civilians.
Welsh photographer Grace Fryer has just opened a month-long exhibition depicting the suffering of children in communities close to the Gaza border. Some of those pictured are totally traumatised and unable to live normal lives. Grace witnessed mortar and rocket attacks herself when visiting the area as a child and returned as a student photographer in May 2016 to help others understand what these people are suffering. What sort of peace is this?
Wherever you look in world politics, truth is being turned on its head. In my country South Africa, for example, Palestinians are being depicted as “the crucified, hanging body of Jesus today”. This was part of a ‘Good Friday statement’ by the Economic Freedom Fighters political party which ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe has described as “insidious, inflammatory, highly offensive and blasphemous”, adding: “Jesus was a Jew. Jerusalem has belonged to the Jews for over 3,000 years, from the time King David first established it as a city of Israel… I encourage persons not wanting to be deceived to research the truth for themselves and, if given the opportunity to travel to Israel to see the vibrant democracy that she is, to do so!”
He further rounded on the “hypocrisy” of Palestinian leaders “who would rather spend the billions of dollars they receive from the international community to fund a mission to destroy Israel instead of investing in the health, education and economic development of their own people.”
We could all do with following the wisdom of legendary author G K Chesterton who, in response to a question from a major newspaper – “What is the problem with the world?” – is reputed to have submitted a brief handwritten note to the editor, saying: “I am. Sincerely yours, Chesterton.”
We are the problem! We are all sinners, but there is a remedy for our sin, and his name is Jesus, who died on a cruel cross to take the punishment we deserved. Trusting in his death brings us life, health and peace – and, yes, it is also a recipe for changing a world gone wrong.
As Rev Meshoe put it, “Jesus’ death on the cross was an expression of the highest form of love; he gave his life for the salvation of all mankind. Palestinians are not being crucified.”
The answer to the problem of “I am” is the great “I AM” – the name God applied to himself and which Jesus also owned, as suggested by his many divine claims, such as: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6)
As for the streets of London, where more than 50 people have been murdered in the first three months of this year, the ultimate answer to the problem is just the same as outlined above. And for a helpful illustration, reference what has been happening in recent weeks just down the road from where Rev Meshoe has been speaking so courageously in the South African parliament.
A huge prayer rally called It’s Time drew up to 150,000 people to Cape Town. It was the biggest recorded event in the city’s history, but when the organiser assured police there would be no incidents, the police chief laughed at him, explaining that 10,000 had attended the Mitchells Plain venue only a fortnight earlier and there had been 48 stabbings and over 100 robberies.
What’s more, he added, those attending the prayer event would have to park up to 4km away and walk through some of the district’s most dangerous areas.
But at the debriefing following the rally, held to confess the country’s sins, the same police chief reported, with tears in his eyes, that not one single incident – no assaults, no robberies, nothing – had been recorded!
Stop blaming everyone else for all the problems around you, and start to build a new world by dealing with your own sin. Jesus said something similar, telling his listeners to take the plank out of their own eye so they could see clearly to take the speck out of someone else’s eye. (Matthew 7.3-5) But don’t try doing it by yourself; only Jesus can help you!
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com