It never ends. Every night on the news we hear about more conflict and increasing death tolls. Right now, Syria and Egypt are currently divided with religious and political factions killing one another. But before Syria and Egypt there have been a myriad of other conflicts. In fact it seems there is always a conflict somewhere destroying human lives.
Think about your own life and the lives of people you know. How often does conflict damage relationships, break apart families, destroy dreams and leave people feeling angry, alienated and alone? Why as human beings are we so prone to conflict? Is there any way to stop conflict and regain harmony and peace?
Scripture confronts us with the uncomfortable truth about conflict. “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.” (James 4:1–2) Jealousy, envy, feeling slighted, overlooked, taken for granted, or denied something we want, all these lead to conflict.
Our unrequited desires and hurt feelings build inside us and we want to strike back, seek revenge, make things “even.” These feelings can engulf us in overwhelming negativity, depression and even despair. Must we stay trapped? Is there no way out, no way to regain a sense of peace and harmony with ourselves and others?
Jesus Christ came to open the way for lasting reconciliation between people. Ephesians 2:14–16, 18 states: “For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united all of us into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He made peace between us by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled us to God by means of His death on the cross and our enmity toward each other was put to death. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.”
Those are nice words, but what do they really mean? Shadia Qubti and Dan Sered understand the meaning first-hand for they are living it. Shadia is an Arab Palestinian and Dan is an Israeli Jew, but both have found reconciliation through their faith in Jesus Christ. Shadia, a Christian Palestinian, says, “Christ is able to do what the world can’t do.”
They are part of a growing number of Palestinians and Israelis who are actively seeking an end to centuries of conflict through reconciliation to one another in Jesus Christ. Dan, a messianic Jew describes it this way: “One by one as Jews and Arabs come to Christ, we are seeing more and more reconciliation and peace between them. It is because of the reconciliation power of the gospel of Christ. As we first and foremost seek personal reconciliation between ourselves and God, He transforms us within, giving us the ability to reach out in love toward our former enemies.”
What Shadia and Dan have discovered is true for all of us. Only Christ can break the wall of conflict that divides us from others, and only He can build a bridge of reconciliation between us through His Holy Spirit.
Come and join us this Sunday at 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM. My sermon this week is “There Is Always More.” I also want to invite you to a new service we are starting this Sunday at 2:30 PM. We will follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in worship and in ministry to those who need healing. Gather with us as we break down walls and build bridges together!