Word of Encouragement: Matthew 5:44

I’m sure many of you have seen or heard the news that Hamas has declared war on Israel. In the last four days, over 2,000 rockets have been fired into the Land, targeting civilians and causing hundreds of thousands of people to run to bomb shelters for cover. Where I live in Caesarea, we hear some of the bombing that’s been happening in Tel Aviv, but no sirens have sounded here as of today.

The situation is severe, and, as usual, mixed messages are being reported about the cause of this conflict. Now, I’m not here to write about that — though if you’re interested to learn more, check out Hananya Naftali and the IDF’s Facebook Pages for updates — this post is a word of encouragement, and I have a hard one to share!

Three nights ago, as I listened to the bombs going off not 40km from my home, I felt fear rise within me and started to plan all the things we’d need in case we had to spend the night in our bomb shelter. My peace disappeared, and as I watched the news, my human instinct was to be scared but also angry about what was happening throughout the country. Then, as I was getting ready for bed, I opened my journal and reread the Scripture I had written that morning.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

It wasn’t exactly the verse I wanted to read while Israel is under attack and the enemy is trying to destroy us. Nevertheless, as I read the verse, I felt the Lord remind me of the testimony we’d heard the night before, challenging me to look at the fruit of my heart. While Hamas was shooting rockets from Gaza and chaos was ensuing in Jerusalem, we gathered with friends to hear the story of an Arab-Christian and how shae had to learn to uproot the spirit of bitterness she felt toward the Jewish people.

It’s no secret that each side holds contempt for the other; however, as Believers, we are to bridge the gap, loving everyone more than ourselves and redirecting our hate into love and prayer.

Do you pray for those who come against you? What fruit does your heart produce when you watch the news or experience persecution?

Yes, conflict and war will break out, and it’s okay to be angry about what is going on in Israel right now; but we cannot allow that anger to infiltrate our hearts and sprout into bitter fruit.

So, I want to urge everyone reading this right now — PRAY for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel! PRAY that Hamas will be stopped! PRAY for this war to end! But, also PRAY for the people of Gaza! PRAY for those who are rioting out of anger! PRAY for Yeshua’s salvation to impact Israel! And, PRAY that the hearts of the Arab and Jewish people will turn from hate to love!

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