Jesus could end this crisis. His followers almost certainly can’t.
The way to resolve the Israel-Hamas war is very simple, journalist Matt Yglesias recently explained. We could do it in just five steps:
It’s great, right? I love it! Only—well, that third step seems a little tricky.
And that’s the point, as Yglesias wrote at greater length on Substack. Obviously, the five-step plan is a joke. But it gets at something that so much commentary on this subject seems to miss—certainly in America, and probably elsewhere—which is that Israeli political leaders (to say nothing of the murderers in Hamas) are not ignorant of what we outside observers believe is the right and prudent way forward.
“They just disagree,” Yglesias notes, and they are unlikely to stop disagreeing, and we are unlikely to shift their thinking much, if at all. By “we,” I partly mean the US government, which, for all its power, is objectively limited in its capacity to shift the behavior of combatants who believe, quite rightly, they are in an existential fight. But I also mean you and me specifically—as well as our fellow Christians in America and around the world.
We cannot fix this crisis, no matter how faithful, factual, and fervent we are.
This bears saying, I think, for two reasons. One is our modern habit of “awareness,” as in, I am posting this article on Facebook because I want to raise awareness.
On many issues of great import, the reality is most of us can do very little to effect significant change. Sometimes we can give money to a relevant cause. Always we can pray (1 Thess. 5:17) and take care we do not sin in our hearts or our speech as we react to the news (Matt. 5:21–30). …