“The strategy of evil is simple and focused: Make the forces of goodness quit the struggle.”
~International Justice Mission

We live in a hyper-sensitive and hyper-aware culture where events pour into our social-media streams like flood season. How we respond to the onslaught reveals that free thought is often not in vogue. Pick an issue and say the wrong thing and a waterfall of viciousness ensues.

One area where our “tolerance” has hurt us is seen in the insanity that is happening in the Middle East. I recently returned from a trip to Israel and Jordan. It was an intense trip for many reasons, but the conflict between HAMAS and Israel created a unique adventure. Never before have I witnessed a rocket shot by a group like HAMAS at my location and then witnessed that rocket  being intercepted by a defense system (the Iron Dome) that Israel uses to protect her people from constant attacks.

Imagine standing on the beach in Tel Aviv as the sun is beautifully setting…experiencing the first night of your trip with a group hungry for a God-encounter…the sun gracefully easing its way down past the water line…fun, laughter, beauty, excitment…and then:

…people running for shelter…
…survival mode kicks in…but not til I get my rocket-selfie!

I installed an app called “Red Alert Israel” I still have it…it still goes off…and I pray. This app plays a siren as soon as HAMAS shoots a rocket at Israel. The app also shows where the rocket is going. The other night the siren was a constant  drone of a depressing tune of violence just as it was every day while I was in Israel.

Each day during the journey, HAMAS was shooting between 20-80+ rockets into populated areas of Israel…by the way, one of the the stated goals of HAMAS is to eliminate Israel.

Israel responded to the attacks…with three warnings. First a warning to the innocent Palestinian people communicating when an counter-attack would be coming so that they could evacuate. Second, they sent texts and made calls to known numbers of people within the response zone. Third a “tap on the roof” announcing that the time was imminent. Have you ever heard of a war where one side worked that hard NOT to hurt people…HAMAS sure has not operated similarly. But we sure didn’t  hear about that from our news media.

Unfortunately while HAMAS soldiers hid in the numerous caves they built in order to attack Israel, they would not allow their people to find safety in them nor were they allowed to leave…why? they needed dead bodies and images of destruction so that media like CNN would become their propaganda machine. It worked, we bought it…but it was a lie on the ethical level.

HAMAS wants genocide…Israel wants to protect her people.

I was stunned watching news reports about the conflict when I was there. I was amazed at the twisting…I was angry at the deception…I was sad that our reporters bought a lie and then spoon-fed it to the public who also bought the lie. our media made Israel the aggressor and HAMAS/GAZA the victim.

It has consistently been HAMAS that has refused to negotiate.

It has consistently been HAMAS that breaks the cease-fires.

It has consistently been HAMAS that fires the first shot.

Come on, be honest, If Canada or Mexico did to us in the States what HAMAS is doing to Israel…you would demand that we do whatever it takes to end the conflict and protect our people…yet we don’t allow Israel the same option. Perhaps the reason we don’t think as logically when it comes to Israel/HAMAS is because we have perverted the understanding of tolerance.

No one wants to see innocent children or families killed…but has our “new tolerence” blinded our eyes to the truth.

ISIS is out of control in IRAQ crucifying people who convert from Islam to Christianity…forcing people out of their homes if they won’t convert to Islam…Destroying religious relics like The Tomb of Jonah…We could go on about Al Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah etc.

But here we are fighting a tolerance notion that all faiths are the same…that Islam is a peaceful religion…we now have neighbors who follow Islam so we need to be nice, right?

True, we need to be nice…True, there is a growing number of Muslims…True, there are some commonalities between the faiths…

But what is not true is that militant Islam is a religion of peace…non-committed muslims may be peaceful but they seem to be the exception not the global norm.

In some ways it seems like we are being set up for a modern-day crusade…have we learned? Some have, but not all it seems.

We are called to compassion, mercy, and grace…but we are wrong when we think we must choose between Truth and Tolerance…if we do that, the body count will continue to rise, and no one should tolerate that.

My fear is that we won’t wake up to this truth until it hits us hard in our streets…and then it will be too late.

As I typed that last line, my Red Alert Israel app just went off…two more HAMAS rockets were shot into Israel at a town called Moatza Ezroit Eshkol…

Pray for the innocent people in GAZA and Israel who are living this every day…

Pray that the global community would wake up and deal with the real threat of militant Islam…

These genocidal atrocities won’t go away just by being nice and tolerant.

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