“Is it possible to have peace in the Middle East?” It’s a question that many are asking today in light of current events, but it’s been a relevant question throughout the generations.
The history of the Holy Land is a tapestry of interwoven narratives of people experiencing conflict looking for peace. That’s also the history of mankind beginning with Adam and Eve. Power struggles and clashes over water and land rights, traditions, religious beliefs, and cultural differences are nothing new. Empires have been crushed and peace within families destroyed because of honor, or the lack of it. The stories of those conflicts and of the individuals, tribes, and nations that experienced them are documented in the Bible. The current Israel Hamas war is another one of those narratives. Deep wounds have left ruins in the land as tangible as the ancient rubble.
CLC Publications author Hanna Shahin grew up in the midst of those ruins, the lingering conflict, and those interwoven narratives. In his book My Enemy…My Brother: God’s Grace in the Life of a Palestinian, he shares about his own unexpected experience with peace one evening in Jerusalem and the new chapter that was written in his life.
“I lifted up my soul to God and asked for His forgiveness. Jesus had paid my penalty through His death on the cross of Golgotha. A heavy burden was lifted off. Joy welled up in my soul. Something had happened within me. It was instantaneous. It was magnificent. It was indescribable, but it wasn’t man-made.”
“As I walked home that evening, feelings of elation, of newness, of sheer ecstasy ran through me like a flowing river. Everything around me seemed new. I had walked those streets hundreds of times before. The old city of Jerusalem had not changed. I had.”
No one wants to live in conflict. Many attempts have been made over the years to work towards peace in the Middle East, but humanly speaking, we aren’t capable of achieving it on our own. Dr. Shahin writes, “Only Christ works across national, ethnic, cultural and religious divides. To Him, these are futile inventions that have only caused problems within the human race. To Him, there is no Jew, Christian, or Muslim. There is no Arab or Israeli. We all lose our differences in Him.”
Hanna Shahin has penned his testimony in his book, “My Enemy…My Brother”, in the hopes it would serve as a beacon of hope. Hannah’s story illustrates that with God’s grace, even the most entrenched conflicts can be transformed into stories of redemption and reconciliation. It reminds readers that, as Christians, we are called to be instruments of peace, love, and reconciliation in a world desperately in need of these qualities The Israel-Palestine conflict remains a complex and deeply rooted issue, but it’s through stories like Hanna Shahin’s that we glimpse the profound love of Christ and the potential for lasting peace.
To learn more about “My Enemy… My Brother,” click here.