While watching Munich with my little family last evening, I caught myself becoming caught up in the horrific wanton violence of the Israeli assassins, out to get those who had murdered (and planned the murder) of their eleven olympic athletes at Munich (1972). I was viewing this as events that really happened (and the film is based on an allegedly accurate account of the events then). In horror and disgust I said out loud, "You Jew!" Quickly I said to any hearers (my wife had fallen asleep, though Tiffany was awake), "I should never call anyone that." I used "Jew" in a derogatory manner, not refering to the ethnicity, but as a slur. I was surprised, because I don't believe I've ever done that before (in my fifty years). Such was the emotion and gut feeling this portrayal of violence brought up out of my heart (or, that my heart brought up from this portrayal- is more accurate).
I was reflecting some on that today, and on my earlier post refering to this film. I am not of the John Hagee evangelical crowd who believe we Christians need to stand by Israel in a unique way with political support since, after all, they are the apple of God's eye. I see true Israel today, as consisting of all Jews and Gentiles who place their faith in Jesus the Messiah, as Savior and Lord.
Paul, who I believe believed something similar (or not too far from) this theological understanding, was greatly stirred in his emotions and heart in love for his people, Israel, as we see in Romans 9 and 10 (by the way, Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed has an excellent blog through of Romans this summer, interacting with N.T. Wright's treatment of Romans as well as with the text himself. Can't wait to get to Romans 9-11, though it's just fine that we don't since it is so good along the way!). Paul was willing to be separated from Christ himself, if it would mean that his people, the people of Israel, would be saved. That was his heart's desire and prayer to God in regard to them.
Israel then was in just as much unbelief as they are now (excepting those who receive Jesus and believe in his name). If we're to be followers of Jesus, we should weep over Israel, rather than use the name "Jew" as a derogatory slur. We can't follow what Christianity in general has done through the centuries, and is fortunately repenting of now, and be truly following Jesus. Jews were derided and much worse, yes, by professed followers of Christ.
I believe (lean toward the teaching) that Romans 9-11 indicates that God is not finished with ethnic Israel (Israel according to the flesh). Indeed Scripture indicates that from every tribe and nation the Lamb will have a people, the people of God.
Concerning Israel, we need to look at them as Jesus and Paul did. And see them contextually in our own time. We need to look with compassion, likewise, on the Arabs and Palestinians. Even on those, who in the name of Allah, would kill. This is so, if we're truly to be followers of Jesus.
Lord, Let us love as you love. Seeing past others' sin with forgiveness and prayers for them and for their salvation. Let us hate violence and evil. Yet love all with your love. In our neighborhood. To the ends of the earth. Amen.