To overcome hatred we need to understand where it comes from.
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Many years ago, when I was working as IT Support for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, through a Jewish Community Center that was my account I was connected with (what we used to call) an Old Folks Home whose Chaplain was looking for someone to lead Friday Shabbat services. All the Rabbis she talked to were unavailable on Friday because they had their own congregations to tend to that night.
I met with the Chaplain and told her I was Messianic but never proselytize anyone and am happy to lead a totally “Jewish” service. I had put together a small Siddur (Jewish prayer book) and told her my plans for a simple, 30 minute or less service, and after she reviewed it she was OK with me leading the services. We had about 12-15 people show up each week, most of whom were Jewish but there were a few Gentiles, as well. The Chaplain made sure there was a loaf of Challah bread and grape juice for the Kiddush, which we did at the end.
This went on for about a year or so; she even asked me to put together a special High Holy Day service for those who couldn’t make it into the room where we did the Friday service, so I went to different parts of the building to do those services.
Everyone loved the service.
Then, one day, I was told to talk with the Chaplain and she said there was a woman who complained that I shouldn’t lead any Jewish service because I believed in Jesus and Jesus has nothing to do with anything Jewish. I thought she must be an Orthodox Jew, but lo and behold! She was raised Orthodox but many years earlier had converted to Quakerism! After talking with her and finding out she never even attended a service, we invited her to attend, which she did, and even after that, she insisted I be stopped.
I don’t what power she held over everyone else, but, unfortunately, the Chaplain told me that management wanted to stop for a while until things settled down.
Nothing ever settled down and because of this one, hateful woman, as well as (I believe) the cowardice of management and the Chaplain (who I liked and respected), the services stopped. And what is even worse, or just harder to believe, is that someone who completely rejected Judaism and converted to a Christian religion, decades later is still harboring the hatred Jews have for Jesus.
And where does that hatred come from? Well, maybe from the Crusades, where in the name of Jesus thousands upon thousands of Jews were slaughtered if they didn’t convert? Or maybe later, from the Inquisition, where thousands were tortured and killed if they didn’t convert, as well as every Jew in Spain being expelled from the country?
Or maybe from the Holocaust? You may be thinking that the Nazi’s had nothing to do with Christianity, which is true, but consider these two things: to a Jew, anyone not Jewish is a Gentile, ie., same as a Christian, and the belt buckle of the Nazi uniform had engraved on it these words: Gott mit uns (God is with us.)
Not only this, but the general attitude Christianity has had for Jews since the 2nd Century is that we killed God, we rejected the Messiah (their Messiah is more like how it feels to a Jew), and there has been an ongoing anti-Semitic,” we’re better than you” attitude that Gentiles have had towards Jews for millennia, mostly caused by the misinterpretations of the letters from Paul, who warned Gentiles against feeling this way (Romans 11.)
So, nu? This all makes sense now, why Jews have such an animosity against Christians that a woman raised Jewish, who rejected Judaism and converted to Quakerism so must, herself, accept Jesus as the Messiah, STILL hates the idea that anything having anything to do with Jesus is anathema to anything Jewish.
Now that I have gone through this, let me say, unequivocally, that this hatred is wrong because even with all that has happened, the past should not restrict us but be the motivation to help us move forward.
The past of that woman was fueling her current hatred, which was tangible, and instead of helping others find spiritual growth, restricted their connection to God. I really think she had to have been demonically influenced, since what she did, in her own mind being totally justified and believing she was doing right, was in fact destroying the communion between God’s people with him.
There is animosity on both sides. Jews have been taught Christians want only to convert them to deny “our” God and worship a different God named Jesus Christ, and Christians have been taught that the Jews have “missed the boat” and were wrong to reject Jesus, so now God has rejected them; worse than that, many believe that now only the “Born Again” Christians are the true Chosen people (which is called Replacement Theology.) As such, Christianity has “looked down” on Judaism as a second-class religion, and Jews see Christianity as a “holier than thou” religion.
There are two things Jews and Christians have in common: one is their hatred for each other, and the other is that both say if you believe in Jesus you can’t be Jewish anymore.
This is what we have to overcome. It ain’t gonna be easy, and I believe it won’t happen until the Messiah returns, shows absolutely who he really is, and establishes his kingdom on Earth. That is when both Christians and Jews will know, absolutely, what God wants from us.
And if you ask me, it won’t be from the Talmud or from the Epistles, but from the Torah.
So the message today is simply this: forget what you have been told about Jews and Christians, read the Bible (the WHOLE Bible) and make your own decision.
The only thing that will ever defeat ignorance is knowledge, and if you let the past rule your future, you won’t have one.
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That’s it for today so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!