WARNING: I am About to Rant

Thank you for being here, especially after I already warned you about the subject matter. If you feel a need to comment, please do not hesitate but, as you will glean from this rant, I would ask that you be respectful, or at least nice when you comment.

If you prefer to watch a video rant, please click on this link: Watch the rant.

Normally, on Friday I give a message on the Torah parashah, but what happened last night is so important and upsetting that I have to talk about it.  I left a discussion group that I recently joined. In fact, I was given a little Facebook star for having contributed so well to that group. So, nu? Why did I leave? Because one of the administrators of that group was such a jerk that I couldn’t continue to be in his presence.

The question of the divinity of Yeshua was posted in a discussion within this group, and he and I disagreed: he is a Trinitarian and I am not. I never said anything against him or his beliefs, just that I disagreed with him and the interpretations of the verses that he used to prove his point.

Despite my polite pleading to “agree to disagree” and start a different conversation, he was not just adamant, but obsessed with my refusal to agree with him. He told me if I deny Yeshua as a divine entity then I am denying Yeshua (really? There’s a gigantic difference between not believing Yeshua is God and denying him, altogether.) He also accused me and told me I HAD to prove my point. I repeatedly said I just disagreed, and I told him that I don’t want to discuss it. I knew that his demand for me to prove my side of this argument was merely a way to bait me so he could continue to berate me and tell me why he is correct.

Now that we have the background, it’s time for the part where I begin to rant.

People are people, and being a Believer we are expected to show more of the compassion, patience and long-suffering (Fruits of the Spirit- Galatians 5:22) that Yeshua showed, and that God has always shown. But that doesn’t happen, and it doesn’t happen a lot!

If someone was an ass before they accepted Yeshua, they will still be an ass after they accept Yeshua. Hopefully, that will eventually go away as they die to self and mature, both emotionally and spiritually. This happens when we are willing to carry our execution stake and follow Yeshua throughout the rest of our life (Matthew 16:24.)

Some people never want to pick up their execution stake. They refuse to die to self and continue to be prideful and arrogant, and when they discuss a topic with someone and that person disagrees, they don’t listen- they attack. They accuse the person (as I was accused) of being stubborn and not willing to listen, which is really funny when you consider that they have just done the same thing! I asked this man many times to please just let it go, but he continually came back, post after post, with his reasons why he believed what he did and demanding I do the same. In fact, I shared a post to that group that talked about a teaching series I am giving regarding the Jewish and Christian perspective on salvation, and he commented on it. However, the comment had nothing to do with the post’s subject matter, and when I replied thanking him for having an interest in my work, he said I shouldn’t flatter myself, he was only replying to let me know that I am denying the Messiah. He actually commented on a totally different discussion with a totally different topic just to let me know that he wasn’t going to allow me to escape one post thread by starting a different one. I had to leave the group and also blocked him, for my own peace of mind and so that as I continue to post articles and teach he will not interrupt and possibly confuse others.

Look- I am also a human being, and I battle every moment of every day with my own pridefulness (which I really deserve! Nah-just kidding), and because I recognize the pridefulness in myself, I am able to recognize it in others. It’s like the old expression, “It takes one to know one.” When someone cannot let go of a discussion, cannot accept to agree to disagree, and becomes aggressive and demeaning, that person has absolutely no interest in God, Yeshua or edifying you. He (or she) doesn’t care about right or wrong or your spiritual position- all that person wants is to hear someone else say, “You are right. Thank you for correcting me.”

This is a sad thing. Someone like this, a person with such low self-esteem (which is why they are so aggressive) and so emotionally and spiritually immature that they need to have someone else tell them they are right, is a pitiable person. And when they don’t receive the confirmation and gratification of being told they are right, they verbally abuse and attack the other person.

Someone who is confident in their beliefs will not have to prove it to anyone, and someone who is mature will not resort to personal attacks if the other person doesn’t agree with them.

If I believe I know something about what the Bible says, and I see that your understanding is wrong (in my opinion), then I will try to explain my side. I will give you the benefit of my learning, knowledge, and insight. However, if you don’t accept that or simply disagree, then I should allow you the right to have your own opinion. I am not in the place of God to judge you, or in the place of God to condemn you.

The people who are like the person I have described above, who think they are in God’s place, that they are correct, absolutely and undeniably, and that if you do not agree with them you are in sin…well, if they really were correct and that spiritually aware, they would have no problem shaking the dust off their feet and they would easily stop throwing their pearls at the swine. But they can’t. And why can’t they? Because it isn’t about right or wrong, it isn’t about God or Yeshua, and it isn’t about you or me- it is all about them!

As I take a deep breath and move on, I hope this rant has been helpful in identifying a problem we all will run into as we share our beliefs and contribute to discussion groups. I give everyone the right to have their own opinion, and if they disagree with me I will not force myself on them. A truly mature and confident person will not be so disrespectful as to not let someone else out of a discussion, or not argue if they ask to “agree to disagree.” Those who, like this man I am talking about, cannot accept that someone doesn’t agree with their beliefs and allow that person to have their own opinion, is not any different than the Crusaders of 1095 CE who slaughtered thousands who refused to denounce their beliefs.

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Until then, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!


Be Careful What You Ask For

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

I love golf. I have been playing since I was a teenager. For about 30 years I didn’t swing a club and now that I am retired, I am able to get back into the game.

My game hasn’t been as good as it was: no surprise there. However, I should be capable of playing what we call “Bogie Golf” and I am getting closer to that goal.

What’s this got to do with anything? I’m getting to that.

When I pray, I constantly ask God for better self-control so that I can pray as David prayed: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to Thee, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer”  “(Psalm 19:14.)  I have often written how God always answers prayer, and sometimes (in my life) he has told me that when I ask him to change me that he will, but I have to work at it, too. I have to learn to call on his Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) to help me achieve that change. This is what happened to me earlier this week while playing a round of golf- God answered my prayer by giving me the opportunity to practice self-control. Here’s what happened…

I was playing a pretty good game for our 9-hole round (league play) but starting at the 6th hole I screwed up a number of shots and ended up with a really bad score for that hole. I got a little teed-off at myself, and from that point on the game went downhill at an alarming speed until I ended up with a score that was nearly 10 strokes higher than I usually get. For 9 holes, no less!

I was angry, using language I shouldn’t, and smacking my club into the ground (at least I wasn’t throwing it like I did when I was a teenager.) I was also embarrassed because later, after cooling down a bit, I realized that I failed to do what God had been giving me a chance to do- be acceptable before him, and also honor him by acting in a way that others would see my self-control, which is one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23.)

Needless to say, I apologized to my golf partner for my actions next time we got together, which was two days later to play on a different course.

I am patient with others when I teach but I confess I have little patience with myself, never accepting less than what I think I should be able to do. So, on my way to this next game, I was praying and asking forgiveness for my lack of self-control. I also asked God to continue to help me, and that’s when I knew, yes I just knew, that I was going to have another bad game.  Not that I wanted another bad game but I knew that even though he is God of all the universe, he would give me another chance to show that I could pass the test. Which meant that, no matter how hard I tried, I was going to hit into the water, duff shots that I shouldn’t duff, find nearly every sand trap on the course and probably end up with another really lousy score.

But this time I was ready for it!

(I did have a lousy score, again, but not as bad as the other day and this time I maintained my self-control throughout it all.)

This story is the reason today’s message is about being careful what you ask for. God always answers prayer: sometimes it is “OK”; sometimes it is “OK, but not now”; and other times it is just plain “NO!” The tricky part is that when God is willing to answer our prayers, his answer isn’t always what we expect or when we expect it, but it is always just what we need, just when we need it. God answered my prayer to have better self-control by giving me the opportunity to work on it through my golf game. At first, I didn’t realize this, and that is why I failed so miserably at it. Through more prayer and the leading of the Ruach, I was able to discern what really happened that day I did so poorly: God was answering my prayer. I asked, he answered and I messed it all up. I wanted God to just intervene, to just re-wire my brain-housing group so that I would automatically have better self-control so I could be more like he wants me to be.

I forgot how a long time ago when I asked God to change the way I think about something, he gave me this answer: “It doesn’t work that way.” He gave me the insight to see that the way it’s done is we each have to work at those things we ask God to change in ourselves. It is up to us to work with God to make that change happen. And God will provide the opportunity, which is why we need to remember that through the experience of having tsouris in our life, even something as insignificant as a golf game, we can learn how to channel his Spirit to overcome our troubles.

I am somewhat proud to say that I was able to figure this one out fairly quickly and hope that going forward I will remember when I ask God for something to remain always on the alert for his answer.

I recommend that you do the same.