by Glen Penton
We who love God's Torah have an important and wonderful message to share with our brothers and sisters who love our God and His Messiah, but who don't yet understand about His Torah being for them.
In the interest of sharing that message effectively, I want to remind you of a few facts you know well, but that we all need to be reminded of sometimes.
- Proverbs 16:21 says, "Pleasant words promote instruction." In other words, harshness is usually counter-productive when trying to teach or persuade people.
- On this subject especially, most Christians already have experience with harsh, legalistic people. That's part of why they are so resistant to Torah observance. If we confirm the stereotype at all we drive them away from Torah more effectively than a hundred grace-only-anti-Torah sermons. God holds us responsible for showing people, as well as telling them, that His Torah is the Torah of Love and the Torah of Freedom.
- In addition to the bad teaching that most Christians have received, there is also the wonderful, but easily misunderstood, teaching of Rav Sha'ul. Even in his own times he was misunderstood as anti-Torah, according to Romans 3:8 and II Peter 3:15-16. How much more should we be very patient with those who misunderstand his message today! And how carefully we should study the words the Holy Spirit gave him, the better to accurately express their true meaning!
- It is important to remember that an unenlightened Christian is ignorant about God's Torah and/or about His special relationship with the Jewish People. Ignorance is not the same as anti-Semitism. There are real anti-Semites in this world. It only makes everything worse for all of us if we call someone anti-Semitic who is merely insensitive. If someone is unkind to us, we should be especially careful not to act as they do, or conform to their stereotypes about Jews or about "legalists". After all, Yeshua put up with a lot more than that for us.
- Please keep in mind that spiritual blindness often has a supernatural cause and needs a supernatural cure. For a Jew or non-Jew to understand about Yeshua, or for a Christian to understand about Torah or about the Jewish People, takes a supernatural illumination by God's grace through the Holy Spirit. Nobody understands these truths through their own righteousness or intelligence. It is strictly a gift He gives at the time of His all-wise choosing, just because He loves us. So we should be careful not to let ourselves harbor a disrespectful thought (much less an insulting word) about those who do not yet have their eyes open. Instead, we should thank God continually for what He has taught us (without taking any credit for it ourselves), and talk to Him about people's need for enlightenment far more than we talk to people about Him.
So when tempted to loose patience with those who are slow to catch on, let's stop ourselves and see if we can find a way to draw them with love and joy, a little closer to our Messiah and His wonderful Torah.
Romans 3:8 "Why not say, 'Let's do evil so that good will come of it'? (Some people slander us by claiming that we say that.) God's judgment against such people is a just one!"
II Peter 3:15-16 "...Our dear brother Paul wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him....His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."