Betrayal. Deceit at levels outrageously hard to fathom.
That’s how so many people felt the other week.
The story is uncommon (hopefully). The effects are drastic. And the shock remains, and will probably linger for months if not years to come.
The other day my wife sent me an article about a “man” in Jerusalem who was just discovered to be a hidden Christian, pretending to be a Chassidic Jew and rabbi in Jerusalem. He was somehow connected to my son’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym, so I asked if my son knew him. And that’s when I found out he was my son’s wrestling coach.
And this was the beginning of an ongoing painful discussion that may never end.
What did this guy do?
He took his now-deceased wife and five children, forged documentation, and moved to Israel. He infiltrated communities and completely inserted himself into the lives of the people living around him.
A Christianity Pandemic
Why? So that he can build connections and ultimately help people to see the light, to understand Jesus as the savior and to adopt the Christian faith.
Now, I have no problem whatsoever with Christians or Christianity. I have many beloved Christian friends. How could I not? I lived and worked in Kansas for three years, and loved the place. And Kansas is wall-to-wall Christians!
I even fully understand what it means to believe your religion is the one truth in the universe. I’m a proud Jew, and prefer our theology of having more than one path toward salvation. But philosophically, that aspect of Christianity (and basically all other religions) makes so much more sense to me. If you truly believe that you hold the only actual truth in the world in the palm of your hands, why wouldn’t you want everyone else to believe it also?
But unfortunately some have taken this belief system to mean that whatever they do to get others to adopt their beliefs is inherently justified. So they can lie and cheat and steal, and it doesn’t matter. Their end goal is so spiritually necessary, they can and should achieve it by any means necessary.
And I find this idea abhorrent.
Choosing the Path Ahead of Me
I wasn’t brought up in an Orthodox Jewish household. I would discover a Jewish lifestyle later on in my life, first with the Reform Movement and later with Orthodoxy. But I discovered these paths in my life because I associated with tremendous people who cared about me and had a powerful connection to their faith. I watched and learned. It impacted me greatly.
And as part of a natural flow of life, I ended up adopting practices and later belief systems.
And decades later, and a whole lot smarter than when I was in high school or college, I can say with absolute certainty, I am not where I am because someone maliciously tried to manipulate me. And I’m utterly grateful for that.
Benefits of Manipulation?
No matter how good the intention, I don’t see the benefits of manipulating others to achieve your goals.
What happens when you’ve chosen to lie and deceive in order to get people to practice Christianity?
In the best of circumstances, you’ve permanently convinced someone to switch over. What kind of person does that? My guess? The utterly weak-minded. The easy target. The one who doesn’t ask question and doesn’t seek to dig deeper. And maybe even that person might learn one day that you bastardized your own faith to get them where they are now. And they might even be grateful, since you gave them such a wonderful gift. But at what cost!?
For every one person you have a positive impact on, you’ve taken another hundred and caused them antipathy toward you and your religion. You’ve bred anger and hatred. You’ve alienated so many innocent and unsuspecting people. And, sadly, they will now associate an entire faith with its worst elements.
You are a miserable representation of Christianity, a faith that preaches kindness, honesty, and forgiveness. You’ve done nothing more than made scores of people think the religion is overloaded with deception. Before they were neutral toward your faith. Now they find it objectionable.
Jews aren’t Christians
But listen, and listen well missionaries of the world. You are seriously barking up the wrong tree here. And you are setting yourselves up for miserable failure.
I used to work on a college campus. It was nearly impossible to find an issue all Jews agreed upon. So if you wanted to do some type of unity event, good luck with that. Politics? Not going to work. Religion? Not happening? You’re pretty much going to have to stick with social things.
My time in the field has shown me that Jews across the board only agree on three things:
- Bagels are fantastic
- The Holocaust was really, really bad
- And we simply don’t want to be Christians
We might not agree on what it means to be Jewish or how to practice the faith, but there has been an adamant feeling since the earliest times that no matter how bothered Jews are by Judaism, they always seem to choose it over Christianity.
In the past, faced with the choice of dying rather than converting, thousands of Jews chose death over conversion. And this has somehow sunk deep into our national conscience.We might not agree on what it means to be Jewish or how to practice the faith, but there has been an adamant feeling since the earliest times that no matter how bothered Jews are by Judaism, they always seem to choose it over… Click To Tweet
Useless and Shameful Dishonesty
What do you think is going to happen here, our idiotic and dishonest pseudo-Chassidic friend? You will perform someone’s wedding or be their guide into the world of Judaism or you will coach them to wrestling greatness for ten or twenty years, then you’ll finally say the magic words, “So what do you think about Jesus? He was really cool, no?”
How do you think this conversation will play out? Do you really think my people will just laugh off the years of lying and happily hop on your deception train?
No, your dishonesty benefits no one.
Your betrayal is as useless and shameful as your fake Jewish identity.
And as much as you think you have made a dent into the Jewish nation, the real harm you have caused was actually to your own people. Every good Christian should be embarrassed that people like you exist.
May you suffer accordingly for your gross actions. And may those you harmed find comfort very soon.
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