Sunday, February 12, 2017

Christians are to Stand Up Against Anti-Semitism

In my last blog, I discussed the cruelty of bigotry, stereotyping and hate. I ended my last blog with the Anti-Semitism, which has always been just under the surface of society, but has again surfaced rearing its ugly head against the Jewish people. I also gave you some examples of extreme Anti-Semitism that has already occurred throughout world history simply because of the unrealistic fear, jealousy and hate of a group of people who appear to be different. But, why is there such bigotry, stereotyping and hate for the Jewish people? Well, all these hateful and evil things started long ago, shortly after God chose Abraham and his ethnicity to be the people group that would represent to the world that God is the One and Only God. Why, though, did God choose the Hebrew people to represent Him to the world when their were many other people groups from which to choose? Let's see if the Bible will shed any light on this question.

(You may wish to read this blog in sections. Please don’t feel that you have to read the entire blog at one sitting. To make it easier for you to read and digest, I have divided the blog into sections so that you can read them at your convenience. I also encourage you to check out the Scriptures and to meditate on those Scriptures so that you fully understand what God is telling us. I hope you enjoy this blog and that you learn a great deal at the same time.)

God’s Chosen People

Thousands of years after the flood and as the world began to be repopulated, people again were enticed by Satan to believe in many different false gods. By the time Abraham was born, all the different people or ethnic groups on the face of the earth were worshiping false gods and not one person recognized the One true God. But a Hebrew man named Abraham began to think about all these different false gods, the world in which he lived and how only One God would be able to bring everything into complete harmony and beauty within the world. One day Abraham suddenly realized that there could indeed only be One True God, so he promised to worship Him only. He also wanted a relationship with God.

 God gladly accepted Abraham’s belief and devotion to Him. Shortly thereafter God tested Abraham, who was called Abram at that time, by telling him to go and “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.  All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”  -- (Genesis 12: 1-3. NLT).

When God spoke to Abraham he was living in Haran and was fairly wealthy. But, Abraham believed in and obeyed God. “So Abraham departed as the Lord had instructed him, and Lot went with him. … He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth – his livestock and all the people who had joined his household at Haran…” -- (Genesis 12: 4, 5. NLT). They all left to travel to the land of Canaan. Later, it would be through Abraham’s descendants, starting with his son Isaac and then with Isaac’s son Jacob, who both also believed in and worshiped the One and Only God, that God would do great and mighty things for the Hebrews including the rescue of the Hebrew people, i.e., Abraham’s descendants, from Egypt and its harsh Pharaoh. In fact, shortly after God rescued the millions of Hebrew’s and gave them their freedom from the Egyptian Pharaoh, they came into the wilderness of Sinai with Moses, who was God’s chosen leader of these people. They finally camped at the base of Mount Sinai. Then Moses went up on the mountain of Sinai to speak to God.

And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called him out of the mountain. Say this to the house of Jacob and tell the Israelites: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now, therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure from among and above all peoples: for all the earth is Mine.
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation [consecrated, set apart to the worship of God].’ …”  – (Exodus 19: 3-6. Amplified).

Notice that God, because of His love for Abraham and his descendants, wanted this ethnic group of people to be His “own peculiar possession and treasure from among and above all peoples” of the earth. So, God chose this ethnic group of people to represent Him and to teach the world about the One and Only God. But in order for the Hebrew people to represent Him to the world, God needed to teach the Jewish people all about Him. God also wanted to make the Jewish people to be righteous before Him so that they could someday spend eternity with Him when their time on this earth was over. But, in order to make them righteous and worthy, they needed to follow God’s truth, live righteously, and only worship God. They had to give up worshiping all the false gods they had been introduced to in Egypt. However, in order to do so, they would have to be taught about the power of God as well as how to worship God and how to become a holy righteous nation.

The Ten Commandments and Laws Given to Protect the Israelite People

Shortly thereafter while camping at the base of Mount Sinai, Moses went back up on the mountain where the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments that would set the standards for Israelites’ worship of God and for their living a good, kind, and caring life that would be different from how the rest of the world lived. For, the rest of the people in the world were living strictly for themselves. Indeed, most people thought only of themselves and what they could get from other people. Sadly, many people were also cruel and evil. But, that was not what God wanted for the world. He wanted people to care about each other, love each other, and do for each other, while being thoughtful and kind. Moreover, God wanted the Hebrew people to worship Him only and to be able to represent to the rest of the world what living for God was to look like.

While there at Mount Sinai, God gave the Israelite or Hebrew people the Ten Commandments by which to live. The Ten commandments were personal, social, and emotional commandments that would protect the Hebrew people from those things that often tripped up the average person. In fact, God gave these commandments as laws that were to guide the people in all areas of their lives. All the Israelites had to do was adhere to these commandments in order to live a life that was good, true, and approved of by God. So, when Moses went back up on Mount Sinai to receive God's instructions, God said to Moses:

 “I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.

You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, …

You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely] for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Earnestly remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. … Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work …

Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives to you.

You shall not commit murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not witness falsely against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. – (Exodus 20: 1-17. Amplified).

Laws and Regulations by Which to Live

Besides the Ten Commandments, God would also give the Israelites dietary and cleanliness laws that would keep them healthy and free from all the bacteria and diseases that could kill the other people groups who ate most anything and who failed to wash and keep their bodies clean.

Then God even gave the Israelites ordinances or rules to live by that would lessen the chance of quarreling or fighting among the people. God even gave them rules on how to fairly treat their servants and the foreign people who lived among them. These laws, ordinances, and rules gave the Hebrew people guidance and structure that at the same time set them apart from other people groups.

Sadly, when other groups of people saw how dedicated the Israelites were to following the commandments, laws, and rules that God had provided for a wholesome and happy life, instead of accepting the Jews, they ridiculed them or they became jealous of the Jew’s dedication to things that they did not understand. Many people also feared the Jews for their differences and for the rigid structure under which the Hebrews lived. Don’t we also have a tendency today to ridicule people when we don’t understand them or when we become jealous or think that they don’t deserve something that we too should have. We often just call it “sour grapes” when someone ridicules someone else for having something that they don’t have or when a person tries to demean another person’s accomplishments. But, it can become more than just “sour grapes” if we are not careful. It can morph into extreme jealousy, hatred and evil.

Christians are supposed to look at the bigger picture and not be jealous, fearful, or bigoted, toward other people. Nor, are we to project our insecurities and fears upon another group of people through our bigotry, stereotyping and hate. Instead, we are to look at other people through the eyes of Jesus and then love them as much as we can. We are to look for ways to help others even when we don’t fully understand them. Why? Because God created them and loves them just as He loves each of us.

God gave the Jewish people special gifts and wisdom.

Besides setting the Hebrew or Jewish people aside as His special Kingdom of priests and His peculiar possession and treasure from among all the other peoples, God bestowed upon the Jewish people the ability to do many things that the ordinary person could not do. Moreover, God gave many of the Jewish people the ability to learn quickly and to think at higher levels of inquiry than that of the ordinary person. How do we know this? Well, God’s Word tells us that God endowed certain gifts on particular Jewish tribes, and throughout the years we have witnessed the inventive and the higher thinking skills of certain Jews. Such men as Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Jonas Salk, Carl Sagan, Max Born, and Edward Teller are just a few of the Jewish scientists that have greatly contributed to the world through their intellect and higher thinking skills. There have also been many philosophers such as Sigmund Freud and Nostradamus who have influenced the world. Other Jewish people such as politicians and leaders around the world have been extremely influential in the world. Then there are the modern Jewish leaders like Netanyahu, Peres, and Sharron who have been influential not only in the world, but especially in their own country of Israel. America, too, has especially been blessed with many Jewish intellectual, scientific, economic, and political leaders throughout our history but especially within the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Why have these particular Jewish men and others throughout history been so important and influential in the world of science, economics, philosophy, world leadership, etc.? Could it be that they have been blessed by God and have been given particular gifts from God? Again, we can go to the Bible to find the answer to those questions.

 Long ago in the wilderness while at the base of Mount Sinai, the Lord God needed men who could construct the Tabernacle or the House of the Lord to His specific specifications and for God’s glory. So, the Lord God gave or bestowed upon certain men and their descendants the ability to do many specific specialized things. This was especially true for the craftsmen who needed the ability and intellect to create exceptional beauty for the Tabernacle.

So, “The Lord said to Moses, See I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and ability, in understanding and intelligence, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for setting, and in the carving of wood, to work in all kinds of craftsmanship.

And behold, I have appointed with him Aholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and to all who are wise-hearted I have given wisdom and ability to make all that I have commanded of you.”  -- (Exodus 31: 1-6. Amplified).

Notice that God bestowed upon these two men the needed wisdom, understanding, intelligence and knowledge as well the craftsmanship needed to accomplish the goals set. But it wasn’t just these two men to whom God gave the needed knowledge and wisdom to create things for the Tabernacle. For we are told: “Bezalel and Aholiab and every wise-hearted man in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work for the service of the sanctuary shall work according to all that the Lord has commanded. And Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab and every able and wise-hearted man in whose mind the Lord had put wisdom and ability, everyone whose heart stirred him to come to do the work.” – (Exodus 36: 1, 2. Amplified). From these verses, we can see that there were other men too that were given the wisdom, the intellect, and the knowledge to accomplish and make the needed things for the sanctuary.

After the tabernacle was finished, did God suddenly quit bestowing upon the Jewish people special abilities and wisdom? Certainly not! God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. This means that God did not suddenly stop giving Jewish men special knowledge, or that He only awarded the men of old with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. For, God has continued to bestow wisdom and knowledge on many Jewish people throughout history and even through today. Indeed, it is their special gifted abilities that have often set the Jewish people apart from other people. It is also these gifted abilities that have thus contributed to the special significance of many Jewish people, which in the eyes of many has created jealousy, fear, and anger; culminating in the bigotry and hatred of the Jewish people. But we cannot allow the negative and hurtful emotions of jealousy, fear, anger, stereotyping, and “sour grapes” to cause us to treat another human with less respect than we would want to be treated. We are not to be bigoted. We are not to be Anti-Semitic. We are not to be a racist! We are to love all people as God loves us!

Stopping the Bigotry and Hatred of Jews by Searching out the Truth

So, how do we stop this evil that the devil has perpetrated upon the Jewish people through his lies and his tapping into our own fears, jealousy, and human failings. How do the followers of Christ put out the fires of bigotry and hatred? Well, first we represent Christ in all we do. Then, we must kindly and politely enlighten people to the truth about the Jewish people and to the truth of how Christians are to treat all races and ethnic groups. We can do this by actively and relationally mentoring others, especially our Christian brothers and sisters in the truth.

The truth is that we are to love others as we would love ourselves. Moreover, we are not to buy into some of the historic attitudes developed in the early churches about the Jews killing Jesus and thus not being worthy of our love. Christianity was developed by Jesus Christ, who was first and foremost a Jew. In fact, Jesus forgave even those Romans and Jews who placed Him upon the cross. He even asked His Father to forgive them. Jesus said, “Father forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.” – (Luke 24: 34. NLT). If Jesus can forgive us our sins, certainly, He can forgive the sins of those individuals who for their own reasons put Him, Christ, on the cross. Certainly, we have no right to say who can be forgiven and who can't.

Obviously, an entire race of people did not kill Jesus. It was only a few scared political individuals who were afraid of losing their own power status who wanted Jesus dead. But even they could not do it alone. They had to call upon the ruling Roman leaders of that day to crucify Christ. So, just because a few individuals from two different ethnic groups were the ones who actually crucified Jesus, does not mean that we are to use broad brush strokes and color all the Jewish or all Roman people with distain and hate. Moreover, if God did not hate them, why should we. Instead, God used the Jewish people and their refusal to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah as the catalyst for giving the Good News to the Gentiles. Had it not been for the rejection of Christ by the Jewish hierarchy, Gentiles would not have come to know Christ. The Apostle Paul explains this beautifully in Chapter 11 of the book of Romans. Paul said, “Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! His purpose was to make His salvation available to the Gentiles, and then the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the Jews turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when the Jews finally accept it.– (Romans 11: 11, 12. NLT).

Unfortunately, people, including some Christians, usually want someone to blame for whatever crime or situation that they feel needs to be righted. So, starting with the beginning of the early Catholic Church in 300 and 400 A.D., Jews were to be punished for having put Christ on the Cross. This idea of punishment and criticism against the Jews still goes on today in many protestant denominations. But we should remember Christ’s words, when He spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees who had brought and adulterous woman to Him to be stoned to death as the law required at that time. Jesus said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.– (John 8:7. Amplified).  Ashamed of themselves, the Scribes and Pharisees put down their stones and walked away. We, too, should be ashamed of our actions of bigotry, hate, and stereotyping. We should ask ourselves what Christ would want us to do and then act with love in our hearts toward others.

Sadly bigotry, stereotyping, and hate continues in all aspects of our society and such evil is often based upon our human desire for justice or retribution for what has happened in the long ago past. In fact, today Americans are going through a similar situation here in the United States of feeling that the injustice that occurred in the past should to be righted by those in the present even if the people today were not the ones to have perpetrated the crimes and wrongs of long ago. The injustice that I am talking about is based on the injustice of the slavery, which is now in our country’s past. But because of the terrible slave history in our nation, white people are now deemed by many black people to still be responsible for the injustice of slavery which occurred years ago. Somehow, the stereotyping, bigotry and hatred of white people today has become acceptable. Indeed, in many cases, white people are deemed responsible for these slavery injustices simply because they are white. In fact, because America's southern economy was once based on slavery, hurt, and degradation back in the 1700 and 1800’s, many black Americans today are still painting all white Americans with the same broad brush strokes that were used to paint all the racist people back in 1865 during the civil war. Several of these black Americans even want to be reimbursed by this generation for something that was done many generations ago by other people. Humans love to place blame on other humans.

Obviously, no amount of money can make right what was done back then to a great number of the black people. Furthermore, no amount of money or hate can make right what was done to Christ so long ago. All we can do is go forward and try to live our lives with love and not hate. We are to be kind and show the world that we truly have the heart of Christ within us and that we have been reborn into a new person who loves the Lord and loves others. If you do not have love in your heart for others, you may not be a born-again Christian. Why do I say that?

Well, the Apostle John wrote: “Beloved let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God a is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and to get a better and clearer knowledge of Him].

He who does not love has not become acquainted with god [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.

In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned; in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him.

In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.
Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.”  -- (I John 4: 7-11. Amplified).

Christians are to love others and are to lovingly mentor one another. We are to mentor the truth of the Bible and the love of God. Can you actively and relationally mentor other people about the love of God? Can you tell the world why God loved us so much and how He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for our sins? For, it is only through the resurrection of Christ and our belief in who He is and What He truly did that we will be able to spend eternity with God and Christ someday. Can you explain to others why Christ would not want Christians to engage in bigotry, stereotyping, jealousy, fear, and hate?

Standing Up for the Jewish People and Mentoring God’s Truth to the World

Today, we have to stand firm for not only the defense of Israel, but for the individual Jewish person wherever he/she is. We have to let the Jewish people know that we love them and that Christ loves them too. Just as importantly, we must mentor or teach others who may have a negative attitude toward the Jewish people the truth about the importance of the expressions of love within our language and within our actions as true Christians or followers of Christ. We can do this subtly through our own truthful statements and through the love that we express for the Jewish people, and we can do it when we gently correct misconceptions that have been passed down through the generations. We can then mentor the truth through biblical scriptures that tell of God’s love for the Jewish people even after Christ was crucified and many Jewish people rejected Him. This means that we have to correct the many negative stereotypical attitudes that others have and that are still are passed down from one generation to the next which are based upon false information and misconceptions and miscommunication.

As Christians, our responsibility does not stop with Bible studies and going to church. Our responsibility to the world is to show the world how Christ would want us to live and act on a daily basis in a Christian manner that represents Christ to the world. Remember, Christ has asked us to love others as we love ourselves. (See Luke 10: 27). Therefore, whether we are mentoring just one individual or we are daily mentoring our family and friends, we have a responsibility to tell the truth and to live the truth of the Bible. Part of that truth is that God never turned His back on the Jewish people and neither should we.

The Apostle Paul explained God’s love for the Jewish people to the Roman Christians, saying: “Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren; a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in, And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob, and this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins, From the point of view of the Gospel (good news), they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God]. Which is for your advantage and benefit. But from the point of view of God’s choice of election, of divine selection), they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers. For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. …”  -- (Romans 11: 25-29. Amplified)
Later, the Apostle John tells us in the book of Revelation that there will be 144,000 Jewish men who will be devout believers during the Tribulation. They will share the Gospel message with as many people as will be willing to hear about the grace and mercy of God. So, you can see that God has never rejected the Jewish people nor will he start now. God loves the Jewish people just as He loves Christians and those that will turn to His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, here in the United States and around the world, many Jewish people have or are in the process of accepting Christ as their Savior. Were it not for God’s love of these people and the refusal of some Jews during the early part of the first century A.D. to accept Christ as the Messiah, Gentiles would not have been given the glorious opportunity to know Christ as their Savior. So, we are not only indebted to the Jewish people, but we have a responsibility to share the Good News with everyone, including the Jews. We also have the responsibility of mentoring people on loving the Jewish people and not falling into Satan’s trap of bigotry, stereotyping and hate.

You can do it! You can mentor others on the Good News and on the truth of the Bible which is the Word of God. You can mentor others on love and kindness. Yes, you can do it! You can become an Active Relational Christian Mentor who stands for the truth of God’s Word and shares that truth with others.

Accepting Christ as your Savior

But if you are still waiting to ask Christ to come into your life and change you into a new being who is filled with love and caring, you can take that step to become a re-born person. In fact, don’t wait any longer. Stop what you are doing and pray to God asking Him for His forgiveness of your sins. Tell God that you are truly willing to give your life to the One who went to the cross so that you could live forever. Tell God that you believe on His Only Son, who is alive and in Heaven with Him and is now preparing a home for those who believe that He was resurrected from the grave. Tell God that you believe that Christ conquered eternal death and is alive in Heaven with Him, His Father. If you do that from your heart, then you will be saved. But, don’t stop there, then go and tell someone that you asked Christ into your heart. Tell them that Christ is Lord of your life! Congratulations you are now a child of God’s no matter whether you are a Gentile or Jew. God loves you and when you believe on His Son, you are saved! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mentoring the Truth Even When Others Express Bigotry, Stereotyping, or Hate

There are so many topics that need to be addressed in the mentoring of others. So, when people say that they don’t know how to mentor or on what topic to mentor, it is usually just an attempt to get out of the job that God as asked them to do. First and foremost, a Christian’s responsibility is to just be there for the person by listening and then just being there to answer their questions. We are not to try to impose our opinions and beliefs on others, but we are to tell the truth when the truth needs to be told. Actually, it is through the process of befriending and simple fellowship, that a potential mentee will often bring up the topics that are of interest to or of concern to her. Sometimes, though, mentoring during those times is just the gentle correcting of social or biblical misunderstandings as they arise in conversations. However, many Christians will simply let the moment surrounding a controversial statement or question to pass without saying anything, because they don’t want to step on someone’s toes, or they are too afraid to risk telling the truth in a world that colors the truth with falsehoods and sometimes down right lies. More often than not, gossip and misunderstood statements from others as well as their failure to acquire the knowledge needed to understand an issue fully is part of the twisting of the truth or lies on which false information, bigotry and hate is based.

(My blogs are a little longer than most, but I usually break them up into sections so that you do not have to read the entire blog at one setting. Feel free to take your time and consider the truths that come from the Word of God. Then go to your Bible and confirm these truths so that you can use these truths from the Word of God to help you mentor others for the Lord. Remember, we were created to honor and love God first, and then to love others as we love ourselves.)

Searching out the Truth and Telling the Truth

Christians, though, are supposed to search out the truth if we aren’t sure of the truthful answer. Then, we are to share the foundation of that truth, which comes from the Bible, with others so that they too can grow in the light of Christ and the Word of God. We have a good example of what we are to do when we don’t know if something that we are hearing is the truth or not. In fact, that example is found in the book of Acts, where we are told about a group of people known as the Bereans who always sought out the truth. The Apostle Paul tells us that the Bereans “… were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message.” But they did not stop with just listening to the message. “They searched the Scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, (in Christ) as did some of the prominent Greek women and many men.”  -- (Acts 17: 11, 12. NIV). The Bereans searched out the truth, and when they found that Paul and Silas were telling them the truth about Christ as the living Son of God, they accepted the truth and believed.

Today, many people are afraid to search out the truth, because they have been told that truth is only relevant to what they want to believe. They refuse to search out the truth in the Bible, or to even search out the truth in politics or in college classes; accepting instead what someone else tells them. But, truth does not change nor can it be only something that we want to believe when it suits our own needs. That is why, as Christians, we have to search out the truth in the Bible and in the world around us just like the Bereans did. Then, once we find the truth, we have to be willing to share that truth with others no matter what some people may think of us. But, as in everything in life, there is a right way to do something and a wrong way. It is wrong to be boastful, prideful, and demanding in our explanations of the truth. Instead, we must be caring, thoughtful, and kind in our explanations. At the same time, we cannot just walk away from a conversation because we are afraid to share the truth, or because we are afraid that someone will not like us or think that we are crazy for telling them the truth.

During our journey, here on earth, Christians will be given opportunities to share the truth on many different topics when the Holy Spirit opens doors with the questions we often receive from our potential mentees. The Holy Spirit will also open doors or moments in time encouraging us to can speak up when something untruthful is brought up in a conversation. We just have to take the opportunity to step through that door and share the truth with another person. In fact, Christians need to take every God-given opportunity to speak up for the Lord. But we need to know God’s Truth, as well as truth from other areas of life, in order to make a difference in another person’s life.

This will be a two-part blog on discovering the truth about bigotry, hate and stereotyping of different ethnic groups. All of us need to know the truth on whatever subject that we are discussing or on whatever subject that comes up in a conversation. Christian mentoring requires knowing the truth or if we don’t know the truth about a particular topic, to find out the truth. I hope these two blogs will encourage you to not only step up to mentor others, but to study the Bible and other subjects fully in order to discover the truth for that topic or subject. Opinions are just that opinions, but the truth will not change nor can it be swayed with the wind of others opinions.

The Truth About Stereotyping, Bigotry, and Hate

Whether we are fellowshipping with a friend or an acquaintance, Christians need to be truthful, honest and kind. We need to share the truth on such things as ethics, Scriptures, social issues, and our belief in Christ. We also need to share the truth on such matters as stereotyping, bigotry, and hate. Even though stereotyping, bigotry, and hate are seldom expressed overtly in someone’s conversation, eventually the existence of stereotyping, bigotry, and hate will subtly come to the surface in people’s conversations if such attitudes or beliefs exist. When they do, it is important that true Christians say something rather than allowing the bigotry to stand, because bigotry and hate can not only destroy the person who carries that hate around, but it can destroy others who come into contact with these attitudes if they are convinced to believe in the falsehood of such bigotry and hate. By simply avoiding the topic or by accepting baseless stereotyping or bigoted statements, we are either acquiescing to, accepting the other person’s point of view, or we are giving them and others that overhear the conversation the impression that we are in agreement, which perpetuates their stereotypes, bigotry and hate and the evilness that the devil continues to dispense.

Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to hate others or to consider other people as less than ourselves. For, Christianity is based upon love. In fact, we are told to love others as we love ourselves. God set down laws and rules early on for His people even stipulating that the people were not to hate. God said, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart; … You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”  -- (Leviticus 19: 17, 18. Amplified). Obviously, this command from God doesn’t mean that we get to pick and choose who we want to love. Rather, this command means that no matter a person’s skin color or their beliefs that we are to love people. This also brings me to the reason for this particular blog today, which is to expose the needless, unwarranted, and evil hatred of other people who are different from us, but to especially expose the unwarranted bigotry and hatred of the Jews. Christians should not and cannot fall into the trap of hating Jews or into the trap of failing to speak up for the Jews when someone else says something negative about them. Indeed, all reasons that have been given or been promoted for hating Jews and the Jewish nation are all lies given to and perpetrated upon the world by the devil. For the devil wants to destroy God’s people and God’s followers whether they are Jew or not. But if the devil can get us to destroy each other with hate and bigotry he can easily accomplish his goal of destroying the human race along with destroying those people, the Jews, that God originally choice to be His messengers and through whom He sent His Son, the Savior of the World.

How do we know that the devil wants to destroy all people?  Well, again we go to the Word of God to find that answer. The Apostle John wrote: “[But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].”  -- (I John 3: 8. Amplified). The devil’s goal has been to destroy the people that God created by keeping them in constant turmoil and living under hatred so that they do not see the love that Christ has offered to them. Bigotry and hatred is an easy way to destroy the human race because it is sin against each other and sin against the love and goodness of God. One of the easiest ways the devil can get humans to sin against each other and God is to get us to believe in stereotypes that are based on negativism and lies which  can then lead us to the hate another person or specific group of people.

Succumbing to the Stereotypes of Negativity and Lies

We are seeing today what stereotypes or the stereotyping of certain groups of people can do to destroy those people. For example, the black race has been the recipient of negative stereotyping for many many years simply to justify their negative treatment as well as to justify reasons this negative treatment should not change. This negative stereotyping occurs against several other different groups of people because other people are afraid of a particular race of people. They are usually afraid of a certain race or group of people because they lack of understanding or have fear of anything or anyone who is different from themselves whether the fear is justified or not. But in some instances, people’s fear stems from just plain ole jealousy of a particular race’s attributes or strengths. For example, jealousy of the black race seems to come from among other things people’s jealousy of black people’s special athletic abilities such as their ability to be light on their feet and to have great physical stamina that includes the ability to use their strength, lightness on their feet and their dexterity in sports and in other endeavors often outshining other races. There have been many black athletes who have far surpassed the athletes in other ethnic groups.

It isn’t just jealousy of their strengths, though, that causes this fear and bigotry. Because this bigotry and hate is also based on misunderstandings, the difference in their color, and the fear of their potential for intellectual achievements. In fact, anything that humans don’t understand or that is different from what they know, causes them to want to categorize a certain group of people in one particular way. In other words, humans have a tendency to stereotype many different groups of people, which can then lead to even more bigotry and hate.

But it isn’t just the blacks who have been stereotyped over the years. For every race on the face of the earth has been stereotyped by another race of people at some point in time. Today, even the white race has been on the receiving end of this stereotyping and it is getting worse every day. White people are now being blamed for all bigotry and are often depicted as haters of black people by such groups as “Move On” and “Black Lives Matter”. They have lumped all white people with those that do have bigotry and hate in their hearts. But doing so is producing even more bigotry and hate by those that do not want to be stereotyped by these groups. It becomes a vicious cycle.

It is sad, but when humans do not understand a particular group of people, they have a tendency to stereotype all people within that group in order to put all people into categories. Humans think that they can control or that they can at least explain the “perceived” actions of a certain group of people through stereotyping, and if that doesn’t work they simply make up lies about them. But, no two people are alike and no two people think the same exact way, even though they may have similar ideas about other people. Stereotyping, however, allows for group think. Group think based upon lies and stereotyping then gives even usually diverse thinking people a reason to hate or dislike another group of people who are disparaging them. This stereotyping then projects a needless negative view of another race or socio-economic group.

The Stereotyping of the Jewish Race

Christians, cannot allow this kind of stereotyping to continue and cannot become a part of group think or the stereotyping, bigotry, and hatred of others. Unfortunately, there is one group of people, i.e. the Jews, who have faced extermination many times over throughout the years simply because they are different from other groups of people and have been stereotyped by those that do not understand or want to understand them. That group of people is the Jewish or Hebrew people.

Even back between 486 - 465 B.C., during the reign of the Persian ruler Xerxes, one man named, Haman, plotted to wipe out the entire race of the Jews on a particular day of the year. Why did he want them all dead? Well, Haman hated the Jews because with God’s instructions they had fought against his tribe years ago during their trek from Egypt and through the wilderness, thus wiping out some of Haman’s relatives in the process. To make matters worse, Haman was jealous of Mordecai, because Haman could not make Mordecai, the Jew, bow to him even though Haman had a higher rank in the Persian court than did Mordecai. However, God had told the Jews not to bow to any human or to any idol. They were only to bow before God.

Haman was furious! He wanted Mordecai to respect and bow before him. So, Haman plotted to destroy Mordecai and all the Jews. He then told lies to the King saying, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from every other people, neither do they keep the king’s laws. Therefore, it is not for the king’s profit to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge over the king’s business, that it may be brought into the king’s treasuries. And the king took his signet ring from his hand [with which to seal his letters by the king’s authority] and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. .. And letters were sent by special messengers to all the king’s provinces – to destroy, to slay, and to do away with all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to seize their belongings as spoil.”  -- (Esther 3: 8-10, 13. Amplified).

Haman was able to slyly finagle King Xerxes into establishing an irrevocable law that would wipe out all the Jews throughout the Persian provinces. Fortunately, Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai, with King Xerxes' approval were able to counter the decree with another over riding decree that would save all the Jewish people. Then when the king found out the true duplicity of Haman, the King hung Haman on the gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordecai. The Jewish people were saved. But this would not be the first or the last time that the Jews would face extermination because of someone’s bigotry, hatred, and stereotyping.

The Jews are God’s people and Christians have to start setting the record right about the Jewish people. We have to tear down the stereotypes and hatred of all the different people groups, but we especially have to befriend and tear down the stereotyping of the Jewish people. In other words, we have a responsibility to reach out to the Jewish people and to be their advocates, just as we need to be a Christian advocate for other minorities or ethnic groups of people.

Jealousy mixed with fear or hatred is one of the most destructive emotions that any person can face. It emotionally eats one alive and makes that person’s life miserable. It also causes the jealous person to do things that they would not otherwise thought of doing. But at the extreme end of jealousy, the person who is jealous will do things to their rival that will in the end destroy both of them. Such was the case with the jealousy and its destructive actions that were projected and then perpetrated upon the Jewish people during WWII. In fact, the Holocaust is an example of extreme jealousy, bigotry and stereotyping taken to its ultimate end – the mass destruction of a group of people simply because of their difference and their uncanny ability to achieve many things that others never even thought about.

If you have not studied history, you may not be aware of how the jealousy and the stereotyping of the Jews led the Germans to attempt to destroy all of the Jewish people. Even Germans who did not participate in the concentration camps or in turning in the Jewish people to be exterminated, were implicated and were involuntary participants of the slaughter of millions of Jews, because they simply failed to help others and stand up to bullies. Indeed, there were many German people who turned a blind eye to what was going on around them, thus becoming accomplices by their refusal to help the Jewish people. In the long run, the ruined reputation and the guilt of the German people, as well as their country’s near economic ruin nearly destroyed the German people; all because their actions and inactions contributed to the Jewish people being taken from German homes and the surrounding nations to be put into death camps. The German people fell under the spell of the hate and bigotry of a single narcissistic megalomaniac killer named Hitler. As a result, the Germans turned against their Jewish neighbors and turned them into the Gestapo (police) to be taken to the death camps.
Millions of Jews were exterminated in death camps simply because they had the ability to work hard, make money, invent new things, and because they held a special reverence for God that inspired them to live daily and uniquely for God. They led a different type of life and it scared those that didn’t understand. It especially scared a man named Hitler whose one desire was to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. Had it not been for some Christians who hid and helped some Jewish people so they could survive and had it not been for the ally nations that decided to get into WWII to stop Hitler, the Jewish people would have been eliminated from Europe and other far reaching nations, i.e., if Hitler had somehow won the war and continued his mass exterminations. But even though Germany, with  their leader Hitler, and Japan were defeated, the hate of Jewish people did not go away. For anti-Semitism, has been simmering under the facade of our supposedly civilized societies since God set His people apart from the other ethnic groups.

Even centuries earlier, many people that could not understand how the Jews could maintain their devotion to God or why it seemed that God blessed their love and obedience to Him. So people began to make up stories that the Jews were devil worshipers or that they were cheating in their business dealings. Moreover, any story to make the Jewish people appear to be less human than the rest of society became fair game. Those stories and their varied versions have been told since the dark and middle ages, giving the storyteller or gossiper an explanation of why many Jewish people seemed to prosper when other groups of people were suffering economically. 

The Spanish Inquisitions in 1478 started with those types of lies and stories that invoked fear of the Jewish people.  As a result, thousands of Jewish people were killed. Only a few true Christians understood that the Jewish people were living for God and that God was blessing them for their faithfulness. Others, though, were so jealous, that they did everything in their power to take away the Jewish person’s economic ability and status. Eventually, though, limiting their ability to make money was not good enough. Jealousy, fear, and simple evil in the hearts of many lured people into mistreating the Jewish people on a daily basis, which in turn led to the desire and willingness to exterminate the Jewish people.

But the hatred of the Jewish people did not stop after the Spanish Inquisition. It never really went away. The bigotry, stereotyping, and hatred of the Jewish people just jumped around from country to country. Later in Russian in 1871 and then again in 1919 the pogroms, which is a Russian word for the persecution and massacre of the Jews, was approved of by Czarist Russia. Many Jews were killed and others fled to other countries, fleeing even back to the land of Israel.

Modern day Anti-Semitism is alive and well with the middle eastern countries wanting to exterminate the Jews and claim the land of Israel for themselves. But, it isn’t just the Middle East that hates the Jews. Anti-Semitism is alive and well in the western nations as well. We just hide it under a facade of civility. But, even American corporations and companies are now engaging in anti-Semitism under the guise of concern for the Palestinians who desperately want the land that God gave the Jews centuries before. Corporations and businesses are now boycotting Jewish businesses and economic dealings. These corporations and businesses are actually just incorporating their bigotry and hate of the Jewish people into their business dealings to hopefully get the Jews to bend to their demands and to political pressure to give the Palestinians what they want.

For years, antisemitism has been promoted by various hate mongers and groups that continue to fear the brilliance and difference of the Jewish people. Today, antisemitism or hatred of the Jewish people has risen to new heights with nations such as Iran and with certain Islamic groups that have brought new life to Mohammed’s writings to eliminate the Jewish people and Christians, i.e. people of the book (the Bible), from the face of the earth. Sadly, Mohammed’s hatred of Jewish people all stemmed from the fact that the Jewish religious leaders of his day would not compromise their faith in God and their belief of who God is simply to incorporate Mohammed’s ideas for a new religion into their belief in who God is. So, when Mohammed’s ideas for his religion were rejected by the Jewish leaders and scholars, he decided to get even by killing the Jews. Mohammed’s followers have killed in the past and continue to do so today to implement his ideas of hate and persecution of the Jews. That is why many Muslims want to destroy Israel and all the Jews. This is especially true of the radical group of Muslims known as ISIS. But it isn’t just the Jews that ISIS wants to exterminate. For the United States, is in their cross-hairs as well, because the United States is mainly a Christian nation and has generally supported Israel and the Jewish people throughout the years. Now, radical Muslims want to not only destroy the Jewish people, but they want to destroy all Christians as well.

(I will stop here this week and finish this topic on stereotyping, bigotry and hatred in my next blog. In the meantime, if you may want to pray about how you perceive those around you. Do you treat others as you would want to be treated? Do you love others as you love yourself? If not, could it be that you don’t know what true love is all about? If so, I encourage you to read the third chapter of the book of John in the Bible as well as the other three very short books that the Apostle John wrote: I, II, and III John.  All of these books will give you the information that you need in order to make a decision to accept the grace and mercy of God that He gives through the Jesus Christ, His Son. I hope that you, too, will come to know the love of God and the unending love God bestows on those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.).