Saturday March 23: 18 Adar II
This day seems to be one of many firsts when it comes to Jewish-American history. For instance, on this day in 1801, the first Jewish Governor in the United States was sworn in as the Governor of Georgia. This is very interesting when you consider that the South has long been associated with racism and bigotry. Not that this isn’t an accurate assessment, though racism is not exclusive to the South, but in spite of that reputation, replete with slavery, the Confederacy etc, the South produced the first Jewish head of state. By the way, you may find it interesting that the Secretary of State for the Confederacy was a Jewish gentleman by the name of Judah P. Benjamin.
Why is any of this noteworthy? Even in the midst of a discriminatory environment, there have been cases when someone’s talents and character opened doors for them that might have otherwise remained shut. On the flip side of this we could ask the question, “Why should we even take note that these people were Jewish? Why isn’t it that a man or a woman can’t be selected or appointed to a position simply because they’re the suited for that job?” In short, and this is by no means an exhaustive explanation, it boils down to this: we’re human. We’ve been conditioned by our humanity to size things up based on race, language, culture, religion and all things that pertain to the flesh. We would do well to remember the words of Martin Luther King who said:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Every believer knows in their heart that is the way it should be. The essence of this statement, though associated with the Civil Rights movement, contains a biblical principle. No one should be judged or discriminated against because of their skin color or what language they speak or their gender, as long as it’s the gender they were born with, but should be judged according to the fruit they produce as Messiah said. Understanding there must be biblical boundaries established between believers and non-believers, between light and darkness, the holy and the profane, nonetheless, we are cautioned not to judge someone by temporal standards. John wrote this:
“He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.” (1 John 2:9)
He goes on to say:
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21)
Does this mean that I must agree with my brother all the time? No, it does not. Does that mean that I must condone his actions? No, it does not. But, it seems that I must find a way to love him, in spite of him. That’s important because here’s what Scripture says of the Creator:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16)
If the Father’s heart is to love even those He is in disagreement with, then somehow, some way, we must strive to do the same. It’s not going to be an easy task but I believe a good place to start is to love my brother who is of the faith – that is, faith in the God of Israel – even when he has a differing view than I. How can we expect the world to take us or our message seriously if we display contempt for one another?
I wholeheartedly believe that something is going on within the Body. I believe that the Spirit of God is gently coaxing His people to return to our first love, that we might learn, once again, to love one another. Paul said this:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians13:4-8)
Let’s be reminded of what’s in our Father’s heart because what’s in His heart should be in ours.