It’s been forty years since I became a follower of Yeshua. I did not become His follower because of someone’s brilliant argument, or because of the literature people gave me to read, or because of the many prophecies people showed me in the Bible. When people showed me their literature, or gave me their arguments, I simply shrugged it off and said, “so what?”
What made the difference for me was seeing Yeshua in the lives of my friends. I encountered Him as he lived His life in the lives of His people. When I saw him through their actions, and their kindness, it made me want to know Him. Introducing people to Yeshua is not about making the best intellectual argument, or presenting irrefutable proof, because arguments and proofs are only as good as they are until the next argument comes along. People who accept Yeshua based on argument tend to treat Him as a philosophical concept, rather than as a living person.
An argument can be compelling, but not nearly as compelling as Yeshua Himself. When I encountered Him, I wanted to know Him. I wanted Him in my life. I wanted people to see Yeshua when they see me.
I have met many people who are theological hacks. They want to be the mouth of God, preaching to people, telling them what they should and shouldn’t do. I think we have too many of those people around. We need more people who show the love of God through their actions more than just their words. They need to become the hands of God, showing kindness to a hurting world, not by flapping their jaws in an already too noisy world.
When I meet people, I observe their behavior; not just how they carry themselves ritually or religiously, but their interactions with others. I long to see Yeshua in other people. I find it difficult to see Yeshua in people who talk about God, but treat people like crap for the sake of “truth,” or right theology. There is no excuse for bad behavior.
It’s true that everyone can have a bad day, or even a bad season, but even so, at some point, I should be able to see kindness in people. When people are harsh, and judgmental for the sake of heaven, they are not representing Heaven. Yeshua was kind and caring, not just to the people who agreed with him, but to people who were hurting and in need. I find myself searching desperately in people who present themselves as Yeshua’s people for His presence, but sometimes all I see is their anger and opinions, and not His love.
When I consider hate groups, like the “Westboro Baptist Church,” that literally hate people in “Jesus’ Name,” I can’t help but think what a profanity they are. There is nothing of Yeshua in them. They spread hate while claiming to represent the truth. This gross misrepresentation of God, or at least, God’s interests, is nothing new. Throughout history, people have hidden behind religion as an excuse to make war and murder others in the Name of Yeshua. The long dark history of so-called, “Christian” anti-Semitism is evidence of this. It did not reflect the love of God, or the will of God. You can’t kill people or hate people for the Love of God. Its like having intercourse to protect virginity.
I want people to see Yeshua in me, just as I first encountered Him in others, and still do. That will only happen as I treat people as He would treat them; with kindness, grace, and mercy. When he looked at people, he had compassion on them. The only ones he got angry with, were the people with religious axes to grind. It is my hope to be a bearer of His kindness and mercy, that people may encounter Yeshua in me, that they might be blessed.