I was saved in 1973 at the age of 19. At that time I was living anything but the kind of life that I should have been living. When I got saved the immediate change was manifestly evident. It made my parents very happy. My mom even told me she couldn’t believe I was her same son.
But, as time went on their thinking started to change. As I started to read and live out the Bible, go to church three times a week and do Saturday soul-winning they started to get concerned. And after I went off to a Bible college down south they started wondering if I was in some sort of cult. I had to work pretty hard to convince them I wasn’t. But after time they realized that I wasn’t in a cult. I also think the arrival of Judy in my life had something to do with it too — Judy in a cult! I’m sure it never crossed my mom’s mind.
Now many years later I have experienced the same sort of thing from another family I’ve been a part of since salvation — my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. I find I’m faced once again with trying to figure out how to assure my spiritual family members that I (and Judy too) aren’t in a cult. This seems to be a little harder though.
Anyone that has come into the Messianic/Hebraic mindset has been approached by our brothers and sisters in Christ who have genuine concerns for us. And I must admit that I understand and don’t blame them for seeing us that way.
I try to get outside myself and view us from the perspective of others. At first glance I would probably have the same concerns. Come to think of it — I DID!
After all, we did start looking like, eating like, and keeping the same Festivals as the “Jews.” And if that wasn’t enough to convince anyone, we stopped celebrating Christmas and Easter. And on top of that we now worship on a totally different day.
Perhaps we’re a little unfair with our Christian brothers and sisters for drawing the same conclusions we would (and did) if we were them. And truthfully, I think they come to these conclusions because they really care for us and love us.
So, what do we do about this …? I mean us, not them.
For starters, when they share their concerns we should respond like we would like to be responded to. A little kindness and understanding in our responses might go a long way. I don’t think we intend to be harsh but ….
Also, let’s not become overly “Jewish.” You know … doing those “Jewish” things that aren’t in the Bible. Sure we’re all excited with our new found attachment and involvement with the whole Bible and want others to experience it as well. But let’s be sure we don’t just pick out another batch of new warm fuzzies that make us feel good. Please remember, our identity is in Christ and not in any particular people group — no matter how religious they may appear to be.
We should keep practicing what the Bible clearly says. We should eat what the Bible says, dress as the Bible says, keep the Festivals the Bible says and worship on the day the Bible says. We should be obedient to the Scriptures as best we understand it. But let’s be sure we don’t convey a holier-than-thou attitude or the condescending attitude that I fear we sometimes manifest.
Let’s not focus so much on things like (for example) the three letter hebrew root level of words. I’m glad we’re excited to learn and understand the Hebrew language. However, we need to realize we don’t have to become Hebrew or Greek scholars (or even students) to be able to understand the Scriptures.
How about taking another look at Colossians chapter three. Each time I read it I realize how far I still have to go to live out what it says in plain ‘ole English! Master that chapter and maybe we will earn the right to start telling our Christian brothers and sisters how they’re not doing it all “quite right.”
Understand what I’m trying to get across?
I often think about Spurgeon, Moody, George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Jonathan Edwards and all the martyred Christian saints that have come before us. They lived a standard we would do well to emulate.
Let’s work on getting out the beams in our own eyes before we stand across the street and throw stones at others. All of us who are saved are in the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus/Yeshua, are we not? He’s our focus.