The road to true Christian-Jewish reconciliation starts with Christian repentanceby Dan Calic
One of the most difficult issues for Christians and Jews to navigate is how to relate to each other while the proverbial 800 pound gorilla is in the room.
What's the 800-pound gorilla? The desire on the part of Christians to evangelize Jews, and the sensitivity Jews have about uninvited conversion efforts. As one Jew eloquently stated several years ago, "Christians have to understand Jews did not volunteer to become participants in the final act of a play they didn't write."
Serious Christians, many of whom have a genuine love of the Jewish people, might consider doing something important if they wish to develop a meaningful, or in many cases a better relationship with Jews. They should consider repentance.
Repenting for the centuries of misunderstanding, abuse, expulsions, and the Holocaust would be an excellent starting point. Doing the same for anti-Semitism and replacement theology would be recommended as well.
Something else Christians should consider is to stop looking at Jews through their own agenda based eyes. Jews should be accepted and loved for who they are, and the unique role they have in God's plan for humanity.
They should not be looked upon merely as conversion targets. If a Jew senses this the 800 pound gorilla will immediately appear.
It seems far too many Christians have either forgotten or haven't been taught about some important contributions from the Jews that have had great mutual significance. For example, it is the Jews God chose to reveal himself to.
Jews are not ‘lost’
Moreover, it is the Jews whom God established the Sabbath through, which is Saturday rather than Sunday. A thorough search of both Bibles reveals it was never changed to Sunday. The Catholic Church brought about the change to Sunday in the fourth century, as part of a growing effort by the fledgling religion as it steadily moved away from its birth as a sect of Judaism.
Contrary to what most Christians and many Jews have been taught, Jesus (a Jew, whose given name was Yeshua Ben Yosef) did not abolish Torah. Another noteworthy point is that almost all of Christianity's doctrine is based on the writings of Paul, whose real name is Saul, who lived his entire life as a Jewish Pharisee and steadfastly considered himself a Jew, in spite of the Church's effort to portray him as a convert to Christianity.
Given these facts, one could make a strong case that without the Jews Christianity wouldn't exist.
It would also be mutually beneficial if Christians developed a more objective and respectful understanding of what Jews have contributed to the world, rather than simply looking upon them as “lost.”
With more than 1,800 years of persecution and death having been perpetrated against Jews by Christians, it should be understandable that Jews are skeptical, hesitant, or resistant about entering into a relationship with a Christian, especially if they sense said Christian is singularly interested in converting them to the very religion responsible for long years of persecution against them.
In the final analysis, while there may not be a cookie cutter solution to improved relations, it seems the most appropriate starting point is Christian repentance. If that is done with sincerity and received accordingly, the 800-pound gorilla will become the size of a pigmy.