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Sometimes a smile is all it takes…

October 2, 2009

Today Jews for Jesus’ “Issues” publication came out with a story about a supposedly Modern Orthodox Jewish woman who became a Christian. As I read the story I began to cry. Why? Because I thought to myself how sad it is that this woman was in such an emotional state that the smile of her pool maintenance man was enough for her to be willing to consider what he had to say. Like many Jewish converts to Christianity, her decision was not based on evidence or Truth, but on emotions.

Four months ago I received a call from a Jewish woman who had just made aliyah. We’ll call her Jill. Jill told me that she had become a Christian about 35 years before, but some friends of hers were encouraging her to speak to me to help deal with her confusion.

I met Jill at a coffee shop near the center of Jerusalem and we began to talk. Jill told me the story of how she came to believe in Jesus. Jill explained that as an older teenager, her mother contracted cancer and she passed away when Jill was 18. Jill said that she was so depressed she was practically suicidal and she began to pray that G-d would reveal himself to her. According to Jill, she went to sleep and when she woke up, she just believed in Jesus and it gave her tremendous peace.

I asked Jill, “so, you made a purely emotional decision in accepting Jesus?”Jerusalem woman

“That’s what everyone says, but it’s not true” responded Jill.

“Well, what’s the opposite of an emotional decision?” I inquired.

“The opposite of an emotional decision would be a logical one,” came Jill’s response.

“Okay,” I submitted, “what would be involved in a logical decision?”

Jill paused a moment before answering. “A logical decision would involve research and study,” she realized she was trapped before the words left her mouth.

“Jill,” I responded gently, “did you ever once stop and study or research the Jewish objections to Jesus, or what Judaism’s answers are to the alleged prophecies he supposedly fulfilled?

“No, I didn’t,” Jill admitted. I then invited Jill to embark on a series of “bible studies” with me to look at what Judaism’s answer is to the claims for Jesus. Jill and I met weekly for a month and a half before she informed me that she had to go back to the states. “But I want to let you know that you’ve really opened my eyes to the truth and I have to admit that Jesus can’t be the Jewish messiah.” Jill promised me that she would seek out the Jewish community where she would be living in the US, and that she would continue to learn with me over the internet. We don’t get to learn together as often as I would like, but it gives me hope knowing that all is not lost –we can reach our misled Jewish brethren through educationally based programs and through compassion.

Sometimes just a smile is all it takes.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 2, 2009 9:39 am

    Nice reminder, my friend. A smile can fill an aching and empty heart. Sometimes, if it comes only from outside of one’s own faith, it can steal the mind. It is a good reminder for us to smile whenever someone new meets our gaze when she walks into shul. No telling why she’s there — and how much that smile might mean to her.

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