October 31, 2018

Pray for Compassion and Wisdom Moving Forward for The Jewish Community in Pittsburgh

It's difficult to imagine the gaping hole and raw pain of the family members of those killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. I pray that God gives comfort and courage to move forward. I was impressed and saddened by the reactions of people for a few reasons. First, the response of some of the Jewish people there was incredible.

Dr. Jeff Cohen, the President of Allegheny General Hospital, who is Jewish, showed remarkable grace towards the shooter. In a matter-of-fact tone, Cohen said, "He's taken into my hospital and he's shouting 'I want to kill all the Jews.' The first three people taking care of him are Jewish." Cohen and the other Jewish doctors were incredibly successful in saving Robert Bowers' life. These were true heroes in the Pittsburgh hospital. 

Bowers was a rabid antisemitic Trump hater and there is a deep antisemitism in many people in the area. One news story mentioned the protests when Trump came to the city to offer condolences and 
the largest set of protesters were those protesting Israel with regard to the West Bank:
"The largest protest was organized by IfNotNow ...whose goal is to end Israel's Palestinian occupation"

It's sad to me that people would protest Israel and Jews at the very time of burial for 11 victims of antisemitism and the largest synagogue attack in the history of the US. This is one of the reasons that many Jews continue to feel a sense of dismay moving forward after this event.

My mother's side of the family is from Pittsburgh and so I have a connection there. My mother and other relatives are buried not far from Squirrel Hill. Some of the most caring and giving people I know live in Pittsburgh. As a Christian, I can only offer to my Jewish friends and acquaintances my conviction that God loves Israel and the Jewish people with a timeless commitment and love.
There are at least 22 Bible verses about Jews as God's Chosen People:

“The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant,” (Psalm 105: 9-10)

God loves Israel and always will. This commitment by God to Israel is not threatened by true Christianity but is complemented by it. I believe that this is the message that Vice President Mike Pence was trying to convey in meeting with a Jew that had become a Christian, and Pence was attacked by the press for this. I believe that we all need to use critical thinking these days because people seem to be making rash conclusions.

On the one hand, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto was very bold and admirable in embracing the Jewish Star of David on the Steeler's symbol as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish community. And the "stronger than hate" slogan is thought-provoking. 
 I think as individuals we all need to go deeper and ask, "What exactly is stronger than hate?" and, "How do I get the power to truly have compassion on my enemies?"

The Pittsburgh shooting slogan is similar to the Bible verse that says: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21). Ultimately, the basis of strong overcoming love is God's eternal and unchanging good nature, and not merely a subjective feeling. This is logical and can be explained. Dr. Jeff Cohen seemed to have a matter of fact approach to healing his enemy, while scripture talks about having actual compassion for our enemies. The Apostle Paul showed that this is possible when he offered to suffer eternally in the place of his fellow Jews that were persecuting him (Romans 9:3).

A lot of people today simply go along supposing that feelings are the foundation of ethics, even Christians. There is a dangerous precedent being set these days, that if I feel offended, you are guilty of a hate crime. The basis of God's nature is agape love -a commitment based love, not a feeling-based love. The apostle Paul outlined that this kind of overcoming love is available to empower us spiritually when we come to believe in Christ: 

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5)
On another point, Peduto's views on gun control do not seem logical to me. He likened the idea of a citizen with a gun as a means of security in a place of worship to a police state, while in reality, a police state is when no citizens are allowed to have guns.

There is also an attempt by the MSM news to try to scapegoat President Trump as the cause of this event when in reality he and his family are very pro-Israel. 
Be careful what you watch and listen to as far as media news. There are a lot of falsehoods and there's a lot of antisemitism being subtly displayed. The rhetoric against Israel and Jews is most often coming from MSM news sites such as CNN regarding the West Bank and we should pray for more wisdom and compassion in these times when hatred seems to be boiling over and misinformation is rampant. 
The Bible prophesied in 
Zechariah 12:2that Jerusalem would become a "cup of trembling" and that is what we're seeing with the United Nations and basically the world trying to condemn Israel regarding Arab relations on the West Bank. The prophecies in scripture related to increased antisemitism coincide with the Islamification of Europe and, in general, the spread of Islam globally. In the end, however, Islam and antisemitism are not victorious. 
Tags: Heroes of Pittsburgh hospital, God loves Israel, love is stronger than hate

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