Like many, I am in shock over the evil attacks against Israel this weekend. The heartbreaking scenes continue to unfold and reveal the transgressions of war.
Just as heartbreaking, has been the uncompassionate attitude many conservatives have towards the transgressions against Israel and Ukraine. It is sad how many conservatives fail to learn from the mistakes of our Jewish stepfathers.
- Earthly greatness
Being a conservative or Christian means striving to be Christlike. Jesus’ earthly ministry focused on forgiving wrongs and putting others first. Our Lord became nothing so we sinners could have salvation.
Jesus’ teachings came from fundamental Jewish teachings on being generous and compassionate. Because God’s people are called to do what is right in His eyes or else we are guilty of sin (Deuteronomy 6:18, Job 42:7, Proverbs 21:3).
Growing up I heard the hellfire and brimstone stories about the consequences of sin. Christianity does not mince words about the severity of sin. Christianity considers sin an immoral act considered to be a transgression against God’s divine law.
A basic understanding of sin is that regardless of its nature, sin makes us unrighteous and separates us from God. There are no half sins or little white lies because all sin causes us to miss God’s standard of perfection.
The prophet Moses tells us that in the beginning, everything was perfect and mankind was right with God because God made man to be image bearers of God and His nature (Gen. 1:26-28).
After the fall, sin entered God’s creation and ever since mankind has missed the mark of God, all sins corrupt us.
In Judaism, the Hebrew word Khata is often used to describe sin, it means, “to fail, miss, go wrong. The implication is clear, whoever commits Khata is wrong and has missed the standard of God.
Man’s unrighteousness separates us from the perfection of God; we miss the mark of God every time in every way. Judaism has three categories of sins.
- Sins against God.
- Sins against ourselves.
- Sins against others.
Judaism considers sins against others worse than sins against God. As God’s image bearers, we are to look out for our fellow man. When the rich young ruler questioned Jesus how to go to heaven, Jesus responded by telling him to give to the poor and needy (Matthew 19:16- 22).
When we fail to treat others as God treats us, we miss God’s standard. This is why so many of us get this “Christian” thing all wrong, our hearts are tainted by sin.
Much like our Jewish stepfathers we get a lot of things wrong in life. When we live by our standards or the standards of the world, we are no different than the world.
The Pharisees thought that their head knowledge made them right with God they thought since they knew the law they could judge others and their actions correctly. However, as Jesus pointed out, the Pharisees were also guilty of Khata (Matthew 9:12).
Since Jesus was without Khata He didn’t miss the mark of God (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15). So Jesus gave them a new command to love and forgive our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Jesus had the heart of God, the Pharisees did the works of their father (John 8:44). We are never more like God than we do what He did for us.
- Put others first
Jesus came to show us the way back to God’s standard. He is the perfect lamb to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (John 1:29). Only He can forgive because He is without Khata.