Here’s one of those subjects I don’t like sharing about myself, but I find it’s important to spill it out now. A couple of years ago I developed what could not be described as anything but an intense hatred for Jewish people. It grew out of struggles I was having with Jewish neighbors who obviously despised me for my evangelical Christian faith, and who especially hated what I wrote. This wasn’t a huge shock to me, because we Christians expect hostility from Jews over our faith, especially when we express it publicly. But because of what I experienced from these neighbors, a bitter contempt rose in me for all Jewish people of a liberal or “progressive” bent.

I viewed progressive Jews like my neighbors as standing for everything that not only ran counter to my beliefs, but also as people who would do anything and everything possible to force me to abandon those beliefs and become what they wanted me to be. I grew angrier over both what my neighbors were doing, trying to find some way to stop me from writing and publishing anything, and what I saw the wider, Jewish community doing. I came to view all progressive Jews as  aggressive promoters of everything that was causing moral and spiritual decline in our nation and around the world. This not only included gay rights and same-sex marriage, but the worst forms of pornography and lurid entertainment, and the complete mockery and suppression of all Christian truth. I saw their ultimate goal as the criminalizing of the Christian faith and complete eradication of all Christian teaching and influence in the world. While much of my view of the Jewish Left may prove true, it does not give me an excuse to hate the people themselves.

The turning point in this spiritual battle came for me when I read a New Testament passage from the book of Romans. I had read Chapter 9 of the book many times before, but even as I wrestled with negative feelings for those I saw as leftist Jews, God spoke a stern reminder to me through this scripture. The opening five verses of the chapter leaped out at me one day as I was seething over something done by one of the neighbors. The Apostle Paul wrote of his “great sorrow and increasing anguish in my heart”…”for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” (9:2-4) He was saddened over their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah. This grieved Paul because of the Jewish heritage of being singled out by God to be his specially chosen people through whom he would work out his plan of salvation for humankind. The Jews provided the ancestry for the Messiah, and hold the promise of God’s unending love even today, though most have not embraced Jesus Christ.

The implications of this hit me hard, and brought me into a time of repentance. I had to come to terms with the fact that no matter how evil I perceived some Jewish people to be, I had no right to harbor animosity against them. Even as I continued to read on through the tenth and eleventh chapters of Romans, I felt more convicted over the contempt I harbored toward my Jewish neighbors, and secular, progressive Jews in general. I was reminded that as a Gentile Christian, I am “a wild olive shoot”…” grafted in among the others” (11:17), and that I have no business nursing hostility within me toward any Jews. I was also reminded in verses 28 and 29 that even though Jews are natural enemies to me when it comes to my faith, they are still loved by God and will not be abandoned or reject by him as a race when the end of time comes.

This brought me to a point where I had to seek God’s forgiveness for my bitter anger and hatred toward progressive Jews, especially my neighbors, and instead, resolve to be quiet and let God deal with whatever got thrown at me and the people involved. In place of bitterness and rage, I found God in Christ filling my heart with a growing love and concern for Jewish people, and for the nation of Israel especially. I was upset over the nuclear deal with Iran, because as the details of the pact were made public, it became apparent that the accord struck between our president and Iran’s leaders amounted to a veiled declaration of war against Israel. Iran got everything it wanted, and Israel was left more of an open target. I believe in praying for the peace of Jerusalem, because therein, we secure our own peace. To do otherwise is to invite disaster in one form or another against our own nation.

This leads me to address all Jewish people, whoever you are, wherever you may live: as an evangelical Christian, you may hate me through and through for my faith; despise everything I believe in, and wish to see me and all other Christians drop off the face of the earth. If you do, I understand that, because we Christians have fueled that hostility at times with un-Christlike behavior and attitudes toward Jews. You may be gay or straight, a capitalist or a communist, a devout Orthodox synagogue-goer or an avowed atheist, but that does not matter. If you are attacked simply for being Jewish, I will stand in defense of you in whatever way I can, no matter what. You may not want my support, but nonetheless, you will have it, because that is what God in Jesus Christ has placed in my heart for you. If that makes me a target of some really hostile Jews, Islamic extremists, or anti-Semitic white supremacists, so be it. May God make himself real to all of you in the days ahead. Shalom. (All Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 2011 edition).