Joel of Jerusalem Apr/May 1971
“JOEL LOVES OUR ENEMIES”
There are some people in our country today who feel frustrated. The enemy is all around us and the future is uncertain. So they look for somebody to vent their frustrations. Frequently, the believers become the scapegoats. All kinds of fantastic rumors are circulated about Jewish Christians, and there are those who seek an occasion to start an argument or to pick a fight with them. However, this often gives me an opportunity to tell them about the Lord.
When I was recently called up for military duty a man in my outfit said to me: “I have a surprise for you.” With this he whipped out a clipping from a newspaper with a reproduction of a prayer from a Hebrew Christian collection of prayers for home use. One of these prayers was a petition for the Holy Spirit to be granted to the person who was praying. It was based on Luke 11:13: . . . “how much more shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.”
“What is wrong with this prayer?” I asked. “You have two children. I advise you to teach your children to pray like this, and I am sure they will grow up to be better people, to love one another and to hate nobody. This is a much better prayer than the one in your daily Prayer Book which says: ‘Blessed are Thou, oh God, who has not created me a goy (a Gentile).’ As far as I am concerned, all men are equal; black, white, yellow or what have you. God created them all and we must love them all, even our enemies.”
When he heard this, he said angrily “So now you want us to love our enemies; those who would gladly drown us in the sea. There are witnesses who heard you say this. Now I am going to complain to the commanding officer that you are teaching us to love our enemies who threaten our lives.”
So he went to our C.O. and said: “Joel is spreading anti-Israel propaganda. He wants our people to forsake Judaism and to love our enemies.”
The officer called me in and said, “What is this all about?”
I confirmed that I believe in Jesus. The officer demanded: “But what about your loving our enemies?”
“I am a citizen of Israel, and when I am called upon, I do my duty as a citizen and soldier, yet I pray for all men, also for our enemies, that the day may soon come when they will no longer be our enemies but our friends. Is that a crime?”
The officer turned to my accuser and said, “There is nothing wrong with what Joel is saying. I don’t want to hear again any of your false accusations against Joel. Leave him alone.”
When I met my accuser a little later, he said: “So you managed to make over our officer to believe just as you do?”
“No,” I said, “I did not make him over. Before God there are no officers or ranks. He deals with all men the same way. It was not my victory over you, but God’s victory. When God protected Daniel in the den of lions, that was not Daniel’s victory, but God’s. The same God is also with me as He was with Daniel.”
The man was so enraged that he kept biting his fingernails. Then he said to his friends, “Don’t speak to Joel. He will pervert you in no time.”
But as a result of his raving against me, my fellow soldiers insisted on speaking to me, and showing their friendship.