Counseling A Friend

Q. I have a Jewish friend, very intelligent, also quite moral — I have been praying for her and believe the Lord is working in her life, to bring her to a place where she will look to Him for answers. When I suggest that God loves her and is trying to get her attention by the situations in her life, she points to how moral she is and just doesn’t “get” it. She keeps asking “why,why,why?” I do not want to offend her with the responses you could give to a gentile, but might not be understood or appreciated by a Jewish person. Any suggestions?

A. You have to understand that to a Jewish person, righteousness is achieved by living a certain kind of life. In fact, for many reformed Jews the concept of an afterlife is fulfilled when people remember you after you’ve gone because of all the good things you did while you were here. Being a good, moral, upright person is considered to be worthy of blessing. Telling her that perhaps God is allowing bad things to happen to her is like telling her she isn’t being good enough. That’s why she keeps asking “Why?”

She doesn’t understand that she’s out of fellowship with God. Being a good person and a good Jew she probably doesn’t think of herself as a sinner. She has a righteousness of her own that is commendable but it’s not sufficient to protect her from life’s difficulties.

Remember, Paul said it’s God’s kindness that brings us to repentance. (Romans 2:4) God isn’t making these thing happen to her, He loves her and wants only good for her. Isaiah 53 says He took up her infirmities and carried her sorrows. He was pierced for her transgressions and punished for her iniquities, all so she can have peace. He wants to help her and will, as soon as she gives Him permission by admitting she’s a sinner and asking Him to be her savior.

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