I was born in 1964 into a Jewish family. I was raised in the synagogue all my life and had my bar mitzvah in an orthodox synagogue. I always believed that there was a God, but I did not know Him. I tried to know Him, but I didn’t get very far because I had not yet understood my need for Jesus. As a child, I was taught that the Gentiles killed and persecuted my people. I was told that all Christians were the enemies of the Jews and could not be trusted. This view of Christians was only made stronger by what I experienced in the first 16 years of my life. I was made fun of, physically attacked, faced Nazi symbols painted on my synagogue, and shunned by the people in my neighborhood because I was a Jew. This led to a great sense of hatred in my heart for Christians. At the time, I did not know what it meant to be a true Christian. I only knew what I was told and what I experienced from people who claimed to be Christians.
When I was 14, my father, who was a guiding force in my life, died unexpectedly. I found myself completely out of control. My life had no direction as a 14-year-old, and my father was gone. This affected me in a very negative way. I started to spin out of control, and for the next five years I was rebellious, even going down the path of drug abuse and all that comes with it.
I had an attitude that was without concern for anyone or anything.
When I turned 18, I began to ask again the questions that I had asked as a young boy. I wondered who God was. I wondered which religion was right. I started looking into many beliefs but became increasingly upset by my seemingly futile attempt to know what was right. I really wanted to know. One night, I was driving my van on Route 91 in Connecticut. I sensed an overwhelming desire to know who God was. I was frustrated and tired of my life and my hatred. I cried out to heaven, “Who are you, God?” The answer I got was not what I expected. The answer was, “I am Jesus.” At that moment, I received Christ as my Savior. The experience can only be described as like having warm oil poured slowly over my head, and I could not move.
From that day on, I have never been the same.
Since then, God has worked in my life in miraculous ways. My testimony is possible simply by the grace of Jesus. Before my conversion to Christ, I hated Christians. Now I am a Christian, and I have a bold disposition concerning the proclamation of salvation in Christ alone. I am also a fierce defender of God’s Word. Only the grace and mercy of God can change a person from an enemy of God to a promoter of His kingdom.
Dave Berman is a pastor in Swanzey, New Hampshire.
Please note: This article was originally published in 2021. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.