March 4, 2018, Israel
"וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ עֹמֵד לְנֶגְדּוֹ וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ וַיֵּלֶךְ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֵלָיו וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הֲלָנוּ אַתָּה אִם לְצָרֵינוּ" (יהושע ה, יג)
"And it came to pass when Joshua was near Jericho that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man against him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said, Are you with us or against us?" (Book of Joshua, Chapter 5, verse 3)
Joshua is a leader, a man prepared to fight, kill, and die if need be. But he wants to know where he stands; is he facing a friend or foe? Knowing this is often a matter of life and death, but this is a very difficult matter.
One of his people, a few thousand years into the future, expressed a similar idea, "You know sometimes Satan, he comes as a man of peace" (Bob Dylan, aka Zimmerman).
If only we could know if the person or institution we are dealing with is our friend or foe, Satan or a man of peace. Sadly, we rarely know this.
When you have money you have many friends. When you are a Gold member of the airline suddenly you see the smiling face that was missing yesterday. My brother had been a premier member of an airline but then his status changed. He arrived to find his front row aisle seat replaced by a back row middle seat. "But I was a valued member for years?" "That was then, his is now" came the reply. When the gold is gone so is the golden service.
Is a charity organization really about helping others? or perhaps it was started because the CEO needed a job? After all Charity is a big business. Is the pastor about God or about collecting all that money? Is the insurance company there to help you or make money off you? Are the pharmaceutical companies really out to serve your best interests?
Are you with us or against us?
There is no doubt that there are so out there who are pure and genuine and really want to help you but how can you know who they are?
Honestly they are the exception. I was speaking with a dear and trusted friend who is a physical therapist; how many Physical therapists are having you come in for sessions you do not need, or are over billing the medical insurance? Best not to answer.
She informed me that is is policy to create a long waiting list so that patients with insurance policies will get better on their own and not cost the system money, or simply give up in desperation. The system is designed to make money of you, not to help you. This is all big corporate business.
Which leads us to martial arts schools and associations. Are they here to help you or make money off you?
When I need to go to an emergency room in Virginia for what turned out to be a kidney stone, they had me fill out half an hour of forms before a doctor would see me. My friend said, "He is in agony can't those forms wait?" But of course they could not for that is the reason of the whole business.
I have great admiration for the angels who work in hospitals, the devoted doctors and nurses who give above and beyond the call of duty, but the system, the business is a different story as is the martial arts world.
Associations are designed to make money, with few exceptions. There are many associations that indeed were formed by righteous holy people to help others, such as Hadassah women. But again we return to the question, are you with us or against us? Are you here to help me or take advantage of me. And this is the tricky part.
When you approach a martial arts school or association, what is their attitude? How do they answer your questions? Are they concerned about your safety or only about your wallet?
Are they going to teach you gun and knife defense from your first lesson or make you sign a long contract and only teach you these vital skills are a few years of training and having attained some imaginary rank of expert P3?
Are you for me or against me? Do you have my best interest at heart or are you only interested in my financial ability to benefit your organization?
Do you have a passion and compassion for people, or only for money? Are you for us or against us? That my friends is the tricky question. Sometime Satan, he comes as a man of peace.