After hanging up the phone, and what felt like an eternity of me debating if I should say something, I asked her if I could pray for her. She started crying and told me all about the situation. She then asked me how it is possible to forgive someone who has wronged you repeatedly. This spurred a discussion about beliefs and the woman told me she was Hindu. I listened intently as she told me all about her life, how she was engaged to a white South African who came from a 'christian' background and he wanted to raise their children the same way. She then asked me something I still don't have an answer for. She asked me how she could simply switch gods. I was taken aback. Before I had time to mull over what she said she started talking about how she "knows that they're all the same, but I just feel like I would be betraying my Hindu god by starting to pray to yours".
What do you say to that?
a.) I don't agree with what she said. I believe there is a distinct difference between our God and the gods of other religions, Jesus Christ being the critical difference. If I believe Jesus is the only way to be saved (as the bible states) clearly any religion lacking Jesus' shed blood does not have the same god as we do.
b.) She went on to say that she knows her god(s) have heard her in times of need, she felt a presence and saw a difference. What can you credit to that? That it was who God heard her and in His compassion helped?
Clueless about Hinduism I held my tongue. As we approached our stop I simply told her that I believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ being the only way the only truth and the only life. I told her to read the Word of God and that I would continue to pray that she finds her answers. I left it at that.
After getting off the bus and explaining the conversation we had to the members of my missions group, one of the members really balked at what we had been talking about, they were actually quite angry with me for not debating with her more. That, in my opinion, would've been a mistake. This woman was upset. She didn't need me to self-righteously debate theology with her. She needed a friend.
So many times we push theology unabashedly onto people who disagree and this leaves them offended and hurt. (I know I am guilty of this repeatedly) This doesn't show the love of Jesus Christ. We need to meet people where they're at. We need to put down our facade and admit that we're all in the same boat. I am reminded of the powerful Emery lyrics that talk exactly about this:
"It is all the same thing.
We are all the same people.
With sinning hearts that make us equal.
Here's my hand, not words said desperately.
It is not our job to make anyone believe."
That last line I want engraved on my eyelids. I don't care what race you are, what your sexuality is, what political party you align yourself with and what religion you claim (or lack thereof). We are all the same people. We are all sinners and we are all in need salvation. Now, I would like to state, to any agnostics or apathetic people out there: I am sorry. Sincerely, and utterly sorry for any way you have been put off by religion and 'christians' in general. I vow to do my best to reverse the damage and it starts right here. Its about love for people.