Growing up, I was one of the rare Indians at my school. I spoke perfect English, but my name, skin tone, and even my clothes would usually make me stick out like a sore thumb.
In a lot of ways I don’t fit the stereotypical “Indian” the general public expects. I don’t speak Hindi or wear a dot on my forehead, I’ve never rode an elephant, I don’t understand the nuances of the caste system, and know very little about Hinduism.
I’m not the stereotypical Indian portrayed in public, but I personally know thousands of people who have similar backgrounds to mine. There are millions of Christian Indians and a large group of us can trace our Christian heritage all the way back to the apostle Thomas.
What’s my point?
Despite our “forward advances” in this modern era, we still like to put people – especially minorities – in stereotypical boxes. I know we have all done this to some extent, but in doing so
are we hindering the Gospel?
When you meet someone who has a different ethnicity, different religion or belief system, or different sexual orientation, do you automatically make presumptions of how the Gospel can impact them?
Why bother talking about Jesus?
There is no way that they’ll believe.
You will hurt their feelings.
They will resent you and hate you.
Those are words from the devil playing on our vulnerabilities.
Would we rather believe his lies than
trust the saving power of the Holy Spirit
who can change any heart?
Think about Paul! He started out as a staunch Pharisee who hunted down Christians and persecuted them with crazed fervor. After encountering Christ, Paul was saved and his life was transformed! Because God changed ONE man’s heart, Paul became an instrument of Christ that led to the salvation of many believers and the planting of many churches! He even authored a majority of the New Testament letters.
After Paul got saved, he went from being a Pharisee who would only hang out with Jews to a follower of Christ who reached out to the Gentiles, pagans, and his own prison guards. He even spoke the gospel in front of the highest Roman authorities!
What I greatly admire about Paul is that he was not shy about tackling touchy subjects. When some of the Jewish Christians tried to make the Gentile Christians practice Jewish rituals, Paul called them out on it repeatedly!
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. | Galatians 3:28-29
Paul disrupted a world where nationality, social status, and gender determined a person’s fate in society. At the end of the day, only one identity matters and has an eternal impact:
our identity in Christ!
Even 2,000 years later, things really haven’t changed that much in regards to social standing. Sure there are more legal rights and regulations depending on which country you are from,
but the hearts of people haven’t changed.
We are all still as sinful and wicked as the day Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden. Maybe we have gotten better at concealing it, but at the end of the day we are ALL still broken people in need of a Savior. Those of us who have been blessed by the saving knowledge of Christ need to see people through the heart of Christ – this includes both our fellow believers and those who don’t know about Christ.