In preparing for our Bible Study tonight on Real Christianity, I ran across this story about Mahatma Gandhi. I had heard this before, but it is a striking story and shows us that what we do and how we live and what we witness to makes a bigger difference than we think.
Although Hindu, Gandhi had a very close connection with Christianity and admired Jesus very much, often quoting from his favorite 'Sermon on the Mount' chapter in Mathew 5–7.
When the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Gandhi he asked him, "Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?"
Gandhi replied, "Oh, I don't reject Christ. I love Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ."
“If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today,” he added.
Gandhi's closeness with Christianity began when he was a young man practicing law in South Africa. Apart from being attached with the Christian faith, he intently studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was also seriously exploring becoming a Christian, which led him to his discovery of a small church gathering in his locality.
These strongly entrenched Biblical teachings have always acted a panacea to many of India's problems during its freedom struggle.
After deciding to attend the church service in South Africa, he came across a racial barrier, the church barred his way at the door. "Where do you think you're going, kaffir?" an English man asked Gandhi in a belligerent tone.
Gandhi replied, "I'd like to attend worship here."
The church elder snarled at him, "There's no room for kaffirs in this church. Get out of here or I'll have my assistants throw you down the steps."
This infamous incident forced Gandhi to never again consider being a Christian, but rather adopt what he found in Christianity and its founder Jesus Christ.
What are we witnessing to? That South African Christian witness to his race and ethnicity more than Christ. But, what about us? Do we witness to our social status, our comfort, our place in life, our way of life, our politics? What do we present to a watching world more than Jesus? If it is anything, we very well could be affecting nations.