Please, please, pray for Indian Christians
I was 18 years old when we went to visit a friend of ours. I remember that there was a mass that evening and all of us were Roman Catholics, so we went to the church that evening, with my friend and his family. There were few pews in the back of the church and in the front, it was just some blankets. In our town, generally old people sit in the pews, while the younger ones sit on the floor. So, trying to show my humility, I went to sit on the floor, hoping my friend and his family would appreciate my “humility”. But the reaction I got baffled me.
They were all shocked and some even started shouting at me for trying to sit on the floor with other Christians. My friend had a horrified look on his face, while his family were scolding him for bringing me into their home. Then he convinced them regarding something and asked me to sit in the pews with his family.
Later, I was explained that low caste people are not allowed to sit on the pews and it is mandatory that they sit on the floor. So, when I tried to sit down, it means I am from a low caste and an “untouchable”, and hence that reaction. The higher caste people only sit on the pews.
It broke my heart. That there would be such a discrimination among Christians. That was my first encounter with caste system among Indian Christians. Later I found out that it is prevalent among Roman Catholic and certain Orthodox churches. But I was told that it is not a problem among Charismatic/Pentecostal Christians. All are welcome. All are equal. I was told. And, now, I understand how naive I have been.
Few years back, there was a church function and a 16-year old boy was making a ruckus during the dinner. So, I asked him to take it easy and he advised me to cool it off. Since I was double his age and also, he was not even out of high school, I told him that he neither has the age nor the status to advise me. I thought it was over.
But then his family came back, accusing me of hurting a young boy because he belonged to a lower caste. I was horrified, for I did not even know that he belonged to a lower caste. For me, he is a Christian. But apparently when I said that he does not have the status to advise me yet, he thought that I was saying that he belonged to a lower caste and hence does not have the qualification to advise me.
And, then I found out that the people in our church knew that I belonged to a different caste, which is surprising because I never talk about the caste in which I was born into. For me, as a Christian, caste system is based on an idolatrous religion, so when I mention caste, I am like the family of Jacob, who left Laban, but carried all their idols along with them. For me, as a Christian, there is no caste. And as an Indian too, I hate caste system, for it is an abomination for the entire nation and has hampered the growth of India and will continue to hurt the nation.
Especially these days, the Christians openly talk about their caste. In Christian matrimonial sections, even in those “spiritually enlightened” magazines, you can see the caste playing a huge part. “The groom belongs to Pentecostal Nadar Christian and he wants a bride from the same or higher caste.” “The bride is a from a SC community. And only those from the same community are asked to contact for further details.” These are what we see today. Everyone has embraced the evil and has brought it into the Christian-fold. And even the church leaders are not denouncing this malady.
I know that many true Christians who live in Western countries pray for India. They pray that many more Indians accept Jesus Christ. But, my humble request is, pray that those who have accepted the LORD already, leave all their idols behind and may the Christian churches in India be truly “Christian”, without any discrimination, where all are equal, all are washed by the Blood of our Saviour and are His brothers and sisters. Please pray for the Indian Christians. More than persecution, this disease is what has been ailing the Christians in India. May the Church in India follow what Apostle Paul did:
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. – 2 Corinthians 2:2