Lucien A. and I spent a bit of time spreading the gospel at the bus stops at Sheppard and Victoria Park this morning. Here is a summarized account of our discussion with a Hindu man whose god is his deceased mother. We’ll refer to him as H, Lucien as L, and me as P.
Context: He was puzzled by the bus routes so we approached him and helped him figure out what he needed to know; then the conversation went something like this …
P: I have a question I want to ask you: what do you think about Jesus? I’m a Christian. How about you? Do you have a religious background?
H: I’m Hindu, but my kids are baptised. I go to church sometimes, but I’m not baptised so I don’t take the sacraments.
P: So what do you think about Jesus?
H: Well, I’m Hindu; but I believe in some Buddhism and some Christianity. So, I respect Jesus, but really, it’s my mother’s beliefs that I hold onto. What do you think about that?
P: Well, I’ll tell you what Jesus says. It’s not my opinion that really matters. He said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”
H: I need to respect my mother and she wouldn’t want me to go another way. Isn’t it good that I respect my mother?
P: Well, it’s good for us to respect our parents, but in this case, you have to choose God or your mother. It sounds to me like you are putting her first. (He affirmed). I’ll read to you what Jesus says (I pulled out my little Bible and turned to Matthew 10). “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (I explained the passage briefly). What do you think?
H: I do believe in God.
P: But Jesus said that if you don’t honour him you do not honour the Father (who is God). And correct me if I’m wrong but it sounded like you want to honour your mother more than you want to honour Jesus.
H: At home we do have many gods, but it is the feet of my parents that we kiss. (He must have been referring to ashes is some sort of container or an idol attributed to them).
[a few minutes later]
L: Do you believe in heaven and hell?
H: Yes, I believe in both.
L: Well, if you believe in both, what is the way to avoid hell?
H: You must do good things. Those who do what’s right will go to heaven, but those who do what’s wrong will go to hell.
L: What about you? Do you ever do wrong things?
H: Yes, we all do. But If we are trying to do what is right we will be okay.
L: Yes, even if someone does what is right 99 times and then they do what is wrong they will be corrupted by their wrongdoing.
H: Yes, I agree.
P: Do you know what sin is?
H: Yes, it is doing what is wrong.
P: The Bible says that all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s standards and his glory. Now, even though God is loving and gracious, he is also just. He will punish wrongdoing. So he will punish us for our sins. And that’s why Jesus came; he came to live in our place and die in our place, and he rose from the dead and is alive now. And (pointing to the Bible) this is his Word to us. He is calling us to believe in him – that he really lived a righteous life in our place and he died on the cross in our place, taking the punishment upon himself that we deserve for our sins. Yes, he was being punished for our sins, in our place. And he rose from the dead. He is alive. Jesus taught that this is the only way we can receive the forgiveness of our sins – it’s by believing in him, yes, fully trusting him and his work, his life and his death for us. This is from Jesus. It’s his Word. Do you believe Jesus?
H: Yes, I believe.
P: I’m confused. It sounded like just a few minutes ago you were saying that your mother is first.
H: Well, I believe both.
[bus was coming; I gave him my info]
H: Where is your church? (I explained). I will contact you if I’m having any problems.
P: Sure, and please call me or email me if you’d like to talk more; we can do coffee.
L: thank you for allowing us the time to speak with you.
H: You’re welcome. Thank you too.
P: Yes, thank you. Have a good day.