Seeing “Religious” Freedom in India
A few weeks ago, I went on a mission trip to India where I enjoyed the delicious food, the lively quarter tone music, and the erratic yet exciting traffic. However, more importantly, I witnessed a variety of cultures and religions. In terms of religion, India is very different than the United States as Hinduism is the main religion, followed by Islam as the second main religion. The difference in culture was truly evident in the numerous Hindu temples and the occasional Muslim call to prayer that blasted throughout the city.
Now, when I say the word religious I actually don’t mean religious at all in the sense of including all religions, however am specifically talking about Christianity. First off, being a Christian—a follower of Jesus Christ, is not actually a religion but a relationship. It’s important to understand that through a relationship with Jesus is where the freedom comes. The freedom I saw in India was not the freedom to worship openly on the streets or the ability to declare the name of Jesus to anyone in our sphere of influence as we still are able to do so in the United States; however, what I witnessed was the freedom that comes from knowing and experiencing God.
So, with that in mind, the freedom I witnessed in India was a Jesus filled freedom, the freedom Jesus said that people who believe in him would have.
In a country where it is illegal to share the gospel openly on the street because of “conversion” laws, I saw the beauty of Christians thriving in tough environments and in a society and culture that is against them. I saw thousands of people hungry for the real and astounding power and love of Jesus Christ. I saw lives being renewed and Love entering into the lives of many. Although Christians are the minority in India, I witnessed freedom. I saw a boldness for preaching the Gospel regardless of the cost. Many were free from religious routine, complacency and safety, and instead pursued an intimate relationship with God whole heartedly, while following Him wherever He led, saying whatever the Holy Spirit told them to say.
What I learned in India, is that true freedom is found by having a relationship with Jesus and living boldly for him no matter the cost. The church I helped and ministered at has had numerous threats from many who wished to do the pastors and congregation harm; however as Jesus has promised, He has and will continue to build His church.
In a world that is increasingly getting darker with wars and rumors of wars, moral decline and selfishness and hate seeming to be on the rise, there still is a beautiful and brilliant light that is rapidly growing. We the followers of Jesus Christ are the light of the world, the salt of the earth and through abiding in Jesus are we empowered to share and spread His love to the ends of the Earth.