Mahatma Gandhi was a major leader and a non-violent civil rights activist in India’s independence movement in the 1930’s. He sought out a non-violent change against the oppressing British government. Gandhi was a strong presence in a racially difficult time for Indians.
Though Gandhi was a devote Hindu; his peaceful beliefs mirrored some of the teachings of Jesus. It is quoted that this prompted E. Stanley Jones, a Christian missionary, to reach out to Gandhi and ask 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 your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ. “
There was never any evidence that Gandhi truly believed the words of Jesus, but it is interesting to see his life pondering Jesus’ words and showing the world peace and love. Gandhi accepted his own fabrication of who Jesus was. He seen Jesus as a great prophet that taught wise sayings and showed love to those around him. The part that Gandhi missed was that Jesus’ words had life in them and it was Jesus that did the work necessary for salvation.
Like the missionary asked; the question at hand is, “Why did Gandhi so adamantly reject becoming Jesus’ follower?” Did he truly not fully accept the words of Christ? Did he reject Jesus because of the Christian’s witness that he had experienced? Did Christians not show love to him or his people? Was unnecessary pain brought upon him because of a Christian’s negligence?
On this earth, we will never know, but we do know that each one is responsible for their own choices in life. We can blame others and use them as our excuse, but ultimately, the decision and consequences fall on each individual.
There is a chance that Gandhi was interested in the words of Jesus and several, so called, Christians came along with a poor witness and turned him off to the words of Jesus. It’s possible!
It’s even possible that your poor witness has turned someone away from Christ or caused others harm.
Genesis chapter twenty should not even be in the bible. This chapter is a repeat of chapter twelve, where out of fear, Abraham lies about Sarah being his wife. Since he lied, King Abimelech took Sarah to be his wife. Before Abimelech had relations with her, God appeared to him in a dream and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.” (Gen 20:3).
Unnecessary trouble was headed Abimelech’s way because of Abraham’s poor witness. Since Abimelech was obedient and quickly returned Sarah to Abraham; God didn’t destroy him and God healed them of their inability to bear children (vs. 17). It did cost him financially because he paid Abraham 1000 pieces of silver and gave him some land, sheep, oxen and servants (vss. 14-16). This encounter might have either turned King Abimelech away from knowing God or it strengthened his belief in God. We don’t know, but it did cause harm and a financial loss to him because of Abrahams poor witness.
The Bible shows all of the saints of the past without filters. Sometimes they did great things that helped people and sometimes they did dumb things that hurt others. These things are clearly shown for our example (1 Cor 10:11).
Make sure your life is not represented as Gandhi unfortunately seen Christians, “You Christians are so unlike your Christ.” If you are claiming to be a Christian, do not have a poor witness that turns someone away from Christ or causes unnecessary pain to others.
When people see your life; let them see Jesus through you.
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Cor 11:1