So I grew up in a Hindu family. And we had a shrine in our house with images of the different gods and goddesses that we prayed to regularly, asking them to bless us. And we would strive to live a good life and do good to others, so that the gods would bless us even more.
And I first heard the Christian message when I made friends with some Christians at university. There was something about their lives that was just distinctive, and I was intrigued. They encouraged me and another, Buddhist, friend of mine to investigate Jesus for ourselves.
And we both reluctantly agreed to go to a Christianity Explored course. And it meant going along to a house of a guy called Ed. We’d have a meal together, and then look at the Bible together. And it felt just a bit - when I first heard it, it felt a bit strange and awkward, which is part of the reluctance. We didn’t really want to go. And in fact, I missed the first couple of sessions altogether, and when I finally made it, I turned up late. But once I was there, I was hooked. I knew I needed to find out more.
I remember getting pretty heated at one particular event when I discovered that the Bible says that only those who trust in Jesus are made right with God and get to heaven. I remember I was outraged that Gandhi would go to hell if he didn’t believe in Jesus. In spite of all the good stuff that he had done, and all the influence that he he’d had. I left the Bible study that night feeling angry and disappointed. It just didn’t seem fair.
But what I hadn’t understood was grace. The idea that someone is saved completely and utterly by Jesus; by faith in Jesus alone. Christianity is about what’s been done, not what you have to do.
By this point I knew that what I was hearing about Jesus was true. But I was a Hindu. I knew that as Hinduism was so much a part of my family and my identity, changing faiths would be a big deal. Not just for me, but for my family too.
And so eventually I told my friend Ed that I wanted to become a Christian. And soon after that I told my family one evening whilst I was visiting home. And they didn’t take it particularly well. My parents were - understandably - disappointed and upset. And I guess they felt as though I’d thrown my whole identity and my upbringing - everything - back in their face.
And amazingly we’re on far better terms now than we were, actually, before I’d become a Christian.
Was becoming a Christian worth it? Absolutely. My identity is with Jesus. And now I’ve got this life, and assurance of eternal life, with Jesus forever. I can’t think of anything better than to love and to serve him in response to what he’s done for me.