AM I A BEACON OR BETRAYER?
M. J. Jacob
I am prompted to write this article after reading the letter from Srinath, Chennai, to the Editor in the March 2011 issue of Light of Life. It is with mixed feelings that I read the letter, a feeling of sadness over the low estate of our Christian lives and of guilt that we Christians are still not able to make an impact on the non-Christian world around.
We have become betrayers, instead of becoming beacons. I thank Srinath for expressing his frank impressions about us Christians. We do admit that we have failed to heed the call of our Master to follow Him and to shine as light in this dark world. We have named the name of Christ, but have not been leading true Christian lives. We have become as mere sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. Instead of attracting others to Christ, we are driving them away from Christ. We have to bemoan ourselves for betraying our Master.
Mahatma Gandhi had this problem with Christians; he was looking around to find a practising Christian, but he was disappointed. Malcolm Muggeridge faced the same problem. Though he was attached to Christ, it was the lifeless life of Christians that made him to grope in darkness for many years. He spent many wasted years before he came to a personal relationship with Jesus. It was Mother Teresa and an Italian Priest whom God used to bring him up as one of the electrifying personalities in Christendom. Malcolm confessed to Mother Teresa that it was the Christ-less lives of Christians that was blocking him on the way to becoming a Christian. Mother Teresa took pains to advise and counsel him. She advised him not to take it as a problem, but to take on to Christ and not to look on the so called Christian community.
Follow The Master
Dr. Radhakrishanan is known and honoured, not only as the President of India, but also as one of the eminent personalities of our nation. He was also a great statesman, philosopher and educationist. In the February 2011 issue of the Health Guild magazine, Mr. Joseph Mani has quoted an incident from Dr. Radhakrishanan’s life. Long before he became the President of India, he was a teacher. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford. He was a golden chain connecting the eastern and western philosophies. He had a colleague at Oxford, a professor of English, who was very intimate with him. Later, the professor left the job and became a missionary. He went around the globe preaching Christ. When he reached India, he knew that his old friend was the President of India and was in Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He decided to visit his friend and got permission easily. Both of them were very happy to see each other, after a long period. The meeting was held behind closed doors. Before the meeting was over, the missionary asked the President casually, "What shall I do to win India for Christ?" Dr. Radhakrishanan smiled and after a pause replied, "You follow the Master." Just after a meaningful silence, the friends parted. Later, this incident was revealed by the missionary himself to his friends. Of course, that is what Jesus has to say even now to each one of us, "Follow Me." Dr. Radhakrishanan’s advice was quite simple and clear. If we follow the Master, in words and deeds, we too can win others for Christ. Thus we can win India for Christ.
Passion For Transformation
We have to weep and cry as we have become betrayers of Christ, instead of becoming beacons. It is time there should be reformation among us Christians, as Srinath says. But the reformation should start with us. We should have a passion to be transformed and to lead Christ-like lives. Shall we enter and join the Lord’s Supper in the realms of thought along with His twelve disciples? "When the evening had come, He sat down with the twelve and they did eat, He said, ‘Verily I say unto you that one of you shall betray Me.’ And they were exceeding sorrowful and began every one of them to say unto Him, ‘Lord, is it I?’" (Matt.26:20-22).
Shall we cry unto the Lord, "Lord, is it I who is driving away non-Christians away from You? Is it I who disappointed Srinath who was looking for Christ in the lives of Christians?" Let us search our hearts and ask Him to transform us into Christ-likeness. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven" (Matt.5:16).
Lord, obediently we go,
Gladly leaving all belong
Only Thou our Leader be,
And we still will follow Thee.
- John Cennicc