As I write this, our church gym is filled to overflowing with people from the Montgomery area to celebrate “Night In India.”
We were blessed to partner with local Indian groups to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
Throughout the night, we learned about the history, languages, and culture of India through a presentation, live music, and dances. Of course, the night was capped off with delicious Indian food and the opportunity to explore Indian culture through games and Henna art. It was an honor to be part of something bigger than myself, and it would not have been possible without such an incredible team.
Last year at this time, I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely familiar with Gandhi’s teachings. As with many important historical figures, Gandhi not surprisingly has many quotes attributed to him, accurately or not. One such quote I’ve heard batted around in Christian circles goes like this: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Whether he said this or not, I can totally relate to it. More than likely, you’ve encountered someone who claimed to be a Christian who may have treated you in a very “un-Jesusly manner.” For that, I deeply apologize.
Living and loving like Jesus did is far from an easy task. Even at our best, we make mistakes, we can be intolerant, ignorant, or just set in our ways.
The good news is that Jesus taught a message of forgiveness. Christianity is all about forgiveness. Anyone who trusts in Christ understands the significance of forgiveness because we know that without His forgiveness, we are hopeless.
Jesus also taught that as we have been forgiven of our sins, we should forgive others (Luke 11:4). Yet we know that forgiveness is hard to do. In fact, Gandhi spoke to this in saying, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Whether or not you consider yourself a Christian, I urge you to pursue forgiveness. Be the stronger person, and most importantly, I urge you to pursue the forgiveness that comes from Jesus alone.
Christians, just like any other person, will likely let you down, so please allow us some grace and forgive us. If Christians have turned you away from the teachings of Christ, I’m sorry, but please don’t allow their bad example to prevent you from following His perfect example.
Now that Night in India is in the rearview mirror, consider yourself personally invited to Night in Bethlehem on December 8 where we’ll transform our gym into first-century Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. ■
Kevin Ozolins is associate pastor of youth and outreach at Montgomery Evangelical Free Church. Born and raised in central New Jersey, Kevin Ozolins earned his bachelor’s degree in Bible at Baptist Bible College (now Clarks Summit University), near Scranton, PA and has been serving in E-Free churches since 2009. Kevin met his wife, Sarah, when they were working as counselors at Camp Orchard Hill in Dallas, PA. They married in 2010.