Madurai’s wall of shame

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I find it hard to believe that such a wall exists. But it’s true. The city of Madurai is tense because police broke a portion of this wall yesterday. It is a 100-meter wall that was built 20 years ago to keep “low caste” people from entering the “upper caste” area of a village.

Caste is a very complex matter in India, a monster that clings so closely to us even 60 years after Independence. I worry for the children who are caught in the crossfire, those growing with the wrong notion that they are in some way superior, and those growing up believing that they are inferior.

My great grandfather’s father converted to Christianity from one of these very same castes that built this wall. So I am a pure-blooded one-of-these-castes person. I am in no way inherently superior to any one else—not superior to a Dalit or any other Indian or Asian or European or anyone else.

What does the Bible say about such divisions among human beings?

The Bible says that we are all sinners. Every one of us, without exception, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (How often have we in India seen people doing all kinds of penance to somehow atone for their sins! They do whatever they think will work and hope for the best.) The Bible says that after this life, will be a terrible judgment and at that time, we will see God’s holy wrath. Nothing sinful can stand in His presence. Because of this, in our sinful state, death is a fearful prospect.

Why can’t God just overlook our sin? God, because of His nature, is just. In God’s economy, sin cannot go unpunished. Like the child of an aerodynamics engineer cannot hope to completely understand all the physics behind how a heavy aeroplane can remain airborne, without falling to the ground, so too, we do not fully understand why God allowed us to sin and why He chose to go about this rather elaborate process of rescue. As little children, we learn more and more from the Bible as we study it with His help.

Coming back to the main discussion, the Bible says that this holy God is also a God of love. So He sent His Son Jesus to come as a man, live a sinless life and die on the cross. The Bible says that Jesus took, upon Himself, the punishment of the sins of all those who will come to Him to be saved. He became the propitiation for our sins. The Indian word for propitiation is Praayashchith. We Indians are familiar with this concept of appeasing divine wrath. Jesus atoned for sin in a way that satisfied divine requirements. So this Jesus became the Way of hope for you and me.

If you come to Him in faith, He will cleanse you of your sin and cover you with His righteousness. You can then approach God because it is as if you will have a clean white robe covering you. Not only does He cover you on the outside, He also changes you into a better and better person with every passing day. When you die, He will complete the process and make you perfect and glorified and ready for heaven.

Heaven will be a place with such glorified people from every tongue and tribe and nation. Heaven will have Brahmins, Pillais, Nadars, Thevars, Dalits, Syrian Christian Malayalees, Nairs, and people from all castes and communities in India and from every nation under the sun–all those who have had their sins washed by Jesus’ blood. What a glorious place that will be.

For You (Jesus) were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation Rev 5:9

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28

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One response »

  1. Talking about divisions,what about divisions within the Church?There are many “Catholics” and “Protestants” and those belonging to various Christian sects mostly fanatical(in my opinion) who think that the “others” are doomed and themselves alone are “saved”.

    …”They divided my clothes among themselves and gambled for my robe…”(John 19:24)

    Jesus, the soldiers who crucified you only gambled for your clothes.But there are many Christians who claim that they are the only ones who love you truly and everyone elses love is false.Are they not gambling for your Body?
    During the Final Judgement, Jesus is going to say to the righteous “Now enter into the home of
    my Father.I was hungry and you fed me…”
    The righteous will then answer Him,”When Lord did we ever see you hungry…”The King will
    reply”WHENEVER YOU DID IT TO THE LEAST OF MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS,YOU DID IT TO ME.”
    So the righteous will not stand before Jesus with an account of their righteousness,ready to ‘show’to the Lord.When Jesus calls them,they will not go running thinking “I knew that God will call me. After all that I’ve done, I deserve this” The righteous will wonder and ask, “When Lord did we ever see you hungry…” What a classic example of one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing.

    Jesus is not going to ask whether we were good Catholics,Protestants,Jews,Vanniyars,Americans…
    He is going to give us an account of how we had treated our fellow human beings specially those who lived in the shadows away from the limelight.

    The wall in Madurai was built with bricks and motor.What about the walls we build in our minds about “others”?

    Most people measure another according to his or her looks,money,status,success…I know many Christians who flaunt these attributes as God’s rewards for their faithfulness and who think that their brothers and sisters in the shadows are there because they have gained God’s displeasure.
    How infinitely superior is Jesus’yardstick.We clearly know whose side Jesus is going to take on that day.

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