Summary: The following article is meant to give you some practical suggestions in sharing Christ with Hindus. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (II Corinthians 9:6)
Hinduism is the major religion of India and Nepal. The diaspora of Hinduism means great populations of Hindus are found in almost every part of the world. With one out of every seven people of the world being Hindu there are numerous occasions to share Christ with Hindus. The need for Hindus to hear Christ in the right way is great. The following article is meant to give you some practical suggestions in sharing Christ with Hindus. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (II Corinthians 9:6)
I) We Must First Listen
When we share Christ with a Hindu we are eager to tell them the message that will save them. It is the most important message for them to hear that Christ is their God. He loved them. He died for them. It makes sense that we want to share this with them right away.
Think of the Hindu that you are sharing with as a cup of water and think of your gospel message as water that you want to pour into that cup. You want to share your message. But the cup of your Hindu friend is already full. He has his ideas, his philosophy, his religious ideals and convictions. What happens when you pour water into a glass that is already full. When you pour water into a full glass it runs out. Because the Hindu cup is full your message will overflow like water poured into a full glass and will not fill the cup.
If that same glass is half empty you can pour in significant amounts of water into that glass. Think of genuine listening to your Hindu friend as allowing your friend to pour out from their full glass into your glass. If they sense you genuinely are making an effort to understand and appreciate their ideas you have now prepared them to hear what you have told them about Christ.
Chandra was an evangelist among Hindu who would first listen to the Hindu point of view and appreciate what is good before sharing Christ. Hindus loved Chandra because he used examples from Hindu writings. He would highlight the Hindu principles and in suitable ways compare them to Christ. He was always referring to the life of Christ when he interacted with Hindus. When they invited Chandra to speak at Hindu gatherings he would tell about the Hindu saints and compare them to the life of Christ.
Chandra’s daughter shared how Chandra applied this principle of letting the Hindu first pour out when she heard him preach at a Hindu meeting when he addressed a group of Hindu scholars. She observed that Chandra lectured forty minutes but never even mentioned Christ. However, she found that in the last twenty minutes he spoke in such a wonderful manner that he proved Jesus Christ to be the only person having the ability to save sinners. The majority of the Hindus listening accepted his views.
We will always find Hindu more open to our message when we genuinely seek to understand what is there position. We will find a listening ear and open heart when we seek to understand the perspective of our Hindu friend.
II) Appreciate what is good in Hinduism
What goes hand in hand with listening to your Hindu friend in creating openness to Christ is to appreciate what is genuinely good in Hinduism. One of the factors to closing the Hindu heart from hearing the gospel has been the practice of evangelists in pointing out and emphasizing the negatives in Hinduism. So many times the Hindus are on the defensive when the evangilst focuses on the “evil of idolatry” or the “darkness of Hinduism.” Instead of opening the heart of the Hindu this negative approach brings about defensiveness.
From the vantage point outside of Hinduism we may see Ganesh, the elephant headed god and see an offensive form. It may be our tendency to right away criticize our friend for participating in the Ganesh festival, which centers on the Ganesh figure. Criticizing our Hindu friend for taking part in the “festival of evil” is more likely to bring them to a position of defensiveness.
How can you find something good in such an idolatrous festival? How will you be able to appreciate the good and bring an opportunity to witness of Christ? In many homes the story of Ganesh is told (there are many versions of the Ganesh story) in a way that emphasizes family values. In some stories the boy Ganesh had his head severed (and replaced with an elephant head) as a result of obeying the instructions of his mother. Many teach this as a story to affirm the need for children to obey their parents.
Now we have found something that we can appreciate. The teaching that children obey their parents is a value that we can appreciate. We can sincerely complement the quality of family values and children that are taught to obey their parents found in the vast majority of Hindu homes. One our Hindu friend has sensed that we are able to appreciate what is good in Hinduism they become more open to Christ.