I am grateful and encouraged when I see the massive activism for women’s rights and an end to violence that is going on in India right now as a response to the horrible rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi. Having relatives from India and several Indian friends, I feel solidarity with the people and share their distress and there demand for change. However, as a follower of the non-violent Christ who taught us to love our enemies and forgive our transgressors, I feel pain when I see the demands for vengeance, punishment and execution that are frequent in the protests.
When Jesus hang upon the cross, He prayed “Father, forgive them” (Luke 22:34). This does not defend the sins of the murderers, but it brings them love and healing instead of hate and destruction. Something is severely broken in them that Jesus came to restore. He didn’t go to the holy and healthy but to the sinful and sick (Matthew 9:12). And when His Holy Spirit performs miracles among us, even the worst sinner can be completely transformed.
Christopher Alam is an international revivalist born in Pakistan who preach the gospel at big campaigns in Africa and Asia, where he has seen astonishing miracles. He shares in his great book All Things Are Possible how the Holy Spirit changed the heart of a murderer in the late 1980’s, at a campaign meeting in the Indian state of Odisha. Christopher was praying for the sick and the blind saw, the deaf heard and the lame walked – just like in the video above. The people that were gathered were shouting and praising the Lord for the amazing miracles He did.
Suddenly, however, they all got quiet, staring at the platform. A man had entered it with his arms raised in the air shouting “Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!” He took the microphone from Christopher’s interpreter and shouted “Yesu Mashi ki Jai!!” – meaning “Jesus is victorious” – over and over again. Then people started to shout and praise even wilder than before. Something really extraordinary had happened.
Christopher was very confused but later on he got to know what had happened. This man was a high leader in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu extremist group. He had been responsible for persecution against Christians and burning of churches. He was lame in his legs from birth, but was so infamous for his cruelty that when Christian women saw him coming on his robust crutches together with his RSS cronies, they fled into the jungle.
This night he had heard that a Christian festival was taking place, so he took a RSS team to the campaign meeting to end the meeting through death and destruction. However, when Christopher Alam prayed for the sick from the platform, this man started to shake violently. While his friends couldn’t believe their eyes, he dropped his crutches and could stand on his own for the first time in his life. He then realized that Jesus was the true God, and he didn’t hesitate to enter the platform to share this important fact.
In other words, the Holy Spirit managed to stop a violent man not through capital punishment but through healing and restoration. That’s a much more effective and much less bloody way to solve the problem than through hanging people. As the Indian society is screaming for change, the Indian church has a very important mission in promoting peace, security and women’s rights through the power of the Holy Spirit. God bless them in that. And God bless the Indian people.