First of all Gandhi was a great lawyer. He fought for civil rights in South Africa in the early 1900s long before Nelson Mandela hit the world stage. He reached out to all religious groups, fought for women’s rights and for easing poverty. Most importantly, he fought for civil rights through the implementation of non-violent civil disobedience. Martin Luther King, Jr. would later use these same strategies to fight for racial equality in the USA.
Gandhi was beaten and imprisoned multiple times, and his wife died while she was imprisoned. Gandhi was eventually assassinated because of the principles he stood for. He was also a deeply spiritual man.
At the end of World War II, the British agreed to give India its independence and 100,000 political prisoners were set free. This all was accomplished chiefly through Gandhi’s principles of non-violence. This history is nearly messianic in its proportions.
Compare and Contrast
Many compare Gandhi with Jesus of Nazareth. Is this comparison fair?
Jesus was a carpenter. He preached about many of the same ideals as did Gandhi. Jesus also was imprisoned for his beliefs. During his earthly life he left behind a handful of followers, and he never lived up to the Messiah image that the nation of Israel was hoping for. Jesus was put to death along with common criminals, and the Jews remained under Roman rule for nearly a century thereafter. Not much of a revolutionary compared to Mahatma.
What do these two men say about us, and what is their lasting legacy?
The answer can be found in their identities. Gandhi was an amazing historical figure and world leader. Jesus is the Savior.
For all of Gandhi’s great example and spirituality, he can not save you. He can not heal you or free you, but Jesus Christ can. Jesus is the Son of God, and this transcends his identity as a historical figure.
Following the declaration of India’s independence, the nation was partitioned and Pakistan was created. In the power struggle nearly half-a-million people were killed. Once again, the lust for power transformed a righteous cause into an abomination. Sadly, we see this in the history of Christianity as well. Today, corruption in India has ironically been challenged by some of the same means that Gandhi used in his day.
True Freedom, True Identity
Most likely everyone reading this blog lives in a politically free nation. But do you feel free? Are you free from the bondage of thinking that your conduct decides how God sees you? Are you free from your past? Have you been made well?
Jesus does not promise to support a cause or a political revolution. Instead, he promises the liberation of your soul. He has saved multitudes of souls forever. Only he is capable of entering the human heart to bring true healing. No other human, before or since, can accomplish this.
It is about a personal relationship with the one that saves your soul and gives you freedom in his Spirit. Here we meet the true Messiah.
Gandhi would say, “My life is my message.” And it was a powerful message indeed.
Jesus said, “This is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant; it will be shed for you and for all, for the forgiveness of sins.”
This is the salvation that is the love of God. Accept it and your identity becomes indestructible: you are a child of God.