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Outcast Meets the God of Justice

Bible scholar Christopher Wright tells a moving story about a friend from India who was led to Christ by reading the Old Testament. At the time he taught engineering at the local university. But he had grown up among the despised Dalit (outcast) community in his village, and his whole family had suffered greatly at the hands of the high-caste Hindus in the village—all kinds of harassment, violence and injustice. He had a great thirst for revenge against his oppressors, and so he worked very hard at school, to get to university, so that he could get a job with some influence and power, and then turn the tables on his enemies.

The day he arrived at the university, he found a Bible translated into Telugu (his state language) in his room. He had never read the Bible, though he knew that it was the Christians' holy book. He opened it at random and started reading the story of Naboth and Ahab in 1 Kings 21. It's the story of the unjust King Ahab who uses his power to steal the land from Naboth, an ordinary farmer. The story had so many familiar elements. "This was my story," he said. His family had also experienced theft of land, false accusations, murders, the brutality of the powerful against the ordinary people.

But then he read on and was amazed to read about another man called Elijah, who, in the name of some God of the Bible, denounced King Ahab, and said that he would be judged and punished by this God. This was astounding, my friend said. My friend had millions of gods within Hinduism to choose from. But he had never heard of such a god as he was reading about in this Bible. Here was a god who took the side of the suffering ones and condemned the government and the powerful for their wicked deeds. "I never knew such a god existed" were his exact words to me, which I have never forgotten.

As this man continued to read the Bible, he learned about Jesus, his life and death and resurrection. He also learned about the need to forgive. But his road to conversion started by meeting the God who is just and who takes the side of the oppressed.

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