Aaron and Nancy Palmatier, Missions Door
“Will Jesus be mad at me if I worship the Hindu gods?” I was asked this question several times from the students on my recent visit to Kolkata, India. They explained, “I want to be a Christian and worship Jesus but my parents make me worship the Hindu gods at home. Will God still accept me?” These are questions that most of us never have had to answer but in Asia they are real issues that demand answers. If they refuse to honor their parents by worshiping the Hindu gods, they will be thrown out on the street and lose everything. They will have no place to live, no money, no job, and no food. Eventually they may die of malnutrition as many do in this country. If they do worship the Hindu gods, they are committing idolatry.
At the end of the day I began to think about idols. We have many idols in this country but I don’t hear many people in conflict about them. Perhaps we have so bought into the American Dream that we no longer question the idols that come with it. We love our homes, savings accounts, and cars. We also love our sports, tv shows, and recreation. Most of all I think we worship security. None of us really want to be in a position where we HAVE TO rely on God for our next meal. There is nothing wrong with working hard and planning well but when our security becomes our top priority we are no longer relying on God and security becomes our idol.
I explained to the students that the idols are nothing more than stone and wood and have no spiritual value other than what is given to it by the worshiper. God sees their heart and knows that the idols are not being worshipped from the heart. I explained that they can honor their parents and offer food to the idols but in their heart they can worship Jesus. The act of putting bread in front of a piece of wood is not sin if no worship takes place. I believe the reverse is also true, going to church is not honoring to the one true God if you are going out of habit or social reasons if no worship takes place.
As I sat down to write this letter I had no intention of it going in this direction. I can only assume that as I wrote I yielded to the Holy Spirit’s plan. In my next letter I will include pictures and stories from the amazing Amazon jungle in Peru.
The photo below is a typical home for a family of 6. It is a 7 by 7 cement room with no windows.