Before I get into my question(s), I just wanted to introduce myself and share a bit of my story as I hope it helps you understand where this question has come from. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I was born in India but my family moved to the States when I was very young. I come from a hindu family where everyone still practices except my sister who doesn’t subscribe to any kind of spiritual belief. Growing up my parents did all they could to raise my sister and I Hindu and to keep us differentiated from American culture (didn’t work too well).
I grew up never feeling Indian enough for my family. On multiple occasions my relatives would say the only redeeming quality about me is that I “speak the language of our people”. When I became a Christian, I found much of my relational and community needs met by the family of Jesus and in turn I began to discard much of my Indian heritage, because at that time it only brought me disappointment, longing and hurt. I’ve been struggling for years in learning how to love Jesus and where I’ve come from as God’s brought me back to pick up the remnants of my heritage.
Much of my family values aren’t biblical, they shamed me for abandoning their wishes of pursuing medicine, protested my wedding to my wife Asha, (a lover of Jesus and an African American woman, BIG NO-NOs for them) but God used their love for me to show up last minute to our Christian ceremony where the gospel was displayed in everything we did. Our relationship has gotten better but I’m sure my commitments to Jesus will still feel like burning rejections to everything they hold valuable until they meet Jesus for themselves (please pray with me).
As I’ve listened to Ravi speak, i’m moved by how much Ravi loved Jesus but also lived like a proud Indian. It was both inspiring and humbling. Encouraging and revealing. It gave me hope that I could love Jesus and my heritage but also convicted me that I felt like a traitor to my heritage. I know my upbringing is a gift but I don’t know how to live like it is.
So finally my question(s) (thanks for staying this long. It truly does mean a lot), do you have any wisdom or insight for someone looking to love Jesus and the heritage that he’s turned his back on time and time again? How can I live proud of my Indian roots and fiercely planted in the Kingdom of God? What mistakes should I avoid making?
Looking forward from hearing from you