Many people in India dismiss the caste system as being yesterday’s news. It’s a long-forgotten concept, irrelevant in today’s world, they claim. But caste and class divisions are still endemic among different segments of our communities.
There is an invisible line, separating the “upper” from the “lower” – a line that we, as believers, need to destroy with our actions and not just our words.
The caste system is an issue that is paralyzing India’s progress. It even plays out silently in our churches, especially when it comes to marriage and business partnerships. This is affecting our witness as believers. The world is watching us – how do we treat someone who is “different”?
I saw this unfortunate division played out just a few months ago at a party I was attending with my wife. One of the women at the event was from a supposed “higher” caste. She was clearly uncomfortable being served her meal by caterers who were of a “lower” caste. Her hesitation was nurtured by the idea that her food would somehow get “polluted.”
That incident caused me to wonder how Jesus would involve himself in the caste/class divide in India, if he walked among us today. Surely, He wouldn’t remain on the sidelines. He is a God of justice and righteousness. He is a God who turns the world’s order upside down, in order to set things right.