WHEN INFLUENCE FAILS
The great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was born in 1869. He was a brilliant student who trained to be an attorney. He found a job in South Africa. Though Gandhi was a Hindu, he was fascinated by Jesus. He had read the New Testament carefully and was particularly intrigued by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Often he attended church in South Africa.
Then one night he had to take an overnight train to a distant city. He bought a first-class ticket and got settled in. A white man came into the cabin and noticed that the dark-skinned Gandhi was sitting in the first-class section. The customs of that day in South Africa did not allow that. The man reported this matter to the conductor. The conductor then called a policeman. In the middle of the night, in a remote town, Gandhi and his luggage were thrown off the train. Gandhi was humiliated. He concluded that if that kind of behavior was tolerated in a majority-Christian country, he had no further interest in Christianity.
Later Gandhi returned to India and led his people to independence from Great Britain. If Christians in South Africa had exerted a more Christian influence, Gandhi might have become a believer. Then he might have led India not only to political freedom but also to Christ.