God of Equity
I sit in a small, hot room in a slum in India awaiting the electricity to come back on after a brief intermission of power. The small fans that cool us seem so insignificant until this moment. I am surrounded by beautiful children, marred with symbols of idolatry on their bodies- third eyes, bracelets, markings to ward off evil spirits. I am teaching them basic math. They are filled with excitement- a hunger and thirst for knowledge.
At this moment, I am reminded of one of my favorite attributes of the Living God- God of equity. This act of helping children with homework and teaching basic math seems so insignificant yet holds a power that is freeing and hope giving. My colleagues and I do not simply teach how, but why. In a culture where the very basics of all education, at home or within institutions is memorization and tradition, the generations of children who grow up are without critical thinking. They are left void of the privilege of reflection. They are never taught to ask why or to examine the systems of injustice and brokenness around them. They are merely taught to repeat what they’ve always seen and always accepted. Therefore, Satan, by default has complete dominion over the hearts and minds of these beautiful children created in God’s own image.
The process of teaching children not only how to do something, but why we do it a certain way helps them to learn to understand. Asking them questions to check for comprehension allows them to practice drawing conclusions. Asking them their opinions about a topic, giving them opportunity to express in their own words the importance or value of something allows them the practice of thinking and synthesizing. This is not their typical reality.
Telling Bible stories and following up with questions like “why is this story important for us to know?” “What is Jesus saying to you? What conclusions can you draw about your relationship with God because of this story?” all prepares them to be able to answer the call of the God who says “come let us reason together”.
Robbing them of their God-given capacity to think critically, ask questions, and develop conclusions that could change the entire trajectory of their lives as individuals and bring about a movement of change, Satan has created a system where these beautiful and beloved children unknowingly perpetuate his system of injustice, hate, godlessness, idolatry and futility.
To initiate within them at an early age the beauty of critical thinking we are enabling them to think constructively about everything they witness and experience. We compare the biblical narrative with that of their culture to dismount in their hearts the deceptions of Satan. While teaching the story of the good Samaritan we were able to discount the caste system. A Samaritan or under caste man, has the same ability to love and be loved as the upper caste men- priest and Levite. Goodness is in the heart of the man, regardless of his place in society. This God, the God of equity has placed love in the hearts of all who desire to be loving. This God, unlike Ganesh, does not need to be appeased with adornments of flowers that can only be purchased by those who can afford to do so. This God is accessible to and within all.
Who receives help is not determined by a predetermined system, but rather by a decision of mercy by those who are around him. This idea breaks the caste system down to its basic level. This Satanic system which suggests that good comes to all who are good (karma) and likewise bad comes to those who are by nature bad leaves them thinking there is no need for intervention because it is the act of the gods to bring justice and if the gods allowed something to happen it is by nature just.
The biblical narrative clearly dismounts this idea. Isaiah 61 tells a story of a loving God who calls His people to be proclaimers of good news that brings about restoration and healing for a nation. What if these children are a new generation of those called to proclaim good news to the poor? What if they represent the new nation of India where the Satanic narrative of the caste system is replaced with the love filled gospel of Jesus Christ? What could God do with a generation of people who hunger for truth? Within these small and precious faces lives a great movement of The Lord that makes the darkness tremble- a revival on the horizon, a hope appearing out in the distance.
This is not merely about preparing children for advanced education by which they may achieve some aspect of greatness in the world, but rather the preparing of a generation to be truth seekers and for the Truth to set them free. We empower these children to bow before our King. It is our hope that these children who come to school and tutoring (tuition) daily wearing the symbols of idolatry on their precious bodies will within them hold a beautiful seed of righteousness that will burst forth into the fruits of His justice.
Because they were born into a caste, a home, a land their destiny is sealed- this is Satan’s plot. But by the eternal mercies of God, He has begun a great redemptive work in the lives of these children, undoing all Satan has over generations done. He is empowering the oppressed, opening the eyes of the blind, freeing the captive, making strong the spiritually lame, etc. His work is being done. And just like that, in a hopeless and destitute place, a horn or hope is raised. Praise be to God!
-Long Term Volunteer