Surely, you know about the shooting at the Sikh (pronounced “seek”) temple in Wisconsin.
In all the articles I read, writers attempted to describe a people and a faith that are relatively unfamiliar to many Americans.
The Sikh men are known for wearing turbans and not cutting their beards (or their hair.) That’s an obvious one.
But everyone used adjectives like:
In an effort to sum up an entire religion, those are the words that people use. Those values are what Sikhs are known for embodying.
It makes me wonder…
…what are we as Christians known for? If pressed for an adjective for Christians, what would be the first one that would come to peoples’ minds?
What They Said Is True
First of all, when I read the articles and all the ways that Sikhs were described, peaceful, accepting, loving, I knew that it was the truth. I became acquainted with Sikhism as a fourth grader when a strange new kid with a funny foreign name showed up to school with a turban on his head.
And then he showed up at our cub scout meeting.
And then we went to camp together, shared a tent together many times. I had him over to my house for sleepovers. We spent all of high school together. He is one of the most brilliant people I have ever known. He and his family accepted me and my Christian family.
And I watched as he dealt gracefully with insensitive questions from kids about what he was wearing on his head. He dealt with being a cultural, racial, and religious minority. The Sikhs are minorities in their native India, but coming to America, they are minorities of minorities. The Sikh people are also collateral damage of our suspicion of Muslims in our post-9/11 culture.
Every word that has been used to describe the Sikh people in the last couple of weeks has been absolutely true.
What’s the Word I’m Looking For?
It saddens me because Jesus said that his followers would be known by the fruit they bear.
And I wonder what kind of fruit we are bearing.
There are a lot of words that people use to describe Christians. I’m not sure if accepting is one of them. Or loving. Or peaceful.
Half of us are on a crusade to show the world that not all Christians are like that. We’re not all hateful, judgmental, or whatever the word is.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Christians could be painted with broad brushes, like Sikhs? Wouldn’t it be nice if people equated Christians with the fruits that Jesus said we should be bearing? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if every non-Christian had a positive experience with a Christian, so when positive things were said about Christians, they would know it’s true?
What Kind of Fruit Is This?
You can say all you want about how the Sikhs are wrong because their worldview isn’t biblical.
But Jesus said that his followers would be known by the fruit they bear (Matt 7;16.)
And Paul said that where people don’t know the truth, they are judged by the law on their hearts (Romans 2:15).
And that tells me that there are some Sikhs bearing a hell of a lot more fruit than Christians.
And they are known for it. The Sikhs are recognized for the fruit they are bearing. Even being an extreme minority, easily mixed up with Muslims, people recognize Sikhs for embodying these virtues and bearing these fruits.
How do people recognize us?
Have you known any Sikhs (or Hindus or Buddhists, or take your pick)? What words do you think come to mind first to non-Christians when they are describing us?