Readers are unpredictable. In the middle of our lesson yesterday, Alex asked, without introduction, “Steve, do you believe in reincarnation?”
I was stunned. We had been talking about the temptation of Jesus, and I tried to think of how his question related to our lesson. It didn’t. I stumbled in getting out the words, “No, I do not believe in reincarnation.” I decided to go with the abrupt change in topic and asked him, “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
His answer? “Yes.”
He then proceeded to say that he believes in Spiritism and gave me a brief explanation of his religion. Alex mentioned, for example, that if a person is born with some impairment or is subject to some tragedy in life, he is paying for his sins in a previous life. If a rich man in this life is selfish and does not share his good fortune with others or treats others badly, in the next life he will be poor and will suffer many losses. In each life, you evolve and your goal is to be more and more like God.
They use the same Bible and will read from it at their gatherings (not called worship services). They meet regularly at centers. He said the room is not that much different from our buildings but they don’t have music and preaching.
I left that session overwhelmed. Here is a young man who is very goal-oriented, intelligent, and a delight to be around. Yet his religion is so different from mine! I had a hard time connecting him with his approach to life. I try to respect everyone’s philosophy of life; I have to admit that this conversation broadened my knowledge of how different other people’s spiritual outlooks can be.
However, I plan to go to our next session tomorrow with faith that God can work in his life to see the truth. I want him to understand that Jesus is the Son of God, that heaven and hell are real, and that Jesus wants us to follow him. I believe that God can work through me–and others–to help this young man know Jesus Christ.
We will continue to read stories from Luke and make applications to our lives. I hope he will see me as an illustration of how the Scriptures can change us to be more like Jesus every day—for this life and life eternal.