I, Gershom Chelliah, was a non-believer for more than a decade, when I was young and immature. I used to ask a question to my father, Thiru. K. Chelliah, an impeccable example of honesty, why he had converted to Christianity. The answer I got then was unsatisfactory as I wanted it to be. But when the day of the Lord came into my life, all my doubts were cleared and I realized why I should be a disciple of Christ. On that September night of sadness in 1978, I lost everything, except that Holy Book of King James Version, gifted to me by my father in my teenage. The book that I hated to the core then, became the one and only source of wisdom and solution for my problems.
This Holy Bible teaches me that there is only ONE TRUE GOD, the maker of heaven and earth. He is called in many names, in many tongues, Yet He is One. This God is the God of love, as well as the God of holiness. He is impartial and He treats all of us equally. This is because we are His children, though we differ in our colours, creeds, cultures etc. This God of love and holiness wants His children to love Him and to love one another by means of a holy and righteous life.
But man in his lack of knowledge and deletion of love, deviates from the path of God to bring forth deception, discrimination and division among his own brethren. These are all signs of decay and destruction, though man considers them as his skills of mental caliber. His greed for power and prosperity is fueled by his hatred and hypocrisy. The result is, violence from small scale to large scales. Unless this man of hatred and violence changes his mentality, he is unfit to call himself a Man. He must come out of his darkness to see the light of goodness. He needs a migration, a mighty relocation, from the realm of hatred into the kingdom of love.
How is this possible? Can a man change himself from sinning to sanity? It is impossible for a man to change himself and also impossible for him to convert others! Then, who can do this miracle? God, and God alone can do this wonder, called conversion! God in His love and compassion, gives us His grace and salvation through His Son Christ Jesus. He forgives our commissions and forgets our omissions, by His expiation on the cross of Calvary. Here, the man does nothing, except his concurrence in faith and his commitment to lead a life of love and righteousness. All these changes within a man are wrought not by man, but by the work of the Holy Spirit. A man of hatred and crookedness is changed into a man of love and righteousness. A man of selfishness is turned into a man of service and sacrifice.
How many of us wish to be changed like this? How many of us are changed like this? How many of us are converted by the power of the Holy Spirit? When we crave for this conversion of heart and soul for the betterment of self and society, we hear many ill tidings of irresponsible religious conversions purely based on numerical notions. That’s not the will of God or the way of Christ. They are nothing but, change of religion or otherwise, change of one’s cage! There is no use of showing a huge crowd of unrepentant and unredeemed souls as Christians in the Church records or the census registers.
When I was in the Arabian Gulf, a gentle man from Tamil Nadu asked me once to arrange for his Baptism. I gave him a Bible and asked him to read it to know Christ and His sacrifice. He reluctantly took the Bible, but refused to know the Truth. Later on he told me that he had gone and asked another Catholic Priest to convert him. Even this Roman Padre refused to enroll him in his church without seeing any trace of an inner change! This is the way many churches function elsewhere. An unchanged man and an unwilling man are of no use for the Kingdom of Christ!
My dear Brothers and Sisters, Let us not labour in vain in conversion of religion or counting the number of members in the congregation. The need of the hour is, we follow Christ in all walks of our lives. THAT’S THE REAL CONVERSION FROM WICKEDNESS TO HOLYNESS AND THE CONVERSION FROM HATRED TO LOVE, THE LIFE AND BREATH OF OUR SOUL!