Words That Relate

One truly communicates when one’s message is understood by one’s listeners.

The apostle Paul wrote, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor 9:22b ESV)

To “become all things to all people”, we need to understand the people we are communicating with and speak in a language that they understand.

In a country like Thailand, people who have never heard about Jesus find it hard to understand the Christian message. Meaning of words like “gospel”, “salvation” and “eternal life” are hard for them to grasp.

A senior missionary whom I met recently shared how he often related the gospel to Thai people by asking questions to engage a listener. He would often ask if a Thai Buddhist could keep all five precepts of Buddhism.

Most of them would say that no one can keep the precepts and that it is impossible. If one cannot keep the precepts, one would have to go to Buddhist hell and suffer from bad karma (See footnote) when reincarnated after death.  This then is the opening to make a connection to the gospel.

“You are right in your understanding that if you cannot keep the law, you have to be punished. God has given His precepts for His people to keep, but we can’t keep them all. We deserve to be punished. But God in His grace gave us a way to escape the punishment through Jesus. He came and did many good things, but people hated Him because He did that and they crucified him. When He was crucified, He took our punishment upon Himself and when we believe in Him, He gives us a new destiny which is free from the punishment that we deserve.”

How do you feel about this response? Do you think a Thai Buddhist will be able to relate better to who Jesus is?

How will the people around you be able to relate to Jesus and what He has done for us? Can you think about how you can share the good news of Jesus with them so that they will listen and understand?

Karma is a theological concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. It is the idea that how you live your life will determine the quality of life you will have after reincarnation. … In other words, you reap in the next life what you sow in this one. Karma is based on the theological belief in reincarnation. The Bible rejects the idea of reincarnation.  https://www.gotquestions.org/karma.html

Cherlyn Oh