Interviewer: Today we are in conversation with Naga Roger. He’s been a follower of Jesus Christ for 11 years. Describe your spiritual journey before you met Jesus.
Naga: I grew up in a middle-class Hindu family. As a teenager, I wondered about God, the purpose of life, why we were here, what would happen to us after our life is over here on earth and things like that. I never really pursued those questions, never really discussed with any of the family members or any of my close friends. It just wasn’t a priority. I just came up with my own answers and was convinced. Somehow I always believed that we did not evolve from monkeys. I believe there was a God. We were too good to have come from monkeys or chimpanzees. I believed somehow we all came from the same family like if you go back in time a few thousand years, we should have come from one family. I also thought God was definitely there but we have to be careful with God because I’ve never seen people happy for a long time. Whoever was happy would wait and their turn would come after some days and they would be sad. This was the same in my case or any of the family members or my friends so I thought God was a sadist, to put trouble in somebody’s life so that they will depend on him and just come back to him. I thought we have to be on good terms with God and so I did everything that my family expected, you know going to pilgrimages and offering our sacrifices, going to temples without any love in my heart but just out of fear and to be on good terms with God.
Interviewer: What were you looking for, searching for?
Naga: I grew up in a pretty average middle-class family where the main goal was to get richer, have a little more money than we had at that point so my primary motive was only to make money quicker and help my family come out of debts sooner. So I was just looking for riches, I was looking at getting into a good career which pays me well and earn money and send back home and make my family debt-free and me also, and for me to have good financial security. As far as spirituality is concerned, I was pretty content with whatever conclusions or answers I came up with for all the questions that I had and I didn’t think I really needed any more answers. I thought people were the same, wherever they are they struggle with very similar problems and religion was basically man-made. But I believe in that one God but just be careful with God.
Interviewer: What was your first impressions about Christians and Jesus?
Naga: About Christianity itself, it was mostly negative unfortunately. I went to a Catholic school all my life and grew up with a knowledge of Jesus, a little bit about Christianity but it was mostly negative. I was wondering why they were so aggressive in trying to preach their message and why they’re interested in converting people from other religions. And seeing false conversions and knowing of people who just converted for the sake of money and getting benefits from church, stinking money was pumped into the country from Western countries just to convert people. Also within my school there was preferential treatment for the students from Christian background. Although I know many of my friends from Hindu background or Muslim background who are poorer than the Christians, the Christians received more benefits. Most of the stuff was free for them compared to others. So that created a little bit of hatred towards the religion of Christianity itself but as far as Jesus is concerned, I don’t think he made any difference to me. He was just another god to me, just like so many of the other gods in India so that’s about it.
Interviewer: How were you introduced to Jesus personally?
Nada: I was introduced to Jesus at a very young age in my school days. Christmas was celebrated in our school and every Christmas they used to play Jesus movies on TV so I knew about Jesus and that he was crucified. On why he was crucified, I had no idea. I never even bothered to find out why he was crucified. He was just another god, he was comfortably placed alongside every other god that I knew. It wasn’t until I came to America for my Master’s where I met a classmate of mine and it was through that person that I was introduced to the real Jesus. That person came from a Hindu Brahmin background and then professed that Jesus was his Savior. That’s where I was actually introduced to Jesus.
Interviewer: What and how were you interested in knowing more about Jesus?
Nada: After learning about my friend’s path to Christ, a couple of things were running in my mind. One thing was I really appreciated my friend’s desire to follow Christ in spite of all the resistance and trouble that the person had to go through just for the sake of the truth. I don’t know whether that was true or not but for the person it was the truth. My friend was doing it all for the sake of the truth, ready to undergo any trouble or persecution from the family and face anything. I learned that my friend’s family did not receive this whole thing very well and they were going through a tough time accepting my friend’s decision to follow Jesus and they really had a tough time coping with this. I was wondering why there was a need to go through all of this thing. I didn’t think it was a priority at that point to follow Jesus and put the parents to the trouble at that age for them.
Interviewer: What prompted you to personally follow Jesus?
Naga: After having several discussions about the Bible and arguing over many issues of life and as I was learning more about the claims of Jesus from the Bible, really one statement was crystal clear in my heart, that not all gods can be the same. If everything that Jesus said was true, then there was so much that I had to evaluate and there are so many things that cannot be going along with Jesus’ statement. I had to evaluate that. Many bits and pieces were finally fitting together and answering my questions perfectly and as I was getting a comprehensive overview of the Bible and God’s plan in creating humans and the purpose of humans and what our job is here on earth. The concept of free will that he has given us, that we are supposed to reach out to him in complete freedom in our heart and not under any bondage. Everything was fitting together and understanding all of it as things were falling in its place. But I was reading an article on the Internet and it gave a small analogy of God’s love for us. It’s like a small child going to the neighbor’s home and just as she was playing, accidentally she breaks a window and then the neighbor in his anger is trying to beat the little kid. But the father of the child looks at that and he runs to her rescue and makes sure that the neighbor doesn’t lay a hand on her. I was trying to relate to that and I would do the same if it was my child. I was thinking about my dad and my dad would do the same thing for me if I was in that kind of a situation. If we being so imperfect and full of sin can go to that extent that you would say that punish me instead of my child, then the Bible is describing God as a Father who is pure and perfect in love for his children so is he capable of coming and dying for our sins? I thought definitely it is possible. If we can do it, he can definitely do it for the children. That’s the first time it actually made sense, that God can come and die for our sins and take our punishment instead of letting us go through that.
Interviewer: It seems like you have understood the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross and how it relates to you personally. You understand his blood, his sacrifice on the cross, how’s your life different before and after you met Jesus?
Nada: The priorities of my life have changed dramatically. Things that I thought were very important are not important anymore and things I didn’t care for before are so much more important now. Somehow God’s agenda has taken priority over my own agenda of making money and getting rich and establishing an empire for myself. With God’s help and the power of His Holy Spirit, I was even able to overcome many addictions that I was into and I’m free of them and living in complete freedom now with a lot of joy in my life and able to relate to the Creator who created me and able to worship Him in complete freedom.
Interviewer: What are some things you are learning in your walk with Jesus?
Nada: There are many things I am learning with my walk with Jesus but few of them would be really understanding how difficult it is to really love and forgive people in the true definition of God and not in saying “I forgive you, I love you” but in his definition, what does it mean to truly love a person and really forgive. John Newton Scott comes to my mind which is so much true in my own life. After 11 years and counting, I realize how great a sinner I am and how great a savior Jesus is, who is capable of forgiving.
Interviewer: Is there any specific scripture from the Bible which spoke to you personally?
Nada: There were words from Psalm 7:15. The first time that I read, it really shook me and I realized that I was not dealing with something small. The word says that the wicked will fall in their own pit that they have dugged. I read even from a Hindu culture that what you sow you will reap so it will come back to you. But the first time I read from the Bible, it shook me up and then I really felt the power in that and I understood how wicked I was in what I was trying to do and everything. That changed things a little bit.
Interviewer: Is there anything you would like to share to someone you love who is on a similar spiritual journey?
Nada: Our life is defined by the kind of choices that we make and I can’t see a single day that passes by without us making choices. God and religion are no exceptions. God really wants us to make a choice in freedom and that’s the reason why the Bible is saying that God has come to die for our sins, to set us free from all kinds of bondage so we could connect with him in complete freedom. I would say make a choice not bound by the place where you are born, what you were born or the your race or what you’ve been taught as a child but thinking for yourself as an adult about the need for God. He wants us to explore this world with him. There is so much in this world that He has created for us to enjoy, that we cannot see if you are busy in our own lives, in our own agenda. God is not hiding from us. We are the ones who are running away from him in our busyness, in our theories, in religion, in our concepts and everything. God wants us to make a choice. I wish sometimes he’d define what we have to do but he respects our choice and is not going to force us.