There are so many false beliefs, false prophets and deceivers in the world it is hard to even imagine the number. Some involve false gods, idolatry and satanic worship. Some start with Christianity and Biblical teaching, but divert from the true teachings and truths of Jesus. But, dealing with the deceived can be difficult. Many that are deceived want to remain so, because they are benefitting temporarily from the deception. But, what of the long term cost to them? How does one show someone that wants to be deceived the truth? Those people are usually the hardest to actually get to see the truth. Why do I speak of false beliefs and difficulty getting people to see the truth? Well, please, read on and I will explain. One issue though, in addition to this topic is what picture to put with my post. I like using photos or graphics that relate to the topic I am discussing as the graphics will often catch one’s eye better than just text, but I have a problem putting a picture of Buddha on here. SO….I will puzzle on that issue as I write. (I thought a lot about it and no way could I put a statue of Buddha on this so, The Bible is always a good choice.)
One of the soldiers in my section with Guard texted me, asking if they could be excused for part of the day during our next drill. He said he was taking his refuge vows. He is always there, does as he should and will make up the time, so I said fine. I wasn’t familiar with refuge vows, so inquired, figuring maybe I could learn something. He said he had been studying Buddhism and it was vows related to that. He and his wife had some significant issues from his daughter that created somewhat of an emotional crisis and his wife started looking for some way to help her deal with things and stumbled onto Buddhism, he saw she was less stressed and began studying that with her. Then, asked if I had noticed any changes in him over the last year. Well, I had actually. He was less abrupt in his interactions with others. Seemed less stressed. Well, of course after learning that he was studying Buddhism I had concerns that they were looking in the wrong place for the answers they need and want to help lead him to the true answer but wanting to avoid causing him to become defensive so that he won’t hear the message. Before I answered, I replied that I would answer his question, but would turn the same question on him and asked if he had noticed any changes in me. He mentioned that I had lost weight and seemed in better physical shape and then said, but besides that, yes. You seem much more relaxed, your interactions with everyone are much different. You seem to have a peace that you haven’t had since I have known you. I told him that yes, I had seen changes, similar to what he described in me and that yes, there have been some changes in me and my life. As I was typing a reply he sent a text, adding that over the last 3 months he had seen a huge change. Oh, over the last 3 years there had been changes in me, I seemed less angry all the time, I seemed less bitter with the world but it was still there, just less than before. But, over the last few months is when he noticed a real change. He said that it really surprised him and he didn’t know why. The text I was typing was explaining that I had been through some things in life that brought me to a literal come to Jesus moment. That I had been raised Christian and had those believes, but did not have Christ in my life and that in March I surrendered to Jesus again. That having Christ in my life has made the difference. He confirmed that he could see the obvious difference in me.
I obviously have concerns about this but also know that if I confront directly and tell him that Buddhism is not the answer, it will cause hostility and that he will not be open to the truth of Christ as our way to salvation and a better life as well as life eternal. So, I didn’t push hard. I have learned that people are often less likely to consider truth when confronted directly and often refuse to hear the truth if not presented in just the right way. So, in order to be able to discuss intelligently and show him Christ I the answer he needs, I will need to understand a little about Buddhism so I can anticipate his responses to various topics that may arise in conversation about Jesus and his current believes.
As I looked into Buddhist believes I found that it originated in India about 400-500 years before Christ was born and some of the beliefs on how to act are very similar, do not lie, kill, commit adultery or drink strong drinks. Also they teach that one should be kind to each other as well as several other values that Christ taught. Because of the similarities some Buddhists believe that Jesus was actually a Buddhist himself, with many believing He is a reincarnation of Buddha, perhaps even the final incarnation of Buddha, but they do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God as they actually don’t believe in God. Only in the path of enlightenment and obtaining nirvana through reincarnation.
And, for discussion with my friend, I will likely need to understand Buddhism better so I can prepare mentally for any points he may bring up during a discussion. As in debates, one has to anticipate the opposing view by understanding how that person sees things. But, for now, for this post, the important points I see are that many of Buddha’s teachings have similarities to Judaism and I have to wonder if in fact, he had been exposed to Jewish teachings at some point. But, then it diverts and focuses on the person trying to be a better human. But, they miss the actual origin of that peace, comfort and joy. God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. They do not see the truth that Christ is the Son of God, died and was resurrected and that He is the only way to be forgiven of sins and redeemed for our transgressions.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Here, we read where John the Baptist was sent to help tell people of Christ, the Light of God.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
I know that it will be difficult to show my friend the errors of his ways. He has had some positive results, but like others that have false beliefs, those will have a cost that will be terrible beyond our human ability to comprehend. It is so hard to convince people like him as they see the benefit and do not want to possibly lose that. So I pray for him and others that are being deceived by false teachings.
My Heavenly Father, glory to You and Your Son, Jesus. I pray for those that are being deceived, those who have been tricked and do not see the truth of Jesus and His sacrifice for us all that we may come to You through the salvation Christ paid for on the cross. That He defeated death that we may have redemption. I pray that You soften the hearts of those deceived that they may be open to hear and see the truth. I pray You guide me on how to approach those individuals to help them see the way to You.
Help me grow further in Christ and teach me how to seek You. How to be a vessel for you in this world.
In Jesus Name, AMEN
Thanks for the time to read this. I pray that all have a blessed day. That those trapped in false beliefs find the truth.