When learning and telling Bible stories in Hindi, there’s more pressure than usual to get Hindi right. These are the truths of Truth. I’m not comfortable with the idea that someone’s going to misunderstand the story of Jesus because I didn’t practice my grammar!
However mistakes are inevitable and I often wonder what picture of Jesus my friends are getting…
Like when I walked into my friend’s house on Good Friday, explaining that today was a very special day, “Because this is the day that Jesus murdered [someone].”
“What? No! Jesus murdered someone?”
See, in Hindi, it only takes one helping verb to change “died” into “murdered”…
“What? Oh! No! He died today! Died! DIED!”
Or the other grammar slip when I was telling the story of the demon possessed man. Instead of saying they “came to Jesus” I said they “came into Jesus”.
“What?! The Evil Spirits went into Jesus?” was the clearly horrified response.
“What?! Oh! No! The man came next to Jesus! Next to! NEXT TO!”
Adding to the confusion, is also the tendency of my friends to re-interpret Bible stories as having happened in India.
You know the story of Jesus calming the storm? The one where he came walking to the disciples trapped and terrified in the middle of the Ganges?
Or Good Friday… the celebrating of Jesus’ death at the hands of the occupying British…
So… one day when you meet someone from this side of the world who tells you all about the Jesus who walked on the Ganges, was briefly possessed by demons before being killed by the British for being a murder… ask if they know me!