In spite of being the financial capital of India, more than half of Mumbai's population lives on the streets or in slums. Families live in abject poverty in the massive slums of Mumbai. Grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers and fathers and their children live on the streets. Babies are growing up into poverty from which there seems to be little hope for a future. Regardless of whether life is on the street or in a slum, they look to their gods in hope. Daily, they ask which one of their millions to appease, which will bring food to their hungry family that day? Which will keep them from illness? Without the education that somehow eludes them, the cycle of poverty seems endless. They see wealth and influence all around but it seems to be forever beyond their grasp.
Have they been created equal?
The government provides free public education. Children, however, must provide their own uniforms, notebooks, pencils and paper precious commodities for these children whose parents barely earn enough to feed their families a single meal in a day. And so, children work helping their parents, caring for their siblings, doing odd jobs and begging on the streets. If they have the opportunity to begin school, they often drop out because they are not encouraged at home or they are pushed aside.
Are these families are these children created equal?
Beggars abound at train stations, on the trains, near tourist attractions and important religious sites, as regulars on almost every street. Beggars in Mumbai may be crippled, very old and feeble. They may be lepers. They may be young women fit for work, but caught in mafia-controlled begging and prostitution. Orphaned children may also be used in the same way. Taught and used by their parents, children with families on the street learn to beg from their earliest years.
Are beggars created equal?
Homes for many are small and tightly packed along narrow alleyways. The alley is a sewer drain, a playground, and a place to visit with neighbors. What's more, it is a place to do laundry and wash the few dishes they have. Work is hard, the burdens great and the rewards few. Endurance in these communities is possible but only because the residents have known no other way.
They accept their status of being created unequal.
Eunuchs have a special role in Hindu society and are believed to have unique spiritual powers. Thousands live in Mumbai as they beg on the streets, bless businesses, and newborn babies and curse the same if they do not receive payment.
Is the child, the parent, the eunuch created equal? Of course they are. In the eyes of God, they are created equal.
If you've never been hungry, if you've never been without a home, if you've never gone without a job, then you don't know what you would do in these situations.
What would you do?
In 1950, the Indian government decreed all of its citizens equal before the law in effect outlawing the caste system. Nevertheless caste has not gone away. Its ugly head is ever present in Indian society.
Nowhere is the legacy of the caste system more evident than on the dark streets and sidewalks each night. This is the place that tens of thousands of people call home. This is a home where sleep is possible only after midnight when the buzz of traffic, the parade of people, and the glare of streetlights begin to diminish.
Those living in the slums and on the streets need to hear the encouraging words of truth from Jesus; the truth that they are ALL precious in His sight. They need to know the truth that in Gods eyes everyone is equal. Gods Word tells us to Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
What can YOU do to bring the JOY of Gods love to these people who live in despair? Will you PRAY? Will you GO and SHOW them the way? How is God speaking to YOU?
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