Much of what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount. And please mark my words, I am not speaking at the present moment of Christian conduct. I am speaking of the Christian belief, of Christianity as it is understood in the West.
On our last visit to the States, after hanging around American Christians for a few weeks, my then eight-year old son Cameron asked me, "Daddy, is Obama evil?" This is the only message he picked up from listening to Christians converse about this man. I turned to my boy and said, "Cameron, Obama's heart is sinful just like your heart and your daddy's heart--he desperately needs Jesus, and if we ever were to meet him, our whole objective would be to make sure that when we parted he had felt our love and the love of Jesus."
Gandhi lived a life of loving his enemies. In the post-independence religious violence that tore a united India into the separate states of India and Pakistan, he steadfastly refused to respond to evil with evil, fasting to force his fellow Hindus to stop retaliating against Muslims, frequently protecting his enemies with his own life...and ultimately paying for all this by being murdered by one of his fellow Hindus, precisely because of his love for his enemies.
Charles Freer Andrews, a British missionary to India, was one of Gandhi's closest friends. Gandhi said of him, "he is more than a blood brother to me." Andrews found "no better Christian than Gandhi, the Hindu." Another of Gandhi's close friends was the American missionary Dr. E. Stanley Jones. At the end of Gandhi's life, Dr. Jones said of his friend that he was "one of the most Christlike men in history."
If a Hindu--who didn't acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, but firmly believed that His teachings were completely true--can radically influence hundreds of millions of people by living out the Sermon on the Mount, imagine what could happen if a few of the rest of us start to take Jesus' words seriously.