Overcoming Ethnic Hostility With a View Fixed on Calvary   Leave a comment

I learned about Michael Oh, a Korean brother in Christ, from the Gospel Coalition. He is a Korean-American missionary in Japan with a powerful message of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ which overcomes all forms of ethnic animosity and hostility. He started Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan in 2005. And I pray that he would help bring the gospel to a godless nation–Japan is one of the least Christian nations in the world.

http://vimeo.com/8508657 (WATCH THE VIDEO)

I also wanted to add a few personal thoughts as a Korean-American. I’ve never had any hostility toward the Japanese or Japanese-Americans. However, I have known older Koreans who have ranged from bristling at the mention of the Japanese to becoming enraged at the thought of interacting with them. I’ve never fully understood it because, well, I’ve never experienced it. My understanding of the Japanese oppression of the Korean people was that the Japanese killed many Koreans by stuffing Korean chili paste (고추장) up their noses until they suffocated to death. And I knew that many Korean women were raped by Japanese soldiers and were forbidden from speaking Korean. But I never really thought of there being a special hatred reserved in the hearts of Koreans against the Japanese. Actually, I generally thought Koreans had an aversion towards all ethnicities, living up to their nickname as the “Hermit Kingdom.”

But my thoughts on the Korean-Japanese hostility were peaked by the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. South Korea, which is usually a powerhouse in speed skating, placed all their hopes and attention this year on women’s figure skating. Part of the reason is Yuna Kim (김연아), who is considered the world’s top female figure skater. The other part, however, is that her two main competitors are both from Japan: Mao Asada and Miki Ando. And people in Korea are excited and blood-thirsty over the competition that pits Japan against South Korea for Olympic supremacy. Koreans want to show their superiority over Japan and stick it to the nation, if but in a small way.

And that’s just hard for me to understand. I can try to understand, but it’s easy for me to tell the Koreans to get over it and to forgive the Japanese. Because I wasn’t there; I wasn’t persecuted and I don’t have thoughts of beatings and rapes and murders fresh in my mind. It’s easy for me to tell the blacks in America to forgive the whites. It’s easy for me to tell the Jews to forgive the Germans and the Arabs (and the Arabs to forgive the Jews). It’s just theory to me, and it’s just pages in a history book. I can try to understand it, but I didn’t live it. And I can’t truly imagine the hurt endured and the scars built up from such atrocities.

But I know that Jesus Christ died for all of that. For every ethnic slur, for every brutal rape, and for every heartless murder–Jesus blood covered all of that for those who have turned to Him in genuine repentance. And, being that South Korea is one of the most Christian nations in the world, I think it imperative for Koreans and Korean-Americans alike to put to death the deep-seeded hatred towards the Japanese and show them the love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

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Posted February 14, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

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