My best friend in college was a Korean-American man named Sung. We met in my freshman year but did not begin to hang out together until my sophomore year. But we became fast friends and during that year, God used Sung to lead me to Jesus Christ. After that we were nearly inseparable. We knew we shared a special relationship.
One day, Sung candidly remarked to me that if someone told him ten years earlier that his best friend was going to be a Japanese-American, he would have told him he was crazy. I understood what he meant. Sadly, a long and bitter history of racism has distorted and damaged the relations between Koreans and Japanese. While much of the painful memories have dissipated with today’s generation, there are still pockets of lingering resentment, even hate, harbored by both sides.
Growing up in Hawaii, I was immersed in a racial melting pot. Sure there were racial tensions, but, in general, we learned to accept and embrace the racial diversity as a unique part of the Hawaiian culture. Thus, while I was aware of the historical animosity between Japan and Korea, I did not harbor personal anger or hate toward any other racial or cultural group. So when Sung made that comment about our friendship, I smiled and replied, “Well Sung. I guess that just proves how ridiculous racism is. I didn’t know that I was supposed to hate you!”
If all of our perceptions could be so easily demolished!
Perceptions…it colors everything we think, say, or do. No matter one’s background, perceptions may lead us to be judgmental or even prejudge others that, ultimately, is self-defeating. But thanks be to God who is in the business of turning our perceptions upside down.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29
And why does God do this? The beautiful answer is found in the very next verse.
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31
Our world view must be filtered through God’s view of the world. We are conditioned to look at diplomas, job titles, or awards on our walls or our desks. But God is commanding us to look to His Son, Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Because it is only through trusting in Him and glorifying Him as our Lord and Savior are we able to see the world the way that God wants us to see it. If we are to boast in anything, it is to boast in His glory and mercy toward us.
What a glorious God we serve!
Blessings with Aloha!
Love and respect the Lord; seek His will in your life.