I have been somewhat on the side, not updating my blog as I should, but I have been busy trying to get adjusted to my life here, what with ups and downs and trying to register what I should do for this year or so, before I make any more new plans. Already almost 1 month has passed by and February is coming. I have been actually attempting to sort out my own thoughts and feelings about the future because I know that I am here in Japan for a reason, to find out more of myself and what I am called to do. It will not be my permanent home as I am fully aware of, and I am leaving for Korea and then hopefully Canada when I finish the contract via leave and so on. Still, I have to cherish the relationships I am forming here instead of just letting time pass by like that, because there are various ways in which time can pass by. One can be perfectly miserable in one’s niche or corner, one can just go through the motions and perform the daily tasks as if it is a daily routine without any investments, or one could just learn from it and use that chance to grow oneself.

I got a rare chance to talk to an intern, Kenneth or Kenny as we call him, in church over lunch today, who is from Hong Kong and educated in the USA for his degree, and as an intern missionary with the church’s affiliated Bible college(technically the church I attend is not registered as a church per se, but is a ministry, since it is a sideline to the main Bible college set up here in Nagoya), some of his views made me realize a lot more about my own life and what God is seemingly leading me to do.

There are a few things which I would call my own random musings particularly because we were chatting about our relationships(interpersonal) with others and what these often amounted. A topic which was brought up was that when we have parents who are not believers in Christ, and who bring us up in their own ways, sometimes without Christian values at work, it can affect the way we see God and our relationship with Him too if the upbringing is in itself flawed. If we are brought up with the viewpoint of us not being loved by parents(the same way which I use to describe my own sometimes troubling relationship with my parents because I often sought to follow the rules when younger and yet never won the approval or love of parents in any visible way), then when we approach our own relationship of faith with God, we tend to think the same way towards God. It is in many ways than not anthropomorphic in which we project our own ideas onto God when He is not what we think He is, and it distorts the truth of His character. The parable of the prodigal son was brought up, with its 2 sons in the picture. In some rather stereotypical way, the North American character of tending to “do as I will” without a care for what people think is largely what the prodigal son embodies, but the other brother who tries to do everything but often ends up feeling as if his father does not love him sums up the other extreme end of those who want to earn approval from God when in fact he loved us right from the start as His sons and daughters.

The other issue which cropped up was this issue concerning trust, betrayal, being hurt and loving. He said that in some ways, and more than one, the Christian community stands because it has people who hurt each other the most yet who could by far forgive and love each other unconditionally, and that is why we are still around as a witness to the world. There are 2 choices we could undertake in life: 1. to love and open oneself up in interpersonal relationships of faith, and risk getting hurt, or 2. not to even try to love and risk getting hurt, and hence, not being hurt, but subsequently never being able to find true love(he meant the love of God, not romantic love). This did get me thinking. We are often humans who bring our own broken selves into church, and masking them does not however hide them from God who sees all. I have often myself ended up believing in this adage of “Don’t waste your time on people who do not love and appreciate you.” But this adage is not in itself Christian, and as Kenny pointed out, it has to do with the dynamics of whether we are the giver or the receiver in relationships, because some people will end up on either side of the spectrum throughout their lives, and of course, while being the giver, to give and constantly try to make others love them can wear themselves out in the end, he says that we cannot say that it is a ‘waste’ not if we are called to love people as Christians.  The idea of loving others being a ‘waste’ even if they do not appreciate or return that love is in itself based on the idea of worthiness but we are all unworthy in God’s eyes on account of our sins. Kenny’s point was simply this, in fact we should “waste” our time, and it might not even be a ‘waste’ per se in our eyes, because it is a calling to love others. I think that at the end of the day, it has to do with my own (and our) expectations as humans in which we judge others and expect them to conform to our perceptions. He said that especially when it came to the move of keeping the door of communication open even should others shut us out when we talk the truth or become truthful in love, because the other party would not hear of it, our constant attempt to talk to them would make them start thinking why we are so persistent.

These are random musings obviously, but on closer thought, I do think that Kenny’s words do make a lot of sense. Which one of us do know how to love and forgive even should we have been hurt by those whom we trusted, and still go ahead to try to reconcile even if it seems easier to hate?