Thursday, March 17, 2011


The world is watching sadly as the tragedy in Japan continues to worsen. First the 9.0 earthquake, then the Tsunami and now the nuclear disaster. We see the total devastation of what once was thriving towns and cities. We see the horror and sadness on the faces of the survivors as they search for their homes, their possessions and, most tragically, their families. There are thousands missing, thousands dead and the lingering questions of when will help arrive, when will we have food, water, warmth and shelter? In so many eyes we see the blank stare of shock, tears of a broken heart.

When the pictures first starting coming on the news I couldn't help but think of the last time there was this kind of devastation in Japan. No, I wasn't even born when the American bombs exploded and thousands died in one moment. Still, I was all too familiar with the event. My Father had been a Japenese prisoner of war in World War II for three and a half years. He had been a part of the infamous Bantan Death March. He had been tortured and starved and left for dead. When the atomic bomb killed so many Japenese it had also set my Father free. He returned to America weighing 89 pounds with the after effects of malaria, severe frost bite, toes amputated (without sedation), and ravages to his body that he never recovered from.

We were not allowed to eat rice or any other Japenese food, never allowed to purchase a product made in Japan (which was very difficult to avoid in the 60's and 70's), never allowed to discuss his experiences but always having to live the results of his nightmare with him. When he spoke of the people of Japan he used racial slurs and he meant them and who could really blame him? My Father had paid with his blood and physical and mental health for the right to hate the people of Japan.

I never really had to question my position on the people of Japan. From time to time I would hear something about the war and I would feel anger rise up. I knew I had taken on my Father's battles because I loved him so much and respected him. He was a genuine American hero. A few years ago my husband confronted me about my bitterness towards the Japenese. I am a Christian and as such I know that I am to forgive and release my bitterness to the Lord. At first I was defensive and once again told him of what "they" had done to my Dad. He listened lovingly and did not condemn me but asked me to pray about it. I did. God began to show me that I had no right to hate them. Yes, to hate what his captors had done to him but to see them as God sees them. Yes, they were America's enemy in the war but they had also been an enemy of God's--just as I was before I was saved--no difference! They had committed un-thinkable sins against my Father and countless others but then again, I had committed un-thinkable sins against my Father God and others before I surrendered to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. By man's measurements they had done so many worst deeds then me but by God's measurements we were the same--sin is sin. The Lord reminded me that He has called all of His children to preach the Gospel, to go out and tell His story, to make disciples for Christ to teach others of His love and sacrifice for our sins. How could I hope to ever even pray for their salvation much less go and tell them about Him if I harbored hate, unforgiveness and bitterness against them? God's vision of the people who tormented my Father was one of love. He loved them exactly the way He loved me and He did not desire that they perish without becoming His children. His word says so. His character and attributes say so. If there was punishment to be dealt out it was His and only His right to punish--not mine.

Now years later, long after I repented, I see the images on the t.v. I see old men wandering aimlessly among the skeletons of the buildings and I think they certainly would have been old enough to have been in the war. It is not out of the realm of possibility that one of them could have been one of my Father's jailers and all I can feel is great compassion and pity. My eyes fill with tears as my heart feels their pain and loss. I fall to my knees and I ask my heavenly Father to please help them. If I could get on a plane and go to them I would--I long to help them. To give them the food they would not give my Father, to bind the wounds they left to fester, to give them shelter from the horror to give them clean water when they thirst and the warmth of a blanket. I am loved by God and I know Him personally because of Jesus. I want them to hear of Jesus, to be saved and to spend eternity as my brother--as my Father's brother.

Matthew 25:34-46

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
   44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
   45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
   46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Please join me in praying for the people of Japan!

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