“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41)
A Case in Japan: No Persecution, No Progress
During the Advent when I contemplated young Mary’s faith and her dedication, I saw a shocking title of AP News: “629 Pakistani girls sold as brides to China.” Human trafficking is a serious crime in our world. I see that the large metropolitan area of Tokyo, where I live, is also a harbor of trafficking. What I did after reading the news was praying for victims and informing our church members of the realities of trafficking around us.
Our lives as Christ’s disciples should make impact on our society because of His presence in us. When I reflect on myself, however, I do not make much impact on the world or even on my community. I must admit that there are invisible walls between our church and our community, and between community people and myself. We invite community people to our church for special occasions. But we hesitate to talk about Christ outside of the church, for people take it rude in our society to talk about religion in our social conversation. Even speaking to a stranger is taken offensive. I remember the days when I was a missionary in Jamaica. I enjoyed walking in a community and talking with community people, and prayed with them. Community people appreciated my ministry. But in Japan I failed. When I spoke to a man over a fence in a Japanese community, he stared at me with a dubious look. Instantly I recognized I was in Japan. In Japan children are advised not to talk with a stranger. Not speaking to a stranger or a child, I may be polite in our society. But I recognize I have built invisible walls between community people and myself.
I think that Evangelicals should make more impact on our world in the coming decade. We need to train disciples in the communities outside of the church. Jesus sent out His disciples into communities. His Great Commission is, “Go and make disciples.” Personally I have to speak to persons I see in our community. Trying to be polite, I may have lost opportunities of sharing the gospel to people. Making impact on other people is sometimes rude and offensive. However, it is our Lord’s command to preach the Word and share the gospel to this lost world. As a Japanese pastor I would like to see people’s response, either rejection or coming to Christ. I would say in maximized expression: persecution or progress of God’s kingdom.