Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 4

It's a light work week for me. I have Wednesday off (it's Children's Day), but I've been slammed with last-minute projects. Korea loves last minute projects. They also love to assume that all subordinates will complete any and all tasks asked of them. This happens to me all the time. Size and time never matter. If I'm asked, then I should complete it. I sometimes wish I didn't carry the title of "manager". The money is much better but the longer I'm in the position, the more I think of it as a bribe rather than a raise. Actually, scratch that. It's not a bribe actually. It's blackmail.

This is how the conversations generally go.

 "We need this [insert arbitrary and useless task here] done by by noon. Can you do it?"
It usually starts in a pleasant tone. You know, not too forceful or pushy. It doesn't need to be because that's the end of the conversation. No argument or compromise. There's no "this will be the last time" or "we really need your help on this". It's just do it now because you get paid more and therefore have to deal with more.

"Well, it's not really part of my job. Plus, I've got two classes before noon."
Outside of managing, I do teach as well. Sure, I don't teach nearly as much as I used to or as much as my teachers, but I do have some teaching responsibilities.
 "Yeah, but you're the manager."
For some reason, I hear this line a lot. I think I was promoted for the sole purpose of manipulation.
 "Right. I manage teachers and students. I don't deal with advertising."
In and out. It's like talking to a statue. I don't get any response or even a change of expression.
 "You can do it. Thank you."
And that's how it goes for me, kiddos. There's no offer of compromise or genuine appreciation. It's simply a firm directive with the presumption that I will oblige. Yesterday, my boss did the same thing. I was in my classroom reading the Bible. I was reading John 8: 31-32. You know it.
So Jesus said to those who believed in him, "If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
I was really in the mode. The emotions were flowing and I was feeling it. Then, the door burst open and there stood my boss. She's an interesting character. She speaks English well, but has no idea what tact is. Well, that's not totally true. She understands Korean tact, but if we were to compare that to Western tact, most people would say that Korean tact is in fact rude. I agree in most cases.

In her hand was a large packet of paper. I knew she was about to ask me to do something for her, so I tried to appear really busy. It didn't work though. Someone reading the Bible doesn't count as busy, I guess. I bet Jesus would disagree. He'd probably tell Matthew. I like to think of Matthew as Jesus' personal ringer. He's a tough talker. Either way, she approached me and handed me the packet. I sighed a bit, but not loud enough for her to hear it. I didn't really care what it was, I just knew that I didn't want to do it. I have the entire Bible to read and editing extra work is not what I wanted to do. 

Feeling angry and a bit defeated, I sat down and started reading the paperwork. It turned out that it was an academic piece on the history of Korean missionaries throughout the world. It discussed the challenges the Church is facing as mega-churches are popping up throughout the country. The main point of the paper was how much damage non-denominational churches are doing to the religion. It mentioned that these churches were actually acting more as businesses insofar that they were tailoring their messages to attract new converts rather than preaching by denominational creeds or rituals. This trend is damaging the reputation of Korean missionaries. I knew that this church-business blurring was happening in the US, but did not think it had made its way to Korea yet. What do you expect though? The Protestant Korean pastors see millionaires like Osteen and Warren and want their piece of the pie.

It was an absolutely fantastic read and I was happy to get a hold of it. In fact, I made several copies of it. This, however, is my problem. I got so worked up about doing the extra work and when I actually did it, I felt great and had even learned something. This sort of thing happens a lot to me and I know it happens to most people.

It's so easy for me to be inconvenienced by others. I let my knee-jerk reactions control my behavior rather than what I know to be right. I waste so much time analyzing the motives of others that I forget that compassion should always be my main concern. I've gotta change my reflexive reactions. My mother always has told me that I have a "big heart" and in some cases that might be true, but I have a long way to go. My first reaction when asked a favor should not be anger, distrust and contempt.

Luke put it well. Jesus was healing a crippled woman at a synagogue on the Sabbath and an official got angry at him and told Jesus that people should not be healed on the Sabbath.
The Lord answered him. You hypocrites! Any one of you would untie your ox or your donkey from the stall and take it out to give it water on the Sabbath. Now here is a descendant of Abraham who Satan has kept in bonds for eighteen years; should she not be released on the Sabbath?    - Luke13: 15-16
He's right. I would help my wife, family or friends, so why can't I help my boss or anyone else for that matter. Am I that selfish? If her motives aren't pure, then that's her business. I overreacted. A fellow child of God asked for help and I fought it.

My question is this:  How do I properly forgive people? Or this case, should I ask my boss for forgiveness? The Bible says a lot about forgiveness and I really like it, but how do I forgive someone? Do I have to tell them or can I do it through prayer?

Stay tuned. Tomorrow, I will be confessing some things that I think merit forgiveness.


  1. I am a bit nervous about what you will confess tomorrow. However, I, too, struggle very much with forgiveness. Your sister has such a good attitude about that but from the words you conveyed in this message it seems like you are on your way to the same place.

  2. I agree with you on Matthew. Why do you think he was a tax collector?

  3. I think the actual willingness to forgive is what forgiveness is. I think its more of an inward process than expressing it outward. While telling someone you forgive them can be good for a relationship, what if you never see them again? You can still need to forgive someone for your own mental/spiritual needs. I would think true forgiveness is something you do inwardly or through prayer. At least that's my interpretation.

  4. Evan,

    I think so, too. Both Buddha and Jesus have told us to do good deeds without telling anyone. It comes down to motivation and if I'm doing something for personal gain, then it's a waste of time.

    Still, don't people want to know they're forgiven? I'm having some issues with closure here.

  5. Sinners in the hands of an angry God!

  6. Forgiveness sets you free....from a burden that we weren't meant to carry. I say that because, according to God's Word, He is the only sinless one. Who are we to judge others (hold grudges, bitterness and resentment) when we ourselves are sinful? I believe, from my personal experience that forgiveness is an ENORMOUS step towards the life of freedom that Christ wants for us.

    Unforgiveness breeds resentment. Resentment is more or less fueled by feelings of holding things in that bother us (are unforgiven) and rehearsing it. Next comes retaliation...wanting to get even in some way. Then come anger, hatred and then elimination mode/"murder". I don't mean murder in terms of killing someone physically but slandering their character....assasination with the tongue....and who hasn't been guilty of that at some point in their life? These aren't just emotions we're dealing with. I believe they are spirits......powerful and controlling ones.

    In terms of saying you forgive someone.....I think only if they ask your forgiveness would you need to tell them you forgive them. Otherwise it's something you do inwardly, like Evan said. It has been important to me, though, to go to those I have wronged (that I can) and ask forgiveness myself. If they don't forgive me, that's their perogative but also their problem.

    In marriage, we've found it's important to ask forgiveness for many things we say or do on a daily basis. One rule we have (unspoken)...based on the New Testament is that we ALWAYS forgive the matter what. It doesn't mean everything's hunky-dory but it does mean that we've released that person and don't pretend to have some power over them because we're not going to forgive them. Clear as mud?