Foxes Have Holes: Gospel Lessons from an Immigrant

January 23, 2012

I was born in Korea and came to the US when I was 8 years old. While being from another country had presented certain challenges, once in a while I realize what a blessing it can be. For my experience as an immigrant has allowed me to understand some aspects of the Gospel that may be harder to see for someone who was born and raised in America.

For one, being a foreigner and a minority has allowed me to understand the idea of my allegiance and identity being tied to another country. While most people around me cheered for America during the Olympics, I cheered for South Korea. When I traveled to a different state I’ve never been before and I met a Korean person, we instantly formed a bond. Perhaps South Koreans are overly proud of their country and ethnicity. How much more, then, as Christians, should we align our allegiance to no temporary kingdoms but the Kingdom of God? How infinitesimally unimportant is America that will burn away like chaff compared to the Kingdom that was and is and will be coming, on earth as it is in heaven? If the ideals of American democracy conflicts with the command to love our enemies, to which shall we submit? Being from another country has allowed me to see that there can be a reality of a kingdom that isn’t immediately perceivable around us; that this invisible kingdom can manifest itself by the citizens of that kingdom living in the here and now. As John the Baptist has proclaimed, the Kingdom is here!

Second, I’ve realized in the last two plus decades that I’ve become more and more Americanized. I do not know when, but I’ve stopped identifying myself as Korean and instead identified myself as a Korean American. The switch wasn’t overnight but gradual. How important, then, is it for Christians to remain Christians. Were it not the preserving grace of God, no saints would be left to endure until the coming of Christ. Oh but how earnest is the battle! How hard shall we struggle against sin, not that we as Christians fear losing our status before God, but because we hate our indwelling sin more and more as Christ sanctify us more and more! So fall asleep not! The devil prowls, daring to stumble even the elect if he could! How gradual is the slide, how gentle and easy the slope to perdition!

Third, I’ve realized that the sacrifices that my parents have made will change the way I live. Because they have left behind everything in Korea – their careers, family, friends, support system, everything – I could live in America, to study here, to have opportunities that they never had.  Through their sacrifice, I was given so much more. Because of their sacrifice, I can’t waste these opportunities; my life is lived in humble gratitude, not begrudging duty. For to have the inner attitude of gratitude is the proper response to such self-less sacrifice; any other inner response would demonstrate that I have not fully understood their sacrifice at all. How much more thankful then, should my attitude be for the greatest sacrifice of all? How much more shall all avenue of my life be centered around thankful praise to Jesus? For the proper response to my parents’ sacrifice of their career would be for me to have a successful career. The proper response to their sacrifice of the support of their family and friends would be for me to care for my family, to get married and enlarge the family and to love and cherish many friends. What then would be the proper response to Christ’s sacrifice of the comforts of his home but to find my comfort, to find my home in heaven and no where else. What then would be the proper response to Christ’s sacrifice of his life but for me to sacrifice my selfish desires and submit to His will?

Because of my parents sacrifice, certain choices don’t make sense for me. My mind just loses any categories to comprehend them anymore. How can i live in a way that would dishonor their name? Likewise, because of Christ’s work, because of my new identity, sin loses its hold on me and my grip on sin is loosened. It just doesn’t make sense any more. How, or why would I do the things that I used to do? It would just be inconsistent with what He has done, with who He declares me to be.

Oh how small and inconsequential are all of life’s great calamities if through them we may peek into the mysteries of heaven. Oh how unimportant are the broken branches for those who are rooted in Christ!

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