Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Forgiveness – a Chinese perspective

Ephesians 4:15, 32  (NIV)
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love,
we will grow
to become in every respect the mature body of him
who is the head, that is, Christ.

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.

Lately, I have been hanging out with a mixture of mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean & overseas Chinese.

While prepare for a sharing on forgiving others to a Chinese group recently,
noticed that as Chinese & Korean … we share some common cultural traits that we  may need to be mindful of,  when faced with resolving conflicts and forgiveness.
Examples:

…. the fear of losing face,
let’s wait for the other party to extend the olive branch, so that we will not appear weak
— Let us seek His grace to forgive, and realise our identity and self-worth is ‘in Christ”

… give the other person face,
we do not want to embarass the other person do we ?
— Let us speak the truth in love to one another

…. when they disagree with my view,
they disagree with me as a person
This impacts on objectivity during discussions.
— Let us not take opposing views personally or treat it as a personal attack,
discuss the views, not the person,
learn to “agree to disagree” and move on,
find a compromise “win-win” solution.
Be objective, adopt reconciliatory approaches to conflict management and articulation.
Humility, tact, patience and wisdom helps.

…. I am more senior,
they should respect me
Disagreements sometimes also gets colored by seniority or pecking order.

— Let us humble ourselves before the Lord and one another
listen to one another, try to seek to understand the junior party

The Lord gives grace and shows favor to the humble – James 4:6

….  fear of confrontation,
…. don’t do or say anything, tolerate it quietly, suffer in silence, keep the appearance that everything is fine
…  be in denial – “there is no problem between us”
…  or we detour … sharing with a third party about the matter, hoping they will inform or mediate with the other party on our behalf , or sharing this with others as prayer requests, virally spreading the problem.  In the worst case, everyone knows about it, and not a word is spoken to the other party by the offended party.
— Let us speak the truth in love with one another

 If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.” – Matthew 18:15

— facing the matter, speaking to the person directly and expressing how a certain behaviour impacts us.

…. avenging for wrongs and revenge,
a moral duty/obligation … a matter of honor
a common sparking point in chinese sword-fighting, kung fu, triad gangs  chinese stories & movies.

— Let us have our minds renewed by God’s word that justice belongs to the Lord,
& with God’s love and strength, love our enemies.
(Romans 12)

Romans 12:17-21
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
         if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Sometimes, depending on the situation, the reaction to conflict may be
public humiliation, made an example of,
using shame and peer pressure to cause someone to behave or improve.
Sadly, in the extreme case, the person is ostracised.

Instead, Jesus teaches us to sort things out in private between both parties.

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault,
just between the two of you.
If they listen to you, you have won them over.” – Matthew 18:15

The next one was initially mystifying to me,  … after listening to a few people share their disappointment, and sometimes grief, … … it took me a while to figure out the heart of this issue.

… In a Chinese family, there are unspoken obligations, duties and expectations embedded in relationships.
When a family member morally fail, or fails to fulfill obligations, duties or expectations towards another family member
(i.e. not directly unto us in any way),
… its viewed that they have shamed the whole family.
Hence, the other family members somehow feel deeply hurt & disappointed by the incident,
… even though they did not suffer any impact from their family member’s lapses.
Hence, sowing unforgiveness.

A honeypot for gossip & exaggeration … with the perceived ‘black sheep’ unable to share his/her side of the story.
In varying degrees, sometimes the family member is socially ostracised by the family.

Other examples:

Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with the family member’s behavior,
… but simply a difference in quality/standards, eg mother-in-law & daughter-in-law issues.
Sometimes, its about one family member not listening or following an older family member’s directions
to the letter (after repeated nagging).
The older family member feels offended for not being listened/submitted to ( 孝顺  ).

Sometimes, family members are trying to cause another family to do things their way,
… trying to interfere in the other person’s choices/behavior
… sometimes just being a busy-body.

In its extreme, this shaming behavior can grow into a form of manipulation to force the perceived ‘black sheep’ of the family to conform or ‘listen to your elders’.

When the church is metaphorically viewed as a family (家) ,
…. sadly, sometimes this set of behavior is brought into the church,
thereby, creating unnecessary mis-understandings and hurt.

Let’s guard our hearts from developing a root of bitterness towards such family members
— keep loving, supporting, encouraging and praying for them.

Let’s maintain an objective mind, attempt to listen to both sides of the story.

Hebrews 12:14,15 (NIV)
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Heard a Chinese pastor sharing that from his experience, one Bible statement which amazes mainland Chinese  hearing the gospel for the first time is:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. –  Luke 23:34 (NIV)


A note on reconciliation and love language,
— Chinese may express their remorse more through deeds, (eg. a meal, a call, a gift)
rather than verbal, or signs of affection.


Chinese, generally are not so expressive in verbalising praise to others, though deep down they appreciate them.
Chinese, generally prefer to express through deeds.

One simple exercise we can do is to write a list of good things we see in the other person that we appreciate, and go and tell them.  Also write one to three areas we can pray to improve in, so that our relationship gets better.  Share and pray for each other.

Proverbs 21:14 (MSG)
A quietly given gift soothes an irritable person;
    a heartfelt present cools a hot temper.

Some Bible verses for us all to consider:

Ephesians 4:15  (NIV)
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

James 1:19,20 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Romans 12:16-21 (NIV)
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

         if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Forgiving | Daily Rice | Chinese


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This entry was posted on June 14, 2014 by in cross-culture, Daily Rice, Family, Ministry and tagged , .

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