Sunday, March 30, 2008

Father, Forgive Them

I was reading Jay Nordlinger, of the National Review, and I found a reference to a recently deceased soldier of WWII, who had been captured in Japan. After his return, he worked as a Christian missionary in Japan after the war. Why?

Amid his misery, Corporal DeShazer had one source of solace.

“I begged my captors to get a Bible for me,” he recalled in “I Was a Prisoner of Japan,” a religious tract he wrote in 1950. “At last, in the month of May 1944, a guard brought me the book, but told me I could have it only for three weeks. I eagerly began to read its pages. I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes and that when I looked at the enemy officers and guards who had starved and beaten my companions and me so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changed to loving pity. I realized that these people did not know anything about my Savior and that if Christ is not in a heart, it is natural to be cruel.”

Corporal DeShazer gained the strength to survive, and he became determined to spread Christian teachings to his enemy. . . .

In 1950, he gained a remarkable convert.

Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese naval flier who had led the Pearl Harbor attack and had become a rice farmer after the war, came upon the DeShazer tract.

“It was then that I met Jesus, and accepted him as my personal savior,” Mr. Fuchida recalled when he attended a memorial service in Hawaii in observance of the 25th anniversary of the attack. He had become an evangelist and had made several trips to the United States to meet with Japanese-speaking immigrants. . . .


Sometimes, in our bitterness towards the aggressors that have targeted so many innocent people of the world, we forget that we have been fortunate to know the Lord. Let us not forget,
if Christ is not in a heart, it is natural to be cruel.

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