You yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. (1 Thess. 4:9)
In the last days of World War II, the Japanese government trained young boys as kamikazes. They would fly warplanes on suicide missions to ram Allied ships and sink them. One of these boys was named Tashiro. Before he got his chance to fly, Japan surrendered. Tashiro became a gangster on the streets. One night he ran into some missionaries holding evangelistic services. They invited him into the service, and he heard the gospel for the first time. Over time, Tashiro converted to Christianity, helped the missionaries as a translator, immigrated to the US to attend seminary, and became a Methodist minister. When I was in seminary, he was my Old Testament professor.
During World War II, the US government had forced Japanese Americans to leave their homes and jobs to reside in internment camps. This caused much bitterness in the Japanese-American community. Dr. Tashiro ministered to this community, preaching the gospel of reconciliation. He also met a military veteran who’d been blinded by a kamikaze attack. The man had hated the Japanese for years, but God’s love had changed his heart. “Because of him,” the man told Dr. Tashiro, “I can love you.”
God teaches people to love. He taught the apostle Paul and the Thessalonians. He taught Dr. Paul Tashiro and those to whom he ministered. And he teaches us today.
Ask God to help you love a hard-to-love person in your life.
Jerome Van Kuiken grew up in the Philippines as the child of missionaries. He teaches Bible, theology, and apologetics at Oklahoma Wesleyan University and serves in the children’s ministry at his local church.
© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.