red ball

One Thursday at our usual weekly OMF prayer meeting, a fellow brother brought a strange object.  It was round, about the size of a 14 inch softball with many nail-like, pointy things all around and it was hung on a string.  At first glance, it looked like a Christmas tree ornament, but when I got close enough, it looked like a weapon of some sort.  I felt quite uncomfortable holding it because the sadistic looking sphere was too prickly.  It was obvious that it can do some damage if used for wrong purposes.  Some of us took turns trying to guess what it was.  Eventually our friend who has been in Taiwan for over 20 years & who is an expert on Buddhism explained what it was.

The object is used by some devout Buddhists to swing back & hit themselves on the back repeatedly.  This painful act is performed under a trance & apparently reveals the strength of one’s own spirituality & dedication.

These men would make themselves bleed to appease their gods.

I couldn’t help but to feel sad for these men as I imagined their pain.

Our friend who brought the object continued to tell us that he would use the object to explain to other Taiwanese how for those who are in Christ, they do not have to torture themselves to prove anything to anyone, not even to a god because for us GOD HIMSELF BLED FOR US ON THE CROSS!

So often we Christians forget why we have the life we have.  We forget that it’s because JESUS CHRIST bled for us that forgiveness & freedom are ours to enjoy.

Sometimes people ask why we are in Taiwan at this stage in our lives.

The reason why we gave away everything we have, and why I stepped down from a pastoral position at a wonderful church, and the reason why we are living at a place where life needs to be lived only one day at a time is because JESUS CHRIST BLED FOR US, and we cannot do otherwise.  In a country where only 2-3% are Christian, the rest need to hear the Good News that Jesus has paid the full price on their behalf.  Unless this is done, people will continue to scramble for ways to prove themselves worthy to be saved.  The human story becomes a tragedy.

I am amazed by  how many temples & shrines we see here.  Apostle Paul poignantly wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 about what is in our hearts.

“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible…22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”    

*Temple pictures taken last week

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