Luke 6:27-36, 27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (English Standard Version)
Jake DeShazer was a member of the Jimmy Doolittle Raiders that bombed Tokyo in April of 1942. His B-25 was shot down and Jake was captured by the Japanese. He was imprisoned under brutal circumstances and through a series of events he became a Christ follower (not enough time or space in this post to go through the details). After World War II, Jake went back to Japan as a missionary and wrote a booklet about his experiences in the POW camp and how he had come to Christ through that experience. The booklet was entitled I Was a Prisoner of Japan. The sentence that changed DeShazer’s world was “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” “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,” says DeShazer.
The booklet was widely circulated throughout Japan. The pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, picked up the booklet and read it. At first he was highly offended by Jake’s depiction of what happened in his POW experiences. Every country treated POW’s that way was his reasoning. Yet he had the integrity to check out what a buddy of his had experienced when captured by the Americans at Guadalcanal. His friend told a very different story of his captivity. And he added a story. He said a young American woman would visit him every day bringing him newspapers and snacks etc. One day he asked her why she showed so much love and interest to him. She told the following story. She said that her parents had been missionaries to Japan before the war. That when the Doolittle raid took place Japanese officials came to her parents home in Tokyo and made trumped-up charges against them. The officials led her parents out into their back yard and executed them on the spot. This young woman said that she had two ways she could respond. She could hate her enemy or love them. She chose love.
When Captain Fuchida heard this story he gave his life to Christ. He said that his culture spent generations angry and plotting revenge, but that this young woman had chosen a more superior way.
Father God give us strength to love and not hate. Help us to leave the vengeance to you. Thank you for the superior power of love. We pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.