This Asian-Pacific Heritage month has taken a big curve in my soul. Boy it is painful to embrace the iniquitous heritage I have. Yet it is mine. I rather hold high the glory given to me than the shame.

I read an article on Japan’s wartime sex slaves and how some Japanese politicians are justifying, minimizing and seeking to hide it from history. It was so painful to read. My Japanese mom and her relatives, what do they think of such things? She was in her teens through her twenties during the 30’s and 40’s. What did she know of such things of war and her country?

What do I do with this part of my heritage? I can’t just hold onto the beauty of my cultural heritage and ignore it’s evil. I can’t just have pride without having humility. If I embrace the honor, I must also embrace the shame.

Covering up shame with beauty is like spraying perfume over body odor that has been brewing from many months of a lack of bathing. No work of mine can cleanse me or my people of the shame. Only forgiveness and grace can.
I looked up The Mission with Robert De Niro so I can watch again the scene of his pardon by the indigenous people of the Guarani community after climbing with all his mercenary weapons and armor tied with a rope around his back. It is a powerful moment when the tribe leader cuts De Niro’s rope and all the weapons and armors fall down the cliff and De Niro weeps.
Can’t scrub enough to get a cleansing of the soul. It has to be given by another.

How does a people find forgiveness from another? I understand it individually. One person offers it to another. But what of a people to another? And how does an individual of a group who in the past has done a great offense make peace? I have heard and seen people groups within the church community express repentance, not for their own personal sins but for the sins of their fathers and father’s fathers. And forgiveness was extended and many tears on both sides were wept.

These reflections of my soul has brought some new light to my theological sense of shame. We come into life out of sin (Psalm 51:5) and out of glory (Psalm 139:13-14).

“Behold, I was shapen (brought forth NASB) in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5 KJV

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

Within our human inheritance we have our cultural shame and our cultural honor, our family shame and our family honor. We also inherit the shame and honor of humanity.

We must come to grips with both and receive peace.

Christ offers peace. That is the work he has done for us. This grace is a painful experience to receive. He kisses you with His crown of thorns before He kisses you with His crown of glory. Repentance is painful. Forgiveness is as well. May His work of grace motivate us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.