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hope for churches in stress

47 Ronin

Most countries have stories that highlight the historical values of the nation. Recently, I learned about the Japanese story of the 47 ronin.

400 years ago, 300 samurai warriors in feudal Japan were left leaderless when their master was compelled to perform ritual suicide by a treacherous court official. Out of loyalty to their master, 47 of the leaderless warriors, now called ronin, committed themselves by a secret oath to avenge their master by killing the count official, knowing that they would be severely punished.

For the next two years, they plotted revenge.

Finally, they were ready. Amid a heavy snowstorm, they attacked the official’s mansion. They killed or wounded the guards and, when they found the official hidden in a secret room, killed him, cut off his head, and took it to the tomb of their master. With their revenge complete, they turned themselves into to the authorities, and submitted to a sentence of death.

In accord with the code of the samurai, the 47 loyal ronin had pursued vengeance for their master with determination, persistence, boldness, shrewdness, and sacrifice.

The code of Jesus, as we know, is much different. In faithfulness to Jesus, our master, we renounce retaliation and revenge. Instead, we pursue peace. We value all human life and promote forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation, and non-violent resolution of conflict.

For a moment, think about the tenacity of the 47 ronin. What if we were to pursue peace with the same determination, persistence, shrewdness, and sacrifice as the 47 ronin pursued vengeance?

What if we set out, with determination and persistence, to renounce all grudges, resentment, and bitterness; and, instead, endeavored, to the extent possible, to amend every slight, forgive every offense, and graciously confront every grievance?

Can you imagine the impact that would have?


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