We have been overwhelmed by the way that the Japanese people have faced this crisis. Their values continue to draw admiration from me. On the day of the earthquake, we were shocked by how civilized and orderly people were. They patiently waited in line for a taxi or the pay phone. Nobody was raising their voice, cutting in line, or abusing the lack of power to loot stores who were unable to lock up or close their electric gate. We have read that there have not been any reports of robberies or fights in the aftermath of it all. The sad reality is that though there is a strong Christian heritage in the States, the reaction of people in crisis feels completely different. People seem to take advantage of the situation for selfish gain, whether stealing, creating scam relief funds for people to donate, or rioting. People here, however, remain calm and polite.
They even are willing to suffer blackouts if it is for the sake of the larger community, and especially bringing help to the nuclear plants or relief efforts. This group-orientation is beautiful in that people are worrying about Japan as a whole rather than their own comfort and self-interest.
No where is this more powerfully evident than in the 150+ workers at the nuclear plant. They are willingly putting their lives in danger, even accepting the fact that they might actually die in the process, for the sake of saving thousands or millions of lives. They are living in horrible conditions, being separated from their families for days or weeks on end, getting little sleep, in order to bring order to the crisis. We recently received an email from a supporter in Boston who was reminded of Christ through this image, as one who willingly sacrificed himself for the sake of others. What a fantastic image of giving up yourself in order that others might live.
As we continue in this season of Lent, may their sacrifice remind us of our sacrifices which point us to Christ. May His work on the cross be more real to you as you remember how He left the comfort and peace of Heaven to willingly put His life at risk and endure pain for our behalf. We can now enjoy peace and security due to His afflictions. May we also remember that though there is much to be praised on the values and lifestyle of the Japanese people, they are still in need of the true peace that comes from Jesus’ sacrifice.