Posted by: grantmiho | May 2, 2012

Understanding Sin among Japanese Teens

Over the past few months, our youth group, Connect, have been following a series we created called “Create.” Through English learning, conversation starters, and games, we have had fun learning the myriad ways that God created us. So far, we have helped these teens who have no grasp of the Bible or God’s story learn about a God who created us good, in His image, unique, for relationships, to love, for work, for rest, and this past Sunday about how we were good but now fallen. For the week on work we talked about what they dream about doing in future jobs. Ironically, two girls have parents who are dentists (which was also the case for two of our first teens back at Highrock). Each week the teens open up more and feel comfortable talking about their lives and thoughts. 

This past week focused on how God created us good but how sin became a reality for each of our lives. Sin in Japan is translated “tsumi” which means a crime. This makes it tough for people here to concede that they are “sinners,” since most average people don’t break the law or commit major crimes. Since people can’t have guns here, violent crime is ridiculously low in Japan compared to other countries. On the surface, it is a safe country with nice people; although this does not mean they are free from sin. We only made it halfway through our material this week due to a great discussion on what is right or wrong. We gave them a list of acts and asked if they think this is good (+), bad (-), neutral (=), or depends on the case (?). Some of our list were things like: lie, steal, disobey parents, get angry, pride, jealousy, etc. We didn’t want a clear cut case of assumed wrongs, but were surprised by their responses. There were various ideas and explanations to go with their answers. For instance, disobeying parents was said to depend on the case since parents are humans and make mistakes too. Observant teen! One teens said getting angry is wrong, while others were not sure. Another said if you keep anger to yourself is fine, but just don’t trouble others with it. In Japan, showing emotions, especially anger, is seen as bad and can reek havoc on relationships. It is rare to see people make loud outbursts or blow up, since they are rather stoic. We plan to continue this conversation next class. May God allow them to understand sin and the reason behind Jesus death on our behalf. 

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