Ambassadors for Christ

One evening my older sister (姉 “ane”) and I were in an elevator in Roppongi (六本木 – a district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan, famous for its popular night club scene), on our way up to a top floor venue. As teens we had long looked forward to seeing a Beatles copy band (ビートルズのものまねバンド “Beatles no mono mane bando”) called ‘Beatlemania’ at the ‘Cavern Club’ since we were too young to see the real band in its heyday (全 盛期 “zenseiki”).

Although we were beyond excited and our dress and spiked hair screamed rebellious rockers, our demeanor spoke otherwise. We quietly rode up in the crowded elevator alongside conservatively-dressed Japanese businessmen (サラリーマン “salary men”) and women (OL – オーエル “office ladies”), eyes diverted downward in polite reverence as is common behavior in Japan. We were also raised ‘Navy brats’ (ネイビーブラット、海軍人のガキ “kaigunjin no gaki”), actually a misnomer (異名 “imyou”), because as military kids we were trained to behave appropriately and respectfully in public.

Suddenly at one of the many stops to the top, a few American sailors noisily boarded and punched the button for their desired floor. They were loud, boisterous and reeked of alcohol. My sister and I shot embarrassed glances at each other as we noticed the disgusted look in the eyes of the Japanese. We were ashamed (恥じらう “hajirau”) at the behavior of these rude fellow Americans (although we lived in Japan at the time, my sister and I were born in Hawaii and California). To our relief, the Japanese group quickly exited on the next floor.

Above-and-Beyond-Ambassadors_001

All at once I felt an anger boiling up inside that I could not contain. How dare these foreigners (外人 “gaijin”) bring humiliation and disgust to the image of the U.S. Navy and Americans in general in the Japan I loved! With clenched fists, I blurted my outrage at the dumbfounded drunks who towered over my shaking frailer frame. After a quick apology, they were blushed and quiet the rest of the ride. As we exited at our floor, their eyes were diverted downward in shame.

Just as we all need to remember that we represent our mother country when we travel abroad, as Christians we also must remember that we’re representatives or “Ambassadors for Christ” (キリストの大使 “Kirisuto no taishi”), sojourners representing Him to an unsaved world at all times, everywhere we are, even if we never leave our hometown (古里 “hurusato”) here on earth.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  2 Corinthians 5:20 NASB

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