Last Monday night I had the opportunity to share some of my experiences in North Korea with Men’s Fellowship. North Korea has made a significant impact on me. It’s a brutal, sombre, totally isolated place. And here I deeply yearn for the
20 million people who are trapped there in a most miserable existence.
Today we are being coaxed into seeing North Korea as the enemy. What amounts to crazy threats by the leader, Kim Jong un, aren’t helping. But President Donald Trump’s rhetoric claiming the USA will hit North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” is simply chilling.
Over a period of 40 years I have visited many trouble spots around the world – East Timor during the Indonesian occupation and then during the period of UN peacekeeping; Ambon in central Indonesia during the terrible conflict between Christians and Muslims; West Papua where people still live under a harsh military occupation; the Islamic city of Aceh just after the Indian Ocean tsunami killed nearly 200,000 people; southern Mindanao in the Philippines where Islamist rebels threaten to kidnap and murder; Kashmir where the two nuclear states of India and Pakistan are facing off in one of the most tensest places on earth; the rebellious north-east of India and the north of Sri Lanka when it was under the control of the Tamil Tigers. More recently my wife and I were able to visit the West Bank in Palestine and the Golan Heights in Israel. And then there is North Korea.
What I have learnt in each of these places is that people matter. Every life is important. Every life is precious. Every life is created in the image of God. Therefore, grand narratives about wiping the enemy off the face of the earth simply have no place in the scheme of things.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers to the world’s intractable problems. But my faith tells me people matter. Everyone matters, even those we may call the enemy. Indeed, God was so passionate about humanity that God became one of us in Jesus. While we talk about the divinity of Christ, Jesus was also a man. And this says to me humanity is important.
For you see, human beings are so important, they are so precious, that even God chose to become one!