Following the Example of Jesus
In my opinion love and kindness are the two words that most clearly express the life of Jesus. The dictionary describes love as, "the emotion that most clearly values a person or a thing," and kindness as, "the attitude that treats others most tenderly and dearly." Love and kindness are the most effective ways by which I can live out my life as a Columban lay missionary. I have thought about how I have practiced love and kindness here among the people of Taiwan.
I do not think I have treated the people of Taiwan like I have treated my Columban community and family. I consider the people I meet as people I wish to evangelize. Because of that I show them my best behavior. I do my best to understand them and to avoid hurting them. What is more I do my utmost to bear the pain and not to show the hurts they give me. Rather than expressing these unpleasant feelings I speak as if it were to a personal companion and spiritual guide. No matter how you describe it, I am not being truly honest with these people.
On the other hand how am I loving and being kind to my community? It looks like I am so comfortable with being included in the community that I am not treating it in an appropriate way.
As a result, I unintentionally offend others. In a word, I am so disjointed as to appear to be two people: like a person who is very pleasant at the office and when at home too proud to notice anyone. Until I studied psychology I did not understand why I revealed these two faces to the world. I heard a professor once say the ordinary person in society believes that if they do not adapt to society they will be weeded out. It follows that one needs to accept society`s demands. As a consequence the person struggles to adapt no matter how many the difficulties. On the other hand because the community does not change no matter what I do, I continue to treat the community lightly.
I have often considered how I have treated the members of the community, for instance the cook in our central house. The cook is an employee of the mission unit. How am I treating her? Do I see her as I see a person to evangelize or as a family member? It is hard for me to say. One thing is clear, I am not as close to her as a family member should be, and I do not behave towards her like I behave towards the people I wish to evangelize. Frankly, I treat her as an employee.
I wonder how much the world would be changed if I behaved towards others with greater kindness. If the community treated those outside and those inside in the same way and not from emotion or pleasantries, it would put into effect real love and kindness. The missionary would then be putting into practice God's love and kindness.
Originally from South Korea, Columban Lay Missionary Kim Jung-Woong Bosco lives and works in Taiwan.