Pastor Cho’s letter
My mom never hugged me! If your response is, “That’s horrible!” then you may be less familiar about Asian or similar cultures. I am generalizing of course, but in most Asian cultures around the world, the parents don’t blurt out “I love you” or hug their kids. You might be wondering if this will have some long-term psychological impact later in life. Depriving your children of affection and love can’t be healthy, right? Of course! However, Asian parents show their love in other ways. My parents loved me by unrelenting nagging: ‘eat your vegetables,’ ‘go to bed early,’ ‘don’t slouch,’ ‘do your homework,’ and of course ‘go to church.’ Yes, there is love there somewhere. Hugging is not in our psyche. So, can you imagine my shock when Kevin Peck gave me a bear hug when I first walked into Westvale? I mean, I barely knew him... As I was getting therapy for PTSD, I asked the Lord, “If it is your will, take this cup from me.” With all kidding aside, hugging was not easy for me, especially around the touchy-feely Westvalians. But over time I began to show less abhorrent reactions to hugging; I began to feel less tense, less stressful, and took deep breaths. More oxygen really helps. Like learning to dance, hugging takes time and training. Our life-long goal is to be like Christ, and when “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are…transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18 NKJV). We are to walk with Christ daily, and become His disciples. The training is a life-time commitment, and success of true discipline occurs under the guidance of the Spirit. Discipline? “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:11 NIV). Notice it says that discipline produces righteousness and peace. We need to embrace discipline more.
I have decided that I am going to get better at hugging. As my first victims, I choose the people who never showed how to hug – my parents. I am going to invade my parents’ space! You have to realize that even just imagining this is super awkward, and I cringe at the thought. My first concern is - can I follow through? But my greatest concern is - how will they react? It’s coming from their son, how bad can it be? Easy for you to say, you’re a Westvalian. In their wisdom, my parents have always given me what I need; and not necessarily what I want. I truly appreciate that. Now it’s my turn to give them something they need but not in a way they might want.
To be continued…