Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Let China Be Glad

Image source.

"Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations upon earth."
Psalm 67:4

What about China?

This verse strikes me as almost contradictory, because of my evangelical background. Being glad about God's judgment? Oh goodness no. Because what does "God's judgment" mean? What does "justice" mean? Well it means everyone goes to hell. Yep. Everyone. Goes to hell.

(What? Perfect Number, where did you get that idea? Evangelical Christianity teaches exactly that. God's "justice" means everyone should go to hell. God's "love" gets some people out of it. I'm serious.)

No way a nation is going to be glad about that. Not if "you judge the peoples with equity" means "God will send the vast majority of the population to hell."

And even if you're in the select group who gets saved, are you going to be glad about the whole thing? No. Well, maybe if you deaden your emotions and recite some line about how hell "glorifies God" or some bullshit like that...

See that's the problem with the whole hell thing. We evangelicals refer to it as "justice" but then put in a lot of effort to save people from it. If we really believe that's what people deserve, then what's the problem? Hell would only be a motivator for evangelism if, on some level, we believe it is a horribly unreasonable punishment.

So anyway. Back to my question, "What about China?" Ah, China. Could China be glad when God judges the nations? China, whose government is officially atheist. China, where only 4% of the population identifies as Christian. Sounds like the vast majority of Chinese are going to hell, yes?

China, which has somewhat adopted some Christmas traditions, but only knows the commercialized side, not the story of Jesus.

China, where I'm careful about saying Christian things in public. Where missionaries come back with stories about how a friend of a friend was questioned by the police.

China, where so many people have not heard.

When God judges the nations, that's bad news for China, right?

Image source.

But no, I absolutely DO NOT believe "the vast majority of Chinese are going to hell." Because I see God here. The hospitality in this culture, the emphasis on community rather than individualism- that's a side of God I don't see in the US.

And the language, oh the language. How amazing it is that a language could be so different. How human minds can perceive the world through such different grammatical structures. Wow.

God made this. The beauty, the people, culture, language, everything I love in China. God's not sending China to hell.

If people reflect the image of God, then God is Han Chinese more than anything else.

I don't believe God's sending China to hell. (If he were, then Psalm 67 would make no sense.)

I DO believe that China will rejoice when God judges with equity, as Psalm 67 says.

Because oh, China needs justice.

China, with its human rights violations. China, where the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner is in jail. China, where refugees from North Korea are caught and sent back to North Korea.

China, with its poverty and increasing gap between the rich and poor, the urban and rural areas. Lack of education and opportunities for so many children.

China, with its one-child policy. Forced abortions and forced sterilizations, and 117 male babies for every 100 females.

China, where I post this stuff online and hope and pray my blog is really anonymous because I could get kicked out for saying these things.

Oh yes, China will be glad when God judges.

Because, well you better be sitting down because this is going to blow your mind: Justice is a good thing. Justice is something we really want.

It means those who do wrong will be held accountable. And it means those who suffered and were victimized will be lifted up.

People who hurt others aren't going to get away with it. And for those forced to endure the injustice, someday it will be made right. And God will protect them and meet all their needs.

Now that is a definition of "justice" I can get behind. Not "everyone is supposed to go to hell, but see God didn't want quite that much justice (justice is the opposite of love, didn't you know?) so he sent Jesus to save some of us."

But wait. Those who do wrong aren't going to get away with it. That includes me. The ways I benefit from systems that oppress others won't go unnoticed. Did I do something to help people, or did I passively accept it as "the way things are" and accidentally become part of the problem? Justice will know.

Justice. I like this justice. Let the nations be glad. Let China be glad.


This post is part of a link-up on the topic of Psalm 67. To read other people's posts, click here: everydayawe.com


  1. because the justice of God is just. may there be the found in Him radiating in each soul

  2. I agree: Justice is NOT the opposite of love. Justice sometimes means doing something that one of your loved ones won't like but that is the right thing to do--but love doesn't mean giving your loved ones everything they want. God our father is an authoritative parent, not a permissive one, but also not a negligent one.

    It's great that you are able to live in China and still able to find a way to speak your mind. I look forward to reading more about it. (I've read a lot of your posts, although I haven't commented very often.) I nominated you for a Liebster Award!