Sitting in an airport just outside of Seoul, South Korea, I can’t help but reflect on the conversation I just had with the cab driver who drove me to the airport.
I was initially going to take the bus to the airport, but as I was waiting, a taxi driver approached me and asked if I wanted a ride to the airport. I was initially hesitant, but he seemed like a nice guy and he said he would only charge me the cost of the airport bus fare – 15000 won, so I went with him.
Entering the car, I began a conversation with him that began with why I was in Korea in the first place and progresed to faith issues and how cab drivers are paid in Korea.
The most interesting part of the conversation was when we talked about matters of faith. He seemed to view faith very much as a crutch that help people live their lives. He was commenting on the way that he came from a Buddhist family and that he just couldn’t understand why one of his sisters was such a strong Christian. To him, everyone needs faith in something in order to get through this difficult life.
When he mentioned the word difficult, I sensed that perhaps he saw Christianity as something that only gives hope to the poor.
Hoping to enter into a deeper faith conversation, I proceeded to ask him why rich people are also Christian. His answer was basically that rich people’s prayers are different than the prayers of people “like us.” “We pray for daily life, making enough money so that we can eat, etc, while rich people probably pray for other issues..”
I was hoping to comment on his faith and the way that he expresed himself to be a nominal Catholic who just goes to church to feel better in hopes that it would help his life…however, I didn’t sense that it was necessarily my place to tell him that. Neither did I sense that it was right for me to say it (for cultural and spirtual reasons). What I did do was love him by listening to him, encourage him as a human being, and silently pray for him that he would enter into a deeper and true relationship with Christ.
Does that mean that I never confront strangers on faith issues? If God leads me to do that, then I will. However, aren’t there enough people that breathe criticism and hate towards others who don’t believe in the exact same way that they do? Wasn’t it enough that he knew I was a pastor and that I showed love and care for him?
True and lasting life transformation comes through relationships…not criticism.
I know that it wasn’t a mistake that I met him, and I pray that he does eventually realize that Christianity is not a crutch nor a religion…
Christianity is a way of life.