Gift-giving is very common around the world, but in Japan, people have it down to a science. In a rather genteel fashion, you give in order to “even a score” somehow; if someone does something nice for you (or is about to do something nice for you), then you give an equivalent gift back so you are on equal terms again. One internet article I read on the topic had sixteen bulleted points on how to give a gift correctly http://www.1worldglobalgifts.com/japangiftgivingetiquette.htm)!
I never did get it quite right when I lived there, and I sincerely apologize to any Japanese reader whom I may have offended in any way by doing/not doing the wrong/right thing all those years ago!
Even last year, when we were part of a Japanese student exchange program, I’m sure that there is no way that we were “equal” to the great generosity that Amanda experienced when she visited the wonderful family that took her in to their home in Kobe. I keep wishing for another chance!
But there’s also a “keeping-track” system around the world that isn’t as genteel as Japanese gift-giving, and you certainly don’t want to be on the receiving end of it: the idea that if someone wrongs you, you need to keep track of it and settle it somehow. Yikes.
The Bible says this about God’s record-keeping:
If you kept track of sins, LORD–my Lord, who would stand a chance? But forgiveness is with you–that’s why you are honored (Psalm 130:3-4 CEB).
Furthermore, God wants us to love others the same way:
(Love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV).
So much for evening up the score!
May we have enough love for each other that we can be bad at record-keeping, too.
For friends new to this blog, “Wednesday’s Word” is a weekly Bible audio clip that rotates between Genesis, Luke and Psalms. Occasionally, I post “Wednesday’s Word to the Free,” a short Bible passage on what it means to be free. Freedom is a very big concern to Timley Mouse, the tiniest character in my upcoming novel, Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather!
On Sundays, I post an article-type post on themes in the novels: faith, friendship, diversity, etc. Thanks for reading! Feel free to share!