The contrast as I travel is stark. Every city has a dark side. If you walk the streets of Tokyo you can discover beautiful parks, amazing nooks of reflective meditation, and wonderful architecture. You can also find great shopping, incredible food, and customer service that defy even your most imaginative dreams. Yet buried right out in the open are whole sections of the city dedicated to exploitation, self indulgence, and hedonism. You might think that Tokyo is unique, but no.
I eagerly anticipated my first visit to Seoul. The sense of how close the military is never quite left my consciousness, yet the stark beauty and contrast in the city was alluring. Hills and rivers separated the different sections. Wonderful variations on contemporary design were offset by the grandeur of Seoul’s central train station and the traditional gates to the city. It was easy to find myself falling into Seoul’s beauty, thinking that everything reflected the endurance and strength of the people that occupied the land. Yet just nearby one finds whole sections of the city dedicated to exploitation, self indulgence, and hedonism. You might think that Seoul is unique, but no.
“Hell has a voracious appetite, and lust just never quits.” (Proverbs 27.20)
City after city, village after village, and heart after heart follows the pattern. For some the combination is natural and appropriate. Good contrasting with evil, self offset by others, or greed nurtured and controlled by mercy. That is the way life is supposed to be. Isn’t that right?
There are those who accept that life is as we see it around us. I am not one of those people! I see life that can be more, much more, than what I discover as I walk the streets and see the reflection of my own heart. You and I have the opportunity to be part of something greater, much greater than the beauty and grace found in best that this world has to offer. We can be participants in compassion, grace, and mercy; God himself. This is real life and living.