(This is the second in a series of posts drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ.)
As Ambassador Grew was traveling via steamer toward Japan in 1932, he wrote about two dangers that face ambassadors.
The first is the danger of being prejudiced against the nation where one is being sent. “An ambassador who starts prejudiced against the country to which he is accredited might just as well pack up and go home…” Ambassador Grew pointed out that such an attitude would undermine and damage the relationship that was to be built. This underscores the importance of us, as Christians, having loving and compassionate attitudes as we interact with the lost.
Do we have a love for those we are called to be ambassadors to? I was reminded of Jesus as He interacted with the wealthy and proud young man who would not acknowledge his sin. “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him…” (Mark 10:21).
The second danger that Ambassador Grew shared about is the opposite of the first: being influenced by the foreign country! The term that he used in the book was “imbued,” which means “to permeate or influence as if by dyeing.”
I’ve thought often about how easy it is for us as Christians to be influenced by the world, but I was particularly struck to read about an ambassador being on guard against the same danger in the physical world.
While we love the people, we must be on guard against loving the things of the world. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
How could an Ambassador ever remain “in balance” — loving the people in the country to which he was posted while being on guard lest he becomes too influenced by those around him?
Ambassador Grew shared the solution: “However, I know the minds of the President, the Secretary, and the Department pretty well, and that should help to keep a straight course.”
The only way we will be able to be in the world but not of the world is to know the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2).