I know this news is not knew, but it is recent. My prayers go out to the family of this young man. 👏
One of the things that disturbs me about American people traveling to other countries is that many times Americans travel with a lack of wisdom, about the location they are traveling to, that can get one hurt, or in this sad case, killed.
1.) He tresspassed into a “staff-only” area of a 1,000 room Yanggakdo international hotel.
2.) He was caught on film, stealing a propoganda poster, bearing the name Kim Jong-Il.
The poster reads; “Let’s arm ourselves strongly with Kim Jong Il patriotism.”
3.) His reason for stealing the poster was to take back a “trophy” for a US church (I’ve chosen to leave out some details because I’ve read his reason else where, and beyond taking the poster for a church, the rest of what is reported is slightly different from one news website to the next.)
4.) North Korea is still under nominally Communist Rule.
5.) We just can’t go into other people’s homes and steal.
There is a rule in traveling to someone else’s homeland that I have had to learn: “Wisdom“. Some of you may think this is insensitive…my apologies. But the truth of the matter is, when going into communist territory, there is a certain regard that has to be taken and respected. Politics are going to be prevalent. There is going to be a strong militant structure/culture, law is going to be more extreme, and human rights are going to be minimized. If this is the case for the citizens, why then would one traveling from the US, not consider that this could be the case for them?
It should be standard to learn the law of someone else’s country and region before traveling to it. When committing a crime on foreign turf, one is subjected to the laws of that land… As should be expected. If you find the laws of that state/country, hard to NOT break, then you should probably not travel there. ( Giving Biblical permission for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ…NO MATTER WHERE the location).
In North Korea , harming or stealing items with the name or image of a North Korean leader is considered a very serious crime against the North Korean government. I would use Romans 13 as my source for obeying the laws of the land, but honestly…there are just some countries we have no business traveling to right now, as American people, unless it is for the cause of Christ. We need to use wisdom in all things.
Let’s just make this one thing clear. He was not doing anything that honored Jesus Christ. He was not asked to violate any commands of God. He was not being forced to denounce the Lord. He was stealing. He was under the authority of NK regime. He willingly traveled to that country.
(1 John 2:16)”For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
I have a few questions, but one of them is…why wouldn’t he think of the fact that there would be cameras watching his every move, especially coming from the US?
Due to the sensitivity of this story, there is a lot that I have left out that I was going to say. Turning my focus off of this young man for the moment….clearly understand the times that we are living in.
I understand that as individuals, we want to experience life. Have stories to share. Sit at a coffee shop in Turkey and blog about it. The reality is, we want to travel to destinations, where we are not allies but rather enemies….at least, contentions run deeply and on camera leaders smile and shake hands, Where there is social unrest (not speaking in terms of North Korea…but, anywhere), Where even the locals are trying to leave….just to proclaim how “cultured” and ecentric we are. We should not live in fear, but carefully.
I’m sure this young man wanted a fulfilling life….one of success and that of adventure. When we choose to steal, sneak, lie and cover up, know immediately that those choices are not God’s way. Any path that leads in the opposite direction of Jesus Christ, sadly leads to death. This poor man. He made a bad choice unbeknownst to him, in the beginning, that it would lead to his death. I feel so hurt for his family and can’t imagine the pain that they are feeling and questions that they have, that may never be answered…such as; ” What were his last thoughts?” perhaps he thought of just being curled up in his bed, walking down his side walk, the family of his own that he never got to have.
Experiencing life narrows down to simplicity, when we can see the end or when we are at, the end of it. Perhaps we need to enjoy the simplicities in life, to the point, that’s fulfilling enough. The troubles we could avoid, simply being thankful for the simple things.
I’m going to end this with a proverb:
(Proverbs 1:7) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”