True respect

By Paulo Coelho

During the evangelisation of Japan, a missionary was taken prisoner by samurai warriors.

‘If you want to remain alive, tomorrow, in front of everyone, you will trample on the image of Christ,’ said the samurai.

The missionary went to bed with not a doubt in his heart: he would never commit such a sacrilege, and he prepared himself for martyrdom.

He woke in the middle of the night and, when he got out of bed, he tripped over a man asleep on the floor. He almost fell back in astonishment: it was Jesus Christ in person!

‘Now that you have trampled on me, go outside and trample on my image,’ said Jesus. ‘Fighting for an ideal is far more important than making a futile sacrifice.’

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Comments

  1. abel says:

    So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. this is the word of Jesus, christian life is not living by your emotions but bu the holy spirit with in you. I never had happy before. But christianity is happiness. Christianity is not a religion it is a life. Pleas Jesus is coming, and everybody will see him in the clouds of the sky, Please this is the truth, give your self one day to realize about christianity and read the words of god then you will have life. Please. God bless you all

  2. A name is power so not evan a false one says:

    I love this story as I always was told to die for faith was the only thing you have as a chioce or you are commiting the ultimate offense wicith is what our church ment bythe unforgivable sin.
    So this plus what Estaban side really opened my eyes !
    Where did you get this Mr.Coelho ?

  3. yuka says:

    That's really funny, yesterday I was just thinking about Fumie(that's what's called in Japanese), the little board with the image of Christ.
    I went to Wikipedia and showed the image to my American husband, and I explained to him how we Japanese tend to perceive religions in general and how I learned in school about why the government wanted to ban Christianity so much at that time. There was something in my life in US that reminded me of Fumie that day.

    I've never belong to any particular religions even though I went to Buddhist owned schools and some Christian sunday schools. But I tried to imagine what would I do if I am a Christian and be at the moment when I have to make a decision of whether I'll be true to my god or pretend something else so that I'll not be killed. It must be a difficult decision.

    I'd probably pretend I am not Christian to avoid being killed and later beg for forgiveness from Jesus. And I would like to believe that Jesus Christ must be someone like you described in your story. I thought of this many times, but I think the world would be much better place than how it is if he really shows up in front of people and says to us, “hey, I didn't say that!?”

  4. CordieB says:

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians Chapter 6, Verse 12

    We must hold true to our true principals; the ones we know are truthful deep in or souls; not changed by the world in which we live.

  5. omelas says:

    Probably Jesus could also deny being the son of God and keep living and fighting for an ideal, but he chose to die. How can you know that this would have been a futile sacrifice?

  6. mc says:

    god, jesus, the heavens, the universe…whatever it is that one believes, knows a warrior of the light’s journey and knows it is the journey that makes each mission count, yes? if there is no one to walk the journey then what is the purpose?

  7. Kasia says:

    First off Paulo, let me say that you truely are greatness in all sense of the word. A mind that has no boundaries, but still remains true to oneself. I really admire that. Therough this passage one phrase came to mind , “somestimes you have to lose the battle to win the war”. This is something to keep in mind our everday lives because battles lost are blessings in disguise because we learn from them.

    Peace and Love

    Kasia

  8. Joana says:

    Não são os nossos actos. É a nossa mente.

    Se nos mantivermos fiéis a nós mesmos, seremos fiéis a tudo aquilo em que dizemos acreditar.

    Independentemente do que os outros possam querer que pensemos ou possam pensar.

  9. Anjali says:

    ‘Fighting for an ideal is far more important than making a futile sacrifice.’

    Thanks for this message. It confirms what I have always belived in. But in life, sacrifice is compared to heroism. And then when ideals seem futile, what one one do?

  10. hiroshi says:

    Hi Paulo san,

    have you read a book entitled “silence” by shusaku endo, a well known christian novelist?
    Endo, in this work, deals with the same issue of if a devout christian can trample on the image of christ.

    this book should be available in english, spanish, portugues etc.
    If you have not, please try reading it.

    love
    hiroshi

  11. kealan says:

    Just because people hang a picture of Jesus on the wall they think that they can say I’m a good Christian. I do not have one religious thing in my house, not even a cross or a bible and I am Christian. You cannot worship material things. If you pray hard enough and understand the truth that is all Jesus needs you to do.

    (I do have Mary on a Medallion in my car to keep me and others safe, this is true)

  12. Isabel Teixeira says:

    Se não marcarmos a nossa existência, jamais um dia alguém saberá que nós existimos.

    Escrever é sem duvida uma boa maneira de marcarmos a nossa presença no Mundo.

  13. yuka says:

    That’s really funny, yesterday I was just thinking about Fumie(that’s what’s called in Japanese), the little board with the image of Christ.
    I went to Wikipedia and showed the image to my American husband, and I explained to him how we Japanese tend to perceive religions in general and how I learned in school about why the government wanted to ban Christianity so much at that time. There was something in my life in US that reminded me of Fumie that day.

    I’ve never belong to any particular religions even though I went to Buddhist owned schools and some Christian sunday schools. But I tried to imagine what would I do if I am a Christian and be at the moment when I have to make a decision of whether I’ll be true to my god or pretend something else so that I’ll not be killed. It must be a difficult decision.

    I’d probably pretend I am not Christian to avoid being killed and later beg for forgiveness from Jesus. And I would like to believe that Jesus Christ must be someone like you described in your story. I thought of this many times, but I think the world would be much better place than how it is if he really shows up in front of people and says to us, “hey, I didn’t say that!?”

  14. Esteban says:

    There is no real image of Jesus anyway. No one took his picture or painted a portrait of him. Not sure why people hang up a face of just some guy. And anyway, the message is what’s important not the messenger.

  15. Sri says:

    by means of sacrifice many quit the fight of life. This would only result in ending the purpose of life.
    Jesus’s presence in this story makes the missionary realise the essence of life. Similarly people like me too at times need someone or something to make us realise too.

  16. aditya says:

    So true Paulo ! like always.

    In this case for the missionary had a clear choice, either the sacrifice or continuance of the fight. What one should do if fight and sacrifice become the same thing; the more I fight for the idea, deeper is inserted the nail in my heart. Quit the fight and u will be left alone. I guess the right decision would be to continue the fight at a level which does not attract self destruction, by others or by self.

    regds
    aditya