It might surprise some to know that Japan, which has the third largest economy in the world, and is the world’s bastion of technology, has a whaling industry.
Whaling, as well as fishing, is still considered an important part of Japan’s food culture. This has made Japan the target of criticism from animal rights and environmental activists.
In November 2007 two animal rights activists, John Gravois and Karl Neilsen, planned an attack upon a Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, in the chilling waters of the Ross Sea near Antarctica.
They intended to hurl bottles of acid and smoke bombs at the whaler – regardless of the injury they might inflict on the sailors.
But their attack was foiled when they became hopelessly lost in the frozen fog. Desperate, the two men radioed a cry for help. For seven hours they hunkered down in their small Zodiac dingy, trying to survive the fog and drizzle.
Then a ship came to their rescue. It was the Japanese whaler, the Nisshin Maru – the very same ship they had planned to attack!
The Japanese took the two aboard, fed them, and gave them shelter as they towed their boat to safer waters. But, once out of danger, the activists remarked, “I guess we’re back on schedule,” and resumed their attack.
Gravois and Neilsen hurled a smoke bomb and a 1 ½ gallon-bottle of acid on the deck of the Japanese ship, injuring two of the sailors.
Whalers and activists, liberals and conservatives, the pious and the profane – are all made of the same material: frail and flawed humanity. But sometimes they can be so blinded by their own self-righteousness, and hypocrisy that they become the very thing they profess to hate.
May God help us not deny — by our deeds — what we profess with our mouths!
Our Lord said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye,” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV).
Dear Father in heaven, open my eyes to my own flaws and frailties before I seek to correct others. Grant that I will not criticize my brother until I have walked a mile in his shoes. Amen.