Won’t this Cause You to Lose Face?

  • Approximate Time Commitment: 5 minutes

This article was written by Jackson Wu and focuses on “face” in East Asian cultures. This short article is recommended for anyone who is involved, or is looking to be involved, in a ministry in an honor-shame culture. Start reading the article below.

Partner: HonorShame

Resource Description


Note: This post comes from a cross-cultural worker in East Asia.

It was a crisp, bright morning as I rode my bike to language class. About a block away from the school, I noticed a man sitting on the sidewalk begging for money. I immediately felt compelled to talk with him, but I had no time to do so as class was about to start. However, the next morning after class, I saw him sitting in the exact same spot as before. I felt compelled to talk with him again, and this time I had no excuse not to, but I rode my bike right past him and continued riding anyway.

Meanwhile, my spirit, unsettled within me, knew God was speaking to me to talk with this man, but I was afraid—afraid that I wouldn’t be able to successfully communicate with him, afraid that this interaction could potentially interrupt my day, afraid of what other people might think of me. Nonetheless, I turned around and after five minutes of silent prayer, I worked up enough courage to ask if I could sit with him. This led to us casually talking for about a half an hour.

Then I asked him if I could treat him to lunch. He agreed, but then he asked me something I will never forget: “Won’t this cause you to lose face?”…..


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