The other day, my family and I got into a conversation about the Korean word jeong. This specific term has many definitions, but we came to the conclusion that it meant: love, passion, sympathy, and Loyalty. I came to define it as a “blood bond” between family members and those closest to us. In the Chinese culture (jeong as well), it means to emphasize aspects of loyalty and reciprocity in relationships. In Japanese culture, pronounced “jyo,” means sentimental feelings. It is interesting to see that Asians can relate to this term.
A good example of this word in my life was my relationship with my sister in high school. She didn’t make the best decisions in life. But even when she made terrible choices, I was there to show her love. I learned what it meant to care for her even when my parents and I didn’t understand half of what was going on in her life.
This jeong we feel towards our family members and friends is extremely powerful. It’s not just love, but more than love, till the point where human pride takes over.
Of course, there is a positive side to jeong: Warm, rich interpersonal relationships, nurturing, and caring. Bonded by jeong, collective efforts toward a common goal, overcoming crises, and survival are key. This part of Jeong is what I come to understand as the fellowship in RCF. I believe we have a very close knit society of interpersonal relationships which can push us further to find ourselves in our walk with God. We come together to share precious moments (i.e. Sister’s Appreciation) and when we are going through times of struggle. I personally love this part of RCF and what it offers. We don’t just have friends to turn to, but have that brother or sister we rely upon in our darkest times to help us in our walk with Christ.
On the other hand, the negative side, Jeong can lead to an “in-crowd versus out-crowd” situation which involves our human pride. To us, it is what we see as socially acceptable and unacceptable. This tight-knit church is good, but too much and it becomes a clique. When talking with my family I started to see RCF as a clique. During the week, this is the place to be! If there is going to be any fun on a Friday night, it’s gonna be Large Group. What I’m trying to get at is that from time to time I have habitually defined myself off of the church and its members, NOT off Christ. When people ask me what I do during the week besides study I say: “hang out with friends,” or “church.” I don’t say “pray” or “seek Christ.” I know… that may be an extreme example, but I want to get the point across.
Through this almost irrelevant conversation, I was reminded once more to see that God is first, and that He has blessed each and every one of us with friends who share the common goal to seek Christ. We should define ourselves not as just Christians, but Disciples. Personally, when I confine God to just the church in my mind, I come to find that serving is obligatory. But when I open up my heart, and make Him limitless, I can serve unceasingly. Church should not be a clique, because Jesus didn’t just accept a few people in His house according to what he liked. He accepted everyone, disregarding even our sinful nature. That thought gives me a ton of hope and encouragement.
I thought my conversation with the fam was a really good reminder of God’s Jeong (without the negative side) for us. Here’s a bible passage I found fitting:
“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” – 1 John 1:3.