Tag Archives: Korean War

No More Spit in Soup

Story of the Day for Monday April 30, 2012

No More Spit in Soup

Do not repay anyone evil for evil . . . “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he’s thirsty, give him something to drink.”
Romans 12:17, 20

Ray Stedman recalled a story that took place during the Korean War. Some officers rented a house and hired a Korean boy to cook and do housework for them. He was a cheerful, good-natured young man, and the soldiers soon had a lot of fun playing practical jokes on him.

They would nail his shoes to the floor or balance a pail of water on the door so that when he opened it, the water would come splashing down on him.

But no matter how many tricks they played on him, he always took it with good humor.

The soldiers eventually started feeling bad about the mean tricks they were playing and sat down one day with the Korean boy.

“We’ve been doing all these mean things to you and you’ve taken it so nicely. We just want to apologize to you and tell you that we are never going to do those things again.”

“You mean no more nail shoes to floor?”

“No more,” they assured him.

“You mean no more water on door?”

“No more.”

“Okay, then,” he said, “no more spit in soup.”

Isn’t retaliation wonderful? It gets us through the tough times in life by giving us the satisfaction of knowing we have evened the score.

We enjoy “pay back time.”  If we didn’t, Hollywood would go belly up, because “getting even” is a major theme of movies.

The logic of retaliation is to “fight fire with fire.” But, if you fight fire with fire, what do you have more of? You have more fire.

If you fight evil with evil, what do you have more of?

Jesus came up with a wild, radical notion. He thinks you should fight fire with water.  You fight evil with love.

Dr. J. Stuart Holden conducted worship services for the British Highland Regiment. While in Egypt, a sergeant told him how he became a believer.

“A private became a Christian while we were in Malta,” the sergeant told Holden. One night, the private came in exhausted, but took the time to kneel outside his tent to pray.

Annoyed by this, the sergeant said he took off his muddy boots and slapped the soldier on the side of the head. But he just went on praying.

The next morning the sergeants awoke to find his boots by his tent, cleaned and polished.

“That,” the sergeant said, “was his reply to me . . . I was saved that day.”

                                    (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Able to Spot Their Priests

Story of the Day for Friday February 10, 2012

Able to Spot Their Priests

                    Remind everyone to submit to leaders and those in authority, to be obedient, and ready to do whatever is good.

                                                                   Titus 3:1

 The silence was eerie.  After the Korean War, about eighty American prisoners of war were recovering at the army hospital in Tokyo. The former POWs would talk to the doctors, but even though these soldiers had spent three years together in prison and knew each other intimately, they wouldn’t talk with each other.


The treatment of POWs by the communist Koreans was insidiously effective. The prison camps had no guard towers, no electric fences, no search lights or guard dogs. A prison camp holding between 500 to 600 American prisoners was guarded by a mere half dozen guards. Yet, not one American soldier ever escaped.

The North Korean’s strategy was to demoralize their prisoners, and to accomplish their objective, they began by isolating the leaders. Officers were removed from their men and put in “reactionary camps.” After the officers were segregated, they kept a keen eye out for anyone assuming a leadership role and removed them.

Once the leaders were gone, they created distrust among everyone else. Informants who reported the misdeeds of fellow prisoners were rewarded with cigarettes, candy, or special privileges. But those who were tattled on were never punished. Everyone seemed to profit.

Soon, however, everyone became psychologically isolated. No one trusted anyone else.

The communists knew well what Americans can easily forget: the loss of leadership can devastate a group. When no one exists to encourage, inspire, and maintain a spirit of unity, group members attack each other and look to their own self-interests.

Almost forty percent of the American POWs died in prison — the highest death rate of American prisoners in any war since the American Revolution. The reason for the high mortality rate was neither torture nor malnutrition, but a lack of morale. The prisoners called it “Give-up-itis.” Without leadership, no one chose to resist the enemy. No one worked together. No one took responsibility for his comrade.  After their release, they wouldn’t even talk to each other.


Fighting alongside the U.S. in the Korean War were the Turks. They, too, had many POWs. They, too, had their officers isolated. Yet, none of them died of natural causes. As soon as one leader was taken to a “reactionary camp,” another soldier filled his position of leadership. The leaders held the troops together.  As a result, they shared their rations, cared for their sick, and remained loyal to each other.

Years ago, Christians in Uganda were being purged. A missionary society in England asked an Episcopal bishop in Uganda what they could do to help. Did they need food? Medicine?

The bishop replied that they didn’t need food or medicine; they needed 250 clerical collars. “You must understand,” he said, “when our people are being rounded up to be shot, they must be able to spot their priests.”

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)