Their son and daughter in the U.S. had not learned of their parents’ death until early in 1945 when the Philippines were liberated. At first, Peggy was angry and filled with hate that the people who had been the object of her parents’ love and prayers could have killed them. But eventually, she knew she had to forgive them and show them the love of Christ. She inquired and found out that the POW hospitals needed social workers and she volunteered.
She was forgiving her enemies, loving those who had brought so much sorrow to her own life.
When Fuchida heard of this, he was stunned. Whoever heard of forgiving one’s enemies? In Japan, he said, it was considered honorable to pronounce a seven-fold curse on one’s enemies. But to forgive them?
He began reading about this Christian faith. One day he found the book I Was a Japanese Prisoner of War, written by Jacob DeShazer, one of Doolittle’s Raiders who had been shot down and spent three years in a POW camp. While there, he came to know Christ and determined the Lord would have him return to Japan as a missionary when the war ended.
Next, Fuchida came across a man giving out Bibles. He eagerly took one and went home to read it, wanting to find out more about this new kind of faith which would put an end to war. He read and read. And then he came to Luke 23.
The Lord Jesus was hanging on the cross, dying. At the base of the cross, His executioners are taunting Him, spitting on Him, cursing Him Jesus looks toward Heaven and prays, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they do.”
At that moment, Fuchida became a Christian. He had never met a Christian, and had never talked to one. But Christ had captured his heart through the example of a young woman who was loving instead of hating, a former bombardier who was loving the captors who had treated him so cruelly, and by the testimony of Christ Himself.
Later, he would come across Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
It was world-changing. Revolutionary. Amazing.
“It was like having the sun come up,” Fuchida said.
For the rest of his life, Mitsuo Fuchida dedicated himself to spreading the message of Jesus Christ.
I heard him speak in chapel at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the mid-1960s and never forgot it. I do not recall one thing he said; but I never forgot who he was and how God had captured this Samurai. (The story was first told in Gordon Prange’s book God’s Samurai, and later in T. Martin Bennett’s Wounded Tiger. Fuchida’s autobiography is For That One Day.)
Love your enemies.
No teaching of our Lord’s has been more attacked, slandered, ridiculed and vilified than His calling on people to love those who hate them, to turn the other cheek when hit, to go the second mile with one’s oppressors, to give one’s shirt to someone stealing his coat.