Unity Through Pain

こんにちわ!

This season has had some really good anime: from Joker Game to My Hero Academia, it’s been really fun watching all the interesting new shows that have been airing. There’s a wide variety of genres out there, and they all ask different questions on different issues that are important to us now, in our day-to-day lives: questions about excellence and obedience to authority figures, but one of the most personal questions brought out by a show this season, to me, comes from Kiznavier.

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Anime protagonists with powers look at their hands a lot.

There are a lot of anime that focus on how bad the world is and offer “solutions” on how to solve it. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 tried solving war with…well, more war. The protagonists of Akame ga Kill tried to save their world via targeted and specific assassination. Even the main character of The Devil is a Part-Timer!, Lord Satan himself, attempted to take over the world he originally resided in presumably to make life better for everyone who lived there. But Kiznavier takes a different approach to the idea of saving the world through its people that I found really interesting.

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Some of our unlikely heroes.

The protagonists of Kiznavier are all kidnapped by the same organization and forced into the Kizuna System: an inter-personal device meant to be the beta-test of a system that would solve human conflict by forcing humans to understand one another’s pain. What this means for our less-than-enthusiastic main crew is that whenever one of them is harmed physically, they all feel the same pain.

Yeah, talk about taking sympathy pains to a whole new level. The organization uses the threat of this pain to keep them all in line, and they’re forced to learn to work together in order to progress through the program. While this does make an excellent Segway into some awesome team-building exercises…

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The squad that gets electrocuted together, stays together.

…it’s not exactly the preferred method of getting to know someone. The idea of this device is intriguing, and the premise behind it is even more so. While I personally do not believe that humans can ever achieve a state of perfect harmony with one another outside of fellowship with God, it does remind me of the duty of believers in the church.

Paul exhorts us as Christians to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2), and to do so requires a lot of self-sacrifice in order to truly help those around us. To bear a burden isn’t simply to acknowledge that the burden exists, but it’s to get right up next to the afflicted person and to take the load alongside them. It takes personal investment in order to lend your strength to someone who is suffering; you have to want to help someone in order for it to be effective for either of you. I mean, have you ever been comforted by someone who you could tell didn’t have their heart in it? Or you received an apology from someone who wasn’t sorry? More often than not, that person didn’t really care about you or your feelings, but they just offered comfort in order to ease their conscience or to please an authority figure.

And herein lies the rub. We can’t truly ever show comfort to other believers unless we truly do desire to, otherwise it is ultimately self-serving. We gain the desire to care for God’s people from Christ Himself, our perfectly self-sacrificing example, and this explains why humans will never have true peace: without Christ, we work only to please ourselves.

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Confession time at its best.

Without God working in our lives, we’ll never truly live out of anything other than personal gain, whether it be emotional or physical. We won’t achieve world peace, fully understand others, or even understand ourselves. As Christians, however, we are vessels of the “Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father [has] sent in [His] name”, and He works through us in order to help those in need. The Spirit unites all believers through the blood of Christ: His suffering connects us to each other’s suffering, and in turn to His grace.

While we might not all have experienced the same issues or went through the same circumstances, we can sympathize with those who suffer. We can cry alongside them, we can pray with them, and we can point them to the true source of lasting comfort in this world. Personally, I can honestly say that I’m not sure where I would be today if I didn’t experience this firsthand: from friends who’ve listened to me cry over Physics homework at 1:00 AM to parents who’ve encouraged me to keep dreaming despite not being awarded a prize at the science fair, there are dozens of examples I could point to of God working through others to share my pain, and to help me understand it. And through it all, I’ve come to understand both myself and those around me that much more.

We don’t need the Kinuza System in order to share our pain with others. We’ve got quite the upgrade: the Holy Spirit. The Spirit offers us the ability to sympathize, the grace to encourage, and the peace of understanding so that we can truly help other believers.

Let’s gain our pain. More importantly, let’s share our pain, and use it to grow closer to Christ and our fellow believers.

Sam

I'm a student who loves God and manages to balance school, games, books, anime, and Asian culture while staying slightly sane.