This I Believe

Yang, You Chan

  • You Chan Yang describes his hope that he has made a difference in the lives of injured or disabled persons during his tenure on earth, and relates a story in which a boy discovers that only God knows the definition of goodness.
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And now, This I Believe. The living philosophies of thoughtful men and women presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow
This I Believe. You Chan Yang is a surgeon who was named Korean ambassador to the United States in nineteen-fifty-one. He was born in Pusan, went to school in Hawaii and won a scholarship to Boston University. There he graduated from the medical school and returned to Honolulu to practice. For many years he combined his professional interests with activity in the Korean independence movement and was a leader of Korean patriotic and religious groups in Hawaii. Here now are the personal beliefs of Ambassador You Chan Yang.
I am highly privileged to respond to the invitation of Mr. Murrow and to speak on this great program. I can report that listening has paid me deep spiritual dividends. But my dear fellow listeners tonight, I want you to do one thing and one thing only: Forget that you are listening to the Korean ambassador. Remember you are listening to a Korean man. You may ask, ‘What is the difference?’ All right, I have an answer. The Korean ambassador is an individual of temporary importance. A Korean man is a fellow human being. Just like all of you, he was born unto this Earth, and he will live some number of years, and then death will move in, and the moment it does, he moves out. But what has he done with his life? Has he tried to do good?
Has he been aware of the helpless and the mutilated and the blind? Has he done anything for them? Out of my heart, I think I have.
But then a searching question comes in, and that searching question asks, ‘How much?’ My listeners, only my Maker can tell me. For no individual has it within himself to appraise the extent of his contributions to the cause of humanity; will want to attempt it; and the very act of calculation would both tarnish and diminish what would then be his self-proclaimed good deeds. The power of appraisal rests with God alone.
Children often ask their elders questions which are both surprising and searching. I am reminded of an instance which further illustrates the point I have just tried to make. A 6-year-old boy was busying himself with a small rake and shovel and a junior wheelbarrow in cleaning up some rubbish in the backyard. His father was on the porch in a rocking chair and with the newspaper in hand. Finally the little fellow surveyed his achievement and called out, “Daddy, look. I’ve cleaned up everything.” And the father said, “That’s splendid.”
This, however, apparently was not quite rewarding enough, and the youngster persisted with, “Aren’t I good?”
“You are better than good, Son,” replied the father. “You’re wonderful.” The boy pondered that for a moment, then persisted, “Daddy, how good is wonderful?” And that question gave the father pause, a rather long pause. But then he said, “Sonny, I just don’t know, but I do know that nobody told you to clean up that trash. You did it all by yourself. So when you say your prayers tonight, you just mention that to God. He knows how good is wonderful. But that’s one of His secrets. But some day, he will tell you.”
Now if ever there was a time in history which necessitated man’s faith in the Supreme Being, this era is it. The actions of men are, in many instances, not only perplexing, but disappointing.
Yet we can turn to our Creator for solace at all times, and that seems to me, as a citizen of a land whose people have suffered the agonies of modern warfare and Communist aggression, the great difference between my creed and the creed of the enemy of all mankind. For we who believe in God are confronted by an ideology which denies His very existence, ridicules the spiritual soul of man, insists on worship of only the all-powerful state, and has as its sole aim the conquest and enslavement of all those who differ with it. My friends, it will never succeed, and for the faith God has given me, I thank Him that this will not come to pass.
Murrow: Those were the personal beliefs of You Chan Yang, ambassador of the Republic of Korea.