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Justin Cho

Hi, I’m Justin and I’m a second year law student. I was born in South Korea and raised in Manchester! I'm a member of LSE Zion - LSE's Korean Fellowship.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.

I’ve always been a happy child. I have an amazing, loving family. I have awesome friends. My grades were never terrible. I went to church every Sunday. “He’s such a kind boy”; “He’s very caring”; “He has such a bright future ahead of him”. These were a few favourites that adults around me would say. I was always smiling. I was satisfied with my life. Or at least that’s what I wanted to think.

I’m an actor. I’m good at pretending to be happy. I’m good at supressing my feelings. I’m good at hiding my emotions. Why am I good at these things? Well, I’ve had years of experience. 18 years to be exact. I’ve always despised talking to others about my problems. I didn’t want to place my burden on anyone else’s shoulders. The very thought of opening up to someone and telling them that I needed help made me sick.

In fact, I was so good at acting that eventually I convinced myself that I was always happy, that I was always okay. Whenever something worried me, I buried it deep within me. I didn’t want it to show. I continued being happy. I continued being okay.

Unfortunately, doing this had a side effect on me that I didn’t know about until recently. I had stopped caring about my life. I had stopped caring about my future. I had gradually become an empty shell, a lifeless body moving around aimlessly pretending to be something that I wasn’t. This doesn’t mean that I had given up on life. I continued doing what I did. I continued to study. I continued to go to church. I continued to make friends. This might be because I didn’t actually realise that I no longer cared. But anyway, on the outside, I was the same person. I simply lacked passion, motivation, a purpose, a goal. Supressing my worries, my problems, my pains had led me to this merely functional state where smiling was the only thing I could do; the only thing I wanted to do.

Thanks to my super acting skills, no one, not even me, knew about my problem. But guess who did? Yep, you guessed it! God did. Now, talking a little about my faith, I have always been a churchgoer. I was blessed enough to have grown up with a Christian family and so I was thankfully taken to church every week. I was an active, keen churchgoer. But that was all I was. I didn’t know who God truly was, nor could I possibly believe that Jesus died for me. I mean, I knew all the stories, but at the time this Jesus guy seemed very distant, like someone who had nothing to do with me. Reading the Bible was no different to reading my textbooks from school; in fact going to church felt no different from going to school. And the worst thing was, I didn’t even care. I couldn’t find any particular reason for me to go out of my way to learn more about this man called Jesus. Just like that, 18 years of my life flew by.

Everything changed when I came to university, to London. Over time I had formed a desire to know who God truly was, to ‘meet God’, as some may say. I had seen people change after ‘meeting God’, changes that were amazing and wonderful and above all, “thanks to God”. Not only did I see this happen with my close friends, I also met countless Christians who each had their own fascinating and crazy story to tell. So, I began to make an effort. I went to church, I went to prayer meetings at my university, and I read the Bible. For the first time in my life, I introduced God to my other life, my non-Sunday-Christian-Church-life, and it was awesome.

As I learnt more and more about God and my childhood legend Jesus, God soon revealed to me the scars that I had hidden so deeply within me. He showed me that I wasn’t always happy, that I wasn’t always okay, and that I didn’t need to be. He told me that He loved more than anything in this world, and that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for me. He gave me a purpose in life, something to look forward to, something to keep me going.

I still find it very awkward to talk about my problems with others, and I can’t say that I no longer hide my emotions. However, one thing is certain. I’m happy. I’m happier than I have ever been. Thanks to God, I don’t need to pretend to be happy anymore. God has given me the greatest gift of all – His love. How could I possibly be sad after being loved to this extent?

I’m not saying that I was never happy before this; of course I’ve had my happy moments! It’s just that the joys that I had experienced up until then were nothing in comparison to the joy that God gave me.

Did I deserve any of this? Did I deserve this overwhelming and unconditional love? I certainly didn’t! But this is exactly what grace is. It’s something that God gives us despite the fact that we don’t deserve it! Words cannot express how grateful I am. Nothing can compare to what God has given me. And so, I choose to surrender my life to God. He is my Father, He is my Saviour. My purpose, my goal, my desire is to be holy and pleasing to God, to worship Him and above all, to love Him.

Contact Justin Cho

Questions? justin.cho.329@gmail.com