Stories of love and grace are timeless. From real stories of extraordinary forgiveness to fictional examples, these tales intrigue and inspire us. They serve as great reminders that as we falter and fail, there is someone greater who grants us grace.
Boys Over Flowers and Boys Over Flowers Season 2 both introduce us to poor teenage girls trying to hide their truth in a world of wealth. These young women each display grace beyond their years.
A New Enemy in Volume One
In Boys Over Flowers, Tsukushi Makino is treated poorly. The evils inflicted upon her by the F4 were incredible. Early on, Tsukasa Domyouji attempts to force Makino out of school and goes as far as to pay off a group of teenage boys to sexually assault her. The attempt at assault is thankfully prevented by others. While it obviously takes time, Makino eventually forgives Tsukasa. She even eventually grows to love the boy who had once caused her so much pain.
Later in the story, a new girl named Sakurako Sanjo arrives at school. From day one, Sanjo lies to Makino to convince her she is a pure friend. In actuality, she is an unknown enemy. When out one night, Sanjo slips a date rape drug into Makino’s drink. While Makino is intoxicated by the drugs, Sanjo takes photographs of her in various states of undress all while she appears to be sexually intimate with a boy named Thomas. Makino’s agency is stolen and sexual violence is once more brought to her. However, Makino once again displays a grace that should be required of no one. She forgives them.
Over the course of the series, Makino forgives all who transgress against her. She often makes friends with her former enemies. The love, compassion, and grace Makino displays changes every person around her. Domyouji grows into a compassionate man who protects the weak. Sanjo ends her facade and is kinder to her fellow students. Everyone touched by the grace of Makino grows and changes throughout the series.
New Season, New Hate
In Boys Over Flowers Season 2, the poor female student is Oto Edogawa. A group of students who call themselves the Correct 5 are out to purge their school of “pretend” wealthy people. After it comes out that Edogawa is no longer wealthy, Airi Maya of the Correct 5 decides to harm her.
Maya first tries to force Edogawa to quit by harassing her at school. Later, Maya traps Edogawa in a basement to keep her away from Correct 5 member Haruto Kaguragi. When Kaguragi goes to the aid of Edogawa, it breaks Maya’s heart. She has loved Kaguragi since childhood and seeing him care for another person destroys her emotionally.
Maya then goes missing for two days. Kaguragi and the Correct 5 do nothing for this lost girl. However, Edogawa does. Edogawa chooses to help her enemy. She makes a conscious decision to help Maya and in so doing, saves her life.
Edogawa shows compassion and grace toward her emotionally broken enemy. She saves Maya from herself and, over time, the two shift from enemies to friends.
A Love We Don’t Deserve
Showing grace toward our enemies is a challenge. I find myself struggling to do the same every day. I see people who are cruel to me or my children and think to myself, “Can I love these people?” In TWWK’s piece from May on Demon Slayer, he wrote this challenge:
In the moment, filled with rage, could I have held my enemy’s hand? There are times that I can’t even hold my loved one’s hand when I’m angry, much less a demon’s. And when I’m confronted by truly horrible people in life, how can I be keep my integrity and be loving when, frankly, I am facing people that seem as awful as real demons?
Yet, that’s the life I want to live. I want to be filled with grace, able to love others even when they’re terrible, when they’re demonic even. But how do I get there? How do I love in the moment, rather than acting on emotion and then later thinking back on my actions and wishing I had been more like Tanjiro, wishing that I had just shown love?
Can I show love to my enemies in a moment of darkness? If someone tries to get me fired or harasses my children, will I help them if they are in need? If someone attempts to assault me or has others do the same, would I forgive their transgressions? The short answer is: I don’t know.
I am flawed and hot headed at times. I can retain anger far longer than I should. And when you hurt my family, I do not forget. However, I need to do so. I need to show love in these moments like Makino and Edogawa do, demonstrating grace to the “Correct Flowers” in my life.
The Bible calls us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We are commanded to love those who harm us (Romans 12:14). The enemies Paul and Jesus faced in the New Testament wanted to kill them. Christ’s enemies had him murdered on the cross and scattered His followers. Paul’s sought to brutally torture and execute Christians. They told us to love these enemies anyway, for I was just the same. I, too, was an enemy of God, and I realize I’m more like Domyouji, Sanjo, and Maya than I am Makino and Edogawa, and like them my antagonizing heart was changed by the grace of God, by a Savior who pardoned me though I was his enemy.
Now how can I not do the same?
Like Makino and Edogawa, I must love those who hate me.
BENEATH THE TANGLES RECOMMENDS BOYS OVER FLOWERS SEASONS ONE AND TWO. IN ADDITION TO PURCHASING, IT CAN BE READ DIGITALLY AT SHONEN JUMP.
- A Farewell to Dr. STONE - 03.07.2022
- Newman’s Nook: Bakuman and Women - 01.28.2022
- Manga Review: Fist of the North Star, Volume 2 - 11.23.2021