The Happiest Compliment I Ever Received

Rock,ruleI love my four kids. I love each of them. My sense of pride as their dad knows no limit. They are indeed God’s best gifts to me; they tangibly reveal the greatness of God’s love for me. But I freak out at PDAs! So I feel justified that I do not say “I love you,” because I’m an Asian dad!

The happiest and greatest compliment I ever received! After my oldest son, Sam, read my blog, How did you raise your kids as a pastor (The ABCs of godly parenting), he made this comment on Facebook:

“After reading your article, and the comments, I would have to say that what I believe was, and is, your biggest strength as a father is the humble and learning mind you exemplify. Though you come across as strong and stubborn at times (to say it nicely :D), I know that God is living and active in your life. You have poured your life into God’s word and allowed him to bring you to faith as a foreigner in the U.S., to marry mom after only 10 months in UBF, to be a “UBF man” for however many years, and then to an even deeper faith now rooted in His grace. You opened up yourself to all of us (your kids) along this journey and you’ve never been stubborn enough to not change and not listen to us. Also, you’ve always given us the space and opportunity to speak our mind and “argue” with you. That’s what I respect most.”

God’s grace. Everything Sam says is nothing but God’s immeasurable grace to me. God created me cerebrally and intellectually inclined. He planted in me the desire to treasure Scripture, and to read, study, learn and relearn. God loves me despite my almost unbending stubbornness (which is really “saying it nicely”!). Samuel Lee called me stone-headed. Sometimes, my wife exclaims, “Stop talking! That’s enough! You give me such a headache!” Yes, God blessed my life abundantly in a foreign land with a woman who has been my joy and delight for 32 years and counting.

Fearing a man. In a comment, my daughter Agi expressed how for 27 years I was rigidly legalistic because I lived in the fear of Samuel Lee. I remember it well. I am still processing it. I am not bitter or resentful toward Lee or God. In fact, my memories of Lee are positive and fond, despite everyone in UBF fearing him (cf. Prov 29:25). This is NOT an excuse or a justification, but a fact: No church is perfect (even if some think that UBF has no weaknesses!). I am sorry that the fear of man in me painted a not so gentle loving embracing magnanimous fatherly dying and living God to my children.

Arguing with dad. My happiest memories were when my kids argued vehemently with me. They were never rude or disrespectful, even if they were passionate and unrelenting. I thank God that they were always free to be themselves and free to express themselves. I have to say that with most of our arguments my kids were right (even if I might not acknowledge it!). I thank God that I learned so much from each of them, far more than they may have learned from their dad. Such is the marvelous grace of our Lord!

Gentler, kinder. Some people I studied the Bible with in the 80s and 90s said that today I am “soft,” compared to how strict I was in the past. My response with a big happy smile is, “If you really think I’m soft….try me!” Some laugh. Some say, “Dr. Ben, that’s really scary.” Funny or scary, God has mellowed me, though I am still the fighter that God made me to be. I feel gentler and kinder today, which makes my wife happy, which then makes me happy.

I thank God for my children’s love, whether through arguments or compliments. A previous (unintended) compliment paid me was when a couple asked me if my wife of 30 years had any sins, since they could not detect any.

Sorry for my random rambling reflections. (I am just happy because of the grace of Jesus.) Please feel free to share your random happy (or sad) stories and the compliments you experienced.


  1. Probably the best UBFriends article ever! I affirm everything your kids are saying since I too have experienced the overflowing grace of Jesus in your life.

    This article was definitely worth breaking my Lent fast from UBFriends. Well, actually, I’m doing a Lent fast-fast. Which means I’m fasting from my fast from UBFriends in these 40 days…I better stop now.

    Heck, I’m just pathetically justifying myself now. “Kyrie eleison”

    Thanks for sharing. Made my day.

    • Thanks, JohnY. I learned and love “Kyrie Eleison.” I hope to memorize it forever!