True Family Values
Joong Hyun Pak and Andrew Wilson
Chapter I - Partners With Christ In Establishing Gods Kingdom [Part 1]
1. Our family pledges to seek our original homeland and establish the original ideal of creation, the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven, by centering on true love.
Before we begin anything in life, we should clarify our purpose. Is not love true or false according to the purposes lying deep in the lovers' hearts? A prerequisite to living with true love and becoming a true family is to orient ourselves to a purpose that is true. Once our aim is true, then everything we do contributes to our ultimate success. The Family Pledge thus begins with a statement of purpose and commitment: to live in the service of God's Kingdom. We pledge to devote our aspirations, our loves, and our deeds for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven, which is God's hope and ideal as well. Jesus himself came preaching the Kingdom of God. (Mark 1:15) He taught his followers, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness" (Matt. 6:33), and promised God's abundant prosperity and happiness in return. Likewise, with this opening clause of the Family Pledge, we commit ourselves and our families to becoming partners with Christ in establishing God's Kingdom.
If our family is a true family, devoted to building God's Kingdom, we should live by true love. True love should shine through all our family relationships: among husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. In this way, we set a good example at home. Furthermore, a true family gives generous service to the community. We should shed the light of goodness and love upon our neighbors and relatives, stimulating their hearts to multiply charity, peace and good will. Jesus said:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. - Matt. 5:14-16
Everyone will come to welcome and appreciate the members of our family as the natural teachers, parents, and leaders of the community. In this way, our family finds its original homeland, a place of love and joy where we can truly feel at home. Moreover, as family by family we work to transform our hometowns, God's greater providence to restore the Kingdom advances. True families are partners with Christ, raising up their clans and communities to establish God's Kingdom worldwide.
Let us discuss the meaning of this pledge in detail. The Korean begins Our family. In English, it is customary to say "my" family, "my" home, "my" neighborhood, but Koreans say "our." The English idiom emphasizes the individual subject; Korean emphasizes the whole. When we say "Our family...," we should remember that the family thrives or suffers together. I cannot separate my fortune from my family's fortune. "My" family in English denotes a family that is my possession. I can imagine abandoning it, divorcing myself from it. I can think of pursuing my career at my family's expense. "Our" family, on the other hand, is not my possession; it belongs to all its members. My very being is bound up with the fortunes of everyone else in the family. The family provides the matrix in which I exist, the whole to which I belong. Just this small word "our" connotes the universal law that every individual entity in the cosmos finds its first purpose for existence in serving the larger whole.
What constitutes a family? The Korean word kajong, "family," means far more than just a father, mother and children. Our contemporary nuclear family, a product of urban industrial life, has stripped the family of much of its original richness. Think of the traditional family living on a small farm in Korea, or a traditional family in Africa, South America or in any culture that is still close to the soil. Three generations live in one house, with the grandparents taking an active part in the family, especially in caring for the children while the parents are out working in the fields. The family draws its sustenance from the earth, sharing its bounty with the chickens, cows and pigs which roam around the yard and even sleep in the house. In the house is an altar to the gods, who protect the family and grant prosperity and good fortune. On a nearby hill are the graves of the ancestors. They are also remembered and honored at the family altar or in a special room reserved for them. The word "family" should conjure up an image of all these elements; there are seven in all.
First are the people. As will be discussed below in relation to the Three Great Kingships, ideally three generations live together in one household.
Second, the house itself is part of the family. The house is the environment in which the family lives and thrives, and it presents the face of the family to the world. Therefore, the house should be clean and pleasantly appointed to create a good atmosphere. Unification church members sanctify their homes with Holy Salt to expel any evil spiritual influences from former residents. Inside the house, they display a photograph of the True Parents. These measures are to ensure that the house has a good spiritual atmosphere.
Every house should have a public area where the family can welcome guests. Even a humble apartment should have a small sitting area where guests can be received comfortably. Members who live in spacious homes should dedicate their best room as a community center for public gatherings and meetings. For example, one elder of the American church converted his den into a lecture room and chapel spacious enough for thirty people, where he holds regular meetings. Seen in this light, there is no sin in owning a large house if it is used for ministering to the community. On the other hand, if one's house never welcomes guests but is used only for the family's private enjoyment, the house itself will protest that it is not being allowed to fulfill its purpose.
Our houses are the public face of our families and should show forth our families' faith and spirit of service. Rev. Moon instructs us to display a Unification Church flag and a signboard saying "Family Church" in front of our houses. The front entrance and yard should be kept clean and well trimmed. A house where the paint is peeling off and weeds are growing rank proclaims that the family dwelling inside does not care about their neighbors. That family is a minus, taking away from the value of the community. If you are ashamed to bring your well-off relatives into the humble hovel you call home, then you may be justified in working and aspiring to afford a nice home. In that case, your wealth is not for your own sake, but for the sake of restoring your clan and community.
The third element of the family is its property and land. Like the house, our land should not only benefit our family but also serve the greater purpose. In agrarian societies, the land was the source of wealth and blessings. When loved and cared for, the land nurtured the family with food and profits. Today most of us have left the land. Nevertheless, we devote ourselves to business and accumulate property and assets. No one can prosper without laboring, dedicating sweat and tears to productive work. Our concern, however, should be how our family can fulfill the Family Pledge through its property and wealth.
An essential aspect of our family's dedication to serving God and His will is to offer the fruits of our labor through tithing. A family's faith is manifest through how it spends its treasure. The principle behind tithing is that God is the Creator and Owner of all things. Our wealth belongs to Him. When we dedicate the first ten percent of our earnings, God accepts it as if we had dedicated the whole. Then we are free to spend the remaining ninety percent for our individual purposes.
The tradition of tithing is well attested in the Bible. It began with Abraham, who gave a tithe of the spoils which he won from battling Chedarlaomer and the other invading kings to God Most High through Melchizedek the priest. (Gen. 14:18-20) Jacob at Bethel promised to offer God a tithe of all his possessions upon his safe return from Haran. (Gen. 28:10-22) His pledge to tithe paved the way for his success, and on his return he duly fulfilled his vow. (Gen. 35:7) Paul described the power of giving to bring material prosperity, "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." (2 Cor. 9:6) This applies particularly to those who faithfully give their tithes. The Law of Moses specified that every person, whether rich or poor, was required to bring the tithe of his produce to the Temple and offer it to the priest; this tithe was the very first fruits of the land. (Dent. 26) The gospels record that Jesus praised a poor widow who, despite her poverty, offered more than she could afford with prayerful devotion. (Luke 21:1-4) We today are attending something greater than the Temple. Should we not then offer our tithes and requested offerings gladly and with a willing heart?
A fourth element of the family is its pets, animals and garden. We care for our pets and they become like family members. We may share our beds with our dog; poor farming families of old often shared their bed with their cow or pig. Pets teach responsibility and parental love to our children. Some of us devote hours to lovingly tend our garden. By sharing its produce with neighbors and friends, we can enhance bonds of friendship and love in a most personal way.
Turning from earth to heaven, a fifth element in the family is God. For God, the true family is the ideal and goal of His entire work of creation. The family is the crowning glory of a labor which according to the best scientific estimates has taken fifteen billion years. Surely, God does not want only to admire the fruits of His labor from afar. He desires to embrace His ideal families and become one with them.
In the Divine Principle revealed to Rev. Moon, the doctrine of the Four-Position Foundation explains that God is a veritable family member. God is the subject partner in relation to the husband, wife and children; He is also their object partner as each fulfills the three object purpose. The Four-Position Foundation (sa-ui-kidae) means that the foundation (kidae) for a stable, prosperous family requires four (sa) positions or roles (ui): God, husband, wife and children. These four roles define the proper pattern (kidae) for the family. Conventional families formed only through the committed love of husband and wife do not fit this pattern and lack this foundation; hence, they do not remain prosperous and whole over the long term. Even traditional Oriental families where the marriage bond is undergirded by strong parental authority lack this foundation; hence, they frequently collapse within three generations. The saying, "the family which prays together, stays together," hints at this deep principle of true family life. Families with a living religious faith have more resources than most for stability and long-term prosperity.
A true family fulfills God's purpose of creation by affording God the opportunity to realize His age-old hope to dwell with His children. Surely God wishes to be joyfully and intimately present in every family. It begins with marriage, which is a trinity of God, husband and wife. God dwells at the center of their conjugal union. God participates in the conception of their children. As the children grow through the Four Great Realms of Heart to experience children's love, fraternal love, conjugal love and parental love, they are ever giving and receiving love with God. Each type of love has a different quality, resonating with a different aspect of the divine heart. As the family grows ever more perfect, God, for His part, is also experiencing a kind of growth. God delights in experiencing His unfolding manifestation in such a family which embodies His nature. True families realizing the Four-Position Foundation experience this profound communion with God as a joy and delight.
We acknowledge God's presence in our family in many ways. The home of every Unification Church member has a prayer room or at least an altar. When we awaken in the morning, before we eat our meals, and before we go to bed, we greet God. Every time we enter our house, we greet God. In prayer we share our heart with God and give thanks for His help and support. He gives us inspiration and inner strength. This is particularly so when we devote ourselves to God's work in our communities.
Angels and our ancestors are other heavenly participants in our family. The family extends vertically through the generations; seven generations of ancestors exert direct spiritual influence, for good or ill. Traditional Korean families greet their ancestors every day and live with the attitude of filial piety to their memory. A place at the table is set for them. Our ancestors visit us in spirit and seek fulfillment through us. As godly families, we should be their pride.
The guardian spirits who protect hearth and home in traditional cultures are angelic beings. They are still with us today, even though many moderns have tried to banish them from their minds. Every person has spirit guides whose mission is to minister to him and guide him to salvation and maturity of spirit. (Heb. 1:14) Our spirit guides are ready at any time to help us fulfill our responsibility. They are looking for ways to serve, so we should call on them frequently and ask their help. Do not assume that angels are so wise as to know everything about us and therefore that they can automatically prosper our way or show us the best course of action. They need our direction as their subject partners; therefore, we should verbally call and command them. Angels and good spirits provide a great source of power and wisdom. They are constantly filling our life with inspiration and guiding our steps to accomplish great things. We ought to acknowledge their help with gratitude.
The family is thus a community encompassing heaven, people and the earth. These three dimensions are intertwined in our lives. In the Bible, it is said that Adam's family lived with God in a fruitful land with animals and angels. Our family is a small Eden in which the Three Great Blessings are to be realized: perfection of individual character as each family member grows through the Four Great Realms of Heart and becomes one with God, multiplication through three generations of grandparents, parents and children, and dominion over the creation including both the physical and spirit worlds. The Chinese character for blessing means the announcement of God and Heaven, humanity and the earth. All three realms should prosper and rejoice together in our family.
Pledge is at the heart of prayer. In prayer we encounter the ineffable God and bask in the warmth of His love. Prayer cleanses our spirits and recharges them with the fire of the divine. In a typical prayer, we might thank God for His blessings, repent for our sins, ask God for help, and listen for His wisdom. At its conclusion, we determine to manifest this awakened state in our actions, to make the prayer effective. The end of prayer is a pledge to live by faith in Him.
Prayer is the meeting place between human aspiration and divine grace. God's grace is always present; He is, after all, our loving Parent who wants only to embrace us and raise us up as His children. God waits upon us, always willing to answer our prayers. He inevitably responds, although His timetable and method of answering may not correspond to what we expect or desire. In His parental love, God may not give us what we want, but He will surely give us what we need.
The problem has always been our attitude towards Him. God's faith and compassion remain constant, but human beings are changeable and unreliable. Although a person of faith can confidently trust in God, God is often discouraged as He seeks people whom He can trust. Rev. Moon's prayers have been full of reassurance to God that he will be faithful under any circumstances. Knowing God's many disappointments with His chosen ones throughout history, who often faltered under the burden of faith, he reassured God not to worry about him. Even when the North Koreans imprisoned him in a concentration camp, he pledged to maintain his faith through any suffering:
I never prayed from weakness. I never complained. I was never angry at my situation. I never even asked His help, but was always busy comforting Him and telling Him not to worry about me. The Father knows me so well. He already know my suffering. How could I tell Him about my suffering and cause His heart to grieve still more? I could only tell Him that I would never be defeated by my suffering.
Hence, our pledge to God is the pinnacle of prayer. We may have many personal burdens to share with God in prayer, but in the end, the words which God longs to hear most are words of pledge, uttered with a sincere heart and with hands ready to carry it out.
Every religion has a unique prayer which affirms the essence of its faith. When reciting the prayers, believers are not only making supplication to God for His gracious help; they are also pledging to devote themselves to God and obey His will.
Israel's covenant with God at Mount Sinai was a solemn pledge. It began with God's declaration of His power and promise:
You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall he my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." - Exod. 19:4-6
followed by the obligations of the covenant, notably the Ten Commandments and laws governing community life. When the covenant was read to the people, they made a pledge to obey it in a solemn ceremony of blood, "All the words which the Lord has spoken, we will do." (Exod. 24:3, 7) When the Israelites renewed the covenant in the land of Canaan, Joshua stepped forward and pledged, "As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." (Josh. 24:15)
The foremost prayer in Judaism, called the Shema, is both a confession of faith and a pledge of loyalty to God:
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. - Deut. 6:4-5
By reciting the Shema, a Jew pledges to place God and God's Law at the center of his life-even above his life. When facing persecution by the Romans, and later by the Inquisition and the Nazis, Jewish martyrs went to their deaths with the words of the Shema on their lips.
When a devout Muslim recites the Fatihah, the opening verse of the Qur'an:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds:
The Beneficent, the Merciful:
Owner of the Day of Judgment.
Thee alone we worship; Thee alone we ask for help.
Show us the straight path:
The path of those whom Thou hast favored;
Not of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.3
he gives praise to God and pledges to worship no other. In return, he asks God for help in walking the "straight path" of morality and faith. The phrase, "Thee alone we worship; thee alone we ask for help," is an assertion that the believer will not find his solace in money or worldly supports, nor in any secular ideology which would deny God's claim upon his life. It is a solemn oath to honor and fear the Creator from whom all good things issue.
The Buddhist makes this simple confession of faith and loyalty:
I go to the Buddha for refuge I go to the Norm for refuge I go to the Order for refuge.
The Buddha's example shows the highest standard of utter purity, detachment, and oneness with all Reality. The Norm, or Dharma, is the teaching to be unselfish in thought, word and deed. The Order of monks provide living examples of holiness and spread a warm spiritual atmosphere conducive to the higher life of purity. By his confession, the Buddhist pledges to follow the example of the Buddha, learn and practice the Teaching, and welcome the guidance of the monks.
When a Christian recites the Lord's Prayer, he praises God and makes supplication for His help:
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. - Matt. 6:9-13
Yet the Lord's Prayer also contains two pledges. The words, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth," is a commitment to do the will of the Father and to further the progress of God's Kingdom on earth, as Jesus taught elsewhere, "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness." (Matt. 6:33) The second pledge is found in the words, "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Every time a Christian recites these words, he declares that he has already forgiven all those who have done him wrong. He is therefore worthy to be forgiven by God for his own transgressions. Jesus elaborates on this teaching, saying, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matt. 6:14-15) To live by the Christian ideal, forgiveness is required above all. The first pledge of the Family Pledge restates these two pledges contained in the Lord's Prayer with pledges to establish the Kingdom of God on earth and to live by true love.
Centering on True Love
Our family is to fulfill the pledge by centering on true love. This is an adverbial phrase describing our attitude and practice while fulfilling the Family Pledge. It is not, as one might think from the older English translation "Our family, centered on true love," an adjectival phrase describing the general spiritual condition of our family. In other words, when we say the pledge, we are not thereby declaring that our family is already living in true love. That would seem rather daunting; in what family are its members loving each other truly and at all times? Rather, our family pledges to live by true love as the way to accomplish the goal of the Family Pledge-the establishment of the Kingdom of God. The phrase by centering on true love is repeated in each of the seven pledges of the Family Pledge. It must, therefore, be of utmost significance for its fulfillment.
The words by centering on translate the Korean word jung-shimhago. This term reminds one of the suffix "-centric" which is commonly used in the Christian theological terms "Christocentric" and "theocentric." Indeed, to center on true love is also to center on God, the Source of true love, and Christ, the incarnation of true love. More than these, the phrase "centering on true love" encompasses both the individual and the dynamic relationships in the family.
Even though "centering on" has these connections to the specialized language of theology, sometimes we would rather express this concept in plain English. A search for synonyms of "centering on true love" yields such phrases as: "in true love," "with true love," "focused on true love," "upholding true love," "guided by true love" and "living by true love." Each has some resonance with "centering on true love"; each also lacks some of the flavor of the Korean. For instance, "in true love" correctly denotes a feeling or atmosphere of love, love as a state of existence that permeates all of life. However, it leaves out the sense of love as action to serve others. "With true love" suggests truly that our actions should be done with a warm heart of love. But it leaves out the sense of love as a state of existence or love as an ideal and a goal. "Focused on true love," accurately conveys the sense of true love as the goal and ideal for which we should strive. "Guided by true love" emphasizes that true love can only be attained by following heavenly law and by connecting with its divine Source. "Upholding true love" discloses that true love requires responsible behavior at all times and could be violated by a moral lapse. The best of these synonyms is "living by true love," which means that true love is our guide, our way, our practice, our root and our goal. It catches much of the comprehensiveness of "centering on true love," nevertheless it misses its explicitly relational sense.
We should be clear about this distinctive meaning. "Centering on" describes a three-dimensional relationship of two individuals as they relate with each other horizontally and with a higher center vertically. Their horizontal relationship has a vertical axis upon which they are centered. In the Four-Position Foundation, God is the vertical center of the horizontal relationship between husband and wife. As they live centering on true love, their life as a family becomes the substantiation of Jesus' Great Commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt. 22:37-39)
A comparable term with multiple meanings describing the orientation and life of a believer is "in Christ." A person "in Christ" lives in the realm of Christ's salvation, having been born anew (1 Pet. 1:3) and raised with him to new life. (Rom. 6:4-11) He accepts the lordship of Christ, taking up his cross and enduring persecution to ultimately reign with him. (2 Tim. 2:10-12) He is united with Christ as a member of the greater body of the Church of whom Christ is the head (Eph. 2:21-22), and as the branches of Christ the True Vine. (John 15:1-6) He is infused with the spirit of Christ and his love (1 Cor. 16:24; Eph. 4:10) and comes to embody Christ, who dwells in him. (John 14:20; Col. 2:6) Living in Christ we reject worldly values, selfishness and self-seeking. We live by faith and obedience to God, following the way of the Master. We strive toward that inner spiritual transformation which, day by day, turns us into the likeness of Christ.
Christ's salvation transforms our vertical orientation as individuals. Nevertheless, it does not touch the core of the family, which is relational and rooted in lineage. The term "centered on true love" can apply to any family, but it refers especially to families whose union has been purified and sanctified through the Blessing-the international wedding ceremony where Rev. and Mrs. Moon join couples of every nation and religion in sacred union. By cutting off the root of sin, the Blessing establishes the condition for God's love to infuse the family. Surely, an individual "in Christ" is well placed to live a family life centering on true love. However, without God's Blessing to sanctify the family relationship, we are ever struggling in a relationship imbibing elements from a false root. The Blessing is God's incomparable gift, transforming ordinary marriage into a holy communion of love.
Only God, the Source of love, can endow a family with true love. A family centers on true love beginning from the holy communion of marriage, which brings husband and wife together in the love of God. From that auspicious beginning, the couple aspires to realize true love as its pole star. Around that common purpose, the family members engage in give and take action to form a lasting relationship. Through continued practice, true love becomes their way of life. Thus, true love grows from a God-given seed and aspiration (formation stage) to the standard of behavior and measure of its achievement (growth stage) and reaches maturity when God abides in the center of the family, when the family exemplifies true love in its very being and in its way of life (completion stage).
Figure 1: True Love
What is true love? Where can it be found? True love is not just any love; it is the highest possible love. In true love, a resonance begins which connects heaven, humanity and the earth. Our mind and heart expand to embrace the cosmos. In that mystic ecstasy, there is nothing more to be attained or desired. Rev. Moon says,
When you enter into the resonance realm of true love... you feel the whole world is in your hand and you are connected with heaven. When you enter into the resonance realm of true love, it is no longer necessary to keep faith. There is no longer any need for a Savior. This is liberation. All is ended.4
In the Divine Principle, love is defined as the emotional force which the subject partner gives the object partner as they engage in give and take action to establish the Four-Position Foundation and fulfill the purpose of creation. Love is expressed in every interaction among the earth's myriad creatures, born into duality, as they unite and become one to fulfill their life's purpose. But the Four-Position Foundation is manifest especially in the God-centered family. Love pervades the family and enlivens the heart-felt actions of all its members as they relate with each other and with God. Every dimension of love in the family should be true love. True love is expressed through three relationships in particular: between mind and body, between husband and wife, and between parents and children (Figure 1).
In the family, true love is found where God, husband and wife come together in absolute oneness. The true desire of every man is for a woman with whom to share love for ever. Deep in his heart is an image of a special someone, an ideal counterpart. His heart yearns to find and cherish her in body and soul. As long as she is absent, he is not whole. When he finds her and loves her, no greater satisfaction is possible. A woman, likewise, desires above all else for a man to love her and be her eternal partner in life.
Nevertheless, true love is not determined by the object of love. Many people think that the secret to true love is to find the right person. Once we find Mr. or Ms. "Right," we think, our love problems will be solved. This is a misapprehension of love. A person who cannot love one partner in all likelihood will have trouble loving another-any other. Instead of "I cannot love him (or her)," we should realize, "I cannot love. I do not know how." The psychologist Erich Fromm commented that people mistakenly believe "that the problem of love is the problem of an object, not the problem of a faculty. People think that to love is simple, but to find the right object to love-or be loved by-is difficult."5 What inevitably happens in search of the "right" partner is that step by step, with each failed commitment and each broken heart, one's capacity to love lessens and lessens, thereby ensuring that future relationships will also end in ruin. For love is not a feeling, not an emotion, not a roseate haze of intense pleasure. True love, in the end, requires the heart to give of oneself for the benefit of another whose needs and desires may be quite different from our own. It requires the will to act lovingly even when it means to deny the self. The secret to finding true love, therefore, lies within our own hearts. We can cultivate our faculty of loving by connecting to the transfiguring power of God's love and by mastering the unity of mind and body.
We have all experienced the ecstasy of love. But can we live forever in that state of mystic oneness? Or is it a temporary state which fades away? In the Bible, Jesus prophesied that in the Last Days people's love will grow cold. (Matt. 24:12-13) Our love changes, flaring up briefly and then languishing as fading embers. Belatedly, we come to the realization that our love was not true love.
Most relationships between men and women do not last. Even if they last, they are not really satisfying. Fundamentally, the problem is that these horizontal relationships do not connect with God's love as their absolute center. Mrs. Moon has stated,
If a family is not centered on God's ideal of love, there will be conflict among the members of that family. Without God's love as an absolute center, the family will ultimately break down.6
If humanity had not fallen, we would take after God's nature and naturally live for the sake of others. Unfortunately, when Adam and Eve fell, humanity lost its true center. Satan usurped God's position at the center of the first family. This defiled human love and destroyed human society. Human relationships today dissolve in corruption because they are not centered on God's true love. The Fall also led to a corruption of the human heart, which has come to resemble Satan's selfish heart.
God is not an individualist; He lives for the whole. Those who take after God think for the sake of all, and those who take after Satan think only about themselves. This point divides heaven and earth, and it divides heaven from hell, good person from bad person, public person from private persona
The fundamental nature of God's true love is to serve others, whereas love in our human society is fundamentally for the purpose of making others serve oneself.'
Our parents show us how to love. Parental love, even in fallen people, is the closest to true love.
When we as parents look into the faces of our children, we wish upon them an infinite amount of love and hope. We want them to grow and achieve things we ourselves have only dreamed of.9
However, to understand true love more deeply, we must look to the Author of love, God our loving Heavenly Father. God first revealed His true love in Jesus Christ. We learn from the Bible that the love of Christ is pre-existent and eternal (Prov. 8:22), unending (John 15:9), unconditional (2 Tim. 1:13), and unchanging. (John 13:1) We are inseparable from Christ's love (Rom. 8:35-39) which rules us (2 Cor. 5:14) and brings us near perfection. (1 John 4:17) Rev. Moon, who has devoted his ministry to teaching about true love, explains:
God's original love wants to live for the sake of others for tens of thousands of years and still wants to do more.10
God's true love is to invest His love and keep no memory of having given. Were He to remember having given to someone, he could not give endlessly. Love is moving ahead endlessly, so it should not stop at the memory of what has already been given ... Even though His sons and daughters who have received this love do not recognize it and rebel against God, He still continues to give.l1
God is public-minded and continues on the path of living for the whole, going toward the goal of love and peace.12
True love is living for the sake of others. In true love we invest ourselves totally for the welfare and happiness of our beloved. Anyone who loves another person truly wants him or her to become better than himself, even many times better. No loving parent would be jealous of his child's success, or would mind if people comment that his child has grown up to be better than he. Rather, he would rejoice in his child's accomplishments as if they were his own. In this vein, Jesus expected his followers to surpass him, saying, "he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, for I go to the Father." (John 14:12)
True love is patient and bears all things in hope. (1 Cor. 13:47) In true love we give and forget and give again. Jesus teaches us to forgive others "not... seven times, but seventy times seven" (Matt. 18:22), that is, without limit. Only by forgiving and even forgetting that we forgave, can we continue giving and continue loving that person with an unchanging heart. True love is unchanging, regardless of the circumstances. To keep our heart pure and capable of loving, we need to tap the inexhaustible well of God's true love, to heal the ache in our heart as we forgive and forget past wrongs and step forward to love again.
True love is public. It does not exclude, but expands in all directions to embrace everyone and everything. True love does not stop with those who love us. It calls us to go beyond our circle of relatives and familiar friends to reach out to the stranger. Jesus instructed us to love our enemies, saying this was the way to divine perfection. (Matt. 5:43-48)
True love is courageous. It calls us to do whatever is required to save the lost people of the world. Living by true love, we cannot accommodate evil and sin, either in ourselves or in the world. True love brings forth zeal; we cannot rest as long as people are enslaved by evil and live in ignorance of the joys of Heaven. In our boldness, the ruling authorities may take offense. While people of good will welcome a person of true love, where evil is entrenched true love accepts the cross. The zeal of true love is apparent every time we are urged to sacrifice in order to fulfill the will of God in the shortest possible time. Human misery will not cease as long as the human portion of responsibility remains unaccomplished. In true love, we want to end the suffering of our fellow creatures as quickly as possible.
It is not enough to understand true love as an ethic. We must connect to God, the vertical source of love, in order to experience true love and give true love. God, who is love (1 John 4:8), also seeks His ideal counterpart to love and cherish forever. Having created human beings in His image, God longs for people who manifest their original nature and can fully resonate with His Spirit. They are God's beloved counterparts, who can receive His true love and share it in turn with their partners.
We know that God is absolute, but does He not feel lonely? Do you think that He feels happy? Ladies and gentlemen, even if a person becomes the president of a nation, if he lives alone, without a spouse, that person will feel neglected. If we do not have an object of love, we are unhappy. Doesn't God need someone? How would you feel in that situation? Even if God is God, He feels very lonely ... Who, then, can be the absolute object of God's love? My answer is: a true human being!...
The family where a man and woman unite as objects of God's love, and where children live happily, should be the initial foundation for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, centered on the true love of God.13
Whether between husband and wife, between parents and children, or with the natural world, people who resonate with God's true love naturally manifest true love in all their relationships. We are meant to embody God's nature, and the love of God is to be perfected in us. Without uniting with God's love, we remain isolated from the source of love and can hardly hope to love others in the true sense.
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