The Words of the Yakawich Family
Facing Persecution Head On With God's Love
November 12, 2006
Bible Reading Acts 7: 51-60
"You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost as your fathers did so do you. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers. Who have received the law by the disposition of angels and have not kept it. When they heard these things they were cut to the heart and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he being full of the Holy Ghost looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And said behold I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and ran upon him with one accord. And cast him out of the city and stoned him and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young mans feet whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen calling upon God and saying Lord Jesus receive my spirit And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice Lord, lay not this sin to their charge and when he had said this he fell asleep. "
Facing: Addressing, not hiding, dealing with it, repenting, forgiving, seeking forgiveness
Persecution: negativity, ignorance, not wanting to change. Serious point brought up in the Bible on teaching others the wrong thing. Jesus says it is like tying a yoke around ones neck.
Head On: Do not be afraid or ashamed of your faith.
God's Love: love, always God, no matter what we must be kind
Our proof of our faith: it is our faith in action.
People must decide, does our faith make you a better or worse person? In prayer do you feel closer to God? In study, do you understand God deeper? Who am I?I am who I am because of those I have surrounded myself with good people, due to the church I attend, the belief I have and how I apply it. It is not a mere coincidence or haphazard lifestyle that leads me to who I am. It is because of my faith.
If you get on line and read about almost any church, you will discover positive and negative articles. If one writes from the head, there will be remarkable articles. Yet, we must always seek to apply our knowledge. We must deepen and follow our hearts and the results of our faith. Most people who I have met that oppose us or persecute us, have never sat down and read our teachings, attended our seminars, or even had discussed our faith with me over a cup of coffee.
Look at the plot to kill St. Stephen or Jesus in Matthew 26: 1-5. These people were the cream of the crop of the intellect of that society. They however were disgusted with St. Stephen and Jesus and their belief. What I have discovered is those who oppose our church, call us derogatory names as "Moonies" are hurting and spiritually in pain. Does it make sense to oppose a faith that supports the family, upholds the Holy Bible, believes in Jesus Christ, and promotes morality and lives for the sake of others? No! However, St. Stephen too points out very importantly we must forgive those who persecute us. It is not easy but we must forgive.
Persecution: "To afflict, oppress, torment"
My Biblical Cyclopedic Index brings up persecution as caused by man's sinful nature in Gal. 4:29, hatred of God, John 15: 2-23, Ignorance of God in John 16: 1-3, Hatred of Christ in I Thes. 2:15, Rev. 12:13, Gal 5:11, Gal, 6:12, Due to Godly living Matthew 13:21, 2 Tim. 3:12. It also states the Christian's attitude is to Rejoice in Mat 5:12, be patient under I Cor. 4:12 glorify God in 1 Peter 4:1:6 and pray during Matthew 5:44.
I must take a minute and reflect on how much God has blessed us. Our church, our membership, our homes and our family are blessed by this church. We will receive a "Spirit of Promise Award" on Tuesday for our community work. Mr. Martin received a "Billings Bright and Beautiful Award" for his environmental work. Our church has been given opportunity to write in the Gazette and our TV program has been praised by many people in the community.
Our youth received recognition for their rest home outreach as through the Stillwater Hospital and Convalescence home. One of our member's works for a city board and is part of the PTA, another working with the Boy Scouts. I was recently asked to chair the Yellowstone Suicide Prevention Board. We are an asset to our community because God is with us and we are with Him. We have much proof God is with us! Matthew 7:20 "Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them."
Therefore, it is sad to see you being persecuted. However, I feel it is a sign that you are on God's side. However, do not go it alone. Include your pastor and elders into your dilemma if someone is persecuting you or if you come across questions of your faith and your church. Say to someone who is negative towards us, could I please bring my pastor by your home sometime and talk? I always wonder what is their motivation for attacking another faith? Are they jealous? Are they unsure of their own faith?
In the Divine Principle, we understand clearly about Satan. Satan has dominated this world through the Fall of Man. As Jesus said, you are a brood of vipers. There is sin and there is Satan. We must be aware and clear as we walk this life of faith.
We also understand about the Fourth Fallen Nature which is a multiplication of evil. How often I have seen this take place. Like the crabs in the bucket who should help each other out of the predicament, they rather pull each other from anyone escaping. Fallen Nature is not to see from God's view point. Also, it is tied to sin which is any condition that allows Satan to work more in ones life. Do not be naive that Satan will oppose goodness.
Did you know what antichrist originally meant? It means those who did not believe in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. If you are around us at all, you will see that we believe in the Holy Bible and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. We see Father Moon as anointed by God but not God Himself. How can people say otherwise? Unfortunately, those who I have talked with personally who would oppose us often admit that we should be more relaxed on our moral standard, be open to same sex relationships, and not be so strict on lifestyle standards. Is this really such a good reason to oppose our church or Father Moon?
So we must look at theology and lifestyle together. If our theology leads us to a morally pure and upright lifestyle, we must have confidence we are on the right path. I have this handout I give at many workshops. It states clearly the way of a morally pure person. No sex until marriage, no pornography, no drugs, to pray, attend church, and study. Read the Divine Principle, read the Holy Bible, attend seminars, Wed. Bible Study, Tuesday Women's Prayer and see if you life does not change for the good.
As I toured the state recently, I am so grateful for the quality of people that associate with us. They are very good people. They are righteous men and women who love God. For people to persecute us and accuse us is so unfair and clearly satanic. God is with us. As with Jesus, God was with him and the people persecuted him.
There have been many false accusations against Father Moon. Yet, he is not alone. Joseph in Gen. 39: 7-20, Moses in Num. 16: 1-3, David in Psalms 41: 5-9, Stephen in Acts 6:11 and Paul in Acts 21: 27-29. And against Christ for gluttony in Mat 11:19, Blasphemy Mat 26: 64, Insanity in mark 3:21, Demon possession in John 7:20, Sabbath desecration in John 9:16, Treason in John 19:12. So, Father Moon is with a good crowd of witnesses.
For those who persecute us, I would be very curious to know their own lifestyle and life of faith. Can they look into the mirror and truly be proud of themselves. Yes, Father Moon has gone to jail. So had Jesus, St. Paul and others. Father Moon was married before. Although this was a painful part of his past that others forced his hand in losing his spouse, how many others have divorced and still continue in the faith? His family has suffered on this path but are we to persecute him for this as well? Yes, hold me, him and others to the standard, but be careful in your judgment.
We must address such unfair attitudes both with love and with courage. We must have courage. What right does one have to say another is wrong? It is especially ironic when the person who talks bad of another is usually in worse shape and has no solid alternative. That is another reason why I love this church so much; she is so embracing of other faiths. We are genuine in willing and in working with other faiths seeking common ground and Godís love. What a testament itself to Father Moon and his theology. As with Sister Terry going to Israel and many others we have sponsored to promote peace and inter-religious dialogue, we put our money where our mouths are.
What is our faith in a nutshell? We can talk about Adam and Eve failing to do the will of God. We can talk about the failure of the people to attend Jesus and the amazing victory Jesus brought in his resurrection. For people do deny our belief in the Bible or Jesus is ludicrous. Yes, we are a hopeful people. We believe in the Last Days as a time of great peace. Godís will is for the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth as well. We are not proclaiming our faith is the only one deserving or going to heaven. We are called to work together for peace on this earth working together will all religions. Isn't this true HOPE!
You can look up any church and any faith to find reasons not to love them or work with them. The library has books against the Pope, Latter Day Saints, Jehovah Witness or Fundamentalists. Atheists can criticize the Christian and the Christian the non Christian. You can go to the internet like going into a marriage and find good or bad on someone. What is your motivation? What is your desire? Do you wish to understand in order to love that faith more or to find ways to separate from the other? Motivation, heart, attitude are keys to what you will discover and take from away.
As for me, I have discovered life in this faith. I have discovered a compassion for others and a deep understanding of Jesus and Heavenly Father. I am always amazed how people will say, "How can you be part of that church? You are such a nice person!" They do not realize that I am nice because of this church, her teachings and her founder. You will know the tree by its fruits.
I see in other ways that God is behind our church. He is blessing us. While in Missoula last week, I visited with a professor who was my advisor for the church group (CARP) I had on campus in the early1980s. He now is the senior sociologist for his department. He too applauded what we have accomplished in such a short period of time. We have not only survived but been successful. As in the letters we gain from others who bear testimony that by our prayers for their illnesses they are being healed. I can say that in this and so many other ways, God is behind, beside and walking ahead of our church.
Yes, we have made mistakes. I believe one of our most serious mistakes has been that we have denied our faith. Like St. Peter who denied Jesus under persecution, we too have failed to proclaim our faith at times when we should have. Those people can accuse us and also lose the chance to be witnessed to. St. Stephen set the standard not to deny his faith under incredible circumstances.
Yes, we have a theology that can be challenging and confronting. I do not deny this. For our mistakes, I apologize. For my faith, I can only encourage others to seek to understand and pray. Ironically, I found a very good way to address persecution is through witnessing (Matthew5:14 "Let your light shine").
The more you are out in the community sharing your faith, the more it is strengthened. The more you invite people to you church, hand out a church card or literature, share your faith and not be ashamed, you will grow, your heart will develop and your ability to deal with persecution will become more astute. Even practically, when people know what church you go to and you will have to deal with the inevitable misunderstandings than the road is open for deeper sharing and fellowship. Through consistency you become more credible. Yet, if they do not know who you are, even though it is a realm of contentment for you, you are not able to develop or deepen their understanding. Please witness your faith and see the miracles take place.
Matthew 10: 38
"And he that takes not his cross and follows after me is not worthy of me and he that finds his life shall lose it and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. "
If we are genuinely sincere and desire to know the will of heaven, it will be revealed. I did not give up when so many people persecuted me and accused me of joining this controversial church. Rather, I prayed and studied and sought the will of God. And it is my promise to each of you, especially you young people who did not find this church but was given to you by your parents. You will too be challenged in the end to determine for yourself what I and others found. Apply this points and I am confident you will discover what I have discovered that this church is true and the founder a man of God.
1. Be prayerful, pray daily.
2. Be prepared for when you stand on God's side Satan will strike. Do not be naive!
3. Set the right conditions by study and a life of faith, attending church. Wrong conditions open the door for Satan to pull you away. Unite and work together is a great condition.
4. ***Witness: be bold and do not isolate yourself. Be in the community and share your faith with others.
5. Study and know your faith. Read the Holy Bible and The Divine Principle and other materials.
6. Ask questions, ask God and ask Jesus. Attend seminars when they are made available.
7. Talk with your pastor, refer the persecutor to the pastor, don't be a loner and don't isolate yourself. Include others.
8. Repent! Be humble we are not perfect!
9. Forgive! We must not ourselves become resentful but forgive and let it go.
10. A blessing is coming! Do not be afraid. It is a sign you are doing good. Hang in there and God will bless you abundantly! Persecution is a good sign. Welcome it as a way to fine tune and strengthen your own faith.
It is our faith that can shine like the sun on the mountain top. We love Jesus Christ and see him as the Son of God the Messiah. When we say to follow it is to follow. Sexual purity is not just a concept. Fidelity in marriage is not just a concept. Loving your neighbor is not just a concept but we are called to love all people of all races, creeds, faiths and colors.
You are walking with me on this great journey. I am walking with Father Moon on this great journey. You will look back, I pray, and not regret this day. You will stand firm when others persecute you. When you really listen, what are they saying? They are finding an excuse not to live a morally pure way of life. They are bound by Satan. Yet, we must love them. Pray for them. Pray for our younger members, our neighborhood families who after joining our church get persecuted. How precious they are and how much they need our prayers as well. "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves" Matthew 10:16.
As I mentioned, I traveled this week to visit families in Great Falls, Sims, Missoula, Butte and Whitehall. I was able to pray with them, blessed their homes, shared a Holy Candle for their home and talked deeply. Others in Helena, Whitefish and Glendive have also recently visited and or communicated with us. We have a great membership. Let us unite more. Let us pray more for one another. We will endure this time of persecution and emerge ever stronger, ever faithful and evermore loving. Mark my words!
Have a great week!