The Words of In Jin Moon from 2011

Moral Reasoning, Cognitive Distortion, and True Parents' Message of True Love

In Jin Moon
July 31, 2011

Good morning. How is everyone? I am so delighted to see you once again and to share this beautiful moment with all of you. Our True Parents send you their greetings from Kodiak, Alaska. They're always asking about how everybody is doing, how brothers and sisters are faring, how the blessed children are growing up, and how inspired I am each and every day.

Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han with members in Kodiak, Alaska, July 28, 2011

Our True Parents are very much concerned about America because this country really has been blessed by God to exercise its power to influence the world in a godly way. When I was thinking about what to share with our brothers and sisters on Sunday morning, I thought about what took place last week in Oslo, Norway. We have seen in the news that a right-wing Christian took the lives of 69 young people who were at a youth political camp in Utoya. He tried to send a message to the world by also blowing up government buildings, killing eight people, and wounding another ten. This is an example of the sign of the times.

Anders Breivik (circled in red and on the right) and some of his victims on Utoya Island, Norway

When we look at this man we have to ask ourselves, "Where does somebody like this come from? How is it that somebody can grow up with so much hatred and so much desire to speak his own words of truth that he is willing to take many lives?" One of the most profound things I saw was the way the Norwegian people responded not by hating this person but by deciding as a country to come together and turn the city of Oslo into the city of love, "Os-love."

The people of Norway came together and said, "We want to show the world that we are a country of love. We are a city of Os-love." They came together in the most beautiful expression of holding up thousands of roses. That show of roses started in Oslo, and it was such a moving expression of love, with people coming together to demonstrate that they were not going to let one horrific event inspired by hatred define who they were, that all the other Norwegian cities held a similar event in which they flooded the streets with a sea of people holding up roses. This was a wonderfully hopeful expression of love. In our day-to-day lives there's so much suffering, hatred, and ugliness, but the country that bestows the Nobel Peace Prize came to realize that we can't really begin to have a peaceful nation or world if we don't understand the meaning of love.

Mourning the victims of Anders Breivik in Oslo, Norway

Our True Parents have taught us that the greatest lessons in life can sometimes be learned and taught through extremely difficult situations or circumstances. What took place at the hands of Mr. Breivik was fiendishly unfortunate and unbelievably horrific, but nonetheless the people came together and considered, "What lessons are we going to learn from this? Are we going to learn how to give back hatred and respond with hatred, or are we going to take it a step further by helping humanity progress into something more beautiful, into the peaceful millennium that we're all striving for?" So their expression of love is truly an inspiration.

Providing a Healthy Environment for Our Children

When we think about the work we are doing here in the United States, looking at the time frame of living in this providential era, we realize that our True Parents come with an amazing mission to share the breaking news. When we study the life and background of Breivik, we can consider anew how important it is to have True Parents with us at this time.

If we study Anders Breivik's background, we see that he comes from a broken home. His father left the family when Anders was one year old. Anders went through a series of events in his life that he understood to be rejection. So he suffered the same thing that a lot of adolescents go through. Perhaps he was ostracized, or made fun of, or rejected by different social groups. But seeing the framework he came from, the family environment or context in which he was dealing with all this rejection, we may note that the pattern of deviant behavior does not happen overnight. It's really a process.

Therefore, when True Parents stress to us the importance of building ideal families, and providing an ideal environment for children to grow up in, we realize how true that is. Breivik came from a single-parent home where he was raised by his mother along with a sister. He never really had an example of a male figure in his life. His father was nonexistent. We can easily imagine that his mother may have said words to the effect, "You have to be the man of the house. We don't have a father so you have to carry the burden of taking care of all of us."

Imagine a little boy growing up in an environment where the father is not there. He has no example of a male mentor to look up to and aspire to, and yet at the same time the mother may be putting undue pressure and expectations on the child to take the place of that absentee father. Such a child would have a great sense of burden in his life.

Often what children do to tackle this overwhelming behemoth we call life is to develop an inordinate sense of self that translates into an unrealistic, arrogant understanding of the self. The child begins to think he is so extremely important that the beliefs he holds are the most important beliefs and that he himself is the most important person. Therefore, this extreme desire to establish the self overrides anything else that takes place or exists in his life.

When a child comes from this kind of environment and goes through the especially traumatic and difficult phase called adolescence, while being constantly rejected, or perceiving himself to be constantly rejected, then the child slowly isolates himself more and more, and resides in his own world, in his own "master of the universe world," feeling that he has been born to teach the world. He is almost creating himself as a messianic figure who has to right the wrong, whatever may be his understanding of righting the wrong.

When somebody like this commits a crime, and we then see him several days later in court, his demeanor is very much that of, "I did what I did, and in 60 years' time you will herald me as a hero." This is what Breivik said. He was smiling as if to say, "I did the world a favor. I did all of you a favor." He had been disappointed or angry at some of the policies of the Norwegian government in supporting cultural exchange, encouraging coexistence with other faiths in Norway. He felt that that was not acceptable.

So, here he was, bearing the banner of being a "Christian," taking it upon himself to commit this atrocity, to shake the world up because in his mind he was righting a wrong. Then we realize that this is a man who has not gone through the usual growth that most people go through in learning the importance of moral reasoning in his or her life.

Stages of Moral Reasoning

Great psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg

The great psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg did a great deal of study of the stages of moral reasoning. He talked about several stages. The first stage is characterized by an immature understanding of what morality is all about in which superficiality rules everything above all else. The most important thing is power. An example of this kind of reasoning would be, "My dad is the boss because he's the biggest and the strongest." So the strongest defines what is right. Morality is determined by the strength of the person.

Then, according to Kohlberg, after some period of moral development a person enters the next stage, in which the predominant understanding is the word deal. First we learn that we are capable of understanding moral reasoning by saying, "We just follow our big, strong daddy because he's the strongest." But then we begin to start thinking, "Well, let's make a deal. What's in it for me?" Or, "I scratch your back and you scratch my back." There's a sense of some kind of interplay in the moral reasoning process of an individual.

But a more advanced understanding, the next level, takes us to the concept of mutuality, in which the word care comes into play. Words like trust, caring, and love start to creep into children's understanding of their moral reasoning when they look around the world and decide what they're going to do. They're thinking, "Hmm, how would I like that person to treat me?" When children are thinking about how they would like to be treated by another person, an element of empathy plays into the children's way of thinking in their moral reasoning.

As a child progresses, the main word is systems. The child realizes that a certain set of moral norms, or consistent standards, is necessary for an interdependent society in which cooperation is important for society to be viable.

A child who is in an unhealthy environment may not progress naturally, the way most children and adults do. Many of these people get stuck. A person like Breivik is stuck in the first stage. He has never really gone past the understanding that power is the most important thing. He who wields the biggest gun, the greatest power, can go onto the island of Utoya where nobody is armed except himself and take the lives of all these innocent girls and boys. He is wielding power, and he's defining himself as that most important player in his world where he is the master of the universe.

Elements of Cognitive Distortion

But when we look at Breivik's actions, we realize that obviously this is not a healthy individual. We realize this is somebody who suffers cognitively. Many psychologists have done the work of summarizing the main elements of cognitive distortion. They define cognitive distortion as being an error in a person's perception, or cognition, or the ability to think. They say that people who suffer from cognitive distortions have an element of self-centeredness: "The whole world revolves around me, myself, and I. It's me first, it's me only. So, whatever I want I will take, whatever I see, if I want it and if I can get away with it, I will do it." This is a serious cognitive distortion in that nobody else exists other than me, myself, and I. I am first, and I am the only thing that matters.

The second element possessed by most people suffering from cognitive distortion is the trait called assuming the worst. They assume the worst in people because they cannot possibly think good of people. They feel that people are the way they are and cannot be changed. There is a belief in the inability of people to change and to do great things.

When you are stuck in this cognitive distortion, any ambiguous action is taken as hostile. An example would be a child who's not emotionally well developed going to high school and walking down the corridors. Someone might just look at the child, but the child will take that as a hostile action. Any glance will be looked upon as that person laughing at him, putting him down, wanting to threaten or hurt him. An emotionally underdeveloped child will feel as if the whole world is against him or her.

Another element of cognitive distortion is blaming the other, as if you can do no wrong. You have done nothing wrong. That would be like a thief basically getting caught and justifying to the cops why he did what he did. The thief burglarized the house, and when the cop asked, "Why did you do that? Why did you rip that guy off?" The thief, blaming the others would respond in this kind of fashion: "The owners of the house did not lock the door, so they had it coming." Or in another situation, if the cop asked, "Why did you rape that 15-year-old girl?" the perpetrator might reply, "She was wearing a skirt that was too short. She was asking for it. She had it coming."

These people say they did nothing wrong. They simply responded to the stimulus, so it's the stimulus that's at fault. It's the person who did not lock the house that invited the burglary, and it's the girl who wore a dress too short who invited him to rape her.

The fourth point in people suffering from cognitive distortion is something called minimizing or mislabeling. This would be something like, "Well, I did what I did because everybody does it. Everybody lies, so I lie. True Family has so many problems, so I'm going to have a lot of problems. I saw somebody do drugs, so I'm going to do drugs."

There is a sense that since everybody is doing it, it's not harmful. Therefore, we neutralize our own conscience. If I am the perpetrator of a crime, I neutralize my own conscience that tells me it is wrong, because in my mind it is not wrong, since everybody is doing it.

When we look at the example of Breivik, we realize that he's suffering from all of these points. He is consumed with self-centeredness: "It's only me, myself and I. Nobody else can teach the world. Nobody knows the truth, so I have to teach everybody truth. And if I need to teach them, I will do it. And if I need to kill somebody, I will do it, because I am the only person that matters right now."

A person like Breivik assumes the worst in that he sees only the ugliness that exists. He doesn't see anything beyond his own perceptions or the errors in his perception. Therefore, he cannot possibly fathom or even contemplate the possibility that people can change and the world can be made into a better place. He assumes the worst and he's going to take it in his hands to punish the world, to wake up the world.

A person like him blames the others: "I didn't do anything wrong. I am just responding with what is needed at this time." He is responding with hatred, responding by taking the lives of these people because that's the stimulus that was given and he is responding, just to let people know that something has to be done.

A person like him minimizes what he is doing in one sense because he's saying, "Look, everybody does something like this in one form or another, in different circumstances, or on different levels in their life. I just took it 100 notches higher." But he's thinking as if his message is so important that what he did, the horrific nature of what he did, is minimized in his mind because it was necessary to teach the world what he needs to teach.

The Importance of Our True Parents

When we realize that people like this are walking around, thinking of all these different ways that they themselves, masters of the universe, are going to teach lessons to the world – and Breivik was promoting himself as one of the faithful, wearing the banner of a Christian – we can see that terrorism, if we really think about it, is a war of religions. Terrorism – what took place on 9/11 – is a war of religion. It's some members of the Islamic world not being happy with the Christian world, or the free market system, or some of our political ideas or policies. Terrorism is someone like Breivik who thinks of himself as a Christian and takes it upon himself to wage war against different faiths. Terrorism is a war of religion.

The reason why I say it is extraordinarily important for us to have our True Parents with us at this time of the breaking news is, who else is going to bring all these faiths together? How do we bring the faiths together? A lot of the good work that we have done in promoting service, peace organizations, and dialogue is a great thing, but we don't create peace through dialogue alone. We need something more than that.

Our True Parents are absolutely correct in saying, "Look. If we want peace, we have to understand love, and the only way to apply love in our lives is within the context of a family." Without building healthy ideal families, we cannot even begin to hope or dream of world peace.

In the Bible, Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as [one] thinks in his heart, so he is." We are creatures of what we think because how we think determines how we act. Therefore, the psychologist Kohlberg stressed the importance of understanding moral reasoning, the importance of character development in children and young adults.

So when our True Parents come and teach us the Divine Principle, encourage all of us to live a principled lifestyle by living for the sake of others, and ask us to be ideal men and women who can come together and create ideal families of our own, they are really asking us to start practicing what true love is all about. If we don't understand how to practice true love in a family setting, there is no way we're going to understand how to practice true love in a societal setting, let alone on a national setting or on the world stage.

This emphasis on the importance of family, on providing a great environment for our children to grow up in a healthy way, so that their divinity, God-given passions, and talents can be shared with the world, is incredibly important. When we think about True Father, a lot of people think Reverend Moon is a great man, a man of peace. He has done a lot of great work in the name of peace. But our True Parents are much more than that. They are not just a man and woman of peace; they are the physical manifestation of God, our Heavenly Parent, on earth.

The reason True Parents are so crucial to world peace is that we cannot unite the world religions just through dialogue. Dialogue is the first step in progress toward world peace, but it's only the first step. What we need is for somebody sent by God to encourage us to love each other as members of our own families. That's why the concept of the Blessing that our True Parents give – which is a sacrament and a gift to all of us – is the secret ingredient to world peace. Only by people actually becoming one family – by a Protestant coming together with a Catholic spouse, a Hindu coming together with an Islamic spouse, a Jehovah's Witness coming together with a Church of Christ spouse – through marriage do we become family, do we really understand how it is to love.

Without our True Parents, there is no gift of the Blessing, there is no secret ingredient that's going to translate the good start of interfaith dialogue and substantiate it into a world of peace. We have to understand that all this hatred and misunderstanding arises because we have different perspectives on how we want to honor God.

Our True Parents are basically saying to people of different faiths, races, and cultural backgrounds that we are seriously threatened because we have it within our power to destroy our world 100 times over. We have that technology, and we have all these renegade groups taking it upon themselves in the form of suicide bombers to blow people up, or people like Breivik, who take it upon themselves to be masters of the universe and teach the world how things should be. Breivik thinks being "Christian" is the most important thing, being "Christian" is more important than anything else. He minimizes killing, and his own deeds are blamed on others because he thinks that the world provoked him to do it. He has assumed the worst, thinking there is no hope and therefore that he must proclaim the truth. He is so self-centered that he doesn't see anything beyond himself or his faith.

Throughout the months and years we have seen examples of somebody like Breivik all around the world. Who is going to bring somebody like that together in an embrace with an Islamic brother or sister, and help that somebody realize that we belong to one humanity, one family, and we must love each other as we do our spouse, our own children, and our own relatives? That is the gift our True Parents are bringing to the world. They are asking us to consider the world full of differences, hostilities, and hatred, and instead to reimagine a world where people can live as if we are really belonging to one family because we have made that pledge to God, humanity, our spouse, and our families to love one another just as much as we do our own.

Only a concept such as this can heal the hatred and bring unity to all these different faiths that, left alone without our True Parents' gift of the Blessing, are going to result in the war of religions, or terrorist attacks all around the world.

Our True Parents are not just our father and mother; they are providential figures of history. As we are living together with them, we need to realize that this is a time not just to re-imagine our world, but actually to make it real. Through the example of Jesus Christ and his life of piety, we come to understand what it is to truly love, and we see an example of a true life. But we were never able to solve how to have or substantiate the true lineage of God. How do we change our satanic lineage, which resulted from the human Fall, to the heavenly lineage, and engraft ourselves into the heavenly lineage, into the one family under God. How do we do that?

With Jesus Christ, we never had that answer because Jesus' life and mission were cut short. He never had a chance to find a wife and have a family. He never had a chance to establish a paradigm of true love that everybody could look at and say, "That's how we build ideal families. This is how we build ideal societies, an ideal nation, and an ideal world." We just never had that model to follow or to contemplate because Jesus died on the cross. He died without his disciples, without the Holy Spirit manifesting itself into a beautiful true mother of mankind through which Jesus Christ would have stood as the True Parent. Jesus never had that opportunity. Therefore, our understanding of how the world is really went quite askew.

But the interesting thing was that throughout the centuries, because we had Jesus' model of how it is to live a good and true life, practicing love, then good Christians have followed Jesus' example by denying the world's creature comforts, denying the fulfillment that they might have in a marital relationship. In a way they decided to go the way of the cross. They decided that the way to best serve the Lord was to live a life of suffering.

Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han, May 15, 2011

But with the advent of True Parents we can finally understand how we can establish the true lineage of God. Yes, our True Father is the Second Coming. Yes, he's the Lord of the Second Advent, but as awesome as he is, without True Mother, he cannot be the True Parents. Only with our True Mother standing together with him as the loving partner and paradigm of true love, can they stand in the position as the True Parents who have indemnified and restored history. Only the two of them together are in a position to give the world the chance to graft onto the true lineage of God, changing our lineage from the satanic lineage that has enslaved all of us and kept us in bondage throughout the centuries, to the heavenly lineage that offers us a brand-new beginning and an opportunity to build and become a part of the one family under God.

Throughout the centuries the church has done a great job of bringing brothers and sisters along, following the model of Christian piety, following Jesus' life of sacrifice and suffering. We thought that was the purpose of our lives, and the church has done its best. I've always thought it was quite interesting that the role of the church is to take care of its congregation, nurture and inspire the brothers and sisters, the children of God, to be great men and women of God.

If we really think about it, we see that the role of the church is extremely feminine. These functions of the church are ones that usually a mother would do in the home. But the interesting thing is that because Jesus Christ never had a wife, church history has been dominated by men. Because there was no seat made for a woman, our understanding of Christian history has been very much skewed, so much so that they've debated over the centuries whether women should be silent, whether they should be given an active role in the life of faith, whether they should stand behind the pulpit at all, whether that's right or wrong.

The great thing about our True Parents is that through the position and the person of True Parents, men and women find their own dignity. When Father stresses the importance of the Pacific Rim era and the importance of women coming to the forefront in encouraging all of humanity to graft onto the heavenly lineage, we realize that our True Parents are here to compel all of us to become that one family of God. By having the woman take the lead, it's pushing the role of the church that much more in the forefront in emphasizing the importance of compassionate giving, caring, and inspiring. These virtues are all extremely feminine, and they are necessary if we want to create a world of peace.

Astronauts Hand-picked to Safeguard the World

Through our True Parents we realize that all of us have been anointed as their representatives to the world. They are encouraging us in a way to be like the astronauts in the movie Armageddon: Here they are in slow motion, walking up to the rocket because they're going to save the world from the asteroid that is going to collide with earth and extinguish forever any source of life. These astronauts are the anointed, the blessed, the chosen ones to put their lives on the line by going out there in space to save their families and humanity and the Earth itself from total destruction.

Brothers and sisters, if we truly understand the providential timeline and history that you and I, all of us, are living in, we are those astronauts who have been anointed, hand-picked, blessed, and chosen by God to safeguard the world against all incoming, volatile, and deadly asteroids. And these asteroids can be in the form of terrorist attacks or people fighting with each other because of their differences in religion, race, and cultural background. These asteroids can be the moral corruption that is going to overtake our world and degenerate all of humanity into the animal-like existence that Thomas Hobbes talked about.

Our True Parents are giving us the means to fight for and build the kind of world we believe in, and to safeguard our children from all these different asteroids. The asteroids might be all the temptations in the form of drugs or sexual abuse or all the temptations asking us to live superficial lives.

By understanding that we as God's sons and daughters are the astronauts going into space to put up the good fight and stand strong because we believe in something, we can work together to build that amazing something we call the one family under God. This is what our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents are asking us not just to think about in our heads but truly to feel it and to think and know it in our hearts. Better than that, we are to experience it so that we become what we think, we start living the life that we have decided to live.

Our church has gone through several different stages, with the first generation being like the first part of a rocket with a whole lot of shaking and rolling. Then here comes the second generation. Once the rocket clears the atmosphere, the initial propulsion stage falls by the wayside, allowing the second propulsion stage to take the rocket to a whole new level. Then when it comes time, the second stage falls by the wayside, allowing the third stage of the propulsion system to take us to a place we've only dreamed about.

We have to understand that we are a work in progress, and the most important thing we have to remind ourselves of is not to lose ourselves along the way, not to get lost as we transition to the second stage of the rocket and the emptied shell of the first stage falls by the wayside. We are not to be discouraged or lose hope thinking, "All my sacrifice was in vain." No, it was the sacrifice in the first stage that has propelled the second generation of the work to be as high as it is now, to the place where we are standing.

The second generation, if we do our part, will take it to the third level where our future generations will transform the world into that safe, peaceful, and loving home that we all so long for.

This is a time to take our reimagining of what the world can be and appreciate that with our True Parents here we have the magical gift of the Blessing through which all of humanity can become one family. Therefore, it is our job to share the breaking news with the rest of the world, to tell the people the good news that the messiah is here, our True Parents are here.

The way that we thought things should be done, the status quo, the rock of the world, will be shattered by the messiah, our True Parents, who reveal the completed way of doing things, the fulfilling way of doing things. For instance, instead of Christian piety as a life of denial and suffering, we realize through the love of our True Parents that God wants for his and her children not a life of suffering and misery but a life of completion. God wants a life of fulfillment for all of us.

Through our True Parents, we should not be living in a world of hatred but in a world where love takes the leading role, where true love – exercised, practiced, and implemented in the context of the family – is taken to whole new levels, into the levels of society, nation, world, and cosmos. By our uniting with our True Parents, all of this is possible.

So this is an incredibly exciting and important time, when we should not be sleeping like the disciples of Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. We must be alert, awake, and aware. We must not miss a thing, because every day with our True Parents is precious, every moment here with each other is precious. You and I, we are those anointed astronauts who are going to change the world. So let's be proud of who we are.

The Church as an Environment for Building Ideal Families

The work of the church is not to just teach us about who God is. That's not really the work of the church. The work of the church, if we think about it in the context of the advent of True Parents in our lives, is to help give us not just the tools to know what an ideal family is, but more specifically the weekly tools to implement it in our lives, to start building it in our lives.

When we look at the example of people like Breivik, or of men and women who suffer from cognitive distortions, we see people who have isolated themselves to such an extent that they have become monsters, or masters of their own universe, thinking that only they know the truth and only they have the means to right the wrongs in the world. In considering how to treat people with cognitive disorders, psychologists and doctors suggest that a very important foundation for treating these individuals is to bring them into a group setting and have them go through a process of rubbing up against different people.

This is similar to the situation in school where students are intellectually challenged every day, and some of the students will become great mathematicians by doing challenging problems. I know when some of my kids were doing mathematics – and they were very, very good at it – what they always wanted was a math challenge. They wanted to be challenged intellectually to become honed and practiced. They would do this to work the muscles of their intellect so their minds can do greater and greater formulas and computations in their head.

Likewise, the way to treat cognitive distortion is to follow a developmental sequence that every child goes through during a period when they suffer through the four elements of being self-centered, assuming the worst, blaming the other, and minimalizing. The way you help a child through these difficult processes is by putting them into a group setting. That's why a healthy family environment is extremely important. By dealing with mom and dad, siblings, and relatives, a child slowly learns to have a healthy response and a healthy understanding of how to be in a social context.

There is great value in putting people through role-playing in which people take the child position in a family or group setting, where they are made to feel like, "Well, okay, you want to do whatever you want, but how would you like it if perhaps maybe your sister becomes you for the day and role-plays what you just did in the context of the family?" By working out the problems and responses from different family members that will naturally arise when you put yourself forward in such an aggressive and self-centered manner, that's one way people come to understand, "Oh, I need to grow. I need to do something different."

That is why a place like a church, where we gather on a weekly basis, provides a great venue and a good time to talk about the different ways we can improve our community and our families. Discussing the example of Breivik is a wonderful opportunity to stress the importance of a healthy group dynamic setting, where a child learns dynamic interplay and relationship patterns with different family members and thereby gets a holistic picture of what the child may be doing right or what the child may be doing wrong. And therefore, day by day the child can be developing a healthy ability to reason cognitively.

Brothers and sisters, I'm really hoping that in light of what took place in Norway, if Norway can be a country of Os-love, what about America? What about all the brothers and sisters here who have been anointed to be those astronauts, to share the breaking news, and who don't miss a thing along the way?

Can we not do better? Can we not inspire our young people by sharing the breaking news with the rest of the world and exercising our power to influence the world to seek a life based upon true love? Can we not encourage everybody to join in this common humanity as one family of God, to experience the beauty of the Blessing? Don't you think we can do that, brothers and sisters?

Tentatively our True Parents have set the next blessing in February 2012, so we have a lot of work to do in terms of sharing the breaking news. Please encourage your colleagues, friends, and relatives, by asking them to take a look at what just happened in Norway. Ask them, "How are we going to build a world of peace? Are we just going to talk about it and feel good about it amongst ourselves? Or are we actually going to do the building, to actually be that one family under God?"

Please encourage everybody to understand the importance of our True Parents and invite the world to come and experience the magic of the Blessing. At this time, please understand the importance of uniting with our True Parents and aligning with their vision in working together in the ways they compel us to do every day.

So God bless, have a great Sunday, and thank you very much.


The Books of Proverbs, chapter 23

1: When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you;

2: and put a knife to your throat
if you are a man given to appetite.

3: Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.

4: Do not toil to acquire wealth;
be wise enough to desist.

5: When your eyes light upon it, it is gone;
for suddenly it takes to itself wings,
flying like an eagle toward heaven.

6: Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy;
do not desire his delicacies;

7: for he is like one who is inwardly reckoning.
"Eat and drink!" he says to you;
but his heart is not with you.

8: You will vomit up the morsels which you have eaten,
and waste your pleasant words.

9: Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
for he will despise the wisdom of your words.

10: Do not remove an ancient landmark
or enter the fields of the fatherless;

11: for their Redeemer is strong;
he will plead their cause against you.

12: Apply your mind to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.

13: Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.

14: If you beat him with the rod
you will save his life from Sheol.

15: My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart too will be glad.

16: My soul will rejoice
when your lips speak what is right.

17: Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.

18: Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.

19: Hear, my son, and be wise,
and direct your mind in the way.

20: Be not among winebibbers,
or among gluttonous eaters of meat;

21: for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

22: Hearken to your father who begot you,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.

23: Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

24: The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who begets a wise son will be glad in him.

25: Let your father and mother be glad,
let her who bore you rejoice.

26: My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.

27: For a harlot is a deep pit;
an adventuress is a narrow well.

28: She lies in wait like a robber
and increases the faithless among men.

29: Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?

30: Those who tarry long over wine,
those who go to try mixed wine.

31: Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.

32: At the last it bites like a serpent,
and stings like an adder.

33: Your eyes will see strange things,
and your mind utter perverse things.

34: You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.

35: "They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink."

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