The Words of In Jin Moon from 2011

Responding to Tragedy: Overcoming the Blame Game

In Jin Moon
November 27, 2011

Good morning. It's so good to see everybody. Has everybody survived the Thanksgiving feast? And the turkey and the stuffing and the gravy and all the desserts? Or are you still carrying it on with you? [Laughter.]

I had a lovely Thanksgiving at the Learning Center, together with the Generation Peace Academy (GPA). And Jatoma, together with his whole family – Jaga and Tammy, and I heard their parents were also busy behind in the kitchen – prepared a delicious feast for all of us. I thoroughly enjoyed not having to work in the kitchen. For the first time I realized what it feels like to be a child again because I felt so well taken care of by the Gavins and the people who volunteered to help in the kitchen.

The Youth Concerts for World Peace

It was such an incredible time for me because I got to spend some time with our GPA kids. They have been quite busy the last couple of months preparing for our True Parents' birthday celebration, a huge event a couple of months from now in Korea. Our True Parents recently invited all the different countries of the world to send a video of their best choir. Father and Mother would like to preside over what initially started out as a choir competition, which has now been expanded to include plays and different types of music and dance ensembles. So it's going to be an artistic competition in Korea.

I had the great fortune of working with the blessed children in Japan for over a decade with the Youth Concerts for World Peace. When I first went to Japan years ago, I wanted to support the importance of art in children's education. Whenever you endeavor to be the best artist, certain things come into play. You have to understand the meaning of delayed gratification, you have to learn how to set both short-term and long-term goals, and you have to be willing to commit yourself to the discipline and to the process to become a great artist to accomplish those short-term or long-term goals.

When we first started in Japan, we didn't have a great deal of financial resources to invest in the second-generation there, but when I looked at these beautiful kids, I could see that they already had the gift within. God gave them wonderful vocal cords that, with the right kind of discipline and encouragement, could help them become phenomenal singers in a beautiful choir.

Over the course of more than 12 years Japan has grown beautiful choirs. Every year at the youth concerts, hundreds of choirs all around Japan's prefectures compete to be able to perform at the youth concert. By the ninth or tenth year, these kids became so good and so well versed in their choir practices that the Embassy Row of Japan began to take note. Even though Japan still refuses our True Father an entrance visa, it could not ignore the beauty of our second-generation blessed choirs, so these choirs began to be invited to Embassy Row to perform for various ambassadors and dignitaries coming to Japan.

We realized that in this beautiful choir we had great ambassadors of peace. They became the face of our movement, the face of our True Parents. They became our face to the people of Japan and to all the dignitaries who were invited and had the honor to be entertained by these angelic voices.

Then they went on to do greater work by living for the sake of others, not just entertaining dignitaries but also thanking the elders of Japan by bringing a little bit of heaven to people in old folks' homes waiting to die. When these beautiful children 10, 11, and 12 years old come and take all day long to spend time with the elderly, playing games with them, making origami with them, hugging them, touching them, and performing for them, all of these people who are only waiting to die feel like God has sent them a little piece of heaven and a vision of how beautiful their country of Japan can be. They can see the beauty of the future of Japan in these children.

The Generation Peace Academy Choir

It has always been my dream to not just do this in Japan but also all over the world. This international competition gives the American movement an opportunity to partake of this. When I first started with the thought of creating Lovin' Life Ministries, I brought Brian Saunders to head up the choir with the hope he could create a choir like these professionals have done with the Blessed Children in Japan. But with the difficulties of running the ministry, and every artist having their own angst, issues, trials, and tribulations, I found myself thinking, "We're well on our way to becoming a great ministry, but I wish we had a decent choir."

Then a notice came from Korea calling for an international competition. I remember a video I showed a long time ago to the Japanese Blessed Children about how incredible American Blessed Children were. It was a video of the Sun Hak choir from Seattle. I always had this choir in mind. It was the image of these beautiful Blessed Children who inspired the Japanese Blessed Children to try their best because they wanted to be the best representatives of their country.

I thought, for this choir competition, instead of bringing adults, it would be wonderful if we expanded the idea of the choir that existed in Seattle and turned GPA into the home of the future Unification Church Tabernacle Choir. You've heard of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which is the envy of the world. Whether you agree with their faith or not, you cannot help but admit that this choir is incredible, profound, and awe-inspiring. How wonderful if we could do the same at GPA, where the kids have an opportunity to figure out who they are, come to own their identities and destinies, and to decide to do something with their life, while preparing for their future life in college or as young adults.

When I explored a little further, I found out the Sun Hak director is the mother of Mitsuru, the lovely lady that you see every Sunday playing the viola. So Mitsuru's mother came and started working with GPA. When she first worked with them, she said, ooh, this is going to be really difficult: "I play a note, I ask them to sing it back to me, and they give me three or four different notes." She realized she had a great deal of work to do.

With heart of a mother to invest in the future, wanting to make our children shine, she and Mitsuru have done a phenomenal job. When they gave me a taste of what people can expect in Korea, I was totally floored and amazed. I want to give the GPA a round of applause for great work, and I'm hoping that with continued effort – you guys have a couple of months – we'll be able to bring the Grand Prize home as the winner of the competition.

Although I've spent 12 years with the kids in Japan, I'm somewhat biased right now and it would be wonderful to see our American second-generation bring the trophy back home. I reminded them at Thanksgiving they'll have really stiff competition. Last year the Japanese choir beat the Little Angels, and not only that, they have the "cute" factor going for them. The GPA members are 17, 18, 19, 20 years old. The Japanese choirs are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 years old, and incredibly cute. Just by the cute factor alone they will win any prize.

But then on top of that, they sing like angels. And with the amount of investment they put into each song, their whole body sings. When you see their face, not just their eyes but their mouth and their tongue, their teeth – everything sings. As a person in the audience, you can't sit there without being amazed, moved, and inspired. So GPA, you have stiff competition ahead of you, so please keep on practicing.

Headaches of the Holiday Season

I was sharing with them, Here we are celebrating Thanksgiving, a time of family, turkey, and great desserts and letting your waistline go a couple of inches. And then we have Christmas and New Year's and all of this celebration around the corner. But we also know the holiday season is a time when emotions run incredibly high. It tends to bring out the best in the family and the worst in the family. Anybody who enjoys going to the movies for entertainment, I'm sure you're well aware of all the Christmas movies about family, about how a protagonist might not be too keen on seeing a particular relative or other family members and the angst that one goes through just to prepare oneself to get to the family event. Or the different unresolved issues and various conflicts that have been in that family for many years are things that many do not look forward to.

I know that a lot of people – and I'm sure many people in Midtown Manhattan – feel the same way when they think about Christmas holidays or the holiday season in general. For a lot of young people, this is a difficult time because it's the end of the year and the new year is around the corner. They want a sense of closure, a feeling of some achievement. But if the year has not been a good one for them, they can easily get lost in the feelings of being ignored, neglected, or feeling worthless: or, in the words of some youngsters that I've worked with, feeling like an invisible tree.

Many of them suffer a great deal of depression. They don't know who to go to or talk to, how to seek help. Often the family does not know what to do with young people who are in the throes of dealing with depression. You may be aware of the tragedy that took place with a family in New Hampshire where a young man decided to take his own life. When you look at young people and the background of why they decided to take their own life, you can see that it's not an isolated event; it's not a one-time impulse that turned into people losing their life. There's a whole history behind a disturbed person who takes his or her own life; many times the warning signs are seen early on, as young as 10, 11 or 12 years of age, in particular 12.

In a religious community like ours, where we want to accomplish a beautiful world, building ideal families, first and foremost it's a great responsibility and burden to take up. Many of us, myself included, simply did not feel ready to be parents. Nobody gave me a manual on how to be a parent, nobody sent me to a workshop that taught me how to deal with all the issues that might arise in raising a family. All of us try our best with what we have, not realizing that we really have not been given a full set of tools to deal with all the issues.

Overcoming the Blame Game

Our True Parents have stressed the importance of the last three months of the year. It's a time when things come to a close in preparation for the new spring, the new heavenly fortune that awaits. It's a time to take stock, to be introspective, to be respectful of the year that has passed in preparation for the year that is to come.

But the last three months tend to be the most precarious in that so many things are taking place and so many emotions are running high. Again, the holiday season brings out the best and also the worst in families. Many of us would like the perfect family – perfect in the way we understand what perfection means. Everybody understands perfection in a unique way. When a young person feels trapped in a family that he or she feels is not perfect or feels like he or she doesn't belong, then the child feels totally lost. When the child does not have a strong inner core or a relationship with Heavenly Father, our True Parents, or the church community, the child can so easily lose hope.

As parents, first and foremost our prayers, thoughts, and well wishes go to the family that has lost a loved one. We as parents many times face ourselves in this tragic situation, and we don't know what to do. We don't know how to deal with what just took place. We don't know how to rid ourselves of the blame we put upon ourselves. We don't know how to concentrate on the future, with the rest of the family that still needs to be taken care of, how to deal with our lives in the context of a larger community called our movement. Sometimes these questions are incredibly difficult for families hit with a tragic event like this.

When we as parents, as children, as brothers and sisters of this movement have been hit with this type of tragedy, there is an immediate desire to blame somebody or something: "This took place because that person was to blame, or their ancestry was to blame, or the parents themselves neglected a lot of the warning signs so they're to blame." I know that parents in this situation go through a phase of what I call the blaming game. Many parents first and foremost blame themselves: "What could I have done? My child was rebellious, my child was addicted, my child was sick." They immediately blame themselves, thinking everything their child does is somehow their responsibility.

As a community we need to understand that it's okay for the parents to start the grieving process by looking within, by wanting to take the blame on their own shoulders. But when you look at a young person's life – and this is a 20-year-old adult – you realize the child also has responsibility that was not met. Yes, there could be a myriad of other reasons why something like this took place, but it's not only the parents' problem. Often in this situation parents or different family members immediately look to the generational family to blame. For example, perhaps the father and mother were alcoholics and therefore the child is an alcoholic. Or a parent or parent's sibling attempted suicide, so therefore the child will attempt suicide.

We've seen this all through history. When Adam and Eve were asked by God, "Why are you hiding?" it was the first instance of each blaming the other: Adam blaming Eve, Eve blaming the serpent. And even with their children, Cain and Abel, Cain blamed Abel for being the favored one and Cain blamed Abel as to why his sacrifice was not accepted by God.

Blame is a very dangerous and difficult thing to overcome. When we look at families who are stuck in blaming the generations or their ancestors or their family, we see that this is the kind of family that cannot look forward in life. When we're going down the path of life, it's almost like driving a car in that we have to be cognizant of where we are going; we have to be looking forward to our destination. But at the same time we have to be aware of the side mirrors that tell us where we are in the course of our lives. We have to know where we are and who we are.

But also when you're driving, you have a rear-view mirror that allows you to look back from time to time, so you can gauge the distance of your vehicle vis-à-vis the other vehicles that are coming your way. By monitoring where you are going, looking forward, then assessing with the side mirrors where you are in your life, and by looking in the rear-view mirror from time to time, then you can gather an idea of where you are on the highway and proceed down the road.

But when we are stuck in this blaming game – many times blaming ourselves, many times blaming ancestors or relatives or the things that have gone before – it's almost like driving down the highway going backward, staring at the rear-view mirror. If we continue driving 70 miles an hour while looking in the rear-view mirror, it's a dangerous thing to do. Sooner or later we might get into an accident. When we are stuck in the past, not keeping focus on where we are going and what our future is in light of the tragic circumstance that just took place, it's like driving on the highway while only looking in the rear-view mirror. We are then stuck in our past, not moving away from our past to see the glorious future ahead. Yes, every tragedy that takes place in our lives is incredibly painful and difficult. But if we can learn from it, if we can gain insights from it, if we can gain a certain level of wisdom, then we can become a stronger person who is prepared for the future and for the destinies that we are here to accomplish in our lifetime.

Taking Responsibility for Ourselves

Some of us are stuck in the idea of being a martyr. It is very unhealthy taking responsibility for others and really is a detriment to our own well-being. People suffering from this martyr complex might be telling themselves, "My poor life! Why was I born in this family? Why was I born so destitute, with no prospects for the future?" Many African Americans might have felt like this before the civil rights movement: "Why was I born black?"

When we decide to take responsibility for ourselves, instead of just seeing ourselves as prisoners of our fate or our present circumstances, we realize we can do incredible things. African Americans have begun to realize, "I am no different from white Americans. God created me in his and her image, just like my white brothers and sisters. I have the right to live my life as a dignified and divine being, and I have the right to not blame my misfortunes on my race or its history. I have the right to look toward the future and my glorious destiny, to pull myself up by the bootstraps and become that great person and agent of change." It's this kind of thinking that allowed a black man like President Obama to sit in the White House.

Let's not be resigned to our fate or our particular situation, but rather understand that we can be that agent of change, that instead of waiting for God to send us a miraculous cure for all our ills and problems, let us know that God gave us the spirit within. In fact, God resides in the very spirit that is within, as it says in I Corinthians 3:16, where Paul said, "Do you not know that you yourselves are God's temple, that God's spirit dwells in you?"

We are not a product of the circumstance that we find ourselves in. Regardless of where we are born, what tragedies we find ourselves faced with, what difficulties are in our path, the spirit of God resides within. If we truly believe that we are God's temple, then we have a duty and a responsibility to live that holy life, to live that grateful life. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, thinking, "Poor, pitiful me, or, if only my parents were this way, if only my friends were this way, if only my grandparents were this way," we realize that instead of blaming others for our misfortune, God lives within us and we have the responsibility to live for the sake of others by supporting, encouraging, inspiring, and tapping in to the divinity within us.

I always remind the people that I find stuck in this martyr complex, blaming everybody else for their misfortune, that if we are true martyrs, it doesn't matter how much we are suffering, dying, or persevering. If we are true martyrs, we would not be blaming others. We would continue to pray for others. We would continue to wish well-being on others. We would continue to want to empower others while we are suffering, while we are dying.

The Blaming Complex Within a Marriage

I was counseling a young couple, and the wife was suffering from what I call the blaming complex, talking to the spouse, saying, "You are the reason why I am unhappy. You are the reason why I see no value in my life." This young lady vocally articulated so much negativity, constantly blaming, constantly replaying why she was unhappy. "If only you were like this, and because you are not, you make me miserable." She made her happiness contingent on somebody else's actions. She was basically saying, "I am an independent woman. I want to do my own thing." But she made herself a prisoner in that relationship by making everything dependent on what the other was doing.

This young woman kept on blaming, almost to the point where the last two years of their relationship she was basically saying, "Get out of my life. You are the reason I'm miserable. If you are gone then I will be happy. Get out of my life. I want a divorce."

For the previous two years of the relationship she pushed the husband to get a divorce. But when the husband couldn't take it anymore because she was locking him out of the house, saying horrible things, blaming him to all their friends and community for their difficulty, he said, "Fine. You want a divorce? Then I'll give it to you.

The minute this man said, "Okay, fine. You want a divorce? You can have it." Then she turned around and said, "How dare you divorce me!" The husband said, "Excuse me?" She said, "How dare you break the blessing! What kind of an Unificationist are you?" All of these things came out. Then the husband said, "You're the one asking me for a divorce." She said, "How dare you! You come back right now!"

By then she had pushed her husband so much. She pulled a knife on him and threw dishes at him. This man had battle wounds. He really could not see hope in continuing. He felt this woman needed to work on herself before there could be a future together for them. She really needed to focus on not blaming everybody for her martyrdom complex but realize that using the constant replay button as to why she is unhappy, she was actually becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, that she was creating her own unhappiness by her inability to see that by constantly blaming the other for all of her problems, she was actually losing the very thing that she wanted so much.

When the husband finally decided to leave, she decided, "Okay, you should have no rights to my children." She called them her children. First of all, brothers and sisters, when you have kids, they're not your children. The children came about because of God, because of True Parents, because of the husband and the wife. There was both a sperm and an egg involved there. And regardless of how difficult a married situation is, you cannot divorce your husband out of your children's life. A child came to exist because of a father and a mother, and regardless of what you are going through with your spouse, you have to give each other the dignity to maintain that relationship with the child as a father and a mother, except in extreme situations, such as when incest is involved; then we have to take other measures. But provided that the father is not sexually abusing the children and is trying his best to be a father, the wife has no right to divorce the husband from the children just because he pisses her off.

In other words, regardless of how upset we might be in our own individual claims as to why we think we have the right to blame other people, we have to recognize that children – precious presents from God – did not come into being just through us. It requires a man and a woman, a father and a mother. Therefore, the child needs to be raised together by a father and a mother, regardless of what the spouses are going through – whether they're divorced, separated, or going through the process of working things out. The child needs access to both father and mother.

If the wife continues in this manner, she's actually going to end up ruining her future relationship with her children. Her children are now young, so she can pretty much tell them whatever she wants, such as "Dad is evil; he broke the blessing," without telling the children that she's the one who drove him to break the blessing. The mother might feel she's in total control, but if she keeps this up, the children will grow up and they will start asking, "Where is our father, why is our father not here?" and they will start seeking out their father and actually end up resenting the mother for keeping them away from him.

The blaming game is not going to work because at the end of the day she's not only going to lose her husband, but she's going to be a very lonely woman by losing her kids.

Blaming Takes Practice

When I see these types of incidents take place, I realize how detrimental, how much of a difficulty it is for families to deal with blame. Often in regard to the relationship between parents and children, the children blame their parents for everything. Just as it's never the right thing to say it's all one person's fault, likewise in a parent-child relationship it's never just all the parent's fault and never all the child's fault. It's usually a blend of two things.

A child recently came up to me and said, "I cannot stand my awful parents. I cannot talk to my father: I cannot talk to my mother. They're horrible parents." But when you look behind the situation and see the background, you might see that perhaps the father was very strict because the child was in the throes of addiction, or the child was not in school, or the child was not being respectful.

When you look at a situation in a family, there are many different reasons and different people at play, which makes it difficult to say only this or that person is to blame. Usually it's the combination of a lot of things. When a family is engulfed in this kind of turmoil, it didn't happen overnight. The family got there by practicing certain things.

When you meet somebody who blames quite a bit or gossips quite a bit, you realize that it takes a lot of practice. Just like the wife who was on constant replay of all her reasons why she was unhappy, you realize that she got there by reciting every day to any willing ear why she's unhappy. By blaming others, she's teaching herself the reasons why she feels she has the right to be unhappy. Blaming people and gossiping about someone takes a great deal of time and a great deal of practice.

When you meet people who tend to assign blame outwardly to everything else except themselves, then you realize that they have a long history of this constant replay. They have a long history of being this way, and they have a long history of being negative. That's why it's incredibly difficult to see anything positive or anything rewarding about life.

"Blaming Others Leaves You Perpetually Lame"

Growing up, I shared a room with a younger sister who was difficult to live with. She was incredibly clean and tidy, and even though we shared a room, there was almost an invisible demarcation: "This is my bed, this is my part of the carpet. Your footprint will not pass." If my footprints landed on her side of the room, I would have to vacuum the carpet right away.

Many times she got me really upset, and I wanted to blame her right back. I wanted to say, "I cannot live a natural existence. I like my room tidy but not sterile." I could not live a natural existence with a sister like that. I felt I was living with alcohol rub – any piece of dust, any piece of dirt was wiped away. It was almost as if I didn't exist in that room.

I went through a period when I was very upset. I really wanted to blame her, and I really wanted to get angry at her. But then I realized that the more I did that, the angrier I got. And the more I blamed her in my head, the more negative I got. The more I blamed, the more I was habitually teaching my brain to think negatively. By blaming others I was teaching myself to think negatively, to a point when I could not be grateful for my life. I could not see any thanksgiving in my life. I found myself incredibly depressed.

Usually what I do when I'm faced with a difficulty or obstacle is I like to write. One of the things I wrote down for myself that seemed to help me in this process of desiring to overcome this impulse to blame others was this sentence: "Blaming others leaves you perpetually lame." It leaves you or me or anybody perpetually lame, in that you feel like you're handicapped. You cannot do anything but continue to blame, continue to be negative, continue to not see hope or meaning in your life. Blaming others leaves you perpetually lame.

You realize that only when you can really discover or uncover the inner flame within, with the courage to change. So instead of blaming others who keep you lame, if you can uncover the inner flame, meaning the divinity within, with the courage to change – not change others, but with the courage to change yourself – that's the way you keep yourself ahead of the game, meaning dealing with all of the things that life puts in front of you, all the trials and tribulations or the tricks that life might play upon you.

Only by uncovering your inner flame with the courage to change do you stay ahead of the game. That reminded me again of the Bible verse where Paul said that God dwells and lives within you.

When I was confronted with the desire to blame others, I asked myself, how can I get myself out of this rut? How can I get to a point when I start looking toward the road I'm driving down and not be stuck in the rear-view mirror, always stuck to what has gone on, always stuck to the reasons why I should be miserable?

Connect to God's Circuitry

Many Blessed Children going through adolescence want to do a lot of different things. They might say to themselves, "My older brother and sister are doing it, so then I should do it." Or, "They are making my life miserable, so therefore I will be miserable," attributing their desire to do something to others, and therefore feeling fine about doing it: in other words, making an excuse for what they're going to do by blaming others.

I realized I didn't want to do that, to be a rebellious daughter just because I was born to a public family or I had parents who were always living life by serving the world. There are many reasons why somebody in the True Family might want to blame everybody else other than ourselves, but I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to be blaming my parents, or my ancestors, or my relatives. I didn't want to be blaming the church.

If I find myself in a difficult situation, regardless of what has gone on in my life, how can I make it better? That's what I asked myself. And several things came to mind. When you come to a place where you decide to make that change, to just stop blaming others, to take control of your life, you can tap into your inner flame. As our True Parents said to us many times, human beings are like light bulbs, like those lighting this room. But if you're not connected to the spirit of God or the power of true love, you're not going to get the brilliant light that casts upon all of us in this room.

Likewise, if we're not connected to God, regardless of how beautiful, how ornate a light bulb we might be, we will never be able to cast that brilliant light upon the world that we were meant to do. One of the most important things for me is to go back to the reason why I'm here. Regardless of what you're going through in life, the most important thing to keep in mind is, if you want to change your life from the state of blaming everybody to really being a grateful person, being a proactive person, being that agent of change that will make your life better, you have to do a couple of things.

Determining Our Own Destinies

The first thing you have to do is have a clear vision of what you want. You may find yourself in an un-ideal family or relationship, but in order to change or get yourself from the rut you are in, you have to have a vision of the family you want to build. We have to understand ourselves in relationship with God, understand why we're here, and understand that God is our Heavenly Parent who created us not just to suffer and wither away and persevere and die, but he really wants us to be that brilliant light bulb casting glorious light into the world.

When God created you and me, his eternal sons and daughters, as divine creatures, he had a vision for all of us, for the kind of life he would like all of us to enjoy and feel fulfilled in. When we have an understanding of what we want in our life, then we realize that the next step is to come up with a course of action. We have to have a clear plan in being able to identify what we do not want in our lives and what we do want.

Instead of blaming others, petrifying ourselves into a miserable state, we start looking at our individual circumstances and say, "This is a tough situation. These are the things I'd like to get rid of, but these are the things that I would like to work on. These are the things I'd like to see in my relationship or in my family". So you identify what you don't want and what you want.

Then there has to be a commitment to be responsible in that we are going to be responsible for the change in our lives. We are going to be the agent of change, regardless of how difficult, regardless of how unbearable our situation is. If we have the vision, and we have the plan, and we are committed to being responsible – meaning, carrying out that plan diligently and with commitment – then we will be able to see the fruits of our labors.

When we say we're going to be responsible, it means that just like the way blaming others and gossiping about others takes a lot of practice and a lot of hours over coffee, in living a proactive and positive life, where we can determine our own destinies, being responsible means also practicing this each and every day. By being responsible, we are agreeing to commit ourselves to daily practicing.

The greatest form of practice is prayer, daily reminding ourselves why we are doing what we're doing because we're committed to accomplishing the vision that we have set for ourselves. We have a plan of action; we know exactly what we don't want, what we do want. We know what we need to do to get there: by deciding to be responsible and committed to the process by practicing. Just as we practice blaming others and therefore create a negative attitude toward life, what we need to do proactively is practice thanksgiving and practice being grateful so that we can concentrate on a daily basis on all the reasons we have to be grateful and inspired. This is the reason why, young men and women of the movement, we need our parents.

The Importance of Our Parents and True Parents

There was a movie many years ago about a bunch of boys stranded out on a mountaintop. The movie showed what life was like without parents in these young boys' lives. Without a parental figure, without a coach guiding and supervising them, these kids basically degenerated into what Hobbes would call a savage-like existence. The boys became savages in their desires. They wanted to destroy each other.

When you see movies like that, you realize the importance of having parental figures in our lives. America is a great superpower with a Constitution having checks and balances. It guarantees freedom and equal rights to all men and women. But if we do not understand the importance of having a centered, vertical relationship with a parental figure like God, then even a great country like America can so easily degenerate into a country of amoral living and people not knowing what their purpose is.

That's why we need True Parents in our lives. As great as we might be as children, we always need our father and mother. I think a lot of the young men and women feel they know what needs to be done, they know the providence, they know what needs to take place, and only they can provide the solution for the future. But without an understanding or a holistic picture of why we're here in the first place, regardless of how great we are as men and women, if we cannot acknowledge God in our lives, if we cannot acknowledge the importance of having a living paradigm of true love like True Parents in our lives, we will never be fully expansive in our role as the great ambassadors for peace that we were all meant to be.

In other words, Heavenly Father and Mother gave us this paradigm called True Parents in our lives. They afford us such a great example of living for the sake of others. They are not the kind of people who blame others for their misery. I think if anybody had a right to blame others for their misery, my father and mother should have the first go at it. Father has been imprisoned six times and thrown out for dead from a North Korean concentration camp. He's been maligned, mistreated, abused, and misunderstood for many years. But this man never blames others. He takes responsibility for himself and goes on to continue to lead a proactive life of wanting to empower, inspire, and encourage his children to be the best that we can be.

Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han

The same is true for our True Mother. The suffering that this woman has had to bear is unbelievable: many, many unspoken sufferings. Countless Kleenex boxes have fallen by the wayside during her tears. This woman understands and knows suffering. But she never blames others. She never blames the past. She always encourages her children to look toward the future, toward the destiny that awaits them. Our True Mother has always encouraged the children, telling us, "You guys did not grow up in the best environment in the early days of the church. But don't let the past hold you down. Look toward the future, the future that you can have a part in making."

She always helped us to look forward, being cognizant of the side-view mirrors, every now and then looking in our rear-view mirror to remind ourselves what has gone on, to learn from the mistakes of the past and not be stuck in being resentful or angry at the past. She encouraged us to learn from it, gaining wisdom from it so we can really create our own power to propel us forward into that glorious destiny that belongs to all of us as God's children.

Reacting to Tragedy with Proactivity

Brothers and sisters, it's not just the brother who passed away in New Hampshire. We had another Blessed Child, 21 years old, who took his own life recently. Again, there's a history, a whole lot of things that really need to be worked out. Recently in New Jersey we had a young girl attempting to take her own life because she was so severely bullied at her school.

When things like this take place, instead of blaming others, blaming the teachers, friends or whatever, we need to take stock of where we are and decide where we're going to go. This year for Lovin' Life, the banner in my mind is to work on the ideal family in dealing with all the issues that arise in the context of the family, to really help our movement become that glorious generation of peace, a generation that is worthy of this next millennium.

We very much want to highlight some of the issues that take place in a family setting. It is unfortunate to have to do that in light of what took place, but this is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and say, "Yes, we find ourselves hit with a tragic event, but instead of being petrified by it, how are we going to be proactive? How are we going to keep our focus on the future and continue to make things better for our youth, for our community, and for our movement?"

In order to do that, I cannot overstress the importance of maintaining the spiritual heritage of our movement. When we look at these examples, we realize that they are 10 or 15 years in the making. If we're to be honest, for the last 20 years our church has done many great works in the name of service for peace, in the name of living for the sake of others. But we failed to invest in our people. We failed to invest in our youth.

The biggest problem that I recognized when I was preparing to go to North Korea was that in Pyongyang there are fabulous facades, glorious monuments to Kim Il Sung and the communist regime, high-rises that are higher than those in South Korea, but there's nobody living there. All those condominiums are not inhabited by people. Everything is a show of the power and grandeur of the communist regime. Without love, without an understanding of God, there is no desire to recognize each and every human being as a divine eternal son and daughter of God.

"We Need a United Ministry"

When an organization or a movement or a regime does not invest in its people and does not encourage and inspire the people to want to be their best, sooner or later that organization, that movement, or that regime, will collapse from within. You see that happening over and over again in former Iron Curtain countries. If we continue to concentrate on the grandeur of all the work that we're doing providentially by having all these glorious festivals but not concentrate on the spiritual heritage that we come from, or the church that our True Parents founded, or the meaning of the incredible sacrament of the Blessing that is a gift unto the world, then we will start crumbling within.

We see that, even within our own movement. We see that for the last 20 years we've not had growth. In fact, we've had negative growth. Many of the second-generation are lost and have gone their own way. If we do not invest in the future by investing in the people, by taking care of the people, by practicing compassionate living day to day, then we will collapse from within.

That's why we need a ministry, and that's why we need a united ministry to remind us of that unity with our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents. It's got to be the core. Without the core, you will not have the inspired people, and if you do not have the inspired people occupying the great, grand monuments like they have in Pyongyang, sooner or later the regime will collapse.

A lot of people have criticized me for concentrating on the young people, on the ministry, saying, it should not be a ministry; it should just be a service project movement. My reply is, absolutely not. If we just concentrate on the externals of how we look to the world but we're not addressing the issues that we need to deal with on a daily basis, then sooner or later we're going to be no different from North Korea, brothers and sisters.

We need God in our lives. We need True Parents in our lives. And we don't have to waste our time proving whether we are eternal sons and daughters of God or not. Whether we're on the right path or on the wrong path, sooner or later we will get back on the right path. So instead of trying to make excuses as to why we're on the wrong path, we need to concentrate on being united with our True Parents and going forward as one family under God.

So brothers and sisters, be proud Unificationists. Be proud of your spiritual heritage. Be proud of your parents. True Parents are my parents, they are your parents, and they are our True Parents. So let's be that worthy ambassador of peace by being that incredible eternal son or daughter of God that is truly an embodiment of internal excellence as well as external excellence. So please have a wonderful Sunday, and God bless.


1 Corinthians, chapter 3

1: But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ.

2: I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready,

3: for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?

4: For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apol'los," are you not merely men?

5: What then is Apol'los? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

6: I planted, Apol'los watered, but God gave the growth.

7: So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

8: He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor.

9: For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

10: According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it.

11: For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12: Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw --

13: each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

14: If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.

15: If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

16: Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

17: If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.

18: Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.

19: For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness,"

20: and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."

21: So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours,

22: whether Paul or Apol'los or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours;

23: and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's.  

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