Heaven Down To Earth - Words of Spiritual Guidance

by Rev. Paul Werner

Chapter 17 - Tang Gam/Indemnity [Part 1]

Tang Gam is a term unique to the Principle. This expression has been loosely translated from Korean to the English word "indemnity. " However an exact translation does not exist in English. "Indemnity" in English has a rather negative connotation. According to my understanding, the English word has two main meanings: it denotes paying back (as in a loan, etc.) or it implies a penalty. However, the meaning of Tang Gam entails neither "paying back" nor "penalty." Rather, the concept focuses upon the proprietor granting favor or grace, not on a debtor paying the deficit, suggesting thereby that the debtor has no capability to pay back his or her debt. The real meaning of Tang Gam is that a debtor offers his or her creditor (i. e., a landlord) all of his or her possessions, representing his or her total assets, even though this is insufficient compensation for the debt. The debtor asks for the creditors' grace and forgiveness, and that the debt be cancelled on the basis of the offering. The debtor's attitude is, therefore, very important. A debtor must approach the creditor purely, humbly, and sincerely.

It is in this sense that we must reflect on how to offer our conditions of Tang Gam to Heavenly Father. The most important point is whether or not God accepts our conditions, whether He can really forgive us and cancel our debt. Conditions offered but not acceptable to God are of no consequence.

We now must completely change our old concepts of the meaning of Tang Gam. It is nothing bad, neither is it punishment. Rather, Tang Gam is a changed from of original responsibility. It is the main route by which God can bestow His blessings upon us. [Reprinted from Today's World, "The Meaning of Tang Gam, " by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak, June 1984.]

In order to come back to God, each of us has to pay a price. Within the Unification movement we commonly refer to such payments as conditions of indemnity. However, because the small amount of reparation offered by us does not fit the dictionary description of the word "indemnity," Father has recently taught us to use the term Tang Gam.

According to the dictionary, "indemnity" infers payment of equal value to compensate for loss or damage. But according to the Principle view, Tang Gam/indemnity actually signifies the grace which God bestows upon us when we develop a pure attitude and take corrective action. Tang Gam constitutes the greatest portion of the process to reunite us with God. Cancellation of sin is one outcome, but we must note that redemption does not happen by chance. We are obligated to follow certain laws.

God desires to forgive, but Satan also has specific demands. The law of God and the law of Satan mutually judge the person who aspires to return to God. Therefore, paying sufficient indemnity to allow a breakthrough is part of the process to return to God. It permits us to advance toward our goal. When we do our part, God is able to bestow His grace upon us. Both of these aspects are necessary for God to allow indemnification of our past mistakes, the mistakes of our ancestors, and so forth.

This process takes time, yet we can shorten the interval. The more we pay, the greater our conviction, and the more deeply we are involved, the sooner we will reach perfection and ultimately Heaven. However, we are the only ones who can determine our speed and rate of propulsion. Someone may spur us on and create incentives, but basically it is up to us whether or not we will be motivated by them and move forward.

The process of indemnification involves cooperation between God and man, and between the Messiah and man. The Messiah comes primarily to help man, not judge him. He comes to explain the things we may be doing wrong and then shows us how to make the law of Tang Gam/indemnity work in our lives; he then encourages us to use that law.

There is no question that indemnity is hard and not altogether pleasant, yet it is best to discover its unseen beauty. People who have not yet recognized the living Messiah are ignorant of the widened opening to Heaven. They simply do not know that God works with those who want to come back to Him through the Messiah.

The law of Tang Gam/indemnity is a unique principle. It is an incomparable revelation which no other great religion has ever disclosed. Some may have understood small facets, but could not relate them to the reality of total restoration. That task God assigns to Unificationists.

Indemnity may appear to be a towering wall, impossible to see over, but certainly one that must be broken down. Yet there are tools we can use in order to chip away the barricade separating us from God: total obedience, total sacrifice, and total love. A proper attitude and a refusal to yield to fatigue are other important elements which will help us. When that wall finally crumbles, we will discover part of the process of restoration has already taken place. Restoration encompasses the grace of God and a need to pay only a fraction of the total cost because True Parents have already paid the greatest amount.

If our normal behavior is inappropriate and through our actions and words we hurt people and offend God, we may be able to disguise it or attempt to fool ourselves, but the time will come when each of us must face

God; we will realize that we can hide nothing from Him. Things we camouflage will confront us time and again. Eventually we have to pay for our mistakes. For that reason it is better to be honest, confront reality on a daily basis, and tackle the problem immediately. Overcome now; postponement will only lead to guilt, a loss of self-confidence, and bigger hurdles which need to be climbed in the future.

A person who does the minimum amount of work not only cheats his fellow workers, he also deprives himself. Such a practice may become habit with him someday. As Unificationists we simply cannot do everything we desire; we are confronted by certain laws and must strive to live according to them. Someone may become weak-willed and think that no one will see him, so he sits in a coffee shop or a movie theater to provide a day's escape and later invents excuses for having no result. The person will have to pay for that attitude in some way-perhaps in feelings of selfcondemnation and guilt. No matter how tempting it may be to try, we simply cannot cheat God.

Someone has to build the new world. Some people will have to pay for it. A certain amount of payment has already been made in the field of arts. In order to create something outstanding, all the great masters had to render a great amount of indemnity. Every scientist who brought outstanding benefit to human society had to suffer. No celebrated event or prominent discovery was unescorted; a payment of indemnity accompanied every occurrence.

Every war starts through a dual provocation. One reason is contained in the visible or external cause. For instance, the killing of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria ignited the First World War. But that was just the outer cause. The inner stimulus was indemnity. It was necessary payment to bring salvation to mankind. For such strides to be made, indemnity must be paid on certain levels. Indemnity must be paid because billions of people throughout history have sinned. Therefore, the entire world is often required to pay indemnity because God sends the Messiah on the universal level.

War is the vehicle for payment. Through the sacrifice of a relatively small number of people, salvation can be accorded to many. The section in the Principle on world history explains that in the course of their struggle, certain nations are used by God while others are employed by Satan. In the process of their battle, many good people died. The world is a sacrificial altar upon which many millions of people are offered to both God and Satan. The deaths of innocent and good people constitute a tremendous payment. Through it, history advances as does the potential for mankind to meet God.

It is only natural that the early Christians had to pay the greatest amount of indemnity to attain salvation. Many of them had to offer their lives, yet history proves that not everyone who became Christian had to die or live their entire lives in devotion to God as monks or nuns. It only took a few decades of great suffering before people could easily accept Jesus as their Savior. After the street of martyrdom was paved by the self-denial and sacrifice of many Christians, multitudes of people could then attend revival meetings and simply say, "Yes, Jesus, I invite you into my life. Please come." After Jesus agreed, the person was " converted " or - reborn " through the workings of the Holy Spirit. Even today, a person may merely overcome a little bit of pride, and after he takes a step of faith can become a Christian. Yet he is just as "saved" as those early Christians who were eaten by lions.

As early members of the Unification movement, it is also natural that we too must offer the greatest payment. Later on, people from every level of society and walk of life will be able to understand the salvation brought by the True Parents and even if they do not live within a church community or become a mobile team member, easily become Unificationists.

We are not confronted with physical lions today but are the pioneers chosen by God to live through a similar ordeal in a spiritual sense. We answered His call and now have to put our lives on the line. We may not have to die physically, but nevertheless desire to make a total offering of our lives to restore this world, preferably without suffering too much.

in many Christian churches today, people stand in reverence when the words of St. Paul and St. Peter are discussed. People bow before the saints, honoring them. Many Christians who sacrificed their lives are remembered. Today, millions of Christians stand on the foundation of those saints who paid such a tremendous price, and are no longer required to shoulder a great amount of suffering themselves. Based on our understanding of the Principle, Unificationists can recognize that we are confronted with the possibility for total salvation-in both the spiritual and physical sense.

Those born after us will hopefully not experience the same kind of problem that Christianity did after two thousand years. Secularization grew, and today the impact of salvation that Jesus brought is more or less dissipated. The strong religious and family foundation which existed in the past has been replaced by the desire of the "me" generation to gain material wealth and power. Jesus' victory and sovereignty was of a spiritual nature, and consequently he has not been able to claim territory in the physical world, or combat Satan's mighty forces so interwoven in the workings of the secular world.

Yet all who become Unificationists face the potential for total salvation. Spiritually as well as physically, we have the chance to free ourselves from the shackles which bind us to this immoral and evil planet. Therefore, eventually the domain of this physical world will be regained for God, and as the corruption slowly disintegrates, a moral and righteous world will emerge. This can only come about through the payment of indemnity. Because we are willing to sacrifice our lives by placing them into the service of God and the Messiah, we will reap tremendous personal benefits and humanity will gain as well.

After I had done two seven day fasts, one immediately following the other, I was so hungry. I sat down to a huge meal and because I thought what I had accomplished was great, acted as if I were a holy saint. I thanked God for the food before me and then I literally attacked it. But at that moment, I had the most extraordinary experience; it was as if the food rebelled! I put the first piece of food in my mouth and immediately got so sick, I could not eat another bite.

That experience taught me a worthwhile lesson. The last few days of the second fast, I was already in "eating land." All I could think of was the wonderland of food; I dreamed of having a big table loaded with my favorite foods. My attitude was impure and I ignored the importance of breaking a fast with humility and gratitude. I hope the lesson I learned can serve to teach others: it is important to keep your mind pure as you fulfill and complete any condition of indemnity.

Satan harasses those people who have missions which can influence the multitudes and history itself. Yet his intimidation allows them to pay greater amounts of indemnity in order to fulfill their vocation and achieve the objectives of God.

In the early days, we paid a lot of indemnity. Spiritual awareness was intense and quite different from the laxness apparent today. It is the same religion, the same Messiah, and the same Principle now as it was then. The same wheel of history keeps turning, but members no longer tend to make the kind of strict and stringent conditions which were done in the past. There is not the same spirit of surrender to God; people are no longer as sacrificial. If you delve into history, you will see that the people who sacrificed themselves were the ones connected to God. Why? The sacrifice was the mediator between God and the person. Anytime you make a sacrifice, especially something which you cherish, you come closer to God. You tell Him, "Here I am; I want to give You part of myself. Please take this offering and use it in whatever way You desire." This probably causes God's eyes to light up the heavens as they smile; lie is delighted and gratified whenever we present Him with a gift.

If we reflect upon the spirit of sacrifice in which our True Parents live, we may feel tremendous remorse and repent when we fail to follow their example. In our effort to please God, we should endeavor to rekindle the attitude of self-denial and delight in offering conditions of indemnity just as our True Parents do.

If you receive many blessings from God, much will also be demanded of you. No one can receive anything from God without bringing an offering. In order to better control your own course of indemnity, pay the indemnity of your own volition. If you don't, Satan will steal payment when you least expect it and when it will hurt the most. To avoid this, create conditions and purify them so that Satan cannot invade. Indemnity conditions which you willingly offer -- especially a strong prayer life -- pay in advance for any grace you may receive.

Many members have the wrong concept of indemnity. When they talk about indemnity they feel it is synonymous with struggle and suffering. That is an inaccurate conjecture. Actually, the principle of indemnity has hidden beauty. Tang Gam/Indemnity involves the grace of God and when it is bestowed upon us, our debt is cancelled. Whenever we reimburse God even a small amount, He nullifies and forgives our past mistakes. We receive all the benefits to enjoy our position in the universe as a child of God.

Clear up any misconceptions you may have about indemnity. Basically, suffering is one thing; laying conditions of Tang Gam/indemnity is another because Tang Gam evokes the outpouring of the grace of God.

This particular time period is crucial. We are witnessing the culmination of history. This is a time in history that will never come again. It signals the opportunity for God and humanity. Good and evil- representing God and Satan-are engaged in severest battle. If we fail to accomplish during this chance, the indemnity necessary in the future will be much more arduous. It may even be disastrous.

The Messiah assists us as we walk the path of restoration; he represents us before God and before Satan and is a master arbitrator. But no matter how much he mediates, we are the only ones who can overcome our personal fallen nature. It is not possible for us to disassociate ourselves from doing this because there is no way to receive absolution without payment of indemnity.

There are both internal and external conditions of indemnity. Focus more on the inner conditions in order to silently carry the load of the world.

When we joined the Unification Church over twenty-two years ago, Christel and I understood that in order to participate in restoring this world, we should take the most humble position. At that time we had quite a bit of money and could have bought good food. Instead we put ketchup on some solid German bread and considered that a meal. We could have bought marmalade and butter; we could have lived well. But we fasted more than we ate. When I pioneered Austria I fasted so much, people said my pants were walking behind me! But at that time, I felt it was absolutely necessary to willingly live in such a way to insure that I paid indemnity.

Anyone who has a burning desire to achieve a certain ambition has to suffer more than other people. Anyone who wants to be successful realizes that he must pay more indemnity than others. Indemnity is unavoidable and inevitable to promote spiritual growth.

If you make a mistake but shed tears of repentance and ask God's forgiveness, you are paying a certain amount of indemnity through your actions of uniting once again. If you destroy someone through your words or actions, it is best to help rebuild him. The best material to use in your reconstruction is love; it can overcome everything. When you build up a person through the elements of love and faith, he will be stunned and you will also benefit.

You pay indemnity by going out in His name with the right attitude and sincerity.

Sometimes God uses your condition of Tang Gam for a purpose different from what you may have intended. He may use it for a much higher purpose. We do our mission every day and often it may seem that we make little progress. Do you feel all our energies are wasted? No investment made with a pure attitude ever gets lost. The vitality we expend will bring results somewhere in the worldwide mission. God is the one to decide where our payment of indemnity will be used.

It is to your advantage to do willingly what is asked of you. Don't allow Satan to grab your conditions. If you hesitate or do them begrudgingly, God may not be able to accept your offering. Pay for things in advance by your own free will. You can also offer conditions to help other people. For instance, you can pray for a person with the assurance that the power and blessings of God will be transmitted to him. You then offer part of the payment necessary to retrieve him from Satan's realm and assist him in entering the territory of God.

If you make a mistake, don't dwell on it. Everyone makes mistakes. Get up, brush yourself off, and reconnect immediately. Satan would love to see you become depressed. His method is not at all subtle: he knocks you to the ground and then tells you to stay there. He feeds you with fear, guilt, and shame. With every ounce of his energy Satan reinforces your despair and despondency. But God tells you, "Get up, My child. Don't stay on the ground. Can't you see that you have already paid the indemnity for your mistake? Can't you understand that Satan wants to confuse you? Please feel My arms around you; let Me carry you to safe ground."

If you make a mistake, immediately confess it to God and repent. Release guilt feelings from your heart and then forget them. Satan will continue to remind you of the mistakes you made yesterday, last week, and even last year. He wants to accuse you and reassure you that you are worthless. But when you choose to listen to him, you will feel disheartened. Listen to God's voice instead.

We offer conditions of indemnity to pay off our debts. our spiritual plus" account can be built up through fulfillment of responsibility. However, as each of us debits this account through our mistakes, we must offer indemnity conditions to credit the account.

After you have repented, it is imperative that you offer God some condition of indemnity in order that you can reach the same level you had attained before committing the error. Something within you must really long for, and with all sincerity desire to reach out for, God's hand. Calling upon Him creates the base for Satan to leave and God to reenter your life. When you feel from the depths of your heart that you want to come home to God, you can more easily reject Satan. The motivation is clear: you are touched by God, the True Parents, and the truth. You have already tasted His compassionate love, so make it your goal to receive still more. You offer Heavenly Father a beautiful, internal commitment when you express the conviction that no matter what, you will live and die for Him.

A life of faith in itself is indemnity. Any thought, feeling, or action offered toward living according to your original nature takes an abundance of strength and conviction. Have you considered that doing the will of God, aligning yourself to the Principle, and living the Principle with True Parents as the standard, is also indemnity? Be careful in this: indemnity cannot be accepted if you attempt to pay it without the right attitude. There is often a fine line separating the two; make sure you cross the boundary line and give your offering to God rather than Satan. Satan can too easily claim a condition of indemnity that is not sanctified. The trouble is, you do not always know whether God was able to accept your offering or if it was tainted just enough to permit Satan to grab it.

Have you noticed that you suffer in some way every day? It seems Unificationists daily experience some sort of misery- indecision, lack of confidence, a fight with the physical elements, or any number of other things. How do you feel when those difficulties loom in front of you? Bitter? Resentful? Grateful? Depressed? It is hard not to complain, but in order to turn your suffering into a purified condition of indemnity, offer it immediately to God. That is one way to remove the possibility of Satan invading your offering.

Perhaps to preclude that from happening in a moment Of weakness, why not start the day by telling God that no matter what obstacles you come across and how hard your day is, you offer everything as indemnity. After the day is finished and you are back among your family and peers, simply put aside the suffering of that day. You may feel tired and upset, but if you are joyful and laugh instead of making a long face which drags everyone else down, you will lift the atmosphere. And that too can be considered indemnity.

Offering even a day of agony can be a refreshing experience. Tell God, "Father, although I have so little to offer, I pray that you can accept the suffering of this day. I do it for the good of humanity; may even this small suffering help in the restoration of mankind and in building Your Kingdom."

Europe has been the battleground for countless wars; upon her soil flowed the blood of millions who were injured or died. We have to step into history to really understand the suffering that occurred. Yet at the same time we have to see the amount of indemnity that such suffering paid. Payment was required for every advance God gained. Perhaps thousands or millions of people had to suffer as a result. Nothing comes from nothing; Satan always demands to be satisfied.

Salvation is possible only at the cost of sacrifice. When one nation holds another nation captive, it is often a neutral nation that will sacrifice and fight in order to free the captive nation. Although Satan's forces may seem invisible, they are interwoven so strongly that it is impossible to penetrate them without a huge spiritual sword. In order to free mankind, the sword of sacrifice has continued to pierce Satan's side. Each puncture had a price. Such has been the ebb and flow of history.

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