True Family Values

Joong Hyun Pak and Andrew Wilson

Chapter 2 - Loves Vertical Axis [Part 2]

Civic Virtue: Living for the Sake of Others

The society and nation are the greater wholes immediately above the family. Families have a civic duty to contribute to the welfare of the community. Indeed, the prosperity of society depends upon its families getting involved. In the Family Pledge, this is the dutiful way of... patriotism in our nation.

We honor those patriots who sacrificed their lives to found the nation and appreciate the magnitude of their achievements. When the nation fell into dangerous times, they stepped forward and took up the fight against evil. King David, Joan of Arc and George Washington were only a few of the many patriots whose faith in God gave them the courage to face overwhelming foes and prevail. Today, with satanic forces everywhere assailing our nation at its core, these patriots are examples to us.

In the Bible, David exemplifies the way of the patriot. His dedication to the welfare of Israel never faltered. Even when King Saul grew jealous of his prowess and began to plot against him, David never changed in his loyalty to his king. Though chased out into the wilderness, David continued to fight against the enemies of Israel. Although he had the opportunity to kill King Saul, who had become his enemy, he refrained from harming him in any way. When Saul died in battle, David did not rejoice; his lament's haunting words are recorded in the Bible:

Thy glory, O Israel, is slain upon the high places! How are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult. - 2 Sam. 1:19-20

In Korea, Admiral Lee was a patriot whose courage and self-sacrifice for the sake of the nation is celebrated to this day. Like David, he had to cope with a king who was treacherous and opportunistic. Yet he never changed his purpose and sacrificed his life for his country. Rev. Moon is the Messiah and True Father; his mission is on the cosmic level. Yet his patriotism was such that in war-time Japan he risked his life to became a student leader of the Korean underground independence movement. More than once he was thrown into prison and endured torture rather than betray his comrades. Even so, when Korea was liberated, he arranged safe passage for the Japanese police who had arrested and tortured him.

The way of patriotism in the nation begins with the good citizen who contributes time and money to benefit his community. The "thousand points of light" about which President Bush spoke illuminating the land depicts the innumerable ways of contributing to America's greatness, beginning in our local neighborhoods. Society benefits immensely from the efforts of volunteers, who form associations of every sort to promote the internal and external welfare of the community-churches, charities, civic clubs, political parties, labor unions, advocacy groups, block associations and self-help groups. Sociologists call such associations "mediating structures." They provide society with a variegated foundation for stability and strength. They are a buffer between the family and the national government, providing the foundation for self-rule without heavy-handed bureaucracy. Volunteering to work for them gives ordinary citizens the opportunity to exercise civic virtue.

Jesus Christ teaches us to go beyond the family level. He told a would-be disciple to give away all his possessions to the poor. He ministered to society's outcasts and spoke of finding the lost sheep. When his mother and brothers came to the place where he was teaching and tried to summon him, he would not interrupt his lesson. He said:

"Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother." -Mark 3:33-34

Surely, a nation like ours, full of strangers who mistrust each other, where a woman can be murdered on the streets of New York City while more than a dozen onlookers watch and do nothing, needs people who can practice love beyond their family. It is only by sacrificing ourselves to serve our neighbors that we can melt the walls of distrust and build bonds of community. Since people commonly identify their individual happiness with the welfare of their family, the self-centeredness in people's fallen nature often takes its stand at the level of family. We overcome selfishness by going beyond the natural affections of family ties to live for the sake of others.

When families pursue only their own benefit, hoarding all their blessings to themselves, they block the flow of vertical love which is meant to extend upward through every level. As a result, the horizontal circulation of love and blessings within the society is also restricted. Societies where families lack a sense of civic duty are often impoverished. Many societies in Latin America and Asia are oligarchies, with a few rich families controlling the vast bulk of the national wealth. Nepotism is widespread. Talented people outside the wealthy elite find few opportunities for advancement. Paternalistic governments and churches do little, as they are controlled by the same elite families. These elite families are comfortable living among people of their own class and have few contacts with those below them. For the vast majority of the poor, there exists little hope.

America, on the other hand, benefits immensely from the unbounded circulation of blessing that has resulted from its tradition of civic virtue. It has a tradition of philanthropy, begun by self-made capitalists like Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was a Calvinist who believed that his fortune was a gift of God and an expression of divine predestination to heaven; therefore, he believed he had to live up to his calling by giving it all away. After donating his millions to found libraries in cities around America, he died a poor man. He placed service to the nation ahead of his family's welfare.

Some teachings on "family values" lift up the family as the most important thing in life. Surely, they act as a necessary corrective to the excessive individualism of our culture. Nevertheless, the family should not focus on itself. It must rather dedicate itself to the whole purpose which stands above it: the community and nation. In this way, the vertical give and take of love toward the higher purpose constantly re-energizes the horizontal flow of love within the family as it pursues its self-purpose. We know that when an entity seeks only its self-purpose, it loses its connection with the whole that sustains it. Those families who treasure their marriage and family to the exclusion of all else are liable to lose the very love they treasure.

The way of patriotism is about living a public life. The public-minded family gives priority to church and other community activities which benefit the society and the nation. Families who follow this way of life do so at the sacrifice of their private time together. The early members of the Unification Church of Korea trod the path of patriotism when, in 1970, the wives left their husbands and children to do pioneer missionary work for three years. The Korean church has maintained a tradition of annual forty-day witnessing conditions since 1960. Yet every patriotic family, whether in wartime or in peacetime community service, inevitably makes such sacrifices. In wartime, the soldier risks his life on the battlefield while his wife endures years of loneliness and raises their children by herself. The genuinely public person who serves his community in peacetime makes similar demands on his family. By supporting him in public activities, his faithful wife also participates in their public responsibility.

Ever since the Vietnam War, patriotism has been belittled, particularly by persons on the Left. Nationalism indeed becomes repugnant to morality when the nation we are called to serve is acting corruptly and oppressing other peoples. However, in reality, this disdain for patriotism among our left-wing elites has only contributed to a culture of selfishness. Denying the value of patriotic sacrifice ultimately becomes a justification for self-centered individualism. America today exhibits many symptoms of this loss of civic virtue: graffiti and vandalism, a plague of illegal drugs, political corruption, cheating on taxes, and loss of morale in the military. If our nation is to prosper, it needs a vibrant patriotic spirit. We ought to be proud of the good values in our nation and try to uphold them. One need only live for a time in another country to appreciate the good traditions of our own nation.

There should be nothing uninformed about our patriotism. It is not jingoistic nationalism, "my country right or wrong." We are called to serve our country according to the word of God and our own enlightened conscience. Should the government be acting corruptly, we can be agents for reform. When we support and work with politicians, it should be done neither to curry favor nor to blindly support their policies. Our purpose in supporting them should be to win their trust that we may become their advisors and teachers, for the uplifting of society.

To the extent that we know and realize truth, we have a patriotic obligation to give it to our nation. We should afford our nation's leaders every opportunity to understand the truth, since they are in the best position to steer the nation in a good direction. They also have a conscience and feel the weight of their positions as leaders of their people. If we do our best to reach them and still they do not respond, then it is their failure. But if we do not do our utmost to try to educate them, then it is our failure. Like the prophet Ezekiel, we are the nation's watchmen, responsible to warn them of impending disaster:

So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life. - Ezek. 33: 7-9

Should we not witness, should we not strive to save our nation, we ourselves become liable to judgment and our nation's patriots will accuse us.

Love Your Enemy: the Way of the Saint

The person whose love goes beyond his own nation to embrace the world has to deal with enemy nations. The world in which we live is full of conflict and strife, with nation divided against nation, race against race, religion against religion. People of every nation tend to look at the world from the viewpoint of their nation. Wherever there are conflicts with others, they justify their position based on their own interests and long memories of old grievances. For example, looking at the world from their own viewpoint, people in rich nations can be insensitive to the economic exploitation they wreak on less developed nations. Neither may they recognize the moral questions which arise when Western culture is foisted on other nations, overriding their traditional values. Members of victimized nations or races, for their part, are likely to mistrust the good will of others. These are only some of the reasons why good people find themselves on opposite sides and view each other as enemies. Anyone who would love the world must learn how to love his enemy. This is the way of the saint.

Saints are motivated by compassion, born of God's love. They can endure privations because their hearts are full of genuine love for the suffering people. Mohandas Ghandi, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa were saints with this quality of love. St. Francis left his wealthy family to live among the poor and teach them the way of the Gospel. The Buddha left the comforts of the palace to seek the solution to human suffering. These and many other saints, known and unknown, sacrificed all manner of comforts and risked the wrath of the powerful to help the poor and downtrodden. Since their hearts were pure, they could live in poverty and simplicity; they could not be bought by worldly luxuries. Following the way of selflessness, they sacrificed their lives in the fight for goodness and were filled with the love of God, our unseen Parent who cares for all His children.

The saint is good to everyone, all the time. He always repays evil with good. Jesus taught us to love our enemies:

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. - Matt. 5:44-45

Loving one's enemy is not a utopian ideal, but the most practical way to resolve conflicts. It is a precept in all the world's religions. The Buddha teaches: "Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world; through love alone they cease. This is an eternal law." (Dhammapada 5)7 The Qur'an states, "Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he between whom and you there was enmity shall become as though he were a bosom friend." (Qur'an 41.35) Jacob practiced loving his enemy when he met his brother Esau, who was armed with his heart set on revenge. Offering his wealth and treasure with the utmost humility, he moved his brother's heart, and they completely reconciled. (Gen. 33:1-11) Jesus practiced loving his enemies on the cross. Though dying, his heart was full of forgiveness and love for his persecutors. (Luke 23:34) That supreme act of love liberated billions of souls to receive salvation.

Loving one's enemy is the way to resemble God, our heavenly Father. God's love is the love of a Parent towards his prodigal children. He cannot help but love them, even though they rebel against him. Furthermore, if God were to strictly judge everyone who spurned His love, there would not be a single person left alive on earth! Rev. Moon says,

The reason why God does not punish even though He may see an enemy and have the urge to kill him and get revenge, is that He is thinking of the enemy's parents, wife and children who all love him. Knowing all too well their unparalleled love towards that person, God cannot strike him with His iron rod. When you really understand such a heart of God, could you take revenge on your enemy? When you know all these things, you would even go and help him. In this manner one comes closer to the Great Way of heavenly Principle, that Great Way which tries to embrace everything centered on love ... God always looks at things in that perspective. This is how we should understand the teaching to love one's enemy.8

Even our enemy has a loving family whom he loves and who loves him. God values love above all and will never trample it. This is because God's nature is love, and He created human beings to fulfill their purpose through love. God is ever loving us. In the ideal world, where God's love is fully reciprocated, our beautiful response brings God joy. In this evil world, where God's love is spurned, He expresses his love as sacrificial love and takes up the cross.

While evil people use force to defeat their enemies, God's only weapon to defeat evil is sacrificial love. In fact, using force is counterproductive. It may defeat the enemy for a time, but it will not destroy him. Sooner or later, he will want revenge. Even when a conqueror kills his enemy, his enemy's desire for vengeance will plague the victor from the spirit world and bring him misfortune. Sacrificial love, on the other hand, can move the heart of the enemy to end his enmity forever. With it, we can turn an enemy into a friend.

Mahatma Gandhi, while working to throw off British rule from India, never hated the British. In fact, he became close personal friends with Lord Mountbatten, the British viceroy of India. Through his nonviolent protests he appealed to the British conscience and won both his people and their people to his side. He said,

Having flung aside the sword, there is nothing except the cup of love which I can offer to those who oppose me. It is by offering that cup that I expect to draw them close to me. I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man.

Martin Luther King also practiced the way of loving one's enemies. He said,

Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says, `Love your enemies,' he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies-or else?... We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity.10

How can loving one's enemy be effective? The way of love is rooted in the ultimate goodness of God and God's creation. All people have a conscience which seeks for true love. Every person, no matter how evil, possesses the original nature to want love above anything else. Even the starting point of evil was originally God's good creation. The archangel Lucifer turned to evil and became Satan because he felt a lack of love and desired more love. Therefore, we move the heart of an enemy (who in hatred lies in Satan's power) by giving him the true love he has always longed for. We can love in the way Satan cannot love and do what Satan cannot do: sacrifice ourselves for the sake of another. Sacrificial love, therefore, requires us to persevere as long as it takes until our enemy is moved to surrender with tears of repentance. The words of Dr. King are still fresh and instructive:

To our most bitter opponents we say: "We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with our soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you ... Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and leave us half-dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.

No one can give sacrificial love for long if he is mainly motivated by self-interest. Self-sacrifice by definition must reach the point of self-denial, or it is not truly sacrificial to the point of going beyond the love of the Archangel. As long as a person remains self-centered, he calculates how much he has given and fears that the enemy will take advantage of his generosity. The object of his generosity soon senses his selfish attitude and hardens his heart, treating him with contempt, as he had feared. Rather, the secret to sacrificial love is to connect with love's transcendent Source. We must connect with God, the source of true love, for our love to bear fruit in melting the heart of the enemy. This meaning lies behind the teaching of the apostle John:

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him ... There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. - 1 John 4:16-19

It takes courage to love one's enemy, as Dr. Martin Luther King showed when he and his civil rights marchers stared down the Ku Klux Klan and braved snarling police dogs. It also takes compassion and absolute self-discipline. Soon after the Montgomery bus boycott got underway, Mrs. Coretta King and their first child narrowly escaped being blown to pieces by dynamite placed on their front porch. 'though both were unscathed, a crowd of angry Blacks soon gathered, thirsting for revenge. Dr. King held up his hand and urged them not to continue the chain of violence by enacting any themselves. The nervous policemen nearby felt that Dr. King saved their lives that night, for that crowd could have turned into a murderous mob. He, the victim of unspeakable violence, spoke soothing words of peace and forgiveness.

We Unificationists feared for Rev. Moon's life when in 1991 he journeyed to North Korea to meet Pres. Kim Il Sung. This was the same Pres. Kim who forty years earlier had imprisoned him in the concentration camp at Hungnam with every intention that he should expire from malnutrition and hard labor, and who in the intervening years had fomented numerous attempts to assassinate him. Yet Rev. Moon entered North Korea unarmed and unguarded. Although he could have been arrested and killed at any moment, he later testified that in North Korea his spirit was as free as air. He bore no resentment towards his archenemy. He was prepared to sacrifice his life if by that he could liberate Pres. Kim and the people of North Korea. When Rev. Moon and Kim Il Sung embraced each other at their meeting, they resolved decades of hostility in the warmth of newfound friendship.

The way of loving your enemy with sacrificial love is necessary to break down the barriers of racial and ethnic prejudice, yet we can just as well apply this ethic to solving conflicts in our own families. How often do husbands and wives get into the space where they view each other as enemies? It often happens when one spouse expects the other to behave according to his preconceived concept. Each wants the other to live up to his expectations. The solution to such conflicts begins when I myself take the sacrificial position. Taking my spouse's expectation for me with utmost seriousness, I should strive to become what my spouse wants me to be. I should examine my own shortcomings and quietly struggle to change myself. One day, after months and even years, my spouse will say, "You've changed for the better!" To earn those words of commendation from my spouse is worth every effort.

The missionary practices the way of the saint. In 1996, Rev. Moon honored a group of missionaries who spent the last twenty-one years serving the people in foreign lands. Most endured difficult circumstances living in the third-world nations of Africa and Asia. Few could afford to return to their homes in America, Japan or Europe even to visit their relatives. They raised their children in their adopted homes and learned to love their mission countries more than the lands of their birth. Every church has missionaries who brave similar hardships. We should all become saints such as these, applying ourselves to healing the world.

Divine Sons and Daughters

The summit of vertical love is to become divine sons and daughters in heaven and earth. The way of filial piety toward our parents also shows the proper way to have a dutiful heart towards God, our divine Parent. Just as we are indebted to our parents, we are even more indebted to God as our Creator and Savior. (1 John 4:10; Rom. 5:8,10) When Jesus was driving the money-changers out the temple he cried, "You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade" (John 2:16), so zealous was he to protect the honor and holiness of God his Heavenly Father. He taught us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. (Matt. 22:37) When Rev. Moon says that the most fundamental truth in the universe is that God is our Parent and we are His children, he is not describing the attitude of a child looking for gifts from a cosmic sugar daddy. He is speaking as an adult, filial son who feels such love and gratitude to his divine Parent that he will do anything to help Him. God our Heavenly Father is a lonely, wounded God who needs the help of filial sons and daughters to ease His burden and bring Him vindication.

A divine son or daughter has absolute faith, absolute love, and absolute obedience. God merits this devotion because as our divine Parent, He created us with absolute faith, absolute love and absolute obedience. Once God set up His Principle of Creation, He has absolutely obeyed it in carrying out His work of creation. With absolute love, God has totally invested himself in creating us and in walking the thorny path of His providence to save us. Furthermore, God has absolute faith in us; He gave us human beings control over our own destiny by granting us an inalienable portion of responsibility, and He trusts that we will succeed. When we reflect on this, we are astounded to realize that God has more faith in our goodness than we have in ourselves. Our humble response to such a God should be a life of filial devotion to Him, in love and gratitude.

What distinguishes a divine son or daughter from a saint? First, he is a child of God's direct lineage. Jesus was God's only begotten son. He spoke of his special relationship to his Heavenly Father: "the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing." (John 5:20) Likewise, God does not intend that we be distant from Jesus. We, too, are meant to become God's true sons and daughters, as it is promised, "Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him." (1 John 3:2) Through Christ we are reborn as God's children and engrafted into God's lineage. We are liberated from the subtle hold which the Devil had on our souls, an ancient bond of kinship extending through the generations back to Adam and Eve. This allows us to manifest our original nature in all its glory.

However, we can grow to embody this God-given original nature only by offering devotion to Him. We must first attend God and devote ourselves to His will; then we can resonate with His infinite heart. Out of filial piety, our first concern should be for God, our Father. We would want to defend God against those who would deny Him. Jesus called them blessed who would stand up for God, enduring persecution for His sake, "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven." (Matt. 5:11-12) We would want to shoulder God's burdens and lighten His load as He labors to cleanse this world of evil. We would want God to smile as He beholds our loving and joyful unity.

Second, divine sons and daughters are holy sons and daughters. Holiness means set apart for God's service. In ancient Israel, the priests took care to maintain the holiness of the Jerusalem Temple as God's dwelling place, lest God be offended and leave the Temple, taking His blessing with Him. Only after specially preparing themselves by abstaining from sexual activity, putting on special clothing and being ritually sanctified could they enter its Holy Place. Likewise, divine sons and daughters take care not to be contaminated by sin. They sanctify their bodies as God's temples (1 Con 3:16) and keep their families far from immorality for the sake of the purity and holiness of God, their Heavenly Father. They so love their Heavenly Father that they will never do anything to cause Him grief. This does not mean to be cloistered in a monastery. Rather, as Paul said, a divine son or daughter lives in the world but does not conform to it. He makes his body "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" (Rom. 12:1-2) that through him God's love might shine forth. Above all, he overcomes the temptation to compromise with evil. Often, we are tempted to rationalize lowering our standards as the practical way to get results and win support. Compromising in matters of holiness can invalidate whatever fruits may come.

Third, divine sons and daughters in heaven and earth extend their love to embrace the cosmos. Their vertical love extends to a higher level than the saint's love for the world. While the Korean meaning of world (segye) means all humanity, cosmos (ch'onju) means heaven and earth; it spans human society, the material universe and the spirit world. It spans all space and time.

Thus, the divine son or daughter in heaven and earth loves nature and protects the environment. He is friends with the animals and treats them with respect. Rev. Moon, who loves the outdoor life, has spoken volumes on this topic. When fishing, he throws back the first fish he catches no matter how large it may be. When he lands a fish, he prays, expressing gratitude to the fish who is giving up his life for the sake of God's children. In this way, he shows his respect for these precious creatures.

The divine son or daughter in heaven and earth has a love which embraces even the spirit world. He can embrace the spirit world because he can meet the standard of the spirit world's law. The spirit world is governed by love; its atmosphere is love; its ways are mastered through the resonance of love. Should a person be partial in love, liking those who are good to him but hating those who may have harmed him, he has not yet mastered the spirit world's law.

At the same time, the spirit world is stained by the burden of history which is frozen in the mental patterns of countless spirits who bear historical grudges. Much of it is still dominated by Satan and his minions who seeks to destroy all that is good and godly. These spiritual "principalities and powers" have an immeasurable influence on the earthly world. For the divine son or daughter to embrace the vastness of the spirit world, he must be willing to go down to the bottom of hell. Thus Jesus, though the Son of God, lowered himself to take on the suffering of humanity, even enduring the cross.

Finally, to live for heaven is to look beyond day-to-day affairs towards how one's deeds will be recorded in terms of their ultimate significance. Even though the scope of our life may be small and local, we cannot know the full extent of its effect on the world. The Divine Principle records how small mistakes by central figures had devastating impact hundreds of years later. We recall Abraham's carelessness in making his offering, or Moses' mistake in striking the rock twice, or Jesus' disciples falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane. Since we, too, live at a time of great providential significance, we should be concerned about the long-term impact of our words and deeds, even one hundred or one thousand years from now. As divine sons and daughters in heaven and earth, we share this same consciousness and mission. This brings us once again to the top of the vertical ladder of love described earlier: attending God and True Parents.

God's Design for the Family Begins with Public Responsibility

Ever since the Fall of man, people have placed their self purpose ahead of public responsibility. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they forgot God, their Parent. They forgot His purpose of creation. Instead, they chose to follow the way of horizontal love to satisfy the desires of their senses. Consequently, they failed to establish a family according to God's design.

God's plan for the institution of the family is the pattern of the Four Position Foundation. In the Four Position Foundation, the first priority is the vertical connection to God. The vertical axis of love defines the very quality of love and sets the tradition of love to be passed on to subsequent generations. It is set up by attending God and the standing upon one's responsibility. It is developed by living according to the way of filial piety, which in its four-fold expansion means to live for the sake of the whole at every level. Once this vertical axis of love is perfected in the family, husband and wife can love each other with true love and raise their children in true love. To state it simply, God's design for the family begins with public responsibility and ends with fulfilling human relationships.

In most families, there is an economic division of labor between public and private. There is the function of breadwinner, traditionally taken by the father, who goes out into the world to earn a salary. Then there is the responsibility to manage the home and raise the children, usually borne by the mother. Conventionally, we don't think of job and work as an aspect of love in the family. We think that the family exists despite the demands of work. This is a mistaken view. We should regard the dimension of work in the world as our family's contribution to the public good.

Soldiers and their families can understand this point. The scene of a soldier's wife running to embrace her husband returning from war is unforgettable. During his absence, his family's longing for him was magnified by their pride in his service for his nation. The intensity of their love reached an explosive pitch, released at their reunion. Any wife wants to take pride in her husband for his service to the community and nation. She loves him all the more for that. A wife wants her husband to be worthy of her love not just because of his private regard for her, but also because of his public value to the larger world. When such a worthy husband loves his wife, she feels affirmed in having equally great worth.

Today, we customarily think of love in horizontal terms, yet in fact such love is not true if it is disconnected from the vertical axis of public service which upholds heaven and earth. We may liken vertical love to the trunk of a tree and horizontal love to the branches. A great tree has a trunk that is strong and thick, and its branches spread widely and cover the ground with ample shade. A tree with a short and weak trunk has puny branches; it cannot reach far.

Jesus taught the Great Commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30) This describes the vertical axis of love. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31) describes the horizontal axis. Love for God is the foundation for love of neighbor-and love in the family. Loving God does not mean only a life of prayer and worship. It means to love as God loves, which is to love all the spheres of God's creation. It means to support God's providence of restoration by believing in and following God's chosen central figure.

For these reasons, the second pledge, which describes the ways of vertical love, precedes the third pledge, which describes the flowering of horizontal love in the family. We need to establish an immovable vertical axis of love to anchor the love in our families. The dutiful way of filial piety and its four-fold expansion describes the ethics of vertical love by which we relate to the public sphere and ultimately to God. The Four Great Realms of Heart in the third pledge describes the ethics of horizontal love relationships in the private sphere of the family. In the order of love, the whole purpose has priority over the individual purpose, public has priority over private. The relationships between these two axes of love is described in Figure 3.

We anchor the vertical axis of love by establishing ourselves as God's children: people of divine nature who take responsibility for their world by acting with love in all situations. We then develop the vertical axis of love by relating to ever larger spheres of public responsibility. This begins in the family where, grateful for their nurturing and sacrificial love for us, we serve our parents with filial love. Likewise, we appreciate the benefits which our nation bestows and serve it with civic virtue; we rejoice in the bounty we receive from our interdependent world and serve it as saints and peacemakers who love our enemies; and we resonate with the heart of the cosmos and elevate it further as divine sons and daughters of heaven and earth. All the while we are loving as God loves, attending God and becoming a part of God.

On this foundation of vertical love, the horizontal relationships in our families can flower. As we mentioned previously, true love requires the intersection of the horizontal and the vertical:

The place of true love is the meeting point where vertical and horizontal intersect at a 90-degree angle. This is because love travels the shortest possible distance.

Why does vertical love come first? A surveyor uses a water level or a plumb line to establish the true vertical line and then adjusts the angle of his telescope to measure the horizontal lay of the land. The plumb line is drawn by gravity to the center of the Earth so it always lies on the true vertical axis; it establishes the reference point for his measurements. This is a good analogy to love. Our horizontal relationships involve a multitude of people of diverse types in various circumstances. From our own subjective viewpoint, we cannot tell which direction is level. Vertical love, however, flows from only one point. There is only one divine Source of love. Therefore, we establish the vertical first, and then use it to triangulate the horizontal.

Figure 3: The Vertical Axis of Love

With the vertical axis of love properly established, the expansion of love within the family is natural, harmonious and joyful. This is the described in the third pledge as the Four Great Realms of Heart. Furthermore, this horizontal love does not stop with my small family. As described in the fourth pledge, it continues to expand to the community, nation, world and cosmos, creating one global, cosmic family. Only horizontal love that is anchored in this vertical axis has the ability to expand without limit and without any boundaries. Its flight is true because its aim is true.


1. See World Scripture, pp. 551, 544.

2. This phrase comes from "My Pledge."

3. See World Scripture, pp. 731-32.

4. Ibid., p. 626.

5. Sun Myung Moon, "True Unification and One World."

6. See World Scripture, pp. 171f.

7. Ibid., pp. 705-6.

8. "True Unification and One World."

9. Mohandas K. Gandhi, All Men are Brothers (New York: Continuum, 1982), p. 84.

10. Martin Luther King, "Loving Your Enemies," in Strength to Love (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1963), pp. 51-52.

11. Ibid., pp. 54-55.

12. "True Unification and One World."

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