Unification Sermons and Talks

by Reverends Stephens

Good and Evil: Follow Your Principles, Not Your Feelings

Jim Stephens-Bloomington, IL 61704

At our house the children are not allowed to watch television on school nights and are limited to 5 hours on weekend days. If I had my way, most commercials would be banned instead of just getting muted. Also we have a much longer list of forbidden words. It includes such things as "stupid", "shut up", "fool", "dumb" and the like.

Being from an engineering background, I really like things that make sense. One of the fundamentals of the Unification Teachings is the principle of what we call "Give and Take Action". This principle can be seen and demonstrated everywhere in the world around us and is one of the basic building blocks that God used in the Creation. I like it because it really has practical applications, like raising children.

All growth and development require "give and take action". How much you grow and develop and the direction of your growth and development are determined by "give and take action". Your body grows and develops by "give and take action" with food. Your mind and spirit grow and develop by "give and take action" with thoughts and desires. Hence as parents we must pay careful attention to what our children are having give and take with around them or on TV.

Everything in the universe exists through "Give and Take Action". Whenever two beings enter into a cooperative relationship of "give and take", then the result is energy. This energy is used to create higher levels of being, provide energy for action and also for multiplication.

For example, protons and electrons are having "give and take action" at the lowest levels. It's an electromagnetic relationship. As we progress up the chain of elements, particles, molecules, plants and animals to mankind, we continue to see "give and take action". You cannot breath, circulate your blood or move a single muscle without the "give and take actions" going on within your body.

In human relations, this energy from "give and take action" feels good. "Give and take action" in itself produces energy and good feelings. However, it is very important to recognize that although we may like the feelings, energy does NOT have a moral component of "goodness".

For example, the members of a youth gang experience "good feelings" in their relationships with each other. A man committing adultery with his mistress experiences "good feelings" in bed with her. Members of the Mafia experience "family" and "good feelings" in their relationships with each other. The action of "give and take" itself produces energy that "feels good".

What is the difference between the "good feelings" that these people experience and the "good feelings" that devout Christians experience in fellowship with each other? Are the "good feelings" of a lifelong Christian husband and wife equivalent to the feelings experienced by two adulterers? When Mother Teresa received "good feelings" helping lepers, were those feelings equivalent or similar in intensity to a drug induced euphoria?

The answer is yes and no. They are all basically an experience of energy. The energy from "give and take" feels good, regardless of the foundation of the relationship. However, one is like eating a lot of "junk food". It tastes great and you feel wonderful and happy eating it. But then later, what have you got? Nothing! You're not satisfied and maybe feeling guilty. You are hungry again. Your energy is gone quickly and now you need another "hit". A continuous diet of "junk food" leaves you very malnourished and susceptible to diseases. Worst of all, you don't know what's wrong because you're eating plenty of food and have a full belly and it "feels good". Well, I have to tell you that there are also "junk thinking" and "junk morals".

Some people decline so far as to think, "Whatever makes ME feel good, therefore IS good." Their own good feeling becomes the standard of "goodness". Notice that this is totally centered on the feelings of the individual. There is no external or OBJECTIVE standard.

If you have children, you probably notice that line of reasoning everyday. As parents, it is our responsibility to give our children not only the best in nutritional health but also teach them the highest moral principles for the sake of their spiritual health. Society is only a reflection of our collective spirit. What stage do you see around you? Are we moral toddlers, children, adolescents or adults?

What our society really needs is a new set of Parents and new standard of what is "good", a moral revival. We need a new objective explanation for what is "good", not one based on "feeling good". Jesus set the standard for love in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." Jesus also sets the standard for what an "adult" is on the moral yardstick.

Do you think that Jesus would use the word "adult" to apply to pornography shops? Would we find Jesus, the most "adult" of anyone who ever lived, in an "adult" movie?

We should stop letting "good" be defined by feelings and have the courage to force a public debate about good and evil. Feelings can never be a valid measurement of what is "good" or "bad".

Don't fall for it anymore! Stop being programmed by society and start talking back. The next time someone tries to sell you something that will make you "feel good", better "just say no". Follow your principles, not your feelings.

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