The Words of the Heung Jin Moon
Attributed to Heung Jin Moon (being
June 1 and 2, 1987
Delivered before the Fourteenth I.C.C.
Repentance has been greatly misunderstood in our church and throughout history. Just as the purpose of life is joy, the purpose of repentance is joy. The purpose of repentance is freedom.
If you are already feeling freedom and joy in your spirit, then you don't need repentance for yourself. Of course, you can always then repent for others. Why is it so hard to repent? Because you can't think of what to repent for, what to repent about. Isn't this true? Spiritually you cannot see clearly, you are blind to sin. When someone is involved in sin, he is involved in a give and take relationship with the sin. By principle any give and take is producing a type of energy, a "feeling", and a certain result, a "new creation." Because this is happening you feel comfortable and that nothing is wrong. Everything feels normal. It's like breathing. As long as you are inhaling and exhaling, your body (your automatic physical system) does not detect that anything is wrong. But you may not realize until it is too late that you have inhaled a slowly poisonous gas. The nature of give and take inherently has a direction.
It is possible over a period of time to make subtle changes in direction that go unnoticed. Gradually you are turned away from God without realizing it. Physically it is like eating sugar for a long time. Gradually you body becomes more and more unhealthy. Also it might be compared to the old story of the frog and the boiling water. If you try to put a frog in boiling water, he will jump out before he gets cooked. But if you put him in cold water and slowly heat it up, you can cook him. Even sin has feelings and results that can be very "satisfying." Otherwise, why would people keep sinning and slowly committing spiritual suicide? Look at people smoking cigarettes.
In order to repent for a sin, you must first recognize that there is a sin. This can happen in one of several ways. Each of these ways we could call "judgment." But the word "judgment" has taken on such a fearful feeling that most people will immediately put up their spiritual barriers against any form of "judgment"- especially if it is coming from God, True Parents, or Abel. Actually "judgment" is in truth a form of love. Think how a parent is feeling for a child when he sees the child doing something wrong and he wants to help the child. He first has to correct the child with words of truth. As the child gets older he is more able to learn on his own by example and by self realization.
Anyway, let's use the words "recognition" and "advice" instead of "judgment" because these words have more of a connotation of good things happening to you. "Recognition" (i.e., "judgment") of sin comes when you another person behaving in a more loving way than you are. Or you can spiritually feel love coming from someone and recognize that they are loving more than you are. Or you can "recognize" that someone loves another person more than you do. All of these levels of "recognition" reveal to you that you have to grow more, you have to change your own heart.
One thing about "recognition," however, is that you can only recognize love at a slightly higher level than your own. Many people cannot even begin to recognize Father's love or understand his motivation because it is simply too far over the horizon of their own level of love. The reason for only being able to recognize love at a slightly higher level is found in the Principle of growth. Growth must take place step by step. Growth must involve give and take centered on heart. As hard as you try to get some self-centered person to understand your unselfish motivation, it is impossible. Children cannot understand sharing. "I want it" is their level of maturity.
Many leaders get so frustrated at members who cannot understand their hearts. But this is impossible from a member's point of view. Both people are actually failing to understand each other. You wouldn't try to teach calculus to a two-year-old. The spiritual laws of growth of the heart are just as absolute and real as the laws of growth of the intellect. So the first and best way to feel repentance and to be effectively able to repent is to constantly be around other people of deeper heart and more loving actions than yourself. But being around people much higher is not as productive as being around those just ahead of you in development or being around someone just far enough ahead of you that he can understand exactly where you are and be able to help raise you up. Through being around such people you will constantly be "recognizing" where you need to change. This is constant self-judgment. This is a loving judgment and an easy way to grow quickly.
The next kind of "judgment" we can call "advice." In other words, this is truth. Truth can be found in the Divine Principle, Father's words, and many other written forms. Truth can also come in the form of spoken words -- hence the term "advice." Advice can come when you are ready and you are seeking it. It can also come when you are not ready and do not want to hear it. "Advice" can come from a person who really loves you, and this makes it easier to receive. "Advice" can also come from a person who hates you and that makes it very difficult to receive. In fact, however, God just might even be using a person who hates you to get across some "heavenly advice."
It is always your portion of responsibility to decide which advice is from heaven and which is not. Sometimes the advice you receive from someone who loves you is too humanistic and he makes it too accommodating for your fallen nature. Prayer is your best avenue for finding the truth in the advice for your level of growth and heart.
When you pray and repent, you can always repent even for some thing you didn't do. You're guaranteed that Satan cannot claim that prayer. So even if you have the slightest idea that you might have committed even a small sin, you can repent for it. The repentance can be applied to your ancestors or to other spirits like yourself who did commit such sins. So if the thought comes into your mind to commit some sin, even if you didn't commit the sin, you can repent as if you actually did commit the sin. There must have been some base for you to receive that thought-maybe some ancestor or some spirit working with you. Through your repentance that spirit can gain freedom and joy. Maybe the only base you had to receive an evil thought was that you were walking down the street. Some spirit could be trapped in that spot and needs liberation. You can help him or her through your repentance.
Repentance to be effective needs some specific object of repentance such as an action or thought. "I'm sorry I'm such a sinner" is not effective. "I'm sorry I have such a small heart" or "I'm sorry I hurt you" or "l repent for my sins" are all practically worthless when measured in terms of the two put poses of joy and freedom. All of these statements are in fact repeating Satan's accusation and condemnation, but how are they helping anyone feel closer to God's love? Can you feel any joy from repeating these sentences over and over again?
If a child does something wrong, what does the parent want? The parent wants the child to first clearly understand what he did that was wrong and secondly to sincerely apologize and thus change. That's all. Finished! Done and forgotten! Gone! No parent wants to remember all the times you wet your pants and then keep reminding you about it over and over again. Sin should be wiped away and forgotten. That is the objective of repentance.
One of the great fears of our members about repenting is the "incredible" amount of indemnity that they will have to pay once they repent for their sins. This is really Satan's trap. Actually it is just the opposite-think of all the more indemnity you will have to pay if you don't repent and you were to keep on sinning. This is Satan's own belief system about punishment. This is because he does not have even a fundamental understanding of parental love. His understanding originally was only that of a master and servant. If the servant did something wrong, the master would punish him. The greater the wrong, the greater would be the punishment. But God's heart is not like this at all for his children.
Once a person sincerely repents, God's heart is instantly and automatically moved to embrace him. Think of your own heart and how it responds when you hear someone sincerely asking forgiveness. You should always remember the parable of the Prodigal Son. God is not counting up your sins. Your responsibility is in one sense never going to get any greater that it already is. Every person has to grow to perfection. It's just a matter of who gets there first. The first one to get there takes responsibility for the whole restoration. He is the Messiah. The next one there just helps him. At every level it is an entirely voluntary effort, always depending on your level of heart. Those of you who know me know that I never ask you to do something that you are not able to do. It's the same with God.
Once you have repented, then you can experience God's love. That is the whole purpose of life. You can have some level of give and take with God again. No matter where you are coming from, just the relationship, the give and take with God, is worth anything. He can gently guide you to grow step by step. Even a newborn baby can experience the love of parents. No matter how big a sinner you are, you can still experience God directly. Look all the prisoners and alcoholics who were saved by Jesus with one experience. Their sins were much bigger than yours.
God's love is always a forgiving love. The hell that a person experiences after repentance is the memory he himself has of his sins and the pain he has caused others. God will forget them. Parents will forget the sins of their children. But you will remember your mistakes and the pain and suffering that you caused others. This is the only hell there is. The "lake of fire" just means you'll drown in the truth. For some it will seem eternal, but it won't be. All will be forgotten in the love of God.
The ways you've hurt God and True Parents in the past cannot be changed. They understand your mistakes even better than you do, but even more, they understand your motivation and your ancestors. So everyone must eventually come to forgive themselves as God has done. They must come to have God's point of view. This is the only real and true point of view-God's point of view.
With all God's Love,
Heung Jin Nim