Our Identity

Our Identity

Reverend Sun Myung Moon
April 1, 1981
Belvedere
Translator – Sang Kil Han

When we speak of someone’s “true self,” we think in terms of whether he is good or bad. A country also has a personality, and we think also whether the “true self” of that country is good or bad, meaning whether the people of that country are good or bad.

On every level, from the individual to the spirit world, this true self ought to be identified. What is the central element by which we make that judgment? In evaluating America, for instance, we look at the past, present and future. We judge the present generation of a country by looking at its laws. Laws change according to the needs of the time. It is not unusual that sometimes laws contradict the tradition that a country has been following. Another major element to consider is the moral life of a country. These are the categories we look at in looking at a country-its past, present and future, and the moral life and laws in effect at that time.

A religious body is one step ahead in this area. Unification Church, for instance, has one element beyond all that, which is heart. Heart seems to surpass, or be higher than, a legal code or moral standard. As members of Unification Church, we think of “our true selves.” As an individual, you think of “I”, and as Unification Church we think “we.” In that sense, the topic today is Our Identity, or Our True Self.

I mentioned history as one category to consider; who makes the history of Unification Church? You may think it is as simple as any other history, but actually it has been compiled in complex terms. It is true that much of it has been made by Reverend Moon, but it is also true that it has been made by you members, and also that God has played a large role in it. But it is only correct to say that it was made by all three together. Before God can say, “I made the history of Unification Church,” He has to think of who carried it out, and how; He has to think of what I did and what you did.

Before you members can say that you made our Church history, you have to think of how God started and how I pioneered the way, and then how you went in a certain direction. All three did not happen at the same time, for there must be a sequence or order. How is that order decided? The logical sequence starts with God, then Reverend Moon, and then yourselves. Of these three, God happens to be invisible; because we cannot see what He did, we have to look at what I did. Those deeds then become the center in thinking of Unification Church history.

If these three are going forward in a synchronized way, then when I lift my right foot, should you lift your left foot? If God is striding along, can I take two steps to His one? No, though it is difficult, I must keep pace with Him. If we must turn, everyone has to turn at the same time; we all have to go in the same direction.

Why do we have to be concerned with what the central figure is doing? So that we can act in unity, instead of being separated. What is good about unity? When we attain unity, “our thing” becomes “my thing;” it doesn’t belong to the group, but to every individual as well. This is why we go along with the whole; if we all have unity and follow the same steps then everything that exists in the Church no longer belongs only to the whole but also belongs to each individual.

If you unite with historical tradition, then all things that have occurred in history will belong to you. A clear example is Jewish life. Jews cherish tradition, and as a result, the events of Jewish history and things the Jewish nation have done become meaningful to individual Jews. Though you may not be sure of this, it is likely, isn’t it?

This process works the same in the legal and moral areas. Look at yourself and see if this works all the time. As long as you live within the law, you have the privileges of American citizenship. Then you can say that what goes on in America is yours as well as the nation’s. If you live according to the moral standard of society, then all the virtues of that society belong to you also. Unification Church life is very challenging and difficult, but you carry on in order that you belong to the Church. When I instruct you to do something, you try to do so, although it may be difficult. You do it because you are focused on the future.

When you think of your past, you have to think whether you have gone along with what I have done, and with what everyone else has done. Can you give yourself a passing grade? Each one of you should be your own judge because you know yourself best. You don’t need someone else to judge for you. The encouraging thing is that you have a conscience; people from the secular world who don’t know me would think they have passed, but none of you thinks you have passed. At least in that way you are better than they are.

Of all the elements I mentioned, the most important is heart. Is our heart in line with the heart of the whole? What is the true self of Unification Church? It is nice if we can say Unification Church is the best. If it is really the best then thinking deeply of that should inspire you to dance, even if you are being tortured.

Some people would say I think Unification Church is best simply because I am the founder and leader. But we don’t consider my opinion; we check what God thinks. If God thinks it is the best, and you and I agree with that, then we can really say it is the best. If you feel that God is the best, and Reverend Moon is best, but that you are not yet the best, then the Unification Church has not yet become the best. In order for you to become the best, you must try to go along with God and Reverend Moon and make yourself the best. You may think this applies to such enthusiastic, nationalistic kinds of people as the Germans and Japanese, but not to intelligent, neutral Americans, right? Does this apply to Americans?

Are you like other Americans, who feel they can do and say anything they want to, any time? Americans feel it is a virtue to say whatever they are thinking, not to hold anything in. Before taking action, Americans will stop and evaluate two different goals, to see whether it is worth their while trying to reach one of them. The best thing, however, would be to reach one goal first, and then look for a better one. If your mind is divided by thinking how to reach two different goals, you will never reach either one.

Sometimes an elementary school child who does well in his subjects will think he is ready for college material. But first he has to finish junior high and high school. He may not be satisfied with his grammar school uniform and will want to have accessories which only older students wear. Even though something may be good, however, if it doesn’t fit into the whole, people will laugh when they see it.

You want to keep circumstances from invading the person you love, meaning that you don’t want anyone to do something bad to him or her. This is why we need order; without order you cannot control that. Many people today think freedom has no order, but actually you cannot have freedom without order. Freedom is not possible without law.

Maybe you don’t care about what your parents say, or about going to school, or about restrictions. but when you think this way then there is no such thing as freedom for you. Is God a God of freedom or restriction? If God has established order and law but He does not enforce or abide by it, He is no longer free. He must keep within the laws He created, and then they belong to Him. After God has kept the law Himself, He can pass judgment and give sentence. If He does not keep the law Himself, then He has nothing to go by in judging.

If there is a law then it must be kept by all members, and then correct judgment for action can be arrived at. Is there some reason why you should do all the things that are required in Unification Church? Yes, so that you can make it all your own possession, not just vaguely “ours.” By doing the things that are required, your actions protect you.

When you do what is required, the other Unification Church members will protect you, and the whole universe will protect you. If you do it better than others, everyone will come to respect you. The laws and order that you observe will protect you; that is why you stay within their perimeter. Always think that by doing these things you will be protected and cherished by everyone and by the universe.

Why do you have to observe heavenly law in Unification Church? By doing so, everything that comes under heavenly law will protect and respect you. Then that law belongs to you. If you are living under the law, but someone who is ignorant of it comes to accuse you, everyone else around will accuse that person instead, defending you. When he is attacked that way, that person can understand that he was wrong.

This applies to the rest of Unification Church. When you see that people wrongly accuse me, immediately you stand up to protect and defend me. Then you even admire me for the persecution I go through. You feel that the person being persecuted is better than the one doing the persecuting. Now you know the amazing fact that the activities you have been carrying out will bring you under God’s protection. As long as you live within the boundaries of the law, you will be admired wherever you go. This is not true just for a few years, but for every generation. If you have lived under the same law as people in spirit world, they will welcome you, and you will welcome them.

The most important of all laws is the law of love and heart. Don’t you imagine that there is a law that governs something as big as love? There must be some content and form which it should have. You don’t usually kiss someone’s foot, for instance. Anything can be symbolic, of course, but the usual form is to kiss someone’s mouth. When Orientals kiss, they do so straight on, but Westerners have such high noses that they have to tilt their heads to kiss each other, and their mouths make an X. The disgusting thing in the West is that the people have no rule of love.

When you violate the rule of a nation, you go to jail. If this is really a free country, why does it have so many prisons, and why are they always full? If you run down the street stark naked, you probably won’t be put in jail. There is much homosexuality here, and anyone can become a prostitute.

Should there be jails in society? Can John Hinckley get away with shooting President Reagan by saying that he felt like doing it? Can he insist that he shouldn’t be arrested? Jails are built to accommodate people who do not go along with the laws of a nation. Even a school has a room for punishment, and a family has a punishing spot.

The person who thinks he can be free to disregard Unification Church regulations cannot be a good Church member. Do you think I would prefer to be opposed or approved of? If I want to be approved of then why don’t I change my ways? Though I am persecuted, I am doing things of more value than the person who is persecuting me. I may not be smart, but I do know that I am doing things of more value than other people. Big nations like Russia and America may change their policies, but I never change what I am doing.

When good and evil collide, one of them must give way, and that should be the evil one. Though the present age may not recognize and protect the true one, history will protect and admire it. Jesus was adamant about staying within God’s law, and historically that law has protected him and brought him admiration. Is it true that those fighting in Jesus’ name always win?

The most important laws are those governing heart and love. When we are confronted by a choice between secular law or the law of love, the wise person will choose the law of love. Because history repeats itself, we are confronted today by the same situation that Adam’s family faced.

Here in New York we wear heavy clothes in winter, but in Florida we change into lightweight clothes. The person who would bring a heavy winter coat to Florida is funny. Your friends who don’t know that may think you are odd if you don’t wear a heavy coat to the airport, but you just turn on the heater in the car and leave your coat behind, knowing it will only be a burden when you get to Florida. The person who thinks only of the present is foolish, not the person who considers the future.

You members who were finally engaged will wait three years before you can live together. Of course you want to call each other and hold hands, but you have to control your urges. Probably every day you ask yourself why you have to do that. The reason is that you want to have God hold your hand first, before you hold your fiancée’s hand. How secure you will be if God, who is the biggest being, then True Parents and finally your fiancé are all holding your hands. If you are attached to God and True Parents then you don’t even have to hold your fiancé’s hand; he is already holding all of you. If your fiancé cannot betray God or True Parents, then certainly he cannot betray you. That is as secure as you can get. When you understand this, you will think I am very smart for making this rule.

When you abide by this law, you can be proud of it because this law is yours. Later you will proudly tell your children to do the same thing, because it is your law and you followed it. When you want to hold your fiancé’s hand, but you don’t do so because I have said you shouldn’t, is it bad for you, or a reason for gratitude?

In the history of marriage was there ever a father who forbade his son or daughter to hold hands, or to call his or her fiancé? Will that be recorded in history or not? If that is recorded, then other people will follow it also. Does that tradition come horizontally, or vertically? From lower to higher, or from higher to lower? Are you higher or lower? Of course those married earlier are above, and those married later are below. Thus, the tradition comes down from True Parents. This is the most secure way to safeguard marriage. By following this, you are guaranteed protection by the Unification Church members and by the whole universe.

Recently one couple had a child and requested me to name him. The father had disunited in some matter in the past, and I was going to refuse his request. But it happened that another couple was also requesting a name for their baby that day, a couple who was working hard. Their paper was handed to me together with the request from the first couple. I thought that here were Cain and Abel requests together, and since they were “united,” how could I refuse one of them? This is one example of how you need your contemporaries, or friends.

I know very well what you like and don’t like. You are longing to hold hands with your fiancé, but you won’t do it. That’s the beauty of the whole. You won’t call him or her, and that’s a big thing also. Now you go crazy just thinking about that person, but when the time comes that you can hold him or her in your arms, what a sensation it will be! Would you rather have that kind of spouse, or have someone whose coming and going doesn’t excite you as much?

If your love was so intense and you were so excited that you bit off your fiancé’s nose, would that be a crime? Is there any law instructing a judge on how to sentence someone for such a crime? He would have to refer the case to the Senate to enact a new law, and the case would have to wait for legislation. Such a case would become the cherished symbol of real love. A picture of a spouse biting off his wife’s nose would be put in books, and hung in people’s homes everywhere. But biting off someone’s nose doesn’t fit the pattern of love, and I will accuse anyone who does that.

Do you want an exciting love, or a lukewarm relationship? As long as it is exciting, what more could you want? We know that the law is designed to create perfect husbands and wives, and without it there would be no hope of having such people. How wonderful it is to say to your fiancé, “If you have the time to call me then you have more room for working harder. During these three years please pour everything you have into your mission.” How much more fantastic it is to encourage each other this way.

Is it good or bad for me to tell you not to hold hands with your fiancé? Recently one elder sister told me about a brother who was just matched, and was so excited about his wife-to-be that he would even get up in the middle of a meal to go call her. She is in training, and he waits in the hall for her to get out of lectures. Why does he do such things? If they go wrong during these three years then they will both be shattered. If they kiss and then cannot control themselves, what happens? Why risk that?

This law of love is the most rigid one and we cannot be indifferent to it. Love is the thing we take most seriously. If you think people should do whatever they want, you will have only mediocre love.

That is the historical perspective, but today the law is the element which judges all of our actions. Why do we have to do things like seven day’s fasting? We can depend on others all the time, or we can let others depend on us. I want you to be independent people who help others. The person who serves others is always welcomed. You can be either way, but I want you to be the one who is welcomed by others. If you fund raise, witness and do a seven-day fast, then you will become the person who can be of service to others. That is the person who will survive and be the center of his community. If he takes a job, he will become the center of the company. Whatever he does, he will be the center, and then eventually become the center of the world. In that way God’s will can be fulfilled in the world.

I never thought that I would get rich by coming to America. South American leaders have seen that I am doing something to help America, not vice versa. They reason that if I come to South America then I would bring the same resources to their countries that I brought here. If because of their appreciation it is more effective for me to work in South America. then we should judge it better to go there. That would be the only logical conclusion.

Each country and community has laws, but we also have to be concerned about the laws of the Unification Church. Do you like the basic things we do-morning prayer service, witnessing, fund raising, and so forth? We don’t do these things because we like them, but because we must do them. Without doing them, what we do will remain in only one place and not be connected with the past or the future. Although we may have done good things in the past, if we don’t live these traditions then our deeds will not be connected to history. The only way to connect our time with history is by doing all the required things, even though we don’t like them.

Each person must come to feel that historical tradition is his own, not just the tradition of history. The Unification Church will not just be local, or the product of a limited time, but will be an historical and worldwide Unification Church. But each member must feel it is his Unification Church. Though Reverend Moon and God are both there, still it must be your Unification Church. Then you can be connected. That’s a wise and good thing to do.

Concerning morality today, we see it is commonplace for families to break up. The only way to change this trend is to establish a strong tradition. Though people don’t know what is right, when they see you do what is right they can understand, and then copy what you do. In a moral life there are no loose standards. You must know not only the correct tradition, but know why it is correct. There is a strong law governing the conduct of love which must not be violated. The law of love is not Oriental or Western, but is beyond race and nationality. The race problem is an unpleasant one, but we are determined to digest it. How do we prove we have done that? One way is through international marriage. Again, we do that with history in mind, not just today. When we carry out the law of love, it becomes part of our identity, and is what we are.

There are two ways to exist-one is the true way, and the other is the false way. We choose this way because True Parents are here and God’s idea is here; we don’t choose this way because it is easy. It may not be recognized and approved of today, but we know that historically we are right and people will approve of it in the future. Thus, we cannot compromise. No matter how much persecution we receive today, it cannot last indefinitely and we know we will win.

Whether people approve or disapprove, we will continue on this side. We will work for it and die for it if necessary. We are reborn on this side, will live here, and will die here. “Our true self” is “my true self.” “Our identity” becomes “my identity.” We live this way so that what used to be “ours” will become “mine.” If you can say that this is yours, then the whole will protect you, the law by which you live will protect you. We have to be courageous and confident to remain on the right side; there is nothing to be unsure of. You should be sure that your confidence is absolute, that if an army tried to stop you that you would not change.

I will probably be fishing in Gloucester again this summer, living in fisherman’s clothes instead of suits. Even if you are wearing smelly fisherman’s clothes, the righteous side is still the same, and it is always going up; you cannot come down lower than where you are now. Though we may find ourselves in the beggar’s position, we will never go down, but will go up. I live here in order to leave that right tradition. When young people in the future learn about my experience in jail, it will set their minds on fire. I never minded having to endure prison life, knowing that it would leave a strong tradition for the future.

Even at this moment I am still carrying this out, teaching everyone about this. I have no regret about spending so much time doing so. Many people have lived in the world, and many religious teachers have taught on earth, but you have met me now. We know that historically there will not be another time like this, and that there has never been a time like this before. If this time is wasted away, will you have a second chance in the future? This is the most precious time not just for you, but for history. If you don’t carry this out properly then I scold you, and you check on each other to see that you carry it out. But you are fortunate in that; if no one cared about what you did then you would be unfortunate.

Maybe you think it would be better to do this when the world will welcome it and things will be easier. But that will be the time when you can no longer do what you do today.

What you are doing now is finding what “our true identity” is and by living it you make it your own, connecting it firmly with history. Then everything can be left for future generations to follow, for the whole world and spirit world. God has done it, I have done it, and you also must leave this identity behind you. How fantastic and meaningful a life that is. You can find no better thing to do.

Today is the beginning of April. I won’t be in America much this month. So far you have been immature and had small thinking, but if today you can say clearly that you know what our identity is, that you are confident in what God and True Parents have established and can live to leave it for the future, raise your hands.

Let us pray.