Public Life

Public Life

Reverend Sun Myung Moon
April 1, 1982
Belvedere
Translator – Bo Hi Pak

It is very true that the thoughts of people are usually self-centered. From that point of view, people think about their parents, brothers and sisters, nation and the world. Everyone wants to have all his circumstances centered upon himself. If that is the case, how can people relate to one another?

Let us take another perspective. Suppose you are working for a certain company. If you do not contribute to the welfare of that company, sooner or later you will probably be fired. The same is true for school life. A person receives his education at school, but that person is also considered a part of the school. The school is not a part of that person. Some people may wish the school existed solely for them, while others wish the nation existed solely for them, but that is not the way society works. The individual must become a contributing part of that nation. In the same way, you are a part of the world; the world does not exist solely for you.

This particular principle also applies to the spirit world; and expanding one step further, God Himself exists within this principle. The principle of the universe says that each individual lives in relationship to all things and must be disciplined to become a part of the larger whole.

Thinking more deeply, we have to ask, “How can I fit into this world, nation, and society. and still be able to fulfill my own personal ideals and desires?” Everyone has the tendency to do whatever he wants, and to see events occur exactly the way he likes them, but that seldom happens. Once your thinking is totally self-centered, you will find that you will be expelled wherever you go. The school, the factory and the nation will all reject a person with such thinking. Even the spirit world and God will reject such thinking.

Think about your own spouse or fiancé. Although he or she feels very close to you, if you try to do everything centered upon yourself, the relationship will become strained. There must be some common ground toward which you can both dedicate yourselves. When you think about all these things. you must conclude that promoting yourself above everything else is a very, very foolish thing to do.

Let us consider what freedom is. Does having freedom mean that you can do everything only according to your own desire? When speaking of freedom, there is one golden, iron-clad rule that can be set: freedom can exist only within the framework of consideration for the freedom of all. Only upon such a public foundation can freedom truly flourish. The individual must recognize the larger entity before himself. You might say, .’What kind of freedom is that? I don’t like it.” But if you don’t honor that standard, your freedom will only bring you destruction, chaos and confusion. Today a very mistaken concept of freedom prevails in this society. Living in a free country doesn’t mean that people can do whatever feels good. or follow their every impulse. However, many people have this attitude.

When you became a member of the Unification Church, you joined a new kind of disciplined environment which has certain rules and regulations. In order to enjoy true freedom, you have to see your personal desires and ambitions in a new light. You are learning to direct yourself according to a certain discipline.

Who is Rev. Moon and what is he doing? The court asked me to come and be present. Do I have freedom, then, not to report? No, now Reverend Moon has the freedom to be persecuted. Is that the kind of freedom I desire? No, it is painful and bitter many times, but I stand up to all these experiences, conquering them in order to acquire true freedom, true joy, and true fulfillment. Whenever there is a conflict between two elements, the more public element will ultimately prevail, be victorious, and move on. The universal principle is such that the one who has the most public standard will be triumphant. The one with the less public standard will diminish.

After this sermon today I am going to the court. Many Unification Church members are very solemn and gloomy, thinking that this is a terrible day, but they should not think that way. You should feel that this is a confrontation in which the more public standard will overcome. I have never been afraid of court battles, and this is not the first time I have faced such a thing Throughout my life, I have endured incredible injustices, but each time I have been confronted in public arenas I have prevailed. This will be no exception.

How public are we in the Unification Church? Let’s grade our public standard. What position does the Unification Church stand in: top, bottom, or middle? The important thing is whether God says we are the top, and the spirit world must agree. That is the true recognition. If you are really convinced that our public stand is the highest possible one, then hold on to your commitment and persevere. For whose sake should you do that? It’s not just for your sake, but for the well-being of the public. If you are truly moving forward unselfishly for the attainment of that public goal, God will always be following you. As soon as you have won the battle, God will step forward and put the victory flag in front of you.

If you are in competition with other nationalities and you win the contest, the American flag will be brought forward as a symbol of your national honor. With that victory you can truly rejoice and then enjoy freedom. At such a time celebrating in an outburst of emotion could be tolerated. If you accidentally knocked someone over as you were jumping around, do you think that person would automatically take you to court? Wherever you move in your country. you shall be praised and glorified because you have won a victory for the nation.

As soon as you take even one tiny step beyond the national sphere into a higher realm of living for the world, you will be judged by that higher standard. Our goal and public standard is to be number one in living for the highest purpose. In the Olympic games there are many kinds of competitions, but the contest which has the most prestige is certainly the marathon race. It is the supreme test of the human spirit and body; nothing else requires more endurance and strength. Once a person wins the gold medal for the marathon, he is admired by everyone else.

There is also a supreme gold medal that is sought after in this universe. In the competition of living the highest public life everyone would like to win the gold medal. Since the goal is high, an incredible amount of hardship must be overcome to achieve it. However, sometimes people cheat in order to try to win in an easy way. Even though a person ran 26 miles in a marathon if he were to cheat by riding piggyback for just ten meters, he would lose the honor of winning. Cheating for just one meter would ruin the value of victory. Even if someone rode piggyback for five meters, then got off and retreated ten meters and started running again, such a thing could not be accepted because the rules of the race were violated. In other words, because the desire to cheat was there, the honor was lost. You cannot violate the rules of the race or the rules of the universe and be a winner.

Our goal of living in the Unification Church is to comfort the Heart of God and to create the world of the Heart of God. Can we go an easy way to reach that goal, or randomly do whatever we want to do? Rev. Moon is the coach in our marathon race toward that goal. Should he give the runners an easy training schedule, or should he push them every minute of the day so that they can accomplish the goal? Which kind of coach is best?

The Unification Church is under a tough coach, that’s for sure! After you have received two or three years’ discipline from this coach, you cannot help but change. People recognize these changes. They see that under Rev. Moon’s tough coaching you become very charming and attractive, and they say, “I wish I could have a son-in-law like that!” People say all kinds of bad things about “Moonies” until they actually meet one of you. First they may think that you are the only good one; but then they meet another one, then another, and another, one after another! When they realize that all of you are such good people, they completely change their opinion.

If the people of the world feel very attracted to you, and even God likes you, then what other goal can we have? We can become the hope of the world, as well as the hope of God. Do you choose to live this public way of life, or do you just want to live according to your own whims? The person who only lives according to his own selfish desires is simply digging his own grave.

True victory can only be attained by a person with a public heart doing public deeds. The word “public” is synonymous with ‘.unselfish.” We have come to understand why we have to pursue this public way of life, even under persecution. People just don’t understand why there are still thousands of young people following me even though I have been brought to court by the U. S. government. In our public path, this court proceeding is just one more obstacle we have to overcome.

In order to overcome an obstacle you must be able to jump high to go over it. Can you determine that you can follow my example, living your entire life for the sake of righteousness and the public value, always overcoming the obstacles and attacks against you?

Sometimes you start to think more pragmatically, looking for easier ways to dodge difficulty. You might look at it another way, thinking that a little while later you will try to achieve the ultimate goal, but for now you will just do anything you want to do. I thought about those shortcuts a long time ago and I came to the conclusion that there is no easy way out. We must each think, “I was born for the public purpose, so I am going to walk the public path every inch of the way.”

Do you think that my parents decided that they had to have a son and refused to give birth to a daughter? Can a woman pick in advance the day her child will be born? Is it possible for a child to determine what his character will be? Can a child dictate the love of his parents? No, the love of his parents is almost beyond his control. It is not at your will that you are born, but someone else’s will. You were conceived through uncontrollable conditions, your parents’ love. and you were shaped by your environment as you grew. You cannot control the feelings between you and your fiancé either. Some mysterious power is definitely working in our lives. In your minds you may have a certain ideal for your spouse, but in many cases they have turned out to be very different from your image!

Maybe you would rather look like a certain movie star, but you cannot shape your own features. You have to recognize that behind each of us is something larger than ourselves. Where did this brother here get the material to grow from a six-pound baby to a 200-pound man? He is indebted to nature, which freely offered nourishment to him. Suppose nature decided to reclaim all the material that it has loaned out to mankind!

Is the air you breathe your own possession? Does the sunlight belong to you, or the food you eat? Even your sexual parts came from nature. Nothing really belongs to you; you are only a custodian of these things while they are on loan to you. From the very moment that you were born, nothing was yours. As you grew you became more and more indebted to your parents. to nature, your society, your nation, and so forth.

Your vegetables will have some opinion about whether or not you are worthy of eating them. In that respect we are all under public scrutiny. In a publicly oriented universe, how dangerous it is to live only for oneself; it is like sitting on a bomb while striking matches! Of course, you are free to light matches. but the public would indignantly say that you are a saboteur of the public good.

If a selfish person is sitting on a chair. that chair will even have the urge to kick him off! If he stubbornly believes that the chair is his personal property, all the other things around him will seethe inside and feel that he doesn’t deserve to sit on that chair. A selfish attitude is totally abhorrent to nature. In looking back on your life with all this in mind. you could reasonably feel accused by the things around you for living selfishly in the past. But you can tell them that now you want to change and you want to live a public life .

Within the Unification Church. the attitudes and standards of our members vary a great deal. There are those whose standards could be compared with hell. and those whose standard could be compared with heaven, from a public point of view.

When you are growing up you don’t know what kind of a person you will marry. Some American brothers would like Korean fiancées, but before they joined the Church they never thought about Korean women, or even about Korea. In the same period that you were born in the West, a girl was born on the mountainside of Korea. Would you ever have imagined marrying her? This would have been totally beyond your way of thinking. White men have deep-set eyes, sharp noses, and are often tall. On the other hand. a Korean girl is short, with a flat nose and thin, slanted eyes. It is an amazing thing that you would like a Korean fiancée, in spite of the fact that your parents may not have desired it or your old friends might not like it. Since you have met the church, however, you have a new way of thinking and have become like a new person. You are now living for a different goal and purpose, and because of this you would like to be married to a person of another race. That desire is born of the urge to live a more public life. When men and women want to marry someone of a different race or culture for the sake of international unity, they have a wonderful public standard.

The motivation behind the teaching you have received from Reverend Moon is that of seeking a greater and more public way of life. With this motivation, even if your parents and society oppose you. you have the strength to continue this way of life. From the public point of view, no one can deny that Rev. Moon has given his heart, soul and resources for the sake of this country, which is so central to God’s providence at this time. My public position has been that America is the center of the free world; therefore, it is necessary that other parts of the world support America at this time.

History shall be the real judge of what happens today and in the next several weeks. Regardless of what is happening at the present moment, the time will come when a more publicly-minded group of Americans will praise and honor Reverend Moon for what he has been doing. No matter what, we are walking the road of victory every day. We must be strong and bold, because we have nothing to be ashamed of.

No one has absolute freedom in his life. We do not decide how long we will live. Everyone lives under this universal rule. whether or not he is great and influential. We never know the moment of our death. so each person should be prepared by living according to the most public standard.

You family is a higher public level than you as an individual; the society is higher than your family; the nation is higher still; the world is more public than your nation; God is more public than the world, and God’s Heart is the ultimate realm of public-mindedness. Why is the Heart of God the highest standard of public life? There is no other heart or mind that can embrace the entire universe with love.

Someone may ask why he can’t just jump in one leap to God’s Heart, that highest standard of public life. But that is an impossible short cut. A giant oak tree started many years ago as a tiny acorn, which grew into a small shoot, then a sapling. Could the sapling decide that it would become a big tree overnight? Of course not. When the tree was young, it was vulnerable to many dangers such as drought; and when it became big, it was exposed to other sorts of dangers, such as winds and lightning. But the tree had to follow the rules of nature in order to become fully grown. In the same sense, the Unification Church has certain rules or steps for an individual to follow in his life. The individual must learn to live for the sake of his family; the family exists for the sake of society; society exists for the sake of the nation; the nation for the sake of the world; the world for the universe, including the spirit world; and all of these exist for the sake of God and God’s Heart.

Once the individual has reached that highest public level, he can return to himself in the greatest fulfillment. Then he can automatically recognize that everything is related to him, and feel a part of the universe without even trying. Such a person is automatically at the central point of the universe, without even desiring such a position, because the universe itself will push him into that position.

With this kind of existence, you have no contradiction or conflict, but only harmony with your environment. In such a world you can truly say you are free and can enjoy eternal freedom. That is the ultimate goal of our lives. At such a time, you will come to the realization that you are truly the center of the universe, but not because you have promoted yourself into that position. The universe will push you into that position because it will be proper for you to be there.

Within the minds of people there is a glimmer of understanding that we were destined for that central position in the universe, yet too often people try to obtain it by denying every other element in the environment. They want to take the shortest path to their goal, trying to gain instant satisfaction. It would be nice if someone could just press a button and automatically see a harmonious, peaceful world, but that is not possible. I started my path sixty years ago and have carried on the struggle all of my life. Even today the struggle and the journey are not complete. I knew that every step along the path would bring me closer to the goal. This is the reason why you have followed me. Certainly there are greater speakers and more comfortable churches, but you have given up all these fine things in order to listen to an Oriental man who has to use an interpreter. It is because you can discover here the most public life.

You do all kinds of hard work in the Unification Church, yet you feel peace. joy and fulfillment here. I almost never pat you on the back or comfort you, and there are thousands of members who have never even seen me in person. Why do they stay? Their minds can detect what is right and wrong, and they have been able to find the greatest public life through Reverend Moon’s teaching and standard of heart. The truth is actually rather simple, but we have been living in such a chaotic world that it has been difficult for anyone to clarify and explain the truth in a simple way.

The value of a person is not determined by the kind of work he does. Your motivation, thinking and your heart are what determine your value. When your thoughts are 100% for the public purpose, no door will be closed to you. Wouldn’t you want to leave the door to your home open if you knew I was coming to visit? Even a newly-married couple would want to open their home to the person with the most public standard.

Suppose the President of the United States has an appointment to come to your home. What makes it such an honor? The President is not coming as a private individual, but as the head of the nation, in the most public position in the country; that is why it is a great honor for him to visit. The President is in a very public position, but within God’s universe, there is an even greater public position. The person who lives for the highest public purpose in God’s point of view would certainly be welcomed by everyone in the universe. In this respect, there is no difference between white, black or yellow; everyone, regardless of his race, will feel honored to receive a visit from such a public person. Even hell and heaven are the same in the sense that they will open their doors and wait for him. The most public person can go anywhere. even if there are normally locks and bolts on the doors.

Is the US Supreme Court the highest, most ultimate court? No, there is another historical, super Supreme Court in heaven, where God Himself presides. In that Court God and history have judged that Reverend Moon is not only innocent, he is also honorable. That is the ultimate victory, and it has already been won. The verdict has already been reached about what kind of public life and standard Rev. Moon has lived.

Most people think courts are found only on earth, but I know that there is a Supreme Court of Heaven. Everyone on earth must face that Supreme Court of Heaven someday. I have faced it during my lifetime, but most people face it only after they die. When someone passes that court’s judgment while he is living, he has already passed beyond death. Don’t you want to be judged “not guilty” by God’s Supreme Court while you are living here on earth? This is most dramatic.

I have no fear; the road of righteousness is always a road for the bold and strong. Do you think it is easy to pass the judgment of God’s Supreme Court while you are living on earth? I want to see you judged as honorable, and that is why I send you to Africa and South America, to primitive jungles, to suffer for the public purpose with the most public minds. In this respect our way of life and our value system are supreme; nothing can surpass them.

Normally, when someone has to go to court he feels very bad; certainly he doesn’t have a wonderful morning service beforehand! When the indictment against me was handed down, I was out of the country; I didn’t have to return, but I immediately flew back to face the charges. My desire is to allow true justice to prevail; therefore, I cannot evade national-level laws. I have to go over all obstacles and therefore I confronted these charges face-to-face. Throughout history, righteous persons have gone the same way. I never feel lonely; all the righteous people in history who have suffered and been persecuted are with me today and every day.

Never make excuses for yourself, no matter what. Walk the path of righteousness with your chin held high; be bold and strong. Even if I should no longer be among you, today’s sermon should be a guide for the rest of your life. The spirit of this teaching will live forever, even if Rev. Moon is no longer here. My spirit will remain in America, no matter what, to guide this nation in the path of righteousness. The time will come when righteous people of America will take this path and follow the example of my teaching. Then America will once again be moving in the right direction. I do not focus on those Americans who are opposing me at the present time. I am thinking of those righteous Americans of the future who will follow my path. This is the way I look at America, and there is no doubt that such a thing will happen. My prayer today is for my accusers, that their lives may not become miserable because of the judgment of history. I ask God to forgive them.

You will never find such an ideology from a political or economic viewpoint. It is only within the true religious life that such a superior ideology can exist. The true religion is the most righteous and strong. We are standing in that righteous and strong position today with great pride. It doesn’t matter where I go, even to a courtroom, for the flag of righteousness shall be unfurled. The attention of God and the entire spirit world shall be directed to that position of righteousness.

You may forget many things, but never forget this one point: we are destined to live a public way of life; we were born for this. Who will be the judge of whether you have lived for the public good? God will be the judge, and His verdict alone will stand throughout history. Each person is creating a public record of his entire life; and it is being recorded for judgment in that ultimate courtroom of Heaven.

In that courtroom Satan will be your prosecutor; Jesus and I will be your defense lawyers and God will be your judge. Everyone will be called into that courtroom eventually. The public way of life is your preparation for the final judgment in God’s courtroom and the foundation upon which you will be found “not guilty” and an honorable citizen of the universe. Every deed you do in every moment of the day is recorded and will be judged in that final courtroom. The criterion will be whether or not you lived for the public purpose.

Let us live the public way of life. I want to conclude my sermon today by saying that everyone of you who truly follows my teaching will be judged honorable; your public way of life will shine like a beacon of hope for the rest of mankind and for all generations to come. I want you to be those beacons of hope and light.

God bless you. Amen.