Spiritual Guidance on Repentance and Forgiveness — Part 1 Repentance
Sun Myung Moon and Chung Hwan Kwak
Compiled by Nancy Neiland Barton
World Conference (2/25/80)
What is repentance? The best way to repent is to be scolded by Father. I give you a hard time, and tears trickle from your eyes; you want to cry out in prayer, asking God to forgive you. Isn’t that the best? I am sorry I have to speak to you like this, but the historical reality must be exposed. What a blessing it is that your shortcomings, your misbehavior, and your irresponsibilities are all forgiven.
What have you been doing? Have you been doing exactly the same as me? Have you been kicked and persecuted by people? Have you been so hardened in the work of servanthood? Have you been serving people?
Look back at your own life and accomplishments. What do you think of your own past? Those of you who have been hungry know that all the members of your church are hungry. When there is no place to lie down and sleep and everybody is suffering, you may still want to be in a big room and lie down comfortably. If at that moment you don’t care about the rest of the members, woe to you, you hypocrite.
If you committed such a crime, then you need to repent. Go ahead and repent from the bottom of your heart. If you don’t, you cannot receive the inheritance from the Messiah. You cannot inherit the Kingdom of God from the True Parents. That kind of noble tradition of sacrifice is beautiful. In following such a tradition, we can swallow the satanic world.
True Parents and I (6/15/86)
Most of you have been a part of the life of the Unification Church for many years, and most of you have received the Blessing. But you have been living according to something less than the real Unification Church direction. There is far more distance to be covered. We have to be shedding tears — kneeling on the floor and repenting. Repentance must be the first thing on our agenda.
The Future of the Religious Person (9/1/86)
Nobody really understands God’s will. But the American people must return to God. It is like Jesus’ time, when John the Baptist stood out in the desert and shouted, “Repent, and return to God!” Otherwise America has no hope. Someone is standing out in the wilderness now, just as in the time of the Israelites, proclaiming loudly, “Repent!” That person is Rev. Moon. I am telling you Moonies first of all, “Repent!” You have to repent!
Learning Tradition — Europeans in America (6/13/83)
Please realize we must always keep repenting and trying to understand our errors. This is our way of removing ourselves from the midway position, and this is our way of survival.
We must show the existence of God and the spirit world to all people, down to the last man, before they can be converted. It is not enough merely to understand. What you are trying to explain to your members, you must show to them.
The directions Father gives to the Japanese leaders are so high that the Japanese have never heard the like of them before. But Japanese members, even if they think the directions are difficult, always try to repent. And they complain, but not to God. They complain to themselves that they have so little ability and goodness.
They search themselves to discover why they are not so Abel. They torment themselves and try to repent for their fallen condition. They pray sincerely to God, “I am so weak, and I should do so much more, so please, God, help me.” They do that before they go into action. This is not a concept but is a practical technique that works.
In spite of having worked so hard and prayed so much, and in spite of knowing that God must accomplish everything through you, you may have wondered why nothing happens in your church. You may have wondered, “Why didn’t God help me? Why didn’t spirit world help me?’ Now you know the secret.
True Parents and Ourselves (5/7/72)
In order to subjugate Satan, you cannot be forgiven by just asking, “Heavenly Father, please forgive me.” You have to shed tears in order to return to God. You have to feel the pain of your face swollen from crying. You have to shed tears in repentance for your sins. That is very important for each one of you. We have to go this way not just for the sake of ourselves but for the sake of our country and for the sake of the world.
You have committed your sins in the past and the present and you might weep because of that, but you haven’t felt repentance deeply enough. After repentance you should cry tears of deepest gratitude because you are going back to God to be restored. Without such tears, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Repent and then forget about the past. Don’t let it drag you down, but pray to heaven to help you do away with it. Then look for the difficult thing and tackle it. That will be your best and fastest training.
Let Us Know Ourselves (9/30/79)
There is always room for mercy in a righteous legal system, but in order to be entitled to receive it, a person must show his sincere repentance. Repentance is the key word. This is why Jesus’ pronouncement was, “‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” What should we repent for? Very simply, we must repent for all those actions which violated the rule that says we should live in sacrifice and service for others. This was Jesus’ first teaching.
The essence of Christianity is to seek repentance for the sin of greediness and selfishness. Sin can be defined as violation of the universal law of service to others. Stealing a dress from even a big department store chain is wrong. That dress has value which comes from the person who prepared it. If it is stolen, its public value is nullified by the thief. That is the sin. Another person might realize that he tells lies all the time, but his conscience doesn’t hurt him. The motivation for lying always involves hiding something to take advantage of others; otherwise, there would be no reason to lie.
Leaders Conference (6/6/86)
I am desperate to the utmost degree. I have been waiting for you to spur yourselves onward. Have you changed? No! So, are you going to just wipe your hands and give up? We have to climb all the way up, because we have already come this far. How little you know about me! So many complaints, so much ungodly criticism!
If you fail this time, your generation will be put in the category of ‘failed mission.’
Fortunately, time remains. First, we must repent. This alone can bring us hope. We must develop absolute conviction. We can make a last- minute commitment now. We are the front-line soldiers indemnifying the failure of those who did not accept Father in 1945. We, 40 years later, are giving America a second chance.
You should just go and bear the cross willingly and eagerly. You should not say or even think, “Please let this cup pass from me.” Just bear the cross with no questions asked.
Excerpts from Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak’s guidance to missionaries in 1980
The Meaning of Love
There is no question that all of us would desire to receive Heavenly Father’s original ideal love if we could. However, because we are fallen men, God cannot give us His original, direct love. He can only look upon us and bestow merciful, pitying love, because we continue to possess original sin and we are far below the basic point where He can reach us directly. When an individual cries out to God and asks for His love, is it pitying or original love which the person seeks? Our purest, our deepest desire is to receive original love, yet actually when we cry out in this way, we are hoping to receive any kind of love. Pitying love is not at all “ideal” love. Even when we receive His merciful love, we grow in our desire to finally receive His original love.
If you make some mistake, you need to repent. Through repentance, you can be connected to God through the pitying love He bestows. However, even though you may receive pitying love, as I mentioned before, your main goal is to somehow receive God’s original love. It is a desire which we should never give up striving to fulfill.
The element which man needs to live his life of faith is gratitude. If you could feel gratitude well up from your heart and then express it to your God, you would never try to escape the way of restoration. When you don’t have a thankful mind, you will not be able to overcome your difficult circumstances. If you go through a similar test again and again but always want to escape, then you really should look into yourself and discover your immediate need of repentance.
Generally, a member faces any given intense or difficult conditions once. Heavenly Father gives a person the chance to overcome and go beyond these difficulties, which the person does by setting up indemnity conditions. A person should only need to try once to overcome a certain stumbling block in his faith. Yet, if we find ourselves in the same situation again and again, we must understand why and deeply repent that we were not able to overcome things the first time around. When certain difficulties block our way, we need indemnity conditions to overcome them. Of course it is easier to center on ourselves, feeling self-pity, or we can just bury our heads in the sand to escape facing such tumultuous circumstances. But if we try to escape and are successful, God will have to give us the same test yet another time. However, think of the amount of God’s time we waste when He must do this.
The principle which Christianity espouses is that people should repent of all their sins through the Messiah in order that he can offer them to God. Many of our members don’t understand this principle. Some make mistakes which they keep to themselves. They not only form a covering over themselves, but they even put a lock on it. It is only they who know the combination to unlock it. However, when they never make effort to unlock it, they will never be able to solve anything. And they may try to do it only by themselves with their own limited power. If you think about your own sin or mistakes, it is easy to explain away the situation within the confines of your own mind. It is easy to find excuses to appease yourself. However, if you do this you will never solve your situation. When you yourself make many excuses and rationalize away your mistakes, nothing is overcome. If anyone could actually overcome their deep-seated problems or sins by themselves, there would be no need for the Messiah. However, it is imperative that we reach the Messiah, because through him we are able to receive God’s light and love.
Even though we may internally try or even make excuses, as long as we continue to keep the mistake within ourselves, we will continue to remain distant from Heavenly Father. However, if you can find your internal Abel figure and report everything, then your problem or mistake can be overcome.
Please don’t keep your heavy burdens to yourself. Examine yourself to find what kind of curtains you are using and how many shadows accompany you day after day. If you continue to hide your own dirty nature, it will be more and more difficult for you to pry yourself away from Satan’s grasp later on.
Some people repent for not doing more, for not being pure enough, for not sharing our True Parents’ path more than they do. Not just one time, but every day. Do you repent for these things? Do you even think about them?
To lay conditions of indemnity, we must first change direction. We must repent. Repentance is a religious word. It is such an important condition for all mankind. Through a mistake or sin, we feel internally heavy and in darkness. Once we change our direction, we come down. The ‘ amazing thing is that after a mistake, our spirit continues to come down. Therefore, we so often make small mistakes. Small mistakes themselves make the motivation for big mistakes. Then our spirit continues to come down, and we absolutely need repentance.
Many members misunderstand the effect of repentance. Generally, after repentance, we feel we come back to the original position, but actually the effect of repentance is that it only succeeds in changing direction spiritually. After you change your direction, you need to practice true love conditions to reach the original position.
The best thing is not to make a mistake, but we are not perfect; sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes something goes wrong. Then as soon after we make the mistake as possible, we need to repent. In many cases, because we delay repenting, we make many mistakes.
The meaning of repentance in the Unification Church is different from what it means in most other churches, where repentance usually connects directly to your own personal sin or mistake. But in the Unification Church, members study about God’s heart and the early church history. When we really understand God’s suffering heart, then we can naturally repent about these historical mistakes. True Parents many times mention about, God’s heart to Noah’s family, God’s heart to Abraham’s family, and so on. Father understood God’s heart, and the history of His suffering. As an historical representative, he repented for all of mankind and all of history.
Each one of us needs heavenly wisdom to solve the problem of our own burden. To be able to live a lifestyle in which we can confess and report things to a central figure can only bring us great fortune.
We feel True Parents’ guidance and love for each of us as their children. When you connect with your Abel figure and cultivate a deeper and deeper relationship with him, you will come even closer to the True Parents. Your reports to your Abel figure can reach the True Parents and can reach the forgiving heart of God.