Sermon: Relationship With Your Past (December 29, 2007)

Rev. Hyung Jin Nim Sermon
Head Quarter, Chungpadong, Seoul December 29, 2007

Topic : Having The Right Relationship With Your Past

Now, it’s very important to take that pressure off ourselves and to learn to see how far we’ve come rather than always see how far we have to go.

Yeon Ah Nim’s Message:
One time my husband told me that he used to not like his birthday or Christmas. He knew that (there) will be a lot of presents for him, but somehow he used to feel that the day is not for him. He instead felt it is a gathering with the fill of strangers. He was not allowed to invite his school friends and he thought that he was forced to smile in front of the camera. However this time when we went to America for Christmas, we felt that the Family Gathering was really nice.

We got to see True Family Members whom we usually have not seen for a very long time. We felt especially looking at the third generation, the matured third generation of the True Family Members. My husband and I felt tremendous hope. He looked around the room and we saw members as brothers and sisters. We sincerely felt gratitude for such familiar faces around us. Coming out of 2007 we are filled with joy and hope. We are blessed to live on this earth with True Parents.

We are blessed to walk the Unificationist path with our brothers and sisters. We thank Heavenly Father and True Parents for love and blessings. We believe it will be brighter and more hopeful in 2008. Brothers and Sisters, we love you so much and we believe in you…AJU!!!!

Interesting Story by Hyung Jin Nim:
I heard a very interesting story. Its about a mother. She had two very cute little boys. Their names were Young Jin and Hyung Jin. And they were trouble makers. They made a lot of trouble when they were young. So one day she decided, “You know what? I need to discipline these boys.” She knew (that) at the village on the other side there was a very scary man. And that man would discipline them, put them on the right track. So she decided to catch Hyung Jin but she ended catching Young Jin and she dragged him to the man’s house.

To the man there she said, “Please educate this young boy, so he gets back on track.” So the man took him in and he sat him on the chair and asked him with a very loud voice, “Where is God?” and Young Jin couldn’t answer at that point. He asked again and he shouted, “Where is God?” Young Jin again couldn’t answer. He was trembling with fear. Once again the very scary man shouted , “Where is God?” and Young Jin was very frightened. He ended up escaping and running back to his home. He jumped in a closet and was shivering with fear and Hyung Jin came over to him and knocked on the closet and said, “What happened? Hey. Hyong, what happened? Tell me what happened?” and Young Jin said to him, “It’s terrible. We’re in big trouble. God has been kidnapped and they think WE did it?” (Laugh)
Sermon (by Hyung Jin Nim):
You know, today is the last sermon of the year. It’s a very especial sermon. It’s particularly about the end of the year and the transition to 2008. So I can talk to you about having the right relationship with your past, especially this past year that we have participated in together. You know, if we are to live a blessed life then its so important that we have the right relationship with our past. Its very important that we have that. Too many people focus on what they didn’t get done or what they didn’t do right in the last year. They may say, “I didn’t get this promise done that I wanted to do. I didn’t lose the 50. I didn’t lose my weight like I said I was gonna do. I didn’t get this promotion. So many people will focus on what did not play out right.

Now, it’s very important to take that pressure off ourselves and to learn to see how far we’ve come rather than always see how far we have to go. It’s very important to see and acknowledge in our own lives that we have come a very long way, when we look at the past. You know, when I look in the biblical tradition, when God was creating the universe, and He said “Let there be light.” And there was light. And then He said, “It was good”, and then He went on to separate the heavens and the earth, and then he looked at that and said that it was good.
Let us notice here, God was not even at His creation. He was not even at creating the children yet, Adam and Eve. He not yet even created the animals and not even any of that. But still He was complementing Himself. He still was able to say,”Hey, this light is good. Hey, this heaven and this earth is good.”

Now we have to learn from that. We can see that even in our own lives, when we are progressing, when we are growing and improving, (that) it’s very important for us to look at ourselves and say, “You know, that is good. That was very good. I’m happy that I was able to overcome this obstacle. I’m happy that I was able to move to the higher level. That was good. I did a good job.”
It’s very important that, just because we have not accomplished all the goals that we have set up to ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that we are failures. In fact, just like God, He didn’t finish all His goals and THEN gave Himself credit. He was able to go step by step as he was making the progression. And in the same way, in our lives, its very important to see ourselves not in that negative mode, not to see ourselves as always being failures.

When we continue to accumulate, increasing, and when we continue to mature etc, (it’s so important) to give ourselves that kind of credit, to return that favor back to ourselves. It’s so important to see and view ourselves in light of our victories. It’s very often that many people focus on themselves. Their identity is based on the majority of negative things that they have done. “I’m not a good child. I don’t listen so well. My parents told me this and that.” You see, they focus more heavily on those negative comments, so that the self image and the (self)esteem will naturally begin to diminish and naturally go down.

It’s very important, when we are to live a blessed life, to learn how to focus on that fact that we had victories, to focus on that fact that we have been successful in what we are doing, that we are being successful at this point as we are progressing, as we are increasing, as we are maturing. So let’s reframe our vision of the past.

You know, I can say in my own life, I can say this past year I had a couple of goals I wanted to do and a couple of things I wanted to do. For example, I wanted to finish a book this year. I wanted to finish my book. I wanted to meet everybody in the congregation this year. I wanted to spend more time with my children. These were my goals and I could focus on these and say,” You know what, I could not finish my book. I was not able to complete it. I could not meet everybody in the congregation. I could not spend as much time as I wanted with my children.” And I can see myself and see my 2007 and look back and say,” I didn’t accomplish my goals. I was inadequate. I was not able to reach those things which I set up for myself.”

But it’s important NOT to do that, not to get in that habit, but to learn to see 2007 with your eyes of victory. Learn to see 2007 the way God sees it, the way True Parents see it. They are proud of us. When we look at 2007, that is so important.
In my own life, instead of focusing on the fact that I didn’t write my book, I focus more on the fact that I’ve done 21 sermons, and I developed a lot of content for my next book. You know, I can focus on the fact that, although I have not visited everybody’s family, we have been consistently, every week, visiting families, every week, two families a week. So in fact, with my children I haven’t spent all time I could, but we have consistently practiced the day that we do for each of our children.

Every week we have one child to take out for that child’s day. And that child then gets the attention. We focus on that child. We focus on building a one to one relationship with one child at a time, and every week we repeat that as a practice, as a spiritual practice. We call that their day. And we’ve done that consistently.

And when I reframe my 2007, when I refrain my past in light of those things that I have done right then I look at myself with a different image. I see myself actually as a more victorious person. I view myself with higher selfesteem, a person who is increasing and improving, somebody who is trying to be more inspiring to the people around them, to his children, etc. So its very important to know and reframe our image of ourselves particularly in lght of our past and particularly in the light of this past year.
You know, I heard (from) a sister, she told me about her blessing that didn’t really work out this year, and she was very dishearted. She was getting very upset to herself, ” I am a failure. I really felt True Parents this time and even my own parents, I really let them down.

I really couldn’t do everything that I really wanted to do this year. I’ve been waiting and really preparing for the blessing, but it just didn’t work out.” And this was going on and on. She complained many times, she felt very depressed and very down in herself. But at some point she realized in her prayer, (and) she said, “I realized that God doesn’t want me to live like that. He wants me to take that burden off from myself.” And she realized at that point that she could start focusing on: “What did I learn from that experience? What did I learn from that? It was hard, but what did I learn? What was God teaching me in that experience?”

And when she focused on that, she learned that she can get over this disappointment or obstacle more quickly than she thought. She realized that she had more strength than she thought. She realized that even though she had to let this past go she could move on with hope in her own life. She could move on and believe in good things in her life. And she realized that God still has a plan for her and He never gives up. He always has a plan for us.

It’s so important, as we move into 2008, to really get into our minds to make that list -you know the song “Making a list, checking it twice, and Santa will check who is naughty or nice” etc. – but really to make the list in our own hearts. Not the list of things that we have NOT done right, not the list to remind us of inability to accomplish 2007’s goals, but now to make a fresh list to recite in our mind, to remind ourselves, “I did this right. You know, this was good.

You know, I did this, and that was good. You know, when I was kind to my spouse, that was good. When I didn’t lose anger to teach my children, that was good ….. It’s very important to make that list and also to focus on the increase in our life, to focus on improvements that we are making and to focus on the inspirations that we are having in our lives.
Its so important that we live a life with victories under our belts, not failures. We don’t want to have a belt full of failures. Those things we have to let go. We’ve got to move past those obstacles. Live with the victories on your belt.

That’s very important because it allows us to see ourselves in the way that God wishes us to see ourselves. He is delighted when He sees his children prosper. He is happy when they are succeeding in this world.

I know a certain lady, she always made the same new year’s resolution. She always said, “I am gonna lose weight. I am gonna help others and I am gonna love my kids more.” Every year, every year, she’ll lose weight, help others and love her kids more.
Now, when we look at this: She realized that this formula is bound to failure. It’s impossible to reach these goals. Why?

Because they are not clear and specific enough. Now, if you want to be victorious in your life, its very important that we have clear and specific goals. Instead of saying, “You know, this year I’m gonna lose weight,” say on your new year’s resolution, “I’m gonna lose 3-5 pounds.” Instead of saying, ” I will help others”, say “I want to encourage people more than to criticize them.” Instead of saying,” I want to love my kids more”, say “I’m gonna call my kids blessings and not rascals …. I’m not gonna call them rascals anymore, I’m gonna call them blessings when I adress them.”

Make your goals specific. Its very important that, in our lives, if we want to have victorious lives, illuminated lives, peaceful lives, it’s very important that we make clear and specific goals. And so, for this year, unlike this lady, its very important that we identify clearly what it is (that) we want to do, in very specific terms, That way we can gage our level of increase, we can gage whether or not we are moving in the right direction.

So, when we move forward its important that we focus on these victories that we are having. And we can be modest with them. It doesn’t mean that we have to be arrogant, you know, to tell everybody, boast of how many victories we had. No! We can be modest in our display of them. But in our hearts, it’s important to tell and remind ourselves that we had victories, that we’ve been successful in the things we’ve done. We have to always remember that our best days are in front of us, not behind us, that God wishes us to move forward, press forward, increase and improve to be more inspiring to other people.
Let’s remember that our victories help others to increase, they help others to be inspired, they help others instill faith within them for their own lives.

So if we do that, I know that 2008 will be better than last year, will be our best year yet. So lets learn to start framing ourselves very specificely. Let’s learn to say, “Today is December 29th, 2007.” And now let’s imagine ourselves exactly one year from now, December 29th, 2008. Now what image you’re seeing in your mind exactly one year from now is very, very important. It’s very important that you create an image that is more wise. The person I see in 2008 on December 29th is more wise. That person is a better dad. He is a better husband. He is more in shape. I’m talking of myself, brother (laugh). More in shape, not getting chubby. Ok!? I see more increase. I see improvements that are happening. Let us also frame our lives in that way, to visualize yourselves exactly one year from now, not being the same, not having the same problems or obstacles that you are facing, overcoming them.See yourselves more blessed, more prosperous, more successful, more talented, more capable, more happy with your children, more happy with yourselves more of a blessing to others. Learn to see yourselves in that image in 2008. See with your own eyes, with your eyes of faith.
So when you look forward, you can see the vision coming to life. It’s very important that we use this practise of visualization.

Even, as you noticed, in the meditation practise we’re using the visualization practise. And these are practises used in many different traditions. The visualization practise helps us learn to reframe our image of ourselves, particularly when we look forward into the future.

So let us always use that power that we have. See yourselves one year from now more successful, more encouraged, more mature etc. And let’s learn not to get down on ourselves. Learn to get up on your life. Learn to get up on yourself, keep it positive. Keep it encouraging in your life. Learn to always complement yourselves when we do something right. Just like God, when you do something right, tell yourself, “That was good!” You don’t have to write on the wall. You don’t have to boast about it. But in your heart just say it, “That was good, I’m proud of you, that was really good. You talked to your kids really well this time.”

I was on the plane for 14 hours right next to my two boys. My two boys, age 10 and 8. And if you have boys that are 10 and 8 that are sitting next to you for 14 hours on the plane, in a very tight compartment, it is a very challenging experience (laugh). After I got off the plane, “You know what, I’m proud of myself. You know, you were with your kids. You played with the kids this time. That was great.”

Give yourself credit with what you’ve done. Let’s know that as long as we keep our hopes up in 2008, that will get us through the obstacles that we will have in 2008. 2008 will have obstacles, it will have challenges, like any other years. But it is important that we move through those and not be paralyzed by those, not be immobilized by those things. Learn to move through them. Stay positive. Stay on what you are learning. Keep on encouraging yourselves through those obstacles. And you will see yourselves through them more quickly.

So what things can we learn today? Let’s learn how to create the right relationship with your past, particularly this past 2007. Let’s focus on the points that we have increased in. Let’s focus on the points, where we have improved on. Let’s focus on the places where we will be inspiring to others. And like God, let’s learn to give ourselves the credit, let’s say, “You know, that was good!”
We don’t have to do it over and over but we can say to ourselves, “It was very good you did that. I acknowledge that. I acknowledge my effort in that. And unlike that lady with the unclear new year’s resolutions list, let’s make this year a new year’s resolution with specific goals. Lets us be very clear with our goals. 35 pounds. Don’t say you want to lose weight, say you want to lose 35 pounds. Don’t say you want to help others, say “You know what, I want to encourage more than I criticize.” Instead of saying “I want to love my kids more” – that’s too general – let’s say, “I’m gonna call them blessing instead of rascal.”

We will start with those things. And as we keep it specific, we will be able to gage ourselves as we are increasing. We will be able to also know that we are improving in our life.
Let’s not get down on ourselves. Let’s get up on ourselves and let’s visualize ourselves one year from now, more successful, more prosperous, doing better, more healthy, more beautiful, more handsome, you know, more elevated in our thinking, more mature, a better father, a better mother, a better husband, a better wife, a better child, a better brother. Let’s see ourselves increasing. “Next year, December 29, 2008, I will be even better than I am right now.”

If we do that, I do believe 2008 will be our greatest year. And I believe that in this upcoming year we will have more victory, more illumination, more peace, more VIP than this year.

Brothers and sisters, if you can receive this offering, please let’s gather our hearts for our final meditation.

Edited by: Rev. Bruno Klotz

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