The Words of the Hentrich Family
A Cancer In Our Midst
January 13, 2008
Thereís a sort of spiritual cancer in our movement that has killed thousands of our brothers and sisters, many of my friends, and which is continuing to slowly and quietly kill more people every day. Itís a stealthy, spiritual virus. Just as physical cancer sometimes hides out in our liver or pancreas or other organ, this spiritual cancer hides out in our minds and hearts and counteracts our lives of faith. It slowly sucks the life out of us and leaves us like empty shells, like the locust shells I remember in my back yard as a small boy. It knows no boundaries. It attacks people of all classes, all colors, all nationalities, all races. It doesnít distinguish between first generation or second generation or third generation. We need to study this cancer, and Iím especially talking to you young people. Letís look at one form that this cancer takes so you can protect yourself against it and live a happy life.
A few years ago, one brother met me in an elevator in the New Yorker Hotel. He was so happy to see me after many years. I didnít recall who he was, but he remembered me. He looked in my face and commented, "You donít look burned out!" I was so surprised. I looked at him kind of puzzled and said, "Am I supposed to look burned out?" I thought about his comment for many years since. And I think I understand what was behind his question, now.
Some members feel like calling our movement the "Church of Unending Sacrifice". They feel that weíre being asked to sacrifice all that we have, our youth, our money, our happiness, our freedom, our personal ambitions, our choice of spouses, our careers, our BMWís, you name it. I feel a lot of pain when I hear that kind of thing. The only reason thereís any truth in it at all is because some of us have a kind of spiritual indigestion. Itís a symptom of a spiritual cancer, if you will. Itís a poisonous and even fatal problem, and, it should not be happening to us. While some people have clearly and unfortunately felt that they had that kind of experience in our movement, neither God nor Father ever intended it to be that way. We were supposed to live a life of offering, rather than a life of sacrifice, and thereís a huge difference between the two.
A sacrifice, in MY definition, is giving something you really want to KEEP. An offering is giving something because your relationship of heart prompts you to WANT to give it. You can easily tell whoís lived a life of sacrifice and whoĎs lived a life of offering. One is feeling empty and the other has a brightness about them and is feeling the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Without a doubt, some of our friends in the movement made a lot of "sacrifices", for which God must certainly be grateful, but many of these friends are not with us anymore. Perhaps theyíre looking for ways to refill the emptiness they unfortunately feel in their spirits.
Why is it that we sometimes feel our life is one of sacrifice instead of one of offering? When a woman named Mary poured expensive oil on Jesusí feet, one of the disciples complained to Jesus that the expensive oil could have been sold, and the money given to the poor. If Mary had been TOLD to do this, but she didnít really feel a relationship of love and deep respect for Jesus, then her action might have felt like a sacrifice to her. Certainly, she could have done other things with that expensive oil. She might have had second thoughts about it for the next 20 years, thinking Gosh, I could have bought a flat screen TV with that expensive oil I poured on Jesusí feet. But, since she felt deeply honored to be in Jesusí presence and she wanted to express her most sincere and deepest repentful love for him, she was glad to use her treasure as an offering from her sincere heart. Why is it that we sometimes feel our life is one of sacrifice instead of one of offering? The answer can be found in our heartistic relationship with the one we are relating with, in our case, God and True Parents.
When reading the Bible, we often tend to think of the words "sacrifice" and "offering" as being interchangeable, as if they have basically the same meaning. But, I think we should make clear that they are NOT the same. I heard all my life about the "sacrifice" of Jesus on the cross. Weíve been told that his "sacrifice" was the shedding of his blood for our sins. Hallelujah. Actually, I think Jesus might disagree with that if we consider carefully the meaning of the words. If you were to ask Jesus today, I think he might tell you that, in reality, his death was really an OFFERING; that when it became clear that the only way he could continue Godís Providence was by OFFERING his death on the cross as a RANSOM for our sin of disbelief, then he totally united with making that OFFERING.
His scolding to Peter to: "Get behind me, Satan," when Peter challenged the idea of Jesus going to the cross, and later when Jesus stopped Peter from resisting the Roman soldiers who came to take Jesus away, both of these show Jesusí attitude toward his offering. What Iím suggesting is, I think Jesus would tell us that he "sacrificed his MISSION" and made his death on the cross an offering for us instead. He OFFERED his death on the cross. Jesus didnít HAVE to go to the cross. He went willingly. You may think Iím just playing with words here. But, I am trying to distinguish between the heart and mind of sacrifice vs. the heart and mind of offering. We sacrifice what we really want to KEEP. We offer what we want to give. Of course you can say Jesus wanted to keep his life so he could complete his mission and point to his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. But, once it became clear that there was no option, he was ready and willing to make his death an OFFERING for our sake. I think Jesus would say to us today that the deep Han he has felt for the past 2000 years was because he had to sacrifice his MISSION, but it was with the loving heart of a true son that he offered his body on the cross.
When Father opened the Original Palace in Korea last year, he underscored this idea with his direction that in the coming Kingdom, there will be no mandatory taxation, but only a voluntary 30% donation as a kind of tithe. He clearly wants the Kingdom financed by offerings, rather than involuntary sacrifices. Thereís a whole different spirit and feeling about an offering. Thereís a whole different value in an offering, as opposed to a sacrifice. Father didnít HAVE to go to leave his family and go to Hungnam prison. I believe Father went with the heart of OFFERING; not with the heart of sacrifice. When Heung Jin Nim died, he made it clear to us that he was sent to Spirit World as an OFFERING. I think father tries to make EVERYTHING he does, and even everything WE do, an OFFERING. Thereís far more spiritual value in the heart of OFFERING than there is in the heart of sacrifice.
We didnít HAVE to do ANYTHING in the movement. No one HAS to do ANYTHING. It should all be done with the heart of offering. Thatís the incredible kind of God we have. Hallelujah. Father was willing to go to Hungnam. He was willing to go to Danbury. If we feel that our life is a "sacrifice", then that means that we are giving something we really donít want to give, but we do it because we have to. Father doesnít want that, even when there are things that are critically important for us to do. Even when there are so - called "required offerings". In other words, he wants us to be compelled by our HEARTS to give, not by our circumstances, or intimidation, or guilt or whatever. If we give because we WANT to give, then how much more will we receive life and vitality from our giving. It will fill us up; not empty us out. We wonít lose anything. The same is true for tithing. Iíve had some members say to me, "I gave so much over the years, not to mention the best years of my life. If Iím honest about it, I would have to say Iím not happy with my life." I feel so bad when I hear that kind of thing. Or, "I was an attractive girl when I joined. I could have had any guy I wanted.
Sometimes guys would whistle at me when I was on MFT. Well, I never dreamed Iíd spend my life with the kind of person Iím married to! Why me?" "Iím not complaining or anything, but I did a lot for the Church. If I had been in the corporate world, I would be somebody today, and well off. Oh well, thatís water under the bridge. At least I have good children." Thatís a very painful testimony, to me. I know Father wouldnít feel good about it, either. These clearly show the feeling of sacrifice, rather than the feeling of offering. These people all expressed regret; the feeling that they could have done something better with their lives. The relationship of heart between them and God and True Parents did not stimulate them to have a sincere heart of offering. In the heart of offering, thereís no regret. Iím reminded of Nathan Hale, when he said, "I only regret that I have one life to give for my country." Thatís the heart of offering, not sacrifice. In some cases, religious people, and not just in our community, can become what I call "a captive of the truth". In our case, a person may have learned enough to know that Father is the Messiah and savior of mankind, but not enough to live a joyful life of offering and gratitude. So, instead of filling up with joy and vitality over the years, theyíre sacrificial hard work causes them to dry up and become empty. Too much of this kind of "sacrifice" can kill your spirit. Sacrifice is NOT the same as offering.
Of course, Father has spoken VOLUMES about "sacrifice". I suspect that the Korean culture and the Korean term he uses for sacrifice IMPLIES or CONNOTATES the heart of offering within it. Therefore, he has spent a lot less words telling us about the heart of our sacrificial life. (READ CSG). But, in English, "sacrifice" is a word that does not necessarily imply the heart of offering. Quite the contrary. So, I wanted to emphasize today Fatherís expectation and ASSUMPTION that we know what kind of heart we should have in our life of faith and devotion and sacrifice. In English, there is a big difference that I think has escaped many of us and has ruined some of us. Are we supposed to look burned out? I guess we should if our life was an endless string of sacrifices by which we became empty. But, thatís not the case for me and I hope itís not the case for you. Thatís one reason itís so hard for the world to understand people like Father. Thatís one reason itís so hard for the world to understand us. Thatís one reason itís so hard for our children to understand us. Too often, what our children see in their family is a life of sacrifices, where they should see a life of gratitude and heartfelt offerings.
Itís not only the relationship of heart that needs to be deepened, but somehow, some of us also lost the bigger picture. Father thought we embraced his vision for greater happiness through loving spouses and other people we were NOT attracted to, and those who could NOT love us in return. What happened to the vision; the bigger picture? The biggest picture ultimately comes from the new Adam, the Messiah. Jesus tried to give his disciples the bigger picture. It was hard for them to see it. True Parents have been trying hard to give us the bigger picture; the biggest picture. Other visionary people have bits and pieces of it. But, the Messiah has the biggest picture, in the end. Has the bigger vision begun to fade away? Since the purpose of truth is to lead us to the Love of God, then study of the Principle and daily readings of Fatherís words are extremely important in helping us see and keep the bigger picture. The new Adam has the biggest picture and Bible says we need to have the heart of children to inherit it from him.
Thatís why I think many of our young people feel like they are being expected to "sacrifice" something for the Providence or for the movement. They havenít yet had a chance to develop a deep enough love relationship with God and True Parents, so how can they make a heartfelt offering to them, even in a small way? For some, itís all conceptual. That wonít last for very long. Therefore, the first step for all of us, and especially for our children, should be to develop a deeper relationship of love and heart with God and True Parents. Then, this cancerous situation can be converted into a fulfilling life of joyful offering. Ask yourself two questions: First, "Am I happy with my life?" And second, "Which kind of life do I live? A life of sacrifices or a life of heartfelt offerings?"