Triangle Family Church Sunday Service on November 19, 2023
Sermon - Finding who I am
- The speaker introduces the topic of finding one's identity and quotes Aristotle and Lao-Tzu, ancient philosophers, on the importance of self-knowledge.
- Two stories are shared: one about a lion raised by sheep and another about a fish teased by a monkey, highlighting the struggle to discover one's true potential.
- The speaker explores how Adam and Eve lost their identity and the consequences of their actions.- The concept of belonging is discussed, both in relation to finding identity outside the church and within the church community. The speaker shares the story of Oskar Schindler as an example of personal transformation and the potential for individuals to become beacons of light.
- True Mother's proclamation of being God's only begotten daughter is discussed as a reflection of our true identity as God's children.
- Conclude with a prayer, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to find our true identity and a hope for all youth to discover their purpose and shine in the world.
Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle and ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu mentioned about knowing oneself.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Aristotle
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Lao Tzu
I am reading a Bible verse from Genesis 1:27. This could be the key to the message today. Please keep this Bible verse in your mind.
God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female.
I would like to introduce two stories to make us think about identity. The first story is about a lion raised by sheep.
Once a pregnant lion died soon after giving birth. The newborn cub didn’t know what to do. He started to roam around and met a herd of sheep. Seeing that little cub, the mother sheep decided to raise him as her own.
He grew up along with sheep and started to think and act just like a sheep. He would even eat grass like sheep.
He was teased by other sheep for being so different. Some of them would say, “You are so ugly. Your voice is so weird. You are a disgrace to the sheep family.”
He was sad because he didn't look like them.
One day, an old lion saw a herd of sheep and decided to attack it. While attacking, the old lion saw the young lion running away along with the other sheep.
The old lion got curious and decided to pursue the young lion and asked, “Why are you running away with sheep?”
The young lion who had never seen the other lions, shaking in fear, said, “Please don't eat me. I am just a young sheep, please let me go."
Hearing this, the old lion growls, “What?? You are not a sheep. You are a lion just like me.”
Young lion kept saying, “I am sheep. Please let me go.”
At this point the old lion got an idea. It took the young lion to a nearby river and asked him to look at his reflection. Upon looking at the reflection, he realized who he really was.
The second story is about a fish teased by a monkey that the fish cannot climb a tree like the monkey.
One day while a fish was swimming closer to the riverbank and heard a voice saying, “How is the water??"
The fish saw a monkey sitting on a tree. The fish smiled and replied, “Water is nice and warm.”
The monkey felt a little jealous and wanted to put the fish down. He replied, “You should come out of the water and climb up this tree. View from here is really amazing.”
The fish replied with sadness, “I don’t know how to climb tree and I cannot survive without water.”
The monkey made fun of the fish saying, “You are totally worthless if you cannot even climb a tree.”
After hearing this remark, the fish started to think about it and became extremely depressed. It started thinking, “Maybe monkey is right. I am worthless if I cannot even climb a tree.”
Another fish in the river noticed that the fish was looking all depressed and asked, “What’s wrong?”
The fish talked about the monkey and his comment. Another fish laughed and said, “If the monkey thinks you are worthless because you don’t know how to climb a tree then the monkey is also worthless as he cannot swim or live under water.”
Few days later the monkey slipped and fell into the water and died as he did not know how to swim.
Some people say the following quote is from Albert Einstein. “Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
It means we all have different abilities. We can't judge everyone on the same scale.
Many people struggle with low self-esteem and negative self-image at some point in their lives like the ugly duckling and the lion raised by sheep.
Many times we are unaware of our true potential because of limiting beliefs that we inherit from our surroundings like a fish in the story of a fish and a monkey.
Low self-esteem can be caused by a variety of factors.
Some of the common causes include;
- Less affection or positive interactions during childhood
- Trauma or abuse during childhood
- Failure or rejection
- Unable to find the identity and place of belonging
We can overcome low self-esteem and realize our true potential by finding the identity.
Finding identity has been a challenge throughout human history since our Adam and Eve lost their identity by the Fall.
Let us examine how Adam and Eve lost their identity?
The woman said to the snake, “We may eat the fruit of the garden’s trees but not the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘Don’t eat from it, and don’t touch it, or you will die.’”
The snake said to the woman, “You won’t die! God knows that on the day you eat from it, you will see clearly, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Being like God introduced by Lucifer meant to create their own rules, do whatever we want, and become whoever we want, which is totally opposite to the real meaning of being like God.
Being like God introduced by Lucifer sounds good especially for young people. Today’s society teaches young people as Lucifer did. However, we need to remember what happened to Adam, Eve, and all their descendants because Adam and Eve acted as Lucifer taught them.
Adam and Eve lost their spiritual likeness with God, as they knew evil, became sinful and separated from God.
Adam and Eve lost their character likeness with God, as they became ashamed, afraid, and blamed each other and God for their sin.
Place of belonging is the important factor to find our identity. Humans are social beings and cannot live alone. We naturally seek the place of belonging.
Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group.
Place of belonging can be a double-edged sword to find our identity.
It can help us to find our identity or make it difficult.
Two possible struggles among 2nd generations
1. Cannot find the place of belonging in the world outside of the church
Conflict of values in church/family and in the world outside of the church
Finding the place of belonging in the world outside of the church may push us to a different identity like the lion in the sheep.
2. Cannot find the place of belonging inside the church
There are many reasons to make us feel the church is not the place of belonging.
Seeing enthusiastic members may make you think; “Do I need to be like them to belong to the church?
What the church is doing may not make sense and it may be difficult to find the reason why you need to belong to the church.
One thing we need to remember is that our true identity and place of belonging can be found in the relationship with God. God is not only for those who have faith in God but also for everyone. We may run away from the church but we cannot run away from God. God will reach us no matter what and give us chances to be like Him.
I recently learned about Oskar Schindler and felt God worked behind him. He was no doubt a great person.
He saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories in Poland.
He and his wife Emilie were named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1993.
Was he a great person from the beginning?
He was initially concerned only with himself and the success of money making business.
His nickname in his youth was Schindler the Crook (scammer).
He was arrested several times in 1931 and 1932 for public drunkenness. Also around this time, he had an affair outside of his marriage.
He saw the Jewish race as a quick, cheap, and easy way to get people to work for him and start making money.
In today’s cancel culture, he could be canceled. However, He later underwent a change that prompted him to spend his fortune to save the lives of Jews.
His motive to save the lives of Jews is never completely clear, and he never revealed his motivations. God turned him to the light of hope for Jews.
God wants everyone to be the light of the world.
There is a teaching called “Brighten the World at Your Corner” from Tendai Buddhism.
A nation's riches are not its physical wealth, but rather the individuals who have faith in Buddha and thus illuminate the darkness with themselves.
Everyone has the Buddha nature within them and we must awaken to this profound truth.
A quote from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare says;
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”
“You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Netflix show “All the Light We Cannot See” had a good quote;
When light shines, darkness disappears.
True Mother boldly proclaims her identity as God’s Only Begotten Daughter.
Thank goodness, we have such True Mother.
Our identity as God’s sons and daughters has been lost since Adam and Eve’s fall.
Proclaiming the true identity as God’s children is a very difficult task.
Only Jesus and True Parents have done it.
Powerful people such as emperors, kings, presidents, leaders used the name of God for their own benefits and behaved like false “God”, the concept brought by Lucifer.
People easily misunderstood True Mother’s proclamation of Only Begotten Daughter looking at the proclamation through colored spectacles of the false “God” concept.
Did she proclaim to put herself above and beyond anyone else?
True Mother is always telling us to be filial sons and daughters of God.
Young lion found his identity by looking at his reflection. True Mother is showing us the reflection of God’s image so that we can find who we are.
I would like to conclude my message by reading True Mother’s Word.
We must create the life of heaven on earth where True Parents and blessed children live together with Heavenly Parent.
For 6,000 years this beautiful earth has been suffering natural disasters due to human ignorance. This is a serious issue. They say that in the future there won't be enough oxygen or water for living things to survive. It will break my heart as a parent if today we cannot improve this world and transform this future for our beloved children. What should we do? We must witness to righteous people, professionals, those whom Heaven has prepared in each and every way for this time.
So I hope you will all have a bright and happy future. Even if you have been unfilial, it is my heartfelt wish that you will all become filial sons and daughters of our Creator, Heavenly Parent.