Among so much wisdom and knowledge that are essential for our life, the most valuable and gracious teachings are contained in the Bible which is the word of God. The Bible says that it is really important to know God, to have strong faith in Him and to foster beautiful and eternal hope, and that what we need the most is the virtue of love.
It is love that we need more than anything else in our life of faith as well as in our earthly life. Christ came to this earth to seek His children and endured the suffering of the cross. The basic motive for Him to do so also came from love. It says in the Bible that we are nothing if we do not have love and that the most important thing is love. Let us think again deeply about the meaning of these words.
In a town, there lived a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law who was married to her only son. The daughter-in-law had a big argument with her mother-in-law every day. One day, she went to the wisest elder of the town and told him how much she hated her mother-in-law.
“I really hate her. She nags me about whatever I do, and she always says something against me whenever I have even a little conversation with my husband. I think we will never be at peace in our relationship until she passes away. Is there any way?”
Then the elder said, “I have an excellent idea. Would you follow it? This is a secret plan which has been handed down for a long time. You must never tell anybody. You have to keep it to yourself! Can you do that?”
The daughter-in-law asked him to quickly tell her anything that would make her mother-in-law quickly pass away. Then the elder told her the secret plan.
“For the first month, boil chestnuts and give them to your mother-in-law for every meal. And for the next month, give her rice cake whenever she feels hungry between meals. And then for another month, make sure you give her white rice and meat for every meal, although it might be hard to get them. Do this for three months and then see what happens to your mother-in-law for the next 10 days. If you follow this secret plan for 100 days, your mother-in-law will definitely pass away.”
To the daughter-in-law, it did not seem like it would make her mother-in-law pass away, but she decided to follow that plan since the elder of the town said it was the secret plan which had been handed down for a long time. Then the elder told her to make sure that she did it always wholeheartedly.
“If you want this method to be successful, you need to do it with all your heart. If you talk back to your mother-in-law or act rude to her, it will be ineffective. So even if she tells you something really harsh, never get mad. You have to be very polite and kind to her!”
From that day forth, the daughter-in-law boiled chestnuts with the utmost sincerity and gave them to her mother-in-law in a friendly manner. As the mother-in-law saw how her daughter-in-law who used to be so blunt and rude to her had suddenly changed, she just thought it was strange during the first month.
The next month, her daughter-in-law continued to give her rice cake that she hardly ate except on big Korean national holidays. Moreover, she would not talk back to her or get angry or act rude to her. She was always kind and polite.
The first two months passed by like that. The mother-in-law began to regret how she had given such a hard time to her daughter-in-law who was so kind. Then naturally, the way she treated her daughter-in-law became a lot softer. Since she treated her daughter-in-law warmly, she felt much love from her as if she was her own mother. Like that, as time went by, the relationship between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law became better.
Three months passed by. As they got along with each other, the daughter-in-law became scared that her mother-in-law might die in a few days. So the daughter-in-law went off in a hurry to the elder of the town.
“I didn’t know that my mother-in-law always got angry at me because I acted so badly towards her. She’s a very kind person. But I didn’t see her good side, and instead I just kept treating her badly and rubbed her the wrong way. So it wasn’t really her fault, but it was more likely my fault. Now it has almost been 100 days since I started this secret plan. If we let it go on like this, she will pass away. So please teach me a secret way to save her. I can’t let my good mother-in-law die because of my bad way of thinking.”
Saying that, the daughter-in-law desperately asked the elder of the town to save her mother-in-law. Then he said with a smile:
“Your mother-in-law already passed away a long time ago.”
The daughter-in-law was confused and said to him:
“What are you talking about? I just gave her rice and meat this morning, too. What do you mean she has already passed away?”
“The mother-in-law whom you hate has already passed away, and only the mother-in-law whom you love is alive now.”
Even the conflict between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, which is known to be the hardest conflict to solve, was able to be solved through love. If the elder of the town told the daughter-in-law a wicked secret plan instead of the way of serving her mother-in-law with love and devotion when she went to him with an evil mind, unable to suppress her instinctive anger, and her mother-in-law had really passed away, she would have been unhappy for the rest of her life.
Quarrels and discords occur where there is no love. However, if we overcome hate through love just like the mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law in the story, we can become more harmonious and our hearts can be filled with happiness and joy.
Believers must have faith, hope and love. But God has taught us that the greatest of these three is love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Co 13:13
It is through love that we can make others and ourselves happy. That is why God says that love is needed among the members of a family more than anything else and that love is the best thing for all human beings as well.
God loved His children so much that He even endured the sacrifice of the cross. He took our sins, suffered and died for us. It is the love of our Heavenly Father and Mother that has made us what we are today. Therefore, we must try to share the love that we have learned from God with our physical and spiritual families and to plant the love of God in the hearts of all the people around us.
Let us look at our physical families and all the people around us with the eyes of compassion. Even if your parents or husband or wife have a different opinion from yours and try to stop you from doing what you need to do, you must not feel bitter against them. If you do your best to serve your parents with all your heart, whether they are your own parents or in-laws, their hearts will become soft, and if you love your husband or your wife with all your heart, he or she will be moved by your love.
There is nothing stronger than love, and everything else is just relative. Therefore, if we treat others with love first, they will turn their hearts to us. By doing so, we can lead them to the blessing of salvation in the end. This in turn enables us to put into practice the spiritual love as well as the physical love. There cannot be anything better than this. Ultimately, everything submits to love.
We should engrave on our hearts the love for our spiritual family as well as the love for our physical family. We also have to serve our physical parents sincerely. Furthermore, we must devote ourselves to serving our spiritual Parents, God the Father and God the Mother. Let us look back upon ourselves and see if we are tightly connected to our Heavenly Father and Mother and to our spiritual brothers and sisters with the ring of faith and love or if we have been indifferent to our loving heavenly family members.
Although we have come to this earth—the spiritual city of refuge—as sinners from heaven, if we learn the mindset and will of God and imitate God’s love, we will be able to realize a small heaven even in this city of refuge. We should not just feel happy in this heaven, but share our happiness with people around us by leading them to Zion, so that we will all reach the everlasting kingdom of heaven with joy and happiness, as God’s true messengers of love.
There is a saying that goes, “Home is the kingdom of a father, the world of a mother, and the paradise of children.” The reason why home can be such a beautiful place is because it is full of careful consideration and love among family members.
The members of the heavenly family must also be united in love. Through the Bible, let us learn the love that God has taught us and engrave it on our hearts.
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him . . . The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 Jn 2:9–17
If we are seized by hate while saying that we are in the light, we are still in the darkness. God melts all our dross of evil and refines us to ultimately change each of us into a person who is filled with love. However, as long as we have hate, which is the opposite of love, in our hearts, it will take us much longer to change. When we change our hearts by removing hate and filling ourselves with love, we will be completely born again as God’s children.
If we have not yet completely changed our nature, we must now renew and change ourselves fully through God’s word. When we think of God who has shown great love and sacrifice for us, His children, we can drive out our hate for each other and become united in love. Let us try to make every place where there are the members of Zion and the truth of the new covenant a “place always full of joy and laughter.”
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 Jn 4:16–21
We must have the attitude of love; it is not right for us to say things that can take away the hope for heaven from our brothers and sisters in Zion and to do thoughtless acts that can make them complain or grumble. We must help one another to build up our faith by saying gracious words to each other, so that even one word we speak and even one thought we have can bring us blessings. To be considerate of our brothers and sisters in our every word and behavior is to love them. This is the love of the heavenly family members, which comes through faith.
We all have one faith and serve the same God, our Father and our Mother. We are all members of the heavenly family who have become one body by receiving the same blood through the Passover of the new covenant. That is why God has taught us, members of the heavenly family, to love one another.
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 1 Co 10:16–17
Here, the cup which is a participation in the blood of Christ and the bread that is a participation in the body of Christ refers to the bread and wine of the New Covenant Passover. Through the Passover, we have participated in Christ’s flesh and blood. Since we have inherited God’s flesh and blood together through the new covenant, we are all brothers and sisters, and God has asked us to love one another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn 13:34–35
God said that He gave us a new command—the new covenant—to enable us to love one another. Since God has given this teaching of love only to those who have become God’s children through the Passover, the people of Zion who keep the new covenant are those who can put true love into practice. When we practice the love we have learned from God, many people will know that we are the disciples of Christ.
In this industrial society, most people are so busy in their everyday lives that they cannot afford to spare time to think of other people. Although people in the world do not know how to love or put it into practice, we should make the people around us even happier through love and sow more love in this world, so that the teaching of love we have learned from God the Father and Mother can shine all the more. As the faithful members of the heavenly family in Zion, let us spread many fragrances of Zion to the people around us and set a more gracious example.
Through the teachings of Father and Mother, let us look around once again at ourselves, our family and those around us. At home, let us not only think about our own difficulties or pain, but be considerate of each other; every wife needs to try to see if she has been indifferent to her husband who works so hard for the family, and every husband needs to think about how concerned he has been for his wife who devotes herself to making a happy family and to raising children. We should also examine ourselves to see if we have paid enough attention to our parents who live far away from us. If we have, let us give our love to them and take good care of them. Starting with a small act of kindness, let us put our love into action. Additionally, we need to look back upon ourselves and see if we have been frigid and cold-hearted towards our family, relatives, neighbors or the people around us.
Of course, we should put into practice the love that gives physical happiness, but what we must ultimately put into action is the greatest love of all, which brings forth the joy of salvation and the blessings of heaven. So, we have to lead our loving ones to eternal life. Thinking about how much effort and sacrifice our Heavenly Father and Mother have been putting forth to save us, let us always give thanks to Them for Their love and bear the beautiful fruit of love by guiding all the people around us to heaven, as the members of the heavenly family.