From Suffering and Tears to Peace and Love

There has been a deep meaning to the tragic history that the Korean people have experienced until now. Korea suffered a great deal, because it was destined to become the forward base for world peace. Korea can now become the center of the world, because it has endured suffering and difficulty for such a long time. Koreans have experienced countless hardship, but we have never made anyone our enemy or hated anyone. Several of our neighbors have caused difficulty for us, but we have never made them our irreconcilable enemies.

The Korean people have a heart that forgives even our enemies. It takes mastery over oneself to love and accept an enemy. It is only after matters come to a head within ourselves that we develop a heart to love our enemy, and the Korean people have acquired such a heart.

People who are persecuted are the closest to God. It is important to have a tearful heart. Even a person who normally would not shed tears will do so if he loses his country. He would desperately plead with God in tears. It takes suffering a difficulty have a heart that sheds tears and cries, but it is this type of heart that can receive God's blessing. This is because God comes to a heart that is wet with tears. It is because so many tears have been shed within the hearts of the Korean people that Korea has become a land that could receive heavenly fortune. The Korean people honor our ancestors. No matter how hungry we may be or how difficult a situation we may face, we would never sell the land where our ancestors are buried in order to buy food. Historically, we have maintained a way of thinking that respects Heaven, and we are a civilized people who consider the world of the spirit to be more important that be able to eat three meals a day. We accepted Buddhism and Confucianism, and gave rise to a magnificent religious culture. We have established one of the strongest Christian traditions in the world, even though it has not been long since we accepted Christianity into our country. What is it that has made us such a unique people?

As the lineage of the first born, we have always had a religious mind, and our hearts are always prepared to receive the word of God. Also, our people possess the intellectual capacity to properly carry out God's will. Such excellence is well illustrated by the Korean language and the Hangeul alphabet. These are treasures handed down by Heaven.

Our language is rich with adjectives and adverbs that can be used to express the human heart Language is a reflection of the people who use it That the language is subtle means that the heart of the people who use that language is subtle.

Also, how wonderful is the Hangeul alphabet that we use? I am very fond of the term "Hunminjeongeum," the original name of the Hangeul alphabet. It means, "correct sounds for the instruction of the people." Korea is the only country that uses a language that has such a beautiful meaning. The excellence of Hangeul has become even more evident in the digital age. It is truly amazing that people can record all sounds in this world through simple combinations of consonants and vowels.

For the past 30 years, I have been telling the members of our church in other countries to prepare for the future by learning Korean. Recently, the term "hallyu" or "Korean wave" was coined in China by journalists to describe the rapid growth in the spread of Korean popular culture in China and other Asian countries. As a part of this trend, there has been a large increase in the number of people learning Korean. There are now many people in Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam and even Africa who can speak Korean. This is certainly not a coincidence.

The soul dwells within language. The reason the Japanese tried so hard during their forced occupation to eliminate the Korean language was that this was a way to destroy the soul of the Korean people. The fact that many people around the world now speak Korean means that our soul is spreading throughout the world. It is a measure of the increase in our cultural influence.

The Korean people never want to be a burden on others. When I was in America, I saw the stubborn character of the Korean people. The United States is a country that has many types of social safety nets, but Koreans almost never want to take advantage of these. Rather than relying on the support of the government, that will find some way to earn money themselves to raise their children and take care of their older parents. That shows how independent minded Koreans are. I also see this in the missionaries that we have sent across the world. They do not have a great feeling of fear in going to a country they know little about This is true not only for missionaries but also for businessmen. Once they are given a mission, no matter where in the world that mission may take them, they drop everything and go. They are not indecisive are reluctant.

Koreans are known as a hard working people. We never stay in one place, but are always moving around. We have such an enterprising spirit that there is now no place in the world where Koreans do not live. Also, we do not tie ourselves down to one thing, but exercise our talents in a wide variety of areas. If we come up against an obstacle in one area, we do not allow ourselves to be set back. Instead, we adapt, and courageously find another area in which to become involved.

When there is a celebration in the neighborhood, people gather and compete with each other to seat themselves in the best seats. In this situation, the person who quietly sits down in the lowest seat is the leader of the age. Anyone who worries first about putting food in his own mouth is a failure. Even if we are only going to eat one spoonful, we must think of others first If we are to receive the heavenly fortune that is coming to the Korean peninsula, the we must be aware in the deepest part of our hearts that there is an "other" that is more valuable than "me."

In the past, we have had everything we loved taken away from us. During Japan's forced occupation, we had our country taken away. Our country was split in two, and we were forced to become separated from our loving parents and siblings. So Korea became a land of tears. Now, however, we must cry for the world. From now, rather than shedding tears for ourselves, we must shed tears more sincerely and more desperately for the sake of the world. This is what we must do on the Korean peninsula that receives heavenly fortune. When we do this, the heavenly fortune on the Korean peninsula will spread to encompass the world, and an era of world peace with the Korean people at the center will begin.