4. Living for the Sake of Others
Points to Ponder:
LFSO is often an overused expression in our movement. What does living for the sake of others really mean? The concept is often misunderstood as endless sacrifice or constant self-denial, without any particular direction, purpose, or even joy.
However, LSFO is in fact deeply connected with purpose and the very nature of love, because to love IS to live for the sake of the other. Love needs an object. Love exists and develops in relationships; we cannot experience love alone, or grow our ability to love without someone with whom to reciprocate. If we truly grasp the way True Parents live this principle we can discover great joy and fulfillment.
As we’ve explored, our real lasting sense of original value, or who I am, can really only come from God, our Creator. I first understand my value in connection to God and my purpose. But, fully experiencing our value happens in loving relationships. True Parents talk about how we grow our capacity to love through four kinds of relationships in the family (four great realms of heart) which become a model for all our other life relationships.
For example, our ability to empathize, listen to, and care for someone with compassion, is a quality of heart that we grow and develop with time and intentional effort. A child experiences compassion and empathy from their parents. In turn, they practice it with their siblings, friends, classmates, learning to share and care for others. On this foundation one has the heart and character for a successful marriage, and in turn the privilege of becoming a parent. Parental love is an unconditional love that expresses compassion and empathy most fully.
This is the ideal. Of course there are gaps in our experience of these four realms of heart in our own families and also in the world. We can’t fill those gaps on our own. This is one way to understand the need for True Parents and a faith community who can help us connect to a higher source of love and healing. As we cultivate a relationship with True Parents and our brothers and sisters and grow our own lives of faith, we can find healing and the resolve to move forward. In a faith community, we can practice living for others and supplement our experience of love – with our friends of faith, aunts, uncles, trinities, the youngers we care for, our pastors, and mentors.
As we learn to life for others through the familial relationships in our lives, we cultivate a deeper conviction in our own value and experience joy and fulfillment. This naturally overflows into a desire to live for the greater good.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 5:13-16“
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve…. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; a sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct,” 1968
Discussion questions for before/after the reading:
- What’s been your experience of the four realms of heart?
- Do you feel there are gaps you’d like to fill in your life?
“Today, a self‐centered philosophy and a self‐centered way of life will fling you head over heels down the tragic road of self‐ destruction. But if you will live your life in service to others, you will find prosperity….I can see a great change coming to America—not by fire, not by bullets, but by Godʹs truth kindling a revolution of menʹs hearts. The answer lies there, in the quiet revolution from selfishness to unselfishness. … Total giving is the way of prosperity because it is the way of God.” – A Prophet Speaks Today
“Children are born from the flesh and blood of their parents. Without parents there would be no children. Yet people in this world shout out for individualism as though they came into this world on their own. Only a person who receives no help whatsoever from anyone at all would have the right to speak of individualism. There is nothing in this world that comes into being for its own sake alone. All created beings are created for one another. I exist for you, and you exist for me. There is no one as foolish as the selfish person who lives only for his or her own sake. It may appear that a selfish life benefits the individual, but ultimately it is a life of self-destruction. The individual must live for the family, the family for the people, the people for the world, and the world for God.” – Peace Loving Global Citizen, 339
“To realize that we exist for the sake of others is the great achievement that changes our lives. When we realize that our life is not ours alone but is meant to be for the sake of the other, we begin to follow a path different from the one we were on. Just as singing to yourself will not make you happy, there is no joy without a partner. Even the smallest and most trivial thing can bring you happiness when you do it for another.” – Peace Loving Global Citizen, 341-2.
“So the answer to the question of how we should live our lives is simple. We were born of love, so we must live by traveling the path of love. Our lives were created by receiving the boundless love of our parents, so we must live our entire lives repaying that love. In the course of our lives, this is the only value we can choose on our own. The success or failure of our lives depends on how much love we are able to pack into those eighty years that are given to us.” – Peace Loving Global Citizen, 234.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
“Strange and marvelous things will happen with constant regularity as you alter your life and begin living in harmony with the laws of the universe.” -Earl Nightingale
Identify one relationship you can focus on this week. Think of one thing each day that you can do to serve, show love and compassion, or express gratitude for this person.
Additional Recommended Reading:
- Chapter “Leaving Behind a Legacy of Love” – page 231 in Peace Loving Global Citizen
- Chapter “To Love is to Give and Forget” – page 212 in Peace Loving Global Citizen
We invite you to share your reflections and experiences below!