Aquila and Priscilla, together with the church that meets in their house, send greetings in the name of the Lord.
For thousands of years our ancestors have been building up walls of sorrows, and as the days go by these walls are not getting lower; rather, through his many deceptions Satan has been raising the walls higher.
Today all the people of the world have the responsibility to take down the walls of grudges and resentments their ancestors built up; we take this on as our responsibility. (1:305, December 23, 1956)
Original sin, personal sin, collective sin, and hereditary sin inherited from our ancestral line—we should cleanse all sin before we pass on to the spirit world. It doesn’t matter that you have become a follower of the Lord; an indemnity course remains for each individual. None of you has the same course. Some suffer a great deal; some even die on the way; while others have an easier time. Why? Everyone’s indemnity course differs. Although we may practice the same standard of faith, our paths are not the same because the amount of indemnity to be paid varies. (251:131, October 17, 1993)
We are burdened with sins inherited from our ancestors even though we personally did not commit them, and we are also responsible for collective sins that were committed by the nation or people we belong to. In a word, being a fallen person means being the result of six thousand years of fallen human history—a mixture of good and evil. We inherit good and evil characteristics from our ancestors, but since they lived in the world where there was more evil than good, we mostly inherit evil. It is no surprise that we end up adding to that evil, trapped in a vicious cycle.
There is a story behind every sin, and someone was its cause. Maybe an ancestor of yours, while living on earth, gave much difficulty and pain to someone, and that person died carrying resentment. Now this resentful spirit comes down to you, a descendant of that ancestor, to get revenge. He could have gone to any of a number of descendants, but he alights on you. He influences you, driving you to the edge, until you commit the sin.
Resentful spirits can also afflict you with sickness and pain. All modern diseases have spiritual causes connected to the sins of ancestors. By looking at the sicknesses and difficulties of descendants, we can infer about the life of their ancestors. If the ancestors stole from others or misused public things or money, their descendants may suffer from stomach problems. If they committed sins of lust and fornication, their descendants may suffer from genital diseases, or be unable to bear children, or have difficulty being faithful, or get divorced. Ancestors who did not see things about others correctly and hurt them, or who misjudged others based on bad rumors and violated their hearts, will have descendants born blind, mute or deaf. In other words, according to the way the pain was given—to a certain part of the body—the descendants suffer with the same kind of troubles. The heavier the ancestors’ sins, the more difficult it is to heal the resulting sickness; it may even be incurable.
If people on the earth do not clear up these sins through paying the required indemnity, the suffering is passed down to their children. Later, when those people come to the spirit world and watch their children suffer they regret that they did not clear things up for them. They lament, “If only I had borne my suffering on earth, my children would not need to suffer now.” Therefore, unless you clear up all the sins passed down from your ancestors, as well as your personal sins, your children cannot escape from sickness and pain. (Heung Jin Moon, Message from the Spirit World, January 1, 2002)
Your ancestors committed a great many sins. On top of it, how much more sin did you commit? If you truly knew the weight of it all, you would despair. Surely you should do your best to indemnify those sins [and leave a clean slate] for your descendants. If you cannot cleanse them completely, you should be willing to devote your life as a sacrificial offering. For example, you might marry an ugly woman and determine to make your life together with her better than the most handsome couple in the world. (116:150, December 27, 1981)
The altars of sorrow continuing for six thousand years or more are due to the mistakes of our ancestors,
but we fear we might leave that sorrow to our descendants by once again not fulfilling our responsibility today.
Today we learned that we are responsible to stop the history of misfortune in this generation and to dissolve the grief in Heaven’s heart unto joy. (8:262-63, February 7, 1960)