16 To Pursue to Be an Honest Person We Must First Know Our Crafty Nature
Xiao Qiong Jinan City, Shandong Province
After reading the two fellowships from the above “The Four Indices One Has to Grasp in Pursuing the Truth to Attain the Transformation of His Disposition” and “Only Being an Honest Person Is True Repentance,” most brothers and sisters feel that they have become much clearer about the truth concerning being an honest person, and they also feel that they have had ways to practice and enter into it. So they all begin to practice being an honest person. However, while pursuing to be an honest person, we neglect an important matter, that is, we do not have true knowledge of our crafty nature. Thus, we often give up practicing being an honest person after doing it for a period of time, never being able to practice it with eagerness or perseverance. In the fellowship from the above, it says: “Men, after being corrupted by satan, have all become ones full of lies. Corrupt human beings lie about everything, and even none of their words is not mixed with a lie. They have all become experts in telling lies and master-hands in making up lies. As for the words spoken by corrupt human beings, it is very difficult to tell which of them is true and which is false. None of corrupt human beings is trustworthy.” “What is most unbelievable to them is that people lie not under compulsion but unconsciously and involuntarily, and those who lie seriously lie even to such a terrible extent that they lie everywhere, lie about everything, and lie the minute they open their mouth.” Most of us cannot relate these words to ourselves. Some think, “I only tell lies or cheat occasionally; how could I be said to be an expert in telling lies or to lie to the extent of lying everywhere and lying about everything? Perhaps what the above says is somewhat exaggerated.” And some, only out of their “sense,” admit that what the above says is definitely right, but they do not think these words are directed at them. As we have such understanding and knowledge, we have failed all along to achieve results in exercising to speak honest words and do honest things.
Therefore, to pursue to be an honest person, we must first have knowledge of our crafty nature, that is, we must first know the deceit and pretense in our nature and know the various kinds of states and manifestations of our being dishonest. If we do not have knowledge of these, it will be impossible for us to practice being an honest person seriously, and even if we practice, we will not be able to do it accurately or thoroughly. For since we cannot even discern clearly what are the manifestation of being dishonest and what are the actions of an honest person, how can we achieve good results?
In Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “People think that their mistakes are only their temporary manifestations and careless expressions, not the expressions of their nature. As they have such knowledge, they cannot practice the truth. Since they cannot treat the truth as the truth and do not thirst for the truth, when they practice the truth, they simply observe regulations perfunctorily.” And in The Fellowship of the Man, it says: “Many people, from the time they began to believe in God up to now, have always considered that they are quite good and are big good people, and that their performing duty makes themselves even better. Do you think that such people have the truth? They still do not know themselves. They do not even know to what extent they have been corrupted by satan, so how can they start a new life?” From these words we see that if we do not have true knowledge of our crafty nature and do not know to what extent we have been corrupted by satan, it will be impossible for us to start a new life or to enter into the truth concerning being an honest person. For since we do not thirst for the truth and cannot accept the truth, even if we have a desire to practice being an honest person, we will simply go through the motions or observe regulations perfunctorily and will never achieve results. Take me as an example. Since I followed God, although I have known that God likes honest people and perfects honest people, I have read God’s words and the fellowships concerning being an honest person more than one or two times, and I have also consciously exercised to be an honest person during these years, yet I have not made much progress. It is not until today, when I read the fellowships from the above about being an honest person, that I have found the reason for that: Actually, I have no true knowledge of my crooked and crafty nature, and I have only superficially and outwardly acknowledged that I am not an honest person, and that I speak with exaggeration and intents and sometimes can lie for my reputation. But I have never realized that since I can lie and practice deceit, it shows that my nature is crafty, nor have I ever realized that I have been corrupted by satan and have become one who lies to and cheats God in everything, and much less have I realized my dangerous plight. Therefore, I have failed to practice the truth accurately all along. It is just like a man who suffered from cough and chest pain due to his long-term smoking and drinking. He should have taken it seriously and received treatment promptly. However, he only acknowledged that he was sick, but insisted that the sickness was not serious and would not become a threat to his life. So, instead of taking the doctor’s advice and positively cooperating with the doctor in treating his disease, he took it lightly and even continued his bad habits as usual. Eventually, because his disease deteriorated into liver cancer and lung cancer, he could not be cured and died. Similarly, if we only superficially acknowledge that we are dishonest but cannot truly know our crooked and crafty nature or see that we are in danger of cheating God and resisting God at any time, we will not spend effort on the truth concerning being an honest person and will continue our past crafty acts of lying, cheating, and so on, and eventually we will fail in believing in God.
From these we see that only when we have truly known our crafty nature and known the various kinds of manifestations of being dishonest in us will we clearly see the extent to which we have been corrupted by satan, and will we seriously exercise to be an honest person. That is to say, to exercise to be an honest person, first we have to put much effort into knowing our crafty nature so as to have some true knowledge of our crafty and deceitful substance. In fact, as long as we give some attention to our expressions in the real life, we will discover that we are indeed ones who often lie to and cheat God and ones who lie the minute they open their mouth.
Let me give some examples: When reading God’s words of disclosing our corrupt nature, we cannot relate many of them to us and even have resistance within, feeling that God has somewhat stretched the facts. But when we come before God to pray or when we fellowship with others, we do not want to tell our true inner state, but say perfunctorily, “The word of God is the truth. Whatever God says is right, and all that God discloses are the things in our nature.” When seeing that the day of God has not come as we have imagined, we become passive and have complaints, and sometimes we even have doubts about God’s work in our heart and want to rebel against God and leave. But when the leader asks us about our state, we pretend as if we were all right and say, “Whatever God does is good. I am willing to obey, and I have no notions.” Other examples: When God’s family asks us something about a person, if he has a good relationship with us, we only speak of his good aspect but avoid mentioning his bad aspect; but if he has a poor relationship with us, we only report his bad aspect and even exaggerate the facts. When the leader asks us about the situation of the churches, in order to give the leader a good impression, we only speak of the good things but mention nothing about the problems and the difficulties in the churches. Still other examples: When some brothers and sisters report certain things in the churches to us, we report the things to the above without checking carefully. Thus, when the above asks us to make inquiries again, we find that the things we have reported are not true at all. When we report to the leader the number of people gained through preaching the gospel, we just report the number that the below tell us, without carefully inquiring how many of the people gained are qualified ones and how many are makeweights. As a result, very soon the number of the people is reduced to less than half. Some more examples: When a persecution or an incident of a false christ deceiving many people occurs in the churches we are in charge of, we spare no effort to argue for ourselves and shift all the blame onto others for fear that God’s family will hold us accountable. When God’s family wants to promote us to undertake a bigger commission, we say that we are too poor in quality to do it because we are afraid that if we undertake the bigger commission and have more works, our flesh will be deprived of enjoyment.
Still more examples: When we go around the churches, because of having no burden, we fail to inquire about the details of some works conscientiously, and thus we do not know them at all. Yet when the leader checks up on our work, we make up the details according to our imagination for the sake of preserving our position and reputation, and we even speak so persuasively as if they were true. In preaching the gospel to the gentiles, we clearly know that our family members are not qualified to be evangelized according to the principles of preaching the gospel, but we simply convert them according to our emotion. When the leader asks us whether the people we have converted are qualified according to the principles, we say, contrary to the fact, “They are all qualified according to the principles.” When caring for new believers, if those whom we are assigned to care for are old or live in a far place, we are unwilling to go to care for them from the heart and leave them uncared for. But when the leader asks about them, we say, “They do not pursue and are unwilling to have meetings. They themselves do not want to believe anymore.” In prayer, we all say that we are willing to accept and obey God’s chastisement and judgment and all trials and refining. But when we encounter a trial or refining, because our flesh suffers, we are full of misunderstandings and complaints against God, not seeking God’s will at all and much less seeking to gain the truth. And so on.
All these are our common manifestations of lying and cheating in the real life, and such manifestations of ours are far more than these. They are simply too many to count, but often we do not realize them. In our view, only lying consciously and intentionally is practicing deceit or playing craftiness. But we have not realized that every word that is exaggerated or inaccurate is a lie, that speaking based on hearsay or contrary to the fact is cheating, and that any act of being perfunctory and deceitful or not being able to be truly faithful to God in performing duty is cheating. Because we always view or measure ourselves according to our own imaginations and standards, we have no true knowledge of the acts and manifestations of our being crafty and cheating, much less have we truly known our crooked and crafty nature. But when we truly pay attention to knowing ourselves and can carefully check all our expressions and manifestations in the practical life against God’s words of disclosing man and the fellowships from the above, we will know that we have really been corrupted by satan to the extent of no longer having any human likeness, that we always lie and cheat unknowingly, and that we indeed lie to the terrible extent of lying everywhere, lying about everything, and lying and cheating the minute we open our mouth. When we truly know ourselves to this point, we will feel that we are still far below the standard of an honest person required by God, and will realize that it is really so important to pursue to be an honest person. Only then will we cooperate with God with all our strength to practice and enter into the truth concerning being an honest person.
Therefore, if we want to be an honest person, we should practice and enter in according to the several aspects of being an honest person which the above has fellowshipped about. And at the same time, we should pray to God to expose our crafty nature and should often dig deep into ourselves and dissect ourselves according to God’s words of disclosing man’s crafty nature and according to the fellowships from the above, so that we can know the substance of our lying and cheating and have true knowledge of our crooked and crafty nature. Only if we do so will we be better able to enter into the truth concerning being an honest person, and become an honest person with whom God is pleased soon.