How to Pursue the Truth (11) Part Two

The topic we just fellowshipped on was that people should let go of pursuing marital happiness, and that it’s enough to just fulfill their responsibilities within the framework of marriage. We’ve finished fellowshipping on letting go of pursuing marital happiness, so now we’ll fellowship on another issue: You are not the slaves of marriage. This is an issue we should fellowship on. After they get married, what do some people believe? “My life is set like this now. I’m destined to live with this person for the rest of my life. My parents and family elders are not my lifelong reliance, nor are my friends. So who is my lifelong reliance? The person I enter into marriage with is the one I will rely on for all my life.” Under the prompting of these kinds of thoughts, many people see marriage as very important, believing that once they get married they will have a stable life, a sheltered haven, and someone to confide in. Women say, “With marriage, I have strong arms to rely on.” Men say, “With marriage, I have a peaceful home and I’m no longer adrift; just thinking about it makes me happy. Look at those single people around me. The women wander around all day with no one to rely on, without a stable home, without a shoulder to cry on, and the men don’t have a warm home. How pitiful they are!” So, when they consider their own marital happiness, they think it’s quite fulfilling and satisfying. Besides feeling satisfied, they feel they should do something for their marriage and for their home. Therefore, once they’re married, some people are prepared to devote all they can do to their married life, and they prepare to strive, struggle, and work hard for their marriage. Some desperately earn money and suffer and, of course, even more entrust their life’s happiness to their partner. They believe that whether they will be happy and joyful in life depends on what their partner is like, whether they’re a good person; whether their personality and interests match their own; whether they are someone who can bring home the bacon and run a family; whether they are someone who can ensure the basic necessities for them in the future, and provide them with a happy, stable, wonderful family; and whether they are someone who can comfort them when they encounter any pain, tribulation, failure or setback. To verify these things, they pay special attention to their partner while they’re living together. With great care and attention, they observe and record their partner’s thoughts, views, speech and behavior, every move they make, as well as any of their strengths and weaknesses. They remember in detail all the thoughts, views, words, and behaviors revealed by their partner in life, so that they can better understand their partner. At the same time, they also hope to be better understood by their partner, they let their partner into their heart, and they let themselves into their partner’s heart so that they can better restrain each other, or so that they can be the first person to appear before their partner whenever something happens, the first person to help them, the first person to stand up and support them, encourage them, and be their solid support. In such living conditions as these, the husband and wife seldom try to discern what kind of person their partner is, living entirely in their feelings for their partner, and using their feelings to care for their partner, tolerate them, handle all their faults, flaws, and pursuits, even to the point of responding to their every beck and call. For example, a woman’s husband says, “Your gatherings go on for too long. Just go for half an hour and then come home.” She replies, “I’ll do my best.” Sure enough, next time she goes to a gathering for half an hour and then returns home, and her husband now says, “That’s more like it. Next time, just go and show your face and then come back.” She says, “Oh, so that’s how much you miss me! Okay then, I’ll do my best.” Sure enough, she doesn’t disappoint him the next time she goes to a gathering, and comes home after ten minutes or so. Her husband is very pleased and happy, and says, “That’s better!” If he wants her to go east, she doesn’t dare go west; if he wants her to laugh, she doesn’t dare cry. He sees her reading God’s words and listening to hymns and he hates it and feels disgusted, and says, “What’s the use in reading those words and singing those songs all the time? Can’t you just not read those words or sing those songs while I’m at home?” She replies, “Okay, okay, I won’t read them anymore.” She doesn’t dare to read God’s words or listen to hymns anymore. With her husband’s demands, she finally understands that he doesn’t like her believing in God or reading God’s words, so she keeps him company when he’s at home, watching TV together, eating their meals, chatting, and even listening to him vent his grievances. She will do anything for him, so long as it makes him happy. She believes that these are the responsibilities a spouse ought to fulfill. So, when does she read God’s words? She waits for her husband to go out, then locks the door behind him and hurriedly begins to read. When she hears someone at the door, she quickly puts the book away and is so frightened she dares not read it anymore. And when she opens the door she sees that it isn’t her husband returning—it was a false alarm, so she keeps reading. As she continues to read, she feels on tenterhooks, she’s nervous and fearful, thinking, “What if he really does come home? I’d better not read anymore for now. I’ll give him a call and ask where he is and when he’ll be back.” So she rings him up and he says, “Work is a bit busy today, so I might not be home until three or four o’clock.” This calms her down, but can her mind still settle down so she can read God’s words? It can’t; her mind has been disturbed. She hurries before God to pray, and what does she say? Does she say her belief in God lacks faith, that she’s afraid of her husband, and cannot quiet her mind to read God’s words? She feels she can’t say these things, so she has nothing to say to God. But then she closes her eyes and clasps her hands together. She calms down and doesn’t feel so flustered, so she goes to read God’s words, but the words don’t sink in. She thinks, “Where was I reading just now? Where did I get to in my contemplations? I’ve totally lost my train of thought.” The more she thinks about it, the more annoyed and uneasy she feels: “I just won’t read today. It’s no big deal if I miss my spiritual devotions this once.” What do you think? Is life going well for her? (No.) Is this marital distress or marital happiness? (Distress.) At this point, some single people might say, “So, you’ve jumped into the fire, haven’t you? There’s nothing great about marriage, is there? See how great my life is, I don’t have to worry about anyone else, and there’s no one to stop me from attending gatherings and doing my duty whenever I want.” To get your partner to feel pleased with you and agree to your occasional reading of God’s words or attending a gathering, you get up very early every day to make breakfast, tidy the house, clean up, feed the chickens, feed the dog, and do all sorts of exhausting tasks—even those normally done by men. In order to satisfy your husband, you work tirelessly like an old maidservant. Before he comes home, you shine his leather shoes and arrange his slippers, and after he gets home, you hurry to brush the dust off him and help him remove his coat and hang it up, asking, “It’s so hot today. Are you hot? Are you thirsty? What would you like to eat today? Something sour or something spicy? Do you need to change clothes? Take those clothes off and I’ll wash them for you.” You’re like an old maidservant or a slave, already having exceeded the scope of responsibilities you should fulfill within the framework of marriage. You are at your husband’s beck and call, and you regard him as your lord. In such a family as this, there is an obvious difference in status among the two spouses: One is a slave, the other is the master; one is servile and humble, the other looks fierce and commanding; one bows and scrapes, the other is swollen by arrogance. Clearly, the status of the two people within the framework of marriage is unequal. Why is this? Isn’t this slave demeaning herself? (Yes.) The slave is demeaning herself. You’ve failed to uphold the responsibility toward marriage that God has ordained for humankind, and you’ve gone too far. Your husband fulfills no responsibility and does nothing, and yet you would still wait at the beck and call of a spouse like this and submit to his authority, willingly becoming his slave and his old maidservant to serve him and do everything for him—what kind of person are you? Just who exactly is your Lord? Why don’t you practice in this way for God? God has ordained that your partner provides for your life; this is something he should do, you don’t owe him anything. You do what you ought to do and fulfill the responsibilities and obligations you ought to fulfill—does he? Does he do what he ought to do? In a marriage, it’s not that whoever is the formidable one is the lord, and whoever can work hard and do the most should be the slave. In a marriage, both people should fulfill their responsibilities to each other and accompany each other. Both people have a responsibility toward each other, and both people have obligations to fulfill and things to do within the framework of marriage. You should act according to your role; whichever one your role is, you should do what you ought to do in that role. If you don’t, then you are without normal humanity. In colloquial terms, you’re not worth a dime. Then if someone’s not worth a dime and yet you can still be at their beck and call and willingly be their slave, that is utterly foolish and makes you worthless. What’s wrong with believing in God? Is your belief in God an act of evil? Is there a problem with reading God’s words? These are all upright and honorable things to do. What does it demonstrate when the government persecutes people who believe in God? It demonstrates that humankind is so evil, and it represents evil forces and Satan. It does not represent the truth or God. Therefore, believing in God doesn’t mean that you’re below others or inferior to others. On the contrary, your belief in God makes you nobler than worldly people, your pursuit of the truth makes you honorable in the eyes of God, and He regards you as the apple of His eye. And yet you demean yourself and unstintingly become your spouse’s slave just to fawn on the other person in your marriage. Why don’t you act like this when performing the duty of a created being? Why can’t you manage that? Isn’t this an expression of human lowliness? (Yes.)

God has ordained marriage for you only so that you may learn to fulfill your responsibilities, learn to live peacefully together with another person and share life together, and experience what life shared with your partner is like and how to handle all the things you encounter together, making your life richer and more different. However, He does not sell you out to marriage and, of course, He does not sell you to your partner to be their slave. You are not their slave, and they are not your slave master, either. You are equals. You only have the responsibilities of a wife or a husband to your partner, and when you fulfill these responsibilities, God considers you to be a satisfactory wife or husband. There is nothing your partner has that you do not, and you are not worse than your partner. If you believe in God and pursue the truth, can perform your duty, often attend gatherings, pray-read God’s words, and come before God, then these are things God accepts and they are what a created being should do and the normal life a created being should live. There is nothing shameful about this, nor must you feel like you owe your partner anything because you live this kind of life—you owe them nothing. If you wish, you have the obligation to bear testimony to your partner of God’s work. If they don’t believe in God, however, and they don’t follow the same path as you, then you do not need and are under no obligation to tell them or explain to them anything or any information about your faith or the path you follow, nor do they have any right to know about it. It is their responsibility and obligation to support, encourage, and defend you. If they can’t do this, then they are without humanity. Why? Because you follow the right path, and it’s because you follow the right path that your family and your partner are blessed and enjoy the grace of God along with you. It’s only right for your partner to be grateful for this, rather than discriminating against you or bullying you because of your faith or because you’re being persecuted, or else believing that you should do more household chores and other things, or that you owe them something. You don’t owe them emotionally, spiritually, or in any other way—they owe you. Because of your faith in God, they enjoy extra grace and blessings from God, and they gain these things exceptionally. What do I mean by “they gain these things exceptionally”? I mean that someone like that doesn’t deserve to gain those things and shouldn’t gain those things. Why shouldn’t they gain them? Because they don’t follow God or acknowledge God, therefore the grace they enjoy comes because of your faith in God. They benefit along with you and enjoy blessings with you, and it’s only right for them to be grateful to you. In other words, because they enjoy these extra blessings and this grace, they should fulfill their responsibilities more and support your belief in God more. Because one person in the home believes in God, some people have their family business go well and become greatly successful. They make a lot of money, their family lives a good life, they become rich in material things, and their quality of life increases—how did all these things come about? Would your family be able to obtain all these things if one of you didn’t believe in God? Some people say, “God ordained them to have a rich fate.” It’s correct that God ordained this, but if their family didn’t have that one person who believes in God, their business wouldn’t be so graced and blessed. Because they have that one person who believes in God, because that one who believes in God has true faith, sincerely pursues, and is willing to devote themselves and expend themselves for God, their non-believing spouse receives the grace and blessings exceptionally. It’s so easy for God to do this small thing. Those who don’t believe are still not satisfied, and they even suppress and bully those who believe in God. The persecution the country and society subject believers to is already a disaster for them, and yet their family members go to even greater lengths and pile on the pressure. If, in such circumstances, you still believe you are letting them down and are willing to become a slave to your marriage, then that really is something you shouldn’t do. So they don’t support your belief in God, fine; so they don’t defend your belief in God, also fine. They are free to not do those things. However, they shouldn’t treat you as a slave because you believe in God. You’re not a slave, you’re a human being, a dignified and upright person. At the very least, you’re a created being before God, and not anyone’s slave. If you must be a slave, then you can only be a slave to the truth, a slave to God, and not a slave to any person, much less have your spouse as your slave master. In terms of fleshly relationships, apart from your parents, the one who is closest to you in this world is your spouse. Yet because you believe in God, they treat you like an enemy and attack and persecute you. They object to you attending gatherings, if they hear any gossip, they come home to scold and mistreat you. Even when you’re praying or reading God’s words at home and not affecting the normality of their life at all, they will still scold and oppose you, and even beat you. Tell Me, what kind of thing is this? Are they not a demon? Is this the person who’s closest to you? Does someone like this deserve to have you fulfill any responsibility toward them? (No.) No, they don’t! And so, some people who are in this kind of marriage are still at their partner’s beck and call, willing to sacrifice everything, sacrifice the time they should spend performing their duty, the opportunity to perform their duty, and even their opportunity to attain salvation. They shouldn’t do these things, and at the very least they should relinquish such ideas. Besides owing God, people don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe your parents, your husband, your wife, your children, much less your friends—you don’t owe anything to anyone. Everything people have has its source in God, including their marriages. If we must talk about owing, people only owe God. Of course, God doesn’t demand that you pay Him back, He just asks that you follow the correct path in life. God’s greatest intention with regard to marriage is for you not to lose your dignity and integrity because of your marriage, not to become someone with no correct path to pursue, without their own outlook on life or their own direction for pursuit, and not to become someone who even gives up pursuing the truth, gives up their chance to attain salvation, and gives up any commission or mission God has given to them, to instead become a willing slave to your marriage. If you handle your marriage in this way, then it would have been better if you hadn’t gotten married at all, and the single life would suit you better. If you cannot rid yourself of this kind of marital situation or structure no matter what you do, then it would be best if you extricated yourself from the marriage completely, and it would be better for you to live as a free person. As I have said, God’s purpose in ordaining marriage is so that you can have a partner, to go through the ups and downs of life and pass through every stage of life in the company of your partner, so that you’re not alone or lonely in every stage of life, to have someone beside you, someone to confide your innermost thoughts to, and someone to comfort and take care of you. However, God doesn’t use marriage to bind you, or to bind your hands and feet, so that you have no right to choose your own path and become a slave to marriage. God has ordained marriage for you and arranged a partner for you; He hasn’t found you a slave master, nor does He want you to be confined within your marriage without your own pursuits, your own life goals, without the correct direction for your pursuits, and without the right to seek salvation. On the contrary, whether you’re married or not, the greatest right God has bestowed on you is the right to pursue your own life goals, to establish the correct outlook on life, and to seek salvation. No one can take this right away from you, and no one can interfere with it, including your spouse. So, those of you who play the role of slaves in your marriages should relinquish this way of living, relinquish your ideas or practices concerning wanting to be a slave to your marriage, and leave that situation behind. Don’t be constrained by your partner, and don’t be affected, limited, restricted or bound by your partner’s emotions, views, words, attitudes, or even their actions. Leave it all behind and bravely and boldly rely on God. When you want to read God’s words then read God’s words, attend gatherings when you’re supposed to attend gatherings, for you are a human being, not a dog, and you need no one to regulate your behavior or restrict or control your life. You have the right to choose your own goals and direction in life—God has bestowed this right upon you, and in particular, you are walking the right path. The most important thing is that, when God’s house needs you to do a certain job, when God’s house gives you a duty, you should dutifully relinquish everything without choice or reservation and perform the duty you should do and complete the mission God has given you. If this job requires you to leave home for ten days or a month, then you should choose to perform your duty well, complete the commission God has entrusted you with, and satisfy God’s heart—this is the attitude, determination, and desire those who pursue the truth should possess. If this job requires you to be away for six months, a year, or for an unknown period of time, then you should dutifully relinquish your family and your marital spouse and go complete the mission God has given you. That’s because this is the time when the work of God’s house and your duty need you the most, and not the time when your marriage and your partner need you the most. Therefore, you mustn’t think that if you’re married then you must be a slave to your marriage, or that it’s a disgrace if your marriage ends or breaks up. Actually, it’s not a disgrace, and you must see the circumstances in which the marriage ended and what God’s arrangement was. If it was ordained and governed by God, and not caused by man, then that is glorious, it is an honor, for you have given up and ended your marriage for a just cause, seeking to satisfy God and accomplish your mission as a created being. This is something that will be remembered and accepted by God, and that’s why I say it is a glorious thing, not a disgrace! Even though some people’s marriages end because their partner abandons and betrays them—in colloquial terms, they get dumped and given the boot—this isn’t anything shameful. Instead, you should say, “This is my honor. Why? That my marriage has gotten to this point and has ended in this way is ordained and governed by God. It was God’s guidance that led me to take this step. If God hadn’t done this and made him boot me out onto the street, I really wouldn’t have had the faith and the courage to take this step. Thanks be to the sovereignty and guidance of God! All glory be to God!” This is an honor. In all kinds of marriages, you can have this kind of experience, you can choose to follow the right path under God’s guidance, accomplish the mission God has given you, leave your spouse under this kind of premise and with this kind of motivation, and end your marriage, and this is something to be congratulated on. There is at least one thing that is worth rejoicing about, and that is that you are no longer a slave to your marriage. You have escaped the slavery of your marriage, and you no longer have to worry, feel pained, and struggle because you are a slave to your marriage and want to get free but are unable to. From that moment on, you have escaped, you’re free, and that is a good thing. Having said this, I hope that those whose marriages have previously ended in pain and who are still shrouded in the shadows of this matter can truly let go of their marriage, let go of the shadows that it has left you with, let go of the hatred, anger, and even anguish that it has left you with, and no longer feel pain and anger because all the sacrifices and efforts you made for your partner were repaid with their infidelity, betrayal, and ridicule. I hope you leave all that behind you, rejoice that you are no longer a slave to your marriage, rejoice that you no longer have to do anything or make unnecessary sacrifices for the slave master in your marriage, and instead, under God’s guidance and sovereignty, follow the right path in life, perform your duty as a created being, and are no longer upset and have nothing else to worry about. Of course, there’s no longer any need to be concerned, worried, or anxious about your marital spouse or to have your mind occupied with thoughts of him, everything will be good from now on, you don’t need to discuss your personal matters with your spouse anymore, you don’t need to be constrained by them anymore. You only need to seek the truth, and just look for the principles and basis in God’s words. You are already free and are no longer a slave to your marriage. It’s fortunate that you have left that nightmare of marriage behind you, that you have genuinely come before God, are no longer restricted by your marriage, and you have more time to read God’s words, attend gatherings, and perform spiritual devotions. You’re completely free, you don’t have to act a certain way depending on anyone else’s moods anymore, you don’t have to listen to anyone’s jeering taunts anymore, you don’t have to consider anyone’s moods or feelings anymore—you’re living the single life, great! You’re no longer a slave, you can get out of that environment where you had various responsibilities to fulfill toward people, you can be a true created being, be a created being under the dominion of the Creator, and perform the duty of a created being—how wonderful it is to do this purely! You never have to argue, worry, bother with, tolerate, endure, suffer, or be angry about your marriage again, you never have to live in that odious environment and complicated situation again. This is great, all these are good things, and everything is going well. When someone comes before the Creator, they act and speak according to God’s words and in accordance with the truth principles. Everything goes smoothly, there are no more of those messy disputes, and your heart can become quiet. These are all good things, but it’s a shame that some people are still willing to be slaves in such an odious marital environment, and they do not escape or leave it behind them. In any case, I still hope that, even if these people don’t end their marriages and don’t live with broken marriages behind them, they should at least not be slaves to their marriages. No matter who your spouse is, no matter what talents or humanity they possess, how high their status is, how skilled and capable they are, they are still not your master. They’re your spouse, your equal. They’re no nobler than you, nor are you lowlier than them. If they aren’t able to fulfill their marital responsibilities, then you are within your rights to rebuke them, and it is your obligation to manage them and lecture them. Don’t degrade yourself and allow yourself to be exploited because you think they’re too formidable or you’re afraid that they’ll tire of you, reject you or abandon you, or because you want to maintain the continuity of your marital relationship, willingly compromising yourself to be their slave and a slave to your marriage—this is not appropriate. This is not how someone should behave, nor is it the responsibilities someone should fulfill, within the framework of marriage. God does not ask you to be a slave, nor does He ask you to be a master. He asks only that you fulfill your responsibilities, and that’s why you must correctly understand the responsibilities you ought to perform in marriage, and you should also correctly understand and see clearly the role you play in marriage. If the role you play is distorted and does not accord with humanity or with what God has ordained, then you should check yourself and reflect on how to get out of this state. If your spouse can be rebuked, then rebuke them; if by rebuking your spouse you will suffer unwelcome consequences, then you should make a wiser, more appropriate choice. In any case, if you wish to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you must relinquish your ideas or practices concerning being a slave to your marriage. You must not be a slave to your marriage, but rather you should leave that role behind, be a genuine human being, be a genuine created being, and at the same time perform your duty. Do you understand? (Yes.)

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