How to Pursue the Truth (12) Part Three

I fellowshipped just now about letting go of the identity that you inherit from your family. Is this easy to do? (Yes, it’s easy to do.) Is it easy to do? Under what circumstances will this matter affect you and disturb you? When you don’t have a correct and pure understanding of this matter, in a particular type of environment you will be influenced by it, and it will affect your ability to perform your duty well, and impact on your methods for handling things and on the outcomes. Therefore, when it comes to the identity you inherit from family, you should treat it correctly, and not be influenced or controlled by it, but instead view people and things, and comport yourself and act normally according to the methods that God gives to people. That way, you will have the attitude and principles that an acceptable created being should have in this respect. Next, we will fellowship about letting go of the conditioning effects that family exerts on you. In this society, people’s principles for dealing with the world, their methods for living and existing, and even their attitudes and notions toward religion and belief, as well as their various notions and views toward people and things—all these things are inevitably conditioned by family. Before people come to understand the truth—no matter how old they are, or what gender they are, or what occupation they are engaged in, or what kind of attitude they have toward everything, whether it be extreme or rational—in short, in all manner of things, people’s thoughts and views and their attitudes toward things are greatly influenced by family. That is to say, the various conditioning effects that family exerts on a person determine, to a large extent, that person’s attitude toward things and their method for dealing with them, as well as their outlook on existence, and even impact on their faith. Since family conditions and impacts on people so significantly, family is inevitably at the root of people’s methods and principles for dealing with things, as well as their outlook on existence, and their views on faith. Because the family home itself is not the place where truth arises, nor is it the source of truth, there is practically only one motivating force or aim that drives your family to condition into you any idea, viewpoint, or method for existing—that of acting in your best interests. These things that are in your own best interests, no matter who they come from—whether it be from your parents, grandparents, or from your ancestors—in short, they are all intended to enable you to defend your own interests in society and among others, to prevent you from getting bullied, and to enable you to live among people in a way that is more unconstrained and diplomatic, and which is intended to protect your own interests to the greatest extent. The conditioning you receive from your family is meant to protect you, to avoid you getting bullied or suffering any humiliation, and to turn you into someone who is a cut above, even if that means bullying others or hurting others, just as long as you are not harmed yourself. These are some of the most important things that your family conditions into you, and they are also the essence and chief aim underlying all the ideas that are conditioned into you. Is this not the case? (Yes.) If you consider the aim and essence of all the things your family has conditioned into you, is there anything that accords with the truth? Even if these things do accord with the ethics or legitimate rights and interests of humanity, do they have any connection to the truth? Are they the truth? (No.) It can be said with all certainty that they are definitely not the truth. No matter how positive and legitimate, humane, and ethical the things that your family conditions into you are, they are not the truth, nor can they represent the truth, and of course they cannot replace the truth. Therefore, when it comes to the topic of family, these things are another aspect that people should let go of. What specifically is this aspect? It is the conditioning effects that family exerts on you—this is the second aspect that you should let go of when it comes to the topic of family. Since we are discussing the conditioning effects that family exerts on you, let’s first talk about exactly what these conditioning effects are. If we differentiate them according to people’s concept of right and wrong, some are relatively correct, positive, and presentable, and can be laid out on the table, whereas some are relatively selfish, despicable, vile, relatively negative, and nothing more. But at any rate, these conditioning effects from family are like a layer of protective clothing that collectively safeguards a person’s fleshly interests, preserves their dignity among others, and prevents them from getting bullied. Is it not so? (Yes.) Let us talk, then, about what conditioning effects your family exerts on you. For example, when family elders often tell you that “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark,” it is to make you attach importance to having a good reputation, living a proud life, and not doing things that heap disgrace upon you. So does this saying guide people in a positive or negative way? Can it lead you to the truth? Can it lead you to understand the truth? (No, it cannot.) You can say with all certainty, “No, it cannot!” Think about it, God says that people should comport themselves as honest people. When you have transgressed, or done something wrong, or done something that rebels against God and goes against the truth, you need to admit your mistake, gain an understanding of yourself, and keep dissecting yourself in order to achieve true repentance, and thereafter act in accordance with God’s words. So, if people are to comport themselves as honest people, does that conflict with the saying “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark”? (Yes.) How does it conflict? The saying “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark” is intended to make people attach importance to living out their bright and colorful side and doing more things that make them look good—rather than doing things that are bad or dishonorable, or exposing their ugly side—and to prevent them from living without pride or dignity. For the sake of one’s reputation, for the sake of pride and honor, one cannot rubbish everything about oneself, let alone tell others about one’s dark side and shameful aspects, because one must live with pride and dignity. In order to have dignity one needs a good reputation, and to have a good reputation one needs to put up a pretense and dress oneself up. Doesn’t this conflict with comporting oneself as an honest person? (Yes.) When you comport yourself as an honest person, what you are doing is completely at odds with the saying “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark.” If you want to comport yourself as an honest person, don’t attach importance to pride; a person’s pride isn’t worth a cent. Faced with the truth, one should expose oneself, not put up a pretense or create a false image. One must reveal to God one’s true thoughts, the mistakes one has made, the aspects that violate the truth principles, and so on, and also lay these things bare to one’s brothers and sisters. It is not a matter of living for the sake of one’s reputation, but rather, it is a matter of living for the sake of comporting oneself as an honest person, living for the sake of pursuing the truth, living for the sake of being a true created being, and living for the sake of satisfying God and being saved. But when you don’t understand this truth, and don’t understand God’s will, the things that are conditioned into you by your family tend to dominate. So when you do something wrong, you cover it up and put up a pretense, thinking, “I can’t say anything about this, and I won’t allow anyone else who knows about it to say anything either. If any of you say anything, I won’t let you off lightly. My reputation comes first. Living is for nothing if not for the sake of one’s reputation, because it’s more important than anything else. If a person loses their reputation, they lose all their dignity. So you can’t tell it like it is, you have to pretend, you have to cover things up, otherwise you will lose your reputation and dignity, and your life will be worthless. If no one respects you, then you’re just worthless, cheap trash.” Is it possible to comport yourself as an honest person by practicing this way? Is it possible to be completely open and dissect yourself? (No, it isn’t.) Obviously, by doing this you are adhering to the saying “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark” that your family has conditioned into you. However, if you let go of this saying in order to pursue the truth and practice the truth, it will cease to affect you, and it will cease to be your motto or your principle for doing things, and instead what you do will be precisely the opposite of this saying “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark.” You won’t be living for the sake of your reputation, nor for the sake of your dignity, but rather, you will be living for the sake of pursuing the truth, and comporting yourself as an honest person, and seeking to satisfy God and live as a true created being. If you adhere to this principle, you will have let go of the conditioning effects that your family exerts on you.

Family conditions people not just with one or two sayings, but with a whole host of well-known quotations and aphorisms. For example, do your family elders and parents often mention the saying “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies”? (Yes.) They are telling you: “People must live for the sake of their reputation. People seek nothing else in their lifetime, other than to forge a good reputation among others and make a good impression. Wherever you go, be more generous in giving out greetings, pleasantries, and compliments, and say more kind words. Don’t offend people, but instead do more good deeds and kind acts.” This particular conditioning effect exerted by family has a certain impact on people’s behavior or principles of conduct, with the inevitable consequence that they attach great importance to fame and gain. That is, they attach great importance to their own reputation, prestige, the impression they create in people’s minds, and others’ estimation of everything they do and every opinion they express. By placing great importance on fame and gain, you unwittingly place little importance on whether the duty you perform accords with the truth and principles, whether you are satisfying God, and whether you are fulfilling your duty adequately. You see these things as being of lesser importance and lower priority, whereas the saying “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” which your family has conditioned into you, becomes extremely important to you. It makes you pay great attention to how every detail of yourself comes across in people’s minds. In particular, some people pay special attention to what other people really think of them behind their backs, to the point of eavesdropping through walls, listening through half-open doors, and even stealing a glance at what other people write about them. As soon as someone mentions their name, they think, “I have to hurry up and listen to what they’re saying about me, and whether they have a good opinion of me. Oh dear, they said that I’m lazy and that I like to eat nice food. Then I have to change, I can’t be lazy in the future, I must be diligent.” After being diligent for a while, they think to themselves, “I’ve been listening to whether everyone is saying that I’m lazy, and no one seems to have said it lately.” But still they are uneasy, so they casually drop it into their conversations with those around them, saying: “I am a bit lazy.” And others reply: “You’re not lazy, you’re much more diligent now than you used to be.” At this they instantly feel reassured, overjoyed, and comforted. “Look at that, everyone’s opinions of me have changed. It seems that everyone has noticed the improvement in my behavior.” Everything you do is not for the sake of practicing the truth, nor in order to satisfy God, but rather, it is for the sake of your own reputation. In this way, what has everything that you do effectively become? It has effectively become a religious act. What has become of your essence? You have become the archetype of a Pharisee. What has become of your path? It has become the path of antichrists. That is how God defines it. So, the essence of everything you do has become tainted, it’s no longer the same; you are not practicing the truth or pursuing it, but instead you are pursuing fame and gain. Ultimately as far as God is concerned, the performance of your duty is—in a word—inadequate. Why is that? Because you are devoted only to your own reputation, rather than to that which God has entrusted to you, or to your duty as a created being. What do you feel in your heart when God comes up with such a definition? That your belief in God all these years has been in vain? So does that mean you haven’t been pursuing the truth at all? You haven’t been pursuing the truth, instead you have been paying special attention to your own reputation, and at the root of this are the conditioning effects that come from your family. Which is the most dominant saying that you have been conditioned with? The saying, “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” has taken deep root in your heart and become your motto. You have been influenced and conditioned by this saying since you were young, and even after growing up you often keep repeating this saying to influence the next generation of your family and the people around you. Of course, what is even more serious is that you have adopted it as your method and principle for conducting yourself and dealing with things, and even as the goal and direction that you pursue in life. Your goal and direction are wrong, and so the final outcome is certain to be negative. Because the essence of everything you do is solely for the sake of your reputation, and solely in order to put into practice the saying “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies.” You are not pursuing the truth, and yet you yourself don’t know that. You think there is nothing wrong with this saying, because shouldn’t people live for the sake of their reputation? As the common saying goes, “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies.” This saying seems very positive and legitimate, so you unconsciously accept its conditioning effect and regard it as a positive thing. Once you regard this saying as a positive thing, you are unknowingly pursuing it and putting it into practice. At the same time, you unknowingly and confusedly misconstrue it as the truth and as a criterion of the truth. When you regard it as a criterion of the truth, you no longer listen to what God says, nor can you understand it. You blindly put into practice this motto, “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” and act in accordance with it, and what you ultimately get out of that is a good reputation. You have gained what you wanted to gain, but in doing so you have violated and abandoned the truth, and lost the chance to be saved. Given that this is the final outcome, you should let go of and abandon the idea that “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” which your family conditioned into you. It is not something that you should hold onto, nor is it a saying or idea that you should spend a lifetime of effort and energy putting into practice. This idea and view that you are being inculcated and conditioned with is wrong, so you should let go of it. The reason why you should let go of it is not only because it is not the truth, but also because it will lead you astray and ultimately lead to your destruction, so the consequences are very serious. For you, it is not just a simple saying, but a cancer—a means and method that corrupts people. Because in God’s words, among all of His requirements for people, God has never asked people to pursue a good reputation, or to seek prestige, or to make a good impression on people, or to win people’s approval, or to get a thumbs-up from people, nor has He ever made people live for the sake of fame or in order to leave behind a good reputation. God only wants people to perform their duty well, and to submit to Him and the truth. Therefore, as far as you are concerned, this saying is a type of conditioning from your family that you should let go of.

There is another conditioning effect that your family exerts on you. For example, when parents or elders encourage you, they often say “You have to endure great suffering in order to come out on top.” In saying this, their aim is to teach you to endure suffering, be diligent and persevere, and not be afraid of suffering in whatever you do, because only those who endure suffering, resist hardship, work hard, and possess fighting spirit can come out on top. What does “come out on top” mean? It means not being bullied, or looked down upon, or discriminated against; it means having high prestige and status among people, having the authority to speak and be heard, and the authority to make decisions; it means being able to lead a better and higher-quality life among others, and having people look up to you, admire you, and envy you. It essentially means that you are in the upper echelon of the entire human race. What does “upper echelon” mean? It means that there are many people at your feet and you needn’t put up with any mistreatment from them—this is what it is to “come out on top.” In order to come out on top, you have to “endure great suffering,” which means that you must be able to endure suffering that others cannot. So before you can come out on top, you must be able to endure people’s disdainful looks, sneers, sarcasm, slander, as well as others’ lack of understanding, and even their scorn, and so on. In addition to physical suffering, you must be able to put up with the sarcasm and ridicule of public opinion. Only by learning to be this kind of person can you stand out among people, and earn a niche for yourself in society. The aim of this saying is to make people become a top dog rather than an underling, because being an underling is so hard—you have to put up with mistreatment, you feel useless, and you have no dignity or face. This is also a conditioning effect that your family exerts on you, with the aim of acting in your best interests. Your family does this so that you don’t have to put up with mistreatment from others, and so that you have fame and authority, eat well and enjoy yourself, and so that wherever you go, no one will dare bully you and you can instead act like a tyrant and call the shots, and everyone will bow and scrape to you. In one sense, by seeking to be a cut above, you are doing it for your own benefit, and in another sense, you are also doing it to boost the family’s social status and bring honor to your ancestors, so that your parents and family members can also benefit from being associated with you and not suffer mistreatment. If you have endured great suffering and come out on top by becoming a high-ranking official with a nice car, a luxury house and a retinue of people buzzing around you, your family will likewise benefit from being associated with you, and your family members will also be able to drive nice cars, eat well, and live the high life. You will be able to eat the most expensive delicacies if you want, and go wherever you like, and have everyone at your beck and call, and do as you please, and live willfully and arrogantly without needing to keep a low profile or live with your tail between your legs, and do whatever you want, even if it’s above the law, and live boldly and recklessly—this is your family’s aim in conditioning you this way, to prevent you from being wronged, and to make you come out on top. To put it bluntly, their aim is to make you into someone who leads others, directs others, and orders others, and to turn you into someone who is only capable of bullying others and who is never on the receiving end, and to make you into someone who comes out on top, rather than someone who is led. Is this not the case? (Yes.) Does this conditioning effect from your family benefit you? (No.) Why do you say that it doesn’t benefit you? If every family educated the next generation this way, would it increase social conflict and make society more competitive and unfair? Everyone would want to be at the top of the pile, no one would want to be at the bottom of the pile, or to be an ordinary person—they would all want to be the person who governs and bullies others. Do you think society could still be good if that were the case? Society would clearly not be oriented in a positive direction, and it would only intensify social conflicts, increase competitiveness between people, and exacerbate disputes between people. Take school, for instance. Students try to get one up on each other, by expending great effort studying when no one is around, but when they meet up they would say, “Oh, yet again I didn’t study last weekend. Instead I went to a great place and had fun all day. Where did you go?” And someone else would chime in: “I slept in all weekend and didn’t study either.” They actually both know full well that the other spent all weekend studying to the point of exhaustion, but neither admits to having studied or put in great effort when no one was watching, because everyone wants to come out on top and doesn’t want anyone else to outdo them. They say that they haven’t been studying, because they don’t want others to know that in fact they have. What’s the use of lying like that? You study for your own sake, not for others. If you can lie at such a young age, can you walk the correct path after you enter society? (No.) Entering society entails personal interests, money, and status, so the competition would only get fiercer. People would stop at nothing and use every means at their disposal in order to achieve their goals. They would be willing and able to do whatever it took to achieve their goal, at any cost, even if it meant enduring humiliation to get there. If things kept going like this, how could society turn out well? If everyone did this, how could the human race turn out well? (It couldn’t.) The root of all kinds of improper social mores and evil trends comes from the conditioning that family exerts on people. What, then, does God require in this respect? Does God require people to come out on top and not to be mediocre, mundane, unremarkable, or ordinary, but instead to be great, famous, and lofty? Is this what God requires of people? (No.) It is very clear that the saying which your family has conditioned into you—“You have to endure great suffering in order to come out on top”—doesn’t guide you in a positive direction, and of course, it also has no connection to the truth. Your family’s aims in making you endure suffering are less than innocent, underpinned by scheming, and so despicable and underhand. God makes people endure suffering because they have corrupt dispositions. If people wish to be purified of their corrupt dispositions, they must undergo suffering—this is an objective fact. In addition, God requires people to endure suffering: This is what a created being should do, and it is also what a normal person should bear, and the attitude that a normal person should have. However, God does not require you to come out on top. He only requires you to be an ordinary, normal person who understands the truth, listens to His words, submits to Him, and that is all. God never demands that you surprise Him, or do anything earth-shattering, nor does He need you to be a celebrity or a great person. He just needs you to be an ordinary, normal, and real person, and no matter how much suffering you can endure, or whether you can endure suffering at all, if in the end you are able to fear God and shun evil, then this is the best person you can be. What God wants is not for you to come out on top, but to be a true created being, a person who can perform the duty of a created being. This person is someone unremarkable and ordinary, someone with normal humanity, conscience and reason, not someone who is lofty or great in the eyes of unbelievers or corrupt humans. We have fellowshipped a great deal on this aspect before, so we won’t discuss it further now. This saying “You have to endure great suffering in order to come out on top” is clearly something you should let go of. What is it exactly that you should let go of? It is the direction that your family has conditioned you into pursuing. That is, you should change the direction of your pursuit. Don’t do anything just for the sake of coming out on top, standing out from the crowd and being noteworthy, or being admired by others. Instead, you should let go of these intentions, aims, and motives and do everything in a down-to-earth manner in order to be a true created being. What do I mean by “in a down-to-earth manner”? The most basic principle is to do everything in accordance with the ways and principles that God has taught people. Supposing that what you do doesn’t blow everyone away or impress them, or isn’t even praised or valued by anyone. However, if this is something that you ought to do, then you should persist and keep at it, treating it as the duty that a created being should perform. If you do that, you will be an acceptable created being in God’s eyes—it’s as simple as that. What you need to change is your pursuit with regard to your comportment and your outlook on life.

Family conditions and influences you in other ways, for instance with the saying “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance.” Family members often teach you: “Be kind and don’t argue with others or make enemies, because if you make too many enemies, you won’t be able to gain a foothold in society, and if there are too many people who hate you and are out to get you, then you won’t be safe in society. You will always be under threat, and your survival, status, family, personal safety, and even your career promotion prospects will be jeopardized and impeded by nasty people. So you must learn that ‘Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance.’ Be kind to everyone, don’t damage good relationships, don’t say anything that you can’t take back later, avoid hurting people’s pride, and don’t expose their shortcomings. Avoid or stop saying things that people don’t want to listen to. Just give compliments, because it never hurts to compliment somebody. You must learn to show forbearance and compromise in both big and small matters, because ‘Compromise will make a conflict much easier to resolve.’” Think about it, your family instills two ideas and views into you at once. In one sense, they say that you need to be kind to others; in another sense, they need you to be forbearing, not speak out of turn, and if you have something to say, you should button your lip until you get home and then tell your family. Or better still, don’t even tell your family at all, because walls have ears—if ever the secret leaks out, things will not go well for you. To gain a foothold and survive in this society, people must learn one thing, which is to be a fence-straddler. In colloquial terms, you must be slippery and cunning. You can’t just say what’s on your mind. If you go ahead and say what’s on your mind, that’s called being stupid, it’s not called being smart. Some people are loose cannons who say whatever they want. Imagine a guy who does that and ends up offending his boss. The boss then makes life difficult for him, cancels his bonus, and is always looking to pick a quarrel with him. In the end, he can’t bear to stay in the job any longer. If he quits his job, he has no other means to earn a living. But if he doesn’t quit, all he can do is put up with a job that he can’t bear to do any longer. What’s that called, when you are between a rock and a hard place? “Stuck,” in a fix. His family then tells him off, saying: “You deserve to be mistreated, you should have remembered that ‘Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance’! It serves you right for being a loose cannon and shooting your mouth off! We told you to be tactful and think carefully about what you say, but you didn’t want to, you had to go and be direct. Did you think your boss was that easy to mess with? Did you think it was that easy to survive in society? You always reckon you are just being straightforward. Well, now you must reap the painful consequences. Let this be a lesson to you! In future, you’ll do well to remember the saying ‘Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance’!” Once he has been taught this lesson, he remembers it, thinking, “My parents really were right to educate me. This is an insightful bit of life experience, a real nugget of wisdom, I can’t keep on ignoring it. I ignore my elders at my peril, so I’ll remember it in future.” After he comes to believe in God and joins God’s house, he still remembers this saying, “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” and so he greets his brothers and sisters whenever he sees them, and does his best to speak nice words to them. The leader says: “I’ve been a leader for a while, but I don’t have enough work experience.” So he interjects with a compliment: “You’re doing a great job. If you weren’t leading us, we’d feel like we had nowhere to turn.” Someone else says: “I’ve gained an understanding of myself, and I think that I am quite deceitful.” So he replies, “You aren’t deceitful, you are really honest, I’m the one who’s deceitful.” Someone else makes a nasty remark to him, and he thinks to himself, “No need to fear nasty remarks like that, I can put up with much worse. No matter how nasty your remarks get, I’ll just pretend that I didn’t hear them, and I’ll keep on complimenting you, and trying my best to curry favor with you, because it never hurts to compliment you.” Whenever anyone asks him to give his opinion or open up during fellowship, he doesn’t talk frankly, and maintains this cheerful and jolly facade in front of everyone. Someone asks him: “How come you are always so cheerful and jolly? Are you really a smiling tiger?” And he thinks to himself: “I’ve been a smiling tiger for years, and in all that time I’ve never been taken advantage of, so it has become my overriding principle for dealing with the world.” Is he not like a slippery stone? (Yes.) Some people have drifted along in society like this for many years, and continue to do so after they come into God’s house. They never say one honest word, they never speak from the heart, and they don’t talk about their own understanding of themselves. Even when a brother or sister lays their own heart bare to them, they don’t speak frankly, and no one can work out what’s really going on in their minds. They never reveal what they think or what their views are, they maintain really good relations with everyone, and you don’t know what kind of people or what type of personality they actually like, or what they really think about others. If anyone asks them what kind of person so-and-so is, they answer, “He has been a believer for over ten years, and he’s just fine.” Whoever you ask them about, they will reply that the person is just fine or pretty good. If someone asks them, “Have you discovered any shortcomings or flaws in him?” They will reply, “I haven’t found any so far, I’ll keep a closer eye out in future,” but deep down they are thinking: “You’re asking me to offend that person, which I most certainly won’t do! If I tell you the truth and he finds out about it, won’t he just become my enemy? My family has long been telling me not to make enemies, I haven’t forgotten their words. Do you think I’m stupid? Do you think I’d forget the education and conditioning I’ve received from my family just because you’ve fellowshipped two sentences of truth? It won’t happen! These sayings, ‘Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance’ and ‘Compromise will make a conflict much easier to resolve,’ have never let me down yet and they are my talismans. I don’t talk about anyone’s flaws, and if anyone provokes me, I show them forbearance. Haven’t you seen that character imprinted on my forehead? It’s the Chinese character for ‘forbearance,’ which consists of the character of a knife above that of a heart. Whoever says nasty remarks, I show them forbearance. Whoever prunes me, I show them forbearance. My aim is to stay on good terms with everyone, to keep relations at this level. Don’t stick to principles, don’t be so stupid, don’t be inflexible, you must learn to yield according to the circumstances! Why do you think tortoises live for so long? It’s because they hide inside their shell whenever the going gets tough, is it not? That way they can protect themselves and live for thousands of years. That’s how to live a long life, and also how to deal with the world.” You don’t hear such people utter anything truthful or genuine, and their true viewpoints and the bottom line for their comportment are never revealed. They only think about these things and contemplate them in their heart, but no one else knows about them. This kind of person is outwardly kind to everyone, appears good-natured, and doesn’t hurt or harm anyone. But in fact, what they really are is a fence-straddler and a slippery stone. This kind of person is always liked by some people in the church, because they never make big mistakes, they never give themselves away, and the evaluation from church leaders and brothers and sisters is that they get on just fine with everyone. They are lukewarm about their duty, they do just what is asked of them. They are especially obedient and well-behaved, they never hurt others in conversation or when dealing with matters, and they never take unfair advantage of anyone. They never speak ill of others, and they never judge people behind their backs. However, no one knows whether they are sincere in performing their duty, and no one knows what they think of others or what opinion they hold about them. After careful thought, you even feel that this kind of person really is a bit weird and difficult to fathom, and that keeping them on might lead to trouble. What should you do? It’s a tough call, isn’t it? When they are performing their duty, you can see them going about their business, but they never care about the principles that God’s house has communicated to them. They do things however they like, going through the motions and leaving it at that, trying only to avoid making any big mistakes. Consequently, you can’t find any fault with them, or identify any defects. They do things flawlessly, but what are they thinking inside? Do they want to perform their duty? If there were no church administrative decrees, or supervision from the church leader or their brothers and sisters, might this person associate with evil people? Might they do bad things and commit evil together with evil people? It is highly possible, and they are capable of doing it, but they haven’t done it yet. This kind of person is the most troublesome kind, and they are the archetypal slippery stone or sly old fox. They don’t hold grudges against anyone. If someone says something to hurt them, or reveals a corrupt disposition that infringes on their dignity, what do they think? “I will show forbearance, I won’t hold it against you, but a day will come when you’ll make a fool of yourself!” When that person really is dealt with or makes a fool of themselves, they secretly laugh about it. They readily make fun of other people, leaders, and God’s house, but they don’t make fun of themselves. They just don’t know what problems or flaws they have themselves. People like this are careful not to reveal anything that can hurt others, or anything that enables others to see through them, although they think about these things in their heart. Whereas, when it comes to things that can benumb or mislead others, they freely express them and let people see them. People like this are the most insidious and difficult to deal with. So what attitude does God’s house take toward people like this? Use them if they can be used, and clear them out if they can’t—this is the principle. Why is that? The reason is that people like this are destined not to pursue the truth. They are nonbelievers who make fun of God’s house, brothers and sisters, and leaders when things go wrong. What role do they play? Is it the role of Satan and devils? (Yes.) When they show patience toward their brothers and sisters, it constitutes neither genuine tolerance nor genuine love. They do it to protect themselves and to avoid attracting any enemies or danger their way. They don’t tolerate their brothers and sisters to protect them, nor do they do it out of love, and less still do they do it because they are pursuing the truth and practicing in accordance with the truth principles. Theirs is entirely an attitude that centers on drifting along and misleading others. Such people are fence-straddlers and slippery stones. They don’t like the truth and they don’t pursue it, instead they just drift along. It is clear that the conditioning which such people receive from their family greatly affects the methods by which they comport themselves and deal with things. Of course, it must be said that these methods and principles of dealing with the world are inseparable from their humanity essence. On top of this, the conditioning effects from their family only serve to make their actions even more pronounced and concrete, and reveal their nature essence even more completely. Therefore, when faced with cardinal issues of right and wrong, and in matters that have a bearing on the interests of God’s house, if such people can make some appropriate choices and let go of the philosophies for worldly dealings that they harbor in their hearts, such as “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” in order to uphold the interests of God’s house, reduce their transgressions, and lessen their evil deeds before God—how will this benefit them? At the very least, when in the future God determines each person’s outcome, it will alleviate their punishment and lessen God’s chastening of them. By practicing this way, such people have nothing to lose and everything to gain, do they not? If they are made to entirely let go of their philosophies for worldly dealings, it won’t be easy for them, because it involves their humanity essence, and these slippery stones and fence-straddlers don’t accept the truth at all. It’s not so simple and easy for them to let go of the satanic philosophies conditioned into them by their families, because—even leaving aside these conditioning effects from their families—they themselves are obsessive believers in satanic philosophies, and they like this approach toward dealing with the world, which is a very individual, subjective approach. But if such people are smart—if they let go of some of these practices to appropriately defend the interests of God’s house, as long as their own interests are not threatened or damaged—then that is actually a good thing for them, because at the very least it could alleviate their guilt, lessen God’s chastening of them, and even turn the tables so that instead of chastening them, God rewards and remembers them. How wonderful that would be! Would that not be a good thing? (Yes.) That concludes our fellowship on this aspect.

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