How to Pursue the Truth (14) Part Three

Some parents often nag their daughters, saying, “As a woman, you should follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog. If you marry into a cock family, you must act like a cock; if you marry into a dog family, you must act like a dog.” The implication is that you shouldn’t strive to be a good human being but rather resign yourself to being like a cock or a dog. Is this a good path? Clearly, upon hearing it anyone would discern that it’s not, right? The phrase “follow the man you marry” is definitely directed at women—their fate is just that tragic. Under the influence and conditioning of family, women abandon themselves to depravity: They really do follow a cock if they marry a cock or a dog if they marry a dog, without striving to walk a good path, doing whatever their parents tell them to do. Although your parents instill this thought, you should discern whether such a thought is right or wrong, beneficial or harmful to how you comport yourself. Of course, we already fellowshipped on this aspect within the topic of letting go of marriage, so we won’t dissect and analyze them specifically here. In short, all these erroneous, distorted, superficial, foolish, and even wicked and degenerate thoughts and viewpoints from parents are what you should let go of. Especially sayings like “Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog,” which we just discussed, and “Marry a man for clothing and food”—you should discern these statements, and not be misguided by such thoughts instilled by your parents, believing that “I’m sold to the man that I marry: He’s my master, I should be whoever he wants me to be and do everything he says, and my fate is tied to him. Once we get married, both of us are bound together like two grasshoppers tied to one rope. If he prospers, so do I; if he doesn’t prosper, neither do I. Therefore, my parents’ saying, ‘Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog’ will always be right. Women shouldn’t be independent or have any pursuits, and they certainly shouldn’t have any ideas or wishes about setting the right outlook on life and walking the right path in life. They should just obediently follow the words of their parents, ‘Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog.’” Is this the right thought to have? (No.) Why is it wrong? “Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog”—there is another phrase with similar meaning, that is, “Two grasshoppers tied to one rope,” which means that once you marry him, your fate is tied to his. If he prospers, so do you; if he doesn’t prosper, neither do you. Is that the case? (No.) Let’s first discuss the saying “If he prospers, so do you.” Is this a fact? (No.) Can anyone give a counter-example to refute this matter? Can’t think of one? Let Me provide an example. For instance, when a certain woman marries a man, she becomes hell-bent on following him. This is like what women tend to say, “From this day forth, I belong to you,” implying that “I’m sold to you, and my destiny is tied to yours.” Leaving out the woman abandoning herself to depravity, let’s focus for now on whether the phrase “If he prospers, so do you” is correct or not. Is it true that if he prospers, you will automatically prosper too? Suppose he starts a business and finds himself in a predicament, facing numerous challenges, encountering difficulties everywhere, lacking funds, connections, a suitable location to open a shop, a market in which to do business, and people to help. You, as his wife, are hell-bent on following him; regardless of what he does, you never detest him, but support him unconditionally. As time goes on, his business thrives, opening one store after another, yielding increasingly better economic benefits and greater income. Your husband becomes a boss, and from a boss he turns into a wealthy tycoon. He’s prospering, isn’t he? As the saying goes, “Any man with money turns bad,” which of course is a fact of this society and of this evil world. Once your husband becomes a boss and eventually a tycoon, how easy is it for him to become corrupted? It happens in a matter of moments. After he becomes a boss and starts prospering, your good days will have come to an end. Why? Your worries will start creeping in, “Does he have another woman on the outside? Will he cheat on me? Is someone seducing him? Will he grow tired of me? Will he fall out of love?” Have your good days ended? After all these years of sharing hardship with him, you feel miserable and tired. Your living conditions have been poor, your health has deteriorated, and you’ve lost your looks. You’ve become a sallow-faced old woman. In his eyes, you may no longer have the charm of the young lady he once fell for. He might think, “Now that I am wealthy and influential, I can find someone better.” As he grows distant, he starts to have active thoughts, he starts to change. Aren’t you in danger then? He becomes a big boss, while you are a sallow-faced old lady—isn’t there a kind of disparity and inequality between you? During these times, aren’t you unworthy of him? Doesn’t he feel that he’s above your station? Doesn’t he detest you more and more? If so, your difficult days are just starting. Eventually, he may act upon his wishes and find another woman, and spend less and less time at home. When he does return, it’s mostly to argue with you, and he slams the door and leaves right after, sometimes going days without any contact. The best you can hope for, considering your past relationship, is that he might give you money and provide for your daily needs. If you really make a fuss, he might even withhold your living expenses. So, how is it? Just because he begins to prosper, has your fate improved at all? Are you happier or unhappier? (Unhappier.) You’re unhappier. Your days of misfortune have arrived. When faced with such situations, most of the time women will cry their hearts out, and due to what their parents told them: “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public,” they will bear with it, thinking, “I’ll endure it until my son grows up and can back me up. Then I’ll get rid of my husband!” Some women are fortunate enough to see the day their son becomes their pillar of strength, while others don’t get that far. When their son is still young, the husband decides to keep the child and tell his wife, “Get going, you sallow-faced old woman!” and she might be taken for a beggar and thrown out of her own home. So, when he’s prospering, do you necessarily prosper as well? Are your fates really tied together? (No.) If his business continually struggles or goes contrary to his wishes, then while he needs your support, encouragement, companionship, and care, and lacks the qualification and opportunity to become corrupted, he might still cherish you. While he isn’t prospering, you might feel safer and have somebody to accompany you, and will be able to experience the warmth and happiness of marriage. Because when he’s not prospering, no one on the outside pays attention to or values him, and you become the only person he can rely on, he treasures you. In that case, you will feel secure and relatively better and happier. But if he prospers and spreads his wings, then he will fly, but will he take you along? Is the saying from parents, “Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog,” correct? (No, it isn’t.) This clearly pushes women into an abyss of suffering. How about the principle, “I’ll follow him if he walks the right path, and if he doesn’t, I’ll leave him”? This principle is also mistaken. Marrying him doesn’t mean you’ve sold yourself to him, nor should you treat him as an outsider. It’s enough for you to fulfill your responsibilities in the marriage. If things work out, great; if not, part ways. You’ve fulfilled your obligations with a clear conscience. If he needs you to fulfill your responsibilities in accompanying him, do so; if not, part ways. That’s the principle. The phrase “Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog” is nonsense—it’s harmful. Why is it nonsense? It lacks principles: Regardless of what kind of person a man is, you follow him indiscriminately. If you follow a good man, then life might be worthwhile. But if you follow a bad man, aren’t you dooming yourself? Thus, no matter what kind of person he is, you should have an accurate stance on marriage. You need to understand that only the truth offers genuine protection and provides a path and principles for a dignified life. What parents offer are just small pieces of experience or strategies based on their affections or self-interests. Such advice can’t protect you at all, nor can it provide you with the right principles for practice. Take the saying, “Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog,” for example. It can only lead you to become ignorant about marriage, making you lose your dignity and the opportunity to choose the right life path. More importantly, it may also make you lose the chance of salvation. So, no matter the intent behind parents’ words, whether out of concern, protection, affection, self-interest, or any other motive, you should be discerning of their various sayings. Even if their initial intention is for your well-being and protection, you shouldn’t accept them carelessly and foolishly. Instead, you should discern them and then find accurate principles for practice based on God’s words, not practicing or comporting yourself according to their words. Especially “Marry a man for clothing and food,” which previous generations often said—that is even more mistaken. Do women lack hands or feet? Can they not earn their own living or what? Why must they rely on men for clothing and food? Are women simple-minded? Compared to men, what do women lack? (Nothing at all.) That’s right, they lack nothing. Women have the ability to exist independently, which is bestowed on them by God. Since women have the ability to live independently, why should they rely on men for sustenance? Isn’t this an erroneous thought? (Yes.) This is the instilling of an erroneous thought. Women should not devalue or degrade themselves because of this saying, depending on men for their basic needs. Of course, it’s the man’s obligation to provide all the living expenses for his wife and family, ensuring his woman has enough to eat and wear. However, women should not marry solely for food and clothing or harbor such thoughts and viewpoints. Since you have the ability to live independently, why would you rely on a man for basic needs? Isn’t this, to some extent, due to the influence of their parents and the conditioning of family thoughts? If a woman receives this conditioning of family education, then she is either lazy, not wanting to do anything but just wishing to rely on someone else for issues of food and clothing, or she’s accepted her parents’ thoughts, believing women are worthless and they cannot and should not resolve these issues of food and clothing themselves, but should just rely on men for them. Isn’t this abandoning herself to depravity? (Yes.) Why is it wrong to adopt such thoughts and viewpoints? What do they impact? Why should one let go of such degraded thoughts? If a man provides for your food and clothing, and then you see him as your master, your superior, the one in charge of everything, wouldn’t you consult him for every big or small matter? (Yes.) For instance, if you believe in God, you might think, “I’ll ask the one in charge if I’m allowed to believe in God; if he says yes, I’ll believe, if not, then I won’t.” Even when God’s house asks people to do their duties, you still have to ask for his approval; if he’s happy and agrees, you can do your duty, but if not, you can’t. As a believer in God, whether or not you can follow Him is subject to your husband’s attitude and treatment of you. Can your husband discern whether this way is true or false? Will listening to him ensure salvation and entry into the kingdom of heaven? If your husband is wise and can hear God’s voice, if he is one of God’s sheep, then you may benefit along with him, but you are merely benefiting along with him. However, if he’s a rogue and an antichrist and cannot comprehend the truth, what will you do? Will you still believe? Don’t you have ears or a brain? Can’t you listen to God’s words? After hearing them, can’t you discern for yourself? Can your husband determine your fate? Does he control and orchestrate your destiny? Have you sold yourself to him? Everyone is clear about these doctrines, but when it comes to certain problems involving principles, people tend to unconsciously be influenced by their family’s conditioning of these thoughts and viewpoints. When these thoughts and viewpoints influence you, you often make incorrect judgments, and guided by the thoughts behind these erroneous judgments, you make the wrong choices, which then lead you down the wrong path, ultimately leading to ruin. You missed the opportunity to do your duty, the chance to gain the truth, and the opportunity for salvation. What led to your demise? On the surface, it seems you were misled and influenced by a man, ruined by him. But in reality, it was your own deep-rooted thought that led to your demise. That is to say, the root cause of this outcome is the thought of “Follow the man you marry, whether he be a cock or a dog.” Therefore, letting go of this thought is crucial.

Now, looking back at the thoughts and viewpoints from parents and families we fellowshipped about that involve principles and strategies for dealing with the world, game rules, the ways of the world, race, males and females, marriage, and so on—is there any among these that is positive? Is there any that can guide you to some extent down the path of pursuing the truth? (No.) Not a single one helps you become a true or qualified created being. On the contrary, each one of them harms you deeply, corrupting you through the conditioning of such thoughts and viewpoints, leading to people today being bound, controlled, influenced, and troubled by various fallacious thoughts and viewpoints in their innermost being. While deep in people’s hearts, the family is a place of warmth, a place filled with childhood memories and a haven for the soul, the various negative influences family gives people should not be underestimated. The warmth of family cannot dissolve these wrong thoughts. The warmth of family and the beautiful memories it brings only provide some solace and satisfaction at the level of physical affection. However, regarding things like how to comport oneself and deal with the world, the path one should take, or what kind of outlook on life and values to establish, family conditioning is entirely detrimental. From this perspective, even before entering society, one has already been corrupted by various thoughts and viewpoints in their family—they have already undergone the conditioning, control, and influence of various erroneous thoughts and viewpoints. One can say that the family is the place where all erroneous thoughts and viewpoints are first received and the place where these begin to be brought into play and freely applied. Families play this type of role in everyone’s life and their everyday life. Our fellowship on this subject matter isn’t about asking people to let go of family in terms of affection or formally break away or sever ties with their family. It’s merely about requiring people to specifically recognize, discern, and of course, more accurately and practically let go of the various erroneous thoughts and viewpoints instilled by their family. This is the specific practice one who pursues the truth should adopt when addressing family-related topics.

There are many more topics related to family. Isn’t it true that these sayings which family conditions into people, the ones we’ve fellowshipped on, are quite common? (Yes, it is.) We often hear them spoken among families—if not in one family, then in another. Aren’t these sayings widespread and representative? The vast majority of families have instilled these thoughts and viewpoints to varying degrees. Every saying we’ve fellowshipped on appears in different ways in the majority of families and is instilled at various stages of a person’s growth. From the day one is instilled with these thoughts, they begin to accept them, gaining a certain awareness and acceptance toward them, and then, without the ability to defend themselves, they adopt these thoughts and viewpoints as their strategies and ways of dealing with the world in order to live and survive in the future. Of course, many also take them as their baseline to gain a foothold in society. Thus, these thoughts and viewpoints not only pervade people’s daily lives but also their inner world and the various problems they encounter on their path of survival. When different issues arise, the various thoughts and viewpoints stored within people’s hearts guide how people handle these matters; when these different issues arise, they are dominated and governed by different thoughts and viewpoints, as well as principles and strategies for dealing with the world. People can deftly apply these erroneous thoughts and viewpoints in real life. Under the guidance of various wrong thoughts and viewpoints, they naturally tread an incorrect path. As their actions, behavior, lives, and existence are dictated by wrong thoughts, it’s inevitable that the paths they take in life are also misguided. Since the root of their guiding thoughts is wrong, their path is naturally wrong. The direction of their path is skewed, making the eventual outcome quite clear. People, conditioned by the various thoughts of their family, take the wrong path, and then they are led astray by this wrong path. Consequently, they are headed toward hell, toward destruction. In the end, the root cause of their doom lies in the various wrong thoughts conditioned by their families. Given the severe consequences, people should let go of the conditioning of various thoughts their family gave to them. At present, the influence of the conditioning of various erroneous thoughts on people is to prevent them from accepting the truth. Guided by these wrong thoughts and due to their existence, people often can’t comprehend the truth and even reject and resist it in their hearts. Even worse, of course, some people might make the decision to betray God. This is how it is now, but looking long-term, under the circumstances that people cannot accept the truth or they betray the truth, these erroneous thoughts lead them to walk a misguided path in opposition to the truth, betraying and rejecting God. Under the guidance of such an erroneous path, even if they appear to listen to God speaking and accept His work, they ultimately cannot be truly saved due to the wrong path they’re on. It’s truly regrettable. Therefore, given that the influence of your family can lead to such severe consequences, one shouldn’t trivialize these thoughts. If you have been conditioned by corresponding wrong thoughts from your family on different issues, then you should examine and let go of them—do not hold onto them any longer. No matter the thought, if it is wrong and goes against the truth, the only correct path you should choose is to let it go. The accurate practice of letting go is this: The criteria or basis on which you view, do, or handle this matter should no longer be the erroneous thoughts instilled by your family, but should be based on God’s words instead. Although this process may require you to pay some price, making you feel like you are acting against your will, that you are losing face, and may even result in suffering a loss to your fleshly interests, no matter what you face, you should persistently align your practice with God’s words and the principles He tells you, and you shouldn’t give up. The process of this transformation will surely be challenging, it won’t be smooth sailing. Why won’t it be smooth? It’s a contest between negative and positive things, a contest between evil thoughts from Satan and the truth, and also a contest between your will and desire to accept the truth and positive things versus the erroneous thoughts and viewpoints in your heart. Since there is a contest, one may suffer and should pay a price—this is what you must do. If someone wants to walk the path of pursuing the truth and attain salvation, they must accept these facts and experience these contests. Of course, during these contests, you will definitely pay some price, suffer some pain, and give up certain things. Regardless of what the process looks like, ultimately being able to achieve fearing God and shunning evil, gaining the truth, and attaining salvation—that is the ultimate goal. Thus, any price paid for this goal is worth it because it’s the most correct goal and is what you should pursue to become a qualified created being. To achieve this goal, regardless of how much effort or price you must pay, you shouldn’t compromise, evade, or be afraid, because as long as you pursue the truth and aim to fear God, shun evil, and be saved, then when you face any contest or battle, you’re not alone. God’s words will accompany you; you have God and His words as your support, so you shouldn’t be afraid, right? (Yes.) So, from these few points, whether it’s wrong thought conditioning from family or from any other source, one should choose to let it go. For instance, as we just fellowshipped, your family often tells you, “One should never intend to do harm to others, but should always guard against the harm others might do to him.” In reality, the practice of letting go of this thought is simple: Just act according to the principles God tells people. “The principles God tells people”—this phrase is quite broad. How is it specifically practiced? You don’t need to dissect whether you have an intention to do harm to others, nor do you need to guard yourself against others. So, what should you do? In one respect, you should be able to properly maintain harmonious relationships with others; in another, when dealing with various people, you should use God’s words as a basis and the truth as a criterion to discern what kind of person they are, and then treat them based on the corresponding principles. It’s that simple. If they are brothers and sisters, treat them as such; if they are earnest in their pursuit, and make sacrifices and expend themselves, then treat them as brothers and sisters who sincerely perform their duty. If they are nonbelievers, unwilling to perform their duty, just wishing to live their lives, then you shouldn’t treat them as brothers and sisters but as unbelievers. When you view people, you should look at what type of person they are, their disposition, humanity, and their attitude toward God and the truth. If they can accept the truth and are willing to practice it, treat them as true brothers and sisters, as family. If their humanity is bad, and they only pay lip service to willingly practicing the truth, having the ability to discuss doctrine but never practicing the truth, then treat them as mere service-doers, not as family. What do these principles tell you? They tell you the principle with which to treat different types of people—this is a principle we have often discussed, that is, treating people with wisdom. Wisdom is a general term, but specifically, it means having distinct methods and principles for dealing with different types of people—all based on the truth, not on personal feelings, personal preferences, personal views, on the advantages and disadvantages they present for you, or on their age, but solely on God’s words. Therefore, in dealing with people, you don’t need to examine whether you have an intention to do harm to others or guard yourself against others. If you treat people with the principles and methods God has given you, all temptations will be avoided, and you won’t fall into any temptations or conflicts. It’s that simple. This principle is also appropriate when dealing with the world of unbelievers. When you see someone, you will think, “He is evil, a devil, a demon, a thug, or a rogue. I don’t need to guard against him; I won’t pay attention to him or provoke him. If work necessitates interaction, then I’ll handle it in an official and impartial manner. If it’s unnecessary, I’ll avoid contact or association, and neither will I defend him nor fawn over him. He won’t be able to find fault with me. If he wants to bully me, I have God. I’ll rely on God. If God allows him to bully me, I’ll accept this and submit. If God doesn’t allow it, he won’t be able to harm a hair on my head.” Isn’t this genuine faith? (Yes.) You must have this genuine faith and not be afraid of him. Don’t say he’s just a local thug or a small fry: Even when facing the great red dragon, we abide by this principle. If the great red dragon forbids you from believing in God, do you reason with it? Do you preach to it? (No.) Why not? (Preaching to it is pointless.) It is a devil, not worthy of listening to sermons. Pearls must not be cast before swine. The truth isn’t spoken for beasts or devils; it’s meant for humans. Even if the devils or beasts could understand, it wouldn’t be preached to them. They aren’t deserving! How’s this principle? (Good.) How do you treat those with bad humanity, the evil, the muddled, and the unreasoning bullies in the church, or those in society with some power, who come from big families, or possess some prominence? Treat them as they should be treated. If they’re brothers and sisters, associate with them. If not, ignore them and treat them as nonbelievers. If they fit the principles for sharing the gospel, share it with them. If they aren’t the object of the gospel, don’t meet or associate with them in this lifetime. It’s that simple. With devils and Satans, there’s no need for guarding yourself, framing a case against them, or for revenge. Just ignore them. Don’t provoke them, and don’t associate with them. If, for some reason, interacting or dealing with them is unavoidable, then deal with matters in an official and impartial manner and based on principles. It’s that simple. The principles and methods God teaches for people to act and behave help you comport yourself with dignity, allowing you to live with increasing human likeness. Whereas the way your parents teach you, while appearing on the surface to protect you and look out for you, actually misleads you and pushes you into an abyss of suffering. What they teach isn’t the right way or a wise approach to comport oneself, but a sly and despicable way that’s contradictory and unrelated to the truth. So, if you only accept the thoughts conditioned into you by your parents, it becomes hard and laborious for you to accept the truth, and practicing the truth becomes challenging. However, if you genuinely have the heart to let go of the thoughts concerning self-comportment and principles for dealing with the world that come from your family, accepting the truth becomes easier, and so does practicing it.

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