How to Pursue the Truth (21) Part Three

Regarding the matter of staying away from various social forces, aside from the different forces people encounter in their lives, there are also various forces that frequently appear in society: One should stay away from these as well. Whether in life or at work, avoid having any connection or interaction with them. Handle your own life and work, and at the same time don’t be intimidated by the formidable appearance of these forces. While rejecting and distancing yourself from them in your heart, exercise wisdom in handling your relationship with them and keep your distance from them. This is what you should do. Be clear in your heart that you’re only doing this job for your next meal, for your livelihood. Your purpose is simple, to have food and clothing, not to fight them for any particular outcome. Even if they say things to you or speak harshly; even if you are in a country where religious beliefs come under persecution, where Christianity is under persecution, and some people mock your belief, make sarcastic remarks, or spread rumors about it, you can only endure. Protect yourself, remain calm before God, pray frequently to Him, come into His presence regularly, and don’t let the outward enormity or fierceness of these forces intimidate you. Apart from practicing discernment toward them deep in your heart, you must also stay far away from them. Guard your words, be careful how you step, maintain a peaceful coexistence and use wisdom in your dealings with them. Aren’t these the principles of practice you should follow? (Yes.) Of course, whether you want to stay away from them, refuse them, or even despise them in your heart, you should be wise about how you appear on the outside. You shouldn’t let them sense it or see it. Be clear in your heart that you’re only working to make a living, and living among them is a last resort. First, try to stay away from them. When they’re collectively participating in any illegal behavior, you should stay away from and avoid them, and don’t have any share in their crimes. At the same time, protect yourself, and don’t let yourself fall into the awkward situation of being jointly attacked or framed. Is this easy to accomplish? Some people who are young and naive might find it difficult when they first enter this complex social environment. Or perhaps some individuals lack caliber or adaptability, and aren’t very skilled at handling interpersonal relationships, adding some difficulty to this. But in any case, one thing is clear: It is enough for you to use your personal capabilities to finish the work of the task at hand. Don’t offend anyone; don’t be too exacting toward anyone who lacks faith, moral boundaries, conscience, and reason. Do not, because of a single word or incident, preach high principles to them or talk about matters such as faith in God, how to comport oneself, or conscience and human nature. It’s not necessary; save your good advice for those who understand. Don’t even use human speech with those who are no better than beasts, let alone talk about things involving the truth. This is a foolish course of action. If they are a powerful force, then in the way you approach them, while distancing yourself and rejecting them in your heart, outwardly, you should maintain a friendly and harmonious demeanor toward them. Strive to achieve the result of sustaining your own livelihood with food and clothing—that is enough. In such a complex living environment where various forces intertwine, God doesn’t need you to take part in anything to prove that you’re someone who follows God, who pursues the truth, or who is a good and honest person. Instead, He wants you to be harmless as doves and wise as serpents, at every moment to come before God, to calm yourself before Him and pray, to let God protect you, and to accomplish the goal of protecting yourself. What is the specific outcome you should achieve? It should be to avoid being swindled by evil people, to avoid being entangled by diverse forces, and to not become their punching bag, their sacrificial pawn, their scapegoat, or the butt of their jokes. When they find out you believe in God, they’ll laugh at you, saying, “Look, they are a religious believer,” or “See that religious person, their God is like this or that; they’re praying to their God again, and they say that the money they make is given to them by God.” Therefore, don’t engage in faith-related discussions with them. Don’t give them any leverage. You don’t need to invest any of your energy in socializing with them, maintaining a relationship with them, getting them to say how good you are, how good a person you are, or to win their approval. You don’t need these things. Take care of official business in a principled manner; you are an ordinary employee, just another member of the industry. God doesn’t require you to spread His words among them, to fellowship about His truth to them. He asks you to distance yourself from them, to protect yourself, to not get trapped in their quagmire or in any temptations, and especially to not be embroiled in various disputes, in the chaos of their making, in their schemes and traps, or in complicated situations. At all times you should be aware of your purpose in this profession: It’s not about advancement, rising to the top, becoming a person of means, or showcasing your value to society. It’s not about doing anything to impress your leaders or superiors. Your purpose is to earn your daily bread, to earn your livelihood, to be able to survive in this world and this society, and then to have the time and conditions to perform your duty, pursue the truth, and attain salvation. Hence, in any workplace, you don’t need to strive for opportunities for advancement, further education, studies abroad, the high opinion of your superiors, or even the attention of leaders higher up. You don’t need any of that. If you’re trying to survive, to sustain your livelihood, then those things can be relinquished from your life. You need only to protect yourself within the scope of your profession—that is enough. God doesn’t ask you to do much. The principle you ought to observe is to distance yourself from various forces, to avoid placing yourself in the meat grinder or wrecking yourself in a relatively simple environment where you can sustain your livelihood. This is a foolish course of action. You are clearly able to sustain your livelihood through the simplest work methods, yet you are often willing to join in disputes, dip your toes or participate in matters unrelated to your profession and livelihood, which as a result cause you to fall into various complex human affairs, into the complex entanglements and conflicts of various social forces. So you can’t blame God for arranging your circumstances; you have only yourself to blame, your downfall is of your own doing. You frequently say that you are too busy and exhausted at work, and that you lack the time for gathering and performing your duty. No matter the reasons, if you find yourself in such circumstances, you’ll soon be cast out by God’s house. Your hope of salvation will disappear. That was the path you yourself took, the path you chose, and this is the outcome you’ll ultimately receive. If in your environment you practice according to the principles fellowshipped about by God, you protect yourself well, and you can come before God with a quiet heart, then even while balancing work and the performance of your duty, you will still have a chance at salvation. But the precondition for this is that you must distance yourself from various forces in society, calm your heart, and at the same time, within the scope of your abilities and limited means, be able to perform your duty and walk the path of pursuing the truth. That way, no matter how challenging your family environment may be, or how limited your individual means, under God’s preservation, blessings, and guidance, you will ultimately advance step by step along the path of pursuing the truth. Then your hope of salvation will grow stronger. Perhaps due to your personal pursuit, efforts, and paying the price, you will eventually attain salvation. However, some might give up halfway. They see that this life is too monotonous, that they have become isolated by the world, that their lives are solitary and alone, and they feel they have nothing to do if they aren’t mixed up in various disputes, and that they are unable to find their own worth or see their worth and their future. So, they abandon the principles God required of them, opting not to be alone or silent, but to blend in with various forces in society. They quibble over every little detail, join in struggles and entanglements, and quarrel and fight with them. They fall into various disputes, feeling their life has become full, valuable, and happy—they are no longer lonely. What is it that such people have chosen? They’ve chosen the path of neglecting their duties and not pursuing the truth. This is the end: When this point of the road has been reached, there is no longer any hope for salvation. Isn’t that the case? Quite a few people, even after hearing these words, feel good about them and don’t find it too challenging to put them into action. However, having practiced them for a while, they think, “Isn’t living like this too exhausting? People often see me as unconventional, I have no friends, no companions; it’s too lonely, too isolating, and my daily life feels dull. I feel that it’s not really a good or happy life.” They then return once again to their previous life, and such people are cast out. Their hope of salvation disappears. They cannot endure loneliness, nor can they tolerate the hardship of being ridiculed and isolated for living according to God’s requirements in the midst of this group of people. Instead, they enjoy living among various forces fighting against each other, and they assimilate into different forces, get caught up in them, quarrel with them, and struggle against them. Such people, it can be said, do not belong to the chosen ones of God. Even if they feel good after hearing these sermons, they still choose to integrate into various social forces rather than distancing themselves from them. Needless to say, such people are definitely not those for whom salvation is intended. However, if you choose the path of distancing yourself from various forces in society, and under the condition of sustaining your livelihood you perform your duty as a created being, then at the very least, based on this choice, you have a hope for salvation. You possess the basic prerequisites; consequently, this hope for salvation exists.

There used to be someone in the church who somehow became acquainted with a white person whose father was a member of parliament. Actually, being a member of parliament isn’t that great an office, but this guy felt that it was such an honor to be on speaking terms with an overseas parliament member’s son. He thought he was a person with status. Later on, he showed this parliament member’s son around, introducing him to whomever they saw, saying, “This is the parliament member’s son.” I asked, “The parliament member’s son? What level of parliament member is his father? What can he do for you?” He replied, “His dad is a parliament member!” I said, “Does his dad being a parliament member have anything to do with you? You’re not a parliament member, so what’s with the showing off?” That guy was so pleased with himself. Just because he had established a connection with the parliament member’s son, he acted conceited wherever he went, and ignored familiar faces when he saw them on the street. People asked, “Why don’t you greet us?” He responded, “I’m walking with the parliament member’s son!” Can you believe how vain he was? Is this a nonbeliever or isn’t it? (It is.) What’s the ultimate outcome for such people in God’s house? (They will be cast out.) This person must be cleared out of the church, for he is a nonbeliever and an opportunist. Whoever seems to have rank and force, he attaches himself to that person, and if he sees that there is force in God’s house, he attaches himself to it. As a result, after staying in God’s house for a time, he realizes there’s no way to make money here, so he finds a job delivering takeout. But that job doesn’t make him feel dignified enough, and later he curries favor with the parliament member’s son, thinking he has status now and doesn’t need to deliver takeout anymore. Tell Me, isn’t this foolish? Isn’t there a portion of people like this in the church? (Yes.) Some people feel proud just because they know someone with rank or force. They think they have value and are different from the rest. Some people have a small official position and a little force to go with it, yet they believe they are different from others in the church and should have the final say. Aren’t these people nonbelievers? (Yes.) Then there are those who lack real influence, but they brag all the time, saying, “I know the president!” or, “I know the friend of the president’s secretary’s cousin!” You see, they make such convoluted associations and still have the audacity to say such things. Why are they so thick-skinned? Their story is so convoluted that no one knows who they’re really talking about, and others are too uninterested to listen, because they don’t care about these things. Only these individuals consider such matters to be the most important, the most significant, and the most impressive. Some people often say they are acquainted with ministers, directors or high officials. Some even go so far as to claim, “I know people on both sides, in law-abiding society and in the underworld; I walk both paths as easily as if on flat ground.” Others might say, “I know the county chief’s sister-in-law.” And there are those who assert, “I know the mayor’s mother’s friend from church.” They use these as bragging rights. What’s the use of knowing these people? Can they help you achieve anything? Even if you’re a mayor, a director, a provincial governor, or even the governor’s mother or father, does your status have any application in the church? (It doesn’t.) Are mayors, governors, and such not part of the human race? Can they become greater than God? Isn’t the fact that these nonbelievers value such forces disgusting? (It is disgusting.) Some people even claim to know the police chief, and others say, “I used to be a community police officer and a station chief at the local station,” while others say, “I used to be a neighborhood office director and wore the red armband.” How do you feel when you hear them talk about these so-called forces? Some nonbelievers, those who don’t pursue the truth and are believers in name only, are so stupid they do not know if what those people are saying is true or not, so they take it as factual and hold them in high esteem. But for those who pursue the truth, what do they think in their hearts when they hear these things? What is their evaluation of those people? At first glance they can tell that they’re a nonbeliever, that all they talk about is various worldly forces and matters, and that they’ve come into God’s house to show these things off. Don’t even talk about the fact that they know the distant relatives of some official or celebrity; even if they are one themselves, in the house of God, they are worth nothing, their titles and positions are worth nothing, so what are they showing off? Do they possess the truth? Are they doing their duty according to principles? They’re nothing, yet they have the gall to show off! Isn’t this shameless? Isn’t it nauseating? (It is.) How nauseating is it? Having contacts on both sides of the law is something they’ll even brag about—are people who brag about this stupid? Aren’t they foolish? (Yes.) They’re not even afraid of getting themselves into trouble. Associating with both sides of the law: Isn’t someone like this a thug? Thugs and slick operators are not valued in the house of God; they belong to the nonbelievers and should be expelled! Yet they still use this as bragging rights. Isn’t this dim-witted? Is this something to be proud of? They even boast about it! Some people wear large gold chains on their wrists and, when they’re drunk, show them off to people, saying, “My ancestors were tomb raiders, and their skills in this have been passed down in my family for generations. Look at this big chain on my wrist, I found it in some grand tomb late one night on such-and-such date and took it for myself. How about that? Impressive, huh?” Some people hear this and report them, and they’re arrested without even realizing what law they’ve broken. People ask them, “Is that gold chain on your wrist from this era? It’s an artifact!” They stupidly incriminate themselves. Don’t boast blindly about things that never happened; be careful you don’t attract the police and get into trouble. It’s easy to get into trouble boasting about things; if you play with fire you’re likely to get burned, and you’ll end up destroying yourself—that’s your own doing. You don’t even know what to say, you can’t make heads or tails of it—isn’t this dim-witted? (Yes.) If you boast about being able to eat twenty buns in one sitting, that’s fine; it’s not a matter of breaking principle. At most, people will just think you’re foolish and won’t take you seriously, but it’s not against the law. The principle of staying away from various social forces is essentially about needing to have wisdom in every corner of society and in whatever group you find yourself. It’s like what God said during the Age of Grace, “Be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Protect yourself well; as long as you can sustain your livelihood, that’s enough. Don’t make an attempt or have delusions about taking advantage of social forces to establish yourself in society, becoming part of them, gaining their recognition and admittance. These are foolish ideas and decadent thoughts. Humans’ perspectives should be corrected. No matter the social environment or community they find themselves in, if they follow God’s way, it will lead to being rejected by society or by humanity. But as long as God gives you breath, you won’t be left without a way to survive. You must have that kind of confidence. People’s lives do not depend on various forces to ensure their safety, livelihoods, future, or everything they own. They rely on a single word from God, on His ordainment, guidance, and protection—this confidence is a must for you. Therefore, to survive in society, your fundamental means of survival should be to choose a profession to sustain your livelihood, rather than relying on any kind of force. Relying on a profession to support oneself: This principle is that people, under God’s guidance and ordainment, enjoy everything that God has given them, including material possessions and money—not relying on alms or distribution from various social forces to satisfy their individual livelihood. The material things and money you rely on every day you survive, much like the breath you take, all come from God, are given by Him, and no one can take away what God has given you. Material things, anything external to your body, like your breath, aren’t granted to you by anyone else’s alms-giving, and of course, no one can take them away. If God has given them to you, no one can take them away. We can see this fact in Job’s experiences, and you should have this confidence. With this genuine confidence, you’ll have the foundational basis and motivation to uphold the principle of staying away from various social forces. Then, on this foundation, your body and mind can be calm before God, you can come before Him and offer your body, mind, and spirit, fulfill your duty, pursue the truth, and obtain the beautiful result of salvation. You should possess this knowledge and understand these truths. Therefore, while the phrase “stay away from various social forces” might sound easy, when facing matters you must weigh your decisions based on various principles and real situations. In short, the ultimate goal is not to simply distance yourself and break away from them, but to use the method and path of practice of staying away from various social forces to achieve being calm before God, to offer your body and mind to Him, and to come before God, embark on the path of pursuing the truth and ultimately attain hope for salvation and the realization of your desires. Consequently, to achieve this final salvation, you must follow the principle of staying away from various social forces. This is a necessary path, one of the crucial paths to attaining salvation. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) The principle of staying away from various social forces has been fellowshipped about clearly. Is there anything about this principle that remains unclear for you? When it comes to certain special situations, do you know how to approach them? If joining a certain force is merely a formality or a necessity of a certain profession, does this go against the principle of staying away from various social forces? If it’s only a necessity or formality within your profession, then it’s acceptable. The forces we speak of have no relation to this, to superficial organizations or groups; here we are discussing forces. What does “forces” refer to? It refers to authorities, strength in groups, and the strength with which these things operate or even run amok in society, isn’t that so? (Yes.) If you’ve understood this principle of practice, let’s move on to fellowshipping about the next one.

The fourth principle is to stay away from politics. Politics is a sensitive topic. Thirty years ago, discussing certain such-and-such leaders, policies, or current political affairs, even within the church, would draw criticism from a number of people. Many would find an excuse to leave as soon as politics were brought up, and dared not to discuss such topics, saying, “Bringing up politics means you are against the party and the nation; you’re a counter-revolutionary and you’ll get arrested. If it weren’t for the sake of fellow brothers and sisters, I would report you.” Back then, people were particularly sensitive about politics. Is it still the same now? If politics are discussed or exposed within the church, if the great red dragon and Satan are revealed, or topics that seem political are brought up, do most people still hold this attitude? Hasn’t there been some change? (Yes.) In past gatherings, when we talked about things like which demon was opposing God or persecuting Christians, some people would cough, as if something was stuck in their throat, and they would go outside to clear their throats. After a while, they would listen for a bit and think to themselves, “Oh, the counter-revolutionary talk has stopped,” and they would come back. But when they came back and saw that you were still discussing it, they would start coughing again and leave. I wondered, why do they keep coughing? We were discussing how to discern Satan, and revealing its essence and its vile face. Is this a political discussion? (No.) Some foolish people, those so-called spiritual people who lack spiritual understanding, strongly resisted these topics. They couldn’t differentiate between the truth and actual political involvement or understand what the Communist Party meant by “counter-revolutionaries.” They were ignorant, brainwashed by the Communist Party, and afraid that they themselves might also be considered counter-revolutionaries. They didn’t dare discuss or mention the topic of exposing the great red dragon. Is exposing the great red dragon participating in politics? Is rebelling against the great red dragon counter-revolutionary? (No, it isn’t.) Right now you dare to say it’s not, but would you dare to say the same thing in mainland China? Are those who follow God political criminals who act against the party and the state? (No.) Why do you say no? What is a political criminal? Have you participated in politics? (We have not.) If you haven’t participated in politics, then how did you become a political criminal? (The label is applied by the great red dragon.) If you participate in theft, you’re a thief. If you participate in murder, you’re a murderer. If you participate in a robbery, you’re a robber. On what basis are these charges established? It’s when you engage in these criminal activities that the charges are established, and you become the perpetrator of that criminal behavior. But if you didn’t participate, this crime and this charge have nothing to do with you. If you don’t follow Satan or the party, if you oppose the Communist Party, oppose the great red dragon, and hate the great red dragon, and if you follow God, are you participating in politics? (No.) Then if they convict you of being a counter-revolutionary or a political criminal, does that charge hold? (No, it doesn’t.) It doesn’t hold; that is absurd. It’s like a farmer who doesn’t have a profession, who just farms a bit of land, harvests crops, and goes to the market to sell them. Then someone with a red sleeve badge sees him and says, “Hey, do you have a work permit? Do you have a health certificate?” The farmer says, “Where would I get a work permit? I don’t have a profession, I’m not employed, why would I need a work permit?” The farmer doesn’t have a position or profession, yet he’s asked for his work permit just to sell something—isn’t that absurd? When you believe in God and follow Him, the great red dragon accuses you of participating in politics. Which article of the national constitution did you help formulate? Which political movement did you help plan? What level of government official are you? Did you participate in internal dissension at any level of government? Which national congress meetings or state conferences did you participate in? (None.) You don’t even have access to information, let alone participating in politics, yet in the end you have been convicted as a political criminal—isn’t this a trumped-up charge? Tell Me, isn’t this country absurd? (Yes, it is.) Some people are still stupid. They think, “Oh no, being convicted as a political criminal or counter-revolutionary is a huge disgrace to believers in God!” Isn’t that foolish? There are even some people who, having been convicted as counter-revolutionaries or political criminals for believing in God and sentenced to 15 or 20 years in prison, upon their release feel that it is a disgraceful affair. They think they can’t show their face to anyone, including classmates, friends, and family. Especially when people are pointing fingers and whispering behind their backs, they feel they’ve done something shameful. Isn’t that foolish? (Yes.) This era rejects you, and the great red dragon persecutes you—are they just? If all of humanity rises up to persecute you, does that mean the truth isn’t the truth anymore? The truth is always the truth, no matter how many people rise to oppose it. The essence of the truth remains unchanged, just as the evil essence of Satan remains unchanged. Even if nobody recognizes or accepts the truth, it is still the truth, and this fact will never change. Should all of humanity rise up against God and refuse to accept His words, it would show that humanity is still evil. Satan’s force of evil cannot become righteousness just because there are many people or great forces behind it. A lie repeated ten thousand times becomes the truth; that is Satan’s fallacy, Satan’s logic, not the truth. If believers experience rejection from the whole world, and persecution and defamation from the great red dragon, should they feel ashamed? (No.) They should not feel ashamed. When you suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake, it proves that this world is truly evil, and it confirms God’s words: The entire world lies in the power of the evil one. When you are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, no matter how proper your path and just your actions may be, no one will stand up and applaud you. Instead, for any dirty deals that people in this world make, as long as they package them up and promote them, when they’re presented to the public, they become positive things. Those people are the evil ones; their deeds are all dirty tricks.

Let’s continue fellowshipping about this matter of staying away from politics. What is politics? You need to know what politics is before you can understand how to distance yourself from it. What is politics? At its most basic level, it involves a desire to hold office and to have a career as an official. This is one area of politics. Politics means holding office and having a career as an official. From high-ranking to low-ranking officials, from small department heads and section chiefs in government offices, to party branch secretaries and party committee secretaries, to directors, bureau chiefs, ministers, and heads at various levels—all of these fall under the category of politics. What does politics refer to? The most straightforward way to put it is that it is force and authority, it is a symbol for a type of authority in society. This is one facet of politics. What else falls under politics? (God, isn’t politics also about the struggle to seize, establish, or consolidate the political power of the state?) Personnel conflicts and power struggles all belong to politics. What else is there? The schemes, strategies, and methods used in these struggles, as well as various elections, campaigns, and publicity efforts related to politics and power—all these fall under politics. This is the most straightforward understanding of politics that we can have. Drawing closer to the organization and to the party, and striving for progress—isn’t this what politics are to ordinary people? They call this “A small person who can see the big picture.” You see, although their position is lowly, they have a broad perspective. So they get close to the organization and to the party, striving for progress. They start by joining the Communist Youth League, then the Communist Party. Gradually, they draw closer to the party, listening to the party’s instructions, following its guiding policies, and orientation. They strictly adhere to the guidelines indicated by the party, implementing them and fully embodying the qualities of a party member. They speak and act for the party, safeguard the party’s interests, its rule, its status, and its image in the minds of the people. They safeguard everything for the party. Isn’t this all a part of politics? (Yes.) You safeguard the organization, that organization being the party. Regardless of which political party or which organization formed by the party it is, as soon as you start participating, you’re taking part in politics. Have any of you participated? (No.) Then you can rest assured; you aren’t a political criminal, neither do you have the qualifications to call yourself one. At the very least, a political criminal would have to go overseas and establish a human rights organization or group, engage in various human rights activities, oppose the current government’s policies and rule, as well as various actions taken by the government. Additionally, they need to establish regulations, systems, rules, and a constitution, along with various clauses that members of the organization must adhere to. It must be organized and disciplined, with leaders up high and working members below, forming a complete and systematic organizational structure from top to bottom. Only then can it be called a political group, and only activities conducted within that political group can be considered participating in politics. Have any of you participated in this? If not, do you have any intention of participating, or do you plan to join a political party and at least hold a position like a legislator or an advisor? Is there anyone who fits this description? If you have such plans, it means you’re already involved in politics; even if you haven’t participated yet, you already have the intention to do so. But if you don’t have such an intention, that’s quite good. Does participating in election voting as a citizen count as being involved in politics? If a country’s system is based on freedom and democracy, and citizens have the right to vote, does casting a vote for candidate so-and-so count as participating in politics? (No, it doesn’t.) It doesn’t, this is the policy and system of that country, where people have the right to vote. This doesn’t count as participating in politics. You’re just expressing your personal preference by selecting a certain person, but you aren’t getting involved in their political power struggle. No political activities have any relation to you. You’re simply casting a vote for so-and-so as a citizen of that country. This action is just a straightforward exercise of your citizen’s rights and isn’t a form of political activity or behavior.

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