How to Pursue the Truth (3) Part Four

Apart from nonbelievers, there are also elderly people among brothers and sisters, who are aged from 60 up to around 80 or 90 and who, because of their advanced age, also experience some difficulties. Despite their age, their thinking is not necessarily so correct or rational, and their ideas and views do not necessarily accord with the truth. These elderly people have problems just the same, and they’re always worrying, “My health isn’t so good anymore and I’m limited as to what duty I can perform. If I just perform this little duty, will God remember me? Sometimes I get sick, and I need someone to look after me. When there’s no one to look after me, I’m not able to perform my duty, so what can I do? I’m old and I don’t remember God’s words when I read them and it’s hard for me to understand the truth. When fellowshipping on the truth, I speak in a muddled and illogical way, and I haven’t any experiences worth sharing. I’m old and I don’t have enough energy, my eyesight isn’t very good and I’m not strong anymore. Everything is difficult for me. Not only can I not perform my duty, but I easily forget things and get things wrong. Sometimes I get confused and I cause problems for the church and for my brothers and sisters. I want to attain salvation and pursue the truth but it’s very hard. What can I do?” When they think of these things, they begin to fret, thinking, “How come I only started believing in God at this age? How come I’m not like those who are in their 20s and 30s, or even those in their 40s and 50s? How come I only came across God’s work now when I’m so old? It’s not that my fate is bad; at least now I’ve encountered God’s work. My fate is good, and God has been kind to me! There’s just one thing that I’m not happy about, and that is that I’m too old. My memory isn’t very good, and my health isn’t that great, but I have a strong heart. It’s just that my body doesn’t obey me, and I get sleepy after listening for a while at gatherings. Sometimes I close my eyes to pray and fall asleep, and my mind wanders when I read God’s words. After reading for a bit, I get sleepy and doze off, and the words don’t sink in. What can I do? With such practical difficulties, am I still able to pursue and understand the truth? If not, and if I’m not able to practice in line with the truth principles, then won’t all my faith be in vain? Won’t I fail to attain salvation? What can I do? I’m so worried! At this age, nothing is important anymore. Now that I believe in God, I have no more worries or anything to feel anxious about, and my children are grown and they don’t need me to look after or raise them anymore, my greatest wish in life is to pursue the truth, perform the duty of a created being, and ultimately attain salvation in the years I have left. However, looking now at my actual situation, dim-sighted from age and confused in mind, in poor health, not able to perform my duty well, and sometimes creating problems when I try to do as much as I can do, it seems as though attaining salvation isn’t going to be easy for me.” They think these things over and over and grow anxious, and then think, “It seems as though good things only ever happen to young people and not to old people. It looks as though no matter how good things are, I won’t be able to enjoy them anymore.” The more they think about these things, the more they fret and the more anxious they get. They not only worry about themselves, but they also feel hurt. If they cry, they feel it’s not really worth crying over, and if they don’t cry, that pain, that hurt, is always with them. So, what should they do? In particular, there are some elderly people who want to spend all their time expending themselves for God and performing their duty, but they’re physically unwell. Some have high blood pressure, some have high blood sugar, some have gastrointestinal problems, and their physical strength cannot keep up with the demands of their duty, and so they fret. They see young people able to eat and drink, to run and jump, and they feel envious. The more they see young people do such things, the more distressed they feel, thinking, “I want to do my duty well and pursue and understand the truth, and I want to practice the truth, too, so why is it so hard? I’m so old and useless! Does God not want old people? Are old people really useless? Can we not attain salvation?” They’re sad and unable to feel happy no matter how they think about it. They don’t want to miss such a wonderful time and such a great opportunity, yet they’re unable to expend themselves and perform their duty with all their heart and soul like young people do. These elderly people fall into deep distress, anxiety, and worry because of their age. Every time they encounter some difficulty, setback, hardship, or obstacle, they blame their age, and even hate themselves and have no liking for themselves. But in any case, it is to no avail, there is no solution, and they have no way forward. Could it be that they really have no way forward? Is there any solution? (Elderly people should also perform their duties as much as they’re able.) It’s acceptable for elderly people to perform their duties as much as they’re able, right? Can elderly people not pursue the truth anymore because of their age? Are they not capable of understanding the truth? (Yes, they are.) Can elderly people understand the truth? They can understand some, and not even young people can understand it all, either. Elderly people always have a misconception, believing that they’re confused, that their memory is bad, and so they can’t understand the truth. Are they right? (No.) Although young people have much more energy than elderly people, and are physically stronger, actually their capacity to understand, comprehend, and know is just the same as that of elderly people. Weren’t elderly people once young as well? They weren’t born old, and young people will all grow old one day, too. Elderly people mustn’t always be thinking that because they’re old, physically weak, unwell, and with bad memories, they’re different from young people. In fact, there is no difference. What do I mean when I say there is no difference? Whether someone is old or young, their corrupt dispositions are the same, their attitudes and views on all manner of things are the same, and their perspectives and standpoints on all manner of things are the same. So, elderly people mustn’t think that because they’re old, with fewer extravagant desires than young people, and able to be stable, they have no wild ambitions or desires, and that they have fewer corrupt dispositions—this is a misconception. Young people can jockey for position, so can’t elderly people jockey for position? Young people can do things against the principles and act arbitrarily, so can’t elderly people do the same? (Yes, they can.) Young people can be arrogant, so can’t elderly people also be arrogant? However, when elderly people are arrogant, due to their advanced age they aren’t so aggressive, and it’s not such a high-minded arrogance. Young people show more obvious manifestations of arrogance due to their flexible limbs and minds, while older people show less obvious manifestations of arrogance due to their rigid limbs and inflexible minds. However, their essence of arrogance and their corrupt dispositions are the same. No matter how long an elderly person has believed in God, or how many years they have performed their duty, if they are not in pursuit of the truth, then their corrupt dispositions will remain. For example, some elderly people who live alone are used to living by themselves and they’re set in their ways: They have set times and their own arrangements for eating, sleeping, and resting, and they’re unwilling to disrupt the order of things in their lives. These elderly people seem like wonderful people from the outside, but they still have corrupt dispositions, and you come to know this after you’ve associated with them for a long time. Some elderly people are incredibly capricious and arrogant; they absolutely must have what they want to eat, and no one can stop them when they want to go somewhere for leisure. When they set their minds on doing something, wild stallions couldn’t drag them away. No one can change them, and they are capricious their entire lives. Such stubborn old people are even more troublesome than wayward youths! Therefore, when some people say, “Old people are not as deeply corrupted as young people. Old people lived through a time that was rather more conservative and closed off, and that’s why this generation of old people aren’t so deeply corrupted,” does this saying hold true? (No.) This is just quibbling for their own sake. Young people don’t like working with others, and can’t elderly people be just the same? (They can.) Some elderly people have corrupt dispositions that are even more severe than those of young people, always flaunting their old age and priding themselves on their veteran years, saying, “I’m advanced in years. How old are you? Am I the elder, or are you? You won’t like to hear this, but I’ve been around the block more times than you’ve had hot dinners, and you have to listen to me. I’m experienced and knowledgeable. What do you young kids understand? I was believing in God before you were even born!” Isn’t this more troublesome? (It is.) Once they have the title “elderly,” older people can be more troublesome. So, it is not that elderly people have nothing to do, nor are they unable to perform their duties, much less are they unable to pursue the truth—there are many things for them to do. The various heresies and fallacies that you have accumulated during your lifetime, as well as the various traditional ideas and notions, ignorant and stubborn things, conservative things, irrational things, and distorted things that you have accumulated have all piled up in your heart, and you should spend even more time than young people to dig out, dissect, and recognize these things. It’s not the case that you have nothing to do, or that you should feel distressed, anxious, and worried when you are at a loose end—this is neither your task nor your responsibility. First of all, elderly people should have the correct mindset. Although you may be getting on in years and you are relatively aged physically, still you should have a young mindset. Although you’re getting old, your thinking is slowed and your memory is poor, if you can still know yourself, still understand the words I say, and still understand the truth, then that proves you are not old and that your caliber is not lacking. If someone is in their 70s but is not able to understand the truth, then this shows that their stature is too small and not up to the task. Therefore, age is irrelevant when it comes to the truth and, moreover, age is irrelevant when it comes to corrupt dispositions. Satan has existed for tens of thousands of years, hundreds of millions of years, and it is still Satan, yet we must still add an attributive adjective before the word “Satan,” and that is “old Satan,” meaning that it’s evil to the nth degree, right? (Yes.) So, how should elderly people practice? One aspect is that you should have the same mindset as young people, pursue the truth and know yourself, and once you have come to know yourself, you should repent. Another aspect is that you should seek the principles in the performance of your duty and practice in accordance with the truth principles. You shouldn’t write yourself off from pursuing the truth, saying that you’re old, advanced in years, that you don’t have the active thoughts that young people have, that you don’t have the corrupt dispositions that young people have, that you’ve experienced everything in this life, gained insight into it all, and therefore you have no wild ambitions or desires. What you really mean by saying this is, “My corrupt dispositions aren’t that serious, so pursuing the truth is for you young people. It has nothing to do with us old people. We old people just do whatever work and exert whatever effort we can in God’s house, and then we will have done our duty well and we’ll be saved. As for God revealing people’s corrupt dispositions, antichrist dispositions, and antichrist essence, that’s what you young people should understand. You may listen to it carefully, and it’s enough that we host you well and keep an eye on the surroundings to keep you safe. We old people don’t have wild ambitions. We’re getting old, our brains respond slowly, and that’s why all our responses are positive. Before we die, we become kindhearted. When people get old, they become well-behaved, so we are well-behaved people.” What they really mean is that they don’t have any corrupt dispositions. When have we ever said that elderly people don’t need to pursue the truth or that pursuing the truth differs depending on your age? Have we ever said this? No, we haven’t. In God’s house and when it comes to the truth, are elderly people a special group? No, they’re not. Age is irrelevant when it comes to the truth, as it is when it comes to your corrupt dispositions, the depth of your corruption, whether you are qualified to pursue the truth, whether you can attain salvation, or what the probability is of you being saved. Isn’t that so? (It is.) We’ve fellowshipped on the truth for so many years now, but we’ve never fellowshipped on different kinds of truths according to people’s different ages. The truth has never been fellowshipped on nor corrupt dispositions revealed exclusively for either young people or elderly people, nor has it been said that, because of their old age, rigid thinking, and inability to accept new things, their corrupt dispositions naturally decrease and change—these things have never been said. No single truth has ever been fellowshipped on specifically according to people’s age and excluding elderly people. Elderly people are not a special group in the church, in God’s house, or before God, but are rather the same as any other age group. There is nothing special about them, it’s just that they have lived a little longer than others, that they arrived in this world a few years earlier than others, that their hair is a little greyer than others, and that their bodies have gotten old a little earlier than others; besides these things, there is no difference. And so, if elderly people always think, “I’m old so that means I’m a well-behaved person, that I have no corrupt dispositions, and that I only have a slight bit of corruption,” then is this not a fallacious understanding? (It is.) Isn’t it somewhat shameless? Some elderly people are crafty old scoundrels, cunning to the nth degree. They say they have no corrupt dispositions, and even that their corrupt dispositions have been worn away, when in fact the outpourings of their corrupt dispositions are no less than those of other people. In reality, there are many ways in which we can describe the corrupt dispositions and quality of humanity of this kind of elderly person. For example, “crafty old scoundrels,” and “old ginger is the spiciest, experience beats youth”—these both use the word “old,” right? (Right.) What other descriptions are there that use the word “old”? (Old schemers.) Yes, that’s a good one, “old schemers.” You see, they all use the word “old.” Then there’s “old Satan” and “old devils”—the quintessential seniors! What do people believe when they’re part of a group of elderly people? They believe, “Our corrupt dispositions have all been worn away. Corrupt dispositions are a matter for you young people. You’re more deeply corrupted than we are.” Isn’t this a deliberate distortion? They want to paint themselves in a good way and blow their own trumpet, but in fact that is not the case, and things are not like that. “Old devils,” “old Satan,” “old schemers,” “crafty old scoundrels,” and “flaunting one’s old age”—these descriptions that use the word “old” aren’t good things, and they aren’t positive things.

We’re fellowshipping on this now to give elderly people a warning, to advise them, and to guide them, and also to give young people a preventive injection. The purpose of saying these things is primarily to resolve what problem? It is to resolve these elderly people’s distress, anxiety, and worry, and to make sure they understand that this distress, anxiety, and worry are superfluous and unnecessary. If you wish to perform a duty and you are suited to performing a duty, will God’s house refuse you? (No.) God’s house will certainly give you an opportunity to perform a duty. It will absolutely not say, “You can’t perform a duty because you’re old. Get out. We’re not giving you a chance.” No, God’s house treats all people fairly. As long as you are suited to performing a duty and there is no hidden danger, God’s house will give you the opportunity and allow you to perform a duty as much as you are able. Moreover, if you wish to know yourself and pursue the truth, will anyone mock you and say, “Is such an old person as you qualified to pursue the truth?” Will anyone mock you? (No.) Will anyone say, “You’re old and confused. What’s the point in you pursuing the truth? God won’t save someone as old as you”? (No.) No, they won’t. Everyone is equal before the truth, and everyone is treated fairly. It’s just that you might not pursue the truth and will always come the old soldier, always thinking, “I’m old and I can’t perform any duty.” In fact, there are many duties you can perform to the extent of your ability. If you don’t perform any duty and instead flaunt your old age, wanting to lecture others, then who would want to listen to you? No one. You always say, “Oh, you young people just don’t understand things!” and “Oh, you young people are just selfish!” and “Oh, you young people are just arrogant!” and “Oh, you young people are just lazy. We old people are hardworking, and in my day we were such and such.” What’s the use of saying such things? Don’t go on about your “magnificent” history; no one wants to hear it. It’s pointless talking about those obsolete things; they do not represent the truth. If you want to talk about something, then make some effort with the truth, understand the truth a little more, know yourself, see yourself as just another ordinary person and not as a member of a special group who should be respected by others, venerated by others, held in high esteem by others and with other people flocking around you. This is an extravagant desire, and it is wrong thinking. Age is not a symbol of your identity, age does not represent eligibility, and age does not represent seniority, much less does it represent that you are in possession of the truth or humanity, and age cannot weaken your corrupt dispositions. So, you’re just the same as other people. Don’t always label yourself as “elderly” to separate yourself from others, and even set yourself apart as holy. That shows you don’t know yourself at all! While they’re living, elderly people should strive even more to pursue the truth, pursue life entry, and work harmoniously together with brothers and sisters to perform their duty; only in this way can their stature grow. Elderly people must absolutely not presume themselves to be senior to others and flaunt their old age. Young people can reveal all kinds of corrupt disposition, and so can you; young people can do all manner of foolish things, and so can you; young people harbor notions, and so do elderly people; young people can be rebellious, and so can elderly people; young people can reveal an antichrist disposition, and so can elderly people; young people have wild ambitions and desires, and so do elderly people, without the slightest difference; young people can cause disruptions and disturbances and get cleared out of the church, and so can elderly people. Therefore, besides being able to perform their duty well to the best of their abilities, there are many things they can do. Unless you’re stupid, demented, and cannot understand the truth, and unless you’re unable to take care of yourself, there are many things you should do. Just like young people, you can pursue the truth, you can seek the truth, and you should often come before God to pray, seek the truth principles, strive to view people and things and comport yourself and act wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. This is the path you should follow, and you should not feel distressed, anxious, or worried because you’re old, because you have many ailments, or because your body is aging. Feeling distress, anxiety, and worry is not the right thing to do—they are irrational manifestations. Elderly people should let go of their “elderly” title, integrate with young people and sit as equals with them. You mustn’t flaunt your old age, always thinking that you are of lofty virtue worthy of respect, that you are supremely qualified, that you can manage young people, that you are the seniors and elders to young people, always having the ambition to control young people, and always having the desire to manage young people—this is an out-and-out corrupt disposition. Since elderly people have corrupt dispositions just as young people do, and often reveal their corrupt dispositions in life and when performing their duties just as young people do, why then do elderly people not do what is proper, and instead always feel distressed, anxious, and worried about their old age and what happens to them after death? Why don’t they perform their duties like young people do? Why don’t they pursue the truth like young people do? This opportunity has been given to you, so if you don’t grab hold of it, and you really get so old that you cannot hear or see or take care of yourself, then you will regret it, and your life will pass by in this way. Do you understand? (Yes.)

Has the problem of elderly people’s negative emotions now been resolved? When you grow old, will you flaunt your old age? Will you become crafty old scoundrels and old schemers? When you see an old person, will you call them “old brother” or “old sister”? They have names but you don’t call them by their names, instead adding the word “old.” If you always add the word “old” when speaking to elderly people, won’t that harm them? They already think themselves old and have some negative emotions, so if you call them “old,” it’s like you’re telling them, “You’re old, older than I am, and you’re of no use anymore.” Will they feel comfortable when they hear you say this? They will certainly feel unhappy. Will it not hurt them if you address them in this way? Some elderly people will be delighted when they hear you addressing them like this, and will think, “See, I have a lofty virtue worthy of respect and a worthy reputation. When brothers and sisters see me, they don’t call me by my name. In God’s house, people don’t call old people uncle, or grandpa, or grandma. Instead, when the brothers and sisters address me, they add the word ‘old,’ and call me ‘old brother’ (or ‘old sister’). Look at how dignified I am, and look at how respectable I am before others. God’s house is good—people respect the old and care for the young!” Are you worthy of respect? What edification have you brought to your brothers and sisters? What benefit have you brought to them? What is your contribution to God’s house? How much of the truth do you understand? How much of the truth do you put into practice? You think yourself of lofty virtue worthy of respect and yet have made no contribution at all, so do you deserve to be called “old brother” or “old sister” by your brothers and sisters? Absolutely not! You flaunt your old age and always want other people to respect you! Is it good to be addressed as “old brother” or “old sister”? (No.) No, it isn’t, but I hear it often. It’s so bad, yet people still often address elderly people in this way. What kind of atmosphere does this create? It’s disgusting, isn’t it? The more you address an elderly person as “old brother” or “old sister,” the more they think themselves qualified, and the more they think themselves of lofty virtue worthy of respect; the more you address them as “old so-and-so,” the more special they think they are, more important and better than other people, their hearts incline toward leading other people, and the farther they stray from pursuing the truth. They always want to lead other people and manage other people, always regarding themselves as better than other people, always finding other people disagreeable, always seeing the problems other people have and seeing none in themselves. Tell Me, can such a person as this still pursue the truth? No, they can’t. So, addressing people as “old brother” or “old sister” is of no benefit to them, and all it can do is hurt them and harm them. If you simply call them by their name and drop the title “old,” if you regard them in the correct manner, and sit as equals with them, then their state and their mentality will become normal, and they will no longer pride themselves on their veteran years and look down on others. In this way, it will become easy for them to regard themselves as the equals of other people, they will be able to regard themselves and other people correctly, able to see themselves as just the same as other people, just the same as ordinary people, and not better than other people at all. In this way, their difficulties will grow smaller, and they will not experience the negative emotions that can arise due to their advanced years and them not having gained the truth, and they will then have hope of pursuing the truth. When these negative emotions do not arise, they will regard their own problems, especially their corrupt dispositions, with the correct mindset. This has a positive and helpful effect on their pursuit of the truth, their self-knowledge, and their ability to follow the path of pursuing the truth. Won’t the issues with negative emotions in elderly people then be resolved? (They will.) They will be resolved, and there will be no more difficulties. So what is the mindset that elderly people should first adopt? They must adopt a positive mindset; they must not only be prudent, but they must be magnanimous. They mustn’t make a fuss over things with young people but should set an example and show the way for young people, and not be too harsh on them. Young people have a quick temper and speak urgently, so don’t make a fuss over things with them. They’re young, immature, and inexperienced, and a few years of tempering will see them right. This is how things should be, and elderly people should understand this. So what mindset should elderly people adopt that is in conformity with the truth? They should treat young people correctly and, at the same time, they mustn’t be arrogant and self-conceited, thinking themselves greatly experienced, and insightful. They should regard themselves as ordinary people and just the same as everyone else—this is the correct thing to do. Elderly people mustn’t be held back by their age, nor must they change to having a young person’s mentality. Changing into having a young person’s mentality isn’t normal, either, so just don’t be held back by your age. Don’t always be thinking, “Oh, I’m so old, I can’t do this, I can’t say this, I can’t do that. Because I’m so old, I must this, I must that, I must sit in a certain way and stand in a certain way, and I must even eat in a certain good way, all for young people to see, so that they don’t look down on elderly people.” This mindset is wrong, and by thinking this, you are being controlled and restricted by a kind of wrong thinking, and you are being a little artificial, fake, and false. Do not be held back by your age, be the same as everyone else, do whatever you are able to do, and do what you ought to do—in this way, you will have a normal mindset. Do you understand? (Yes.) So, when an elderly person has a normal mindset, the various negative emotions that can arise in them because of their advanced years disappear without them being aware of it; they can no longer entangle you, the harm they cause you also vanishes, and then your humanity, your reason, and your conscience all become relatively normal. Under the premise of having a normal conscience and rationality, people’s starting point becomes relatively correct for pursuing the truth, performing their duty, engaging in any activity and any work, and the results that are achieved are also relatively correct. First, elderly people will not be held back by their age but will be able to take their own measure objectively and practically, do what they ought to do, be the same as other people, and perform the duty they ought to perform to the best of their ability. Young people shouldn’t think, “You’re so old, you never make way for me, nor do you look after me. You’re so old, you should be experienced, but you don’t give me tips on how to do things and there’s no benefit to being with you. You’re old, so how come you don’t know how to be understanding toward young people?” Is this right to say? (No.) It’s inappropriate to make such demands of elderly people. Therefore, all people are equal before the truth. If all your thinking is practical, objective, accurate, and rational, then it will certainly be in accord with the truth principles. If you are unaffected by any objective condition, cause, environment, or even any factor at all, if you only do what people should do and only do what God teaches people to do, then what you do will certainly be appropriate and proper, basically in conformity with the truth. You will not become mired in the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry due to your old age, either, and this problem will be solved.

Great, I’ll end today’s fellowship here. Goodbye!

October 22, 2022

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