What It Means to Pursue the Truth (10) (Part Two)
Next we will fellowship about the saying on moral conduct “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring.” As you can tell, each of these sayings about moral conduct is so overblown and earth-shaking, as if each one is imbued with a kind of heroic spirit and the qualities of great people, and is unachievable by an unremarkable or ordinary person. “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring”—what immense broad-mindedness that would require! How kind, benevolent and great a personality you would need to be in order to do that! “A drop of water” corresponds to “a gushing spring,” but at the same time, this correspondence gives the impression that there is an immeasurable gulf and vast difference between the two. It means that you must repay even the kindness of a drop of water, but with what? It should be repaid with a gushing spring, with such a vast number of actions or behaviors or with such sincerity and such great willingness, rather than being forgotten about. This is how much it takes to repay the kindness of a drop of water, and if you repay it with anything less, you have no conscience. According to this logic, is not the person who showed kindness also the one who unfairly benefits in the end? This benefactor sure profits handsomely from their kindness! They show kindness by giving a drop of water and get a gushing spring in return. This is a very lucrative deal, and a way to benefit handsomely at the expense of others. Is this not the case? In this life, every person will accept the kindness of a drop of water. If they must all repay it with a gushing spring, it would take them their whole life to repay, leaving them unable to fulfill any of their family and social responsibilities, let alone consider their path in life. If you enjoy the kindness of a drop of water but fail to repay it with a gushing spring, you will be condemned by your conscience and by society, and regard yourself as a rebel, a villain, an ingrate, and not human. But what if someone could repay that kindness with a gushing spring? He’d say, “There is no one more conscientious than I, because I can repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring. This way, the person who once helped me and showed me kindness can see what sort of person I am, and whether or not they lost out by helping me, and whether or not it was worth their while to help me out. This way, they’ll never forget it, and they’ll even feel embarrassed. What’s more, I’ll keep on paying them back. Since I can repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring, am I not a person of noble character? Am I not a gentleman? Am I not a great person? Am I not worthy of admiration?” Everyone praises him and applauds him, and this greatly stirs his emotions, so he says, “Since you praise me as a kind person, a person of noble character, an example among men, and a paragon of humanity’s morality, then after my death, you should erect a monument to me and write me an epitaph that says ‘This person was a paragon of the maxim “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring,” and can be called an example of humanity’s morality.’” But even after the monument is in place, he thinks that they should also make a clay statue in his image and put it in the temple, then write on it his distinguished name: “Shrine of the God So-and-So,” and set up an incense altar underneath it, where everyone must give him offerings of incense, so that it burns constantly for his benefit. In addition, people must have statuettes of him in their homes, and burn incense, and kowtow to him three times a day, and educate their children and grandchildren and the younger generations to be just like him, telling their sons and daughters that they must marry a person like him, someone who can repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring—a paragon and a model of humanity’s morality. The traditional educational approach of Chinese people is to teach their children to be good people, and places emphasis on acknowledging kindness and seeking to repay it. If you receive the kindness of a drop of water, you must repay it with a life of hard work, that is to say, with a gushing spring. When children grow up, they also teach the later generations in the same way, and so it continues, passed down from one generation to the next. When such a person is able to repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring, then he has also achieved his ultimate aim. What aim has he achieved? Being recognized and acknowledged by worldly people and by society. Of course, this is secondary. The most important thing is that people hang his portrait on their walls and make offerings to his statue, and that he can enjoy the burning incense of this world from generation to generation, and that his spirit and ideas can be passed down in the world and win praise from generations of people to come. In the end, after gorging himself on the burning incense of this world, what does he become? He becomes a devil king, and his aim is finally achieved. This is the ultimate consequence of Satan’s corruption of humankind. At the outset, people merely accept one idea in traditional culture about moral conduct, such as benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Later, they comply with the requirement of this idea, setting an example to others by rigorously putting this idea and this requirement into practice and abiding by them, and achieve the aim of becoming a model and paragon of morality for the rest of humanity. Then after they die, they leave behind a good reputation, which is passed on through the generations. Finally, they get what they wanted, which is to inhale the burning incense of this world for many years and become a king of demons. Is this a good thing? (No.) Why do you say that it’s not a good thing? This is the ultimate goal that an unbeliever aspires to in life. They approve ideas about a certain moral conduct, then lead by example, setting about implementing these moral requirements until finally they reach the point where everyone praises them as a good person, a kind person, a distinguished person, and a person of noble character. Word of their behavior and deeds spreads to all of humanity, and their behavior and deeds are studied and revered by generations of people, until finally that person becomes the role model for a whole generation, and of course the king of demons for a whole generation. Is this not the path that worldly people walk? Is this not the result that worldly people aspire to? Does this have a connection with the truth? Is there a connection with God’s salvation? There is no connection whatsoever. Such is the final outcome that sayings on moral conduct have in store for people. If a person wholly accepts all the various ideas in traditional culture and abides by them fully, then the path they walk is undoubtedly the way of demons. If you have embarked upon the way of demons once and for all, then you have no connection with God’s work of saving people, and absolutely nothing to do with salvation. Therefore, if upon the foundation of understanding the truth, you are still confined and influenced by the ideas of traditional culture, and at the same time, under the influence of these ideas, abiding by their laws, and abiding by these requirements and sayings, you are unable to forsake them or let them go, and cannot accept requirements from God, then you will end up following the way of demons and becoming a king of demons. You understand that, don’t you? No theory or saying in the world can replace the path of salvation that God has given to humankind, not even the highest moral standards in the world. If people want to embark on the right path, which is the path of salvation, then only by coming before God, by meekly and steadfastly accepting, by accepting all the various claims and requirements from Him, and by comporting themselves and acting with God’s words as the criterion, can they gain God’s approval. Otherwise, people have no way to embark on the right path in life, and can only follow Satan’s philosophies on the road to perdition. Some people say, “Is there a middle way?” No, you follow either God’s way or Satan’s devilish way. There are only two ways. If you don’t follow God’s way, then you undoubtedly abide by the various ideas brought to you by Satan and the various devilish ways engendered by such ideas. If you want to compromise by taking the middle way or some third way, that is impossible. Is this point clear? (Yes.) I won’t elaborate further on the saying “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring,” because it is more or less similar to the saying “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” which we fellowshiped on previously. The essence of these two sayings is much the same, so there is no need to discuss it in greater detail.
Now let’s talk about the next saying on moral conduct—do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire. This one should be very easy to discern, should it not? Comparing it against the requirements of the sayings about moral conduct that we talked about before, this saying is clearly also an inflexible rule that binds people. Although on paper it looks grandiose and impressive, and there seems to be nothing wrong with it, and it appears to be a simple principle for dealing with people, this simple principle doesn’t make any sense when it comes to how to comport oneself or how to treat people, and is of no help to a person’s comportment or pursuit of life. It is not a principle that people should abide by in their conduct and behavior, nor is it a principle for people to pursue the correct direction and goal in life. Even if you abide by this requirement, all it does is deter you from doing anything unreasonable when dealing with people, but it doesn’t mean that you have real love for people or really help them, much less does it prove that you are on the right path in life. In a literal sense, “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” means that if you do not like something, or do not like to do something, then you shouldn’t force it onto other people either. This seems smart and reasonable, but if you use this satanic philosophy to handle every situation, then you will make many mistakes. It is likely that you will hurt, mislead, or even harm people. Just like how some parents are not fond of studying, but like to make their children study, and always try to reason with them, urging them to study hard. If you were to apply the requirement here to “not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” then these parents shouldn’t make their children study, because they themselves do not enjoy it. There are other people who believe in God, but do not pursue the truth; yet in their hearts they know that believing in God is the right path in life. If they see that their children do not believe in God and are not on the right path, they urge them to believe in God. Even though they themselves do not pursue the truth, they still want their children to pursue it and be blessed. In this situation, if they adhered to the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” then these parents should not make their children believe in God. That would be in line with this satanic philosophy, but it also would have destroyed their children’s chance at salvation. Who is responsible for this outcome? Does the traditional saying on moral conduct of not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire not harm people? Here is another example. Some parents aren’t content with leading a dutiful, law-abiding life. They aren’t willing to toil on the land or go to work to support their family. Instead they like to cheat, swindle or gamble, using unrighteous means to make a dishonest fortune, so that they can then live the high life, have fun and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh. They don’t like engaging in honest work, or following the right path. This is what they do not desire, is it not? They know in their heart that this is not good. In this situation how should they educate their own children? Normal people would teach their children to study hard and master a skill so that they can find a good job in future, and make their children follow the right path. This is fulfilling one’s responsibility as a parent, is it not? (Yes, it is.) This is correct. But if they adhere to the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” then they would say, “Son, look at me. I can do all sorts of things in life, such as wining and dining, frequenting prostitutes and gambling. I get by in life even without having studied or learned a skill. You learn with me in the future. You don’t need to go to school and study hard. Learn to steal, cheat, and gamble. You can still lead a comfortable life for the rest of your days!” Is it right to do that? Has anyone taught their children this way? (No.) This is “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” is it not? Haven’t these examples thoroughly refuted this saying? There is nothing correct about it. For example, some people do not love the truth; they covet the comforts of the flesh, and find ways to slack off when performing their duty. They are not willing to suffer or pay a price. They think that the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” puts it well, and tell people, “You should learn how to enjoy yourselves. You don’t need to perform your duty well or suffer hardship or pay a price. If you can slack off, then slack off; if you can muddle through something, then muddle through it. Don’t make things so hard on yourselves. Look, I live this way—isn’t it great? My life is just perfect! You’re exhausting yourselves living that way! You should learn from me.” Does this not meet the requirement of “not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire”? If you act this way, are you a person with conscience and reason? (No.) If a person loses their conscience and reason, are they not lacking virtue? This is called lacking virtue. Why do we call it this? Because they crave comfort, they muddle through their duty, and incite and influence others to join them in being perfunctory and craving comfort. What is the problem with this? Being perfunctory and irresponsible in your duty is an act of trickery and resistance to God. If you continue to be perfunctory and do not repent, you will be exposed and cast out. Many people in the church are cleared out in this way. Is this not a fact? (Yes, it is.) So in adhering to this saying and inciting everyone to be like them, so that people don’t perform their duties diligently, but instead dupe and deceive God, is this not bringing harm upon people and sending them to their ruin? They themselves are lazy and slippery, and yet they also impede others from performing their duties. Is this not disrupting and disturbing the church’s work? Is this not antagonizing God? Can God’s house keep such people? Supposing someone who works in a company of unbelievers incites the other employees to not do their jobs properly. Won’t the boss fire him if she finds out? She will definitely kick him out. So if he can still do this while performing his duty in God’s house, is this a person who believes in God? This is a wicked person and nonbeliever who has infiltrated God’s house. He must be removed and cast out! After listening to these examples, are you somewhat able to recognize the essence of the saying on moral conduct “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire”? (Yes we are.) What is the final conclusion you have drawn? Is this requirement a truth principle? (No.) Quite obviously not. So what is it? It’s just a muddled saying, one that sounds nice superficially, but which actually has no practical meaning.
Are you proponents of the saying on moral conduct, “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire”? If someone were a proponent of this phrase, would you think they were great and noble? There are some who would say, “Look, they don’t impose, they don’t make things hard for others, or put them in difficult positions. Aren’t they wonderful? They are always strict with themselves yet tolerant of others; they never tell anyone to do something that they wouldn’t do themselves. They give others a lot of freedom, and make them feel an abundance of warmth and acceptance. What a great person!” Is that really the case? The implication of the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” is that you should only give or supply to others things that you yourself like and take pleasure in. But what things do corrupted people like and take pleasure in? Corrupted things, preposterous things, and extravagant desires. If you give and supply to people these negative things, will all of humanity not become more and more corrupted? There will be fewer and fewer positive things. Is this not a fact? It is a fact that humanity is deeply corrupted. Corrupted humans like to pursue fame, gain, status, and pleasures of the flesh; they want to be celebrities, to be mighty and superhuman. They want a comfortable life and are averse to hard work; they want everything to be handed to them. Very few of them love the truth or positive things. If people give and supply to others their corruption and predilections, what will happen? It is just as you would imagine: Humanity will only become more and more corrupt. Those who are proponents of the idea “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” ask that people give and supply to others their corruption, predilections, and extravagant desires, making other people seek evil, comfort, money, and advancement. Is this the right path in life? It is plain to see that “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” is a very problematic saying. The holes and flaws in it are glaringly obvious; it is not even worth dissecting and discerning it. With the slightest examination, its errors and ridiculousness are plain to see. However, there are many among you who are easily persuaded and influenced by this saying and accept it without discernment. When interacting with others, you often use this saying to admonish yourself and exhort others. By doing this, you think that your character is particularly noble, and that your comportment is very reasonable. But without realizing it, these words have revealed the principle you live by and your stance on issues. At the same time, you have deceived and misled others into approaching people and circumstances with the same view and stance as you. You have acted like a veritable fence-straddler, and completely taken the middle road. You say, “No matter what the issue is, there is no need to take it seriously. Don’t make things difficult for yourself or others. If you make things difficult for other people, then you’re making them difficult for yourself. Being kind to others is being kind to yourself. If you’re hard on other people, then you’re being hard on yourself. Why put yourself in a difficult position? Not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire is the best thing you could do for yourself, and the most considerate.” This attitude is obviously one of not being meticulous in anything. You have no correct stance or perspective on any issue; you have a muddled view of everything. You are not meticulous and just turn a blind eye to things. When you finally stand before God and account for yourself, it will be a big muddle. Why is that? Because you always say you should not impose on others that which you yourself don’t desire. This gives you great comfort and enjoyment, but at the same time it will cause you great trouble, making it so that you can’t have a clear view or stance on many matters. Of course, it also makes you unable to understand clearly what God’s requirements and standards for you are when you encounter these situations, or what outcome you should achieve. These things happen because you are not meticulous in anything; they are caused by your muddled attitude and view. Is not imposing on others that which you yourself don’t desire the tolerant attitude you should have toward people and things? No, it is not. It is just a theory which appears right, noble, and kind from the outside, but is actually a thoroughly negative thing. Clearly, even less is it a truth principle that people should be adhering to. God does not demand that people not impose on others that which they themselves do not desire, instead He asks people to be clear on the principles they should observe when handling different situations. If it is correct and in line with the truth in God’s words, then you must cling to it. And not only must you cling to it, you must admonish, persuade, and fellowship with others, so that they understand exactly what God’s will is, and what the truth principles are. This is your responsibility and obligation. God does not ask you to take the middle road, and even less does He ask you to show off how big your heart is. You should cling to the things God has admonished you for and taught to you, and what God talks about in His words: the requirements, the criteria, and the truth principles that people should be observing. Not only must you cling to them, and hold on to them forever, but you must also practice these truth principles by leading by example, as well as persuading, supervising, helping, and guiding others to cling to, observe, and practice them in the same way you do. God demands that you do this—this is what He entrusts to you. You cannot just make requirements of yourself while ignoring others. God demands that you take the correct stance on issues, cling to the correct criteria, and know precisely what the criteria in God’s words are, and that you figure out precisely what the truth principles are. Even if you cannot accomplish this, even if you are unwilling, if you don’t like it, if you have notions, or if you resist it, you must treat it as your responsibility, as your obligation. You must fellowship with people on the positive things that come from God, on things which are right and correct, and use them to help, impact, and guide others, so that people can benefit from and be edified by them, and walk the correct path in life. This is your responsibility, and you should not stubbornly cling to the idea “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” which Satan has put into your mind. In God’s eyes, that saying is just a philosophy for living; it is a way of thinking that contains Satan’s trickery; it is not at all the correct path, nor is it a positive thing. All God requires of you, is for you to be an upright person who understands clearly what they should and should not do. He does not call you to be a people-pleaser or a fence-straddler; He has not called you to take the middle road. When a matter concerns the truth principles, you must say what needs to be said, and understand what needs to be understood. If someone does not understand something but you do, and you can give pointers and help them out, then you absolutely must fulfill this responsibility and obligation. You must not just stand by the wayside and watch, and even less should you cling to the philosophies that Satan has put into your mind such as not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire. Do you understand? (Yes.) That which is right and positive is so even if you don’t like it, aren’t willing to do it, aren’t capable of doing and achieving it, are resistant to it, or develop notions against it. The essence of God’s words and the truth won’t change just because mankind has corrupt dispositions and has certain emotions, feelings, desires and notions. The essence of God’s words and the truth will never, ever change. As soon as you know, understand, experience and attain God’s words and the truth, it is your obligation to fellowship your experiential testimonies to others. This will allow even more people to understand God’s will, comprehend and attain the truth, understand God’s demands and standards and have a grasp of the truth principles. By doing this, these people will gain a path of practice when they encounter issues in their daily life and won’t become muddled or be fettered by Satan’s various ideas and views. The saying on moral conduct “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” is really and truly Satan’s cunning scheme to control the minds of people. If you always uphold this, then you are someone who lives according to satanic philosophies; a person who completely lives in a satanic disposition. If you do not follow God’s way, then you do not love or pursue the truth. No matter what happens, the principle you should follow and the most important thing you must do is help people as much as you can. You should not practice what Satan says, which is to “not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” and be a “smart” people-pleaser. What does it mean to help people as much as you can? It means fulfilling your responsibilities and obligations. As soon as you see that something is part of your responsibilities and obligations, you should fellowship on God’s words and the truth. This is what it means to fulfill your responsibilities and obligations. Has this fellowship basically clarified the saying on moral conduct “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire”? Have you understood it? (Yes.) This saying is relatively easy to discern, and you can identify what’s wrong with it without too much deliberation. It is simply too absurd, so there is no need to fellowship on it in further detail.