What It Means to Pursue the Truth (10) Part Three

Now let’s fellowship about the next saying on moral conduct—I’d take a bullet for a friend. This is a seemingly grandiose statement, which is extremely widespread among humankind. In particular, people who value sentiment and attach importance to brotherhood adopt this saying as a maxim to make lots of friends. In whichever era or ethnic group in which it is used, this saying on moral conduct, “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” holds up quite well. That is to say, it accords relatively well with the conscience and reason of humanity. More precisely, this saying accords with the concept of “brotherhood” that people adhere to in their conscience. People who value brotherhood would be willing to take a bullet for a friend. No matter how difficult and dangerous a situation their friend is in, they would step forward and take a bullet for them. This is the spirit of sacrificing one’s own interests for the sake of others. What the saying on moral conduct “I’d take a bullet for a friend” instills in people is basically to value brotherhood. The standard that it requires humanity to uphold is that one must value brotherhood: That is the essence of this saying. What does this word “brotherhood” mean? What is the standard for brotherhood? It is being able to sacrifice one’s own interests for a friend and do everything to satisfy them. Whatever your friend needs, you are honor-bound to offer whatever help is needed, and if that means risking your life, then so be it. This is what it takes to be a true friend, and only this can be considered true brotherhood. Another interpretation of brotherhood is being able to risk your life, lay down your life, or put your life on the line for a friend, without regard to life or death. This is a friendship that endures through life-threatening ordeals, a life-and-death friendship, and this is true brotherhood. This is the definition of a friend in requirements for moral behavior. You must be willing to take a bullet for your friends in order to be considered a true friend, this is the criterion of moral conduct that a person should adhere to when dealing with their friends, and this is the requirement for people’s moral conduct when it comes to making friends. The saying on moral conduct “I’d take a bullet for a friend” comes across as particularly heroic and just, and especially great and noble, and inspires people’s admiration and approval, and makes people feel that those who can do such a thing are like otherworldly non-mortals who jump out of cracks in the rocks, and makes them think that these people are especially righteous, like knights or swordfighters. That is why such unsophisticated and forthright ideas and views are readily accepted by human beings, and easily penetrate deep into their hearts. Do you have similar feelings about the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend”? (Yes.) Although in this day and age, there aren’t many people who would take a bullet for a friend, most people hope that their friends would be willing to take a bullet for them, and that they are loyal people, good buddies, and that in times of trouble, their friends would stretch out a helping hand without a second thought and without laying down any conditions, and that their friends would do anything for them, defying all difficulties and undaunted by danger. If you have similar requirements for your friends, might this show that you are still influenced and bound by this idea of taking a bullet for a friend? Would you say that you still live by this old, traditional way of thinking? (Yes.) These days, people often lament that “public morality is in decline nowadays, people don’t have the same mentality as their ancestors, times have changed, friends are not what they used to be, people don’t value brotherhood anymore, people have lost their human warmth, and interpersonal relationships are becoming more and more distant.” Although very few people value brotherhood in friends nowadays, people still fondly remember those chivalrous and warm-hearted folk in olden times who would lay down their life for a friend, and revere the style they exude. For example, take some of the stories handed down through history about people in olden times laying down their life for a friend, especially stories set in the world of martial arts about people upholding brotherhood. To this day, when people watch these stories in films and television dramas, they still feel a surge of emotion in their hearts, and harbor hopes of returning to an age full of human warmth, when people valued brotherhood. What do these things show? Do they show that this idea of taking a bullet for a friend is revered as a positive thing in people’s minds, and that it is held up as a high moral standard for those who want to be or become a good person? (Yes.) Although people don’t dare demand such a thing of themselves nowadays, and can’t achieve it themselves, they still hope to meet such people in their community, associate with them and become friends with them, so that when they themselves encounter difficulty, their friend can take a bullet for them. Looking at people’s attitudes and views about this saying on moral conduct, it is clear to see that people are deeply influenced by such ideas and views that value brotherhood. Given that people are influenced by such ideas and views that encourage them to aspire and adhere to the spirit of brotherhood, of course they are highly likely to live by them. As a result, people tend to become controlled and dominated by such ideas and views, and are likely to view people and things and comport themselves and act according to such ideas and views, and at the same time, they tend to use such ideas and views to judge people, by asking themselves, “Does this person value brotherhood? If they value brotherhood then they are a nice person; whereas if they don’t, they aren’t worthy of associating with, and they aren’t a good person.” Of course, you also tend to be influenced by these ideas on brotherhood in terms of governing your own behavior, and in terms of constraining and passing judgment on your own behavior, and take them as the criteria and direction for your interactions with others. For example, under the deep-seated influence of such ideas and views, when you associate with brothers and sisters, you use your conscience to measure everything you do. What does this word “conscience” mean? The fact is that, deep within people’s hearts, it means none other than brotherhood. Sometimes helping out one’s brothers and sisters is done out of brotherhood, sometimes sympathizing with them is also done out of brotherhood. Sometimes, performing one’s duty and making some token effort in God’s family, or expending, or having some momentary resolve, all actually comes about under the governance of such ideas that value brotherhood. Don’t these phenomena clearly and unequivocally show that people are deeply influenced by such ideas and views, and have already become fettered and assimilated by them? What do I mean by “fettered” and “assimilated”? Can it be said that such ideas and views that value brotherhood are not only able to control people’s behavior, but in addition, they have already become people’s philosophy of existence and their life, and that people latch onto them and treat them as positive things? Why do I say they treat them as positive things? It means that when people listen to God’s words, put His words into practice and obey Him, perform their duty without being careless and perfunctory, pay more of a price, and are faithful to God, all this behavior is to a large extent governed by the idea of brotherhood, and adulterated with this element of brotherhood. For example, some people say: “We must be conscientious in how we comport ourselves, we cannot muddle through our duty! God has bestowed so much grace on us. In such a dangerous environment, with all this rampant suppression and persecution by the great red dragon, God protects us and saves us from the influence of Satan. We must not lose our conscience, we must perform our duty properly to repay God’s love! Our lives are given to us by God, so we must be faithful to Him in order to repay His love. We cannot be ungrateful!” There are other people who are confronted with a duty that requires taking risks and paying a price, and who say: “If others won’t step forward, I will. I’m not afraid of danger!” People ask them, “Why are you not afraid of danger?” And they reply, “Have you not even the slightest moral integrity in your comportment? God’s family treats me well, and God is good to me. Since I have resolved to follow Him, I should do my bit and take on these risks. I must have this spirit of brotherhood and value it.” And so on and so forth. Are these phenomena and these revelations of people dominated to a certain extent by such ideas and views that value brotherhood? Dominated by such ideas and views, the judgments and choices that people make and some of the behaviors that people reveal most of the time have nothing whatsoever to do with practicing the truth. They are just a momentary impulse, a momentary state of mind or a momentary desire. Because this is not abiding by the truth principles, and does not stem from a person’s subjective will to perform their duty, and is not done out of love for the truth and for positive things, this brotherhood between people often cannot endure, it cannot last more than a few times, nor can it last too long. After a while people run out of energy, like a deflated ball. Some people say, “Why was I so energized before? Why was I so willing to take on these dangerous jobs for God’s house? Why is that energy all gone now?” At the time it was just a momentary impulse, desire or resolve on your part, and inevitably this was adulterated with an element of brotherhood. Speaking of which, what exactly does “brotherhood” mean? Put simply, it is a momentary mood or frame of mind, that is to say, a mood that people develop in special environments and situations. Such a mood is very buoyant, very upbeat, and very positive, which causes you to make positive judgments and choices, or makes you produce some grandiose statements, and creates some willingness to work hard, but this kind of willingness is not a true state of loving the truth, understanding the truth, or practicing the truth. It is just a mood produced under the governance of such ideas and views that value brotherhood. This is how it is in simple terms. On a deeper level, from My point of view, brotherhood is actually an outpouring of impetuousness. What do I mean by “an outpouring of impetuousness”? For example, when people are momentarily happy, they can go all day and night without eating or sleeping, and yet do not feel hungry or tired. Is this normal? Under normal circumstances, people will be hungry if they do not eat a meal, and listless and lethargic if they do not sleep well all night. But if, on the spur of the moment, they are in a buoyant mood, and don’t feel hungry, sleepy, or fatigued, isn’t this abnormal? (Yes, it is.) Is this a natural revelation of life disposition? (No.) If this is not a normal revelation, what is it then? It is impetuousness. What else does impetuousness mean? It means that because of abnormal emotions such as momentary happiness or anger, people exhibit some extreme behaviors while in an irrational state. What are these extreme behaviors? Sometimes when they are happy, they give away the most precious things in their home to others, or sometimes in a fit of anger they kill someone with a knife. Is this not impetuousness? These are behaviors bordering on extreme, that occur when people are in an irrational state: This is impetuousness. Some people are especially happy when they first start performing their duty. They don’t feel hungry when it’s time to eat, and don’t feel sleepy when it’s time to rest. Instead they cry out, “Expend for God, pay the price for God, and endure any hardship!” Whenever they are unhappy they don’t want to do anything, they take a dislike to everyone they see, and they even think about not believing anymore. All of this is impetuousness. How did this impetuousness come about? Did it come about from people’s corrupt dispositions? At its root, it is caused by people not understanding the truth and being unable to practice the truth. When people do not understand the truth, they are influenced by various deviant thoughts. Under the influence of various deviant and negative thoughts, they develop various irrational and abnormal moods. While in these moods, they come up with all kinds of hot-headed judgments and behaviors. This is how it goes, is it not? What is the essence of this ideological viewpoint, “I’d take a bullet for a friend”? (It is impetuousness.) That’s right, it is impetuousness. So does the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend” have any rationality? Does it accord with the principles? Is it a positive thing that people should abide by? Quite obviously not. This matter of taking a bullet for a friend is irrational, it is impulsive and it is impetuous. This matter must be treated rationally. Is it okay if you don’t value brotherhood so much that you would take a bullet for a friend? Is it okay to just help your friends within the limits of your capability? How to do things right? Why are ideas and views such as I’d take a bullet for a friend, which seem to particularly value brotherhood, all wrong? What’s wrong with them? This matter needs to be made clear. Once this matter is clarified, people will completely let go of such ideas and views. The fact is that this matter is very simple. Can you explain it clearly? You have no views on this matter, nothing to say. This confirms one thing, which is that before I analyzed the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” you were all people who had adhered to or particularly worshiped this saying, and you all envied people who would take a bullet for a friend, and you were also envious of those who could make friends with someone like that, and feel that having such friends is a joy and an honor. Is that not the case? How do you view this matter? (I think that dealing with people according to the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend” is without principles and does not accord with the truth.) What do you think of this reply? Can it release the bonds and fetters that such ideas and views place on you? Can it change the methods and principles by which you deal with such matters? Can it correct your errant views on such matters? If it cannot, then what is this reply? (Doctrine.) What’s the use of speaking doctrine? Do not speak about doctrine. How does doctrine come about? It is that you do not clearly see the essence of such ideas and views, and that you do not completely understand the negative impact and harm of such ideas and views with regard to how you view people and things, and how you comport yourself and act. You don’t know what is wrong with them, so all you can do is answer and resolve this problem using shallow doctrines. The final outcome is that doctrines cannot solve your problem, and you still live under the governance and influence of such ideas and views.

What is wrong with ideas and views such as “taking a bullet for a friend”? This question is actually quite simple and not difficult. No one who lives in the world jumps out of cracks in the rocks. Everyone has parents and children, everyone has relatives, no one exists independently in this human world. What do I mean by this? I mean that you live in this human world, and you have your own obligations to fulfill. Firstly, you must support your parents, and secondly, you must raise your children. These are your responsibilities within the family. In society, you also have social responsibilities and obligations to fulfill. You must play a role in society, such as being a worker, farmer, businessperson, student or intellectual. From the family to society, there are many responsibilities and obligations that you should fulfill. That is, in addition to your food, clothing, housing and transportation, you have many things that you must do, and also many things that you should do and many obligations that you should fulfill. Leaving aside this right path of belief in God that people walk, as an individual you have many family responsibilities and social obligations to fulfill. You do not exist independently. The responsibility on your shoulders is not just to make friends and have a good time, or to find someone you can talk to and who can help you out. The majority of your responsibilities—and the most important ones—are to do with your family and society. Only if you fulfill your family responsibilities and social obligations well, will your life as a person be considered complete and perfect. So, what do the responsibilities that you should fulfill in the family include? As a child, you should be filial to your parents and support them. Whenever your parents are sick or in difficulty, you should do all that is in your power to do. As a parent, you have to sweat and exert yourself, work hard and endure hardship to provide for the whole family, and take on the heavy responsibility of being a parent, raising your children, educating them to follow the right path, and making them understand the principles of comportment. Thus, you have numerous responsibilities in your family. You must support your parents and take on the responsibility of raising your children. There are many such things that should be done. And what are your responsibilities in society? You must abide by the laws and regulations, you must have principles for dealing with others, you must do your best at work, and manage your career well. Eighty or ninety percent of your time and energy must be expended on these things. That is to say, no matter what role you play in your family or in society, no matter what path you walk, no matter what your ambitions and aspirations are, each person has responsibilities to bear that are very important to them personally, and which occupy almost all of their time and energy. From the perspective of family and social responsibilities, what is the value of you as a person and your life in coming into this human world? It is to fulfill the responsibilities and missions given to you by Heaven. Your life does not belong to you alone, and of course it does not belong to others. Your life exists for your missions and responsibilities, and for the responsibilities, obligations and missions that you should fulfill in this human world. Your life does not belong to your parents, nor to your wife (husband), and of course it does not belong to your children. Less still does it belong to your descendants. So who does your life belong to? Speaking from the perspective of a person of the world, your life belongs to the responsibilities and missions given to you by God. But from the perspective of a believer, your life should belong to God, as it is He who arranges and has sovereignty over everything about you. Therefore, as a person, living in the world, you should not promise your life to others arbitrarily, and you should not arbitrarily sacrifice your life for anyone for the sake of brotherhood. That is to say, you should not belittle your own life. Your life is worthless to anyone else, especially to Satan, to this society, and to this corrupt human race, but to your parents and relatives, your life is of the utmost importance, because there is an inseparable relationship between your responsibilities and their survival. Of course, what is even more important is that there is an inseparable relationship between your life and the fact that God holds sovereignty over all things and over the entire human race. Your life is indispensable among the many lives that God holds sovereignty over. Perhaps you don’t value your life that highly, and perhaps you shouldn’t value your life that highly, but the fact is that your life is very important to your parents and relatives, with whom you have close ties and an inseparable relationship. Why do I say that? Because you have responsibilities toward them, they also have responsibilities toward you, you have responsibilities toward this society, and your responsibilities toward society relate to your role in this society. Every person’s role and every living entity are indispensable to God, and are all indispensable elements of God’s sovereignty over humankind, this world, this earth, and this universe. In God’s eyes, every life is even more insignificant than a grain of sand, and even more contemptible than an ant; nevertheless, because each person is a life, a living and breathing life, therefore, within the sovereignty of God, even though the role that person plays is not pivotal, they are also indispensable. So, looking at it from these aspects, if a person would readily take a bullet for a friend and not only thinks about doing so, but is prepared to do so at any moment, giving their own life with no regard to their family responsibilities, their social responsibilities, and even the God-given missions and duties on their shoulders, is that not wrong? (Yes.) This is treasonous! The most precious thing God bestows on man is this breath that is called life. If you casually promise your life to a friend who you think you can entrust it to, is this not being treasonous to God? Is this not disrespecting life? Is this not an act of disobedience against God? Is it an act of rebellion against God? (Yes.) This is clearly giving up the responsibilities that you should fulfill in your family and in society, and shirking the missions that God has given you. This is treasonous. The most important things in a person’s life are nothing more than the responsibilities that one should take on in this life—family responsibilities, social responsibilities, and the missions that God has given you. The most important things are these responsibilities and missions. If you lose your life by casually giving it up for another due to a momentary sense of brotherhood and a moment’s impetuousness, do your responsibilities still exist? How can you talk of missions then? You clearly do not cherish the life God bestowed on you as the most precious thing, but instead casually promise it to others, give up your life for others, completely disregarding or abandoning your responsibilities to your family and society, which is immoral and unfair. So, what am I trying to tell you? Don’t casually give up your life or promise it to others. Some people say, “Can I promise it to my parents? How about promising it to my lover, is that okay?” It’s not okay. Why is it not okay? God bestows life on you and allows your life to continue so that you can fulfill your responsibilities to your family and society and fulfill the missions entrusted to you by God. It is not for you to treat your own life as a joke by casually promising it to others, delivering it to others, expending it for others, and dedicating it to others. If a person loses their life, can they still fulfill their family and social responsibilities and their missions? Can it still be done? (No.) And when a person’s family and social responsibilities are no more, do the social roles they performed still exist? (No.) When the social roles that a person performed are no more, do that person’s missions still exist? No, they don’t. When a person’s missions and social roles are no more, does that over which God rules sovereign then still exist? What God rules sovereign over is living things, human beings with life, and when their social responsibilities and lives are no more, and their social roles all return to nothing, is this trying to make humankind, over which God rules sovereign, and God’s management plan, return to nothing? If you do this, is it not treasonous? (Yes.) This is indeed treasonous. Your life exists only for your responsibilities and missions, and the value of your life can only be reflected in your responsibilities and missions. Besides, taking a bullet for a friend is not your responsibility and mission. As a person endowed with life by God, fulfilling the responsibilities and missions entrusted to you by God are what you should do. Whereas, taking a bullet for a friend is not a responsibility or mission that God has bestowed on you. Rather, it is your acting on a sense of brotherhood, your own wishful thinking, your irresponsible thinking about life, and of course, it is also a kind of thinking that Satan instills in people to heap scorn upon and trample on their lives. So, no matter when the time comes, no matter what kind of bosom friend you have made, even if your friendship with them has endured through life-threatening situations, don’t arbitrarily promise to take a bullet for them, and don’t even entertain such thoughts lightly, don’t think about dedicating your whole life, your being, to them. You have no responsibility or obligation to them whatsoever. If you have similar interests, similar personalities, and walk the same path, you can help each other, you can talk about whatever you like to each other, and you can be close friends, but this close friendship is not built on the foundation of taking a bullet for each other, nor based on valuing brotherhood. You don’t need to take a bullet for them, and you don’t need to give up your life or even shed a single drop of blood for them. Some people say: “So what use is my sense of brotherhood? In my humanity and in my heart, I always want to show brotherhood, so what should I do?” If you really want to show brotherhood, then you should tell the other person the truths that you have come to understand. When you see that the other person is weak, support them. Don’t stand by the wayside and watch; when they go the wrong way, remind them, counsel them, and give them a hand. When you see the other person’s problems, you have the obligation to help them, but you don’t need to take a bullet for them, you don’t need to promise your life to them. Your responsibility to them is only to help, support, remind, advise, or sometimes to have a little forgiveness and tolerance, but it is not to give up your life for them, let alone show them some so-called sense of brotherhood. To Me, brotherhood is just impetuousness, and it does not belong to the truth. Compared with the life that God bestows on people, brotherhood between people is garbage. It is a kind of impetuousness instilled in people by Satan, a cunning scheme that makes people impulsively do many things for the sake of brotherhood, things that they will struggle to put behind them and that they will regret for the rest of their days. This is inadvisable. Therefore, you had better let go of this idea of brotherhood. Don’t live in accordance with brotherhood, but instead live in accordance with the truth and God’s words. At the very least, you should live in accordance with your humanity, conscience, and reason, deal with everyone and everything rationally, and do everything properly in accordance with your conscience and reason.

Having fellowshiped on so many sayings and opinions regarding responsibility and life, do you now have discernment of this moral requirement about taking a bullet for a friend? Now that you have discernment, do you have the correct principles for dealing with such a thing? (Yes.) What would you do if someone really asked you to take a bullet for them? How would you answer? You would say, “If you demand that I take a bullet for you, then you are the one who wants to take my life. If you want to take my life, if you demand such a thing from me, then you are depriving me of the right to fulfill my family responsibilities and the right to fulfill my responsibilities in society. This is also depriving me of my human rights, and more importantly, depriving me of the opportunity to submit to God’s sovereignty and to perform my duty well. You depriving me of my human rights like this will be the end of me! You are depriving me of so many rights and are making me die for you. How selfish and despicable could you be? And yet you are still my friend? Clearly, you are not my friend, but my enemy.” Is it right to say that? (Yes.) That is indeed the right thing to say. Do you dare to say that? Do you truly understand this? If any friend of yours keeps asking you to take a bullet for them and demanding your life, then you should steer clear of them at the first opportunity, for they are not a good person. Don’t think that they should be your friend just because they can take a bullet for you. You say: “I didn’t ask you to take a bullet for me, it’s you who has volunteered to do that. Even if you were able to take a bullet for me, don’t even think about asking me to take a bullet for you. You are not rational, but I understand the truth, I am rational, and I will treat this matter rationally. No matter how many times you’ve taken a bullet for me, I will not impulsively take a bullet for you. If you’re in difficulty, I will do my best to help you, but I absolutely will not forgo the responsibilities and missions entrusted to me by God in this life in order to live solely for your sake. In my world, there is nothing other than responsibilities, obligations, and missions. If you want to make friends with me, then I ask you to help me, assist me to fulfill my responsibilities and complete my missions together. Only then are you my real friend. If you keep on asking me to take a bullet for you, and keep on making me make this kind of promise, to give up my life for you, to promise my life to you, then you should get away from me immediately, you are not my friend, I don’t want to make friends with someone like you, and I don’t want to be a friend to a person like you.” What do you think about saying that? (Good.) How is it good? By not having such a friend as this, you are relieved of pressure, free from worry, without any burden of thought, and not bound by ideas such as valuing brotherhood. If someone actually did say, “People like you who don’t take a bullet for a friend are not worthy of associating with, and cannot be anyone’s friend,” would you feel sad upon hearing this? Would you be affected by these words? Would you feel sad and negative, abandoned by people, with no sense of existence, and no hope in life? This is possible, but when you understand the truth, you will be able to gain a thorough understanding of this matter, and you will not be constrained by these words. Starting from today, you must learn to let go of these things of traditional culture, without needing to carry these burdens. Only this way can you walk the right path in life. Will you put this into practice? (Yes.) Of course, this is not something that can be let go of so quickly. People must first prepare their minds, contemplate little by little, seek the truth little by little, understand little by little, and then put it into practice little by little, according to the truth principles. This is using the truth principles to deal with and handle relationships with people and associations with people. In summary, I would like to give you a few last words: Cherish life and your responsibilities; cherish the opportunity that God has given you to perform your duty, and cherish the missions God has given you. You understand, don’t you? (Yes.) Is it not joyful that you have gained a thorough understanding of this matter? (Yes.) If you are not restricted and bound by these erroneous ideas and views, you will feel at ease. But you are not really at ease now. Only once you embark on the path of pursuing the truth in the future, and are no longer troubled by these things, are you truly at ease. It is only those that truly view people and things, conduct themselves and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as their criterion, who are truly relaxed and at ease, who have peace and joy, who live and comport themselves according to the truth, and who will never have regrets. Let us end today’s fellowship here.

May 7, 2022

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