What It Means to Pursue the Truth (14) Part Three
Regarding the statements about moral conduct in traditional culture, last time I fellowshiped that “Every person shares responsibility for the fate of their country.” Today, I will subsequently fellowship on “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you.” Just like the previous phrase “The success and failure of things is dependent on people” that I fellowshiped on, this phrase is also obviously the viewpoint of nonbelievers. The viewpoint of nonbelievers is prevalent among people and can be heard everywhere. From the moment people begin to speak, they learn all kinds of sayings from people, from nonbelievers, from Satan, and from the world. It starts with the initial education in which people are taught by their parents and families about how to comport themselves, what to say, what morals to possess, what kind of thoughts and character to have, and so on. Even after entering society, individuals still unconsciously accept indoctrination of various doctrines and theories from Satan. “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” is instilled in every person by family or society as one of the moral conducts that people must possess. If you possess this moral conduct, people say you are noble, honorable, have integrity, and that you are esteemed and highly regarded by society. Since the phrase “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” comes from people and from Satan, it becomes the object we dissect and discern, and further still the object we forsake. Why do we discern and forsake this phrase? Let’s first examine whether this phrase is correct and whether a person who follows it is right. Is it truly noble to be a person who possesses the moral character to “do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you”? Does such a person possess the truth reality? Do they have the humanity and principles of conduct that God said created beings should have? Do you all understand the phrase “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you”? First explain in your own words what this phrase means. (It means that when someone entrusts you with a task, you should spare no effort in getting it done.) Shouldn’t this be the case? If someone entrusts you with a task, don’t they think highly of you? They think highly of you, believe in you, and think you are trustworthy. So, no matter what other people ask you to do, you should agree and do it well and completely according to their requirements, so they are happy and satisfied. In doing so, you are a good person. The implication is that whether the person who entrusted you with a task is satisfied determines whether you are considered a good person. Can it be explained in this way? (Yes.) So isn’t it easy to be seen as a good person in the eyes of others and recognized by society? (Yes.) What does it mean that it is “easy”? It means that the standard is very low and not at all noble. If you meet the moral standard of “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you,” you are considered a person with moral character in such matters. Implicitly, it means that you are deserving of people’s confidence, their entrustment of handling tasks, that you are a reputable person, and that you are a good person. That’s the meaning of this statement. Don’t you think so? Do you have any objections to the standards of judgment and evaluation of the phrase “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you”? If you can provide an example that refutes this statement and exposes its fallacy, that is, you can use an actual instance to prove its incorrectness, then this statement will not stand. Now, in theory, you may already believe that this statement is definitely incorrect because it is not the truth and it does not come from God. How can you use facts to overturn this statement? For example, if you are too busy to go grocery shopping today you can entrust your neighbor to do it for you. You can tell them exactly what food to buy, how much to buy, and when to buy it. Afterward, the neighbor buys the groceries according to your request and delivers them on time. Is this considered to be “doing their best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to them”? Is this considered as being reputable? This is barely even lifting a finger. Is being able to help someone buy something considered as having high moral character? (It is not.) As for whether they do bad things or not, and what their character is, do these have anything in the slightest to do with their ability to “do their best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to them”? If a person can do their best to accomplish a small thing that other people have entrusted to them, do they possess a standard of moral character? Does being able to accomplish such a small task prove that they are truly a person of high moral character? Some people say, “This person is very trustworthy. Whenever they are asked to deliver something, no matter what it is or how much, they always return with it. They are reliable and have good moral character.” This is how they are perceived and evaluated by others. Is such an evaluation appropriate? (No, it’s not.) You two are neighbors. Neighbors generally do not turn against each other or harm each other because they cross paths regularly. If there are conflicts, it becomes difficult to interact later. Maybe the neighbor helped you out of this consideration. It could also be that doing this small favor was convenient for them, it was not a difficult task, and they didn’t suffer any loss. Moreover, it helped them leave a good impression and gain a good reputation, which benefits them. Additionally, by helping you with small favors, isn’t it convenient for them to ask you for favors in the future? Perhaps they will ask you for a big favor in the future, and you will be obligated to do it. Is this person keeping their options open? When people help each other, interact, and deal with one another, there is a purpose. If they see you as having no use, and they won’t ask for your help later, they might not help you with this favor. It’s possible that you have doctors, lawyers, government officials, or individuals with social status in your family, which is useful to this person in some way. They might help you in order to keep their options open. Perhaps they will use you somewhere in the future, or at the very least, find it convenient to borrow tools from your home. Sometimes you entrust them with small favors and after a few days they come to your house to borrow things. People won’t lift a finger unless there’s something in it for themselves! Look at how when you asked them for a favor, they agreed quite readily, with a smile on their face, and seemingly without a thought; but in fact they had careful calculations in their mind, as no one’s thoughts are simple. Once, I went to a place to have My clothes mended. The elderly lady who mended clothes had a daughter who was returning to her home country. Her neighbor had a car, so the elderly lady entrusted this neighbor to take her daughter to the airport so she wouldn’t have to pay for a taxi. The neighbor agreed, and the elderly lady was delighted. However, this neighbor was not that simple. He didn’t want to do it for free. Once he agreed, he stayed there, slowly taking out a piece of clothing and saying, “Do you think my clothes can be mended?” The elderly lady was taken aback, and her expression seemed to say, “Why is this person taking advantage of such a small thing? He agreed so readily, but it turns out he doesn’t want to do it for free.” The elderly lady reacted quickly, saying after a second or two, “Ok, put it there, and I’ll mend it for you.” No mention of money at all. See how sending someone out on a simple errand is balanced out by mending a piece of clothing. Doesn’t this mean no one loses out? Is interpersonal interaction simple? (No, it’s not.) Nothing is simple. In this human society, every individual has a transactional mindset, and everyone engages in transactions. Everyone makes demands of others and they all want to profit at other people’s expense without suffering any losses themselves. Some people say, “Among those who ‘do their best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to them,’ there are also many who do not seek to profit at other people’s expense. They simply aim to do their best to handle things well, these people truly possess this virtue.” This statement is incorrect. Even if they don’t seek wealth, material possessions, or any kind of benefit, they do seek renown. What is this “renown”? It means, “I have accepted people’s trust to handle their tasks. Regardless of whether the person who entrusted me is present or not, as long as I do my best to handle it well, I will have a good reputation. At least some people will know that I am a good person, a person of high moral character, and someone worth emulating. I can occupy a place among people and leave behind a good reputation in a group of people. It’s worth it too!” Other people say, “‘Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you,’ and since people have entrusted us, whether they are present or not, we should handle their tasks well and stick with it to the end. Even if we cannot leave a lasting legacy, at least they can’t criticize us behind our backs by saying that we have no credibility. We can’t let future generations be discriminated against and suffer this kind of gross injustice.” What are they seeking? They’re still seeking renown. Some people attach great importance to wealth and possessions, while others value renown. What does “renown” mean? What are specific expressions for “renown” among people? It’s being called a good person and someone of high moral character, a paragon, a virtuous person, or a saint. There are even some people who, because for one matter they succeeded in “doing their best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to them” and have this kind of moral character, are perpetually praised, and their descendants benefit from their renown. You see, this is much more valuable than the little benefits they can currently get. Therefore, the starting point for anyone who abides by the so-called moral standard to “do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” is not that simple. They are not just seeking to fulfill their obligations and responsibilities as individuals, but rather they abide by it either for personal gain or reputation, either for this life or the afterlife. Of course, there are also those who wish to avoid being criticized behind their back and to avoid infamy. In short, the starting point for people to do this kind of thing is not simple, it is not really a starting point from the perspective of humanity, nor is it a starting point from the social responsibility of mankind. Looking at it from the intention and starting point of people doing such things, people who hold on to the phrase “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” do not have an uncomplicated purpose at all.
Just now, we dissected the statement about moral conduct, “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” from people’s intentions and purpose in doing things and from people’s ambitions and desires. This is one aspect. From another aspect, “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” has another error. What is it? People regard the behavior “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” as infinitely noble, but they don’t know that they can’t discern whether the things entrusted by others are just or unjust. If the task that someone entrusts you with is a very common one, something that is easily accomplished, something not worth mentioning, then faithfulness doesn’t come into it, because when people deal with each other and get along with each other, it’s normal to entrust each other with tasks. It’s as easy as lifting a finger. It’s out of the question whether someone’s moral character is noble or if it is lower. It does not reach this level. However, if the task someone entrusts you with is of great importance, a big task such as one that involves life and death, fate, or the future, and you still treat it the same as a common matter, doing your best to handle it well without discernment, this is where problems can arise. What kind of problems? If the task entrusted to you is proper, reasonable, just, positive, and it won’t cause any harm or loss to others or have any negative impact on mankind, then accepting the task and doing your best to faithfully handle it is fine. This is a responsibility you should fulfill and a principle you should abide by. However, if the task you accept is unjust and will cause harm, disturbance, destruction, or even loss of life to others or to mankind, and you still do your best to faithfully handle it, then what on earth does it say about your moral character? Is it good or bad? (It’s bad.) In what way is it bad? Some people follow an unjust person or become friends with them, and both consider each other close friends. They don’t care whether this friend is good or bad; as long as it’s a task entrusted to them by their friend, they will do their best to handle it well. If the friend asks them to kill someone they will kill them, if they ask them to harm anyone they will harm them, and if they ask them to destroy something they will. As long as it’s a task entrusted to them by their friend, they will do it without discerning and without deliberation. They believe that they are carrying out the claim “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you.” What does this say about their humanity and moral character? Is it good or bad? (It’s bad.) Even bad people can “do their best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to them,” but the kinds of tasks that other people have entrusted to them and that they do their best to handle well are all evil and negative things. If what other people have entrusted to you is to harm people, kill people, steal other people’s property, take revenge, or break the law, is it right? (No, it is not right.) These are all things that harm people, they are evil deeds and crimes. If someone entrusts you with an evil task, and you still adhere to the traditional cultural principle of “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you,” saying, “Since you have entrusted me, it means you trust me, think highly of me, and treat me as one of your own, as a friend, and not as an outsider. Therefore, I will do my best to faithfully handle whatever you have entrusted to me. I swear on my life to handle well what you entrust to me, and I will never go back on my word,” then what kind of person is this? Isn’t this a real scoundrel? (Yes.) It’s a big scoundrel. So how should you treat the “do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” kind of things? If someone entrusts you with a simple task, something very common in dealing with people, then even if you do it, it can’t be said whether your moral character is noble or not. If someone entrusts you with a very important and large task, then you must discern whether it is positive or negative, and whether it is something your inner quality can achieve. If it is not something you can achieve, you do what you can. If it is a negative task, a task that breaks the law, harms the interests or lives of others, or even destroys the prospects and future of others, and you still adhere to the moral standard of “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you,” then you are a scoundrel. Based on these perspectives, the principle that people should follow when accepting tasks entrusted to them should not be “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you.” This statement is not accurate, it has significant loopholes and problems and it greatly deceives people. After accepting this statement, many people will use it without question to evaluate the moral conduct of others and, of course, to measure themselves and constrain their own morality. Yet they don’t know who in the world is worthy of entrusting tasks to others, and very few people entrust others with tasks that are just, positive, beneficial to others, valuable, and bring prosperity to humanity. There are none. Therefore, if you use the standard of “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” to measure the quality of a person’s morality, not only are there too many doubts and problems to stand up to scrutiny, but it also instills wrong concepts in people, and wrong principles and the wrong direction for dealing with such matters, confusing, paralyzing, and misleading people’s thinking. Therefore, no matter how you analyze or dissect this statement, there’s no value in its existence, it is not something that people should practice, and it does not benefit people in any way.
The phrase “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” also has another error. From another point of view, for those evil individuals who want to use, manipulate, and control others, for those with vested interests, and for those with status and power in society, this statement gives them an opportunity to exploit, and an excuse to use, manipulate, and control others. It enables them to strategically use people to handle tasks for them. Those who do not handle tasks for them or do their best for them are determined to be people who cannot be entrusted by others and cannot do their best to faithfully handle tasks. They are labeled as individuals with an inferior moral character who are unworthy of trust, do not deserve to be valued highly or respected, and are lowly in society. Such people are cast aside. For example, if your boss entrusts you with a task and you consider, “Since my boss has brought it up, I have to agree to it no matter what it is. No matter how difficult it is, even if it means going through fire and water, I have to do it,” so you agree. For one thing, he is your boss, and you dare not refuse. For another, he often pressures you, saying, “Only those who do their best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to them are good colleagues.” He has instilled this concept in you early on, inoculating you in advance to make you mentally prepared. Once he makes any request, you are honor-bound to comply and cannot refuse; otherwise, you will not end up well. Therefore, you have to exert all your energy into doing things for him. Even if it’s not easily handled, you have to find a way to get it done. You have to use connections, go through the backdoor, and spend money on gifts. In the end, when the task is completed, you can’t mention the money spent or make any demands. And you have to say, “‘People should do their best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to them.’ You think highly of me and value me highly, so I must do all I can to handle this task well.” In reality, only you know how much hardship and trouble you have endured. If you succeed in doing this, people will say you have high moral character. But if you fail, people will look down on you, despise you, and you will suffer their scorn. No matter which social class or ethnic group you belong to, as long as someone entrusts you with a task, you must do your best and spare no effort, and you cannot refuse. Why is that? As the saying goes, “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you.” Since you have accepted someone’s entrustment, you must handle it faithfully to the end and ensure the task is completed successfully, well, in its entirety, and to the other person’s approval, and then report back to them. Even if they don’t inquire about it, you must spare no effort in handling it. Some people basically have no real relationship with you, such as distant relatives in your extended family. They see that you have a good job in society or status and prestige, or some talent, so they entrust you with this or that. Is it ok to refuse? In fact, it’s completely ok, but due to the complex social relationships among humans and the pressure of public opinion influenced by the idea of “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you,” when this kind of person with whom you basically have no relationship asks you to do things for them, you have to do it all. Of course, you can choose not to do it. In this way you only offend one person or you lose a relationship with a couple of relatives, or you might be ostracized by a couple of relatives. But again, what does it matter? In fact, it doesn’t matter. You don’t live with them, and your destiny is not in their hands. So why can’t you just refuse to do it? One of the unavoidable reasons is that the public opinion to “do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” is binding and oppressing you. That is, in any societal community, you are often held captive by the moral standard and the public opinion to “do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you.” You doing your best to faithfully handle tasks is not about fulfilling social responsibility or fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a created being. Instead, you are held captive by the statements of moral standards and the invisible chains of social opinion. Why are you susceptible to being held captive by it? One aspect is because you can’t distinguish whether these moral statements passed down from your ancestors are right, nor whether people should abide by them. Another aspect is that you lack the strength and courage to break free from the social pressure and public opinion brought about by this traditional culture. As a result, you cannot break free from its chains and its influence on you. Another reason is that in any community or group in society, people want others to consider them as being of high moral character, a good person, a reliable person, trustworthy, and someone worthy of being entrusted with tasks. They all want to establish such an image that earns respect and makes others believe that they are dignified individuals of flesh and blood with feelings and loyalty, and not cold-blooded or alien. If you want to integrate into society and be accepted and approved by them, you must first make them recognize you as a person of high moral character, someone with integrity and credibility. So, no matter what kind of requests they make of you, you try your best to satisfy them, make them happy, and then receive praise from them saying that you are a trustworthy person of high moral character, and that people are willing to associate with you. In this way you feel a sense of presence in your life. If you can be approved by society, by the masses, and by your colleagues and friends, you will live a particularly nourishing and satisfying life. However, if you live differently from them, if your thoughts and viewpoints differ from theirs, if your path in life is different from theirs, if no one says you have a high moral character, are trustworthy, are worthy of being entrusted with matters, or have dignity, and if they all forsake and isolate you, then you will live a depressed and sad life. Why do you feel depressed and sad? It’s because your self-esteem takes a hit. Where does your self-esteem come from? It comes from the approval and acceptance of society and the masses. If they have zero acceptance of you, if they don’t approve of you, if they don’t praise or appreciate you, and if they don’t cast any admiring, fond, or esteemed looks at you, then you feel that you have no dignity in life. You feel very worthless, with no sense of presence. You don’t know where your value lies, and in the end, you don’t know how to live. Your life becomes depressed and tormented. You’re always trying to make people accept you, trying to integrate yourself into the masses and into society. Therefore, adhering to the moral standard of “Do your best to faithfully handle whatever other people have entrusted to you” is a very important matter for anyone living in such a social environment. It is also an important indicator for measuring a person’s moral character and whether they are accepted by others. But is this standard of measurement correct? Definitely not. In fact, it can even be called absurd.