What It Means to Pursue the Truth (3) Part Two

Being well-educated and sensible is a traditional notion of man’s. It is totally out of line with the truth. Given that it is in conflict with the truth, what exactly should man possess if he would put the truth into practice? What reality is it, which, when lived out, aligns with the truth and God’s requirements? Do you know? With such fellowship, some may say, “You say being well-educated and sensible is out of line with the truth, that it’s just an external good behavior. So, we just won’t be well-educated, sensible people anymore. Life will be more carefree, without any restraints, unconstrained by any rules. We’ll be able to do what we want, live how we want. How carefree we’ll be then! We’re freer now, given that man’s good behavior is unrelated to his outcome. We don’t need to concern ourselves with cultivation, rules, or anything like that.” Is that the right thing to take from this? (No.) It is an absurd apprehension; they make the mistake of going to extremes. So, is there anyone who would make such a mistake? There may be some who say, “Since cultivated people may still resist and betray God, I just won’t be a cultivated person. I’m starting to feel contempt for cultivated people. I despise those who are well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, who respect the old and care for the young, who are amiable. I look down my nose at anyone I see who displays these things, and publicly rebuke them: ‘Your behavior is that of the Pharisees. It’s meant to beguile others. It’s not pursuing the truth, much less practicing it. Stop trying to trick us—we won’t be deceived by you or fall for your tricks!’” Would you act like that? (No.) It’s right of you that you wouldn’t. It would be so absurd of you, if you would do something so senseless. Some people of absurd understanding lack a pure understanding of the truth—they don’t have the capacity. All they can do is follow rules, so that’s how they act. So, why do we fellowship about and analyze this problem? Mainly, to get people to understand that to pursue the truth is not to pursue external good behavior, nor is it meant to make you a well-behaved, well-regulated, cultivated person. Rather, it is meant to have you understand the truth, practice it, and be able to act based on the truth, meaning that all you do has its basis in God’s words, that it all aligns with the truth. The behaviors that align with the truth and have God’s words as their basis are not the same as being well-educated and sensible, nor are they the same as the standards required of man by traditional culture and traditional morality. They are two different things. God’s words are the truth, and they alone are the sole criterion by which man’s good and evil, his right and wrong, are measured. Traditional culture’s standard of being well-educated and sensible, on the other hand, falls far short of the standard of the principles of the truth. When was it, during which stage of work, did God tell you that you must be a well-educated, sensible person, a cultivated, noble person without any base interests about you? Has God said such a thing? (No.) He has not. So, what statement and requirement does God make regarding man’s behavior? Comport yourselves and act wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. What, then, is that basis of God’s words? That is, which truths should you use as your criteria, and what sort of life must you live so that you are pursuing and practicing the truth? Is this not something that ought to be understood? (It is.) So, what are the standards of God’s words’ behavioral requirements of man? Can you find words of His that are clear about this? (God’s words say, “I have a lot of hopes. I hope you can conduct yourselves in a proper and well-behaved manner, faithfully fulfill your duty, possess truth and humanity, be people who can give up everything they have and even their lives for God, and so on. All of these hopes stem from your insufficiencies and your corruption and disobedience” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Transgressions Will Lead Man to Hell).) All those words are principles and requirements for man’s comportment. So, what other words of God are there that relate to specific practice? (There’s another passage that says, “Your heart must be quiet at all times, and when you encounter an issue, you must not become irritable and stubborn or act rashly. Do not be pretentious or false, but act reasonably. These are the ways in which normal humanity should be manifested” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Path of Resolving a Corrupt Disposition).) That’s a bit of specific practice. Those are specific prescriptions and requirements for man’s external behavior and ways. Can those be regarded as the basis of God’s words? Are they specific enough? (Yes.) Read them again. (“Your heart must be quiet at all times, and when you encounter an issue, you must not become irritable and stubborn or act rashly. Do not be pretentious or false, but act reasonably. These are the ways in which normal humanity should be manifested.”) Take note of those items; they are the principles you should uphold when you take action in the future. They tell people that they should learn to face things rationally in their comportment and acts, and that they must furthermore be able to seek the principles of the truth from a foundation of acting with conscience and reason. Comport yourself and act like this, and there will be principles, as well as a path of practice.

Those few things we just spoke of: “When you encounter an issue, you must not become irritable and stubborn or act rashly. Do not be pretentious or false, but act reasonably”—are they easy things to do? Really, they’re all achievable, with a period of training. If there’s someone who truly can’t do them, what’s to be done then? It will be fine, so long as you do just one thing, meaning that when you encounter an issue or interact with others, there’s one thing, at least, to be upheld: You must comport yourself and act in a way that edifies others. This is the most fundamental point. If you practice and abide by this, according to it and with it as your criterion, you won’t, in the main, cause any great harm to others, nor will you incur any great losses yourself. Comport yourself and act in a way that edifies others—are there details in that? (Yes.) Do not base your self-satisfaction on damage to others’ interests; do not build your happiness and joy atop others’ suffering. That is what it means to edify. What is the most basic way to understand such edification? It means that your behavior must be tolerable to others, as measured by the conscience and reason of humanity; it must be in alignment with the conscience and reason of humanity. Is it not so that anyone of normal humanity can live up to this? (It is.) Say someone is resting in the room, and you go in, heedless of your surroundings, and start singing and playing music. Would that be appropriate? (No.) Would that not be building your fun and happiness atop another’s suffering? (It would.) If someone is in the middle of reading God’s words or fellowshiping about the truth, and you just have to talk about your own issues with them, is that respectful of them? Is that not unedifying to them? (It is.) What does it mean to be unedifying? At its least, it means that you aren’t respectful of others. You must not interrupt others’ speech or actions. Is that not something normal humanity can achieve? If you can’t even achieve that, you really have no conscience or reason. Can those without conscience or reason gain access to the truth? They cannot. Practicing the truth is something that only those with conscience and reason, at least, can achieve, and if you would pursue the truth, you must at least accord with the standards of conscience and reason in your speech and acts; you must have those around you find you tolerable, and pass muster with all. It’s what we just said: Let your actions at least seem decent to others and be edifying to them. Is being edifying the same as being of benefit to others? No, in fact—to be edifying is to be mutually respectful of others’ space, and not to disrupt, interrupt, or intrude upon them; it is not to let them come to harm or feel suffering because of your behavior. That’s what it means to be edifying. How do you understand it? Being edifying is not about how much you benefit others; it’s about their being able to avail themselves of the interests and rights that are properly theirs, without being interrupted in using them and deprived of them by your willfulness and your improper behavior. Is that not so? (It is.) You now know a few of God’s words that have to do with His requirements for man’s comportment and actions, but still, I tell you, the most fundamental thing is that you must be edifying to others in your comportment and actions. That is the principle for action. Have you understood what it is to be edifying? (Yes.) There are a few who give no thought to whether others are edified by their speech and action, yet claim to be well-educated, sensible people. Is that not fraud? Being edifying to others in comportment and action—is there not a lesson to be learned from that? It may be a behavioral demonstration, yet is it easy to accomplish? If someone understands a bit of the truth, they’ll know how to act in line with the principles, how to act in a way that edifies others, and how to act in a way that benefits others. If someone does not understand the truth, they will not know what to do; they can only act in reliance on their notions and imaginings. Some people never seek the truth in their daily lives, no matter what befalls them. They just act according to their preferences, without a care for how it makes others feel. Are there principles to such action? You should be able to see whether there are, shouldn’t you? All of you gather and read God’s words often; if you’re really able to understand a bit of the truth, you’ll be able to practice and engage with some affairs according to the principles of the truth. How does such practice make you feel? How does it make others feel? If you try hard to feel that out, you’ll know what sort of practice is edifying to others. Usually, when something befalls you, whatever it is, you give no thought to the real issues of how to act in a way that touches on normal humanity or the practice of the truth. So, when something befalls you, if one were to ask you what sort of practice or action would be edifying to others, you’d find it hard to answer, as if there were no clear path. All that I fellowship about in gatherings are these real-life problems, yet when you encounter them, you are never able to keep up and your minds always go blank. Is there not a discrepancy there? (There is.) What have you gained from your belief in God, then? A few doctrines, a few slogans. How poor and pathetic you are!

In one of the things we’ve discussed as something man holds in his notions to be right and good—being well-educated and sensible—there are some of man’s specific notions and imaginings, as well as some traditional ways man has of understanding this behavior. In brief, to look now at this behavioral display, we see that it shares no relationship with the truth or with true humanity. This is because it falls far short of the truth and cannot be mentioned in the same breath as it, and beyond that, such behavior is fundamentally unaligned with the standards of God’s requirements for man’s views on people and things, as well as his comportment and action, with which it is entirely incompatible and has no relationship. It is just man’s behavior. However well man displays such behavior, and however adequately he practices it, it is merely a form of behavior. It does not even qualify as true normal humanity. The statement that one must be well-educated and sensible is a mere way to put a bow on man’s external behavior. Man, in order to wrap himself up nicely and prettify himself, strives hard to be a well-educated and sensible person, whereby he wins others’ esteem and respect, and raises his station and value in his group. But the fact is that such behavior does not even rise to the level of the morality, integrity, and dignity of which a true person should be possessed. Being well-educated and sensible is a statement that comes from traditional culture, and it is a set of behavioral displays that corrupt mankind has set out for itself as something it believes should be upheld. These behavioral displays are meant to augment a person’s standing in their group and to increase their worth, so that they may win the respect of others and be the strongest of all, one not liable to be despised or bullied in their group. This outward behavior has absolutely nothing to do with the morality or quality of humanity, yet man places it so high and gives it so much weight. See for yourselves how much fraudulence there must be in that! Therefore, if your current pursuit is to be a well-educated, sensible person, and you are regulating your behavior, striving hard in your pursuit and practice toward the goal of being well-educated and sensible, I urge you to put a stop to it right away. Such behaviors and methods can only make you disguise yourself more and more and make you more and more of a hypocrite, and as that happens, you will grow further from being an honest person, a simple, open person. The more you strive to be a well-educated, sensible person, the more you will disguise yourself, and the more you disguise yourself—the deeper your disguise, the harder it will be for others to take your measure or understand you, and the deeper your corrupt disposition will be concealed. Do that, and it will be very hard to achieve acceptance of the truth and salvation. So, in light of these points, is the road of pursuing being a well-educated, sensible person the same as the road of pursuing the truth? Is it the proper pursuit? (No.) Is there not more fraudulence against others and oneself behind the behavior of being well-educated and sensible, quite apart from its negative substance and its negative results? (There is.) A well-educated, sensible person conceals behind themselves many unspeakable secrets, and more than those, they conceal all manner of mistaken thoughts, notions, views, attitudes, and ideas that are unknown to others, vile, nasty, evil, and odious to others. Behind the good behavior of a well-educated, sensible person lurks a more corrupt disposition of theirs. Such a person, under the cover of that behavioral display, does not have courage to face their corrupt disposition, nor do they have the confidence to admit to their corrupt disposition. Less still do they have the courage and confidence to open up about their corrupt disposition, about their absurd knowledge, about their evil thoughts, intents, and goals—or as it may be, even malicious, venomous thoughts of theirs. They have so many things hidden behind them, and none can see them; all people see is the so-called “good person” before them, who has the good behavior of being well-educated and sensible. Is this not a case of fraud? (It is.) The whole of that person’s behavior, performance, pursuit, and essence is a case of fraud. They are defrauding others, and they are defrauding themselves. What will the ultimate outcome be for such a person? To be a well-educated, sensible person, they forsake God, turn their backs on the truth, and are detested and rejected by God. In every hidden corner behind the good behavior of being well-educated and sensible, man conceals his techniques and behaviors of disguise and of fraud, and as he does, he conceals his dispositions that are arrogant, evil, sick of the truth, vicious, and intransigent. So, the more well-educated and sensible one is, the more fraudulent they are, and the more one strives to be a well-educated, sensible person, the less they are a lover of the truth, and the more they are someone who is sick of the truth and God’s words. Tell Me, is that not how it is? (It is.) We will conclude our fellowship about the good behavior of being well-educated and sensible here, for the time being.

Just now, we fellowshiped about one statement about good behavior in traditional culture: being well-educated and sensible. We won’t fellowship individually about the other few. As a group, all statements about good behavior are merely a way to put a bow on man’s external behavior and image. “Put a bow on” is phrasing it nicely; to put it more precisely, it is, in fact, a form of disguise, a way to use a false front to trick others into good feelings about oneself, to trick them into positive evaluations of oneself, to trick them into respect for oneself, whereas the dark side of one’s heart, one’s corrupt dispositions, and one’s true face are all hidden and wrapped up nicely. We may also put it like this: What is hidden beneath the halo of these good behaviors are the corrupt true faces of each and every member of corrupt humanity. What is hidden is each and every member of evil humanity with an arrogant disposition, a deceitful disposition, a vicious disposition, and a disposition of being sick of the truth. It does not matter if a person’s outward behavior is well-educated and sensible, or gentle and refined, nor whether they are amiable, approachable, respectful of the elderly and caring for the young, or any such thing—whichever of these they evince, it is no more than an external behavior that others can see. It cannot lead them through good behavior to knowledge of their nature and essence. Though man looks well on the outward behaviors of being well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, approachable, and amiable, such that the whole human world is well disposed toward them, what cannot be denied is that man’s corrupt dispositions really exist beneath the cover of these good behaviors. Man’s being sick of the truth, his resistance and rebelliousness against God, his nature and essence of being sick of the words spoken by the Creator, and of resisting the Creator—these truly do exist there. There’s nothing false about that. No matter how well someone fakes it, no matter how presentable or becoming their behaviors, how nicely or beautifully they package themselves, or how deceptive they are, what cannot be denied is that each and every corrupt person is filled with satanic disposition. Under the mask of these outward behaviors, they still resist and rebel against God, resist and rebel against the Creator. Of course, with these good behaviors as its cloak and its cover, mankind pours forth corrupt dispositions every day, every hour and moment, every minute and second, in every affair, during which they live amid corrupt dispositions and sin. This is an uncontested fact. Despite man’s presentable behaviors, pleasing words, and false exteriors, his corrupt disposition has not abated in the least, nor has it been changed at all due to those outward behaviors of his. On the contrary, it is because he has the cover of these outward good behaviors that his corrupt disposition pours constantly forth, and he never stops his steps toward doing evil and resisting God—and of course, governed by his vicious and evil dispositions, his ambitions, desires, and extravagant requirements are constantly expanding and developing. Tell Me, where is the courteous, amiable, approachable person whose lived image and whose basis for their comportment and actions are positive and aligned with God’s words, the truth? Where is the well-educated, sensible, gentle, and refined person who loves the truth, who is willing to find in God’s words the direction and goal of their life, who has made a contribution to mankind’s salvation? Can you find such a single person? (No.) The fact is that among mankind, the more knowledgeable a person is; the more educated they are; and the more they have ideas, status, and reputation—though they may be called a well-educated and sensible, amiable, approachable person—the more the claims they lay out in writing may deceive people, and the more evil they do, and the more severe their resistance to God. Those of greater reputation and status deceive others all the more, and are all the wilder in their resistance against God. Look throughout humanity at its famous people, its great people, its thinkers, educators, writers, revolutionaries, statesmen, or any such luminary in a field—who among them has not been well-educated and sensible, approachable, and amiable? Which of them did not behave outwardly in a way that garnered others’ praise and was worthy of others’ respect? Yet what, factually, have they contributed to mankind? Have they led mankind onto the right path, or have they led it astray? (Astray.) Have they led mankind into the authority of the Creator, or have they led it beneath Satan’s feet? (Beneath Satan’s feet.) Have they let mankind partake of the sovereignty, provision, and guidance of the Creator, or have they let it face the trampling, cruelty, and abuse of Satan? Of all the heroic personages, the famous, great, elevated, extraordinary, empowered people of history, which of their authority and status was not gained from the murder of millions upon millions? Which of their reputation was not gained from their fraud, beguilement, and inducement of mankind? From the outside, they seem approachable in their daily encounters with others, and quite easy-going, putting themselves on an equal footing with others and amiable in their speech—yet what they do behind the scenes is altogether different. Some of them plot to ensnare others; some engage in trickery in order to harry and harm others; others look for chances to take revenge. Most statesmen are cruel and harmful to people beyond counting. They won their status and influence with their feet planted firmly on countless people’s heads and in their blood, yet in public settings, what people see is their approachable mien and amiable behavior. What people see is the gentle and refined, well-educated and sensible, self-effacing figures they cut. On the outside, they are courteous and gentle and refined, but behind that, they murder countless people, grab countless people’s assets, dominate and toy with countless people. They say every fine word and do every evil thing, and shamelessly, brazenly, they sermonize from their stage, teaching others how to be approachable, well-educated and sensible people, how to be people who contribute to the country and mankind, how to serve the people and be servants of the public, how to dedicate themselves to the nation. Is that not shamelessness? Audacious, insatiable scum, the lot of them! In short, to be a person of good behavior who conforms to the traditional notions of morality is not to pursue the truth; it is not the pursuit of being a true created being. On the contrary, many dark and unmentionable secrets are hidden behind the pursuit of these good behaviors. No matter what sort of good behavior man pursues, the goal behind it is none other than to win more people’s affection and respect, to increase their own standing, and to make people think they are respectable and worthy of trust and commission. If you pursue being such a well-behaved person, is this not in quality the same as those who are famous and great? If you are a person who is merely well-behaved, but does not love God’s word and does not accept the truth, then in quality, you are the same as they. And what is the result? What you have forgone is truth; what you have lost is your chance at salvation. This is the most foolish of behavior—it is an idiot’s choice and pursuit. Have you ever wished to be that great, famous, larger-than-life person on stage, whom you have admired for so long? That amiable and approachable person? That courteous, gentle and refined, well-educated and sensible person? That person who, from the outside, looks to be friendly and lovely? Have you not followed and worshiped people like this before? (Yes.) If you are still following people like this now, still idolizing people like this, let Me tell you: You are not far from death, because the people you idolize are evil people who pretend to be good. God will not save evil people. If you idolize evil people and do not accept the truth, in the end you will be destroyed, too.

The essence behind good behavior such as being approachable and amiable can be described in one word: pretense. Such good behavior is not born of the words of God, nor as a result of practicing the truth or acting according to principle. What is it produced by? It comes from people’s motives, schemes, from them pretending, putting on an act, being deceitful. When people cling to these good behaviors, the aim is to get the things they want; if not, they would never aggrieve themselves in this way, and live contrary to their own desires. What does it mean, to live contrary to their own desires? It is that their true nature is not as well-behaved, guileless, gentle, kind, and virtuous as people imagine. They do not live by conscience and sense; instead, they live in order to achieve a certain aim or demand. What is man’s true nature? It is muddle-headed and ignorant. Without the laws and commandments bestowed by God, people would have no idea what sin is. Is this not what mankind used to be like? Only when God issued the laws and commandments did people have some concept of sin. But still they had no concept of right and wrong, or of positive and negative things. And how, with this being the case, could they be aware of the correct principles for speaking and acting? Could they know which ways of acting, which good behaviors, ought to be found in normal humanity? Could they know what produces truly good behavior, what kind of way they should follow to live out a human likeness? They could not. Because of people’s satanic nature, because of their instincts, they could only pretend and put on an act to live decently, and with dignity—which is what gave rise to deceits such as being well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, respecting the old and caring for the young, and being amiable and approachable; thus emerged these tricks and techniques of deception. And once they emerged, people selectively clung to one or several of these deceits. Some chose to be amiable and approachable, some chose to be well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, some chose to be courteous, to respect the old and care for the young, some chose to be all of these things. And yet I define people with such good behaviors with one term. What is that term? “Smooth stones.” What are smooth stones? It is those smooth stones in rivers that have been scoured and polished of any sharp edges by long years of passing water. And though they may not hurt to step on, without care people can slip on them. In appearance and shape, these stones are very beautiful, but once you have taken them home, they are quite useless. You can’t bear to throw them away, but there is no point in keeping them, either—which is what a “smooth stone” is. To Me, people with these apparently good behaviors are tepid. They pretend to be good on the outside, but do not accept the truth at all, they say nice-sounding things, but don’t do anything real. They are nothing but smooth stones. If you fellowship with them on the truth and the principles, they’ll talk to you about being gentle and refined, and courteous. If you speak to them about discerning antichrists, they’ll talk to you about respecting the old and caring for the young, and being well-educated and sensible. If you tell them that there must be principles to one’s comportment, that one must seek the principles in their duty and not act willfully, what will their attitude be? They’ll say, “Acting in accordance with the principles of the truth is another matter. I just want to be well-educated and sensible, and for others to approve of my actions. As long as I respect the old and care for the young, and have other people’s approval, that’s enough.” They only care about good behaviors, they do not focus on the truth. They are generally able to respect the elderly, their seniors, those with qualifications, those of good moral standing and reputation within their group, while also taking great, loving care of the communities of the young and vulnerable. They strictly uphold the social rule of respecting the old and caring for the young in order to demonstrate themselves to be noble. What cannot be denied, though, is that when their interests and that rule come into conflict, they’ll put the rule off to the side and go, headlong and without “suffering” anyone’s restraints, to protect their interests. Though their good behavior garners the approval of everyone they encounter, are acquainted with, or are familiar with, what cannot be denied is that even as they perform these good behaviors that are praised by others, they incur not the slightest loss to their own interests, and they fight for their interests by any means necessary, without “suffering” anyone’s restraints. Their respect for the old and care for the young is just a transient behavior, built on the foundation of not interfering with their own interests. It is limited in scope to a mode of deportment. They can do it, in cases where it does not touch or infringe on their interests at all, but when their interests are at the fore, those are what they’ll fight for, in the end. So, their respect for the old and care for the young does not, in fact, interfere with their pursuit of their interests, nor can it restrict that pursuit. The behavior of respecting the old and caring for the young is a good behavior that people can only do in certain circumstances, on the condition that it does not interfere with their interests. It is not something that arises from inside a person’s life, their bones. However much someone can practice such behavior, however long they can persist, it cannot alter the corrupt dispositions on which man depends to live. This means that though someone may not have this good behavior, they pour forth corrupt dispositions all the same—yet once they have gained this good behavior, their corrupt dispositions are not ameliorated or altered in the least. On the contrary, they hide them deeper and deeper. These are essential things that are hidden behind such good behaviors.

That’s about it for our fellowship about and analysis of traditional culture’s good behaviors of being gentle and refined, courteous, respectful of the old and caring for the young, amiable, and approachable. They are like being well-educated and sensible, and more or less the same in essence. They are insubstantial. People should let go of these good behaviors. What people should strive to achieve most is to make the words of God their basis, and the truth their criterion; only then can they live in the light and live like a normal human being. If you wish to live in the light, you should act according to the truth; you should be an honest person who says honest words and does honest things. What is fundamental is to have the principles of the truth in one’s comportment; once people lose the principles of truth, and focus only on good behavior, this inevitably gives rise to fakery and pretense. If there is no principle to people’s comportment, then no matter how good their behavior is, they are hypocrites; they may be able to dupe others for a time, but they will never be trustworthy. Only when people act and comport themselves according to God’s words do they have a true foundation. If they do not comport themselves according to God’s words, and only focus on pretending to behave well, can they become good people as a result? Absolutely not. Good doctrines and behavior cannot change man’s corrupt dispositions, and they cannot change his essence. Only the truth and the words of God can change people’s corrupt dispositions, thoughts, and opinions, and become their life. The various good behaviors that man, in his traditional culture and his notions, holds to be so, such as being well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, respectful of the old and caring for the young, being amiable, and being approachable, are mere behaviors. They’re not life, much less the truth. Traditional culture is not the truth, nor are any of the good behaviors it promotes. However much of traditional culture man grasps and however many good behaviors he lives out in his life, it cannot alter his corrupt dispositions. So, for thousands of years, mankind has been inculcated with traditional culture, and its corrupt disposition hasn’t changed at all; instead, its corruption has gotten ever deeper, and the world ever darker and more evil. This is directly related to the education of traditional culture. Humans can only live their lives as true people by taking God’s words as their life. This is beyond dispute. So, what sort of parameters and requirements do God’s words set for man’s behavior? Apart from what’s established in the laws and the commandments, there are also the Lord Jesus’ requirements for man’s behavior, especially the requirements and rules for man in God’s judgment of the last days. These are the most precious words of all, as far as mankind is concerned, and they are the most basic principles for its comportment. You must locate the most basic behavioral criteria for your comportment and action in God’s words. When you do, you will be able to rid yourselves of the misguidance and trickery of Chinese traditional culture’s good behaviors. You will then have found the path and principles for comportment and action, which also means that you will have found the path and principles of salvation. If you take God’s current words as your basis and the truth now fellowshiped about as your criterion, and use them to supplant those standards for good behavior, as mankind, in its notions, would have it, then you are someone who is pursuing the truth. God’s requirements of man are in all cases about what sort of person he should be and what road he should walk. He never requires that man should be possessed of some behavior in isolation. He requires that people be honest people, not deceptive ones; He requires man to accept and pursue the truth, and to be faithful to Him, and submissive, and bearing of witness to Him. He has never required that man merely have a few good behaviors, that that would be fine on its own. Yet China’s traditional culture has man focus only on good behavior, on having good outward displays. It does nothing at all to shed light on what man’s corrupt dispositions are or where his corruption originates, much less is it able to point out the path along which his corrupt dispositions are cast off. Therefore, however traditional culture may advocate for whichever good behaviors man should be possessed of, when it comes to mankind’s casting off its corrupt dispositions and living their lives as true people, it is of no avail. However noble or appealing its statements about morality, it can do nothing to change mankind’s corrupt essence. Under the inculcation and sway of traditional culture, many subconscious things have come about in corrupt mankind. What does “subconscious” mean here? It means that once man has been imperceptibly inculcated and infected by traditional culture, in the absence of any clear words, statements, rules, or cognizance of how to act appropriately, he instinctively practices and abides by people’s conventional ideas and methods. Living in such circumstances, in such a condition, as all people do, they come obliviously to think, in their subconscious, “Being well-educated and sensible is great—it’s positive, and it aligns with the truth; being gentle and refined is great—it’s how people ought to be, God likes it, and it aligns with the truth; being courteous, respectful of the old and caring for the young, amiable, and approachable are all demonstrations from within normal humanity—they align with God’s words and the truth.” Despite not having found a clear basis in God’s words, they feel in their hearts that God’s words and requirements of man and the required standards of traditional culture are about the same, with no major difference between them. Is this not a distortion and false interpretation of God’s words? Have God’s words said such things? They have not, nor are they what He wills; those things are man’s distortions and false interpretations of God’s words. God’s words never said these things, so what’s yours to do is not, under any circumstances, to think on those terms. You should read God’s words in detail and locate exactly the behavioral requirements His words make of man, then find a few more passages of His words, assemble them, and pray-read and fellowship about them in synthesis. Once you have knowledge of them, that’s when you’re to practice and experience them. This brings God’s words into your real life, where they become the basis for your views on people and things, as well as your comportment and actions. What should the basis of people’s speech and actions be? God’s words. So, what are the requirements and standards God has for people’s speech and actions? (That they be constructive to people.) That is right. Most fundamentally, you must tell the truth, speak honestly, and benefit others. At the very least, your speech must edify people, and not trick, mislead, make fun of, satirize, deride, mock, constrict them, expose their weaknesses, or hurt them. This is the expression of normal humanity. It is humanity’s virtue. Has God told you how loudly to speak? Has He required that you use standard language? Has He required that you make use of flowery rhetoric or a lofty, refined linguistic style? (No.) There’s not a bit of any of those superficial, hypocritical, false, nugatory things. All God’s requirements are things of which normal humanity should be possessed, standards and principles for man’s language and behavior. It doesn’t matter where someone was born or what language they speak. In any case, the words you say—their verbiage and content—must be edifying to others. What does it mean, for them to be edifying? It means that others, having heard them, feel them to be true, and derive enrichment and help from them, and can understand the truth, and are no longer confused, nor susceptible to the beguilement of others. So, God demands that people tell the truth, say what they think, and not trick, mislead, make fun of, satirize, deride, mock, or constrict others, or expose their weaknesses, or hurt them. Are these not the principles of speech? What does it mean to say one should not expose people’s weaknesses? It means not to get dirt on other people. Do not hold on to their past mistakes or shortcomings in order to judge or condemn them. This is the least you should do. On the proactive side, how is constructive speech expressed? It is mainly encouraging, orienting, guiding, exhorting, understanding, and comforting. Also, in some special instances, it becomes necessary to directly expose other people’s errors and deal with and prune them, so that they gain knowledge of the truth and desire to repent. Only then is the due effect achieved. This way of practicing is of great benefit to people. It is a real help to them, and it is constructive for them, is it not? Say, for example, you are especially willful and arrogant. You’ve never been aware of this, but someone who knows you well comes right out and tells you the problem. You think to yourself, “Am I willful? Am I arrogant? No one else dared to tell me, but he understands me. That he could say such a thing suggests that it really is true. I must spend some time reflecting on this.” After that you say to the person, “Other people only say nice things to me, they sing my praises, no one ever gets personal with me, no one has ever pointed out these shortcomings and issues in me. Only you were able to tell me, to get personal with me. It was so great, such a big help to me.” This is having a heart-to-heart, is it not? Little by little, the other person communicates to you what is on his mind, his thoughts about you, and his experiences of how he had notions, imaginings, negativity and weakness in this matter, and was able to escape it by seeking the truth. This is having a heart-to-heart; it is a communion of souls. And what, in sum, is the principle behind speaking? It is this: Say what’s in your heart, and speak of your true experiences and what you really think. These words are the most beneficial to people, they provide for people, they help them, they are positive. Refuse to say those fake words, those words that do not benefit or edify people; this will avoid harming them or tripping them up, plunging them into negativity, and having a negative effect. You must say positive things. You must strive to help people as much as you can, to benefit them, to provide to them, to produce in them true faith in God; and you must allow people to be helped, and to gain much, from your experiences of God’s words and the way you solve problems, and to be able to understand the path of experiencing the work of God and entering the reality of the truth, allowing them to enter into life and making their life grow—which is all the effect of your words having principles, and being edifying to people. This aside, when people come together to gossip and giggle idly, that is unprincipled. All they pour forth is their corrupt dispositions. It is not based in God’s words, and they are not upholding the principles of the truth. All of it is man’s philosophies for living—they are living as their corrupt dispositions manipulate them to.

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