What It Means to Pursue the Truth (4) Part Three

Among the demands that God has put forward regarding man’s behavior, there is the requirement: “honor one’s parents.” People usually do not have any thoughts or notions about the other demands, so what are your thoughts about the requirement: “honor one’s parents”? Is there a contradiction between your views and the truth principle spoken by God? If you are able to see this clearly, that is good. Those who do not understand the truth, who only know how to follow rules and spout the words and phrases of doctrine lack discernment; when they read God’s words, they always harbor human notions, they always feel that there are some contradictions, and they cannot see His words clearly. Whereas those who understand the truth do not find any contradictions in God’s words, they think that His words are incredibly clear, because they understand spiritual matters and they are able to comprehend the truth. Sometimes, you cannot see God’s words clearly, and you cannot ask any questions—if you do not ask any questions, it seems as though you do not have any problems, but in actuality, you have many problems and many difficulties, you just are not aware of this. This shows that your stature is too small. First, let us look at God’s requirement that people must honor their parents—is this requirement right or wrong? Should people abide by it or not? (They should.) This is certain, and it cannot be denied; there is no need to hesitate or ponder on this, this requirement is right. What is right about it? Why did God put forward this requirement? What does the “honoring one’s parents” that God speaks of refer to? Do you know? You do not. Why do you always not know? So long as something involves the truth, you do not know it, and yet you can speak endlessly about the words and phrases of doctrine—what is the problem here? How do you practice these words of God, then? Does this not involve the truth? (It does.) When you see that there is a phrase of God’s words that says, “You must honor your parents,” you think to yourself, “God is asking me to honor my parents, so I’ll have to honor them, then,” and you begin to do this. You do whatever your parents ask you to—when your parents are sick you serve them by their bedside, pouring them something to drink, cooking them something nice to eat, and at holidays, you buy your parents things they like as gifts. When you see that they are tired, you rub their shoulders and massage their backs, and whenever they have a problem, you are able to think of a solution to resolve it. Because of all this, your parents feel very satisfied with you. You are honoring your parents, practicing according to God’s words, and living out normal humanity, so you feel steady at heart, and think: “Look—my parents say that I’ve changed since I began believing in God. They say that I’m able to honor them now and that I’m more sensible. They’re really pleased, and they think that believing in God is great, because not only do sons and daughters who believe in God honor their parents, they also walk the right path in life and live out human likeness—they’re much better than unbelievers. After coming to believe in God, I have begun practicing according to God’s words and acting according to His requirements, and my parents are really happy to see this change in me. I feel so proud of myself. I’m bringing glory to God—God surely must be satisfied with me, and He will say that I am a person who honors their parents and possesses saintly decency.” One day, the church arranges for you to go elsewhere to spread the gospel, and it is possible that you will not be able to return home for a long time. You agree to go, feeling that you cannot set aside God’s commission, and believing that you must both honor your parents at home and uphold God’s commission outside of it. But when you discuss the matter with your parents, they become enraged, and say: “You disobedient child! We have worked so hard to raise you, and now you’re just up and leaving. When you’re gone, who’s going to take care of an old couple like us? If we get sick or if there’s some kind of disaster, who is going to take us to the hospital?” They do not agree to your departure, and you worry: “God tells us to honor our parents, but my parents won’t let me go and do my duty. If I obey them, I have to set God’s commission aside, and God will not like that. But if I obey God and go and do my duty, my parents will be unhappy. What am I supposed to do?” You ponder and ponder: “Since God put forward the requirement that people must honor their parents first, I’ll uphold that demand. I don’t need to go away and do my duty.” You set aside your duty and choose to honor your parents at home, but you do not feel steady at heart. You feel that though you have honored your parents, you have not fulfilled your duty, and you think that you have let God down. How can this problem be resolved? You should pray to God and seek the truth, until one day you understand the truth and realize that doing your duty is the most important thing. Then, you will naturally be able to leave home and fulfill your duty. Some people say: “God wants me to do my duty, and He also wants me to honor my parents. Is there not a contradiction and a conflict here? How on earth am I supposed to practice?” “Honoring one’s parents” is a requirement that God put forward regarding man’s behavior, but is renouncing everything to follow God and completing God’s commission not God’s requirement? Is it not even more what God demands? Is it not even more the practice of the truth? (It is.) What should you do if these two requirements clash? Some people say: “So, I have to honor my parents and complete God’s commission, and I have to abide by God’s words and practice the truth—well, that’s easy. I’ll get everything settled at home, prepare all of my parents’ living necessities, hire a nurse, and then go out to perform my duty. I’ll be sure to return once a week, I’ll check that my parents are alright, and then I’ll leave; if something is wrong, I’ll just stay for two days. I can’t always be away from them and never come back, and I can’t stay at home forever and never go out to do my duty. Is this not the best of both worlds?” What do you think of this solution? (It will not work.) It is an imagining; it is not realistic. So, when you encounter this kind of situation, how exactly should you act in line with the truth? (It’s impossible to get the best of both worlds when it comes to loyalty and filial piety—I must put my duty first.) God told people to honor their parents first, and afterward, God put forward higher requirements for people with regard to them practicing the truth, performing their duties, and following the way of God—which of these should you adhere to? (The higher requirements.) Is it right to practice according to the higher requirements? Can the truth be divided into higher and lower truths, or older and newer truths? (No.) So when you practice the truth, what should you practice according to? What does it mean to practice the truth? (Handling matters according to the principles.) Handling matters according to the principles is the most important thing. Practicing the truth means practicing God’s words in different times, places, environments, and contexts; it is not about obstinately applying rules to things, it is about upholding the truth principles. That is what it means to practice the truth. So, there is simply no conflict between practicing God’s words and abiding by the requirements put forward by God. To put it more concretely, there is no conflict at all between honoring your parents and completing the commission and duty that God has given you. Which of these are God’s current words and requirements? You should consider this question first. God demands different things of different people; He has distinct requirements for them. Those who serve as leaders and workers have been called by God, so they must renounce, and they cannot stay with their parents, honoring them. They should accept God’s commission and renounce everything to follow Him. That is one kind of situation. Regular followers have not been called upon by God, so they can stay with their parents and honor them. There are no rewards for doing this, and they will not gain any blessings as a result of it, but if they do not show filial piety, then they lack humanity. In fact, honoring one’s parents is just a kind of responsibility, and it falls short of the practice of the truth. It is obeying God that is the practice of the truth, it is accepting God’s commission that is a manifestation of obedience to God, and it is those who renounce everything to do their duties who are followers of God. In sum, the most important task that lies before you is to perform your duty well. That is the practice of the truth, and it is a manifestation of obedience to God. So, what is the truth that people should primarily practice now? (Performing one’s duty.) That is right, loyally performing one’s duty is practicing the truth. If a person does not perform their duty sincerely, then they are just rendering service.

What question were we just discussing? (God first required people to honor their parents, and then He put forward higher requirements with regard to them practicing the truth, performing their duties, and following the way of God, so which one should people abide by first?) You just said that people should practice according to the higher requirements. On a theoretical level, this statement is right—why do I say that it is right on a theoretical level? This means that if you were to apply rules and formulas to this matter, then this answer would be right. But when people are faced with real life, this statement is often unworkable, and hard to carry out. So, how should this question be responded to? First, you should look at the situation and living environment that you are faced with, and the context that you are in. If, based on your living environment and the context you find yourself in, honoring your parents does not conflict with you completing God’s commission and performing your duty—or, in other words, if honoring your parents does not impact your loyal performance of your duty—then you can practice them both at the same time. You do not need to formally separate from your parents, and you do not need to formally renounce or reject them. In what situation does this apply? (When honoring one’s parents does not conflict with the performance of one’s duty.) That is right. In other words, if your parents do not try to hinder your belief in God, and they are also believers, and they really support and encourage you to perform your duty loyally and complete God’s commission, then your relationship with your parents is not a fleshly relationship between relatives, in the regular sense of the word, and it is a relationship between brothers and sisters of the church. In that case, aside from interacting with them as fellow brothers and sisters of the church, you must also fulfill a few of your filial responsibilities to them. You must show them a bit of extra concern. As long as it does not affect the performance of your duty, that is, so long as your heart is not constrained by them, you can call your parents to ask them how they are doing and to show a bit of concern for them, you can help them to resolve a few difficulties and handle some of their life problems, and you can even help them to resolve some of the difficulties they have in terms of their life entry—you can do all of these things. In other words, if your parents do not obstruct your belief in God, you should maintain this relationship with them, and you should fulfill your responsibilities to them. And why should you show concern for them, take care of them, and ask them how they are doing? Because you are their child and you have this relationship with them, you have another kind of responsibility, and because of this responsibility, you must ask after them a little more and provide them with more substantive assistance. So long as it does not affect the performance of your duty, and so long as your parents do not hinder or disturb your faith in God and your performance of your duty, and they do not hold you back either, then it is natural and fitting for you to fulfill your responsibilities to them, and you must do this to the extent where your conscience does not reproach you—this is the lowest standard that you must meet. If you cannot honor your parents at home due to the impact and hindrance of your circumstances, then you do not have to hold to this rule. You should put yourself at the mercy of God’s orchestrations and submit to His arrangements, and you do not need to insist on honoring your parents. Does God condemn this? God does not condemn this; He does not force people to do this. What are we fellowshiping on now? We are fellowshiping about how people should practice when honoring their parents conflicts with the performance of their duty; we are fellowshiping on principles of practice and the truth. You have a responsibility to honor your parents, and if circumstances allow, you can fulfill this responsibility, but you should not be constrained by your emotions. For example, if one of your parents falls ill and has to go to the hospital, and there is no one to take care of them, and you are too busy with your duty to return home, what should you do? At times like these, you cannot be constrained by your emotions. You should give the matter over to prayer, entrust it to God, and put it at the mercy of God’s orchestrations. That is the kind of attitude that you should have. If God wants to take the life of your parent, and take them away from you, you should still submit. Some people say: “Although I have submitted, I still feel miserable and I’ve been crying about it for days—is this not an emotion?” This is not an emotion, it is human kindness, it is possessing humanity, and God does not condemn it. You can cry, but if you cry for several days and are not able to sleep or eat, and you are not in the mood to do your duty, and even wish to go home and visit your parents, then you cannot do your duty well, and you have not put the truth into practice, which means that you are not fulfilling your responsibilities by honoring your parents, you are living amid your emotions. If you honor your parents while living amid your emotions, then you are not fulfilling your responsibilities, and you are not abiding by God’s words, because you have abandoned God’s commission, and you are not someone who follows the way of God. When you encounter this kind of situation, if it does not cause delays to your duty or impact your loyal performance of your duty, you may do some things that you are able to in order to show filial piety to your parents, and you can fulfill the responsibilities that you are capable of fulfilling. In sum, this is what people ought to do and are capable of doing within the scope of humanity. If you get trapped by your emotions, and this holds up the performance of your duty, then that completely contravenes God’s intentions. God never required you to do that, God only demands that you fulfill your responsibilities to your parents, that is all. That is what it means to have filial piety. When God speaks of “honoring one’s parents” there is a context to it. You just need to fulfill a few responsibilities that can be achieved under all kinds of conditions, that is all. As for whether your parents fall gravely ill or die, are these things up to you to decide? How their lives are, when they die, what disease kills them, or how they die—do these things have anything to do with you? (No.) They have nothing to do with you. Some people say: “I must fulfill my responsibilities so that I may honor my parents. I must ensure that they do not fall ill, especially not with cancer or some kind of fatal disease. I must make sure that they live until 100 years old. Only then will I have truly fulfilled my responsibilities to them.” Are these people not absurd types? This is clearly man’s imagining, and it absolutely is not God’s demand. You do not even know whether you will be able to live to 100 years old, and yet you demand that your parents live to that age—that is a fool’s dream! When God speaks of “honoring one’s parents,” He is just asking you to fulfill your responsibilities that fall within the scope of normal humanity. As long as you do not mistreat your parents or do anything that contravenes your conscience and morality, that is enough. Is this not in line with God’s words? (It is.) Of course, we also mentioned just now the case where your parents hinder your belief in God, their nature essence is that of nonbelievers and unbelievers, or even of evil people and devils, and they are not on the same path as you. In other words, they are not the same kind of person as you at all, and though you lived in the same household as them for many years, they simply do not have the same pursuits or character as you do, and they certainly do not have the same preferences or aspirations as you. You believe in God, and they do not believe in God at all, and they even resist God. What should be done in these circumstances? (Reject them.) God has not told you to reject them or curse them in these circumstances. God did not say that. God’s requirement of “honoring one’s parents” still stands. This means that while you are living with your parents, you should still uphold this requirement of honoring your parents. There is no contradiction in this matter, is there? (No.) There is no contradiction in this at all. In other words, when you do manage to return home for a visit, you can cook them a meal or make them some dumplings, and if possible, you can buy them some health products, and they will be very satisfied with you. If you speak about your faith, and they do not accept it or believe, and they even verbally abuse you, then you do not have to preach the gospel to them. If it is possible for you to see them, practice in this way; if it is not, that is just the way it should be, and it is God’s orchestration, and you must hurry to distance yourself from them and avoid them. What is the principle for this? If your parents do not believe in God, and they do not share a common language or common pursuits and goals with you, and they are not walking the same path as you, and they even hinder and persecute your belief in God, then you can discern them, see through to their essence, and reject them. Of course, if they verbally abuse God or curse you, you can curse them in your heart. So, what does the “honoring one’s parents” that God speaks of refer to? How should you practice it? That is, if you can fulfill your responsibilities, then fulfill them a bit, and if you do not have that chance, or if the friction in your interactions with them has already become too great, and there is conflict between you, and you have already reached the point where you can no longer see each other, then you should hurry to separate yourself from them. When God speaks of honoring these kinds of parents, He means that you should fulfill your filial responsibilities from the perspective of your position as their child, and do the things that a child ought to do. You should not mistreat your parents, or argue with them, you should not hit or shout at them, you should not abuse them, and you should fulfill your responsibilities to them to the best of your ability. These are things that ought to be carried out within the scope of humanity; these are the principles that one should practice with regard to “honoring one’s parents.” Are they not easy to carry out? You do not need to deal with your parents hot-headedly, saying: “You devils and nonbelievers, God curses you to the lake of fire and brimstone and the bottomless pit, He will send you to the eighteenth level of hell!” That is not necessary, you do not need to go to this extreme. If circumstances allow, and if the situation requires it, you can fulfill your filial responsibilities to your parents. If this is not necessary, or if circumstances do not allow it and it is not possible, you can dispense with this obligation. All you need to do is fulfill your filial responsibilities when you meet with your parents and interact with them. When you have done that, you have completed your task. What do you think of this principle? (It’s good.) There must be principles to how you treat all people, including your parents. You cannot act impetuously, and you cannot verbally abuse your parents just because they persecute your belief in God. There are so many people in the world who do not believe in God, there are so many unbelievers, and there are so many people who insult God—are you going to go curse and shout at all of them? If not, then you should not shout at your parents either. If you shout at your parents but not at those other people, then you are living amid hot-headedness, and God does not like this. Do not think that God will be satisfied with you if you verbally abuse and curse your parents without good cause, saying that they are devils, a living Satan, and Satan’s lackeys, and cursing them to hell—that is just not the case. God will not find you acceptable or say that you have humanity because of this false display of proactivity. Instead, God will say that your actions carry with them emotions and hot-headedness. God will not like you acting in this way, it is too extreme, and it does not accord with His will. There must be principles to how you treat all people, including your parents; regardless of whether they believe in God or not, and regardless of whether or not they are evil people, you must treat them with principles. God has told man this principle: It is about treating others fairly—it is just that people have an extra degree of responsibility toward their parents. All you need to do is fulfill this responsibility. Regardless of whether your parents are believers or not, regardless of whether they pursue their belief or not, regardless of whether their outlook on life and their humanity line up with yours or not, you just need to fulfill your responsibility to them. You do not need to avoid them—just let everything take its natural course, according to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. If they hinder your belief in God, then you should still fulfill your filial responsibilities to the best of your ability, so that your conscience at least does not feel indebted to them. If they do not hinder you, and they support your belief in God, then you should also practice according to the principles, treating them well when it is fitting to do so. In sum, no matter what, God’s requirements of man do not change, and the truth principles that people should practice cannot change. In these matters, you simply need to uphold the principles, and fulfill the responsibilities that you are able to.

I will now talk about why God put forward a requirement regarding man’s behavior like “honor one’s parents.” God’s other requirements are all behavioral regulations that concern the individual comportment of each person, so why did God lay out a different kind of demand regarding the matter of filial piety? Tell Me: If a person cannot honor even their own parents, what is their nature essence like? (Bad.) Their parents suffered a lot to give birth to them and raise them, and bringing them up would certainly not have been easy—and actually, they do not expect that their child will bring them great happiness or contentment, they just hope that after their child grows up, they will live a happy life, and that they will not have to worry about them too much. But their child does not strive or work hard, and they do not live well—they still rely on their parents to take care of them, and they have become a leech, who not only does not honor their parents, but also wishes to bully and blackmail their parents out of their property. If they are capable of carrying out this kind of vile behavior, what sort of person are they? (A person with poor humanity.) They do not fulfill any of their responsibilities to the people who birthed and raised them, and they do not feel guilty about it at all—if you look at them from this perspective, do they have a conscience? (They do not.) They will hit and verbally abuse anyone, their parents included. They treat their parents just like anybody else—hitting them and verbally abusing them at whim. When they feel unhappy, they take out their anger on their parents, smashing bowls and plates, and terrifying them. Does a person like this possess reason? (No.) If someone does not possess conscience or reason, and is capable of casually abusing even their own parents, then are they a person? (No.) What are they, then? (A beast.) They are a beast. Is this statement accurate? (It is.) In fact, if a person fulfills some of their responsibilities to their parents, and cares for them, and loves them dearly—are these not things that people with normal humanity ought to possess as a matter of course? (They are.) If a person were to mistreat and abuse their parents, could their conscience accept it? Could a normal person do something like that? People who possess conscience and reason could not do this—if they were to anger their parents, they would feel miserable for several days. Some people have fiery tempers, and they may get mad at their parents in a moment of desperation, but after they do, their conscience will reproach them, and even if they do not apologize, they will not do it again. This is something that people with normal humanity ought to possess, and it is an outpouring of normal humanity. Those who do not possess humanity can abuse their parents in any way without feeling anything, and that is what they do. If their parents hit them once when they were a child, they will remember it for the rest of their life, and after they grow up, they will still wish to strike their parents and hit them back. Most people will not strike back when their parents hit them as a child; some people in their 30s will not strike back when their parents hit them, and they will not utter a word about it, even if it hurts. This is what people with normal humanity ought to possess. Why will they not utter a word about it? If someone else were to hit them, would they allow that and let that person hit them? (No.) If it were someone else, no matter who it was, they would not allow that person to hit them—they would not even allow them to speak a word of verbal abuse to them. So why do they not strike back or get angry no matter how their parents hit them? Why do they tolerate it? Is it not because there is conscience and reason within their humanity? They think to themselves: “My parents raised me. Even though it’s not right for them to hit me, I must bear it. Besides, it was me who made them angry, so I deserve to be hit. They’re only doing it because I disobeyed them and made them angry. I deserve to be hit! I won’t ever do this again.” Is this not the reason that people with normal humanity ought to possess? (It is.) It is this reason of normal humanity that allows them to endure their parents treating them in this way. This is normal humanity. So, do the people who cannot endure this kind of treatment, who strike back at their parents, possess this humanity? (They do not.) That is right, they do not possess it. People who do not possess the conscience and reason of normal humanity are even capable of hitting and verbally abusing their own parents, so how will they be capable of treating God and their brothers and sisters in the church? They are capable of treating the people who birthed and raised them in this way, so will they not care even less about other people who are not related to them by blood? (Yes.) How will they treat God, who they cannot see or touch? Will they be able to treat God, who they cannot see, with conscience and reason? Will they be able to submit to all of the environments that God has orchestrated? (No.) If God were to deal with and prune them, or judge and chastise them, would they resist Him? (Yes.) Consider this: What function do a person’s conscience and reason serve? To a certain extent, a person’s conscience and reason can restrain and regulate their behavior—it enables them to have the correct attitude and to make the correct choices when things happen to them, and to approach everything that befalls them with their conscience and reason. Most of the time, acting based on conscience and reason will allow people to avoid a great deal of misfortune. Of course, people who pursue the truth are able to choose to walk the path of pursuing the truth upon this foundation, entering into the truth reality, and submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Those who do not pursue the truth lack humanity, and they do not possess this kind of conscience and reason—the consequences of this are dire. They are capable of doing anything to God—just like how the Pharisees treated the Lord Jesus, they are capable of insulting God, taking revenge on God, blaspheming God, or even accusing and betraying God. This problem is very serious—does this not spell trouble? People who lack the reason of humanity often take revenge on others by means of their hot-headedness; they are not restrained by the reason of humanity, so it is easy for them to develop some extreme thoughts and views, and to then engage in some extreme behavior, and to act in many ways that are devoid of conscience and reason, and ultimately, the consequences of this get completely out of hand. I have more or less finished fellowshiping on “honoring one’s parents” and the practice of the truth—in the end it comes down to humanity. Why did God put forward a demand like “honor one’s parents”? Because it relates to man’s comportment. In one respect, God uses this demand to regulate man’s behavior, and at the same time, He tests and defines people’s humanity with it. If a person does not treat their own parents with conscience and reason, then they certainly do not have humanity. Some people say: “What if their parents don’t have good humanity, and haven’t completely fulfilled their responsibilities to their child—should that person still show filial piety to them?” If they possess a conscience and reason, then as a daughter or a son, they will not abuse their parents. People who abuse their parents absolutely do not possess conscience and reason. So, no matter what requirement God puts forward, whether it relates to the attitude with which people treat their parents, or to the humanity that people usually live out and reveal, in any case, since God has laid out these approaches concerning external behaviors, He must have His own reasons and objectives for doing so. Although these behavioral requirements put forward by God are still somewhat removed from the truth, they are nevertheless standards that God has set out to regulate man’s behavior. They are all significant and they are still valid today.

I just fellowshiped on the various connections and differences between the behavioral criteria that God has put forward for man and the truths that He demands. At this point, have we not more or less finished fellowshiping on the good behaviors which are part of things that people believe to be right and good in their notions? After concluding our fellowship on this, we communed on some standards and sayings that God has put forward to regulate man’s behavior and what man lives out, and we listed some examples, for example: do not hit or verbally abuse others, honor one’s parents, do not smoke or drink, do not steal, do not take advantage of others, do not give false witness, do not worship idols, and so on. Of course, these are just the major ones, and there are a lot more details that we will not get into. So, after fellowshiping about these things, what truths should you have gained? What principles should you practice? What should you do? Do you need to respect the old and care for the young? Do you need to be a courteous person? Do you need to be amiable and approachable? Do women need to be gentle and refined or well-educated and sensible? Do men need to be great, ambitious, and accomplished men? They do not. Of course, we have carried out a great deal of fellowship. These things that traditional culture advocates for are clearly used by Satan to mislead people. They are very misleading things, and they are things that trick people. You should examine yourself and see whether you still harbor any of these thoughts and views or behaviors and manifestations. If you do, then you should hurry to seek the truth to resolve them, and you should then accept the truth, and live by God’s words. That way, you will be able to gain God’s approval. You should reflect on what your inner state was like when you lived by traditional culture, and how you felt in the depths of your heart, what you gained, and what the outcome was, and then see how it feels to comport yourself according to the standards that God has demanded of man, like being restrained, possessing saintly decency, not hitting or verbally abusing others, and so on. See which of these ways of life allows you to live more easily, freely, steadily, and peacefully, and enables you to live with more humanity, and which makes it feel as though you are living under a false mask, and makes your life very false and miserable. See which of these ways of life allows you to live closer and closer to God’s requirements, and makes your relationship with God more and more normal. When you actually experience this, you will know. Only practicing God’s words and the truth can bring you release and freedom, and allow you to gain God’s approval. Say, for instance, that in order to make other people say that you respect the old and care for the young, that you abide by the rules, and that you are a good person, whenever you meet an older brother or sister, you call them “elder brother” or “elder sister,” never daring to call them by their name, and feeling too embarrassed to call them by their name, and thinking that to do so would be very disrespectful. This traditional notion of respecting the old and caring for the young is hidden in your heart, so when you see an old person, you act very gentle and kind, and as if you are very rule-abiding and cultured, and you cannot help but bend at the waist, from a 15-degree angle to a 90-degree angle. You treat older people respectfully—the older the person in front of you is, the more well-behaved you pretend to be. Is being well-behaved like this a good thing? It is living without a backbone and without dignity. When people like this see a young child, they act cute and playful, just like a child. When they see one of their peers, they stand up quite straight, and act like an adult, so that others do not dare to disrespect them. What kind of person are they? Are they not a person with many faces? They change so quickly, do they not? When they see an old person, they call them “elder grandpa” or “elder grandma.” When they see someone a bit older than them, they call them “uncle,” “auntie,” “older brother,” or “older sister.” When they meet someone younger than them, they call them “little brother” or “little sister.” They give people different titles and nicknames according to their ages, and they use these forms of address very precisely and accurately. These things have taken root in their bones, and they are able to employ them with great ease. Especially after they come to believe in God, they feel even more convinced that: “Now I’m a believer in God, I must be rule-abiding and cultured; I must be well-educated and sensible. I can’t break the rules or be rebellious like those unbelieving, problem youths—people will not like that. If I want everyone to like me, I have to respect the old and care for the young.” So, they regulate their behavior even more strictly, dividing people of different age groups into different levels, giving them all titles and nicknames, and then constantly putting this into practice in their daily lives, and then they think more and more that: “Look at me, I’ve really changed after coming to believe in God. I’m well-educated, sensible, and courteous, I respect the old and care for the young, and I’m amiable. I’m really living with human likeness. I know how to call every person I meet by their proper title, no matter how old they are. I didn’t need my parents to teach me this, and I didn’t need the people around me to tell me to do it, I just knew how to do it.” After practicing these good behaviors, they think that they really have humanity, that they are really rule-abiding, and that God must like this—are they not deluding themselves and others? From now on, you must abandon these things. Before, I told the story of Daming and Xiaoming—that story was related to respecting the old and caring for the young, was it not? (It was.) When some people see an old person, they think that calling them “elder brother” or “elder sister” is not gracious enough, and that it will not make people think that they are cultured enough, so they call them “elder grandpa” or “elder auntie.” It seems that you have given them enough respect, and where does your respect for them come from? You do not have the face of a person who respects others. You have a frightening and ferocious, brash, and arrogant look to you, and you are more arrogant in your actions than any other person. Not only do you not seek the truth principles, you also do not consult anyone else; you are a law unto yourself, and you do not have the slightest bit of humanity. You look to see who has status, and then you call them “elder uncle” or “elder auntie,” hoping to receive people’s praise for this—is pretending like this useful? Will you have humanity and morals if you pretend like this? On the contrary, when other people see you do this, they will feel even more disgusted by you. When matters arise that involve the interests of God’s house, you are capable of veritably selling out the interests of God’s house. You only live to satisfy yourself, and while possessing this kind of humanity, you still call people “elder auntie”—is this not pretense? (It is.) You really are good at pretending! Tell Me, are people like this not disgusting? (They are.) People like this are always selling out the interests of God’s house—they do not protect them at all. They bite the hand that feeds them, and they do not deserve to live in God’s house. Examine yourself, and see what thoughts, views, attitudes, approaches, and ways of treating people you still harbor that are things which humanity commonly recognizes as good behaviors, that are, in fact, precisely the things that God loathes. You should hurry to let go of these worthless things, and you absolutely must not cling to them. Some people say: “What’s wrong with acting like that?” If you act like that, I will be disgusted by you and I will loathe you, you absolutely must not act like that. Some people say: “It doesn’t matter if You’re disgusted by us, we don’t live with You, after all.” You still must not act like that, even though we do not live together. I will feel disgusted by you because you are not able to accept or practice the truth, which means that you cannot be saved. Therefore, it would be better if you abandoned those things as soon as possible. Do not pretend and do not live behind a false mask. I think that Western people are very normal in this regard. For example, in America, you just need to call people by their names. You do not need to awkwardly call this person “grandpa” and that person “grandma,” and you do not have to worry about people judging you—you can just call people by their names, in a dignified way, and when people hear you do so, they will feel very happy, both adults and children alike, and they will think that you are being respectful. By contrast, if you know their name, and you still call them “sir” or “auntie,” they will not be happy, and they will give you the cold shoulder, and you will find this very strange. Western culture is different from Chinese traditional culture. Chinese people have been indoctrinated and influenced by traditional culture, and they always want to stand on up high, to be the elder in the group, and to make other people respect them. It is not enough for them to be called “grandpa” or “grandma,” they want people to add an “elder” in front of that, and call them “elder grandpa,” “elder grandma,” or “elder uncle.” Then there is also “big auntie” or “big uncle”—if they are not called “elder,” then they want to be called “big.” Are people like this not disgusting? What kind of disposition is this? Is it not wretched? It is so disgusting! Not only are these kinds of people incapable of gaining others’ respect, other people loathe and disdain them, and they distance themselves from them and reject them. So, there is a reason why God exposes these aspects of traditional culture and hates these things. It is because these things contain Satan’s tricks and its disposition, and they can impact the methods and direction of a person’s comportment. Of course, they can also impact the perspective from which a person views people and things, and at the same time, they also blind people, and affect their ability to choose the right path. So, should people not abandon these things? (They should.)

Chinese people have been very deeply influenced by traditional culture. Of course, every country in the world has its own traditional culture, and these traditional cultures only differ in small respects. Although some of their sayings are different from those of Chinese traditional culture, they are of the same nature. These sayings all exist because people have corrupt dispositions and lack normal humanity, so they use some very deceptive behaviors, that appear on the surface to be good, that accord with man’s notions and imaginings, that are easy for people to carry out, to package themselves, so that they appear very gentlemanly, noble, and respectable, and so that they seem to have dignity and integrity. But it is precisely these aspects of traditional culture that cloud people’s eyes and trick them, and it is precisely these things that hinder people from living out true human likeness. Worse still, Satan uses these things to corrupt people’s humanity, and to lead them away from the right path. Is that not the case? (It is.) God tells people not to steal, not to commit adultery, and so on, whereas Satan tells people that they must be well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, and so on—are these not precisely the opposite of the demands that God has put forward? Are they not deliberate contradictions of God’s demands? Satan teaches people how to use external methods, behaviors, and what they live out to trick other people. What does God teach people? That they should not use external behaviors to falsely obtain the trust of other people, and that they should instead comport themselves based on His words and the truth. That way they will become deserving of other people’s trust and confidence—only people such as these have humanity. Is there not a difference here? There is a vast difference. God tells you how to comport yourself, whereas Satan tells you how to pretend and how to trick other people—is that not a big difference? So, do you understand now what people should choose, in the end? Which of these is the right path? (God’s words.) That is right, God’s words are the right path in life. No matter what kind of requirement God’s words put forward regarding man’s behavior, even if it is a rule, a commandment, or a law that God has spoken to man about, they are all undoubtedly correct, and people must abide by them. This is because God’s words will always be the right path and positive things, whereas Satan’s words trick and corrupt people, they contain Satan’s schemes, and they are not the right path, no matter how much they accord with people’s tastes or notions and imaginings. Do you understand this? (Yes.) How do you feel after hearing the content of today’s fellowship? Does it relate to the truth? (It does.) Did you understand this aspect of the truth before? (Not clearly.) Do you understand it clearly now? (More so than before.) In sum, understanding these truths will be of benefit to people later on. It will be advantageous for their future pursuit of the truth, their living out of humanity, and the goal and direction of what they pursue in life.

February 26, 2022

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