What It Means to Pursue the Truth (5) (Part One)
What did we fellowship on at our last gathering? (God first fellowshiped on the stories of Xiaoxiao and Xiaoji. After that, You fellowshiped on what the behaviors that man regards as good represent, You also talked about some of the requirements that God has for man, and there was a particular emphasis on the principles of the truth that we should understand regarding filial piety.) Last time, we fellowshiped on a topic related to the pursuit of the truth which was most fitting for man’s notions. It was also a negative topic, namely the behaviors that are considered right and good according to man’s notions. We gave some examples that addressed this topic, and then we gave another few examples of the demands that God has put forward to regulate man’s behavior. These were more or less the specific things that we fellowshiped on. There were not a lot of big sections to this fellowship, but we discussed many details regarding people’s knowledge, practice, and their understanding of the truth. Today, we will take a brief look back at these things. Generally speaking, what does man regard as good behaviors? Should we not have a conclusion or a broad definition of this? Have you come up with a conclusion? Have you fellowshiped on these things at gatherings? (We have. After God fellowshiped with us several times, we were able to see that the good behaviors which man perceives as right are merely a sort of behavior. They do not represent the truth, they are just ways for people to disguise themselves.) Based on some of the statements that mankind has summarized regarding external behaviors—what, exactly, is the essence of these behaviors? Is there a relationship between man’s essence and the external good behaviors of mankind? These external good behaviors make people appear very decent and dignified; those who possess them are respected and praised by others, they are highly regarded and give off a good impression. Is this good impression consistent with the essence of man’s corrupt disposition? (No, it is not.) Then, from this perspective, what is the nature of man’s good behaviors? Are they not simply surface-level approaches and packaging? (Yes, they are.) Are these surface-level approaches and packaging the proper manifestations of normal humanity? (No, they are not.) That is why the behaviors that people regard as right and good within their notions are really just mankind’s surface-level approaches and packaging. That is the nature of those behaviors. They do not constitute living out normal humanity, nor are they outpourings of normal humanity; they are merely external approaches. These approaches cover up man’s corrupt dispositions, they cover up man’s satanic nature and essence, and they deceive the eyes of other people. People practice these good behaviors in order to win the favor, esteem, and respect of others—such behaviors cannot help people to treat one another with honesty, or to interact with each other with sincerity, let alone to live out human likeness. These good behaviors are not approaches that originate in heartfelt honesty, nor are they natural outpourings of normal humanity. They do not, in any way, represent man’s essence; they are purely a guise and a false front which man puts on—they are the adornments of corrupt mankind. They cover up mankind’s evil essence. That is the essence of man’s good behaviors, that is the truth behind them. So, what is the essence of the behaviors that God demands from man? The last two times we fellowshiped, we mentioned some of the approaches that God demands and what He requires people to live out, with regard to their behavior. What did they include? (People shall not smoke, or drink alcohol, and they shall not hit or insult others. They shall honor their parents, and have saintly decency. They shall not worship idols, commit adultery, steal, misappropriate others’ possessions, or give false witness, and so on.) What is the essence of these demands? In other words, upon what premise does God make these demands? What fundamental condition are they based on? Were these demands not put forward within the context and upon the premise that mankind has been corrupted by Satan and that man has a sinful nature? And are these demands not within the scope of normal humanity? Are they not things that those with normal humanity can achieve? (Yes, they are.) These demands are put forward entirely based on the fundamental condition that a person with normal humanity can achieve them. In this regard then, what is the essence of the behaviors that God demands from man? Can we say that it is the true likeness lived out by normal humanity, as well as the bare minimum that normal humanity ought to possess? The examples that we have given: that people shall have saintly decency, and restrain themselves, and not be dissolute, that they shall not hit or insult others, or smoke, drink alcohol, commit adultery, steal, or worship idols, and that they shall honor their parents, and in the Age of Grace, people were also told to be patient, tolerant, and so on—are these demands that God has put forward merely limited to a kind of approach? No, God has laid out criteria for how people should live out normal humanity. What do I mean by “criteria”? I mean the standards of God’s requirements. As a person, what do you need to live out in order to possess normal humanity? You must fulfill the requirements that God has put forward. We only listed a portion of the demands that God has made of man. Demands such as not hitting or insulting others, not smoking, drinking alcohol, committing adultery, or stealing, and so on, are things that those with normal humanity can achieve. Although these things are inferior to the truth and fall short of the truth, they are some basic standards for evaluating whether or not a person has humanity.
What was the essence of the behaviors that God demands of man that we have just summarized? Living out normal humanity. If a person can live out or behave in the ways that God demands, then this person possesses normal humanity in the eyes of God. What does it mean to possess normal humanity? It means that a person already possesses the behavioral criteria that God demands, and meets the standard of normal humanity, in terms of their behavior, approaches, and what they live out, because they pour forth and live out normal humanity in the way that God demands. Can it be put like that? (Yes.) Regardless of whether a person believes in God or not, regardless of whether they have true faith or not, if they steal from, trick, or take advantage of other people; or if they frequently use filthy language; or if they hit and hurt other people when their own reputation, status, image, or other interests are at stake, without any scruples at all; or if they even go so far as to commit the sin of adultery—if they still have these problems in the way that they live out humanity, especially after they start believing in God, then is their humanity normal? (No, it is not.) No matter whether you are evaluating unbelievers or believers, these behavioral standards which God has laid out are merely the lowest and minimum standards for evaluating a person’s humanity. There are some people who, after becoming believers, renounce and expend themselves a little, and are able to pay a bit of a price, but never meet the behavioral standards that God has laid out. It is clear that people of this sort do not live out normal humanity—they do not even live out the most basic human likeness. What does it mean when a person does not live out normal humanity? It means that they do not possess normal humanity. Because they cannot even meet the standards of requirements that God has for mankind’s behavior in terms of living out humanity, their humanity is very poor, and they can only be given a poor evaluation. The minimum standard for evaluating a person’s humanity is to look at whether their behavior meets the standards of requirements that God has set for mankind’s behavior. Look at whether, after coming to believe in God, they restrain themselves; whether they have saintly decency in what they say and do; whether or not they take advantage of others when interacting with them; whether they treat their family members and brothers and sisters in the church with love, tolerance, and patience; whether they fulfill their responsibilities toward their parents to the best of their ability; whether they still worship idols when no one is looking, and the like. We can use these things to evaluate a person’s humanity. Putting aside whether the person loves and pursues the truth, first evaluate whether they have normal humanity—whether their words and behavior meet the behavioral standards that God has set. If they do not meet those behavioral standards, then you can evaluate their humanity according to the degree of what they live out, whether it be: average, poor, very poor, or terrible, in that order—this is accurate. If a believer shoplifts and pickpockets when they go to supermarkets or public places, if they are sticky-fingered, what kind of humanity do they have? (Bad humanity.) There are some people who shout abuse and even hit others when something makes them angry. Their insults are not fair assessments of another person’s essence, rather, they are arbitrary accusations and they are full of foul language. Such people say whatever allows them to vent their hatred, holding nothing back. Some people, in particular, say things to their parents, to their brothers and sisters, to their relatives who are unbelievers, and even to their friends who are unbelievers, which you would not want to hear, lest it sully your ears. What kind of humanity does this sort of person have? (Bad humanity.) You could also say that they have no humanity. Then there are others whose eyes are always fixed on money. When these people see someone who has money, who eats well and wears nice clothes, and who has an affluent life, they always want to take advantage of them. They are always asking for things from them in a roundabout way, or eating their food and using their things, or borrowing items from them and not returning them. Although they have not taken advantage of others in any major way, and their actions do not amount to embezzlement or bribery, these sticky-fingered behaviors of theirs are truly lowly and despicable, and they incur the disdain of others. More seriously, there are those who are fixated on the beauty of the opposite sex. They frequently make eyes at the opposite sex, and even commit adultery, committing a sin between the sexes. Some of these people are single, while others have families—there are even some who engage in adultery despite being of very advanced age. Even more seriously, some people try to seduce members of the same sex, and get physical with them. It is truly disgusting. What is even more unbelievable, are those people who have believed in God for years, but do not believe that the truth is superior to all else or thataccomplish everything. These people often visit fortunetellers in secret to have their fortunes told, they burn incense to worship Buddha or other idols, and some even use voodoo dolls to curse other people, or hold séances, and the like. Performing these kinds of evil magic is an even more serious issue; people such as these are nonbelievers, and they are no different from unbelievers. Regardless of whether the circumstances are minor or severe, once a person has these manifestations, we can say that they are living out humanity in a way that is abnormal and tainted, and that some of their behaviors are even erroneous or absurd—that they are truly sinful behaviors. After coming to believe in God, some people dress very provocatively, they place as much importance on looking sexy as unbelievers, and they follow worldly trends. They do not resemble saints at all. Some people dress more tastefully when they go to gatherings, but change into the trendy clothes of unbelievers when they get home. From what they are wearing, they do not look like believers; there is no difference between them and unbelievers. They giggle and make a joke out of things; they are extremely self-indulgent and show no restraint. Are people such as this living out normal humanity? (No, they are not.) They pursue worldly trends, and to be sexy, and to attract others, and to make heads turn. They spend all day dressing themselves up nicely, and slapping on makeup, trying to attract the opposite sex. What these people live out is relatively poor. They cannot even restrain themselves in terms of how they dress, speak, and behave, and they do not have saintly decency, so when we evaluate them according to the behavioral criteria that God demands, it is obvious that the humanity they live out is very poor. From these concrete examples, we can see that God’s demands regarding people’s behavior and what they live out are completely in line with the demands of normal humanity—so, naturally, those with normal humanity are capable of achieving them. What does this statement mean? It means that you only possess human likeness, resemble a normal person, and have the minimum level of normal humanity if this is what you live out. By looking at the specific details of God’s demands, we can see that living out humanity in this way is not fake, or putting on an act, nor is it tricking others. Rather, it is the way that normal humanity should manifest, and the reality that it ought to possess. Only those who live out these outpourings of normal humanity possess human likeness, without the slightest bit of trickery. People can only gain the respect of others, and live with dignity by living out normal humanity in this way. And it is only by living out normal humanity in this way and possessing saintly decency, that people’s normal outpourings bring glory to God. Because then, everything you live out will be positive, and the reality of positive things, and it will not be an act. You will be living out human likeness in accordance with God’s demands.
The essence of man’s good behavior and the essence of the behavior that God demands have both been explained clearly and comprehensibly. Therefore, how people should practice, and how they should live out normal humanity should also be clear, should it not? People will not go overboard or split hairs on questions about living out normal humanity. Does living out normal humanity relate to trivial things in people’s lives that have nothing to do with humanity? There are some ridiculous people who cannot see this matter clearly. They say, “Since God’s fellowship is so detailed, we must also be meticulous when it comes to every little aspect of our lives. For example, are sweet potatoes more nutritious when they are steamed or roasted?” Does this relate to living out normal humanity? Not at all. What people should eat and how they should eat is common sense that all people now possess. So long as there is no problem with eating something, you can eat it however you want. If someone thinks that they need to seek the truth in such simple matters of common sense, and that they need to practice such things as though they were the truth, is that person not ridiculous and absurd? There are some people now who are very meticulous in matters like this, which have nothing to do with the truth. These people think that they are pursuing the truth, and they investigate and examine minuscule matters as if they were the truth. Some even get red in the face arguing about these things. What kind of problem is this? Is it not a case of a severe lack of spiritual understanding? The fact that some people seek on the matter of eating sweet potatoes, as though it were the truth, is truly laughable and annoying. People like this are hopeless cases, because they do not understand God’s words, and they do not know what it means to pursue the truth. They cannot see through to the simplest matters of common sense in life, and they cannot resolve these issues—so what is the point of them living for all these years? How can these people bring such inconsequential matters into gatherings and discuss and fellowship on them as though they were topics in which one could seek the truth? The reason is mainly that these people have warped comprehensions and lack spiritual understanding. In what context are they being meticulous? Why did these thoughts and ideas arise in them? How could they discuss and fellowship on how to eat sweet potatoes in gatherings? Is it because the issues I have been fellowshiping on are too concrete, and this has led to some misconceptions arising among people who like to split words and split hairs? When these problems and situations come up, I feel like talking to these people is a bit like treating monkeys as though they were human. Monkeys are creatures that live in mountains and jungles. Although they resemble humans, and many of their behaviors and habits are similar to those of humans, and although there was a time when humans saw monkeys as their ancestors, no matter what, monkeys are still monkeys. They should live in forests and mountains. Would it not be a mistake to put them in a house to live with humans? Should we treat monkeys as if they were human? (No, we should not.) So, are you monkeys, or are you human? If you are human, then no matter how much I have to talk or how hard I have to work, it is appropriate and worthwhile for Me to say these things to you. If you are monkeys, is it appropriate for Me to treat you like humans, and to waste My breath discussing the truth and God’s will with you? Is it worthwhile? (No, it is not.) Then are you human, or are you monkeys? (We are human.) Hopefully, you are. How do you view fellowshiping on how to eat sweet potatoes at gatherings? Would you be meticulous in matters such as this, too? For example, some people ask: “Should I wear blue clothes or white? If I wear white clothes, what kind of white? What kind of white represents holiness, and is befitting of a saint? If blue is appropriate for me, then which blue? Which blue most befits the demands and criteria that God has toward man, and can bring the most glory to God?” Have you ever been meticulous in these matters? Has anyone ever considered which hairstyle, or which manner of speaking and tone of voice befits a saint? Have you ever been meticulous about these things? Some people have been meticulous and put effort into these things. There are some people who used to like bleaching their hair blonde, or dyeing it red or other strange colors, but after they came to believe in God, they saw that the other brothers and sisters in the church did not dye their hair, so they stopped. Only after several years did they fully understand that whatever color or style of hair one has is not crucial. What is crucial is whether one is living out normal humanity, and whether one loves the truth. People who have been meticulous in such matters that have nothing to do with living out normal humanity are gradually coming to understand that it is pointless to put effort into these things, because these matters do not relate to the truth at all. They are just some issues within the scope of normal humanity, and they fall short of the truth. If the humanity that you live out meets God’s demands and standards, that is enough. Have you not all felt somewhat perplexed by these issues in the past, and been confused by them? (Yes, we have.) Even if it was not as extreme as debating about how to eat sweet potatoes during gatherings, you too have been perplexed by some small, insignificant matters of life. These are facts. So, should there not be a definitive conclusion on these matters? Are you clear on which principles people should follow when living out normal humanity according to God’s demands and standards? Do you know how to seek the truth when you next encounter some particular circumstances? Some people say, “Although I don’t go to the extremes, like asking how to eat sweet potatoes, if certain issues were to arise in my daily life, I would still feel confused for a while.” So, give Me an example—what issue would make you feel confused for a while? Would you say that it is wrong for women to wear makeup? Is it in line with God’s demands for living out normal humanity? (It is not wrong.) What does “it is not wrong” refer to here? (So long as one’s makeup is befitting of a saint, and it is not too heavy, then it is fine.) So long as it is not heavy makeup, it is appropriate. There are some who ask, “If it is appropriate to wear makeup that is not too heavy, does that mean You want us to wear makeup?” Did I say that? (No, You did not.) Wearing makeup is not a problem, it is in line with living out normal humanity. The determining principle for this is that so long as the makeup is not too heavy, it is fine. That is the standard. So, what scope must women keep their makeup within in order for it to comply with living out normal humanity? Where is the line? What does “heavy makeup” mean? What kind of makeup is considered heavy? If the boundary is drawn clearly, people will know what to do. Is this not a detail? Give Me an example explaining what heavy makeup means. (It is when one’s face is painted very white, their lips very red, and their eyes very black, so that it is extremely unnatural and uncomfortable to look at.) It makes people jump when they see it, like a ghost, and others cannot see the person’s natural form or face. People in some countries and ethnicities, as well as certain professions, wear particularly heavy makeup. For example, is the makeup worn by people in bars and nightclubs not one representation of this? These people all wear heavy makeup, and it is not edifying—the point of their makeup is to seduce others. This kind of makeup is heavy makeup. Then, what sort of makeup is in line with living out normal humanity? Light makeup, like that worn by women in the workplace, which looks very dignified and elegant. So long as your makeup does not stray outside of this boundary, then it is fine. In China, it is not fashionable among older generations to wear makeup. If a regular, older person who does not have any particular status or standing in society always dresses up and wears makeup when leaving the house, people will say they are not acting respectably for their age. However, it is different in the West. If you are meeting someone or going to work and you do not put on a bit of makeup and groom yourself a little, people will say that you do not respect your job, that you are unprofessional, and that you are being disrespectful toward other people. This is a kind of culture. Naturally, in this sort of situation, wearing makeup should be restricted to a level where you appear dignified and upright, and like a respectable person to other people. To sum it up in one sentence: If you wear makeup, it should make you look like a respectable person, and not stir up lust in people’s hearts—this kind of makeup is appropriate. That is the principle, and it is as simple as that. Some people ask, “Is it alright if I don’t wear makeup when I leave the house? I’m not used to wearing makeup.” You should seek within God’s words. Did God say it was wrong not to wear makeup? God did not say this. The house of God has never required people to wear makeup. If you like to wear makeup, I have given you this criterion and limit, and told you what you should do so that your makeup is appropriate. If you do not like to wear makeup, the house of God does not require it. However, you must remember one thing: Although you are not required to wear makeup, you cannot leave the house looking messy and unkempt, like a beggar. For example, when you go out to share the gospel, if you do not make yourself look presentable or wash your face before leaving the house, and dress in a sloppy manner, saying, “It’s fine. So long as we understand the truth, it doesn’t matter how we dress!” is that constructive? As someone who believes in God, you should have principles for your clothing and appearance as well. The minimum standard of this principle is that you must live out normal humanity, and you must not do anything to humiliate God, or to humiliate your own character and dignity. At the very least, you should make others respect you. Even if you fall short of piety, you should at least be able to restrain yourself, and be dignified and upright, and have saintly decency. If you can give people this impression, then that is enough. This is the most basic requirement for living out normal humanity.
For those who believe in God, these questions about people’s external behaviors and living out normal humanity should not be burdens or difficulties, because they are the most basic things that a normal person should, at the very least, possess. These issues should be easy to understand; they are not abstract. Therefore, these questions about people’s external behaviors and living out normal humanity should not become important issues that are discussed frequently in church life. Talking about them on occasion is fine, but if you treat them as topics to seek the truth on, and bring them up often, discussing them earnestly and seriously, then you are somewhat neglecting your proper duties. Which people are usually the ones who neglect their proper duties? Bringing up questions like how to eat sweet potatoes, and treating these questions as though they are topics to seek the truth on, investigating and fellowshiping on them at gatherings, sometimes at multiple gatherings, while the church leaders do nothing to stop it—are these not all manifestations of warped people who lack spiritual understanding? (Yes, they are.) What questions should be discussed the most in gatherings? Those pertaining to the truth and people’s corrupt dispositions. The truth and God’s words are the unchanging topics of church life; matters pertaining to the most basic and ordinary topic of external behaviors of normal humanity should not be the main subject of fellowship in church life and gatherings. If the brothers and sisters advise, remind, and fellowship with each other about these things outside of gatherings, that is enough to solve these problems. It is not necessary to spend vast amounts of time fellowshiping and discussing them. That would impact people’s normal gathering and eating and drinking of God’s words, and it would have an effect on their life entry. Church life is a life of eating and drinking God’s words. Its emphasis should be on fellowshiping about the truth and resolving practical problems, that way, one’s life progress will not be delayed. If you possess the sense of normal humanity, it should be clear to you how to practice these matters in accordance with the principles. If you are always nitpicking about trivial matters and things which have nothing to do with the principles of the truth, if you are always splitting hairs, yet feel that you are knowledgeable and learned, should this issue not be dissected? For example, some people put a lot of emphasis on the way they dress, and always ask whether believers can wear unusual clothes; some people who have recently come to believe in God always ask whether believers should drink alcohol; some people enjoy doing business, and always ask whether believers should earn a lot of money; and some people always ask when God’s day will come. These people are not willing to seek the truth in these matters to find the correct answers. Although there are no precise words on these subjects, God has explained the principles for approaching these issues very clearly. If a person does not put effort into reading God’s words, they will not find the answers. In fact, everyone knows the purpose of believing in God, and what is to be gained from it. It is just that there are some people who do not love the truth, but still wish to gain blessings. That is where their difficulty lies. Therefore, the most crucial thing is whether a person can accept the truth. There are some people who have never put importance on eating and drinking God’s words or on fellowshiping about the truth. They just get hung up on questions of no importance, and they always want to fellowship on these questions at gatherings and get definitive answers to them, and the leaders and workers cannot restrain them. What sort of problem is this? Are these people not neglecting their proper duties? If you do not practice the truth and always want to walk the wrong path, why do you not reflect on, come to know, and analyze yourself? You are always a people-pleaser, you are not responsible in your duty, you are willful, a law unto yourself, arbitrary, and reckless. How can you not be conscientious about this matter? How can you not investigate and dissect it to find out what, exactly, is going on? Why do you blame and misunderstand God whenever anything befalls you? Why do you always reach a verdict on yourself, and grumble that God is not righteous and that the church is unfair? Are these not problems? Should you not fellowship and dissect these issues in church life? When the house of God divides the church and cleanses people away, you never submit and you are never satisfied, you always have notions and spread negativity. Is this not a problem? Should you not investigate and dissect this issue? You always pursue status, and play politics, and manage your status. Is this not a problem? Should you not fellowship and dissect these issues? The church is currently carrying out the work of cleansing, and some say, “As long as people are somewhat effective in their duties, they won’t be removed, so if I just continue to be somewhat effective in my duty and don’t get removed, that’s enough.” What is the problem here? Are these people not in passive opposition? If one can pour forth this kind of deceitful disposition, does this not need to be resolved? Are problems to do with corrupt dispositions and man’s essence and nature not much more serious than how to eat sweet potatoes? Are they not worth bringing up, fellowshiping on, and dissecting at gatherings and in church life, so that God’s chosen people can gain discernment? Are these not good, typical examples of negative behaviors? Problems concerning corrupt dispositions directly relate to man’s dispositional change, and they touch on man’s salvation. These are not small matters, so why do you not fellowship on and dissect these issues in gatherings? If you never seek the truth to resolve crucial matters such as these in gatherings, and instead, you fellowship endlessly on trivial and boring things, spending an entire gathering fellowshiping on one small issue, unable to resolve any substantive problems, wasting time as well—are you not neglecting your proper duties? If you continue in this way, all of you will become useless individuals of poor caliber, who are muddle-headed, and do not perform their duties well, and fall short of the truth. You do not fellowship on the things that you should fellowship on in gatherings, and you fellowship endlessly on things that you should not fellowship on in gatherings. You always fellowship on things in gatherings that have nothing to do with the truth, that belong to your own skewed understandings and trivial personal issues, making everyone investigate them along with you, pointlessly wasting time. Not only does this impact the life entry of God’s chosen people, it also delays the normal progression of the church’s work. Is this not disturbing and disrupting the church’s work? Behavior such as this should be labeled as a disturbance. It is an intentional disturbance, and people who act in this way should be restricted. In the future, gatherings should be limited to eating and drinking the words of God, fellowshiping on the truth, solving issues to do with corrupt dispositions, and resolving difficulties and problems in people’s duties. Any trivial and inconsequential matters or those concerning issues of everyday common sense should not be fellowshiped on in gatherings. Brothers and sisters can resolve these issues by fellowshiping among themselves; they do not need to be fellowshiped about in gatherings.
There are always people with warped understandings about God’s words in the church who split hairs. When I fellowship about man’s good behaviors, these people truly put effort into their behavior. They do not know why we must fellowship on these things. Tell Me, why do we need to fellowship on this issue? What do we want to achieve by fellowshiping on this issue? Let us talk first about why we must fellowship on this issue. In what context was the topic of man’s good behaviors and the criteria for the behaviors that God demands raised? It was raised while we were fellowshiping on the topic of “What It Means to Pursue the Truth.” This issue directly relates to how man should pursue the truth. The good behaviors that people exhibit as a result of practicing the truth concern the truth and are related to the truth. No matter how good a behavior may appear to man, if it does not involve practicing the truth, then it is something unrelated to the truth. Some people will say, “That’s wrong! Didn’t You say that good behaviors fall short of the truth? I don’t understand.” Can you explain this issue? In the context of fellowshiping on “What It Means to Pursue the Truth,” I dissected the behaviors that people believe to be good according to their notions, and I critiqued and condemned them. At the same time, I informed people what criteria God has put forward regarding man’s behavior, and I gave them a correct path by which to live out normal humanity, thus enabling them to possess criteria by which to evaluate the living out of normal humanity. Upon this foundation, the effect that I ultimately achieved was informing people that the behaviors they think are good according to their notions are not the criteria of the truth, nor do they involve the truth, and nor are they related to the truth, thus stopping people from mistakenly believing that observing these good behaviors is the pursuit of the truth. At the same time, I informed people that they have only fulfilled the standards for living out normal humanity when they have met the criteria for behavior that God demands. Since I have told people that all of the good behaviors advocated for by man are guises and false, that they are all an act and for show, and that they are all incorrect, that they are all adulterated with Satan’s schemes, now that these things have been taken away and people have been deprived of them, do they not know how to practice? They think to themselves, “Then what should I be living by? What are the actual criteria of the behavior that God demands?” The demands, criteria, and concrete statements that God has about man’s behavior—it is as simple as that. So long as people live out the realities that God demands, they will have met the standards for living out normal humanity. They will not split hairs, or be perplexed, or confused about this matter. When a person meets the standards that should be lived out by normal humanity, have they not resolved a practical problem on the road to pursuing the truth? Have they not removed an obstacle, and resolved a hindrance to living out normal humanity? At least, by now, external approaches that are praised by humanity, such as being well-educated and sensible, amiable, and approachable, are no longer the goals of man’s pursuit. Or to put it in more precise terms, it is no longer a goal that people who are pursuing the truth strive to live out externally, nor is it a standard which normal humanity ought to live out. It has been replaced with the need to be restrained, to possess saintly decency, and so on. These demands of God’s are the criteria for man to live out normal humanity; they are the likeness which normal humanity should live out. In this way, has the most basic condition, goal, and direction for pursuing the truth not been confirmed? The most fundamental, basic thing has been confirmed, which is that the goal of living out normal humanity is not for people to be well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, amiable, courteous, to respect the old and care for the young, and so on. Rather, it is for them to live out normal humanity as God demands. There are no guises and none of Satan’s schemes in this; instead, it is the actual living out, outpourings, and behavior of normal humanity. Is this not how it is? (Yes, it is.) From this perspective, when we fellowship on man’s good behaviors which fall under the topic of things that people think are right and good according to their notions, as well as fellowship on the criteria for the behavior that God demands—are these things related to pursuing the truth? (Yes, they are.) Yes, they are related. To a certain degree, this confirms the basic direction and goal for man’s pursuit of the truth. This means that, at the very least, your goal for living out normal humanity will be correct before you begin to pursue the truth. This goal is not a man-made approach, it is not packaging, or a disguise. Rather, it is the normal living out of the humanity that God demands. Although this topic is still somewhat removed from the real pursuit of the truth, it is essential to the overarching direction of the pursuit of the truth. It is the simplest and most basic criterion for behavior that man should understand. No matter how far removed this fellowship topic is from pursuing the truth, and how far removed it is from the criteria of the truth, because it pertains to God’s demands and to the behavioral criteria that God has given humanity, naturally, it also pertains to the criteria of the truth, to a certain degree. Therefore, people should understand these issues. These demands that God has for man’s behavior are criteria that people should adhere to, and they must not be ignored. After understanding these issues, people will, at least, not seek to be a well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, approachable, or amiable sort of person in living out normal humanity, and in their external approaches—like how western people, in particular, expect men to be gentlemen, to open doors for women, to pull out a woman’s chair for her when she is sitting down, and to give women priority in public places—once people gain discernment over these good behaviors, they will, at the very least, not take them as their standards when they strive to live out normal humanity, or when they pursue the behaviors of normal humanity. Instead, they will abandon these things in their hearts and minds; they will no longer be influenced and bound by them. This is something that you ought to do. If there is someone who still says, “Well, that person isn’t very well-educated and sensible,” what will your reaction be? You will glance at them, and indicate to them, “You misspoke. This is God’s house. What do you mean, ‘well-educated and sensible’? That isn’t the truth, and it isn’t the human likeness that we’re meant to live out.” Some people say, “Our leader doesn’t respect the old and care for the young. I’m already advanced in age, yet she doesn’t call me Auntie, she just calls me by my first name. She shouldn’t be doing that. My grandchildren are older than her! By doing this isn’t she looking down on me? She isn’t friendly or good with people either. Judging from her behavior, she doesn’t seem fit to be a leader.” What do you think of this view? Respecting the old and caring for the young is not the truth. You should not evaluate people based on their external behaviors and manifestations, but according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. Only these are the principles for evaluating people. Then, how should we evaluate leaders and workers? You should look at whether they do practical work, at whether they can lead God’s chosen people to eat and drink the words of God and understand the truth, at whether they can use the truth to resolve problems in the church and complete some crucial jobs. For example, how is the gospel work going? How is the church life? Are God’s chosen people performing their duties well? How are all the different specialist tasks progressing? Have nonbelievers, evil people, and antichrists been cleared out? These are the church’s crucial jobs. Evaluating leaders and workers is mainly done by looking at how well they perform these jobs. If they are effective in all these areas, then they are a competent leader. Even if their behavior is slightly lacking, it is not a big issue. Just looking at external behaviors is not the standard for evaluating whether a leader or worker is suitable. If a person looked at this through man’s perspective, it would seem like the leader was rude because she never called an older woman Auntie or Grandma. But if they used God’s words to evaluate her, this leader is satisfactory, and God’s chosen people elected the right person because she can shoulder every aspect of the church’s work, she is helpful and beneficial to the life entry of every one of God’s chosen people, and she does the gospel work well. Everyone should accept her leadership and cooperate with her work. If someone does not cooperate with this leader’s work, or makes things difficult for her, or if they look for leverage so that they can criticize her just because this leader does not possess good external behaviors like respecting the old and caring for the young, this is not beneficial to the church’s work. This is acting in an unprincipled way toward a leader and worker, and it is a manifestation of disrupting and disturbing the church’s work. People like this are not in the right; they are doing evil. If you see a leader or worker who does not respect their elders, and as a result, you think that they are not such a good person, and you do not accept their leadership, and you even condemn them, what mistake are you making? This is the evil result of evaluating people using the standards of man, according to the views of traditional culture. If everyone can evaluate people and elect leaders and workers in accordance with God’s words and the truth, it will be accurate and in line with God’s will. People will be able to both treat others fairly, and to maintain the normal progression of the church’s work. God will be satisfied, and man will be satisfied. Is this not the case?
Since I dissected man’s so-called “good behaviors,” and fellowshiped on the standards of demands that God has for man’s behavior, the perspective from which people view others, and the standards which they use to evaluate them have changed; since the field of vision in which people see others is different, the results of people’s evaluations are different, too. If people use God’s words as the basis of their evaluations, then the result will definitely be correct, just, objective, and in everybody’s interests. If the perspective, method, and basis for people’s evaluations are the things that man thinks are right and good, then what will the result be? Someone may end up wrongly accusing or condemning good people, or they may be misled by hypocrites, and be unable to assess and treat a person justly. As man’s basis is erroneous, the final result will certainly be wrong, unjust, and not in line with God’s will. So, is it necessary to dissect and fellowship about the essence of people’s notions of good behavior? Does this have any relation to the pursuit of the truth? They are very closely related! Even though this topic only touches on people living out normal humanity, and man’s external approaches and outpourings, when people have the correct criteria that God demands for living out normal humanity, they will have correct and standardized bases and criteria for evaluating others, for viewing people and things, and for comporting themselves and acting. So, in this regard, will the direction, path, and goal of their pursuit of the truth not be more accurate? (Yes, it will be.) It will be more accurate, and more standardized. Although these topics are somewhat simple, they are related to man’s views on people and things, and to man’s comportment and actions in the most practical, real, and closest way—they are not empty at all.