What It Means to Pursue the Truth (7) Part Two
When some people are in difficulty or danger and happen to receive help from an evil person that allows them to extricate themselves from their plight, they come to believe that the evil person is a good person and they are willing to do something for them to show their gratitude. However, in such cases, the evil person will try to involve them in their nefarious doings and use them to carry out bad deeds. If they are unable to refuse, then it can become dangerous. Some such people will feel conflicted in these situations, because they think that if they do not help their evil friend in doing a few bad deeds, it will seem as though they are not sufficiently reciprocating this friendship, and yet it would violate their conscience and reason to do something wrong. As such, they get caught up in this dilemma. This is a result of being influenced by this idea in traditional culture of repaying kindness—they become fettered, bound, and controlled by this idea. In many instances, these sayings from traditional culture take the place of the sense of man’s conscience and his normal judgment; naturally, they also influence man’s normal way of thinking and correct decision-making. The ideas of traditional culture are incorrect and directly affect man’s views on things, causing him to make bad decisions. From ancient times up until the present day, countless people have been influenced by this idea, view, and criterion of moral conduct regarding the repayment of kindness. Even when the person who bestows kindness on them is an evil or bad person and compels them to do nefarious acts and bad deeds, they still go against their own conscience and reason, blindly complying in order to repay their kindness, with many disastrous consequences. It could be said that many people, having been influenced, fettered, constrained, and bound by this criterion of moral conduct, blindly and mistakenly uphold this view of repaying kindness, and are even likely to aid and abet evil people. Now that you have heard My fellowship, you have a clear picture of this situation and can determine that this is foolish loyalty, and that this behavior counts as comporting oneself without setting any limits, and recklessly repaying kindness without any discernment, and that it lacks meaning and value. Because people fear being castigated by public opinion or condemned by others, they reluctantly devote their lives to repaying the kindness of others, even sacrificing their lives in the process, which is an absurd and foolish way to go about things. This saying from traditional culture has not only fettered people’s thinking, but it has also placed an unnecessary weight and inconvenience upon their life and saddled their families with additional suffering and burdens. Many people have paid great prices in order to repay kindness received—they view repaying kindness as a social responsibility or their own duty and may even spend their whole lives repaying the kindness of others. They believe this to be a perfectly natural and justified thing to do, an unshirkable duty. Is this viewpoint and way of doing things not foolish and absurd? It completely reveals how ignorant and unenlightened people are. In any event, this saying about moral conduct—a kindness received should be gratefully repaid—may be in keeping with people’s notions, but it does not accord with the truth principles. It is incompatible withand is an incorrect view and way of doing things.
Given that repaying kindness is unrelated to the truth and God’s demands of men, and has been the subject of our criticism, how exactly does God view this saying? What kinds of views and actions should normal people have in response to this saying? Are you clear on this? If someone previously bestowed you with kindness that benefited you greatly or did you a big favor, should you repay them? How should you approach this kind of situation? Is this not a matter of people’s views? It is a matter of people’s views as well as their paths of practice. Tell Me your view on this matter—if someone is kind to you, should you repay them? It will be problematic if you still cannot fathom this issue. Before, you did not understand the truth and practiced repaying kindness as if it were the truth. Now, after listening to My dissection and criticism, you have seen where the problem lies, but you still do not know how to practice or deal with this issue—can you still not fathom this issue? Before you had comprehended the truth, you lived by your conscience and no matter who bestowed kindness on you or helped you, even if they were evil people or gangsters, you would definitely repay them, and felt compelled to take a bullet for your friends and even put your life on the line for them. Men should enslave themselves to their benefactors as repayment, while women should pledge themselves in marriage and bear children for them—this is the idea that traditional culture impresses upon people, commanding them to gratefully repay kindness received. As a result, people think, “Only people who repay kindness have a conscience, and if they do not repay kindness, then they must lack conscience and be inhuman.” This idea is firmly rooted in people’s hearts. Tell Me, do animals know to repay kindness? (Yes.) That being the case, can humans really be considered advanced just because they know to repay kindness? Can man’s practice of repaying kindness be considered a sign of humanity? (No.) So, what view should people have of this matter? How should this kind of thing be understood? After understanding it, what approach should one take toward it? These are the questions you should all aim to resolve at this moment. Please share your views on this matter. (If someone did really help me resolve an issue or problem, I would first thank them sincerely, but I wouldn’t be constrained or controlled by this situation. If they were to encounter difficulties, I would do what I could for them within my power. I would help them where I could, but would not force myself to go beyond my means.) This is the right view and this way of acting is acceptable. Does anyone else want to share their view on this? (In the past, my view was that if someone helped me, I should help them in return when they encountered trouble. Through God’s fellowship and dissection of the views “Derive pleasure from helping others” and “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” I have come to realize that one must follow principles when helping others. If someone has been kind to me or helped me, my conscience dictates that I should help them as well, but the help that I offer must be based on my circumstances and what I am capable of providing. Also, I should only help them resolve their difficulties and attend to life’s necessities; I should not help them commit evil or carry out bad deeds. If I see that a brother or sister is experiencing difficulty, I will help them not because they once helped me, but because it is my duty, my responsibility.) Anything else? (I remember the words of God who said, “Should anyone do us a good turn, we should accept it from God.” That is to say, whenever someone acts nicely toward us, we should accept it from God and be able to handle it correctly. That way, we can correctly understand this view about repaying kindness. Also, God says that we must love what God loves and hate what God hates. When helping other people, we must discern whether the person is someone that God loves or hates. This is the principle we must act by.) This relates to the truth—it is a correct principle and has a basis to it. Let us not speak now about that which relates to the truth, but rather let us address how people should approach this matter from the perspective of humanity. In reality, the situations that you may encounter are not always so simple—they do not always occur within the church and among brothers and sisters. Oftentimes, they occur outside the scope of the church. For instance, an unbelieving relative, friend, acquaintance, or colleague may show kindness to you or help you. If you are able to approach this matter and treat the person who helped you in the right way, namely, in a way that both accords with the truth principles and seems appropriate to others, then your attitude toward this matter and your ideas about it will be relatively accurate. The traditional cultural concept that “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid” needs to be discerned. The most important part is the word “kindness”—how should you view this kindness? What aspect and nature of kindness is it referring to? What is the significance of “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid”? People must figure out the answers to these questions and under no circumstances be constrained by this idea of repaying kindness—for anyone who pursues the truth, this is absolutely essential. What is “kindness” according to human notions? On a smaller level, kindness is someone helping you out when you are in trouble. For example, somebody giving you a bowl of rice when you are starving, or a bottle of water when you’re dying of thirst, or helping you up when you fall down and can’t get up. These are all acts of kindness. A great act of kindness is someone rescuing you when you’re in desperate straits—that is a life-saving kindness. When you are in mortal danger and someone helps you to avoid death, they are essentially saving your life. These are some of the things that people perceive as “kindness.” This sort of kindness far surpasses any petty, material favor—it is a great kindness that cannot be measured in terms of money or material things. Those who receive it feel a kind of gratitude that is impossible to express with just a few words of thanks. Is it accurate, though, for people to measure kindness in this way? (It is not.) Why do you say that it is not accurate? (Because this measurement is based on the standards of traditional culture.) This is an answer based in theory and doctrine, and while it may seem right, it does not get to the essence of the matter. So, how can one explain this in practical terms? Think about it carefully. A while ago, I heard about a video online in which a man drops his wallet without realizing it. The wallet gets picked up by a small dog who chases after him, and when the man sees this, he beats the dog for stealing his wallet. Absurd, isn’t it? The man has less morals than the dog! The dog’s actions were in complete accordance with human standards of morality. A human would have called out “You dropped your wallet!” But because the dog couldn’t speak, it just silently picked up the wallet and trotted after the man. So, if a dog can carry out some of the good behaviors encouraged by traditional culture, what does that say about humans? Humans are born with conscience and reason, so they’re all the more capable of doing these things. As long as someone has the sense of their conscience, they can fulfill these kinds of responsibilities and obligations. It is not necessary to put in hard work or pay a price, it requires little effort and is simply a matter of doing something helpful, something of benefit to others. But does the nature of this act really qualify as “kindness”? Does it rise to the level of an act of kindness? (It doesn’t.) Since it does not, do people need to talk of repaying it? That would be unnecessary.
Let us now turn our attention to the matter of man’s so-called kindness. For instance, take the case of a kind person who rescues a beggar that collapsed from hunger in the snow outside. They take the beggar into their home, feed and clothe him, and allow him to live among their family and do work for them. Regardless of whether the beggar volunteered to work of his own free will, or whether he did so to repay a debt of kindness, was his rescue an act of kindness? (No.) Even small animals are able to help and rescue each other. It requires just a slight effort for men to perform such deeds, and anyone with humanity is able to do such things and rise to them. One could say that such deeds are a societal responsibility and obligation that anyone with humanity ought to fulfill. Isn’t man’s characterization of them as kindness going a little overboard? Is it an apt characterization? For instance, during a time of famine when many people may go hungry, if a rich person dispenses bags of rice to poor households to help them get through this difficult time, is this not just an example of the kind of basic moral help and support that should occur among men? He just gave them a little bit of rice—it is not as if he gave away all his food to others and went hungry himself. Does this really count as kindness? (No.) The societal responsibilities and obligations that man is capable of fulfilling, those deeds that man should be instinctively capable of doing and ought to do, and simple acts of service that are helpful and beneficial to others—these things can in no way be considered kindness, as they are all cases where man is simply lending a helping hand. Giving help to someone who happens to need it, at an appropriate time and place, is a very normal phenomenon. It is also the responsibility of every member of the human race. This is simply a sort of responsibility and obligation. God gave people these instincts when He created them. What instincts am I referring to here? I am referring to man’s conscience and reason. When you see someone fall to the ground, your instinctive reaction is “I should go help them up.” If you saw them fall but pretended you did not see, and you didn’t go to help them up, it would weigh on your conscience and you would feel bad for having acted this way. Someone who truly has humanity will immediately think to help someone up that they see has fallen. They will not care whether that person is thankful to them, because they believe this is what they ought to do, and see no need to consider the matter any further. Why is that? These are the instincts given to men by God, and anyone with conscience and reason would think to do this and be able to act in this way. God gave man conscience and a human heart—because man has a human heart, he therefore possesses human thoughts, as well as the perspectives and approaches he should have with respect to some matter, so he is able to do these things naturally and easily. He doesn’t need any help or ideological guidance from any outside forces, and he doesn’t even need education or positive leadership—he does not need any of that. It is just like how people will look for food when they are hungry or seek water when they are thirsty—it is an instinct and does not need to be taught by parents or teachers—it comes naturally, because man has the thinking of normal humanity. In the same way, people are capable of fulfilling their duties and responsibilities in God’s house and this is what anyone with conscience and reason ought to do. Thus, helping people and being kind to them is near effortless for humans, it is within the scope of human instinct, and something which people are completely capable of accomplishing. There is no need to rank it as highly as kindness. However, many people equate the help of others with kindness, and are always talking about it and constantly repaying it, thinking that if they don’t, they have no conscience. They look down on themselves and despise themselves, even worrying they will be reprimanded by public opinion. Is it necessary to worry about these things? (No.) There are many people who cannot see past this, and are constantly constrained by this issue. This is what it is to not understand the truth principles. For instance, if you went with a friend into the desert and they ran out of water, you would certainly give some of your water to them, you would not just let them die of thirst. Even though you would know that your one bottle of water will last half as long with two people drinking from it, you would still share the water with your friend. Now, why would you do that? Because you could not bear to drink your water while your friend stood by suffering from thirst—you just could not bear the sight. What would cause you to be unable to bear the sight of your friend suffering from thirst? It is the sense of your conscience that gives rise to this feeling. Even if you did not want to fulfill this kind of responsibility and obligation, your conscience makes it such that you cannot bear to do otherwise, it makes you feel upset. Is this not all the result of human instincts? Is this not all decided by man’s conscience and reason? If the friend said, “I owe a debt of gratitude to you for giving me some of your water in that situation!” is it not also wrong to say this? This has nothing to do with kindness. If the tables were turned, and that friend had humanity, conscience and reason, they would also share their water with you. This is just a basic societal responsibility or relationship between people. These most basic of societal relationships or responsibilities or obligations all arise due to the sense of man’s conscience, his humanity and the instincts that God bestowed man with at the time of man’s creation. Under normal circumstances, these things do not need to be taught by parents or inculcated by society, and much less do they require repeated admonishment from others telling you to do them. Education would only be necessary for those who lack conscience and reason, for those who lack normal cognitive faculties—for example, mentally challenged people or simpletons—or for those who have poor caliber, and are ignorant and stubborn. Those with normal humanity do not need to be taught these things—people with conscience and reason all possess them. So, it is inappropriate to vastly overstate some behavior or act as being a form of kindness when it was just instinctive and accorded with conscience and reason. Why is it inappropriate? By elevating such behaviors to this realm, you saddle every person with a heavy weight and burden, and of course this ties people down. For instance, if in the past, someone gave you money, helped you through a difficult situation, helped you find work, or rescued you, you will think: “I cannot be ungrateful, I must be conscientious and repay their kindness. If I don’t repay kindness, am I still human?” In all actuality, regardless of whether or not you repay them, you are still human and still live within the framework of normal humanity—such repayment will not change a thing. Your humanity will not undergo change and your corrupt disposition will not be subdued just because you repaid them well. Likewise, your corrupt disposition will not worsen just because you repaid them poorly. The fact of whether you repay and bestow kindness or otherwise has absolutely no connection to your corrupt disposition. Of course, regardless of whether or not a connection exists, for Me, this kind of “kindness” simply does not exist, and I hope the same is true for you. How should you regard it, then? Simply regard it as an obligation and a responsibility, and something that a person with human instincts should do. You should treat it as your responsibility and obligation as a human being, and do it to the best of your ability. That is all. Some people may say: “I know that this is my responsibility, but I don’t want to carry it out.” That is fine as well. You can choose for yourself based upon your situation and circumstances. You can also decide more flexibly based upon your mood at the time. If you are worried that after carrying out your responsibility, the beneficiary will continually try to repay you, and ask after you, and thank you so frequently that it becomes an inconvenience and a disturbance, and as a result you do not want to carry out that responsibility, that is also okay—it is up to you. Some will ask: “Do people who don’t want to fulfill this kind of societal responsibility have poor humanity?” Is this the correct way to judge a person’s humanity? (No.) Why is it incorrect? In this evil society, man must be measured in his behavior and have a sense of propriety in everything he does. Of course, it is even more necessary that he recognizes the environment and context at that moment in time. As the unbelievers say, in this chaotic world, people must be clever, intelligent, and wise in whatever they do—they must not be ignorant, and they certainly mustn’t carry out foolish acts. For example, in public places in some countries, people set up certain scams in which they stage a fake accident to then fraudulently claim compensation. If you do not see through their scam, and blindly act according to your conscience, you are liable to be fooled and get yourself into trouble. For instance, if you see an elderly woman who has fallen in the street, you might think: “I must carry out my responsibilities to society, I don’t need her to repay me. Because I have humanity and the sense of my conscience, I ought to lend her a hand, so I’ll go help her up.” Yet, when you go to pick her up, she extorts you and you end up having to take her to the hospital and pay her medical bills, compensation for emotional damages, and retirement expenses. If you do not pay up, you will be summoned to the police station. Looks like you got yourself in trouble, right? How did this situation come about? (By following one’s good intention and lacking in wisdom.) You were blind, lacked discernment, failed to recognize current trends, and did not discern the setting of the situation. In an evil society such as this, one has to pay a price just for casually helping up an elderly person who has fallen. If she really had fallen and needed your help, you should not be condemned for carrying out societal responsibilities, you should be praised, as your behavior was in keeping with humanity and the sense of man’s conscience. Yet this elderly lady had an ulterior motive—she did not really need your help, she was just scamming you, and you did not see through her cunning scheme. By carrying out your responsibility to her as a fellow human, you fell for her plot, and now she will not let go, extorting even more money from you. Carrying out societal responsibilities should be about helping people in need and fulfilling one’s own responsibilities. It should not result in getting tricked or caught in a trap. Many people have fallen prey to these scams and have clearly come to see how evil people are now, and how adept they are at cheating others. They will cheat anyone, regardless of whether they are strangers or friends and relatives. What a horrible state of affairs! Who brought about this corruption? It was the great red dragon. The great red dragon has profoundly and brutally corrupted mankind! The great red dragon will do all manner of immoral things to advance its own interests, and people have been led astray by its bad example. As a result, scammers and thieves now abound. Based on these facts, one can see that many people are no better than dogs. Perhaps some will be unwilling to listen to this kind of talk, they will feel uncomfortable about it and think: “Are we really no better than dogs? You are showing disrespect for us and looking down on us by always comparing us to dogs. You have no regard for us as humans!” I would love to view you as humans, but what kind of behavior have men displayed? In all actuality, some people really are no better than dogs. That is all I have to say on this matter for now.
I just fellowshiped about how people helping others out a bit cannot be considered kindness and is just a societal responsibility. Of course, people can choose which societal responsibilities they can fulfill to the best of their abilities. They can fulfill the responsibilities they are suited to fulfill and choose not to fulfill those they find unsuitable. This is a freedom and choice that man has. You can choose which societal responsibilities and obligations you ought to fulfill based upon your circumstances, capabilities, and, of course, the context and circumstances at that moment in time. This is your right. In what context did this right come about? The world is too dark a place, mankind is too evil, and society lacks justice. Under these circumstances, you have to first protect yourself, refrain from acting foolishly and ignorantly, and exercise wisdom. Of course, by protecting yourself, I do not mean protecting your wallet and property from being stolen, but rather protecting yourself from harm—this is of chief importance. You should fulfill your responsibilities and obligations to the best of your ability while also ensuring your own safety. Do not pay attention to gaining the respect of others, and do not be swayed or constrained by public opinion. All you need to do is fulfill your responsibilities and obligations. You should decide how to fulfill your duty based on your own situation; do not take on more than you can handle given your circumstances and capacities. You should not try to impress people by feigning abilities that you do not possess and you should not fear the disrespect, judgment, or condemnation of others. It is wrong to do things for the sake of satisfying your own vanity. Just do as much as you are able to, take on as much as your sense of responsibility dictates, and fulfill as many obligations as you are capable of fulfilling. This is your right. You do not need to force yourself to do things that God has not demanded of you. There is no meaning in following your conscience to do things that have nothing to do with the truth. No matter how much you do, God will not commend you for it, and it will not signify that you have borne a true testimony, let alone that you have furnished yourself with good deeds. For things not pertaining to God’s demands, but which people demand that you do, you should have your own choice and principles. Do not be constrained by people. It is enough if you do not do anything that violates your conscience, reason, and the truth. If you help someone by resolving a momentary issue for them, then they will come to depend on you, and believe you should and must solve their problems. They will become fully dependent on you and turn on you if you fail to resolve their issues even just once. This has brought you trouble and is not the kind of outcome you want to see. If you predict this kind of outcome, you can opt not to help them. In other words, it would not be wrong in this case to refrain from carrying out that responsibility or obligation. This is the kind of view and attitude you should have toward society, mankind, and, more specifically, the community in which you live. That is, just extend to someone however much love you have to give, and do as much as you are able to. Do not go against your convictions in an effort to show off, do not try to do things you are incapable of doing. There is also no need to force yourself to pay a price that the average person is incapable of paying. In short, do not ask too much of yourself. Just do what you are capable of doing. How does this principle sound? (It sounds good.) For instance, your friend asks to borrow your car and you think it over: “He has lent me things in the past, so by rights, I should let him borrow my car. But he doesn’t take good care of things or use them sparingly. He might even end up ruining my car. I’d better not let him borrow it.” So you decide not to let him borrow your car. Is this the right thing to do? It’s not a big issue whether or not you lend the car—as long as you have an accurate and insightful understanding of the matter, you should just take whatever you believe to be the most suitable course of action, and you will be in the right. However, what if you think to yourself, “Fine, I’ll let him borrow it. He never refused me when I asked to borrow things from him before. He is not so economical or careful when using things, but it’s fine. If my car is damaged, I’ll just spend a little money to fix it,” and then you agree to lend him your car and don’t reject him—is this the right thing to do? There is nothing wrong with this either. For example, if someone who had previously helped you comes to you when their family has encountered some difficulties, should you help or not? This depends on your own situation, and your decision to help or not will not be a matter of principle. All you need to do is come from a place of sincerity and instinct and fulfill your responsibilities to the best of your ability. By doing this, you will be acting within the scope of your humanity and the sense of your conscience. Whether or not you completely fulfill this responsibility or do it well is not important. You have the right to agree or to refuse—you cannot be said as lacking a conscience if you refuse, and your friend cannot be said as having shown an act of kindness for helping you out. These acts do not rise to that level. Do you understand? (Yes.) This has been a discussion about kindness, namely, how you should view kindness, how to approach the matter of helping others, and how you should fulfill your societal responsibilities. In these matters, people must seek the truth principles—you cannot resolve these issues just by relying on your conscience and reason. Some special circumstances can be quite complicated, and if you do not handle them in accordance with the truth principles, you are liable to bring about trouble and negative consequences. Thus, in these matters, God’s chosen people must understand His will and act with humanity, reason, wisdom, and the truth principles. This would be the most appropriate approach.
With regard to the saying “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” another situation that may arise is that the help you receive is not some small matter like a bottle of water, a handful of vegetables, or a sack of rice, but a form of assistance that affects you and your family’s livelihood, and which even has implications for your destiny and future prospects. For instance, someone may give you some tutoring or financial aid that enables you to attend a good university, find a good job, marry well, and have a whole series of good things happen in your life. This is not just a small favor or a trifling bit of help—many people view this kind of thing as an act of great kindness. How should you approach this kind of situation? Such forms of assistance are related to societal responsibility and the obligations man carries out that we just discussed, but because they have implications for man’s survival, fate, and future prospects, they are far more valuable than a mere bottle of water or a sack of rice—they have a much greater effect on people’s lives, their livelihoods and their time on this earth. As such, their value is much greater. Now, should these forms of assistance be elevated to the level of kindness? Just the same, I do not recommend viewing these kinds of help as kindness. Given that these forms of help should not be taken as kindness, then what is a suitable and proper way to deal with this kind of situation? Is this not a problem that men face? For instance, perhaps someone diverted you from a life of crime, set you straight, and got you a job in a legitimate line of work, allowing you to lead a good life, get married and settle down, and change your fate for the better. Or, perhaps, when you were in a difficult situation and feeling down and out, a good person gave you some help and guidance, which changed your future prospects in a positive way, allowing you to rise above the rest and lead a good life. How should you approach such situations? Should you remember their kindness and repay them? Should you find ways to compensate and requite them? In this case, you should allow principle to guide your decisions, should you not? You should determine what kind of person your helper is. If they are a good, positive person, then in addition to saying “thank you” to them, you can continue interacting normally with them, become friends and then, when they need help, you can fulfill your responsibility and obligation to the best of your ability. However, this fulfillment of responsibility and obligation should not be an unconditional form of giving, but should rather be limited by what you are able to do given your circumstances. This is the appropriate way to treat such people in these situations. There is no difference in level between the two of you—although they helped you and bestowed kindness on you, they still cannot be called your savior, because only God can save mankind. All they did was to act through God’s sovereignty and arrangements to lend you a hand—this certainly does not mean they are superior to you, much less does it mean they own you and can manipulate you and control you. They have no right to hold sway over your fate and should not criticize or remark upon your life; you are still equals. Given that you are equals, you can interact with each other as friends and, when appropriate, you can help them to the best of your ability. This is still fulfilling your societal responsibility and obligation within the scope of humanity and doing what you ought to do on the basis and within the scope of humanity—you are carrying out your responsibilities and obligations in a targeted way. Why should you do this? They helped you in the past and allowed you to reap benefits and make substantial gains, so the sense of conscience that comes from your humanity dictates that you should treat them as a friend. Some people will ask: “Can I treat them as a close confidant?” This depends on how the two of you get along, and whether your humanity and preferences, as well as what you seek and how you view the world, are similar. The answer will depend on yourself. Now in this unique kind of relationship, should you repay your benefactor with your life? Given that they helped you so much and had such a tremendous influence on you, should you repay them with your life? This is not necessary. You are the eternal owner of your own life—God gave you your life, and it is yours and no one else’s to manage. There is no need to carelessly allow someone else to manage your life due to this context and situation. This is an extremely foolish way of doing things and is, of course, also irrational. No matter how close you are as friends or how strong a bond you have, you can only carry out your responsibility as a person, interact normally and provide aid to each other within the scope of humanity and reason. This level of relationship is more rational and equal. The ultimate reason you became friends is basically because the person once helped you, and so you felt that they were worth having as a friend and that they met the standard you demand of your friends. It was only for this reason that you were willing to be friends with them. Consider, also, this situation: Someone helped you in the past, was kind to you in certain ways and had an impact on your life or some major event, but their humanity and the path they walk are not in line with your own path and what you seek. You do not speak a common language, you do not like this person and, perhaps, on some level you could say that your interests and what you seek are completely different. Your path in life, your worldview, and your outlook on life are all different—you are two completely different kinds of people. So, how should you approach and respond to the help that they previously gave you? Is this a realistic situation that may arise? (Yes.) So, what should you do? This is also an easy situation to deal with. Given that the two of you are walking different paths, after providing them with whatever material reimbursement you can afford given your means, you find that your beliefs are just too divergent, you cannot walk on the same path, cannot even be friends and can no longer interact. How should you proceed, given that you can no longer interact? Keep your distance from them. They might have been kind to you in the past, but they swindle and cheat their way through society, perpetrating all kinds of nefarious deeds and you do not like this person, so it is entirely reasonable to keep your distance from them. Some may say, “Isn’t that lacking in conscience to act in that way?” This is not lacking in conscience—if they were really to encounter some difficulty in their life, you could still help them out, but you cannot be constrained by them or go along with them in doing evil and unconscionable deeds. There is also no need to slave away for them just because they helped you or did a big favor for you in the past—that is not your obligation and they are not worthy of that kind of treatment. You are entitled to choose to interact with, spend time with, and even become friends with people whom you like and get along with, people who are correct. You can fulfill your responsibility and obligation to this person, this is your right. Of course, you can also refuse to become friends with and have dealings with people that you do not like, and you need not fulfill any obligation or responsibility to them—this is also your right. Even if you decide to abandon this person and refuse to interact with them or fulfill any responsibility or obligation to them, this would not be wrong. You must set certain limits on the way you comport yourself, and treat different people in different ways. You should not associate with evil people or follow their bad example, this is the wise choice. Do not be influenced by various factors such as gratitude, emotions, and public opinion—this is taking a stance and having principles, and is what you ought to do. Can you accept these methods and claims? (Yes.) Even though the views, paths of practice, and principles I have been discussing are criticized in traditional notions and culture, these views and principles will vigorously protect the rights and dignity of every person who has humanity and the sense of their conscience. They will enable people to not be constrained and fettered by traditional culture’s so-called standards of moral conduct, and to break free from the deception and delusion of these falsely pious and specious things. These views and principles will also allow them to understand the truth through God’s words, live by God’s words and the truth, not be influenced by these public opinions on morality, and free themselves from the constraints and fetters of so-called worldly ways, so that they can treat people and all things according to God’s words and using correct views, and thoroughly cast off the fetters and misguidance of worldly things, tradition, and social morality. As such, they will be able to live in the light, live out normal humanity, exist with dignity, and attain God’s commendation.
What kind of change can sayings on social morality like “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid” and “Derive pleasure from helping others” actually affect in men? Can they transform man’s status- and profit-grabbing satanic disposition? Can they transform man’s ambition and desire? Can they resolve the conflict and slaughter among men? Can they allow men to set foot on the right path in life and lead happy lives? (No.) Then what effect do these criteria of social morality really have? At most, do they just encourage a few good people to do good deeds and contribute to the safety and security of society? (Yes.) That is all they do, and they do not resolve even a single issue. Even if, under the conditioning of these so-called criteria of moral conduct, people were ultimately able to abide by them and live them out, this does not mean that they would be able to break free from their corrupt dispositions and live out a human semblance. For instance, say a person has done a favor for you, so you do everything you can to repay them—when they give you a sack of rice, you repay them with a big bag of noodles, and when they give you five pounds of pork meat, you repay them with five pounds of beef. What will be the result of your continuously repaying each other? Privately, you will both calculate who got the better end of the deal and who got the worse end, and this will lead to misunderstandings, fighting and scheming between the two of you. What do I mean by this? I mean that the requirement for moral conduct “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid” not only constrains and misguides people’s way of thinking, but it also saddles people’s lives with many inconveniences, burdens and even distress. And if it turns you into someone’s enemy, then you are in for even more trouble, and unspeakable suffering! Engaging in these relationships built on give-and-take is not the path that people should walk. People always live by such emotions and worldly ways, which will ultimately only bring about a lot of unnecessary trouble. This is just self-torture and pointless torment. This is how traditional culture and claims about moral conduct implant themselves in people’s minds and lead them astray. Due to their complete lack of discernment, people mistakenly believe that these aspects of traditional culture are correct and they take them as their criteria and compass, strictly abiding by these sayings and living under the supervision of public opinion. Gradually and unwittingly, they become conditioned, influenced, and controlled by these things and come to feel helpless and anguished, and yet are powerless to break free. When God speaks out to expose and judge these aspects of traditional culture that are inside people, it even upsets many people. When these things are thoroughly cleansed from people’s minds, thoughts, and notions, they suddenly feel quite empty as if they have nothing to hold onto, and will ask, “What should I do in the future? How should I live? Without these things, I have no path or direction in my life. Why do I feel so hollow and aimless now that these things have been cleansed from my mind? If people do not live by these sayings, can they still be considered human? Will they still have humanity?” This is an incorrect way of thinking. In reality, once you are cleansed of these aspects of traditional culture, your heart is purified, you are no longer constrained and fettered by these things, you gain freedom and liberation and no longer have these vexations—how could you not want to be cleansed of them? At the very least, when you abandon these aspects of traditional culture that are not of the truth, you will be subject to less suffering and anguish and can do away with many of the meaningless constraints and worries. If you can accept the truth and live by God’s words, you will set foot on the right path in life and be able to live in the light. It might seem perfectly justifiable to uphold traditional culture’s standards of moral conduct, but are you living out a human semblance? Have you set foot on the right path in life? These aspects of traditional culture just cannot change anything. They cannot transform people’s corrupt thinking, nor their corrupt dispositions, and much less can they change people’s corrupt essence. They do not have any positive effects and, instead, cause man’s humanity to become twisted and perverse through their teachings, conditioning and influence. People clearly recognize that the person who bestowed kindness on them is not a good person, but they still go against their own convictions and repay him, just because he did a favor for them in the past. What causes people to repay others despite their own convictions? They do this because this idea of gratefully repaying kindness received from traditional culture has taken root in their hearts. They fear that if they do not go against their convictions and repay those who have helped them, they will be castigated by public opinion, and will be seen as ingrates who have failed to repay kindness received, and as mean, vile characters, and as people with no conscience or humanity. It is precisely because they fear all this and worry that no one will help them in the future, that they have no choice but to live under the conditioning and fetters of this idea in traditional culture of gratefully repaying kindness received. As a result, all people live perverse, anguished lives in which they act against their own convictions and cannot speak out about their own hardships. Is this worth all the trouble? Hasn’t this idea of gratefully repaying kindness caused people to suffer?
Regarding the saying, “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” I have just fellowshiped about what exactly “kindness” is, how God views man’s definition of kindness, how man should treat this kindness, how to treat those who have shown kindness to you or saved your life, what the correct perspective and path really are and how they should be positioned in your life, how people should perform their obligations, and how man should handle certain special circumstances and from what perspective they should be viewed. These are relatively complicated matters that cannot be made clear with just a few brief remarks, but I have shared with you the key issues, the essence of the issues on this topic, and so on. Should you encounter this kind of issue again, do you not now feel that you are more or less clear on what viewpoint you should adopt and what path of practice you should take? Some people say, “In theory, I am clear, but men are of flesh and blood. Living in this world, we are bound to be influenced by these moral criteria and swayed by public opinion. Many people live in this way, valuing acts of kindness and gratefully repaying any kindness received. If I do not live in this way, I will definitely be castigated and spurned by others. I fear that people will denounce me as inhuman, living like a pariah, and I can’t bear that.” What is the problem here? Why are people constrained by this? Is this an easy problem to resolve? It is, and I will tell you how. If you feel you would live like a social pariah when you did not live according to the traditional culture’s view that a kindness received should be gratefully repaid; if you feel that you no longer resemble a traditional Chinese person, that by straying from traditional culture you are not living like a human and lack the traits that make you human; if you worry that you won’t fit into Chinese society, that you will be despised by fellow Chinese people and seen by them as a rotten apple; then choose to follow societal trends—no one is forcing you and no one will condemn you. However, if you feel that living according to how traditional culture dictates and always valuing acts of kindness hasn’t brought you much benefit over the years, has been a tiring way to live, and if you are determined to let go of this lifestyle and to try to view people and things and comport yourself and act all according to My words, then that would, of course, be even better. Even though you now understand these things in principle and have a good grasp of the situation, how exactly you view people and things and how you live and comport yourself going forward are your own affairs. To what degree you can accept what I have said, to what extent you can put it all into practice, and how far you will take it are your choice and are all up to you. I am not forcing you. I am merely showing you the way. However, one thing is for sure: I’ll tell you the truth in saying if you live according to traditional culture, you will live an increasingly inhuman and undignified life, and you will find that the sense of your conscience will become more and more desensitized. Gradually, you’ll live a miserable life where you’ll resemble neither human nor ghost. However, if you practice according to My words and the principles of which I have spoken, I guarantee you will live with ever more human likeness, conscience, reason and dignity—this is certain. When you later encounter such situations, you will be able to live free and liberated and will feel peaceful and joyous. The shadows and burdens in your heart will diminish, and you will feel confident and be able to stand tall. You will no longer be plagued, deluded, or influenced by the ways of the secular world, and you will live with dignity. Every day you will feel grounded and will treat and handle each and every affair in the most precise manner, avoiding numerous detours and a great deal of suffering that you should not have to undergo. You will not do anything that you ought not to do, nor will you pay any price that you should not pay. No longer will you live for other people. You will no longer be influenced by people’s perspectives and opinions. You will no longer be constrained by the opinions and condemnations of society. Is this not a life of dignity? Is this not a free and liberated life? It is at this time that you will feel that living by God’s words is the only right path in life, and only by living in this way does one bear the likeness of a human and have happiness. Living in the fog of traditional culture, you cannot see the path clearly and mistakenly believe you are on your way to some idealistic utopia situated in the world of man. Ultimately, however, you end up being led astray, and made a fool of and tormented by Satan. Today, now that you have heard God’s voice, discovered the truth, and seen the light come to the world of man, you have dispersed the fog and seen clearly the path and direction your life must take. You head forward with haste and come back before God. Is this not the grace and blessing of God? So, have you dispersed that fog now and seen the clear skies above? Perhaps you have already seen a glimmer and are moving toward the light—this is the greatest blessing. If you can hear the voice of God, accept and understand the truth, disperse the fog, abandon all these incorrect things in traditional culture, and remove all obstacles, you can set foot on the path to salvation. That is all I have to fellowship regarding the saying of moral conduct “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid.” Going forward, you can fellowship further about these words together, and you will come to a complete understanding. One cannot gain immediate entry to these matters after just one gathering for fellowship. Even though I have now concluded My fellowship on this saying about moral conduct, and you understand it in theory and principle, shedding these old, traditional notions is not easy in real life. You may still cling to these old ideas and struggle with them for some time. At the very least, it will take some time before you can completely abandon these aspects of traditional culture and fully accept the truth of God’s words. You must gradually experience, live through, and find confirmation in real life and when facing society and mankind. Through these experiences, you will gradually come to know God’s words and will comprehend the truth. In doing so, you will begin to benefit, derive advantages, and reap rewards, and you will correct your mistaken views and ideas about all kinds of people, events, and things. This is the process and the path of pursuing the truth.