What It Means to Pursue the Truth (8) (Part Three)
If people want to change their dispositions and attain salvation, they must have not only determination, but also an indomitable mindset. They must draw experience from their failures, and gain a path of practice from their experience. Don’t be negative and discouraged when you fail, and certainly don’t give up. But neither should you become complacent when you make some modest gain. Regardless of what you fail or grow weak in doing, it doesn’t dictate that you will be unable to be saved in the future. You must understand God’s will, get back on your feet, abide by, and continue battling your corrupt satanic dispositions. One must begin by seeing clearly the harm and impediment that the various requirements and sayings on moral conduct that come from Satan inflict on people’s pursuit of the truth. It is that these sayings on moral conduct constantly bind and constrain people’s minds, while also fostering people’s corrupt dispositions. Of course, they also detract from people’s acceptance of the truth and God’s words to varying degrees, causing people to doubt and resist the truth. One such saying is “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” This philosophy for living has taken root in people’s juvenile souls, and people are subconsciously influenced by these kinds of ideas and views in their regard of others and their manners of handling what occurs around them. These ideas and views effectively whitewash and cover up the dispositions of evil, deceit, and malice among people’s corrupt dispositions. Not only do they fail to resolve the problem of corrupt dispositions, but they also make people more cunning and deceitful, further exacerbating people’s corrupt dispositions. In brief, these sayings about moral conduct and philosophies for living in traditional culture not only influence people’s thoughts and views, but also have a profound impact on people’s corrupt dispositions. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the influence that such ideas and views of traditional culture as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” exert on people. It is not to be ignored.
Just now, we mainly fellowshiped on whether, when disputes arise between people, to approach them by way of the sayings and viewpoints of traditional culture, or to approach them according to God’s words and the truth principles; on whether it is the views of traditional culture that can resolve problems, or God’s words and the truth that can resolve man’s problems. When people have seen these things clearly, they will make the right choices, and it will be easier to resolve disputes with others according to the truth in God’s words. When such problems are resolved, the issue of people’s thoughts being influenced and fettered by the saying on moral conduct that runs “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” will also basically be resolved. People’s behavior will not be affected by these kinds of ideas and views, at least; they will be able to break free from Satan’s net of deception, obtain the truth from God’s words, find the truth principles for interacting with people, and make God’s words their lives. Just dissecting and discerning, according to God’s words, the erroneous views of traditional culture and the fetters and bondage of satanic philosophies can enable one to understand the truth and develop discernment. It enables one to cast off the influence of Satan and be liberated from the bondage of sin. In this way, God’s words and the truth become your life, replacing that old life of yours, whose essence was satanic philosophies and dispositions. You will then have become a different person. Although this person is still you, it is a new person who has emerged, one who takes God’s words and the truth as their life. Are you willing to be such a person? (Yes.) It is better to be such a person—you will at least be happy. When you first start practicing the truth, there will be difficulties, obstacles, and pain, but if you can seek the truth to resolve your difficulties until you have established a foundation in God’s words, then the pain will cease, and as your life goes on, you will grow happier and more at ease. Why do I say that? Because the influence and control of those negative things within you will gradually subside, and as they do, more and more of God’s words and the truth will enter into you, and the impression of God’s words and truths in your heart will become more and more profound. Your awareness in seeking the truth will become stronger and keener, and when things befall you, your inner path, direction and goal of practice will grow clearer and clearer, and when you battle internally, positive things will gain ever more of the upper hand. Will the happiness of your life not then increase? Will the peace and joy that you receive from God not then increase? (They will.) There will be fewer things in your life that cause you to be troubled, anguished, depressed, and resentful, among other negative feelings. In place of these things, God’s words will become your life, bringing you hope, happiness, joy, freedom, liberation, and honor. When these positive things increase, people will change completely. When that time comes, check how you feel and compare things to before: Are they not completely different from your previous way of life? It is only when you have cast off Satan’s net and its corrupt dispositions, its thoughts and viewpoints, as well as its various methods, viewpoints, and philosophical tenets for viewing people and things, and for comporting yourself and acting—only when you have cast these things off in their entirety, and are able to practice the truth and view people and things, treat others, and interact with them according to God’s words, and experience in His words how truly good it is to treat people according to the truth principles, and live a life of ease and joy—that is when you will have attained true happiness.
Today, we fellowshiped on and dissected the saying about moral conduct, “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Do you understand the problems with this expression itself? (Yes.) Do you then also understand what God’s requirements of people are? (Yes.) Having understood that, how will you ultimately actualize it in yourselves? By not being impulsive when something befalls you, or looking for a basis in traditional culture, or looking for a basis in social trends, or looking for a basis in public opinion, or, of course, looking for a basis in legal provisions. Instead, look for a basis in God’s words. It doesn’t matter how profound or superficial your understanding of the truth is; it’s enough that it can resolve the problem. You must see clearly that you live in an evil and dangerous world. If you don’t understand the truth, you can only follow the trends of society and be swept into the vortex of evil. So, when something befalls you, what should you do first, whatever it may be? You must first settle down, quiet yourself before God, and read His words often. This will enable you to have clarity of sight and thought, and to see clearly that Satan is deluding and corrupting this human race, and that God has come to rescue this human race from the influence of Satan. This, of course, is the most basic lesson you should learn. You must pray to God and seek the truth from Him, and ask Him to guide you—to guide you toward reading His relevant words, to guide you toward receiving relevant enlightenment and illumination, so that you understand the essence of the thing that is happening before you and how you should look upon it and deal with it. Then, use the method that God has taught and told you to face and handle the matter. You should rely wholly and entirely on God. Let God rule; let God be the Master. Once you are settled down, it’s not a question of using your own mind to consider what technique or method to use, nor is it a question of acting by your own experience, or by satanic philosophies and tricks. Rather, it’s about waiting for God’s enlightenment and the guidance of His words. What you must do is let go of your own will, put aside your thoughts and views, come reverently before God, listen to the words He tells you and the truths He tells you, and the teachings He shows you. Then, you must quiet yourself and contemplate in detail and pray-read over and over the words that God has taught you, so as to understand exactly what God wants you to do and what you should do. If you can clearly comprehend what God really means and what His teachings are, then you should first thank God for arranging the environment and giving you the opportunity to verify His words, make them a reality, and live them out, so that they become the life in your heart, and so that what you live out can testify that God’s words are the truth. Naturally, as you handle these problems, there may be many ups and downs, difficulties and hardships, as well as some battles, and some claims and remarks from different people. But as long as you are sure that God’s words are very clear on such problems, and that what you understand and obey are God’s teachings, then you should put them into practice without hesitation. You should not be hampered by your environment, or by any person, event, or thing. You should remain firm in your stance. Adhering to the truth principles is not arrogance or self-righteousness. Once you have understood God’s words and view people and things, and comport yourself and act, according to His words, and are able to adhere to the principles without ever changing, you are practicing the truth. This is the kind of attitude and determination that those who practice and pursue the truth should possess.
We have fellowshiped enough on the problems regarding the expression “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Do you still have difficulty in understanding such problems? Have you gained a wholly new understanding of this saying about moral conduct in traditional culture through today’s fellowship and analysis? (Yes.) Based on this wholly new understanding you have, would you still hold this saying to be the truth and a positive thing? (No.) It may be that this saying’s influence on people still exists deep in their mind, and in their subconsciousness, but through today’s fellowship, people have abandoned from their thoughts and consciousness this saying about moral conduct. So, will you still abide by it in your interactions with others? When you are confronted with a dispute, what is it you should do? (First, we should abandon this satanic philosophy of “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” We should quietly come before God to pray and seek the truth, and search in God’s words for the truth principles that should be put into practice.) If we did not fellowship on these things, you would feel that you have never viewed people and things, or comported yourselves or acted, in accordance with the moral criterion of “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Now that this problem has been exposed, see for yourself whether you are influenced by such ideas and views when something similar next befalls you, that is, whether these things exist in your ideas and views. At that time, you will naturally discover that there are many matters in which you are influenced by such ideas and views, meaning that in many environments and when many things happen, you are still influenced by such ideas and views, and they have taken root deep in your soul, and they continue to dictate your words and deeds and dictate your thoughts. If you haven’t had this realization, and you don’t pay attention to or pursue this issue, you definitely won’t be aware of it, and you won’t know whether you are influenced by such ideas and views. When you truly pursue the issue and are meticulous with it, you will find that the poisons of traditional culture often pour forth in your mind. It’s not that you don’t have them, it’s just that you didn’t take them seriously before, or that you quite failed to realize exactly what the essence of these sayings of traditional culture is. So, what must you do to become aware of such problems in the depths of your mind? You must learn to contemplate and to consider. How should one contemplate and consider? These two terms sound very simple; so, how should one comprehend them? For instance, let’s say you are spreading the gospel and testifying about God with some people who are exploring the true way. Initially, they may be willing to listen, but after you have been fellowshiping for a while, some of them don’t want to listen anymore. At that point, you must think, “What’s going on here? Is my fellowship not quite tailored to their notions and problems? Or is it that I haven’t fellowshiped on the truth clearly and comprehensibly? Or have they been disturbed by some rumor or fallacy that they have heard? Why won’t some of them continue exploring? What exactly is the problem?” This is contemplation, is it not? Thinking about the matter by taking every aspect into consideration, without leaving out a single detail. What is your goal in considering these things? It is to find the root and essence of the problem, and then to resolve it. If you cannot find the answers to these problems no matter how much you think on them, you should find someone who understands the truth and seek from them. Look to how they spread the gospel and testify about God, and how they get an accurate feel for the main notions of people who are exploring, and how they then resolve them by fellowshiping on the truth according to God’s words. Doesn’t that get the action started? Consideration is the first step; action is the second step. The reason for acting is to verify whether the problem you are considering is the correct one, whether you have gone off course. When you find out where the problem originates, you will start to verify whether the problem you are considering is the right one or the wrong one. Then, set about resolving the problem you have verified to be the right one. For instance, when people who are exploring the true way hear rumors and fallacies and develop notions, then read God’s words to them in a way that targets their notions. Fellowshiping clearly on the truth, thoroughly dissect and resolve their notions, and eliminate the obstacles in their hearts. They will then be willing to continue their exploration. This is starting to resolve the problem, is it not? The first step in resolving the problem is to consider it, contemplate it, and thoroughly work out its essence and root cause in your mind. Once you have verified what it is, start resolving the problem according to God’s words. In the end, when the problem is resolved, the goal will be achieved. So, do statements on moral conduct such as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” still exist in your thoughts and views, or do they not? (Yes, they do.) How are such problems to be resolved? You must consider everything that ordinarily befalls you. This is a crucial step. Firstly, think back to how you behaved when such things befell you previously. Were you dominated by sayings such as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings”? And if you were, what intents did you have? What did you say? What did you do? How did you act? How did you behave? Once you settle down and consider these things, you will discover some problems without even realizing it. At that point, you should seek the truth and fellowship with others, and resolve these problems according to the relevant words of God. Strive in your real life to abandon completely those mistaken views that are advocated by traditional culture, and then adopt God’s words and the truth as principles for interacting with people, and treat people, events, and things according to the truth principles. This is the way to resolve problems, by dissecting the various ideas, views, and sayings of traditional culture according to God’s words, then seeing with utter clarity whether traditional culture really is positive and correct, based on the consequences of humanity’s adherence to these mistaken views. You will then see clearly that “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” is just an evasive behavioral technique that people adopt in order to maintain their interpersonal relationships. But if people’s nature essence does not change, can people get on together long-term? Sooner or later, things will fall apart. Therefore, there are no true friends in the human world—just being able simply to maintain a physical relationship is pretty good in itself. If people have a little conscience and sense, and are kindhearted, they can maintain a superficial relationship with others, without it falling apart; if they are evil, insidious, and vicious in their humanity, they will then have no way to associate with others, and can only take advantage of each other. Having seen these things clearly—that is, having seen people’s nature essence clearly—the method that people should adopt in their interactions with each other can basically be determined, and it can be correct, inerrant, and in accordance with the truth. With their experience of God’s judgment and chastisement, God’s chosen people can now see a bit of the essence of humanity. So, in interactions between people—that is, in normal interpersonal relationships—they can see the importance of being an honest person, and that treating people according to God’s words and the truth is the highest principle and the wisest method. It will never inflict distress or anguish on people. However, people will inevitably have some strife in their soul when they experience God’s words and practice the truth, in the sense that corrupt dispositions will often emerge to disturb them and prevent them from practicing the truth. Those multifaceted ideas, feelings, and views produced by human corrupt dispositions will always obstruct you from putting the truth and God’s words into practice, to varying degrees, and when they do, you will face many things that are effectively interferences and obstacles to practicing the truth. When these obstacles appear, you will no longer say, as you do now, that practicing the truth is easy. You won’t say that so readily. By then, you will be suffering and sad, off your food and unable to sleep well. Some people may even find believing in God to be too hard and want to give up. I am convinced that many people have suffered greatly in order to practice the truth and enter reality, and have been pruned and dealt with countless times, and fought countless battles in their hearts, and shed countless tears. Is that not so? (Yes.) Undergoing these torments is a necessary process, and everyone, without exception, must go through it. In the Age of Law, David made a mistake, and later repented and confessed to God. How much did he cry? How was it described in the original text? (“All the night make I my bed to swim, I water my couch with my tears” (Psalm 6:6).) How many tears must he have shed, to make his bed swim! This demonstrates the immensity and profundity of the remorse and torment he felt then. Have you shed that many tears? The number of tears you have shed is not even a hundredth of his, which shows that the degree to which you hate your corrupt dispositions, flesh, and transgressions is far from sufficient, and that your determination and perseverance in practicing the truth are far from sufficient. You are not yet up to standard; you are far from reaching the level of Peter and David. Well, let us end today’s fellowship here.
April 16, 2022