3. What are the principles of practice in being an honest person?

Relevant Words of God:

Honesty means giving your heart to God, being genuine with God in all things, being open with Him in all things, never hiding the facts, not trying to deceive those above and below you, and not doing things only to curry favor with God. In short, to be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. … In the presence of God, some people are all prim and proper, they take pains to be “well-behaved,” yet they bare their fangs and brandish their claws in the presence of the Spirit. Would you number such people among the ranks of the honest? If you are a hypocrite, someone who is skilled in “interpersonal relations,” then I say that you are definitely someone who tries to trifle with God. If your words are riddled with excuses and valueless justifications, then I say that you are someone who is loath to put the truth into practice. If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, if you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily, and who will not easily emerge from the darkness. If seeking the way of the truth pleases you well, then you are someone who dwells always in the light. If you are very glad to be a service-doer in the house of God, working diligently and conscientiously in obscurity, always giving and never taking, then I say that you are a loyal saint, because you seek no reward and are simply being an honest person. If you are willing to be candid, if you are willing to expend your all, if you are able to sacrifice your life for God and stand firm in your testimony, if you are honest to the point where you know only to satisfy God and not to consider yourself or take for yourself, then I say that such people are those who are nourished in the light and who shall live forever in the kingdom.

Excerpted from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The most important part of being an honest person is that your heart must be open to God. Afterward, you can learn to be open to other people, to speak honestly and truly, to say what is in your heart, to be a person with dignity, integrity, and character, and to not speak bombastically or falsely or use words to disguise yourself or deceive others. There is yet another aspect of practice involved in being an honest person, which is that one must adopt an honest attitude in the performance of their duty and do it with an honest heart. You must be in accord with the principles and implement them in your practice; it is not a mere matter of talking, nor is merely to have a certain attitude and then tell others to go do things while you rest. Where is the reality of being an honest person while you are resting? It will not do merely to shout slogans without possessing any reality. God scrutinizes man, and, apart from scrutinizing the innermost heart of man and seeing man’s inner heart, He also sees man’s behavior and his practice. If you think something in your inner heart but you do not put it into practice, is this the expression of an honest person? To do so is to say one thing and think another; it is to do things which make you look good and it is to make fools of others with your words—just like the Pharisees, who were excellent at reading the scriptures and knew them forward and backward. Yet, when it came time to practice, when they had to pay a price and give up the blessings of status, they did not do so, and they began to judge God and condemn Him and vie for His position. God found that detestable; that was not a good way to tread! Can others trust this kind of person? (No.)

Excerpted from “Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Christ’s Talks

When practicing to be an honest person, one first must learn to open their heart to God and pray every day, telling God what is in their heart. Suppose today you have spoken falsely; no one has yet discovered it, and you have not yet mustered up the courage to be open with everyone. At the very least, you must at once take to God the mistakes and falsehoods and lies you have scrutinized and found in your conduct today, and confess your sins, and say: “Oh God, I have told a lie again. I did it for the sake of such-and-such. I beg You to discipline me.” If you have such an attitude, God will accept you, and He will remember it. Perhaps it will be very strenuous and laborious for you to resolve the defect or corrupt disposition of lying, but never fear—God is with you, and He will guide you and help you past this recurring difficulty, giving you the courage not to tell lies or the courage to acknowledge that you have told lies; to acknowledge what lies you have told, why you lied, and what your intentions and aims were; to acknowledge that you are not an honest person; to acknowledge that you are a deceitful person; and He will give you the courage to break through this barrier, and break out of Satan’s cage and away from its control. In this way, you will gradually come to live in the light, under God’s guidance and blessing. When you have broken through this barrier of fleshly constraints and are able to submit to the truth, you will have become free and liberated. When you live this way, not only will people like you, but God too, will like you. Though you will at times still be capable of wrong actions, and though you will at times still be capable of telling lies, and though you will at times still have your own intentions, as well as selfish motives, and selfish and contemptible actions and ideas, you can accept God’s scrutiny and reveal your heart, your actual state, and your corrupt disposition before God—and thus will you have a correct path of practice. If your path of practice is correct and your direction forward is correct, your prospects will be beautiful and bright. In this way, you will live with your heart at ease; your spirit will be nourished, and you will feel enriched and joyful. If you are unable to break through this barrier of fleshly constraints and are always bound up in emotions and satanic philosophies, and your speech and actions are always furtive and secret, never in broad daylight, then you are one who lives under the domain of Satan. When you understand the truth and are able to break through the barrier of fleshly constraints, you gradually take on a human likeness. You speak and act frankly and straightforwardly, and show others any view or thoughts you may have or anything you have done wrong, so that everyone may see it clearly—and, ultimately, they will say you are a transparent person. What is a transparent person? It is someone who does not tell lies, who is exceedingly honest in speech, and whose words everyone believes to be true. Even if they tell a lie unconsciously or say something wrong, everyone is able to forgive them, knowing that they do it unconsciously. Once they are aware of it, they will come back to apologize and put it right. This is a transparent person. Everyone likes and can trust this kind of person. If you reach this level and gain God’s and others’ trust, you will have accomplished no simple task—this is the highest dignity a person can have, and only such people have self-respect.

Excerpted from “Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Today, most people are too afraid to bring their actions before God; while you may deceive His flesh, you cannot deceive His Spirit. Any matter that cannot withstand God’s scrutiny is at odds with the truth, and should be cast aside; to do otherwise is to commit a sin against God. So, you must lay your heart before God at all times, when you pray, when you speak and fellowship with your brothers and sisters, and when you perform your duty and go about your business. When you fulfill your function, God is with you, and so long as your intent is correct and is for the work of God’s house, He will accept all that you do; you should sincerely devote yourself to fulfilling your function. When you pray, if you have love for God in your heart and seek God’s care, protection and scrutiny, if these things are your intent, your prayers will be effective. For example, when you pray at meetings, if you open your heart and pray to God and tell Him what is in your heart without speaking falsehoods, then your prayers will surely be effective.

Excerpted from “God Perfects Those Who Are After His Own Heart” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Today, all who cannot accept God’s scrutiny cannot receive His approval, and those who do not know God incarnate cannot be perfected. Look at all that you do, and see if it can be brought before God. If you cannot bring all that you do before God, this shows that you are an evildoer. Can evildoers be perfected? All that you do, every action, every intention, and every reaction should be brought before God. Even your daily spiritual life—your prayers, your closeness to God, how you eat and drink of God’s words, your fellowship with your brothers and sisters, and your life within the church—and your service in partnership can be brought before God for His scrutiny. It is such practice that will help you achieve growth in life. The process of accepting God’s scrutiny is the process of purification. The more you can accept God’s scrutiny, the more you are purified and the more you are in accord with God’s will, so that you will not be drawn into debauchery, and your heart will live in His presence. The more you accept His scrutiny, the greater are Satan’s humiliation and your ability to forsake the flesh. So, the acceptance of God’s scrutiny is a path of practice people should follow. No matter what you do, even when communing with your brothers and sisters, you can bring your acts before God and seek His scrutiny and aim to obey God Himself; this will make what you practice much more correct. Only if you bring all you do before God and accept God’s scrutiny can you be someone who lives in the presence of God.

Excerpted from “God Perfects Those Who Are After His Own Heart” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

As an honest person, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can look into it, see all that you are thinking, and glimpse your true face; you must not try to disguise or package yourself to look good. Only then will people trust you and consider you honest. This is the most fundamental practice, and the prerequisite, of being an honest person. You are always pretending, always feigning holiness, virtuousness, greatness, and feigning high moral qualities. You do not let people see your corruption and your failings. You present a false image to people so that they believe you are upstanding, great, self-sacrificing, impartial, and selfless. This is deceitfulness. Do not put on a disguise, and do not package yourself; instead, lay yourself and your heart bare for others to see. If you can lay your heart bare for others to see, and lay bare all your thoughts and plans—both positive and negative—then are you not being honest? If you can lay yourself bare for others to see, then God, too, will see you and say, “You have laid yourself bare for others to see, and so you are surely honest before Me, too.” If you only lay yourself bare to God when out of view of other people, and always pretend to be great and virtuous or just and selfless when in their company, then what will God think and say? He will say, “You are genuinely deceitful; you are purely hypocritical and petty; and you are not an honest person.” God will condemn you thusly. If you wish to be an honest person, then regardless of what you do before God or others, you should be able to open yourself up and lay yourself bare. Is this easy to achieve? It requires time; it requires an internal struggle, and we must practice constantly. Little by little, our hearts will open up and we will be able to lay ourselves bare.

Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks

What are the expressions of an honest person? The crux of the matter is to practice the truth in all things. If you say you are honest, but you always put God’s words to the back of your mind and do whatever you want, then is this an expression of an honest person? You say, “My caliber is low, but I am honest at heart.” When a duty falls to you, however, you are afraid of suffering or that if you do not fulfill it well, you will have to bear the responsibility, so you make excuses to shirk it. Is this an expression of an honest person? It clearly is not. How, then, should an honest person behave? They should accept and obey, and then be utterly devoted in doing their duties to the best of their ability, striving to meet God’s will. This is expressed in several ways. One way is that you should accept your duty with honesty, not think about anything else, and not be half-hearted about it. Do not plot for your own benefit. This is an expression of honesty. Another way is putting all your strength and heart into it. You say, “This is everything I can do; I will put it all into play, and dedicate it completely to God.” Is this not an expression of honesty? You dedicate all you have and all you can do—this is an expression of honesty. If you are unwilling to dedicate all you have, if you keep it hidden and tucked away, are slippery in your actions, evade your duty and get someone else to do it because you are afraid of having to bear the consequences for not doing a good job, then is this being honest? No, it is not. Being an honest person, therefore, is not merely a matter of having a desire. If you do not put it into practice when things befall you, then you are not an honest person. When you encounter issues, you must practice the truth and have practical expressions. This is the only way to be an honest person, and only these are the expressions of an honest heart. Some people feel that to be an honest person, it is enough to just speak the truth and not tell lies. Is the definition of being honest really so narrow? Absolutely not. You must reveal your heart and give it to God; this is the attitude an honest person ought to have. Therefore, honesty is so very precious. What is the implication here? It is that this heart is able to control your behavior and control your states. This heart is so precious. If you have this sort of honesty, then you should live in this sort of state, exhibit this sort of behavior, and have this sort of expenditure.

Excerpted from “Only by Being an Honest Person Can One Be Truly Happy” in Records of Christ’s Talks

No matter what you encounter while performing your duty—negativity and weakness, or being in a bad mood after being dealt with—you should treat it properly, and you must also seek the truth and understand God’s will. By doing these things, you will have a path to practice. If you wish to do a good job in fulfilling your duty, then you must not be affected by your mood. No matter how negative or weak you are feeling, you should practice the truth in everything you do, with absolute strictness, and sticking to the principles. If you do this, then not only will other people approve of you, but God will like you, too. As such, you will be a person who is responsible and who shoulders a burden; you will be a genuinely good person who actually fulfills your duties up to standard and who fully lives out the likeness of a genuine person. Such people are purified and achieve real transformation when fulfilling their duties, and they can be said to be honest in God’s eyes. Only honest people can persevere with practicing the truth and succeed in acting with principle, and can fulfill their duties up to standard. People who act with principle fulfill their duties meticulously when they are in a good mood; they do not work in a perfunctory manner, they are not arrogant and they do not show themselves off to make others think highly of them. When they are in a bad mood, however, they complete their everyday tasks just as earnestly and responsibly, and even if they encounter something that is detrimental to the fulfilment of their duties, or that puts a bit of pressure on them or causes a disruption while they do their duties, they are still able to quiet their hearts before God and pray, saying, “No matter how big a problem I come up against—even if the heavens come tumbling down—as long as God allows me to keep on living, I am determined to do my best to fulfill my duty. Every day I am allowed to live is a day I will work hard at performing my duty so that I am worthy of this duty bestowed upon me by God, as well as this breath He has put in my body. Regardless of how much difficulty I might be in, I will set it all aside, for fulfilling my duty is of the utmost importance!” Those who are not affected by any person, event, thing, or environment, who are not controlled by any mood or external situation, and who put their duties and the commissions with which God has entrusted them first and foremost—they are the people who are loyal to God and who genuinely submit to Him. People like this have attained life entry and have entered truth reality. This is one of the most practical and genuine expressions of living out the truth.

Excerpted from “Life Entry Must Begin With the Experience of Performing One’s Duty” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Previous: 2. What is a deceitful person? Why are deceitful people unable to attain salvation?

Next: 1. What is it to perform one’s duty? How should one regard their duty?

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