4. What the principles of practice are 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. What I say is very simple, but to you it is doubly arduous. Many people would rather be condemned to hell than speak and act honestly. Little wonder that I have other treatment in store for those who are dishonest. Of course, I know full well how difficult it is for you to be honest. Because you are all so clever, so good at measuring people with your own petty yardstick, this makes My work much simpler. And since you each hug your secrets to your bosom, well then, I shall send you, one by one, into disaster to be “schooled” by fire, so that thereafter you may become dead set on your belief in My words. Ultimately, I shall wrest from your mouth the words “God is a faithful God,” whereupon you shall beat upon your breast and lament, “Devious is the heart of man!” What will be your state of mind at this time? I imagine you will not be as triumphant as you are now. And much less will you be as “profound and abstruse” as you are now. 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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Three Admonitions
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. …
To be a believer in God means that all you do must be brought before Him and made subject to His scrutiny. If what you do can be brought before God’s Spirit but not before God’s flesh, this shows that you have not come under scrutiny by His Spirit. Who is the Spirit of God? Who is the person to whom God bears witness? Are They not one and the same? Most see Them as two separate beings, believing God’s Spirit is God’s Spirit, and the person to whom God bears witness is merely a human. But are you not mistaken? On whose behalf does this person work? Those who do not know God incarnate do not have spiritual understanding. God’s Spirit and His incarnate flesh are one, because God’s Spirit is materialized in the flesh. If this person is unkind to you, will God’s Spirit be kind? Are you not confused? 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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Perfects Those Who Are After His Own Heart
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 benefits 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.)
—“Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
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.
—“Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
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.
—“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
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 fulfillment 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.
—“Life Entry Must Begin With the Experience of Performing One’s Duty” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
No matter what matter you face, whether it is something with which God has directly commissioned you or the duty you should perform, or whether it is something someone has told you, and no matter whether it involves how you conduct yourself or how you handle matters, you must always approach it with an honest heart. How should one practice approaching things with an honest heart? Say what you think and speak honestly; do not speak official jargon, do not say pleasant-sounding, flattering, or hypocritical false things, but speak the words that are in your heart and express the true thoughts and views that are in your heart—this is what honest people are supposed to do. If you never say or divulge what you think in your heart, and the words on your lips are never the same as what you think in your heart, this is not how an honest person behaves. Say, for example, you did not perform a duty well. Someone asks you what happened, and you say, “I wanted to do the duty well, but I didn’t, for this or that reason.” In actual fact, you know in your heart that you have been inattentive, but you do not speak openly and honestly, and you pass the buck, or else you look for all kinds of reasons that hide the actual truth. Is this being an honest person? Saying this allows you to get by, but you have not brought out things within yourself into the light to be resolved, which will make you ill at heart. If this takes root in your heart, it is a troubling matter. You must speak openly and honestly: “I have been a little negligent while performing this duty and have not taken it seriously. I work hard for a bit and then I slack off for a bit. When I’m in a good mood, I can pay a bit of a price, but when I’m not in a great mood, I slacken in my efforts, I become unwilling to pay the price, I become idle and I covet physical comforts, so my performance of my duty doesn’t achieve anything. In these past few days I’ve been turning myself around, and I’m striving to get better and better at my duties going forward, to improve my efficiency and work faster.” Can one hear which of these two responses is honest? What do you say? It is clear that the first response is a preemptive attack from someone who, because they are afraid of being dealt with, afraid of others discovering there is a problem, and afraid of investigating and being found responsible, preemptively finds excuses to cover up the truth and to stifle accusations, passing the buck so as not to be dealt with. This is the source of their lie. The second was someone telling the truth, and, though it stands to reason that they should be dealt with and should take responsibility, it is the truth. This is what people’s normal state is like—even if you say nothing, people will still know. You did not choose not to speak, and you did not choose to justify or defend yourself, but instead spoke directly. This proves that you have an honest attitude and are pursuing change, rather than rigidly and stubbornly clinging to your own excuses to cover the actual truth or to deceive others. Which path is right? Which is the way that honest people practice? Being open and laying oneself bare, speaking honestly, giving an account of your actual state and the actual problem—this is how honest people practice, and it is right to practice thus.
—“Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
When you interact with others, you must first have them perceive your true heart and sincerity. If, in speaking and making contact and working together with others, someone’s words are perfunctory, grandiloquent, pleasantries, flattery, irresponsible, and imaginary, or if they simply speak to seek the other’s favor, then their words lack all credibility, and they are not sincere in the least. This is their mode of interaction with others, no matter who those others are. Does such a person have an honest heart? This is not an honest person. Say someone has some shortcoming, and they say to you sincerely and truthfully: “Tell me why, exactly, I’m so negative. I just can’t figure it out!” And say you do, in fact, understand their problem in your heart, but you do not tell them, instead saying: “It’s nothing. I often get negative, too.” These words are a great consolation to their hearer, but is your attitude sincere? No, it is not. You are being perfunctory with the other person; so as to make them feel more comfortable and consoled, you have refrained from speaking honestly with them. You are not helping them in earnest so that they can leave their negativity behind. All for the sake of trying to console them and make sure there is no estrangement or conflict between you, you have done the bare minimum with them—and this is not what it is to be an honest person. So, as an honest person, what should you do when encountering this kind of situation? Tell them what you have seen and identified: “I will tell you what I have seen and what I have experienced. You decide whether what I say is right or wrong. If it’s wrong, you don’t have to accept it. If it’s right, I hope you will. If I say something that is hard for you to hear and hurts you, I hope you can accept from God. My intention and purpose is to help you. I see the issue clearly: Your personal pride has been wounded. No one feeds your ego, and you think everyone else looks down on you, that you are being attacked, and that you have never been so wronged. You can’t bear it and become negative. What do you think—is this what’s really going on?” And, hearing this, they feel it is indeed the case. This is what is actually in your heart, but if you are not an honest person, you will not say it. You will say, “I often get negative, too,” and when the other person hears that everyone gets negative, they think this is normal, and, in the end, they do not leave their negativity behind. If you are an honest person and you help them with an honest attitude and an honest heart, you can help them understand the truth and leave their negativity behind.
What are the principles by which people should interact with Christ? What are the principles that people should uphold regarding the use of flattery, attempting to curry favor and choosing their words to have a pleasing effect? Be sincere and do not concern yourself with flattery or currying favor. There is no need for fawning—simply be sincere. How should this be put into practice specifically? To be sincere, you must first put aside your personal desires. Instead of focusing on how God treats you, say what is in your heart, and do not ponder or consider what the consequences of your words will be; say whatever you are thinking, put aside your motivations, and do not say things just to achieve some objective. When you have too many personal intentions, you are always calculated in the way you speak. “I should say this, not that, I must be careful about what I say, I have to achieve my objective”—are there personal motivations involved here? In your mind, you are already talking in circles before the words have even left your mouth, you have processed what you were going to say many times, and filtered it many times in your head. Upon coming out of your mouth, these words carry the deceitful schemes of Satan. That is, the words from your mouth harbor motives and personal objectives; such words are not genuine and they do not come from the heart. This is not being sincere. What is this called? It is called harboring evil intentions. Apart from this, you may constantly observe the expressions of the face and eyes while speaking, only continuing to speak if His expression is favorable. When you detect an unfavorable expression, you hold back your words. As soon as you see He does not like what He is hearing, you stop speaking. As soon as He seems disinterested and unwilling to acknowledge you, you inwardly think, “What can I say that will interest You and make You want to pay attention to me? How can I make You think I am good? How can I make You like me? How can I change Your impression of me? What can I say that will make You happy, so that You do not deal with me? What can I say to keep You from finding out the actual situation? How can I skirt around a topic that You find unpleasant to hear about? Whatever must be said to achieve this, I will say.” Is this what is called being sincere? (No, it is not.) Some people think, “If You are unaware of this thing then I will not report it. Instead, I will wait for someone else to report it and only then will I follow everyone else in speaking about it. By doing this I make You aware that my report is true, whereas if I am the first to report it then I might be dealt with. The bird that pokes its head out gets shot, and I do not want to be that bird. I certainly will not be the one to come forward first.” Is that being sincere? Suppose you learn some true information about someone and if you are the only one who knows and everybody else is unaware, and they still think that person is a good person, and if Christ is also unaware of this information, under these circumstances would you tell Christ about it in full truthfulness? If you wrap it up, tuck it away, and never say anything about it, never reveal it, and if you only stand up and speak out when that person is shown for what they really are and relieved of their position or purged from God’s house, is that being sincere? No matter who might be exposed as having a problem or what other problem might be reported, you are always the last to speak up. Is this being sincere? Suppose that you personally dislike someone, or that someone has a grudge against you. That person might not necessarily be an evil person or have committed any evil acts, but you hate them and want to cause their downfall, to make them appear foolish, and so you think of ways and look for chances to say something bad about them. Even though you might just be talking without making definitive statements about this person, your motives become obvious in every part of your description of the matter. You are attempting to use the hand of the Above to deal with them. On the surface it might seem that you are just talking about true facts, but they are tainted by your personal motives; this is not being sincere.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Two)
Being able to be upright and straightforward is being an honest person. It means someone having their heart and spirit completely opened to God, with nothing to hide and nothing to hide from. The hearts of these kinds of people are given to God and fully shown to God. That is, all they are is given to God. If God says they are bad, they admit that. If God says they are arrogant and self-righteous, they admit that and accept it completely. Can they just admit it, and then have that be it? They still have to repent, strive to attain the truth principle, rectify the errors that they learn of, and pursue the root of their mistakes. Then before they know it, they have corrected all sorts of their erroneous behavior, and the ways they deceive, cheat, skate through, and are slipshod in things diminish more and more. The longer they live this way, the more aboveboard and straightforward they become and the closer they draw to the goal of being an honest person. This is living in the light. All this glory goes to God! It is God who makes people live in the light—people have nothing to boast about. When people live in the light, they understand all truths, they have a God-fearing heart, they know to seek the truth in every issue they encounter, and they live with a human likeness. Although they cannot completely be called a good person, in God’s eyes they have some human likeness and are no longer quarrelsome or adversarial, and they are no longer in danger of rebelling against God or rejecting Him. Though they may not have a very deep understanding of the truth, they are able to obey, and when they are given a task or a duty, they are able to use all their heart and mind, and do it to their utmost ability. They are trustworthy and God has no worries about them—people like this live in the light. Are those who live in the light able to accept God’s scrutiny? Might they still hide their hearts from God? Do they still employ any little tricks? Do they have any secrets? (No.) Their hearts are opened wide to God. That is, nothing is concealed whatsoever, there is nothing they are ashamed to say, and nothing for which they must hang their heads in shame. They give it all to God—and God knows all. When people are able to achieve this, they live lightly and easily, and they live freely.
—“People Can Only Truly Be Happy by Being Honest” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days