1 Why do many people follow their fleshly preferences? It is because they consider themselves to be pretty good; they feel right and justified, that they have no faults, and even that they are entirely in the right. They therefore can act with the assumption that justice is on their side. When one recognizes what one’s true nature is—how ugly, how despicable, and how pitiful—then one is not overly proud of oneself, not so wildly arrogant, and not so pleased with oneself as before. Such a person feels, “I must be earnest and down to earth, and practice some of God’s word. If not, then I will not measure up to the standard of being human, and will be ashamed to live in God’s presence.” One then truly sees oneself as paltry, as truly insignificant. At this time, it becomes easy for one to carry out truth, and one will appear to be somewhat like a human should be. Only when people truly loathe themselves are they able to forsake the flesh. If they do not loathe themselves, they will be unable to forsake the flesh.
2 Truly hating oneself comprises a few things: First, knowing one’s own nature; and second, seeing oneself as needy and pitiful, seeing oneself to be extremely small and insignificant, and seeing one’s own pitiful and dirty soul. When one fully sees what one truly is, and this outcome is achieved, one then truly gains knowledge of oneself, and it can be said that one has come to know oneself fully. Only then can one truly hate oneself, going so far as to curse oneself, and truly feel that one has been corrupted profoundly by Satan such that one does not even resemble a human being. Then, one day, when the threat of imminent death appears, such a person will think, “This is God’s righteous punishment. I am so filthy and corrupt that I should be wiped out by God, and a soul like mine is not fit to live on earth.” At this point, he will neither complain against God nor resist, much less betray God.
Adapted from “Knowing Oneself Is Mainly Knowing Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks