How to Pursue the Truth (15)
Have you fellowshiped during your gatherings about the topics we’ve been covering recently? (God, we have fellowshiped about these topics during our gatherings.) What came of your fellowship? Did you encounter any new discoveries or understanding? Do these topics that we’ve fellowshiped about exist in people’s daily lives? (All of them exist. After listening a few times to God’s fellowship on these topics, I discovered that our parents’ education and our families’ conditioning from generation to generation have corrupted us quite deeply. Since childhood, our parents have instilled these thoughts into us bit by bit, such as, “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies.” After having this thought instilled into me, I believed that in order to avoid being bullied and looked down upon, one must be a cut above the rest and stand out from the crowd in life. In the past, I thought that these thoughts our parents taught us to have were for our own good and protection. Through a few times of God’s fellowship and dissection, I have come to realize that these thoughts are negative and are Satan’s means of corrupting people. They distance us further and further from God and lead us deeper into Satan’s corruption, drawing us further and further away from salvation.) In short, it is necessary to fellowship about these topics, isn’t it? (Yes, it is.) After fellowshiping a few times about these things, people gain a deeper understanding of the thoughts and viewpoints instilled in them by their families, and they understand them more accurately. After fellowshiping about these things, won’t people’s relationships with their families and their parents grow more distant? (No, we won’t. Formerly, I always felt that my parents had shown me kindness, but after hearing God’s fellowship, I realized that it was my parents’ mission to give birth to me and raise me. Moreover, the thoughts they had instilled in me from a young age were corrupting me. Having recognized this, I don’t have as much of an affectionate attachment to them.) First and foremost, with regard to their thoughts, people now have an accurate understanding of their parents’ responsibilities and the grace shown them by their parents’ raising them; they no longer rely on affections, hotheadedness, or physical blood ties to deal with them. Instead, they can approach their family and parents rationally from the correct perspective and position. This way, people undergo a significant transformation in how they treat these issues, and this transformation allows them to make a huge leap in terms of their life entry and God’s requirements for them. Therefore, fellowshiping about these topics is beneficial and necessary for people, because these are all things that humans need and are lacking within them.
The topics we previously fellowshiped on concerning a person’s family conditioning primarily revolved around goals and principles for self-comportment, ways and means of dealing with the world, and one’s outlook on life and existence, and survival methods and rules, among other things. These are all topics that involve the conditioning of thoughts in individuals and their thoughts and viewpoints. Overall, none of the various thoughts and viewpoints instilled by families and parents are positive, and none of them can truly guide a person onto the right path or help them establish a correct outlook on life, enabling them to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations as a created being in the presence of their Creator. Everything that parents and family teach you is to lead you in the direction of the world and its evil trends. Their purpose in conditioning you with these thoughts and viewpoints is to help you integrate more seamlessly into society and evil trends, and be better able to adapt to evil trends and to the various demands of society. While these teachings may provide you with certain means and methods of protection as well as certain methods of attaining better status, reputation, material enjoyment, and other things in society and among groups of people, these very thoughts instilled in you by your family lead you into one evil trend after another, causing you to be rooted in the world, society, and evil trends, until you can no longer extricate yourself. They bring you one trouble after another and repeatedly place you in dilemmas, leaving you unsure about how to face the human world and how to be a genuine person, a person living in the light, being upright, kind-hearted, and possessing a sense of justice. Therefore, your family conditioning does not enable you to live in this world with more dignity, character, and human likeness. Instead, it causes you to live in the midst of various intricate conflicts and struggles, in various complex interpersonal relationships, and subjects you to numerous worldly entanglements, bondage, and even perplexities. When you turn to your parents and confide in them about all this, they will employ various tactics to advise you on how to be more sly, crafty, worldly-wise, and hard to read as you live among people, instead of pointing you in the right direction, helping you let go of all these things and liberate yourself, come before the Creator and obey His arrangements, and recognize clearly that people’s destinies and their everything are in God’s hands, that they should obey every requirement that comes from God, His sovereignty and orchestrations. This is the living situation of people whose families conditioned them with these various thoughts. In short, whether the thoughts conditioned by your family emphasize fame or profit, competing with others or being friendly with them, regardless of their focus, ultimately they can only lead your means, methods, and rules for survival in the human world to become increasingly sophisticated, ruthless, cunning, and malicious, rather than making you more honest, kind, and upright, or helping you better understand how to submit to the Creator’s arrangements. Therefore, your family conditioning can only distance you from God, from the truth, and from positive things, leaving you unsure about how to live in a way that humans truly ought to live, in a way that is dignified. Moreover, the thoughts you acquired from your family conditioning will make you progressively more numb, obtuse, or to put it colloquially, thick-skinned. At the beginning, lying to your colleagues, classmates, and friends would make your face blush, your heart race, and your conscience feel guilty. Over time, these conscious reactions will all fade away: Your face won’t blush, your heart won’t race, and your conscience will trouble you no longer. In order to survive, you will resort to any means, even deceiving the people closest to you, including your parents, your siblings, and your best friends. You will seek to profit from them in order to improve your own life and enhance your honor and enjoyment—this is numbness. Initially, you might feel a tiny bit of self-blame and your conscience may tremble slightly. Over time, these sensations will disappear, and you will use more convincing reasons to soothe yourself, saying, “That’s just how people are. You can’t be soft-hearted in this world. Being soft-hearted to others is being cruel to yourself. In this world the weak are prey for the strong. The strong thrive and the weak perish, the winners become kings and the losers become criminals. If you succeed, no one will investigate how you succeeded, but if you fail, you will have nothing left.” In the end, people will employ these thoughts and viewpoints to persuade themselves, making these the basis for how they pursue everything, and, of course, a means to an end. So, where do you all find yourselves right now? Have you reached the point of numbness, or not yet? Suppose you were to engage in business, and this business related to your future, your quality of life, and your reputation in society. If your methods were cunning enough, and you could deceive anyone, then you would live a life above the rest, you would have piles and piles of cash, and you wouldn’t need to bow to anyone’s wishes anymore. What would you do then? Would you become so numb, so unfeeling, that you could deceive anyone and make money from anyone? (I probably would.) You probably would. This needs to change; this is the corrupt disposition existing deep within humanity. When humanity is absent, what remains is a life lived according to one’s corrupt disposition, as well as various thoughts and viewpoints instilled by Satan. Without conscience, reason, and a sense of shame, a person’s life is reduced to a mere shell, an empty vessel, and it loses its value. If you still have some sense of shame, and when you lie, cheat, or harm others you are able to choose who is on the receiving end, you don’t harm just anyone, then you still possess some conscience and humanity. But if you can deceive or harm anyone without reservation, then you are truly a living Satan through and through. If you say, “I can’t deceive my parents, relatives, friends, guileless people, and especially not my brothers and sisters in God’s house, and I can’t cheat God’s offerings,” then you still have some moral boundaries, and you can still be considered a person with some conscience. However, if you lack even this small measure of conscience and boundaries, then you don’t deserve to be called human. So, what point have you reached? Do you have boundaries? If you had the opportunity or an actual need, could you deceive your parents, your siblings, and your closest friends? Could you deceive your brothers and sisters, exploit them, or even cheat God’s offerings? If such an opportunity were presented to you, and no one would ever find out, could you do it? (Now it feels like I can’t do that anymore.) Why can’t you do it anymore? (Because I am afraid of God, I have something of a God-fearing heart, and also because my conscience wouldn’t allow it.) Your attitude is that you feel afraid in your heart and have a God-fearing heart, and your conscience wouldn’t allow it. Let other people speak. Do you have an attitude regarding this? If you don’t, if you’ve never considered this issue and feel nothing when you see others doing it, then you are in danger. If you see someone doing such things and feel no hatred, don’t have an attitude toward it, and feel numb, then you are no different from them and might act similarly. However, if your attitude toward this is clear, if you can hate and rebuke such people, then you might not commit such actions. So, what is your attitude? (I ought to have something of a God-fearing heart. God’s offerings are set apart as holy and absolutely cannot be tampered with or taken for personal use.) Offerings must not be taken for personal use: This is done out of fear of punishment. But what about other matters? If you were involved in a pyramid scheme, could you bring yourself to profit from your closest friends, deceive them with flowery language, and make them join, making profit and earning money from this? Could you do this to your closest friends, relatives, even your parents or brothers and sisters? If it’s hard for you to say, then when you say you wouldn’t take God’s offerings for personal use, that might not be possible for you, would it? Let somebody else speak. (In one respect, we should understand the righteous disposition of God in this matter. God’s offerings must never be touched. In another, we feel that doing something like this lacks humanity. At the very least, the lowest baseline one should have should be that their conscience allows it.) Your attitude is that doing such things lacks humanity and that one should act in ways their conscience allows. Is there anybody else? (I think that, as a human being, even if one doesn’t believe in God, if they are a person in the world who has a conscience and a moral baseline, they should not do things that harm their own family. Now that we believe in God and understand some truths, if anyone can still do things that harm their brothers and sisters, harm their friends, or cheat God’s offerings, then such a person is even worse than the unbeliever. Additionally, sometimes people may reveal certain thoughts and ideas, but when they think about God’s essence and disposition, and realize that even if no one around is watching, or if no one knows about these actions, God still examines everything, and they dare not do such things—they will have something of a God-fearing heart.) In one respect, acting like this shows people lack a God-fearing heart; in another, people who are capable of doing these things lack even the most basic humanity. This is because as a human being, even if you don’t believe in God, you shouldn’t commit such actions. This is a quality that a person with a conscience and humanity should have. Cheating, harming, and stealing are inherently things that a good and normal person should not do. Even people who don’t believe in God still have some boundaries in how they comport themselves, let alone you who believe in God and have heard so many sermons: If you are still capable of doing these things, then you are beyond redemption. This is someone who lacks humanity—a devil. You’ve listened to so many sermons, and yet, you can still commit all sorts of bad deeds related to cheating and swindling—this is what it means to be a nonbeliever. What is a nonbeliever? It is someone who does not believe in God’s observation or that He is righteous. If you don’t believe in God’s observation, doesn’t that mean you don’t believe in His existence? You say, “God is observing me, but where is God? Why haven’t I seen Him? Why don’t I feel Him? I’ve been cheating and swindling people for so many years; why haven’t I been punished? I’m still living a more comfortable life than others.” This is one aspect of the behavior of a nonbeliever. Another aspect is that no matter how much truth has been fellowshiped, they reject every bit. They never accept the truth, so what do they accept? They accept thoughts and viewpoints that benefit them. Whatever benefits them and protects their interests, that’s what they do. They only believe in immediate self-interest, not in God’s observation, nor in the concept of retribution. This is what it means to be a nonbeliever. What’s the point of believing in God for a nonbeliever? Nonbelievers in God’s house are characterized by one thing: Doing evil. But let’s not discuss the ultimate end of these people; let’s return to the topic we were fellowshiping about.
The various thoughts conditioned and instilled into people by their families are not meant to bring them before God, nor do they instill positive thoughts in them. Instead, they instill various negative thoughts, negative means, principles, and methods of comporting themselves, ultimately leading people down a path of no return. In short, the various thoughts that families instill in people do not even meet the basic standards of humanity, reason, and conscience that a person should possess. If a person possesses even the slightest bit of conscience and reason, it is only the tiny bit that remains and has yet to be corrupted or eroded by Satan. The rest of their various means and methods for comporting themselves come from their family, and even from society. Therefore, before a person is saved, any thought or viewpoint that their family conditions into them, no matter what it is, contradicts what God teaches people. It cannot make them understand the truth, nor can it lead them down the path of salvation; it can only lead them down the path of destruction. So, when a person comes into God’s house, no matter how old they are, what kind of education they’ve received, what their family background is, and how noble they think their status is, they must start from scratch to learn how to comport themselves, how to interact with others, how to handle various matters, and how to deal with various people and things. This learning process involves receiving and understanding various positive, truth-aligned thoughts and viewpoints from God, as well as principles for practicing and handling various matters. This is solely based on your acceptance of the truth. If you do not accept the truth, your original thoughts and viewpoints will remain unchanged. Because you do not accept the positive and correct thoughts and viewpoints that come from God, your principles, means, and methods of dealing with the world will remain old and unchanged. People begin to learn how to be a real person, a normal person, a person with reason and conscience when they start accepting positive thoughts and viewpoints, the truth, and God’s teachings. Some people say, “I have believed in God for ten, twenty, or thirty years, and I have yet to accept a single thought or viewpoint from God, nor have I accepted any truth from God’s words.” This is enough to show that your belief in God is not sincere, you still do not know what the truth is, and you have not learned how to comport yourself. If you say, “From the moment I started believing in God, I formally began accepting God’s teachings regarding various requirements for humans and the thoughts, viewpoints, principles, and sayings that humans should possess,” then you have been learning how to be a real person from the day you started believing in God, and from the time you began learning how to be a real person, you began walking down the path of salvation. From the moment you start accepting thoughts and viewpoints that come from God, that’s when you begin to walk down the path to salvation, isn’t that so? (Yes, it is.) So, have you started? Did you already start, have you not yet started, or did you start a long time ago? (Through God’s fellowship and dissection over the past two years of the incorrect thoughts and viewpoints that exist in people, including family conditioning, etc., I have begun reflecting on myself and slowly repudiating those satanic philosophies I held, and pondering over how I should strive toward God’s words. I hadn’t paid much attention to such deep introspection before.) This statement is quite realistic. You only started within the past two years; it’s hard to pinpoint the exact year or day, but regardless, it was in the last year or two. This is relatively objective. What about others? (I hadn’t really thought about how to put effort into changing the thoughts and viewpoints conditioned by my family. Recently, after listening to God’s fellowship in this regard, my thoughts have gradually started to change somewhat, but I haven’t specifically focused on pursuing change in this area.) Your consciousness has grown more perceptive. In your daily life, if you continue to seek and enter more deeply, if you can be more meticulous and exacting in specific matters, if you enter into it with more accuracy, then you’ll have hope for a change. Isn’t that the case? (Yes, it is.) If you have hope to shed old thoughts and viewpoints, then be able to view people and things, comport yourself, and act from the correct stance and with the correct viewpoint, in this way, you’ll be able to attain salvation. In the long run, you can attain salvation, but speaking more practically from the here and now, you can be fit to fulfill your duty, and especially fit to be a leader and worker; but this depends on whether you yourself are willing to put in effort for each part of the truth, and whether you are willing to put in effort and pay the price for positive things and various matters related to principles. If you only want to change yourself in your consciousness but don’t put effort into and are not serious about truths in your daily life, if you don’t have a heart which thirsts for positive things, then this consciousness will quickly fade and disappear. Every thought and viewpoint involved in each topic I fellowship about is inseparable from people’s real lives. It’s not a kind of theory or slogan; it’s about what your thoughts and viewpoints are in dealing with things in your daily life. Your thoughts and viewpoints determine the direction you lean toward when taking action. If your thoughts and viewpoints are positive, your methods and principles in handling things will tend to be positive, and the result of handling such matters will be relatively good and in accordance with God’s will. But if your thoughts and viewpoints are opposed to the truth and positive things or run counter to these things, then the impetus for how you handle something will be negative, and the ultimate result of handling that matter will definitely not prove good. Regardless of how much of a price you pay or how much thought you put into handling this matter, regardless of your intentions, how will God view the result? How will God characterize this matter? If God characterizes this matter as disruptive, causing a disturbance, destructive, or leading to loss within God’s house, then your actions are evil. If your evil deeds are minor they might lead to chastisement, judgment, rebuke, pruning, and dealing with, while heavier evil deeds could result in punishment. If you fail to act based on the truth principles and instead lean toward the incorrect thoughts and viewpoints of unbelievers, basing your actions on these things, then your efforts will be in vain. Even if you paid a high price and invested a lot of effort, your final result will still be in vain. How does God view this matter? How does He characterize it? How does He deal with it? At the very least, your deeds are not good, they do not bear testimony to God or bring glory to Him, and the price you paid and the mental effort you put in will not be remembered; it is all in vain. Do you understand? (Yes.) Before you do anything, take the time to think carefully, fellowship with others more, seek clarity on principles before acting, and don’t act hotheadedly or impulsively, driven by your own selfishness and desires. Regardless of the outcome, in the end you’ll have to bear it by yourself, and no matter the result, there will be a verdict from God. If you hope that your actions will not be in vain, that they will be remembered by God, or even better, that they will become good deeds that God is pleased with, then you should seek the principles more often. If you don’t care about these things, if it doesn’t matter to you whether your deeds are good or whether God is pleased with them, and you don’t even care about whether you’ll be punished, but you think, “It doesn’t matter, I won’t be able to see or feel it now anyway,” if you have these thoughts and viewpoints, then when you act you will not have a God-fearing heart. You’ll be bold, unrestrained, and reckless, with no concern or restraint with anything. Without a God-fearing heart, the direction you take when you act is very likely to deviate. According to human nature and instincts, the final result is likely to be that your actions not only fail to gain God’s pleasure or remembrance, but they also become disruptions, disturbances, and evil deeds. So, it is quite evident what your ultimate outcome will be, and how it will be treated and handled by God. Therefore, before you do anything, before you handle any matter, you should first reflect on what you want, consider thoroughly what the ultimate result of this matter will be, and only then proceed. So, what does this issue involve? It involves your attitude and the principles you follow when you do anything. The best attitude is to seek the principles more often and not base your judgment on your own feelings, preferences, intentions, desires, or immediate interests; instead, you must seek the principles, pray and seek before God more often, bringing matters before the brothers and sisters more often, and fellowshiping with and seeking those brothers and sisters who are working together with you to fulfill duties. Get the principles right before you act; don’t act impulsively, don’t be muddled. Why do you believe in God? You do not do it to score a meal, pass the time, keep up with the fashion, or satisfy your spiritual needs. You do it in order to be saved. So, how can you be saved? When you do anything, it should be connected to salvation, to God’s requirements, and to the truth, shouldn’t it?
Regarding the topic of letting go of one’s family conditioning, our previous fellowship involved rules and various thoughts and viewpoints related to self-comportment, which are thoughts conditioned into people by their families. However, apart from families having various kinds of teaching and influence toward people, there is even more conditioning apart from this. That is, family conditioning includes far more than just the conditioning of thoughts. In addition to what we just discussed, it also includes traditional, superstitious, and religious conditioning, which is what we are about to fellowship on. These matters involve lifestyles, customs, habits, and the everyday details of life. Regarding family conditioning in people’s daily lives, we will now turn our discussion to tradition. What are some examples of tradition? For instance, a family may cling to certain particulars, sayings, or taboos related to the details of daily life. Does this involve tradition? (Yes.) Tradition is somewhat connected and related to superstition, so we’ll discuss both of them together. Some aspects within tradition may be considered superstition, and there are things within superstition that are not very traditional and are only habits or ways of life belonging to individual families or ethnic groups. Let’s start by exploring what traditions and superstitions entail. You are already familiar with a lot of traditions and superstitions because there are many aspects of your daily life involving them. Go ahead, list a few. (Fortune-telling, palm-reading, and drawing lots.) Drawing lots, fortune-telling, telling the future, palm-reading, face-reading, telling fortunes through birth times, and holding séances—these things aren’t called superstitions; they all constitute superstitious activities. Superstition refers to specific explanations that exist within these activities. For example, checking a calendar before leaving home to determine what activities are auspicious or inauspicious for today, if all activities are inauspicious, if moving, getting married, and arranging a funeral are all inauspicious, or if all activities are auspicious today—that’s superstition. Do you understand? (Yes, I understand.) List a few more examples. (The belief that twitching on the left eye forecasts fortune but twitching on the right eye forecasts disaster.) “Twitching on the left eye forecasts fortune but twitching on the right eye forecasts disaster”—what is this? (A superstition.) It is a superstition. Everything I just mentioned, like telling the future, drawing lots, palm-reading, etc., falls under superstitious activities. “Twitching on the left eye forecasts fortune but twitching on the right eye forecasts disaster” is a specific saying related to a superstitious activity. It is a superstition. Where do these sayings come from? They basically all come from the older generations. Some are passed down by parents, others come from grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. Anything else? (God, do holiday customs count?) Yes, holiday customs count as well: Some belong to tradition, while others are both traditions and superstitious sayings. From the south to the north of China, and from the East to the West, there are numerous holiday customs. Consider a specific holiday custom, for instance, in southern China: People often eat rice cakes during the Chinese New Year. What does this symbolize? What’s the purpose behind people eating rice cakes? (They believe that eating rice cakes will bring them promotion year after year.) The purpose of eating rice cakes is to ensure promotion year after year. The word “promotion” here is a homophone of the Chinese word for “cake.” So, the purpose of eating rice cakes is to ensure that you get promoted every year. Now, has there ever been a year when you didn’t eat rice cakes and didn’t get promoted? Is there anyone who gets promoted every year because they eat rice cakes every year? Can you really “get promoted”? People are aware that this doesn’t necessarily lead to getting promoted, but even if it doesn’t, at least it will keep them from failing. So, they must eat them. Eating them makes them feel at ease, while not eating them makes them feel uneasy. This is superstition and tradition. In short, these habits and traditions from your family have formed an influence over you, and you’ve unconsciously approved of and accepted these traditions and habits to a certain degree; thus, you’ve also approved of and accepted the superstitions or thoughts and viewpoints that these traditions promote. When you come to live on your own, you may continue these traditions and habits. This cannot be denied. Now, let’s discuss some sayings related to traditions. Some people frequently engage in such matters: If someone is going on a long journey, they make dumplings for them to eat, and when the traveler returns, they prepare noodles. Isn’t this a tradition? (Yes.) This is a tradition, and it’s an unwritten custom. Let’s not discuss the purpose of doing this just yet. First, let’s examine the accurate statement for this action. (“Dumplings out the door, noodles in the door.” Or you can also say, “Dumplings for departing, noodles for returning.”) What does “Dumplings for departing, noodles for returning” mean? That is, if someone is leaving today, you must give them dumplings to eat; what is the significance of this? Dumplings are enveloped in a wrapper, and the word “wrap” sounds similar to the Chinese word for “protect.” So, it means to protect their life, to ensure that they do not meet with any accidents after they depart, that they don’t die while they’re away, and that they definitely will come back. It signifies a safe departure. “Dumplings for departing, noodles for returning” means that they return safely and everything goes smoothly for them—that’s more or less the significance. In general, certain families follow this tradition. If a member of the family is departing, they make dumplings for them, and upon their return, they serve them noodles. Regardless of whether you’re the one eating or preparing these dishes, it’s done to bring good luck, both for the present and the future, for the well-being of everyone. Do you agree that this tradition is a positive thing and something people should do and continue in their lives? (I don’t agree.) Some brothers and sisters have to depart, and the person in charge of food makes them dumplings, to which I say, “What does their leaving have to do with making dumplings?” And they say, “Well, when someone departs, we have to make dumplings.” I reply, “You make dumplings when they depart; then, what if they’re coming back?” They say, “They have to eat noodles when they return.” I say, “This is the first time I’ve heard of this. Where does this tradition come from?” They say, “It’s like this where I come from. If someone is departing, we make dumplings for them, and when they return, we serve noodles.” After this, what impression did it leave in my heart? I thought: These people have put their belief in God, but they don’t base their actions on God’s words. Instead, they rely on tradition and what was passed down by their ancestors. They believe that a person’s life can be protected by a dumpling wrapper, that if something happens to a person, it is not in God’s hands; it’s in human hands. They believe that by wrapping a dumpling, the departing person will be made safe, and if they don’t wrap that dumpling, that person won’t be safe and they might die somewhere on the journey and never return. In their thoughts and viewpoints, a person’s life is like the filling inside a dumpling, with the same value as dumpling filling. Their life is not in God’s hands, and God is not able to control that person’s destiny. Only by using a dumpling wrapper can they control a person’s fate. What kind of people are they? (Nonbelievers.) They are nonbelievers. There are many such people in the church. They don’t consider this a superstition. They regard it as a part of their habits, something they should naturally uphold as a positive thing. They do it openly and act like they are reasonable and have a basis for doing so. You can’t stop them: If you prevent them from doing it, they feel uneasy and say, “I’m the one cooking. Someone is departing today: If I don’t make dumplings for them, who will be responsible if they happen to die? Won’t it be my fault?” They believe that their ancestors’ traditions are the most reliable: “If you don’t follow tradition and violate this taboo, your life is at risk, and you might die because of it.” Is this not the viewpoint of a nonbeliever? (Yes, it is.) With thoughts and viewpoints like these deeply rooted in people’s hearts, can they still accept the truth? (No, they can’t.) You say you follow God, you say you believe in God as the truth, but where’s the evidence? You say with your mouth, “I believe God is sovereign, and a person’s destiny is in God’s hands.” However, when someone is leaving, you rush to make dumplings for them, and even if you don’t have time to buy any meat, you still have to make dumplings with vegetable filling—not making them is out of the question. Do these actions and this behavior bear witness to God? Are they glorifying God? (No.) Clearly, they are not. They are humiliating to God and His name. Whether you accept the truth or not is a minor issue. The key point is that you claim to believe in God and follow Him, but you still adhere to the traditions instilled in you by Satan. In these small matters in your daily life, you strictly follow the thoughts and habits instilled in you by your ancestors, and no one can change them. Is this the attitude of someone who accepts the truth? This is humiliating to God; this is betraying God. Who are your ancestors? Where did their traditions come from? Whom do these traditions represent? Do they represent the truth? Do they represent positive things? Who invented these traditions? Was it God? God provides people with the truth not to restore traditions but to abolish all traditions. But not only do you refuse to abandon them, you treat them as the truth and as something positive to uphold. Isn’t this a death wish? Is this not openly opposing the truth and God? (Yes, it is.) This is openly clamoring against and opposing God. Some people might say, “What if I don’t make dumplings or noodles for my brothers and sisters but do it for my own family members? When my family members leave, I’ll make dumplings for them, and when they return, I’ll cook noodles for them. Is that okay?” Do you think that’s okay? What if you say this: “If I deceive someone, it won’t be my brothers and sisters, but my own family members. Is that okay?” Would that be okay? (It wouldn’t be.) It doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end of your actions; it matters what you are living out and revealing about yourself, and it matters what viewpoints you uphold. It doesn’t matter whom you deceive; it matters what your actions and principles are, isn’t that so? (Yes, it is.)
There are some people who, during the Chinese New Year, spend their days flipping through almanacs, starting the traditional holiday from the 30th day of the twelfth month of the lunar calendar, adhering strictly to the lifestyle and taboos passed down through these traditional customs in what they eat, what they wear, and what they abstain from doing each day. Whatever it is taboo to say or do they make sure to avoid saying or doing that thing, and whatever it is lucky to eat or say, okay, they’ll eat and say that thing. For example, some believe that during the New Year, they must eat rice cakes to ensure a promotion in the coming year. For the sake of promotion in the coming year, they’ll make sure to eat rice cakes, regardless of any significant matters they have to deal with, how busy or exhausted they are, or any special circumstances regarding their fulfillment of duty or whether they can carve out enough time to attend to it. If they don’t have the time to make rice cakes at home, then they’ll go out and buy some just to ensure good luck. And some people have to eat fish during the New Year, as it symbolizes abundance year after year. If they don’t eat fish one year, they believe they will face poverty over the next twelve months. If they are unable to buy fish, they might even place a wooden fish on the dining table as a symbolic gesture. They eat rice cakes and fish to ensure both promotion and abundance in the coming year. In one respect, they do this in order to make this year go more smoothly, to make their life better and more prosperous, and in another respect, they hope for success in their career or to make a lot of money from their business. Furthermore, during the New Year, they also make sure to use lucky phrases. For instance, they avoid saying the numbers four and five because “four” sounds like “death,” and “five” sounds like “nothing” in Chinese. Instead, they prefer to use numbers like six and eight, where the word “six” represents smooth sailing, and “eight” represents making a fortune. They not only use auspicious words and phrases but also give red envelopes to employees, family members, relatives, and friends. Giving red envelopes symbolizes making a fortune, and the more red envelopes they give, the more it signifies that they will be prosperous. Not only do they give red envelopes to people, but also to their pets, symbolizing that they can make a fortune off of anyone, and the next year will be full of a thriving business and massive fortune. Everything, from what they eat to what they do, from what they say to how they act, is all about continuing the habits and sayings passed down through tradition, and they practice them with painstaking precision. Even if their living environment or the community in which they live changes, these traditional customs and lifestyles cannot change. Because these traditions carry a certain meaning within them, encompassing both positive sayings and taboos passed down by people’s ancestors, they must continue them. If these traditions are violated or taboos broken, then the upcoming year might not go favorably, leading to obstacles everywhere, a downturn in business, or bankruptcy. That’s why it’s crucial to uphold these traditions. There are traditions that must be followed during festive occasions, and there are traditions that must be followed in one’s daily life as well. For example, getting a haircut—if one checks the calendar and sees that it is inauspicious to get a haircut or leave the house today, then they will not dare go out. If they didn’t check the calendar and went ahead and got a haircut anyway, then both taboos of leaving the house and getting a haircut would be violated, and they might face unforeseen consequences—so these things must be followed. They belong to both tradition and superstition. If someone needs to go out, but they check the calendar and see that all things are inauspicious today, meaning it is a day to rest, be at leisure, relax, and avoid doing anything, then even if they’re told they need to go out and spread the gospel today, they might worry what might become of them if they violate the taboo and something unexpected happens to them, like a car accident or getting robbed. They won’t dare go out, and they say, “Let’s go tomorrow! We can’t ignore what our ancestors tell us. They say that we must always consult the calendar before going out. If the calendar says all things are inauspicious, then we shouldn’t go out. If you do go out and something happens, you must bear the consequences yourself. Who told you not to look at the calendar and obey what it says?” This pertains both to tradition and superstition, doesn’t it? (Yes, it does.)
Some people say, “I’m 24 this year; it’s my zodiac year.” Others say, “I’m 36 this year; it’s my zodiac year.” What do you have to do during your zodiac year? (Wear red underwear and a red belt.) Who has worn red underwear before? Who has worn a red belt? How did it feel to wear red underwear and a red belt? Did you feel that your year went well? Did it ward off bad luck? (When it was my zodiac year, I wore red socks. However, that year, my exam results were particularly bad. Wearing red didn’t bring good luck as people said it would.) Wearing them brought you bad luck, didn’t it? Would you have possibly done better if you didn’t wear red? (It had no effect whether I wore them or not.) That’s an accurate view of the question—it had no effect. This is both a tradition and a superstition. Regardless of whether you currently accept this idea of the zodiac year or whether you want to continue this tradition, the traditional thoughts and sayings associated with it have left an imprint on people’s minds. For example, when it comes time for your zodiac year, if you meet with unexpected events or special circumstances that make your year go roughly and contrary to your wishes, you won’t help thinking, “This year has really been rough. Come to think of it, it’s my zodiac year, and people say that during your zodiac year, you need to be careful because it’s easier to break taboos. According to tradition, I should wear red, but because I believe in God, I haven’t been. I don’t believe in those sayings, but when I think about the challenges I faced this year, things haven’t been going smoothly. How can I avoid these issues? Maybe next year will be better.” You’ll unconsciously link the exceptional and unfavorable events you met with during the year to the traditional sayings about zodiac year that your ancestors and family conditioned into you. You’ll use these sayings to validate the exceptional events you encountered during this year and, in doing so, you set aside the facts and essence behind them. You also set aside the attitude you should have toward these situations and the lessons you should learn from them. You’ll instinctively think of this year as a special one, unconsciously linking all the events that happened within it to your zodiac year. You will feel, “This year has brought me some misfortunes, or this year has brought me some blessings.” These ideas have a definite relation to the conditioning from your family. Regardless of whether they are correct or not, are they related to your zodiac year? (No, they aren’t.) They are not related. So, are your perspectives and viewpoints on these matters correct? (No, they are not.) Why are they not correct? Is it because you have been influenced to some extent by the traditional thoughts instilled in you by your family? (Yes.) These traditional thoughts took precedence and occupied your mind. Then, when faced with these matters, your immediate reaction is to view them from the perspective of these traditional thoughts and viewpoints, while setting aside the perspective that God wants you to have or the thoughts and viewpoints that you should have. What will be the ultimate result of how you view these matters? You will feel that this year has not been favorable, that it has been unlucky and contrary to your wishes, and then you will adopt depression and negativity as a means to evade, oppose, resist, and reject these things. So, is the reason for you giving rise to these emotions, thoughts, and viewpoints related to those traditional thoughts instilled in you by your family? (Yes.) In such matters, what should people let go of? They should let go of the perspective and stance from which they measure them. They shouldn’t view these matters from the perspective that they encountered these situations because this year is unlucky, unfavorable, contrary to their wishes, or they broke some taboo or didn’t follow traditional practices. Instead, you should take up each of these matters one by one, and first and foremost, you should at the very least view them from the perspective of a created being. Say that these matters, whether good or bad, whether in line with or against your wishes, whether favorable or unlucky to human eyes, are arranged by God, under God’s sovereignty, and come from God. Is there an advantage to adopting this type of perspective and stance on these matters? (Yes.) What is the first advantage? You can accept these matters from God, which means to some extent, you can adopt a mentality of submission. The second advantage is that you can learn a lesson and gain something from these disappointing matters. The third advantage is that from these disappointing matters, you can recognize your own shortcomings and deficiencies, as well as your own corrupt disposition. The fourth advantage is that in these disappointing matters, you can repent and turn back, let go of your previous thoughts and viewpoints, of your previous way of living, of your various misunderstandings about God, and return before God, accepting His orchestrations with an attitude of submission, even if they pertain to God’s chastisement and judgment, His chastening and disciplining of you, or His punishment. You will be willing to submit to it all and not blame Heaven and other people, nor tie everything back to the viewpoint and stance instilled in you by traditional thoughts, but instead view each matter from the perspective of a created being. This is beneficial to you in many ways. Aren’t all these things beneficial? (Yes, they are.) On the other hand, if you view these matters based on the traditional thoughts instilled in you by your family, you will try every possible means to evade them. What does evading them mean? It means finding various ways to avoid these misfortunes, to avoid these disappointing, unfavorable, unlucky matters. Someone says, “It’s the little demons messing with you. If you wear red clothes, you can avoid them. Wearing red clothes is like when you are given a talisman in Buddhism. A talisman is a piece of yellow paper with a few red characters written upon it. You can stick it on your forehead, sew it into your clothes, or put it under your pillow, and it will help you steer clear of these things.” When people don’t have a positive path of practice, their only recourse is to seek help from these crooked and evil paths, because no one wants to be unlucky or face any misfortune. Everyone wants things to go smoothly. This is an instinctual reaction on the part of corrupted humankind when facing worldly matters. You want to evade these matters or use various human means to resolve them because you have neither the correct path to address them nor the right thoughts and viewpoints to face them. You can only view these things from the perspective of an unbeliever, so your first reaction is to avoid them, not wanting to encounter these things. You say, “Why are things so unfavorable for me? Why am I so unlucky? Why do I face being dealt with and pruned every day? Why do I keep hitting the wall and making mistakes in everything I do? Why are my actions always exposed? Why do people around me always go against my wishes? Why do they target me, look down on me, and go against my will in everything?” As some people say, “When you’re unlucky, even cold water can get stuck in your teeth.” Can cold water get stuck in your teeth? Do you chew cold water with your teeth? Isn’t this nonsense? Isn’t this blaming Heaven and other people? (Yes, it is.) What does it mean to be unlucky? Does that kind of thing really exist? (No, it doesn’t.) It doesn’t exist. If you truly recognized that everything is in God’s hands, that everything is under God’s sovereignty and arrangement, you wouldn’t use words like “unlucky,” and you wouldn’t try to evade matters. When people encounter matters that go contrary to their wishes, their first reaction is to evade them, and then they refuse them. If they can’t refuse, evade, or hide from these matters, they start to resist them. Resistance isn’t just contemplating in one’s thoughts or going over it in one’s mind; it involves taking action. In private, people engage in petty maneuvering, uttering provocative, self-justifying, self-preserving, self-glorifying, or self-embellishing statements to make themselves look good, so as to avoid being impacted by or dragged into an unlucky event. Once a person starts resisting, it can turn dangerous for them, can’t it? (Yes, it can.) Tell Me, when a person reaches the point where they start resisting, is there any function of the conscience and reason of normal humanity left in them? They have already moved from thoughts and viewpoints to real action, and reason and conscience can no longer restrain them. What does this mean? It means that a person’s actions and thoughts evolve into the reality of resisting God. They are not simply rejecting, being unwilling, or feeling unhappy in their heart; they are using their actions and actual deeds to resist. When it comes to resisting through real action, isn’t this person basically done for? When the realities of rebelling against God, resisting God, and opposing Him have taken shape, it’s no longer a problem of the path people are on—this has already produced a result. Isn’t this very dangerous? (Yes, it is.) So, even a tiny, insignificant traditional cultural idea, traditional thought, or superstitious saying can lead to very serious consequences. It’s not just a simple lifestyle habit, a matter of what to eat, what to wear, or what to say or not say. It can go as far as what kind of attitude a person adopts when facing the environments that God has orchestrated. Therefore, these are also issues that people should let go of.
In addition to upholding certain traditional ways of life and thoughts and viewpoints during major festivals, people also uphold them during certain minor festivals. For example, they eat sweet dumplings on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. Why do people eat sweet dumplings? (They symbolize that a family is reunited.) A family is reunited. Have you eaten sweet dumplings during the past few years? (I’ve eaten them at home, never at church.) Is being reunited with one’s family a good thing? (No, it isn’t.) Are there any good people in your family? Either they ask you for money or to repay a debt; if you possess fame and profit, they fawn over you and ask for a cut, and if you don’t, they look down on you. There’s eating sweet dumplings on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, as well as other customs on various dates like the second day of the second lunar month, the third day of the third month, the fourth of the fourth month, the fifth of the fifth month…. There’s a mess of different things, and all kinds of food associated with them. These things that the world of unbelievers and demons do are all ridiculous. If you want to celebrate during a festival and enjoy some good food, then just say you’re going to enjoy some good food and that’s it. As long as your living conditions permit it, you can eat whatever you like. Enough with all these tricks, like eating rice cakes for promotion year after year, eating fish for abundance, or sweet dumplings for the family to be reunited. Chinese people also make rice dumplings, but for what purpose? Every year during various festivals, there are some dedicated individuals in the church who buy various items corresponding to each of the festivals, such as rice dumplings. I asked some of them, “Why do you eat rice dumplings?” They said, “It’s for the Dragon Boat Festival on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.” Rice dumplings are quite tasty, but I don’t know why there’s a festival associated with them or how it relates to people’s lives and fortunes. I never did any research or put out a survey on it, so I don’t know. Supposedly, it’s to commemorate someone. But why should we eat these things in his memory? The rice dumplings should be given to that person. Whoever seeks to commemorate him should place rice dumplings in front of his grave or picture. They shouldn’t be given to living people: This is not the business of the living. The living eat them on that person’s behalf—that’s absurd. The knowledge concerning these festivals as well as what to eat during them was obtained from unbelievers: I don’t know the specific details, and certain details were later passed along through people in the church—rice dumplings are eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival and rice cakes during the Lunar New Year. In the West, people eat turkey on Thanksgiving: Why do they eat turkey? According to news reports, they eat turkey on Thanksgiving in order to give thanks—this is a tradition. There is another holiday in the West called Christmas, where people set up Christmas trees and wear new clothes—this is also a tradition. During this holiday Westerners also must exchange pleasant words and good wishes, as well as blessings. They are not allowed to say bad words or curse words. All this is equivalent to the auspicious sayings of Eastern cultures, and their purpose is to prevent people from breaking taboos, or else the following year won’t be favorable. Western holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas involve eating special delicious foods, and stories were created to justify eating these foods. In the end, I summarize what happens: People look for an excuse to indulge in these delicious foods, allowing them to justify taking a few days off to feast at home, eating until they have a pot belly. When it’s time to donate blood, the nurse says, “Your blood lipid levels are too high, they’re not up to standard and disqualify you from donating.” This is due to consuming excessive amounts of meat. The primary purpose of celebrating these traditional holidays is to enjoy good food and drink. It’s passed down from one generation to the next, from the old to the young, and becomes a tradition. The underlying thoughts and viewpoints instilled by these traditions, as well as certain superstitious sayings, are also passed down from elders to the younger generation.
What other superstitious sayings are there? Does the eye twitching I just mentioned occur often? (Yes.) You say, “My eye keeps twitching.” Someone asks, “Which eye is twitching?” You reply, “The left eye.” They say, “No problem, twitching on the left eye forecasts fortune but twitching on the right eye forecasts disaster.” Does this hold true? Did you get rich when your left eye twitched? Did you get money? (No.) Then did any disaster occur when your right eye twitched? (Also no.) Has there been any situation where disaster occurred when your left eye twitched, where something bad happened, or where something good happened when the right eye twitched? Do you believe in these things? (No.) How can you not believe in these things? Why does your eye twitch? Are there any remedies in folk culture to stop eye twitching? Are there any methods? (I’ve seen some people stick a piece of white paper on their eyelid.) They look for a white piece of paper to stick on. Regardless of which eye is twitching, they tear off a piece of white paper from the calendar or a small notebook and stick it on their eyelid—it cannot be any other color than white. What does white paper signify? It means the twitch is “in vain,” indicating that nothing bad will be allowed to happen. Is this a brilliant method? It’s pretty brilliant, isn’t it? But does it mean that it’s twitching “in vain”? (It has nothing to do with whether one sticks the paper on their eyelid or not.) Can you clarify this matter? “Twitching on the left eye forecasts fortune but twitching on the right eye forecasts disaster”—whether it means fortune or disaster, are there any explanations for eye twitching? Is there a situation where when your right eye twitches, you feel like something bad is going to happen, you have a premonition, and after a while it stops twitching, you forget all about it, and then something bad happens after several more days, and after handling this matter, you suddenly remember, thinking, “Wow, the saying about eye twitching is accurate. Why? Because a few days ago, my right eye indeed started twitching, and after it stopped, this incident happened. After it happened, my eye hasn’t twitched since.” Does this ever happen? When you can’t comprehend something, you don’t dare say anything, you neither dare deny it nor admit it as true; you can’t avoid the topic, you can’t articulate it clearly, but you still think that it’s plausible. With your mouth, you say, “That’s a superstition, I can’t believe in that, everything is in God’s hands.” You don’t believe it, but this matter came true; it’s just so accurate, how do you explain it? You don’t understand the truth and essence here, so you can’t articulate it clearly. You deny it with your mouth, calling it superstition, but deep down, you’re still afraid of it because sometimes it really comes true. For example, someone gets in a car accident and passes away. Before the accident, that person’s wife gets a bad twitch in her right eye: It keeps twitching day and night—how bad is the twitching going to get? Even other people can see her eye twitching. After a few days, her husband gets into a car accident and dies. After handling the funeral, she sits down and slowly begins to think, “Oh my, those few days my eye was twitching so badly that I couldn’t even hold it down with my hand. I didn’t expect it to come true like this.” Later, she starts to believe this saying, thinking, “Oh my, things really do happen when my eye twitches. They may not necessarily be good or bad things, but something is bound to happen. It’s a kind of projection or premonition.” Does this ever happen? Some people say, “I don’t believe in it, it’s a superstition.” But it comes just at the right time, and it really is that accurate. The things mentioned in folk culture are not baseless rumors; superstition is different from tradition. To some extent it exists in people’s lives, and it also influences and controls people’s living environments and the events that occur in their lives. Some people say, “Well, isn’t this a sign from God, not a superstition? As it isn’t a superstition, we should treat and accept it properly. This didn’t come from Satan, it could be from God—a hint from God. We shouldn’t condemn it.” How do we view this matter correctly? This tests your ability to view things and your understanding of the truth. If you treat everything uniformly, believing that, “All of it is superstition, there’s no such thing and I don’t believe any of it,” is this a correct way to view things? For example, when unbelievers want to move house, they see on their almanac that it says, “Today is inauspicious for moving,” so they follow this taboo and don’t dare to move on that day. They check for a day where it says “It is auspicious for moving” or “All matters are auspicious” before they move. After moving, nothing bad happens, and it doesn’t affect their fortunes in the future. Does this happen? Some people see “inauspicious for moving” but don’t believe it; they move anyway. As a result, after moving, something goes wrong: there is misfortune in the family, their fortunes decline, someone in their family dies, and another gets sick. Everything, from farming, work, and doing business to their children’s schooling, becomes difficult. They don’t know what’s happening. They consult a fortune-teller, who says, “You broke a major taboo during that time. The day you moved was inauspicious for moving, and in doing so you offended Tai Sui.”[a] What’s happening here? Do you know? If you can’t comprehend this, then you won’t know how to handle such situations when they arise. If an unbeliever says, “Let me tell you, I moved on the day it was inauspicious for moving, and after moving, my family kept experiencing problems day after day, getting more and more unlucky, and we haven’t had a good day since,” your heart may skip a beat when you hear it. You get scared, thinking, “Oh my, if I don’t follow the taboo, will the same happen to me?” You turn it over in your mind, thinking, “I believe in God, I’m not afraid!” But doubt still lingers in your mind, and you dare not break the taboo.
How should we view these superstitious sayings? Let’s start with the matter of eye twitching. Do we all know what eye twitching is all about? The most basic understanding people have is that it predicts what might happen in the future, whether that thing will be good or bad. But is this superstition or not? Go ahead. (It is superstition.) It’s superstition. Next question, should people who have faith in God believe in this saying? (They should not.) Why shouldn’t they believe? (Because our fortunes and misfortunes are managed and orchestrated in the hands of God and have nothing to do with whether your eye twitches or not. Everything we face is under God’s sovereignty and arrangement, and we should submit to it.) Let’s say one day your eye twitches badly for a whole day, and it continues into the next morning. Afterward, something happens, and you are dealt with. After being dealt with, your eye twitch stops. What would you think? “My eye twitch was a sign that I was going to be dealt with.” Is this just a coincidence? Is it superstition? Sometimes it is just a coincidence; sometimes such things happen. What’s going on? (God, it feels like eye twitching might be part of normal bodily rhythm, and it shouldn’t be associated with being pruned or dealt with.) Eye twitching should be understood like this: No matter whether people believe that one eye twitching indicates fortune and another indicates disaster, God created the human body with many mysteries. How deep these mysteries go, what specific details are involved in it, what instincts, abilities, and potential the human body has—humans don’t possess this knowledge on their own. Whether the human body can perceive the spiritual realm, whether it possesses what some call a sixth sense—people don’t know. Should people bother to understand these unknown aspects of the human body? (No, they shouldn’t.) There’s no need—people don’t need to understand what mysteries exist within the human body. Even though they don’t need to understand, they should have a basic understanding that the human body is not simple. It is fundamentally different from any thing or object not created by God, such as a table, a chair, or a computer. The nature of these things is entirely different from that of the human body: These lifeless objects have no perception of the spiritual realm, while the human body, a living thing that comes from God, that is created by God, can sense how to perceive its immediate environment, atmosphere, and certain special objects, as well as how to react to the surrounding environment and upcoming events. It’s not simple—these things are all a mystery. Not only can the human body sense things that are cold, hot, pleasant or disagreeable to smell, sweet, sour, and spicy, but there are also certain mysteries that the objective consciousness of the individual is not aware of. Humans do not know about these things. So, specifically speaking, whether eye twitching is related to someone’s nerves, to their sixth sense, or to something involving the spiritual realm—we won’t delve into this. In any case, this phenomenon exists, and we won’t investigate its purpose and meaning for existing. Regardless, there are certain sayings about eye twitching both in the family and in folk culture. Whether these sayings consist of superstition or not, at the end of the day, it is a sign that manifests in the human body in advance of certain events taking place in a living environment. Now, does this manner of manifestation belong to superstition, to tradition, or to science? It is something that cannot be researched—it is a mystery. In short, within real life, over thousands of years from ancient times to the present, humanity has concluded that someone’s eye twitching is somehow connected to events that are going to happen around them. Whether this connection is related to wealth, luck, or some other aspect of a person’s life, is impossible to research. This is also a mystery. Why is it considered a mystery? Many things involve the spiritual realm beyond the material world, which you can’t see or feel even if they were told to you. That’s why it is considered a mystery. Since these matters are mysteries and people can’t see or feel them, but certain feelings of foreboding and prescience still exist in humans, how should people deal with them? The simplest rule is to just ignore them. Don’t believe that they have anything to do with your wealth or luck. Don’t worry that bad things might happen when your right eye twitches, and certainly don’t rejoice when your left eye twitches, thinking you’ll become wealthy. Don’t let these things affect you. The main reason is that you don’t have the ability to foresee the future. Everything is orchestrated and governed by God; whether what is going to happen will be good or bad, it is all in God’s hands. The only attitude you should hold is submission to God’s orchestration and arrangement. Don’t make predictions or any unnecessary sacrifices, preparations, or struggles. Whatever is going to happen will happen, because it is all in God’s hands. No one can change God’s thoughts, His plans, or what He is determined to make happen. Whether you stick white paper to your eyelid, press on your eyelid with your hand, or rely on science or superstition, none of it will make a difference. What is going to happen will happen, will come true, and you can’t change it because it’s all in God’s hands. Any attempt to avoid it is foolish, a futile sacrifice, and unnecessary. Doing so would only show that you are rebellious and stubborn, lacking a submissive attitude toward God. Do you understand? (Yes, I understand.) So, whether eye twitching is considered superstition or science, your attitude should be this: Don’t feel happy when your left eye twitches, and don’t be fearful, terrified, worried, rejecting, or resistant when your right eye twitches. Even if something does happen after your eye twitches, you should face it calmly because everything is in God’s hands. You don’t need to fear or worry. If something good happens, thank God for His blessing—this is the grace of God; if something bad happens, pray for God to lead you, to protect you, and to not let you fall into temptation. In whatever environment that may follow, be able to submit to God’s orchestration and arrangement. Don’t abandon God, don’t complain to Him, no matter how great the disaster that befalls you, or how severe the misfortune that you experience, don’t blame God. Be willing to submit to God’s orchestration. Won’t this issue then be resolved? (Yes.) Regarding matters like this, people should have this thought and viewpoint: “No matter what happens in the future, I am prepared, and I have a submissive attitude toward God. Whether my left eye twitches, my right eye twitches, or both eyes twitch simultaneously, I am not afraid. I know something might happen in the future, but I believe that everything is in God’s hands. It could be a way God is informing me about something that is going to happen, or it could be an instinctive reaction of my physical body. No matter what, I am prepared, and I have a submissive attitude toward God. No matter how great the harm or loss I suffer after this thing occurs, I won’t blame God. I am willing to submit.” This is the attitude people should have. Once they adopt this attitude, they will no longer care whether the sayings about eye twitching conditioned into them by their family constitute superstition or science. They say, “It doesn’t matter if it’s superstition or science. What you believe is your business. If you ask me to stick a piece of paper on my eyelid, I won’t do it. If the twitching gets uncomfortable, I’ll just do it for a little bit.” If someone tells you, “Your eye is twitching so much, be careful over the next couple of days!” Can being careful help you avoid anything? (No, you can’t avoid what’s meant to happen.) If it’s a blessing then it can’t be a disaster, if it’s a disaster then you can’t avoid it; whether it’s a blessing or a disaster you accept it either way. This is having the same attitude as Job. If you accept it as long as it’s a blessing, and you’re happy when your left eye twitches, but you get angry when your right eye twitches, saying, “Why is it twitching? It keeps twitching, it never stops! I will pray and I will curse to make my right eye stop twitching and keep misfortune far away from me”—this isn’t the attitude a person who believes in God and follows Him should have. Without God’s permission, without God determining for it to happen, would misfortune or demons dare approach you? (No.) Both the material and spiritual worlds are under God’s control, sovereignty, and arrangement. No matter what a little demon wants to do, without God’s permission, would it dare harm even a single hair on you? It wouldn’t dare, would it? (No, it wouldn’t.) It wants to touch you and harm you, but if God doesn’t allow it, it won’t dare. If God allows it, saying, “Stir up a few circumstances around them and bring them ill fortune and problems,” then the little demon will be happy and start acting against you. If you have faith in God and you overcome it, standing firm in your testimony, not denying or betraying God, not letting it succeed, then when the little demon comes before God, it won’t be able to accuse you anymore, God will gain glory from you, and He’ll lock up the little demon. It won’t dare to harm you again, and you will be safe. This is the genuine faith you should have, believing that everything is in God’s hands. Without God’s permission, no unlucky or bad thing will come to you. God can do more than just bless people; He can arrange various circumstances to test you and temper you, teach you lessons from among them, and He can set up various circumstances to chastise and judge you. Sometimes the circumstances God arranges may not align with your notions and certainly not your imaginings. But don’t forget what Job said, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). This should be the source of your genuine faith in God. Believe that God is in control of everything, and you won’t be afraid of a simple eye twitch, isn’t that right? (Yes, it is.)
Just now, we fellowshiped on how to deal with eye twitching. Eye twitching—a common occurrence in daily life—is something people often try human methods to resolve. However, these methods usually don’t achieve the desired results, and in the end, what is meant to happen will happen, and no one can escape it. Whether it’s a good or bad thing, whether it’s something people want to see or not, what is meant to happen will definitely happen. This further confirms that whether it’s a person’s destiny or the trivial matters of daily life, they are all orchestrated and managed by God, and no one can escape from them. Therefore, wise individuals should approach these things with the correct, positive attitude, viewing them and resolving things like this based on the truth principles and God’s word, rather than resorting to human methods to make any futile sacrifices or struggles, or in the end, they will be the ones to suffer loss. This is because, when it comes to the sovereignty of the Creator, there is no second path for humanity to choose. This is the only path that should be chosen and followed. Submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, learn lessons in the environments God orchestrates, learn to submit to God, to understand God’s deeds, to understand oneself, and what path a created being should choose and walk, and learn how to walk well the life path that people should walk, instead of resisting God’s orchestrations and arrangements with superstitious or human methods.
We’ve concluded our fellowship on how to deal with eye twitching, but how should people handle the matter of dreaming in their daily lives? For instance, if you dream one night that your teeth fall out, your mother might ask, “Did it bleed when your teeth fell out?” If you ask, “What will happen if it did?” your mother might tell you that it could mean that someone in the family will die, or some other unfortunate event might occur. I do not know what the specific saying behind this detail may be, one family will say one thing, another family a different thing. Some might say it predicts the death of a close relative, like grandparents or parents, while others might say it signifies the death of a friend. In any case, dreaming about losing teeth is generally considered a bad thing. Because it is bad, and it relates to matters of life and death, this makes people very concerned. Whenever people dream about losing teeth, they wake up feeling uneasy. They have an underlying sense that misfortune or something bad is about to happen, which makes them anxious, fearful, and terrified. They want to rid themselves of the feeling but can’t, they want to find people to address this matter or smooth it over, but there is no way of doing it. They are, in short, held captive by this dream. Especially when the dream involves their teeth bleeding, their worry intensifies. After having such a dream, people are often in a bad mood for many days, they feel uneasy, and don’t know how to cope. For those who aren’t familiar with these things, they might remain unaffected, but for those who have already adopted certain thoughts and viewpoints or have heard more alarming and sensational sayings related to this matter passed down from their ancestors, they tend to be even more concerned. They fear having such dreams and whenever they do, they quickly resort to prayers like, “Oh God, please protect me, comfort me, give me strength, and prevent such things from happening. If this is meant for my parents, please keep them safe and free from any accidents.” Clearly, these attitudes are influenced by their thoughts and viewpoints or by traditional sayings. Regarding traditions, certain families or individuals might have special ways to alleviate such things, or might eat and drink certain things, recite certain incantations, or do certain things to resolve or prevent bad outcomes. There are certainly such practices in folk traditions, but we won’t delve into them. What we are going to fellowship about is how to approach and understand the matter of dreaming. Dreaming is a human instinct in the flesh or a part of the phenomena of the survival of the flesh. In any case, it is a mysterious occurrence. People often say, “The day has its thoughts, the night its dreams.” However, people do not usually think about things like losing their teeth in the daytime, nor are these things that people envision in their desires. No one wants to encounter such matters, and no one obsesses over these things day and night. Nevertheless, these occurrences often happen when people least expect them. So, this has nothing to do with the saying, “The day has its thoughts, the night its dreams.” It’s not something that happens because you think about it. No matter what interpretations Freud in the West or the Duke of Zhou in China have about dreams, or whether the dreams ultimately come true or not, in short, the matter of dreaming is related to certain unconscious sensations and awareness in the human body, and constitutes a part of its mysteries. Scientists who study biology and neuroscience in the West have been researching this, and ultimately, they have failed to fully understand the origins of human dreams. They can’t figure it out, so should we try to do research on it? (We shouldn’t.) Why shouldn’t we? (Researching these things is pointless, and we won’t understand them either.) It’s not that it’s pointless or that we won’t understand; it’s because it doesn’t involve the truth, it’s that simple. What can you achieve by studying and understanding it? Does it involve the truth? (No, it doesn’t.) It’s just a phenomenon that occurs over the course of the body’s survival, and it frequently takes place in people’s lives. However, people don’t know what it means. This is a part of the mystery. There’s no need for people to research or explore it because it doesn’t involve the truth, and it doesn’t pertain to the paths people take. Whether you dream at night about losing your teeth or not, whether you dream about having a grand feast or going on a rollercoaster, does it have anything to do with how your life is during the day? (No, it doesn’t.) If one night you dream about fighting someone, does it mean you’ll definitely fight someone during the day? If one night you have a pleasant dream, a happy dream, and wake up from happiness, does that guarantee everything will go smoothly and as desired during the day? Does it mean that during the day you can understand the truth and find the truth principles when you are doing things? (No, it doesn’t.) So, dreaming has nothing to do with the truth. There’s no need to research it. Does dreaming about losing your teeth and bleeding have any connection to the death of a close relative? (No, it doesn’t.) Why do you always say such ignorant things? You’re being ignorant again, aren’t you? You lack insight. The human body is a mystery, and there are many things you can’t explain. Can you resolve it all with a simple “no”? In the past, prophets and people chosen by God also had prophetic dreams. These dreams had significance. How do you explain that God used dreams to reveal things to people? Then how did God enter their dreams? These are all mysteries. God also used dreams to tell people certain things and enlighten them about certain matters, allowing them to foresee certain events before they happened. How do you explain this? Are you ignorant of these things? (Yes.) Now, the point is not to have you blindly deny various unexplainable phenomena that occur in everyday life involving mysteries you cannot unravel, but to understand and approach them accurately. It’s not about constantly negating these things, saying they don’t exist, there’s no such thing, or they’re impossible, but rather to have you treat them correctly. What does it mean to treat them correctly? It means not to approach these matters with superstitious or extreme thoughts and viewpoints like worldly people do, nor to approach them like those who are atheists or lack any faith. It’s not to have you go to these two extremes, but to take the correct position and viewpoint to consider these things that happen in everyday life, not the viewpoint of worldly people, nor that of nonbelievers—but the viewpoint that a believer in God should have. So, what viewpoint should you have regarding these matters? (No matter what happens, submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement—don’t research it.) You shouldn’t research it, but should you have some understanding in this regard? Suppose someone says, “So-and-so dreamed that their teeth fell out and there was blood, and within a few days, I heard that their father passed away.” If you immediately deny it and say, “Impossible! That’s just superstition, a coincidence. Superstition is believing in something because you’re obsessed with it; if you weren’t obsessed with it, it wouldn’t exist,” is this a foolish thing to say? (Yes.) How should you view this matter then? (We should recognize that there are many mysteries of the physical body, and dreaming about teeth falling out and bleeding might indicate something unpleasant happening. But regardless of whether it happens or not, we should submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement.) You just learned something from eye twitching, so how should you deal with dreaming about teeth falling out and bleeding? You should say, “This matter is beyond our comprehension. In real life, this phenomenon indeed exists. We cannot determine whether it will come true or whether it forebodes something bad will happen, but bad things like this really do happen in real life. Spiritual matters are beyond our comprehension, and we dare not make random claims. If I have such a dream, what should my attitude be? Regardless of the dream, I won’t be constrained by it. If this dream genuinely comes true as people say it will, then I thank God for giving me mental preparedness, for letting me know that such a thing may happen. I’ve never thought about whether I would be affected if a family member died, if my parents passed away: whether I would feel struck, whether my fulfillment of duty might be affected, whether I would feel weak or complain against God—I’ve never thought about it. But today, this occurrence gave me a hint of it, making me see my actual stature. When I think about my parents’ death, I feel a deep pain inside; I would be constrained by it and feel depressed. Suddenly, I realize my stature is still very small. I have too little of a God-obeying heart, and too little faith in God. From today onward, I feel that I should equip myself with more truth, submit to God, and not be constrained by this matter. If there really is a close relative who dies or departs, I won’t be constrained by it. I’m prepared and I ask God for guidance and to increase my strength. No matter what lies ahead, I won’t regret choosing to fulfill my duty, nor will I give up on choosing to expend myself with my whole body and mind for God. I will persist, and I will continue just as before to willingly submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements.” Next, you should pray often in your heart, seeking God’s guidance and asking for Him to increase your strength so that you are no longer constrained by this matter. Whether a close relative will die or not, you should equip your stature for it, ensuring that when such an event occurs, you won’t become weak, won’t complain against God, and won’t change your determination and desire to expend yourself for God with your body and mind. Isn’t this the attitude you should have? (Yes.) When it comes to things like dreaming about your teeth falling out, you shouldn’t deny their existence or set them aside and ignore them, and you certainly shouldn’t use any strange or defensive methods to deal with them. Instead, you should seek the truth, come before God accepting His orchestrations; don’t make pointless sacrifices or foolish choices. Ignorant and stubborn people, when faced with something they haven’t experienced before and cannot comprehend, tend to say, “There’s no such thing,” “It’s nothing,” “It doesn’t exist,” or “It’s just superstition.” Some people who believe in God even say, “I believe in God, I don’t believe in ghosts,” or “I believe in God, I don’t believe in Satan. There’s no Satan!” They use these statements to prove their genuine faith in God, saying they believe in God but not in ghosts, evil spirits, possession, or even the existence of the spiritual realm. Aren’t they just nonbelievers? (Yes, they are.) They don’t accept those sayings of traditional thoughts of the world of unbelievers, nor do they accept superstitious explanations or any facts associated with superstitions. Not believing in these things doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Right now, it’s not about asking you not to believe, or to escape or deny these things. Rather, it’s about teaching you to have the correct thoughts and viewpoints when facing these matters, to make the right choices and have the right attitude. This will be your true stature, and this is what you should enter in. For example, someone dreams about losing their hair. Losing one’s hair in a dream is also considered inauspicious. Regardless of the corresponding interpretations or fulfilled events, in short, people have negative explanations regarding such dreams, and believe that they indicate something bad or unfortunate will happen. Except for the ordinary dreams that don’t involve significant issues, there are certain interpretations for those special dreams, and these interpretations forecast certain events, providing people with certain foresight, warnings, or predictions, letting them know what’s going to happen in the future or giving them a certain awareness, which tells people what is going to happen so that they can prepare themselves mentally. Regardless of what might happen, for you, you shouldn’t adopt attitudes of avoidance, rejection, defense, or resistance, or even an attitude of using human methods to resolve these situations. When you face such situations you should come before God even more readily and ask Him to lead you, so that in the face of impending events you may be able to stand firm in your testimony and align your practice with God’s will, rather than rejecting and resisting it. Asking you to practice this way does not mean you are required to focus on these things; it teaches you what kind of attitude, when they inevitably occur, you should adopt to face them, and what kind of approach you should use to resolve them. This is what you should understand. Tell Me, you’ve been asked to not focus on these things, but don’t these things happen in everyday life? (Yes.) If you say they don’t exist, and then they do happen, you might consider it and think, “Oh no, I have to believe this, it really did come true!” Without prior preparation and the right attitude, when these things occur, you’ll be caught off guard, you won’t be prepared in any way, you won’t know how to pray to God or how to face the situation, and you won’t have genuine faith in God or genuine obedience. All you’ll feel in the end is fear. The more afraid you become, the more you’ll lose the presence of God; when you lose God’s presence, you can only seek help from other people and you’ll think of every human method imaginable to escape. When you can’t escape, you’ll start to believe that God is no longer trustworthy or reliable; instead, you feel that people are reliable. Things will continue to deteriorate; not only will you no longer believe it to be superstition, but you’ll see it as something terrible, a situation that is out of your control. At that point, you might say, “No wonder unbelievers and those who believe in Buddhism and burn incense to worship Buddha are constantly going to temples, burning incense, praying for blessings, fulfilling vows, being vegetarian, and chanting Buddhist scriptures. It turns out these things really work!” Not only will you lack genuine obedience and faith in God, but you’ll develop instead a fear of evil spirits and Satan. After that, you’ll feel obligated to obey them to some extent and you’ll say, “These evil spirits are nothing to mess with; it’s no good for you not to believe in them, you have to tread carefully around them. You can’t say whatever you want behind their backs: There are taboos. These evil spirits are not to be trifled with!” Behind these events, you’ll suddenly realize that there are powers at work beyond the material world that you hadn’t anticipated. When you start to sense these things, your heart will be filled with fear and an avoidance of God, and your faith in God will diminish. So, when it comes to matters like dreaming about teeth or hair falling out, you should adopt the right attitude. Regardless of the specific interpretations or predictions associated with these events when they happen to you, you only have to do this much: Believe that everything is in God’s hands and be willing to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements—this is the attitude you should adopt when facing all these matters. This is the stance you should take and the testimony you should bear as someone who follows God, isn’t it? (Yes, it is.) Believe that all these things may happen and that everything is in God’s hands; this is the attitude you should uphold.
Some people have taboos about certain numbers or special days. For example, some people who are engaged in business for many years attach great importance to making a fortune, so they particularly like and value numbers related to making a fortune in business, and abstain from numbers that they believe will bring bad luck to their business. For example, the numbers 6 and 8 are particularly favored by a certain person, the door number of their shop is 168, and the shop is called “Yi Lu Fa,” meaning getting rich all the way, the pronunciation of which in Mandarin is similar to the numbers 1, 6, and 8,[b] which are lucky numbers in Chinese folklore. On the other hand, the numbers 4 and 5 are considered bad in Chinese tradition, as 4 means death and 5 means nothing, lack, or emptiness, which implies that one may fail to recover their original investment or to make money. Even the license plates of some Chinese people’s cars have all 6s, and if you see a row of 6s, it’s basically always going to be a Chinese person. Who knows how much wealth they might have accumulated using so many 6s? One time in a parking lot, almost all parking spaces were occupied except for one, which carried the number 64. Do you know why no one parked in that space? (64 may mean death and is considered unlucky.) 64 means death on the road. At that time, I didn’t know why no one parked in that space, but later I heard about it from unbelievers and understood. 6 sounds like “road” and 4 sounds like “death,” 64 sounds like “death on the road” in Mandarin, so people didn’t park there. I guess they probably changed the number of that parking space later to 68, which sounds like “getting rich all the way” in Mandarin. People are so obsessed with money that they are completely fixated on money. Can a number really change anything? Chinese people’s sayings about these numbers have even influenced foreigners. When we were looking at houses, a real estate agent asked us, “Do you have any taboos about certain numbers? For example, if the house’s door number is 14, is that bad because of the 4?” I said, “I’ve never thought about it. I didn’t know about this saying.” He said, “Many Chinese people refuse to consider a house because it has a 4 in the door number.” I said, “We don’t have any taboos about numbers. We only consider the positioning, location, lighting, ventilation, house structure, quality, and other things like that. We don’t care about the numbers; we don’t have any taboos.” So, do you think that something bad will definitely happen if unbelievers have taboos about certain numbers? (Not necessarily.) We don’t know about other countries outside of China, such as South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, or some Southeast Asian countries, what their particulars about numbers may be. In short, every country’s people are particular about certain numbers. For example, Americans are very uninterested in the number 6. Westerners don’t like 6 due to a kind of religious culture, as the number 6 mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible has negative connotations. There is also 13, which Westerners do not like either. Many elevators do not have that floor because they consider the number unlucky. Chinese people, on the other hand, believe that 6 and 8 are lucky numbers. So, which saying is the truth? (Neither of them.) Do you care about any specific numbers? Do you have your own lucky number? (No, we don’t.) Well, that’s good. Southern Chinese people pay particular attention to things like whether a number is lucky or not, choosing the right date for whatever they do, and following dietary restrictions during festivals—they are especially particular about this. But the matter of numbers certainly cannot explain anything. People’s avoidance of certain numbers is to some extent related to their beliefs, imaginings, and thoughts and notions. These are all foolish thoughts and viewpoints. If your family has instilled such thoughts and viewpoints in you, you should let go of them and not believe in them. These ideas are even more absurd—they aren’t even superstitions—and they constitute the ridiculous and nonsensical sayings of those money-crazed people in society.
Some people attach great importance to zodiac signs, and this matter involves superstition. Nowadays, even Westerners talk about zodiac signs, so don’t think that only Asians know about them. Westerners also know about the rabbit, ox, rat, and horse. What else? Snake, dragon, rooster, and sheep, isn’t that right? For example, ancestors and parents pass down the belief that people with the Sheep zodiac sign have doomed lives. If you are a Sheep, you might think, “My life is doomed, I always encounter misfortune. I have a bad partner, disobedient children, and my job is not going well. I never get promoted, and I don’t receive any bonuses. I am always unlucky. If I have another child, it won’t be in the Year of the Sheep. There is already one family member with the sheep zodiac sign whose life is doomed enough; if I gave birth to another with a Sheep zodiac sign, that would make two of us. How could we live like that?” You consider the matter, thinking, “I definitely can’t have a child in the Year of the Sheep, so which year should I aim for? Dragon? Snake? Tiger?” If you were born in the Year of the Dragon, does that mean you are actually a dragon? Can you really become an emperor? Isn’t that nonsense? Do you want to have these zodiac signs? Some people say, “People born in the Year of the Rabbit and the Year of the Rooster don’t get along with each other. I am a Rabbit, so I should avoid interacting with someone who is a Rooster. Our zodiac signs are incompatible, and our destinies clash. My parents say that people like us are not compatible to marry and won’t get along with each other. It’s best to have minimal contact with them, to not talk or interact. Our destinies clash, and if we are together, I won’t be able to overcome them, and my life will be shortened, won’t it? I need to stay away from such people.” These people are influenced by these sayings. Isn’t that foolish? (Yes, it is.) In short, regardless of whether your destiny clashes with someone of a certain zodiac sign, will it really have an impact on your fate? Will it affect you walking the correct path in life? (No, it won’t.) Some people are only willing to work, collaborate and even live with someone who is compatible with their zodiac sign. Subconsciously, deep down they are affected by these sayings, and these sayings passed down by their parents or ancestors hold a definite place in their hearts. You see, Eastern people care about zodiac signs, while Western people care about astrological signs. Now, Eastern people keeping up with the times have also started talking about astrological signs, such as Scorpio, Virgo, Sagittarius, and so on. For example, a Sagittarius person learns what their personality is like and that they tend to get along with people who have a certain astrological sign. When they find out that someone has that astrological sign, they are willing to interact with them, they think that they’re pretty great and have a good impression of them. They have also been influenced by the traditions of family conditioning. Whether it’s Eastern zodiac signs or Western astrology, whether clashes in destiny or the compatibility of signs have a factual existence, and whether these have any impact on you, you should understand what viewpoint to hold concerning them. What should you understand? A person’s birth time, the decade they were born in, the month and time they were born—these are all related to a person’s destiny. No matter what fortune tellers or face readers say about your destiny, your astrological sign, or if your zodiac sign is good or not, no matter how accurate they are—so what? What does this explain? Doesn’t it further prove that your destiny has already been arranged by God? (Yes.) What your marriage will be like, where you will live, what kind of people you will be surrounded by, how much material wealth you will enjoy in your life, whether you will be rich or poor, how much suffering you will endure, how many children you will have, and what your financial fortune will be—all of this has already been ordained. Whether you believe it or not, whether fortune tellers calculate it for you or not, it will be the same. Is it important to know these things? Some people are particularly eager to know, “What will my future fortune be like? Will I be poor or rich? Will I meet advantageous people? Are there any people whose destinies will clash with mine? Will I encounter any contrary people in my life? At what age will I die? Will I die from illness, exhaustion, thirst, or hunger? How will I die? Will it be painful or embarrassing?” Is it useful to know these things? (No.) In summary, you just need to be certain about one thing regarding this matter: Everything is ordained by God. Regardless of your zodiac or astrological sign, or the time and date of your birth, everything has already been determined by God. Precisely because everything has been ordained, the prosperity and wealth you will experience in your life, as well as the environment you will live in, were already determined by God before you were born, you don’t need to approach these matters with superstition or from the perspective of worldly people, adopting certain methods to avoid unlucky moments or taking certain measures to preserve and maintain lucky moments. This is not the way you should deal with destiny. For example, if it is destined for you to contract a serious illness at a certain age, and face readers point it out to you based on your astrological sign, zodiac sign, or birth time, what will you do then? Will you feel afraid, or will you try to find a way to resolve the matter? (Let nature take its course and submit to God’s orchestration.) This is the attitude that people should adopt. Regardless of what is or isn’t in your destiny, all of it has already been predetermined by God. Whether you like it or not, whether you are willing to accept it or not, whether you have the ability to face it or not, in any case, all of this has already been ordained by God. The attitude you should uphold is that of accepting these facts as a created being. Whether it has happened or not, whether you are willing to face it or not, you should accept and face it as a created being, rather than putting effort or seeking advice from others concerning things like astrology, zodiac signs, or face-reading, or searching for various resources in order to know what will happen in your future and avoid it as soon as possible. It is wrong to treat the fate and life that God arranged for you with such an attitude. Some people’s parents find them a fortune-teller, who tells them, “According to your astrological sign, as well as your Chinese zodiac sign and birth time, you cannot allow fire into your life.” After hearing this, they remember it and believe in it, and later it becomes a normal taboo in their daily life. For example, if someone’s name contains the character for “fire,” they will not interact with that person, and even if they do, they will not get close to them or have any close contact with them. They will be afraid of this and avoid it. For example, if someone’s name is Li Can, they will turn this over in their mind, thinking, “The character ‘Can’ contains one ‘fire’ radical and one ‘mountain’: That’s bad, there’s the ‘fire’ radical in it, so I can’t interact with them—I have to keep my distance.” They will be afraid to interact with this person. As far as they are able, they will avoid the kitchen stove at home, they won’t participate in candlelit dinners, attend bonfire parties, or go to houses with a fireplace, because these all involve fire. If they want to go on a trip, and they hear that a certain place has a volcano, they won’t go there. When they go somewhere to spread the gospel, they have to inquire about the surname and name of the person with whom they are sharing the gospel, and make sure their name does not have the character for “fire” in it, but if that person is a blacksmith who casts iron at home, they absolutely won’t go. Although they believe in their consciousness that everything is in God’s hands and they know they shouldn’t be afraid, as soon as they encounter such taboo matters, they begin to feel concerned and fearful, and they dare not break the taboo. They are always afraid of accidents and disasters happening that they would not be able to bear. They do not have true faith in God. They can be obedient, endure hardship, and pay the price in other aspects, but this matter is the one thing they cannot tolerate. For example, if someone tells them, “You can never cross a bridge during your entire life. If you cross a bridge, an accident will happen. If you cross several bridges, that will be even more dangerous, and your life will be at risk,” they will remember these words, and afterward, whether going to work or meeting up with friends, or even attending gatherings, they will avoid bridges and take a detour, fearing that they might break the taboo. They don’t believe that they will necessarily die just like that, but they are troubled by this matter. Occasionally, they have no choice but to cross a bridge, and after crossing, they say, “I believe everything is in God’s hands. If God doesn’t allow me to die, I won’t die.” However, their heart is still troubled by this saying, and they can’t shake it off. Some people say that water runs contrary to their fate, so they avoid going near streams or wells. There was a sister who had a swimming pool in her yard, so they didn’t go to her house for gatherings, and when they changed to another host who had a fish tank at home, they didn’t go there either. They wouldn’t go to any place with water and wouldn’t touch water whether it was flowing or stagnant. In daily life, these absurd sayings from family conditioning involve traditional culture and superstition. To some extent, these sayings affect people’s views on certain matters and impact their daily customs or lifestyles. This, to a certain extent, binds people’s thoughts and controls their principles and correct methods of doing things.
Some people say, “If these traditions and superstitions belong to certain traditional thoughts and superstitions outside of Christianity, then we should criticize and let go of them. But when it comes to certain thoughts, viewpoints, traditions, or superstitions of orthodox religions, do people not need to let go of them? Shouldn’t they be considered as a holiday or a lifestyle to commemorate and uphold in our daily lives?” (No, we should let go of both because they are not from God.) For example, the biggest holiday that comes from Christianity is Christmas—do you know anything about it? Nowadays, some major cities in the East also celebrate Christmas, plan Christmas parties, and celebrate Christmas Eve. In addition to Christmas, there are also Easter and Passover, which are both major religious holidays. Some holidays involve eating turkey and barbecue, while others involve eating candy canes, which are red and white, symbolizing the precious blood of the Lord Jesus as a sin offering for people, making them holy. The red represents the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, the white represents holiness, and people eat this type of candy. There is also the tradition of eating Easter eggs during Easter. These holidays are all related to Christianity. There are also certain Christian icons, such as the images of Mary, Jesus, and the cross. These things have evolved out of Christianity and, in My opinion, they are also a kind of tradition. Behind these traditions, there must be some superstitions involved. Regardless of the content of these superstitious sayings, in short, as long as they do not involve the truth, the path that people take, or God’s requirements for created beings, they have nothing to do with what you should enter into now, and you should let go of them. They shouldn’t be considered sacred and inviolable, of course there is also no need to despise them—just treat them correctly. Do these holidays have anything to do with us? (No.) They have nothing to do with us. A foreigner once asked Me, “Do you celebrate Christmas?” I said, “No.” “Then do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Spring Festival?” I said, “No.” “Then what holidays do you celebrate?” I said, “We don’t have holidays. Every day is the same for us. We eat whatever we want on any given day, not because of holidays. I don’t have traditions.” He asked, “Why?” I said, “No reason. This way of life is very free, without any constraints. We live without any formalities, just following the rules, eating, resting, working, and moving according to the time and measure given by God, naturally and freely, without any formalities.” Of course, when it comes to a special religious item, the cross, some people believe that it is sacred. Is the cross sacred? Can it be described as sacred? Is the image of Mary sacred? (No, it is not sacred.) Is the image of Jesus sacred? You don’t very much dare to say it. Why is the image of Jesus not sacred? Because it was painted by humans, it is not the true likeness of God and has nothing to do with God. It is just a painting. Not to mention the image of Mary. No one knows what Jesus looks like, so they just draw Him blindly, and when the painting is finished, they ask you to worship facing it. Wouldn’t you be foolish to worship that? God is the One you should worship. You shouldn’t make a formal show of bowing down to some idol, portrait or picture; it’s not about bowing before an object. You should worship God and look up to Him in your heart. People should prostrate themselves before the words of God and His real person, not before the cross or the images of Mary or Jesus, which are all idols. The cross is just a symbol of the second step in God’s work. It has nothing to do with God’s disposition, essence, or requirements for mankind. It does not represent God’s image, let alone His essence. Therefore, wearing a cross does not represent your fear of God, or that you have an amulet of protection. I have never represented the cross. I don’t have any cross symbols in My home, none of these things. So, when it comes to not celebrating Christmas and Easter, people may easily let these things go, but if it involves religious aspects such as the cross, the images of Mary and Jesus, or even the Bible, when you tell them to throw away a cross or an image of Mary or Jesus, they’ll think, “Oh, that is so irreverent, so irreverent. Quickly, ask God for forgiveness, for forgiveness….” People feel that there will be consequences. Of course, you don’t need to deliberately do anything destructive to these objects, nor do you need to have any respect for them. They are just objects and have nothing to do with God’s essence or identity. This is something you ought to know. Of course, when it comes to the Christmas and Easter holidays designated by humans, these have nothing to do with God’s identity or essence, His work, or His requirements for people. Even if you celebrate a hundred or ten thousand Christmases, no matter how many lifetimes you celebrate Christmas or Easter, this is not a substitute for understanding the truth. You don’t have to admire these things and say, “I must travel to the West. In the West I can celebrate Christmas. Christmas is sacred. Christmas is a day to commemorate God’s work. It is also a day that we should commemorate. We should be solemn on that day. Easter is more so a day that attracts everyone’s attention. It is a day to commemorate the resurrection of God incarnate from the dead. We should rejoice together, celebrate and congratulate one another on such a day, commemorating this day forever.” These are all human imaginings, God does not need them. If God needed people to commemorate these days, He would tell you the exact year, month, day, hour, minute, and second. If He hasn’t told you the exact year, month, and day, this communicates to you that God does not need people to commemorate these days. If you do commemorate them, you will violate God’s restrictions and He will not like it. God doesn’t like it but you insist on doing this, and claim that you are worshiping God. Then God becomes even more disgusted with you, and you deserve to die. Do you understand? (I understand.) If you want to celebrate these holidays now, God will not pay attention to you, and sooner or later you will pay the price and bear the responsibility for your wrong actions. Therefore, I tell you, it is more important for you to truly understand one of God’s words and obey His words than to prostrate yourself and bow your head however many times before the cross. No matter how many times you do this, it is useless and does not mean that you are following God’s way, accepting His words, or doing things according to the principles that He requires. God will not remember it. So, if you feel that the cross is particularly sacred, from this day forth, you should let go of this thought and viewpoint and throw your cherished cross out of the depths of your heart. It does not represent God, and worshiping it does not mean you are devout. Treasuring it, cherishing it, or even carrying it on your shoulders all day does not mean you are worshiping God. The cross was just a tool used in one step of God’s work, and it has no connection to God’s essence, disposition, or identity. If you insist on worshiping the cross as if it were God, this is what God detests. Not only will you not receive God’s remembrance, but you will be detested and rejected by Him. If you insist on it and say, “I won’t listen to You. The cross is sacred and inviolable in my eyes. I don’t believe or accept Your words that the cross is not important and doesn’t represent God,” then you can act as you see fit and see what it will ultimately get you. God has long since come down from the cross. It was the most inconspicuous tool used in one step of God’s work. It is merely an object and has no value in the eyes of God to be kept. Of course, there is no need for you to cherish, love, or even look up to or respect it. This is all unnecessary. The Bible is also highly cherished in people’s hearts. Although they do not read the Bible anymore, it still holds a definite place in their hearts. They still cannot completely let go of their views on the Bible which were passed down through their family or ancestors. For example, sometimes when you put the Bible aside, you may think, “Oh, what am I doing? That is the Bible. People should cherish it! The Bible is sacred and should not be treated so indifferently as if it were just an ordinary book. It’s gathered so much dust and no one has bothered to clean it. The book corners are bent and no one has straightened them.” People should let go of this sort of thought and viewpoint of treating the Bible as if it were something sacred and inviolable.
These traditions and superstitions from family that we have just discussed, as well as various thoughts, viewpoints, and lifestyles related to religion, as well as objects about which people are superstitious, or that they admire or cherish, all instill certain incorrect lifestyles, thoughts, and viewpoints into people, and intangibly mislead them in their lives, their livelihoods, and survival. In daily life, this resulting misdirection will unknowingly disrupt people in their attempts to accept correct things, positive thoughts, and positive matters, and they will then unknowingly do certain foolish, irrational, and childish things. Precisely because of this, it is necessary for individuals to have an accurate view, and accurate thoughts and viewpoints on these matters. If something involves the truth and aligns with it, you need to accept, practice and submit to it as a principle to follow for your life and survival. However, if it does not involve the truth and is merely tradition or superstition, or it merely comes from religion, then you should let go of it. Lastly, the subject matter we fellowshiped about today is distinctive in that these things related to traditions, superstitions, and religion, regardless of whether you acknowledge them or not, have experienced them or not, or how great your recognition of them is, in short, there are certain sayings in tradition and superstition that exist in terms of the objective facts and, to some extent, affect and disturb the daily lives of humankind. So how should you view this matter? Some people say, “You have to believe in it. If you don’t follow what it says, there will be consequences—what will you do then?” Do you know the biggest difference between believers and nonbelievers? (The biggest difference is that believers trust that everything is in God’s hands, while nonbelievers always try to change their fate by themselves.) Another point is that believers have God’s presence and protection, so these various superstitious phenomena which exist in real life will not affect them. But nonbelievers, because they lack God’s protection and do not believe in either His protection or sovereignty, are controlled by various unclean demons and evil spirits in their daily lives. Therefore, they have to pay attention to taboos in everything they do. Where do these taboos come from? Are they from God? (No, they are not.) Why do they have to abstain from these things? How do they know they should abstain from them? It is because certain people have experienced these things, gained certain experiences and lessons from them, and then spread them out among people. These experiences and lessons are then widely circulated, creating a kind of trend among people, and everyone starts to live and act accordingly. How did this trend come about? If you don’t follow the rules set by evil spirits and unclean demons, they will disturb you, disrupt, and upset your normal life, forcing you to believe in the existence of these taboos and that there will be consequences if you violate them. Over thousands of years, people have accumulated these experiences in their daily lives, passing them on from one generation to the next, and have come to know that there is an invisible force controlling them in the background, and they must listen to it. For example, if you don’t set off firecrackers during the Chinese New Year, your business will not go smoothly this year. Another example is that if you light the first incense stick during the New Year, everything will go smoothly for your entire year. These experiences tell people that they must believe in these superstitions and these sayings that come from folk culture, and generation after generation, people live like this. What do these phenomena tell people? They tell people that these prohibitions and taboos are all experiences that people have accumulated in life over time, and that they are things people have to do, things they must do because there are certain invisible forces controlling everything behind the scenes. In the end, from generation to generation, people follow these rules. People who do not believe in God must follow these superstitions and traditions in order to live relatively smooth lives in social groups. They live seeking peace, ease, and joy. So why don’t people who believe in God have to follow these superstitions and traditions? (Because they are protected by God.) They are protected by God. People who believe in God follow Him, and God brings these people into His presence and His house. Without God’s permission, Satan dare not harm you. Even if you don’t abide by its rules, it won’t dare touch you. However, for those who do not believe in God and do not follow Him, Satan can manipulate them at will. Satan’s way of manipulating people is to establish various sayings and strange rules for you to follow. If you don’t follow them, it will punish you. For example, if you don’t worship the kitchen god on the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month, won’t there be consequences? (Yes.) There will be consequences, and unbelievers dare not skip this ritual. On that day, they also have to eat sesame candy to seal the kitchen god’s mouth and prevent him from telling on them in heaven. How did these rules and superstitious sayings come about? It is Satan who does certain things that are passed down through oral tradition. At the root, they originate from Satan and various unclean demons, evil spirits, and demon leaders. They establish these rules and control people using these superstitious sayings and rules, making people listen to them. If you don’t listen to them, they hit you with something fierce—they punish you. Some people don’t believe in these superstitious sayings, and their homes are always a mess. When they go to a Buddhist temple to have their fortune told, they’re told, “My goodness, you’ve violated such-and-such taboo. You need to break soil underneath your house, adjust the chimney, change the furnishings in your house, and put a talisman on the lintel of the door. Then those little demons won’t dare come around.” It is actually a bigger demon that has subdued the little one, so the little demon won’t bother you anymore. In this way, life becomes much more peaceful. At first, this person didn’t believe it, but now when they see it, they say, “Oh my, there really was a little demon causing so much trouble!” They have no choice but to believe in it. Those who do not believe in God and try to get by and survive in this world are completely controlled by the evil ones, without the right or any room to choose for themselves—they have to believe. On the other hand, those of you who believe in God, if you persist in these superstitious or traditional thoughts, viewpoints, or things of religion, if you celebrate their festivals, believe in their sayings, and continue their traditions, ways of life, and attitudes toward life, and the source of your joy in life is based on these sayings, then you are telling God using a kind of silent language, “I don’t believe in Your orchestrations, nor do I want to accept them,” and you are also telling evil spirits, unclean demons, and Satan using a silent language, “Come on, I believe in your sayings, and I am willing to cooperate with you.” Because in terms of the various attitudes you uphold, and your thoughts, viewpoints, and practices, you do not accept the truth, but rather conform to the thoughts and viewpoints of evil spirits, unclean demons, and Satan, and you are carrying out their thoughts and viewpoints as you comport yourself and act, you are therefore living under their power. Since you are willing to live under their power, making dumplings when you go out and eating noodles when you come home, and having to eat rice cakes and fish during the Chinese New Year, then just go along with them. You don’t need to believe in God, and you don’t need to proclaim that you believe in God. Everywhere you go and in everything you do, you follow the way of life and thoughts and viewpoints that Satan has instilled in you, you view people and things, comport yourself and act, and live and survive according to religious notions, and what you do has nothing to do with what God has taught you, it has nothing to do with the truth. So you are truly a follower of Satan. Since you follow Satan in your heart, why are you still sitting here? Why are you still listening to the sermon? Isn’t this engaging in deception? Isn’t this blasphemy against God? Since you are so obsessed with the traditions, superstitions and religious notions instilled by Satan, are tangled up in them, and still have lingering ties with them, you should not believe in God anymore. You should stay at the Buddhist temple, burn incense, kowtow, draw lots, and chant scripture. You should not remain in God’s house, you are not worthy of listening to God’s words or accepting God’s guidance. Therefore, since you proclaim that you are a follower of God, you should let go of these family traditions, superstitions, and religious notions. Even your basic ways of life: As long as they involve tradition and superstition, you should let go and not hold on to them. What God detests the most is human tradition, festival days, customs, and certain rules for living that come from folk culture and from family, behind which there are certain interpretations. For example, certain people have to place a mirror on the door lintel when building a house, saying it is used to ward off evil spirits. You believe in God, yet you still fear demons? You believe in God, so how are demons still able to harass you so easily? Are you really a true believer in God? During the Chinese New Year, if some child says something unlucky like “if I die” or “if my mom dies,” they quickly follow up by saying, “Pah, pah, pah, a child’s words can’t break taboo, a child’s words can’t break taboo.” They’re scared to death, afraid that their words will come true. What are you afraid of? Even if it does come true, could you not accept this reality? Could you resist it? Shouldn’t you accept it from God? There are no taboos with God, only things that do or do not align with the truth. As a believer in God, you should not adhere to any taboos, but instead handle these matters according to God’s words and the truth principles.
Today’s fellowship involves topics related to how families condition traditions, superstitions, and religion into people. Although we may not know much about these topics, it is enough to tell you through fellowship what kind of attitude you should uphold, and how you should approach them according to God’s words and the principles. At the very least, the practice you should uphold is to let go of that which is related to these topics, and to not hold them in your heart or maintain them as a normal way of life. What you should do most is let go and not be disturbed or bound by them. You should not judge your life and death, fortune and calamity based on them, and of course you certainly should not face or choose your future path based on them. If you see a black cat when you go out, and you say, “Is today going to be unfortunate? Will something unlucky happen?” how’s this viewpoint? (It’s not correct.) What can a cat do to you? Even if there are superstitious sayings about it, these have nothing to do with you, so there’s no need to be afraid. Don’t even be afraid of a black tiger, let alone a black cat. Everything is in God’s hands, and you should not fear Satan or any evil spirits, not to mention a black cat. If you have no taboos in your heart, only pursue the truth, and believe that everything is in God’s hands, even if there are certain sayings about it or it may bring you misfortune, you don’t need to worry. For example, one day you suddenly hear an owl hooting at your bedside. In Chinese folklore, it is said, “Don’t be afraid of the owl’s hoot, be afraid of the owl’s laughter.” This owl is both hooting and laughing, which scares you to death and affects you a little in your heart. But consider for a minute, “What is meant to happen will happen, and what is not meant to happen, God will not allow. I am in God’s hands, and so is everything else. I am not afraid or affected by this. I will live as I should, pursue the truth, practice God’s words, and submit to all of God’s orchestrations. This can never change!” When nothing can disturb you, then that is correct. If one day you have a bad dream, you lose your teeth, your hair falls out, you break a bowl, see yourself dead, and every other bad thing happens simultaneously in one dream, none of these scenes being good omens for you—how will you react? Will you feel depressed? Will you be upset? Will you be affected? In the past, you might have felt upset for a month or two, and finally nothing happened, so you could breathe a sigh of relief. But now, you are only slightly disturbed, and as soon as you think that everything is in God’s hands, your heart quickly calms down. You come before God with a submissive attitude, and this is correct. Even if these bad omens really lead to something bad happening, there is a way to resolve it. How can you resolve it? Aren’t bad things also in God’s hands? Without God’s permission, Satan and the devils cannot harm even one hair on your body. Especially in matters involving life and death, it is not up to it to decide. Without God’s permission, these big and small matters will not take place. So, no matter what bad phenomena you witness in a dream one night, or anything unusual you may feel in your body, don’t worry, don’t feel uneasy, and certainly don’t consider avoiding, rejecting, or resisting. Don’t try to use human methods like voodoo dolls, holding séances, drawing lots, fortune telling, or seeking information online to avoid these risks. There’s no need for any of that. It is possible that your dream indicates that something bad really will happen, such as going bankrupt, your stocks falling, your business being taken over by others, being arrested by the government during a gathering, being reported while spreading the gospel, and so on. So what? Everything is in God’s hands; don’t be afraid. Don’t be concerned, don’t grieve, and don’t fear any bad things that have not yet happened, and of course don’t resist or oppose the occurrence of any bad things. Do what a created being should do, fulfill your responsibilities and obligations as a created being, and take the position and perspective that a created being should have—this is the attitude that everyone should have when facing things; that is, accepting and obeying, submitting to His orchestrations without complaints. In this way, any religious, traditional, or superstitious sayings or consequences will not be a problem for you, and will not cause any disturbance; you will truly come out from under Satan’s power and from the influence of darkness, not being controlled by the influence of darkness or by any thoughts of Satan. Your thoughts, your soul, your whole being will be conquered and gained by God’s words. Isn’t this freedom? (Yes.) This is complete freedom, living in liberation and freedom, and having the likeness of a human. How great is that!
The content involved in today’s fellowship is basically this. As for certain taboos in the habits of daily life, for example, what food not to eat when experiencing certain illnesses, and some people can’t eat spicy food because they tend to have excessive internal heat, these do not involve how one comports themselves or any thoughts and viewpoints, much less do they involve the path one takes. These are not within the scope of our fellowship. The subject matter of our fellowship involving family conditioning has to do with people’s thoughts and viewpoints, their normal way of life and rules for living, as well as their thoughts, viewpoints, positions, and perspectives toward various things. By resolving these incorrect thoughts, viewpoints and attitudes in every respect, the next thing for individuals to enter into is to seek and accept correct thoughts, viewpoints, attitudes, and perspectives toward things. Alright, that’s all for the fellowship on today’s topic. Goodbye!
March 25, 2023
a. Tai Sui is short for Tai Sui God. In Chinese astrology, Tai Sui means the Guardian God of the Year. Tai Sui governs all the fortunes of a particular year.
b. The original text does not contain the phrase “meaning getting rich all the way, the pronunciation of which in Mandarin is similar to the numbers 1, 6, and 8.”