How to Pursue the Truth (17)
At our last gathering we fellowshiped on letting go of the burdens that come from one’s family. This touched on the topic of letting go of the expectations of one’s parents. These expectations exert a kind of invisible pressure on every person, don’t they? (Yes.) They are one of the burdens that come from people’s families. Letting go of the expectations of your parents means letting go of the pressure and burdens that your parents place on your life, existence, and the path that you take. That is, when the expectations of your parents affect the path that you choose in life, the performance of your duty, your journey down the right path, and your freedom, rights, and instincts, their expectations place a kind of pressure and burden on you. These burdens are things that people should let go of in the course of their lives, existences, and belief in God. Isn’t this content that we have fellowshiped on before? (It is.) Naturally, the expectations of one’s parents touch on a great deal of things, for example, one’s studies, work, marriage, family, and even one’s career, prospects, future, and so on. From the perspective of a parent, every expectation that they have for their child is logical, fair, and reasonable. There isn’t a single parent who doesn’t have expectations for their child. They may have more or they may have less, they may have greater expectations or they may have smaller expectations, or they may have some different expectations for their child during particular times. They hope that their child will get good grades, that things will go well for them in their job, that they’ll receive a good income, and that everything will go smoothly and happily for them when it comes to marriage. Parents even have different expectations with respect to their child’s family, career, prospects, and so on. From the perspective of a parent, these expectations are all very legitimate, but from the perspective of their child, these various expectations interfere with them making the right choices to a great extent, and even interfere with their freedom, and the rights or interests that they have as a normal person. At the same time, these expectations also interfere with them putting their caliber to use in a normal way. In sum, no matter what perspective we look at this from, whether it is from the perspective of a parent, or from the perspective of their child, if parental expectations exceed the scope of what a person with normal humanity can bear, if they go past the scope of what the instincts of a person with normal humanity can achieve, or if they surpass the human rights that a person with normal humanity should possess, or the duties and obligations that God gives people, and so on, then these expectations are improper and unreasonable. Of course, it can also be said that parents should not have these expectations, and that these expectations should not exist. Based on this, children should let go of these parental expectations. That is, when parents take on the perspective or position of a parent, it seems to them that they have the right to expect that their child will do this or do that, and that their child will take a certain path, and choose a certain kind of life, learning environment, or job, marriage, family, and so on. However, as normal humans, parents shouldn’t take on the perspective or position of a parent, they shouldn’t use their identity as a parent to require their child to do anything outside of the scope of their filial obligations or beyond the range of human abilities. They should not even interfere with the various choices their child makes, and they should not force their expectations, their preferences, their deficiencies and dissatisfaction, or any of their interests onto their child. These are things that parents should not do. When parents harbor expectations that they shouldn’t, their child ought to approach those expectations properly. More importantly, their child should be able to discern the nature of these expectations. If you can see clearly that the expectations of your parents are depriving you of your human rights, and that these expectations are a kind of interference or disturbance when it comes to you choosing positive things and the right path, then you should let go of these expectations, and ignore them. You should do this because this is your right, it is the right that God has given every created human, and your parents shouldn’t think that they are entitled to interfere with your life path and your human rights, just because they gave birth to you and are your parents. Therefore, every created being has the right to say “no” to any unreasonable, inappropriate, or even improper parental expectation. You absolutely can refuse to shoulder any of your parents’ expectations. Refusing to accept or shoulder any of your parents’ expectations is the way to practice letting go of their improper expectations.
When it comes to letting go of parental expectations, what truths should people understand? That is, do you know what truths letting go of the expectations of one’s parents is based on, or what truth principles it adheres to? If you believe that your parents are the closest people in the world to you, that they are your bosses and your leaders, that they are the people who gave birth to you and raised you, who provided you with food, clothes, a home, and transportation, who brought you up, and that they are your benefactors, will it be easy for you to let go of their expectations? (No.) If you believe these things, you will be very likely to approach your parents’ expectations from a fleshly perspective, and it will be hard for you to let go of any of their inappropriate and unreasonable expectations. You will be bound and suppressed by their expectations. Even if you feel dissatisfied and unwilling in your heart, you will not have the power to break free from these expectations, and you will have no choice but to let them take their natural course. Why will you have to let them take their natural course? Because if you were to let go of your parents’ expectations, and to ignore or reject any of their expectations, you would feel that you were an unfilial child, that you were ungrateful, that you’d let your parents down, and that you weren’t a good person. If you take a fleshly perspective, you’ll do everything you can to utilize your conscience to repay your parents’ kindness, to make sure that the suffering your parents endured for your sake wasn’t endured for nothing, and you will also want to realize their expectations. You will try hard to accomplish everything they ask you to do, to avoid disappointing them, to do right by them, and you will make the decision to care for them when they’re old, to ensure that their last years are happy, and you will even think a little bit further, to handling their funerals, satisfying them at the same time as satisfying your own desire to be a filial child. While living in this world, people are influenced by various kinds of public opinion and social climates, as well as different thoughts and views that are popular in society. If people do not understand the truth, they can only view these things from the perspective of fleshly feelings, and at the same time, they can only handle these things from that perspective. During this period, you will think that your parents do many things that a parent shouldn’t do, to the extent that you will even feel contempt and aversion in the depths of your heart toward some of your parents’ actions and behavior, as well as toward their humanity, character, and their methods and ways of doing things, but you will still want to be a filial child to honor them and satisfy them, and you won’t dare to neglect them in any way. You will do this in one respect to avoid being spurned by society, and in another respect to satisfy the needs of your conscience. These views were all impressed upon you by mankind and society, so it will be very hard for you to handle your parents’ expectations and your relationship with them in a rational way. You will be forced to approach them as a filial child, to not protest against any of your parents’ actions; you will have no other choice, you will only be able to do this, and as such, it will be even harder for you to let go of your parents’ expectations. If you truly let go of them within your heart, then you will still need to bear another burden or pressure, which is the condemnation of society, your extended family, and your close family. You will even need to bear the condemnation, denunciation, curses, and scorn that come from the depths of your heart, which say that you are nothing, that you are not a filial child, that you are ungrateful, or even things such as, “You are an uncaring ingrate, you are a disobedient thing, your mother didn’t raise you properly” that people in secular society say—in other words, all kinds of unpleasant things. If you don’t understand the truth, you will fall into this kind of predicament. That is, when you let go of your parents’ expectations in the depths of your heart in a rational way, or when you reluctantly let go of them, another kind of burden or pressure will arise deep within your heart; this pressure comes from society and from the effect of your conscience. So, how can you let go of your parents’ expectations? There is a path for solving this problem. It is not difficult—people need to put effort into the truth, and come before God to seek and understand the truth, then the problem will be resolved. So, what aspect of the truth do you need to understand in order to not fear being burdened with the condemnation of public opinion, or the condemnation of your conscience in the depths of your heart, or the denunciation and verbal abuse of your parents when you are letting go of your parents’ expectations? (That we are just created beings before God. In this world, we should not just fulfill our responsibilities toward our parents, more importantly, we must do our duties well and fulfill our obligations. If we can see through to this, perhaps we will not be too influenced by our parents or the condemnation of public opinion when we let go of our parents’ expectations in the future.) Who else will speak about this? (Last time, God fellowshiped about how, when we leave our homes to perform our duties, in one respect it is due to objective circumstances—we must leave our parents in order to do our duties, so we cannot take care of them—it is not that we are choosing to leave them because we are avoiding our responsibilities. In another respect, we leave our homes because God has called us to perform our duties, so we cannot accompany our parents, but we still worry about them—this is different from us not wanting to fulfill our responsibilities to them and not being filial.) These two reasons are truths and facts that people should understand. If people understand these things, when they let go of their parents’ expectations, they will feel a little bit calmer and more at peace in the depths of their hearts, but can this resolve this problem from the root? If it weren’t for the influence of greater external circumstances, would your fate be linked to that of your parents? If you didn’t believe in God, and you worked and passed your days in a normal manner, would you definitely be able to accompany your parents? Would you definitely be able to be a filial child? Would you definitely be able to stay by their sides and repay their kindness? (Not necessarily.) Is there any person who acts only in order to repay their parents’ kindness throughout their whole life? (No.) There are no people who are like that. Therefore, you should come to know this matter and see through to its essence from a different perspective. This is the deeper truth that you ought to understand within this matter. It is also a fact, and more than that, it is the essence of these things. What are the truths that you should understand within letting go of the expectations of your parents? In one respect, you should understand that your parents are not your creditors; in another respect, you should understand that your parents are not the masters of your life or fate. Is this not the truth? (It is.) If you understand these two truths, will it not be easier for you to let go of your parents’ expectations? (It will.)
First, we will talk about this aspect of the truth: “Your parents are not your creditors.” Your parents are not your creditors—what does this refer to? Does it not refer to the kindness that your parents showed you by raising you? (Yes.) Your parents showed you kindness by raising you, so it’s very hard for you to let go of your relationship with them. You think that you have to repay their kindness, otherwise, you’d be an unfilial child; you believe that you must show them filial piety, that you must obey their every word, that you must satisfy their every wish and demand, and furthermore not let them down—this, you believe, is repaying their kindness. Of course, some people have good jobs and earn good wages, and they give their parents some material pleasures and a great material life, allowing their parents to bask in their light, and enabling them to live better lives. For example, say that you buy your parents a house and a car, you take them to luxury restaurants to eat delicacies of every kind, and you bring them on trips to tourist destinations and book luxurious hotels for them, in order to make them happy and to let them enjoy these things. You do all of these things to repay your parents’ kindness, to make your parents feel that they got something in return for raising you and loving you, and that you haven’t let them down. In one respect, you do this for your parents to see, in another respect, you do this for the people around you to see, for society to see, and at the same time you are doing your utmost to satisfy the needs of your conscience. No matter which way you look at it, no matter what it is you are trying to satisfy, in any case, all of these actions are done, to a great extent, to repay your parents’ kindness, and the essence of these actions is to repay the kindness that your parents showed you by raising you. So, why is it that you have this idea about repaying your parents’ kindness? It is because you believe that your parents gave birth to you, and that it wasn’t easy for them to raise you; in this way your parents imperceptibly become your creditors. You think that you owe your parents, and that you must repay your parents. You believe that only by repaying them will you have humanity, and be a truly filial child, and that repaying them is the moral standard that a person should possess. So, these ideas, views, and actions, arise, in essence, because you believe that you owe your parents, and that you must repay them; to a great extent, your parents are your creditors, that is, you believe that you owe them a debt for the kindness that they have shown you. Now that you have the ability to pay them back and recompense them, you do so—according to your abilities, you use money and affection to recompense them. So, is doing this a display of true humanity? Is it a true principle of practice? (It isn’t.) Why do I say that your parents aren’t your creditors? Since “Your parents are not your creditors” is the truth, if you regard your parents as your benefactors and creditors, and if everything you do is to recompense them for their kindness, is this idea and view right? (No.) Was that “no” not spoken very reluctantly? Which of these statements is the truth: “Your parents are not your creditors” or “Your parents are your benefactors, and you must recompense them”? (“Your parents are not your creditors” is the truth.) Since “Your parents are not your creditors” is the truth, then is the statement “Your parents are your benefactors, and you must recompense them” the truth? (No.) Does it not conflict with the statement: “Your parents are not your creditors”? (It does.) It’s not important which of these statements makes your conscience feel condemned—what is important? What’s important is which of these statements is the truth. You must accept the statement that is the truth, even if it makes your conscience feel uncomfortable and accused, because it is the truth. Although the statement “Your parents are your benefactors, and you must recompense them” accords with man’s moral standards of humanity, and with the awareness of man’s conscience, it is not the truth. Even though this statement makes your conscience feel satisfied and comfortable, you must let go of it. This is the attitude that you must possess when it comes to accepting the truth. So, between “Your parents are not your creditors” and “Your parents are your benefactors, and you must recompense them,” which statement sounds more comfortable, more in line with humanity and the sense of your conscience, and more in line with the moral standards of humanity? (The second statement.) Why the second statement? Because it caters to and satisfies man’s emotional needs. However, it is not the truth, and it is loathed by God. So, does the statement “Your parents are not your creditors” make people feel uncomfortable? (Yes.) What do people feel and sense after hearing this statement? (That it is a bit lacking in conscience.) They feel that it lacks a bit of human feeling, don’t they? (Yes.) Some people say, “If a person doesn’t have human feelings, are they still human?”—if people don’t have human feelings, are they human? The statement “Your parents are not your creditors” sounds like it lacks human feeling, but it is a fact. If you approach your relationship with your parents in a rational manner, you will discover that the statement “Your parents are not your creditors” has clearly explained the relationship that every person has with their parents from the very root, and the essence and root of interpersonal relationships. Even though it makes your conscience uncomfortable, and it doesn’t satisfy your emotional needs, it is still a fact, and it is still a truth. This truth can enable you to approach the kindness that your parents showed you by raising you in a rational way, and in the correct way. It can also enable you to approach any of your parents’ expectations in a rational and correct way. Naturally, it is even more capable of enabling you to approach your relationship with your parents in a rational and correct way. If you can approach your relationship with your parents like that, then you can handle it in a rational way. Some people say: “These truths are very well put, and they sound very impassioned, but why is it that when people hear them, they feel a little impossible to achieve? Especially ‘Your parents are not your creditors’—why is it that after hearing this truth people feel that their relationship with their parents is increasingly distant and estranged? Why do they feel that there is no affection between them and their parents?” Is the truth deliberately trying to distance people from one another? Is the truth intentionally trying to cut ties between people and their parents? (No.) So, what results can be achieved by understanding this truth? (Understanding this truth can enable us to see our relationship with our parents for what it really is—this truth tells us the true nature of this matter.) That’s correct, it enables you to see the true nature of this matter, to approach and handle these things rationally, and to not live within your affections or within fleshly interpersonal relationships, right?
Let’s talk about how “Your parents are not your creditors” should be interpreted. Your parents are not your creditors—isn’t this a fact? (It is.) Since it is a fact, it’s proper for us to explain the matters contained within it. Let’s look at the matter of your parents giving birth to you. Who was it that chose for them to give birth to you: you or your parents? Who chose whom? If you look at this from God’s perspective, the answer is: neither of you. Neither you nor your parents chose for them to give birth to you. If you look at the root of this matter, this was ordained by God. We’ll put this topic to one side for now, as this matter is easy for people to understand. From your perspective, you were passively born to your parents, without having any choice in the matter. From the perspective of your parents, they gave birth to you through their own independent will, right? In other words, putting aside God’s ordination, when it comes to the matter of giving birth to you, it was your parents who had all the power. They chose to give birth to you, and they called all the shots. You did not choose for them to give birth to you, you were passively born to them, and you didn’t have any choice in the matter. So, since your parents had all the power, and they chose to give birth to you, they have an obligation and a responsibility to bring you up, to raise you into an adult, to supply you with an education, with food, clothes, and money—this is their responsibility and obligation, and it is what they ought to do. Whereas you were always passive during the period that they were raising you, you didn’t have the right to choose—you had to be raised by them. Because you were young, you didn’t have the capacity to raise yourself, you had no choice but to be passively brought up by your parents. You were raised in the way that your parents chose, if they gave you nice food and drinks, then you ate and drank nice food and drinks. If your parents provided you with a living environment where you survived off chaff and wild plants, then you survived off chaff and wild plants. In any case, when you were being raised, you were passive, and your parents were fulfilling their responsibility. It’s the same as your parents caring for a flower. Since they want to care for a flower, they should fertilize it, water it, and make sure that it gets sunlight. So, regarding people, no matter whether your parents looked after you meticulously or took great care of you, in any case, they were just fulfilling their responsibility and obligation. Regardless of the reason why they raised you, it was their responsibility—because they gave birth to you, they should take responsibility for you. Based on this, can everything that your parents did for you be considered kindness? It can’t, right? (That’s right.) Your parents fulfilling their responsibility to you doesn’t count as kindness, so if they fulfill their responsibility toward a flower or a plant, watering it and fertilizing it, does that count as kindness? (No.) That is even further from being kindness. Flowers and plants grow better outside—if they’re planted in the ground, with wind, sun, and rainwater, they thrive. They don’t grow as well when they’re planted in a pot indoors as they do outside, but wherever they are, they’re living, right? No matter where they are, it has been ordained by God. You are a living person, and God takes responsibility for every life, enabling it to survive, and to follow the law that all created beings abide by. But as a person, you live in the environment that your parents raise you in, so you should grow up and exist in that environment. You living in that environment is on a larger scale due to God’s ordination; on a smaller scale, it is due to your parents raising you, right? In any case, by raising you your parents are fulfilling a responsibility and an obligation. Raising you into an adult is their obligation and responsibility, and this cannot be called kindness. If it cannot be called kindness, then is it not something that you ought to enjoy? (It is.) This is a kind of right that you should enjoy. You should be raised by your parents, because before you reach adulthood, the role that you play is that of a child being brought up. Therefore, your parents are just fulfilling a kind of responsibility toward you, and you are just receiving it, but you are certainly not receiving grace or kindness from them. For any living creature, bearing and looking after children, reproducing, and raising the next generation is a kind of responsibility. For example, birds, cows, sheep, and even tigers have to take care of their offspring after they reproduce. There are no living creatures that do not raise their offspring. It’s possible that there are some exceptions, but there are not many of them. It’s a natural phenomenon in the existence of living creatures, it’s an instinct for living creatures, and it cannot be attributed to kindness. They are just abiding by a law that the Creator set out for animals and for mankind. Therefore, your parents raising you isn’t a kind of kindness. Based on this, it can be said that your parents are not your creditors. They are fulfilling their responsibility to you. No matter how much effort and money they spend on you, they should not ask you to recompense them, because this is their responsibility as parents. Since it is a responsibility and an obligation, it should be free, and they should not ask for compensation. By raising you, your parents were just fulfilling their responsibility and obligation, and this should be unpaid, and it should not be a transaction. So, you do not need to approach your parents or handle your relationship with them according to the idea of recompensing them. If you do treat your parents, pay them back, and handle your relationship with them according to this idea, that is inhumane. At the same time, it is likely to make you restrained and bound by your fleshly feelings, and it will be hard for you to emerge from these entanglements, to the extent that you might even lose your way. Your parents are not your creditors, so you have no obligation to realize all of their expectations. You have no obligation to foot the bill for their expectations. That is to say, they can have their own expectations. You have your own choices, and the life path and destiny that God has set out for you, which have nothing to do with your parents. So, when one of your parents says: “You’re an unfilial child. You haven’t come back to see me for so many years, and it’s been so many days since you last called me. I’m sick and there’s no one to care for me. I really raised you for nothing. You truly are an uncaring ingrate, and a thankless child!” if you don’t understand the truth “Your parents are not your creditors,” hearing these words will be as painful as a knife piercing your heart, and your conscience will feel condemned. Every one of these words will embed itself in your heart, and make you feel ashamed to face your parent, indebted to your parent, and full of guilt toward them. When your parent says that you are an uncaring ingrate, you will really feel: “They’re absolutely right. They raised me to this age, and they haven’t been able to bask in any of my light. Now they’re sick, and they hoped that I could stay by their bedside, serving them and accompanying them. They needed me to repay their kindness, and I wasn’t there. I really am an uncaring ingrate!” You will classify yourself as an uncaring ingrate—is that reasonable? Are you an uncaring ingrate? If you hadn’t left your home to perform your duty elsewhere, and you had stayed by your parent’s side, could you have prevented them from getting sick? (No.) Can you control whether your parents live or die? Can you control whether they are rich or poor? (No.) Whatever illness your parents get, it won’t be because they were so exhausted from raising you, or because they missed you; they especially won’t contract any of those major, serious, and possibly fatal illnesses because of you. That is their fate, and it has nothing to do with you. No matter how filial you are, the most you can achieve is to reduce their fleshly suffering and burdens a little, but as for when they get sick, what illness they contract, when they die, and where they die—do these things have anything to do with you? No, they don’t. If you’re filial, if you’re not an uncaring ingrate, and you spend all day with them, watching over them, will they not get sick? Will they not die? If they’re going to get sick, won’t they get sick anyway? If they’re going to die, won’t they die anyway? Isn’t that right? If your parents had said that you were an uncaring ingrate, that you had no conscience, and that you were a thankless child, would you have felt upset? (Yes.) What about now? (I wouldn’t feel upset now.) So, how was this problem resolved? (Because God fellowshiped that whether our parents get sick or not and whether they live or die has nothing to do with us, it’s all ordained by God. If we stay by their sides, we couldn’t do anything, so, if they say that we are uncaring ingrates, this has nothing to do with us.) Regardless of whether your parents call you an uncaring ingrate, at least you are fulfilling the duty of a created being before the Creator. As long as you are not an uncaring ingrate in God’s eyes, that’s enough. It doesn’t matter what people say. What your parents say about you isn’t necessarily true, and what they say isn’t useful. You need to take God’s words as your basis. If God says that you are an adequate created being, then it doesn’t matter if people call you an uncaring ingrate, they cannot accomplish anything. It is just that people will be impacted by these insults due to the effect of their consciences, or when they do not understand the truth and their stature is small, and they’ll be in a bit of a bad mood, and feel a little depressed, but when they return before God, all of this will be resolved, and won’t pose a problem for them anymore. Has the matter of repaying the kindness of one’s parents not been resolved? Do you understand this matter? (Yes.) What is the fact that people need to understand here? Raising you is your parents’ responsibility. They chose to give birth to you, so they have a responsibility and an obligation to bring you up. By raising you into an adult, they are fulfilling their responsibility and their obligation. You do not owe them anything, so you do not need to recompense them. You don’t need to recompense them—this clearly shows that your parents are not your creditors, and that you do not need to do anything for them in return for their kindness. If your circumstances allow you to fulfill a bit of your responsibility to them, then do so. If your environment and your objective circumstances do not permit you to fulfill your obligation toward them, then you don’t need to give it too much thought, and you shouldn’t think that you are indebted to them, because your parents are not your creditors. No matter if you show filial piety to your parents, or fulfill your responsibility to them, you are just assuming the perspective of a child and fulfilling a bit of your responsibility to the people who once birthed and raised you. But you certainly cannot do this from the perspective of recompensing them, or from the perspective of “Your parents are your benefactors, and you must recompense them, you must repay their kindness.”
There is a saying in the world of unbelievers: “Crows repay their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneel to receive milk from their mothers.” There’s also this saying: “An unfilial person is lower than a beast.” How grandiose these sayings sound! Actually, the phenomena that the first saying mentions, crows repaying their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneeling to receive milk from their mothers, really do exist, these are facts. However, they are simply phenomena within the animal world. They are merely a kind of law that God has established for various living creatures, and by which all kinds of living creatures, including humans, abide. The fact that all kinds of living creatures abide by this law further demonstrates that all living creatures are created by God. No living creature can break this law, and no living creature can transcend it. Even relatively ferocious carnivores like lions and tigers nurture their offspring and do not bite them before they reach adulthood. This is an animal instinct. No matter which species they are, whether they are ferocious or kind and gentle, all animals possess this instinct. All kinds of creatures, including humans, can only continue to multiply and survive by abiding by this instinct and this law. If they didn’t abide by this law, or didn’t have this law and this instinct, they wouldn’t be able to multiply and survive. The biological chain wouldn’t exist, and neither would this world. Isn’t that true? (Yes.) Crows repaying their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneeling to receive milk from their mothers demonstrates precisely that the animal world abides by this kind of law. All kinds of living creatures have this instinct. Once offspring are born, they are cared for and nurtured by the females or males of the species until they become adults. All kinds of living creatures are able to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations to their offspring, conscientiously and dutifully raising the next generation. This should be even more the case for humans. Humans are called higher animals by mankind—if they cannot abide by this law, and lack this instinct, then humans are lower than animals, aren’t they? Therefore, no matter how much your parents nurtured you while they were raising you, and how much they fulfilled their responsibility to you, they were only doing what they ought to within the scope of the abilities of a created human—it was their instinct. Just look at birds, for more than a month before mating season, they are constantly looking for a safe place to make their nests. Male and female birds go out in shifts, carrying different kinds of plants, feathers, and twigs to start building their nests in relatively dense trees. The little nests built by various kinds of birds are all incredibly sturdy and intricate. For the sake of their offspring, birds expend all this effort making nests and building shelters. After they have built their nests and it comes time for incubation, there’s always a bird in each nest; the male and female birds are on alternating shifts for 24 hours a day, and they are incredibly attentive—when one of them returns, the other flies away soon after. Not long after this, some chicks hatch and poke their heads out of their shells, and you can hear them start to chirp in their trees. The adult birds fly back and forth, now returning to feed their chicks some worms, now returning again to feed them something else, showing incredible attentiveness. After a couple of months, some of the baby birds have grown a little, and can stand on the brim of their nests and flap their wings; their parents fly back and forth, taking shifts feeding and guarding their chicks. One year, I saw a crow in the sky, holding a chick in its mouth. That chick cried out very miserably, more or less calling out for help. The crow was in front, flying with the chick in its mouth, and there was a pair of adult birds chasing behind it. Those two birds were also crying out miserably, and in the end the crow flew far away. The chick probably would have died anyway, regardless of whether its parents had been able to catch up with the crow. Those two adult birds that followed behind it cried and shrieked so much that it alarmed the people on the ground—how miserable do you think their cries must have been? In fact, they surely didn’t have just one baby. They must have had three or four baby birds in their nest, but when one was carried away, they chased behind it, crying and shrieking. That is how the animal and biological world is—living creatures are able to nurture their offspring tirelessly. Birds fly back and build new nests every year, they do the same things every year; they incubate their chicks, feed them, and teach them how to fly. While the chicks are practicing flying, they do not fly very high, and sometimes they fall to the ground. We’ve even saved them a few times, and hurried to put them back into their nests. Their parents teach them every day, and someday or another all of those chicks will leave their nests and fly away, leaving behind empty nests. The next year, new pairs of birds come to build nests, incubate their eggs, and raise their chicks. All kinds of living creatures and animals possess these instincts and laws, and they abide by them very well, carrying them out to perfection. This is something that no person can destroy. There are also some special animals, like tigers and lions. When these animals reach adulthood, they leave their parents, and some males even become rivals, biting, contending, and fighting as necessary. This is normal, it is a law. They are not very affectionate, and they do not live amid their feelings like people do, saying: “I have to repay their kindness, I have to recompense them—I have to obey my parents. If I don’t show filial piety to them, other people will condemn me, berate me, and criticize me behind my back. I couldn’t bear that!” Such things are not said in the animal world. Why do people say such things? Because in society and within groups of people, there are various incorrect ideas and consensuses. After people have been influenced, corroded, and rotted by these things, different ways of interpreting and dealing with the parent-child relationship arise within them, and they ultimately treat their parents as their creditors—creditors that they will never be able to repay their whole lives. There are even some people who feel guilty for their whole lives after their parents die, and think themselves unworthy of their parents’ kindness, because of one thing they did that didn’t make their parents happy or didn’t go the way their parents wanted it to. Tell Me, is this not excessive? People live amid their feelings, so they can only be encroached upon and disturbed by various ideas stemming from these feelings. People live in an environment that is colored by the ideology of corrupt mankind, so they are encroached upon and disturbed by various erroneous ideas, which makes their lives exhausting and less simple than those of other living creatures. However, right now, because God is working, and because He is expressing the truth to tell people the true nature of all these facts, and to enable them to understand the truth, after you come to understand the truth, these erroneous ideas and views will no longer burden you, and they will no longer serve as a guide for how you handle your relationship with your parents. At this point, your life will become more relaxed. Living a relaxed life does not mean that you will not know what your responsibilities and obligations are—you will still know these things. It just depends which perspective and methods you choose to approach your responsibilities and obligations with. One path is to take the route of feelings, and to deal with these things based on emotional means, and the methods, ideas, and views that Satan guides man toward. The other path is to deal with these things based on the words that God has taught man. When people handle these matters according to Satan’s erroneous ideas and views, they can only live within the entanglements of their feelings, and they are never able to distinguish right from wrong. Under these circumstances, they have no choice but to live in a snare, always tangled up with matters such as, “You’re right, I’m wrong. You’ve given me more; I’ve given you less. You’re ungrateful. You’ve done too much for me.” Consequently, there is never a time when they speak clearly. However, after people understand the truth, and when they escape from the web of erroneous ideas, views, and feelings, these matters become simple to them. If you abide by a truth principle, idea, or view that is correct and comes from God, your life will become very relaxed. Neither public opinion, nor the awareness of your conscience, nor the burden of your feelings will impede how you handle your relationship with your parents anymore; by contrast, these things will enable you to face this relationship in a correct and rational way. If you act according to the truth principles that God has given man, even if people criticize you behind your back, you will still feel peace and calm in the depths of your heart, and it will have no effect on you. At the very least, you will not berate yourself for being an uncaring ingrate or feel the accusation of your conscience anymore in the depths of your heart. This is because you will know that all of your actions are carried out in accordance with the methods that God has taught you, and that you are listening to and obeying God’s words, and following His way. Listening to God’s words and following His way is the sense of conscience that people ought to possess most of all. You will only be a true person when you can do these things. If you have not accomplished these things, then you are an uncaring ingrate. Isn’t that the case? (It is.) Do you see this matter clearly now? Seeing it clearly is one aspect of this; if people can gradually see through this matter and put the truth into practice, that’s another. In order to see this matter clearly, people must experience things for a period of time. If people wish to see this fact and essence clearly, and to reach the point where they handle matters with principles, this cannot be accomplished in a short time, because people must first cast off the influence of all kinds of erroneous and evil ideas and views. Another, more important aspect of this is that they must be able to resolve the constraints and influence of their own conscience and feelings; in particular, they must pass the hurdle of their own feelings. Say that you acknowledge in theory that God’s word is the truth and that it is correct, and you know, in theory, that the erroneous ideas and views that Satan instills in people are wrong, but you just cannot get over the hurdle of your feelings, and you always feel bad for your parents, thinking that they have shown you too much kindness, that they have expended, and done, and suffered too much for you, that the shadows of everything your parents have done for you, everything that they have said, and even every price they have paid for you are still vivid in your mind. Each of these hurdles will be very important junctures for you, and it will not be easy for you to get past them. In fact, the hardest hurdle for you to pass will be yourself. If you can get past hurdle after hurdle, then you will be able to thoroughly let go of the feelings you have toward your parents from your very heart. I am not fellowshiping on this to make you betray your parents, and I am certainly not doing it to make you draw boundaries between you and your parents—we’re not starting a movement, there is no need to draw any boundaries. I am fellowshiping on this just to impart a correct understanding of these matters to you, and to help you to accept a correct idea and view. In addition, I am fellowshiping on this so that when these things befall you, you will not be troubled by them, or bound by them hand and foot, and more importantly, when you encounter these things, they will not impact your fulfillment of the duty of a created being. In this way, My fellowship will achieve its goal. Of course, can people, who live in the flesh, reach the point where they harbor none of these things in their minds, and where there are no emotional entanglements between them and their parents? That would be impossible. In this world, apart from their parents, people also have their children—these are the two closest fleshly relationships among people. It is impossible to completely sever the bond between a parent and a child. I am not trying to make you go through a formality of declaring that you will cut ties with your parents, and that you will never associate with them again. I am trying to help you handle your relationship with them in the correct way. These things are difficult, aren’t they? As your understanding of the truth deepens, and as you grow in age, the difficulty of these things will gradually reduce and decline. When people are in their 20s, they feel a different level of attachment toward their parents compared to when they are 30 or 40 years old. This attachment becomes even more subdued after they turn 50 years old, and there’s no need to speak about when people reach 60 or 70 years old. By that time the attachment is even lighter—it changes as people grow older.
The truth “Your parents are not your creditors” is the correct principle of practice that people should understand when it comes to how they approach their parents. What is the other principle of practice? (Your parents are not the masters of your life or your fate.) Isn’t “Your parents are not the masters of your life or your fate” easier to understand and to let go of compared to “Your parents are not your creditors”? Outwardly, it appears that your parents gave birth to your fleshly life, and that it was your parents who gave you life. But, if we look at this from God’s perspective, and from the root of this matter, your fleshly life was not given to you by your parents, because people cannot create life. In simple terms, no person can create man’s breath. The reason why the flesh of each person is able to become a person is because they have that breath. Man’s life lies in this breath, and it is the sign of a living person. People have this breath and life, and the source and origin of these things are not their parents. It is just that people were produced by means of their parents giving birth to them—at the root, it is God who gives people these things. Therefore, your parents are not the masters of your life, the Master of your life is God. God created mankind, He created the lives of mankind, and He gave mankind the breath of life, which is the origin of man’s life. Therefore, isn’t the line “Your parents are not the masters of your life” easy to understand? Your breath was not given to you by your parents, and much less is its continuation given to you by your parents. God looks after and rules over every day of your life. Your parents cannot decide how every day of your life goes, whether each day is happy and goes smoothly, who you meet every day, or what environment you live in each day. It is merely that God looks after you through your parents—your parents are simply the people that God sent to look after you. When you were born, it was not your parents who gave you life, so was it your parents who gave you the life that allowed you to live until now? It still wasn’t. The origin of your life is still God, and not your parents. Say that your parents gave birth to you, but when you were one or five years old, God decided to take away your life. Could your parents do anything about that? What would your parents do? How would they save your life? They would send you to the hospital and entrust you to the doctors, who would try to treat your illness and save your life. This is your parents’ responsibility. However, if God said that this life and this person should not live, and that you should be reincarnated to another family, then your parents would have no power or means to save your life. They could only watch as your small life departed from this world. When a life is lost, they are powerless—all they can do is fulfill their responsibility as parents, and entrust you to the doctors, who would try to treat your illness and save your life, but it is not for your parents to decide whether or not your life goes on. If God says that you can go on living, then your life exists. If God says that your life should not exist, then you will lose your life. Is there anything your parents can do about that? They can only resign themselves to your fate. To put it plainly, they are just ordinary created beings. It is just that, from your perspective, they have a special identity—they gave birth to you and raised you, they are your bosses, and your parents. But from God’s perspective, they are just ordinary humans, they are just members of corrupt mankind, and there’s nothing special about them. They are not even masters of their own lives, so how could they be masters of yours? Although they gave birth to you, they do not know where your life came from, and they couldn’t decide in what time, in what hour, and in what place your life would arrive, or how your life would be. They do not know any of these things. For them, they are just passively waiting, waiting for God’s sovereignty and for His arrangements. Regardless of whether they are happy about it or not, whether they believe it or not, nevertheless, all of this is orchestrated and occurs within God’s hands. Your parents are not the masters of your life—isn’t this matter easy to understand? (It is.) Your parents gave birth to your flesh, but they did not give birth to the life of your flesh. This is a fact. Can your parents even control matters such as how tall you grow, what your physical constitution is like, what color or how dense your hair is, what your hobbies are, and so on? (No.) Your parents cannot decide whether your skin is good or bad, or what your facial features are like. Some parents are fat, and they give birth to children who are thin and short, with small noses and eyes. When people see them, they think: “Who do these children look like? They certainly don’t look like their parents.” Parents can’t even decide who their children look like, can they? Some parents have very robust bodies, and they give birth to very thin and weak children; some parents have very thin and weak bodies, and they produce incredibly robust children that are as strong as oxen. Some parents are as timid as mice, and they give birth to children who are extremely daring. Some parents are careful and cautious, and they birth children who are very ambitious, and in the end, some of them become emperors, some of them become presidents, and others become ringleaders of groups of bandits and rogues. Some parents are farmers, but the children they produce become high officials. There are also some parents who are deceitful, but they give birth to children who are well-behaved and guileless. Some parents are nonbelievers, or they may even worship idols and devils, and they birth children who want to believe in God, who cannot go on living without their faith in God. Some parents tell their children, “I’m going to send you to university,” and their children say, “No, I’m a created being, I must perform my duty!” The parents then tell their children: “You’re young, you don’t need to perform a duty. We perform a bit of our duties because we’re old, and we don’t have any prospects; we’ll earn some blessings for our family in the future, so you don’t have to. You have to study hard, and after you graduate from university, you have to go and become a high official, so that I can bask in the light with you.” Their children reply: “No. I’m a created being, performing my duty is the most crucial thing.” Of course, there are some parents who believe in God and renounce their families and give up their careers, but their children refuse to ever believe in God. Their children are unbelievers, and no matter how you look at these children and their parents, they do not resemble a family. Though they resemble a family in appearance, life habits, and even some aspects of their characters, in their hobbies, interests, pursuits, and the paths that they walk, they are completely different. They are simply two different kinds of people who walk two different paths. So, there are differences between people’s lives, and these are not determined by their parents. Parents can’t decide what kind of lives their children have, or what kind of environments their children are born into. Your parents are neither the masters of your life, nor the masters of your fate. Life is not given to people by their parents—is a person’s fate a greater matter or a smaller matter than their life? For people, these are both great matters. Why is that? Because these are not things that people can grasp, accomplish, or control using their instincts, abilities, or caliber. People’s fates and life trajectories are decided by and ruled over by God. No person can make any choices with regard to these two matters. It is neither you nor your parents who choose what family you are born to, or what parents you will have in this life. Your parents were also passive in birthing you. So, your parents cannot decide what the trajectory of your fate will be, they cannot decide whether you will be very wealthy and rich in your life, poor and lowly, or just an average person; they cannot decide where you will go in this life, what place you will live in, or what your marriage will be like, what your children will be like, or what kind of material environment you will live in, and so on. There are some people whose families thrived, had clothing and food, and more money than they could spend before giving birth to a child, but after it grew up, the child squandered their family’s fortune, and no matter how much money those parents earned, they couldn’t offset all the money that their spendthrift child was wasting. There are also some people who were poor, but a few years after they gave birth to a child, their family businesses started to thrive, their lives improved, things went increasingly smoothly, and their surroundings also got better and better. You see, these are all things that these parents didn’t expect, aren’t they? Parents can’t decide the fates of their children, and, naturally, they also have nothing to do with the fates of their children. The kind of path that you walk, where you go and what people you encounter in this life, how many disasters you face, how many great things and how much wealth come your way—all of these things have no relation to your parents, or to their expectations. Every parent wishes for their child to rise up in the world, but does this wish always come true? Not necessarily. Some children do rise up in the world, like their parents wanted them to, and they become high officials, get rich, and live well, but their parents fall ill and die within a couple of years without getting to enjoy any of this good fortune, or to bask in any of this light. Does a person’s fate have anything to do with their parents? No. It is not as if you can accomplish whatever your parents expect you to. A person’s fate has nothing to do with their parents, and a person’s parents cannot decide their fate. Even though your parents gave birth to you, and even if they did many things to lay the foundation for your prospects, your ideals, and your future fate, they cannot decide what your fate or your future life path will be like—these things have nothing to do with them. Therefore, your parents are not the masters of your fate, and they cannot change anything about you. If you are fated to be wealthy, then no matter how poor or incapable your parents are, you will gain the wealth that you are supposed to. If you are destined to be a poor person, an ordinary person, or a lowly person, then no matter how capable your parents are, they will not be able to assist you. If you are chosen by God, and you are one of God’s chosen people, that is, if you have been predestined by God, then no matter how powerful or capable your parents are, they won’t be able to obstruct your belief in God, even if they wish to. As you are destined to be a member of God’s house and one of God’s chosen people, you cannot escape from this. A person’s fate is only related to God’s sovereignty and God’s ordination; it has nothing to do with the wishes and expectations of their parents. Naturally, it also has nothing to do with that individual’s interests, hobbies, character, aspirations, caliber, or abilities. Therefore, based on the truth “Your parents are not the masters of your life or your fate,” how should you approach your parents’ expectations? Should you wholly accept them, ignore them, or approach them rationally? When it comes to the matter of your life or your fate, your parents are just normal people, they can expect whatever they want, and they can say whatever they want. Let them say what they want, you just do your own things. There is no need to argue with them, because however things truly are, that is how things will be. This does not arise out of debate, and it does not shift based on man’s will. You can’t decide your own fate, much less your parents! Isn’t that the case? (It is.) Even though your parents are your elders, they still have no relation or connection to your fate. Your parents should not try to dictate your fate just because they are so many years older than you, and because they are a generation older than you. This is irrational, and it is loathsome. Therefore, whenever your parents have something to say about the path you walk in life, or their expectations of you, you should approach it calmly and rationally, because they are not the masters of your fate. Say to them: “My fate is in God’s hands—no person can change it.” No person can control their own fate or that of another person, and your parents are also not qualified to do this. Your ancestors are not qualified to do this, let alone your parents. Who alone is qualified? (Only God.) Only God is qualified to rule over people’s fates.
Some people admit in theory that: “My parents cannot interfere with my fate. Though they gave birth to me, my life wasn’t given to me by my parents, it was given to me by God. Everything I have was given to me by God. God just raised me into an adult through them, and enabled me to live until now. In actuality, it was God who raised me.” They speak these words quite well and quite clearly, but under some special circumstances, people cannot overcome their affections, or acknowledge the statement: “Your parents are not the masters of your life or your fate.” Under certain special circumstances, people will be dominated by their feelings and fall into certain temptations, or become weak. Because they have suffered the persecution and condemnation of the government and religious world and been arrested and sent to jail, some believers in God resolve to never turn Judas, and to never betray any of their brothers and sisters, or any information about the church, no matter what kind of torture they suffer—they would rather die than turn Judas. As such, they are tortured and tormented to the point that they no longer resemble people, their eyes are so swollen that they become slits and cannot see clearly, their ears are deafened, their teeth are knocked out, the corners of their mouths break and bleed, their legs do not work well, their whole bodies are swollen and covered in bruises. But, no matter how they are tormented, they do not resort to betrayal—they are determined to not turn Judas, and to stand firm in their testimony for God. Up until now, they appear to be quite strong, and to possess testimony, don’t they? They went through torture and intimidation without turning Judas, and they were tormented like this for many days and nights. When a devil sees a man like this, it thinks: “This guy’s really tough, he’s been poisoned quite deeply. He really has been Godized. He’s so young, and he’s been tormented into a state like this without giving up so much as a word. What am I going to do about this? It appears that this guy is an important figure, he must know a lot about the church. If I can pry some information from his lips, we can arrest a lot of people, and make a lot of money!” Then the devil starts putting some thought into this: “How can I pry his mouth open, and make him give up some intel and inform on some people? Strong people all have their weak points—just like people who practice kung fu. No matter how good someone is at kung fu, they ultimately still have an Achilles’ heel. Every person has a weak spot, so let’s specifically attack his. What is his weak spot? I heard that he’s an only child, and that his parents have spoiled him since he was a child. I heard that they really care for him and love him dearly, and that he is quite filial toward them. If I fetch his parents, and get them to do some psychological work on him, maybe their words will be of some use.” Then the devil fetches his parents. Guess what happens as soon as he sees his parents? Before he saw them, he thought: “Oh God, I am determined to stand firm in my testimony. I absolutely will not turn Judas!” But as soon as he sees his parents, his heart comes close to breaking. The first thing he feels is, “I have let my parents down, it must be very painful for them to see me like this,” and then he breaks down. He still insists in his heart that: “I will not turn Judas, I must stand firm in my witness for God. I have not taken the wrong path, I am following the right path in life. I must humiliate Satan and bear witness for God!” In his heart he is firm, and insists on this repeatedly, but he cannot bear it emotionally, and in an instant his heart is close to breaking. How do you think his parents feel when they see that their child has been tormented into a state like this? I will not speak of his father, but the heart of his mother breaks. When she sees that her child has been tormented to the point that he no longer resembles a person, she feels great distress, discomfort, and pain, and she trembles as she walks toward him. How would you react, at a time like that? You wouldn’t dare to look, would you? See, you haven’t said anything, your parents haven’t said anything, but you would have already broken down, unable to overcome your feelings. You would think to yourself: “My parents are old, they’re not very well physically, and the two of them depend on each other to get by. They gave birth to a kid like me, and up until now I haven’t fulfilled any of their expectations, and I’ve caused so much trouble for them now, I’ve embarrassed them so much, and they’ve even had to come and see me in this state of suffering.” Imperceptibly, in the depths of your heart, you would feel that you were an unfilial child, that you had hurt and disappointed your parents, and that you had caused them to worry and let them down. Both you and your parents would feel a great deal of agony, for different reasons. For your parents, it would be because they felt bad for you, and couldn’t bear seeing you suffer like that. For you, it would be because you saw how sad and distressed your parents were, and you couldn’t bear to see them feeling sad and worried about you. Aren’t both of these the effects of feelings? Until this moment, this can all still be considered normal, and it would not have affected you standing firm in your testimony yet. Suppose that your parents were then to say: “You were so healthy and strong before, and now you’ve been beaten into a state like this. Since you were young, we’ve treated you like the apple of our eyes. We’ve never laid a finger on you. How could you let this happen to you? We’ve never wanted to hit you; we’ve always cherished and loved you—‘we’d cradle you in our mouths but for fear that you would melt, we’d hold you in the palm of our hands but for fear that you would break.’ We cherish you so much, but it’s not enough. It’s alright if you don’t take care of us, but now you’re refusing to hand over any information, you’re suffering so much, and not giving up despite being tormented into such a state because you believe in God and want to bear witness for Him. How could you be this stubborn? Why do you insist on believing in God? ‘Your body was given to you by your parents.’ Are you doing right by us by letting this happen to you? If something really were to happen to you, how do you expect the two of us to go on living? We don’t expect you to care for us when we’re old or to arrange our funerals, we just want you to be fine. You’re everything to us, if you’re not doing well, if you’re gone, how could we go on living the rest of our lives? Who else do we have but you? What other hopes do we have?” Every word of this speech would hit you where it really hurts, both satisfying your emotional needs, and stimulating your feelings and your conscience. Before your parents said these words, you were still holding on to your conviction and your stance in the depths of your heart, but after they spoke these words of reproach, wouldn’t the line of defense in the depths of your heart collapse? “‘Your body was given to you by your parents.’ You resigned from a good job, you abandoned your great prospects, and you gave up a good life. You insist on believing in God, and you’ve allowed yourself to be ruined like this—are you doing right by us?” Could any person refrain from crying after hearing this speech? Could anyone stop from rebuking themselves after hearing these words? Could they avoid feeling that they’d let their parents down? Could anyone sense that this was Satan tempting them? Could any person merely be affected emotionally by this, but still deal with it rationally? Could anyone maintain their belief in the statement, “Your parents are not the masters of your life or your fate, and they are not your creditors” after hearing this speech? Could anyone, despite feeling weak emotionally, refrain from abandoning their duty and obligation, and the testimony that a created being should stand firm in? Which of these things could you accomplish? If, in terms of your feelings, you were just a bit upset, even shedding some tears, and feeling bad for your parents, but you still had faith in God’s word, and still held to the testimony that you ought to stand firm in, and still held to the duty that you ought to perform, without losing the testimony, responsibility, and duty that a created being has before the Lord of creation, then you would be standing firm. But if, when you saw your mother tearfully reproaching you, you fell deeply into your feelings, thinking that you were unfilial, that you had made the wrong choice, feeling regretful and unwilling to keep going on, wanting to abandon the testimony that a created being ought to have, and the duty, responsibility, and obligation that a created being ought to fulfill, and return to your parents’ side, repay their kindness, and stop them for suffering or worrying anymore for your sake, then you would have no testimony, and you would be unworthy of following God. What did God say to those who follow Him? (Didn’t He say: “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26)? This line is in the Bible.) If your love for your parents exceeds your love for God, then you are unworthy of following God, and you are not one of His followers. If you are not one of His followers, then it can be said that you are not an overcomer, and God does not want you. Through this trial, you have been exposed, you have not stood firm in your testimony. You didn’t give in to Satan’s torture, but a few words of reproach from your parents were enough to make you yield. You are spineless and you have betrayed God. You are unworthy of following God and you are not His follower. Parents often say: “I won’t ask anything else of you, I won’t ask that you become very wealthy, I just hope that you will be healthy and safe in this life. Just seeing you be happy is enough.” So, when you’re tortured, you will feel that you have let your parents down: “My parents don’t ask much of me, but I’ve still failed them.” Is this thought right? Did you fail them? (No.) Is it your fault that Satan persecuted you? Is it your fault that you were severely beaten, tortured, and brutally persecuted? (No.) It is Satan who persecuted you, you did not ruin yourself. You are walking the right path, and you are being a true person. Your choices and all of your actions were bearing witness for God, and performing the duty of a created being. These are the choices that every created being ought to make, and the path that every created being ought to take. It is the right path; it is not ruining oneself. Though your flesh has been tortured, and suffered brutal, inhuman treatment, this is all for a just cause. It is not taking the wrong path, it is not ruining yourself. Your flesh suffering, being subjected to torture, and being tormented to the point that you no longer resemble a person, is not you letting your parents down. You do not need to give an explanation to them. This is your choice. You are on the right path in life, they just don’t understand, that’s all. They are just standing from the perspective of a parent, always wanting to protect you for the sake of their feelings, not wishing for you to suffer physical pain. What can their desire to protect you accomplish? Can they bear witness on your behalf? Can they perform the duty of a created being on your behalf? Can they follow God’s way on your behalf? (No.) You made the right choice, and you should stick to it. You should not be bewitched or misled by your parents’ words. You are not ruining yourself; you are walking the right path. In your perseverance and in all your actions you are holding to the truth, submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and bearing witness for God before Satan, bringing glory to God’s name. You have merely endured the suffering of the brutal persecution of your flesh, that is all. This is suffering that people should endure; this is what people ought to offer up to the Lord of creation, and it is the price that they should pay. Your life did not come from your parents, and your parents have no right to decide what path you walk. They have no right to decide how you treat your own body, or what price you pay in order to stand firm in your testimony. They merely do not wish for you to suffer physical pain due to the needs of their fleshly feelings, and due to the fact that they are standing from the perspective of fleshly feelings, that is all. But as a created being, no matter how much your flesh suffers, it is something that you ought to endure. People must pay numerous prices in order to achieve salvation and perform the duty of a created being well. This is the obligation and responsibility of man, and it is what a created being ought to dedicate to the Lord of creation. Because people’s lives come from God, and their bodies also come from God, this is suffering that people should endure. Therefore, when it comes to the suffering that people should endure, regardless of what kind of physical pain your body endures, you do not need to explain anything to your parents. Your parents say, “Your body was given to you by your parents,” but what of it? Though people are birthed and raised by their parents, it is not as if all that they have is given to them by their parents. It does not mean that people should be subject to their parents’ coercion and constraint when it comes to the path they walk and the prices they pay. It does not mean that people must obtain their parents’ permission in order to walk the path of pursuing the truth, or to fulfill the duty of a created being before the Lord of creation. Therefore, you do not need to give an explanation to your parents. The One you should be giving an explanation to is God. Regardless of whether you suffer or not, you should hand everything over to God. Moreover, if you are following the right path, then God will accept and remember all of the prices you’ve paid. Since God will remember and recognize them, those prices will have been worth paying. Your flesh will suffer some physical pain, but these prices will enable you to stand firm in your testimony in the end, to obtain God’s approval, and to attain salvation, and God will remember them. Nothing else can be traded for that. Your parents’ so-called expectations, or the words of criticism they speak to you, are insignificant and not worth mentioning when compared to the duty you ought to perform, and the testimony you ought to bear before God, because the suffering you endure is so valuable and so meaningful! From the perspective of a created being, this is the most meaningful and valuable thing in life. Therefore, people should not become weak and depressed, or fall into temptation because of their parents’ words, and they certainly should not feel regret, guilt, or that they have let their parents down because of their words. People should feel honored by the suffering they have endured, and say: “God chose me, and enabled my flesh to pay this kind of price, and to be violently abused by Satan, so that I could have the opportunity to bear witness for Him.” It is an honor for you to have been selected by God from among His numerous chosen ones. You should not feel sad about this. If you stand firm in your witness, and humiliate Satan, then this is the greatest honor in life for a created being. No matter what kind of ailments or aftereffects your body suffers after being brutally persecuted, or how much it hurts your family and parents to see you like that, you should not feel ashamed or upset, or that you have let your parents down because of it, because everything you have done was paying a price for a just cause, and this is a good deed. No person is qualified to criticize your good deeds, no person is qualified or has the right to make irresponsible, critical remarks or judgments about you believing in God, following God, and performing your duty. Only the Lord of creation is qualified to judge your behavior, the prices you have paid, and the choices you have made. Nobody else is qualified to judge—none of them, including your parents, are qualified to criticize you. If they are the people closest to you, they should understand, encourage, and comfort you. They should support you in persevering, standing firm in your testimony, and refraining from conceding or yielding to Satan. They should feel proud and happy for you. Since you have been able to persevere until now and not yield to Satan so that you may stand firm in your witness, they should encourage you. They shouldn’t hold you back, and they certainly shouldn’t reproach you. If you did something wrong, they’d be qualified to criticize you. If you took the wrong path, humiliated God, betrayed positive things and the truth, then they’d be qualified to criticize you. But since all of your actions were positive, and God accepts and remembers them, if they criticize you, it is because they cannot discern between good and bad. They’re the ones who are wrong. They are upset about you believing in God, walking the right path, and being a good person—why is it that, when Satan persecutes you, they do not criticize it instead? They are criticizing you because of their own feelings—what did you do wrong? Didn’t you just refrain from turning Judas? You didn’t turn Judas, you refused to cooperate or compromise with Satan, and you suffered this torture and inhuman treatment in order to stand firm in your witness—what’s wrong with that? You did nothing wrong. From God’s perspective, He rejoices for you, He feels proud of you. And yet, your parents feel ashamed of you, and criticize your good deeds—isn’t this confusing white for black? Are these good parents? Why don’t they criticize Satan, and the evil people and devils that are persecuting you? Not only do you not receive any comfort, encouragement, or support from your parents, on the contrary, you are criticized and scolded by them, while no matter what evil Satan does, they do not condemn or curse it. They do not dare to say one word of verbal abuse or reproach to it. They do not say: “How could you torment a good person into this state? All they’ve done is believe in God and take the correct path, right? They haven’t stolen anything or robbed anyone, they haven’t broken any laws, so why have you tormented them like this? You should be encouraging people like them. If everyone in society believed in God and walked the right path, then this society wouldn’t need laws, and there wouldn’t be any crime.” Why don’t they criticize it like this? Why don’t they dare to criticize the Satans and devils that persecuted you? They reproach you for walking the right path, but when evil people commit evil deeds, they just tacitly approve of them. What do you think of these parents? Should you feel bad for them? Should you show them filial piety? Should you love them in your heart? Are they worthy of your filial piety? (No.) They are not. They cannot distinguish right from wrong, or good from bad. They are a pair of muddled people. Aside from feelings, they don’t understand anything. They don’t understand what justice is, or what walking the right path means, they don’t know what negative things are, or what evil forces are, they only know to safeguard their feelings and their flesh. Aside from this most superficial level of fleshly relationships, their hearts only contain the idea that: “As long as my children are safe and well, I’ll be very happy and grateful.” That is all. When it comes to the right path in life, just causes, or the most valuable and meaningful thing a person can do in this life, they don’t understand any of these things. They do not understand these things, and they scold you for following the right path—they really are incredibly muddled. What do you think of these parents? Are they not a pair of old devils? You must ponder in your heart: “These two old devils—until now I’ve suffered so many beatings, and so much torture, over these days I’ve been praying to God all day and night, and He has been looking over me and keeping me, that is why I’ve been able to survive until now. I’ve stood firm in my witness with great difficulty, and in a few words you’ve completely denied it. Is it wrong for me to walk the right path? Is it wrong for me to perform the duty of a created being? Surely it isn’t wrong for me to have not turned Judas? These two old devils! ‘Your body was given to you by your parents’—everything I possess clearly came from God, was it you who gave it to me? It is just that God ordained that you would birth and raise me, bringing me up by your hands. You feel distressed about me, and pained and upset just to satisfy your emotional needs. You’re afraid that if I die, there’ll be no one to take care of you when you’re old or to arrange your funerals. You’re afraid that people will laugh, and think that I’ve embarrassed you.” If you went to jail because you had committed a crime, because you stole something, or you robbed, cheated, or scammed someone, they might fight for you, saying: “My child is a good kid, they haven’t done anything bad. They don’t have an evil nature, they’re good and kind. It’s just that the evil trends of this world have had a negative influence on them. I hope that the government will be lenient on them.” They’d fight for you, but because you are walking the path of belief in God, because you are walking the right path, they disdain you from the depths of their hearts. In what way do they disdain you? “Look at the state you’ve gotten yourself into. Are you doing right by us?” You should think in your heart: “What do they mean by: ‘Look at the state you’ve gotten yourself into’? I am just walking the right path in life—this is called being a true person! This is called possessing good deeds and testimony; this is strength. Only people like this truly possess conscience and reason, and are not cowards, good-for-nothings, or Judases. What state have I gotten myself into? This is true human likeness! Not only are you not happy for me, you’re reproaching me—what kind of parents are you? You’re unworthy to be parents, you should be cursed!” If you think in this way, would you still cry when you heard your parents say: “Your body was given to you by your parents, how could you let yourself be ruined like this”? (No.) What would you think after hearing that speech? “What a load of nonsense. They really are a pair of old nitwits! ‘Your body was given to you by your parents’—you don’t even know who gave you your bodies, and you use these words to reproach me, how truly muddled you are! It is clearly the devils and Satans who are persecuting me. How can you confuse white for black and criticize me instead? Did I break the law? Did I steal something or rob someone, did I cheat or scam somebody? What laws did I break? I didn’t break any laws, I’ve been persecuted to a state like this by Satan because I follow the right path. I haven’t betrayed a single word until now, I haven’t turned Judas—who else possesses this kind of strength? Not only do you not praise or encourage me, you reproach me. You’re devils!” If you think in this way, you will not cry or become weak, will you? Your parents do not know right from wrong, they confuse white for black, because they do not believe in God, and they do not understand the truth. You understand the truth, so you should not be influenced by those devilish words and fallacies that they speak. Instead, you should continue holding to the truth. In this way, you will truly be standing firm in your testimony. Is that not the case? (It is.)
Tell Me, is it easy to stand firm in one’s witness? First, you must break free from your feelings, second, you must understand the truth. Only then will you not experience any weakness, be able to stand firm in your witness, and be recognized and accepted by God under these kinds of special circumstances; only then will God acknowledge you as an overcomer and His follower. When you have prevailed, when you have not failed God, instead of not having failed your parents, you’ll be able to let go of all of your parents’ expectations for you, right? Your parents’ expectations are not important, they do not matter; living up to God’s expectations, and standing firm in your testimony for God are the most important things, they are the attitude and pursuits that a created being ought to have. Is that not the case? (It is.) When you are feeling weak, when you lose your way, especially when you are besieged and persecuted by Satans while following the right path, or spurned, mocked, and rejected by the people of the secular world, those around you—your relatives, friends, and acquaintances—will think that you have done something embarrassing, and no one will understand, encourage, support, or comfort you. Much less will anyone assist you, show you the way, or point out the path of practice. This includes your parents. Since you are not by their side, showing them filial piety, or since you are not able to help them live well or repay their kindness because you are believing in God and performing your duty, they won’t understand you. Their perspective will be the same as that of people in the secular world—they will think that you have embarrassed them, that they haven’t gotten anything in return for raising you, that they’ve received no benefits from you, that you haven’t fulfilled their expectations, that you have failed them, and that you are an uncaring ingrate. Your parents will not understand you, and they will not be able to give you any positive guidance, to say nothing of your relatives and friends. While you are walking the right path, only God is tirelessly encouraging, assisting, comforting, and supplying you. When you are being tortured and tormented in jail, only God’s word and the faith that He has given you will sustain you through every second, minute, and day. So, when you are enduring severe beatings, you will be able to keep wanting to stand firm in your witness for God, to keep refraining from turning Judas, and to keep wanting to bring glory to God’s name and humiliate Satan, because of God’s word and the faith that God has given you. You will be able to do these things in one respect because of your resolve, and in another, more important respect, because of God’s guidance, keeping, and leadership. Whereas your parents, when you most need comfort and aid, still only think of themselves, saying that you are an uncaring ingrate, that they can never count on you in this life, and that they’ve raised you for nothing. They still do not forget that they raised you, that they wished to count on you to help them live a good life, to bring glory to your ancestors, and to enable them to hold their heads up high and feel proud of you in front of their relatives and friends. Parents who don’t believe in God never feel honored and fortunate on account of your belief. On the contrary, they often reproach you for not finding the time to visit or care for them because you believe in God and are busy performing your duty. Not only do they reproach you, they often scold you, calling you an “uncaring ingrate” and a “thankless child.” Don’t you feel that it is hard for you to walk the right path while bearing these bad names? Don’t you feel wronged? Don’t you need your parents’ support, encouragement, and understanding while experiencing these things? Don’t you often feel that you have failed your parents? Consequently, some people even have some foolish thoughts: “In this life, I have not been fated to show my parents filial piety or to live with them. I’ll show them filial piety in my next life, then!” Isn’t this thought foolish? (Yes.) You should not have these thoughts; you should resolve them from their root. You walk the right path, you have chosen to perform the duty of a created being, and to come before the Lord of creation to accept God’s salvation. That is the only correct path in this world. You have made the right choice. Regardless of how much those who do not believe, including your parents, misunderstand you or feel disappointed by you, this should not impact your choice to walk the path of believing in God or your resolve to perform your duty, nor should it impact your faith in God. You should persevere, because you are walking the right path. Even more so, you should let go of your parents’ expectations. They should not become burdens for you while you are walking the right path. You are following the right path, you have made the most correct choice in life; if your parents don’t support you, if they always scold you for being an uncaring ingrate, then you even more so ought to have discernment of them, and let go of them on an emotional level, and not be constrained by them. If they do not support, encourage, or comfort you, you’ll be okay—you won’t gain or lose anything with or without these things. What’s most important are God’s expectations for you. God is encouraging you, supplying you, and guiding you. You are not alone. Without your parents’ expectations, you can still fulfill the duty of a created being all the same, and upon this basis, you will still be a good person. Letting go of your parents’ expectations does not mean that you have lost your ethics and morals, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you have forsaken your humanity, or morality and justice. The reason that you haven’t lived up to your parents’ expectations is because you chose positive things, and you chose to perform the duty of a created being. There’s nothing wrong with this, it is the most correct path. You should persevere and remain firm in your belief. It is possible that you will not obtain your parents’ support, and certainly not their blessings, because you believe in God and are performing the duty of a created being, but this doesn’t matter. This is not important, you have not lost anything. The most important thing is that when you chose to walk the path of belief in God and of performing the duty of a created being, God began to have expectations and high hopes for you. While living in this world, if people stray from their friends and relatives, they can still live well. Of course, they can live normally after straying from their parents too. It is only when they stray from God’s guidance and blessings that they fall into darkness. Compared to God’s expectations for people and His guidance, parental expectations are simply insignificant and not worth mentioning. Regardless of what kind of person your parents expect you to be, or what kind of life they expect you to live on an emotional level, they are not guiding you along the right path, or the path of salvation. Therefore, you should reverse your point of view, and let go of your parents’ expectations from the depths of your heart, and on an emotional level. You should not continue shouldering this kind of burden, or feel at all guilty toward your parents because you have chosen to perform the duty of a created being. You haven’t done anything to let anyone down. You chose to follow God and to accept His salvation. This is not letting your parents down, on the contrary, your parents should feel proud and honored that you have chosen to fulfill the duty of a created being and to accept the salvation of the Creator. If they cannot do this, they are not good people. They are not worthy of your respect, they are even less worthy of your filial piety, and, of course, they are even less worthy of your concern. Is that not the case? (It is.)
In this world, what kind of people are the worthiest of respect? Is it not those who walk the right path? What does “the right path” refer to here? Does it not mean pursuing the truth and accepting God’s salvation? Are those who walk the right path not people who follow and obey God? (They are.) If you are this kind of person, or you endeavor to be, and your parents do not understand you, and even always curse you—if, when you are weak, depressed, and lost, they not only fail to support, comfort, or encourage you, they often demand that you come back to show them filial piety, to earn a lot of money and take care of them, to not let them down, to enable them to bask in the light with you, and live a good life with you—should parents like this not be cast aside? (Yes.) Are parents like this worthy of your respect? Are they worthy of your filial piety? Are they worthy of you fulfilling your responsibility to them? (No.) Why not? It is because they are fed up with positive things, is this not a fact? (It is.) It is because they hate God, is that not a fact? (It is.) It is because they disdain you walking the right path, is that not a fact? (It is.) They disdain people who engage in just causes; they scorn and look down on you because you follow God and perform your duty. What kind of parents are these? Are they not despicable and vile parents? Are they not selfish parents? Are they not evil parents? (They are.) You have been chased and hunted by the great red dragon in your belief in God, you have been on the run, unable to return home, and some people have even had to go overseas. Your relatives, friends, and classmates all say that you’ve become a fugitive, and because of these external rumors and gossip, your parents think that you have made them suffer unjustly, and embarrassed them. Not only do they not understand, support, or empathize with you, not only do they not reproach the people spreading those rumors, and those who despise and discriminate against you, your parents also hate you, they say the same things about you as those people who do not believe in God and those who are in power. What do you think of these parents? Are they good? (No.) Then do you still feel that you are indebted to them? (No.) If you occasionally give your family a call, they will think that it’s like receiving a call from a fugitive. They will feel that it is a great humiliation, and that you do not dare to even return home, like a hunted rat. They will feel that it is embarrassing to have you as a child. Are parents like these worthy of respect? (No.) They are not worthy of respect. So, what is the nature of their expectations for you? Are they worth you keeping in mind? (No.) What is the main goal of their expectations for you? Do they really want you to walk the right path and ultimately attain salvation? They hope that you will follow the trends of society and rise up in the world, put a feather in their caps, enable them to face the world with dignity, and become their pride and joy. What else? They want to be able to bask in the light along with you, to eat and drink well, to wear nice brands and to be dripping in gold and silver. They want to go on luxury cruise ships and go traveling to every country in the world. If you were to rise up in the world, to have fame and money in this world, and enable them to bask in the light along with you, they would mention your name everywhere they went, saying: “My son, my daughter is so-and-so.” Do they mention your name now? (No.) You are walking the right path, but they do not bring up your name. They think that you are penniless and destitute, an embarrassment, and that mentioning you would be equivalent to bringing shame on themselves, so they don’t bring you up. Therefore, what is the aim of your parents’ expectations? It is to bask in the light with you, it is not purely for your own good. They will only be happy when they can bask in your light. Now you have returned before the Lord of creation, and accepted God, His salvation, and His words, now you have taken up the duty of a created being, and embarked on the right path in life, they are not profiting or benefiting from you, and they feel that they have lost out by raising you. It is as if they are doing business, and have made a loss. Consequently, they are filled with regret. Some parents often say: “Raising you is worse than raising a dog. When you raise a dog, it’s very friendly and knows to wag its tail when it sees its master. What can I expect from raising you? You spend all day believing in God and performing your duty, you don’t do business, you don’t go to work, you don’t even want a secure livelihood, and in the end all of our neighbors have started laughing at us. What have I gained from you? I haven’t gotten a single good thing from you, or basked in any light at all.” If you followed the evil trends of the secular world, and strived to be successful there, your parents would probably support, encourage, and comfort you if you were to suffer, fall ill, or feel sad. And yet, they do not feel happy or rejoice at the fact that you believe in God and have a chance to be saved. On the contrary, they hate and curse you. Based on their essence, these parents are your foes and your sworn enemies, they are not the same kind of people as you, and they are not walking the same path as you. Though you appear to be a family on the surface, based on your essences, your pursuits, your preferences, the paths that you follow, and the various attitudes with which you approach positive things, God, and the truth, they are not the same kind of people as you. Therefore, no matter how much you say, “I have hope of salvation, I have embarked upon the right path in life,” they will be unmoved, and they will not feel happy for you, or rejoice for you. Instead, they will feel ashamed. On an emotional level, these parents are your family, but based on your nature essences, they are not your family, they are your enemies. Think about it, if children bring presents and money when they go home, and enable their parents to eat well and live in nice places, their parents will be overjoyed, they will be so happy that they will not know what to say. In their hearts, they will keep saying: “My son is so great, my daughter is so great. I didn’t raise and love them for nothing. They’re sensible, they know to show filial piety to us, and we have a place in their hearts. They’re a good kid.” Say that you go home empty-handed, without buying anything, because you are believing in God and performing your duty. Suppose that you fellowship on the truth with your parents, talk about God’s word, and say that you have embarked upon the path of pursuing the truth. Your parents will immediately think: “What are you going on about? I can’t understand you. I’ve raised you for all these years, and you haven’t fulfilled any of my expectations. You’ve finally come back to visit us, you could have at least bought us a pair of socks or some fruit. You didn’t bring anything, you just came back empty-handed.” Your parents won’t say: “Hearing you say these things, I can tell that you’ve changed a lot. Before you were young and arrogant, but now you’ve really changed. I can tell that all the things you’re talking about are proper matters. You’ve made progress. You have promise, and there is hope for you—you’re able to walk the right path, and to follow God and gain salvation. You are a good kid. You’ve been suffering out there, I should make you something tasty to eat. We keep a few chickens, and usually we don’t want to kill them, we wait to eat their eggs instead. But now you’re home, I’ll kill a chicken, and brew some chicken soup for you. You were right to choose this path, you’ll be able to attain salvation. I feel so happy for you! I’ve missed you a lot over these past few years. Though we haven’t been in contact, you’ve come back to visit us now, and I feel at ease. You’ve grown up. You’re more mature and sensible than you were before. The things that you say and do are all proper things.” Through seeing their child walking the right path, and possessing the correct thoughts and views, parents can also benefit and expand their knowledge. Since their child is able to perform a duty and pursue the truth, these parents should support them. If, in the future, their child attains salvation and enters the kingdom, and is no longer harmed by their satanic, corrupt dispositions, that would be a wonderful thing. Though these parents are old, slow to comprehend the truth, and don’t quite understand these matters, they feel: “My child can walk the right path, that’s great. They’re a good kid. No high-ranking government position and no amount of wealth are as good or as valuable as this!” Tell Me, are these good parents? (Yes.) Are they worthy of respect? (Yes.) They are worthy of your respect. So, how should you show them respect? You should pray for them in your heart. If they believe in God, you should pray for God to guide and keep them, so that they can stand firm in their witness during trials and temptation. If they do not believe in God, you should still respect their decision, and hope that their lives will be stable, that they will not do anything bad, and that they will commit fewer evil deeds, then, at best, they will suffer less punishment after their deaths; furthermore, you should do your utmost to fellowship on some positive things, thoughts, and views with them. This is called respect, and it can also be called the best kind of filial piety and the best fulfillment of your responsibilities. Can you achieve this? (Yes.) On a spiritual and psychological level, give them encouragement and support. On a physical level, while you are accompanying them at home, do your utmost to help them get some work done, and fellowship on some things that you understand and that your parents can comprehend. Help them to take it easy, to not tire themselves out so much, to not make too much of a fuss about finances and all other kinds of matters, and to let things take their course. This is called respect. Treat your parents as good, decent people, fulfill a bit of your responsibilities to them, show them a bit of filial piety, and perform some of your obligations to them. This is called respect. Only parents that understand and support your belief in God like this are worthy of respect. Apart from them, no other parents are worthy of respect. Aside from getting you to earn money, they want you to rise up in the world, to make a name for yourself, and to do this or that. These are parents who do not attend to their proper affairs, and they are unworthy of respect.
Now you all understand letting go of parental expectations, and you are able to let go of your parents’ expectations. What other things are you unable to let go of? When it comes to your parents’ lives or to your parents themselves, what things do you care most about? That is, what things are the hardest for you to part with or let go of on an emotional level? “Your parents are not your creditors; your parents are not the masters of your life or your fate”—haven’t we basically finished fellowshiping on this topic? Do you understand it? (Yes.) Your parents are not your creditors—that is, you shouldn’t always ponder on how you must repay them just because they’ve spent so long raising you. If you are not able to repay them, if you do not have the chance or the right circumstances to repay them, you’ll always feel sad and guilty, to the extent that you will even feel sad whenever you see someone with, taking care of, or doing some things to show filial piety to their parents. God ordained that your parents would raise you, enabling you to grow into an adult, not so that you would spend your life repaying them. You have responsibilities and obligations that you must fulfill in this life, a path that you must take, and you have your own life. In this life, you should not put all of your energy into repaying your parents’ kindness. This is just something that accompanies you in your life and on your life path. In terms of humanity and emotional relationships, it is something that is unavoidable. But as for what kind of relationship you and your parents are fated to have, whether you will be able to live together for the rest of your life, or whether you will be separated, and are not linked together by fate, this depends on God’s orchestrations and arrangements. If God has orchestrated and arranged that you will be in a different place to your parents during this life, that you will be very far away from them, and unable to live together often, then fulfilling your responsibilities to them is, to you, just a kind of aspiration. If God has arranged for you to live very close to your parents in this life, and to be able to stay by their side, then fulfilling a bit of your responsibilities to your parents, and showing them some filial piety are things that you should do in this life—there is nothing that can be criticized about this. But if you are in a different place from your parents, and you do not have the chance or the right circumstances to show them filial piety, then you do not need to regard this as a shameful thing. You should not feel ashamed to face your parents because you are unable to show them filial piety, it is just that your circumstances don’t allow it. As a child, you should understand that your parents are not your creditors. There are many things that you must do in this life, and these are all things that a created being ought to do, that have been entrusted to you by the Lord of creation, and they have nothing to do with you repaying your parents’ kindness. Showing filial piety to your parents, repaying them, returning their kindness—these things have nothing to do with your mission in life. It can also be said that it is not necessary for you to show filial piety to your parents, to repay them, or to fulfill any of your responsibilities to them. To put it plainly, you can do a bit of this and fulfill a bit of your responsibilities when your circumstances allow; when they do not, you do not need to insist upon doing so. If you cannot fulfill your responsibility to show filial piety to your parents, this is not a terrible thing, it just goes against your conscience, human morality, and human notions a little. But at the very least, it does not go against the truth, and God will not condemn you for it. When you understand the truth, your conscience will not feel rebuked on account of this. Do your hearts not feel steady now that you have understood this aspect of the truth? (Yes.) Some people say: “Though God won’t condemn me, in my conscience, I still can’t get past this, and I feel unsteady.” If this is the case for you, then your stature is too small, and you have not understood or seen through to the essence of this matter. You do not understand man’s destiny, you do not understand God’s sovereignty, and you are not willing to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements. You always possess human will and your own feelings, and these things are driving and dominating you; they have become your life. If you choose human will and your feelings, then you have not chosen the truth, and you are not practicing the truth or submitting to it. If you choose human will and your feelings, then you are betraying the truth. Your circumstances and environment clearly do not permit you to show filial piety to your parents, but you always think: “I owe a debt to my parents. I haven’t shown them filial piety. They haven’t seen me for so many years. They raised me for nothing.” In the depths of your heart, you are never able to let go of these things. This proves one thing: You do not accept the truth. In terms of doctrine, you acknowledge that God’s words are correct, but you do not accept them as the truth, or take them as the principles of your actions. So, at the very least, when it comes to the matter of how you treat your parents, you are not a person who pursues the truth. This is because, in this matter, you do not act based on the truth, you do not practice according to God’s words, instead you just satisfy your emotional needs, and the needs of your conscience, wanting to show filial piety to your parents and repay their kindness. Although God does not condemn you for making this choice, and it is your choice, in the end the one who will lose out, particularly in terms of the life, is you. You are always bound by this matter, always thinking that you are too ashamed to face your parents, that you have not repaid their kindness. One day, when God sees that your desire to repay your parents’ kindness is too great, He will go right ahead and orchestrate an environment for you, and you can then just go home. Don’t you think that your parents are higher than everything, higher than the truth? In order to show filial piety to them and satisfy the needs of your conscience and feelings, you’d rather lose God, abandon the truth, and abandon your opportunity to attain salvation. Well, that’s fine, that is your choice. God will not condemn you for it. God will orchestrate an environment for you, He will strike you from His list, and He will give up on you. If you choose to go home to show filial piety to your parents, and to not perform your duty, then you are escaping and walking away from the duty that God has entrusted to you, you are renouncing God’s commission and expectations for you, you are renouncing the duty that God gave you, and abandoning your opportunity to perform a duty. If you go home to reunite with your parents, to satisfy the needs of your conscience, and to satisfy your parents’ expectations, that is okay, you can choose to go home. If you really cannot let go of your parents, you can take the initiative to raise your hand and say: “I miss my parents too much. My conscience feels rebuked every day, I’m unable to satisfy my feelings, and my heart aches. I long for my parents, and I keep thinking about them. If I don’t go back to show filial piety to my parents in this life, I fear that I’ll never have another opportunity, I’m afraid that I’ll regret it.” Then you can go home. If your parents are the heavens and the earth to you, if they are greater to you than your own life, if they are everything to you, then you can choose not to let go of them. No one will force you to. You can choose to go home to show them filial piety and accompany them, to enable them to live a good life, and to repay their kindness. But you need to give this a lot of thought. If you make this choice today, and in the end lose your chance to attain salvation, then only you will have to bear this outcome. No other person can bear this kind of consequence for you, you must bear it yourself. Do you understand? (Yes.) If you would rather abandon your opportunity to perform a duty and to attain salvation, just so that your parents can be your creditors, and so that you can pay off your debts to them, this is your choice. No one is forcing you. Suppose that someone in the church makes a request, saying: “It’s too tough living away from home. I miss my parents too much. I’m unable to let go of them in my heart. I often dream of them. In my mind and in my heart, all I can think about are their shadows, and I feel more and more guilty about everything they have done for me. Now that they’re getting older, I feel even more that it’s so difficult for parents to raise a child, and that I should repay them, give them some joy, and comfort them with my presence for the rest of my life. I would rather give up my chance to be saved so that I can go home to show them filial piety.” In that case, they can submit an application, saying: “I’m reporting in! I want to go home to show filial piety to my parents, I don’t want to perform my duty.” The church should then approve it, and no one needs to work on them or fellowship with them. To say anything more to them would be foolish. When people do not understand anything at all, you can speak a bit more to them, and fellowship on the truth until it is clear. If you haven’t fellowshiped on it clearly, and they make the wrong choice as a result, then you are responsible for this. However, if they understand everything in terms of doctrine, then no one needs to work on them. It’s like how some people say: “I understand everything, you don’t need to tell me anything.” That’s perfect, you don’t need to waste your breath on them, you can save yourself a bit of trouble. You should allow people like this to return home immediately. First, do not stop them; second, support them; third, give them a bit of comfort and encouragement, saying: “Go home and show your parents some proper filial piety. Don’t make them angry or upset. If you want to show filial piety to them and to repay them, then you must be a filial child. But do not be filled with regret when you cannot achieve salvation in the end. Have a good trip, I hope everything goes well!” Alright? (Yes.) If someone wants to go home to show filial piety to their parents, that’s fine, they shouldn’t bottle this up. Performing a duty is voluntary, and no one will insist that you do it. You will not be condemned for not performing a duty. If you perform a duty, will you necessarily achieve salvation? Not necessarily. This is just a question of the attitude you have toward performing a duty. Then, will you be destroyed if you do not perform a duty? Nobody said that. In any case, your hope of salvation will probably be gone. Some people say: “Is it a good or bad thing to show filial piety to one’s parents?” I do not know. If you want to show filial piety to your parents, then do that. We will not assess this, doing so would be meaningless. This is a matter of humanity and feelings. It is a question of choosing your method of existence. It has nothing to do with the truth. Whoever wants to go home and show filial piety to their parents can choose to do so freely. God’s house will not insist upon them staying, and God’s house will not interfere. The church leaders and the people around them should not stop them from going home. They should not do work on this kind of person, or fellowship on the truth with them. If you want to go home, then go. Everyone will give you a sendoff, eat some dumplings with you, and wish you a safe trip.
The biggest expectations that parents have for their children are, in one respect, hoping that their children can live a good life, and, in another respect, hoping that their children will be by their side and watch over them when they are old. For example, if a parent gets sick or encounters some difficulties in their life, they hope that their children will be able to help dispel their worries and difficulties, and to share this burden. They hope that their children will be by their side when they leave this world, so that they can see them again, one last time. Usually, these are the two biggest expectations that parents have for their children, and it is difficult to let go of them. If a person’s parents become ill or encounter difficulties, and they do not hear news of this, it is possible that these things will be resolved without their intervention. But if they do learn of these matters, they usually find it very hard to overcome them, especially when their parents become seriously and gravely ill. In those times it is even harder for people to let go. When, in the depths of your heart, you feel that your parents are still in the physical, living, or working condition that they were 10 or 20 years ago, that they can take care of themselves, and live as normal, that they are still healthy, young, and robust, and when you are under the impression that they do not need you, you will not harbor such great concern for them in your heart. But when you learn that your parents have entered into old age, that their bodies have become weak, and that they need people to care for them and accompany them, if you are elsewhere, you will probably feel upset, and be impacted by this. Some people even abandon their duties, and want to go home to visit their parents. Some emotional people make even more irrational choices, saying: “If I could, I’d give 10 years of my life to my parents.” There are also some people who are intent on seeking blessings for their parents. They buy all kinds of health products and nutritional supplements for their parents, and when they learn that their parents are seriously ill, they can’t help but become trapped in their feelings, wishing to speed to their parents’ side immediately. Some people say, “I’d even be willing to take this illness from my parents,” not considering what duty they should be performing, and disregarding God’s commission. Therefore, in these circumstances, people are very likely to become weak and fall into temptation. Would you cry if you heard news that your parents had fallen seriously ill? In particular, some people receive letters from home saying that the doctor has already given their final notice. What does “given their final notice” mean? This phrase is easy to interpret. It means that the parents of those people will die in a few days. At such a time, you would think: “My parents are only in their 50s. This shouldn’t be happening. What have they fallen ill with?” And when the reply is “cancer,” you would immediately think: “How did they get it? I’ve been away for all these years, they’ve been missing me, and their lives are so hard—is that why they got this disease?” You would then rush to place all of the blame on yourself: “My parents’ lives are so hard, and I haven’t been helping to share their burdens. They’ve been missing me and worrying about me, and I haven’t stayed by their side. I’ve let them down, and I’ve made them suffer the pain of missing me all the time. My parents spent so much time raising me, and for what? All I’ve done is make them suffer!” The more you’d think about it, the more you’d believe that you’d let them down, and that you were indebted to them. Then you’d think: “No, that’s not right. I’m believing in God, performing the duty of a created being, and completing God’s commission. I haven’t let anybody down.” But then you’d think: “My parents are so old, and they don’t have any children by their side to take care of them. What was the point of them raising me then?” You’d go back and forth, unable to overcome this no matter how you thought about it. Not only would you cry, you would fall deeply into the entanglements of your feelings for your parents. Is it easy to let go, in these circumstances? You would say: “My parents gave birth to me and raised me. They didn’t expect me to become very wealthy, and they’ve never asked anything excessive of me. They just hoped that I’d be by their side when they fell ill and needed me, accompanying them, and lessening their suffering. I haven’t even done that!” You would cry from the day that you heard news that your parents were critically ill until the day that they died. Would you be sad if you encountered this kind of situation? Would you cry? Would you shed tears? (Yes.) At that moment, would your resolve and aspiration waver? Would you have the urge to rashly and recklessly hurry back to your parents’ side? Would you think, deep in your heart, that you were an uncaring ingrate, and that your parents raised you for nothing? Would you keep feeling ashamed to face your parents? Would you keep recalling the kindness that your parents showed you by raising you, and how good they’d been to you? (Yes.) Would you give up your duty? Would you try to do everything to get the most recent news about your parents from friends, or from the brothers and sisters? All people would possess these manifestations, wouldn’t they? Then, is this matter easy to resolve? How should you understand such matters? How should you view the matter of illness or some kind of great misfortune befalling your parents? If you can see through this, you will be able to let go. If you cannot, then you will not be able to let go. You always think that everything your parents have endured and faced is related to you, and that you should share those burdens; you always put the blame onto yourself, always thinking that these things have something to do with you, always wanting to get involved. Is this idea right? (No.) Why? How should you view these things? What manifestations are normal? What manifestations are abnormal, irrational, and not in accordance with the truth? We’ll speak of the normal manifestations first. People are all birthed by their parents; they are of the flesh and possess feelings. Feelings are a part of humanity, and no one can avoid them. Every person has feelings—even small animals have them, not to mention people. But some people’s feelings are a bit stronger, and some people’s feelings are a bit weaker. But no matter what the circumstances are, all people have them. Whether it comes from their feelings, humanity, or rationality, all people would feel upset upon hearing that their parents had fallen ill, encountered some great misfortune, or met with suffering. Every person would feel upset. It is very normal to feel upset, this is a human instinct, it is something that people possess in their humanity and feelings. It is very normal for this to manifest in people. When their parents fall seriously ill or encounter a great misfortune, it is very normal for people to feel sad, to cry, to feel repressed, to think of ways to resolve the problems, and to share the burden with their parents. For some people, this will even affect their bodies—they won’t be able to eat, they’ll feel a knot in their chests, and they’ll be in low spirits all day long. These are all manifestations of emotions, and they are all very normal. People shouldn’t criticize you for these normal manifestations; you shouldn’t try to avoid these manifestations, and you certainly shouldn’t accept anyone else’s criticism of them. If you have these manifestations, it proves that your feelings for your parents are genuine, and that you are a person who possesses the awareness of conscience, and a normal, ordinary person. No one should criticize you for having these emotional outpourings, or for having these emotional needs. These manifestations all fall within the scope of rationality and conscience. So, what manifestations are not normal? Abnormal manifestations are those that go beyond rationality. They are when people become impulsive as soon as these things befall them, and want to immediately abandon everything to return to their parents’ side, who rush to put all of the blame on themselves, and to abandon the ideals, aspirations, and resolve they once had, and even the oaths they swore before God. These manifestations are abnormal, and they go beyond rationality, they are too impulsive! When people choose a path, it is not as if they can choose the correct and right path in a burst of hotheadedness. You choosing to walk the path of performing a duty and choosing to fulfill the duty of a created being is no simple matter, and it is something that nothing else can replace. It certainly isn’t a choice that can be made in a burst of hotheadedness. Moreover, this is the right path—you should not change your decision to walk the right path in life because of the environments, people, events, and things that surround you. This is the rationality that you ought to possess. Whether it’s your parents or any kind of big change, it should not impact the most important thing, which is you performing the duty of a created being. That is one aspect of this. Another aspect is that, when it comes to how your parents get an illness, when they begin suffering from it, and what kind of consequences it can result in, are these things that you can decide? You may say: “Maybe this has happened because I wasn’t a filial child. If I’d spent these years diligently earning money and working, and I were well-off financially, they could have treated this illness sooner, and it wouldn’t have gotten so bad. This is because I’ve been unfilial.” Is this thought correct? (No.) If a person has money, does it necessarily mean that they will be able to buy good health and avoid falling ill? (No.) Do the rich people in this world never get sick? From the moment that a person feels that they are falling ill, until they become ill, and until they ultimately die, it is all predestined by God. How could any person decide this? How could having or lacking money determine this? How could one’s environment determine this? All of this is determined by God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Therefore, you do not need to overly analyze or investigate the matter of your parents falling seriously ill or meeting with some great misfortune, and you certainly should not put energy into it—doing so will be of no use. People being born, growing old, getting sick, dying, and encountering various great and small matters in life are very normal occurrences. If you are an adult, then you should have a mature way of thinking, and you should approach this matter calmly and correctly: “My parents are ill. Some people say that it’s because they missed me so much, is that possible? They definitely missed me—how could a person not miss their own child? I missed them too, so why didn’t I get sick?” Does any person get sick because they miss their children? That’s not the case. So, what is going on when your parents encounter these significant matters? It can only be said that God has orchestrated this kind of matter in their lives. It has been orchestrated by God’s hand—you cannot focus on objective reasons and causes—your parents were supposed to encounter this matter when they reached this age, they were supposed to be struck with this illness. Could they have avoided it if you had been there? If God had not arranged for them to fall ill as part of their fates, then nothing would have happened to them, even if you hadn’t been with them. If they were destined to encounter this kind of great misfortune in their lives, what effect could you have had if you’d been by their side? They still wouldn’t have been able to avoid it, right? (Right.) Think about those people who don’t believe in God—aren’t their families all together, year after year? When those parents encounter great misfortune, the members of their extended family and their children are all with them, right? When parents fall ill, or when their illnesses worsen, is it because their children left them? That’s not the case, it is fated to happen. It’s just that, as their child, because you have this blood tie with your parents, you will feel upset when you hear that they are sick, while other people won’t feel anything. This is very normal. However, your parents encountering this kind of great misfortune doesn’t mean that you need to analyze and investigate, or ponder on how to get rid of it or resolve it. Your parents are adults; they have encountered this more than a few times in society. If God arranges an environment to rid them of this matter, then, sooner or later, it will vanish completely. If this matter is a life hurdle for them, and they must experience it, then it is up to God how long they must experience it for. It is something that they must experience, and they cannot avoid it. If you wish to single-handedly resolve this matter, to analyze and investigate the source, causes, and consequences of this matter, that is a foolish thought. It is of no use, and it is superfluous. You should not act in this way, analyzing, investigating, and contacting your classmates and friends for help, contacting the hospital for your parents, contacting the best doctors, arranging for the best hospital bed for them—you do not need to rack your brain doing all of these things. If you really do have some excess energy, then you should do a good job at the duty you’re supposed to perform now. Your parents have their own fates. No one can escape the age at which they are supposed to die. Your parents are not the masters of your fate, and in the same way, you are not the master of your parents’ fates. If something is fated to happen to them, what can you do about it? What effect can you being anxious and looking for solutions achieve? It cannot achieve anything; it depends on God’s will. If God wants to take them away, and enable you to perform your duty undisturbed, can you interfere with this? Can you discuss conditions with God? What should you do at this time? Racking your brain coming up with solutions, investigating, analyzing, putting the blame on yourself, and feeling ashamed to face your parents—are these the thoughts and actions that a person ought to have? These are all manifestations of a lack of submission to God and the truth; they are irrational, unwise, and rebellious toward God. People should not have these manifestations. Do you understand? (Yes.)
Some people say: “I know that I shouldn’t analyze or investigate the matter of my parents falling ill or meeting with some great misfortune, that doing so is pointless, and that I should approach this based on the truth principles, but I cannot restrain myself from analyzing and investigating it.” So, let us resolve the problem of restraint, so that you no longer need to restrain yourself. How can this be achieved? In this life, people with healthy bodies begin experiencing symptoms of old age after they reach 50 or 60 years old—their muscles and bones deteriorate, they lose their strength, they can’t sleep well or eat a lot, and they don’t have enough energy to work, read, or do any kind of job. Various kinds of diseases burst forth within them, like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and so on. For those who are a bit healthier, though they have these symptoms of old age, they can do whatever they need to do, and these symptoms don’t impact them living and working as normal. This is quite good. For those who are less healthy, these symptoms do impact them working and living as normal, and they sometimes have to go to the hospital to see the doctor. Some of these people get colds or headaches; others get enteritis or diarrhea, and need to rest in bed for two days every time they suffer from a bout of diarrhea. Some people have high blood pressure, and they get so dizzy that they can’t walk, ride in a car, or go far from their homes. There are also some who have urinary incontinence, it’s inconvenient for them to go outside, so they rarely go out and travel with their relatives and friends. There are others who always have allergic reactions when they eat. There are some people who don’t sleep well, and cannot sleep in noisy places; as soon as they move to another place, it’s even harder for them to sleep. All of these things have a severe impact on these people’s lives and work. There are even some people who cannot work for more than three to four consecutive hours. And then there are even more severe cases, where people become terminally ill at 50 or 60 years old, for example, with cancer, diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease, and so on. Whether these diseases are caused by the things they ate, or by polluted environments, air, or water, the law of man’s flesh is that, after women reach 45 years old and after men reach 50 years old, their bodies progressively deteriorate. Every day, they say that this part of them is uncomfortable and that part hurts, they go to the doctor to check it, and it’s terminal cancer. Ultimately, the doctor says: “Go home, it can’t be treated.” All people will encounter these fleshly illnesses. Today it’s them, tomorrow it’s you and us. According to age and in sequential order, people will all be born, grow old, fall ill, and die—from youth they enter old age, from old age they fall ill, and from illness they die—this is the law. It is just that when you hear news that your parents have become ill, because they are the people closest to you, who you worry the most about, and who raised you, you will be unable to get past this hurdle of your feelings, and you will think: “I don’t feel anything when other people’s parents die, but my parents can’t get ill, because that would make me sad. I can’t bear it, my heart aches, I can’t get past my feelings!” Just because they are your parents, you think that they shouldn’t grow old, get sick, and that they certainly shouldn’t die—does that make sense? This doesn’t make sense, and it is not a truth. Do you understand? (Yes.) Every person will face their parents aging, getting sick, and in some serious cases people’s parents are even paralyzed in bed, and some fall into vegetative states. Some people’s parents have high blood pressure, partial paralysis, strokes, or they even get a serious illness and die. Every person will personally witness, see, or hear about the process of their parents aging, becoming sick, and then dying. It is just that some people hear of this sooner, when their parents are in their 50s; some people hear this news when their parents are in their 60s; and others only hear it when their parents are 80, 90, or 100 years old. But no matter when you hear this news, as a son or daughter, one day, sooner or later, you will accept this fact. If you are an adult, you should have a mature way of thinking, and the correct attitude toward people being born, growing old, getting sick, and dying, and not be impulsive; you shouldn’t be unable to bear it when you hear news that your parents are sick, or that they have received notice from the hospital that they are critically ill. Being born, growing old, getting sick, and dying are things that every person must accept, on what basis are you unable to bear this? This is the law that God has ordained for man’s birth and death, why do you want to violate it? Why don’t you accept it? What is your intention? You don’t want to let your parents die, you don’t want them to live by the law of being born, growing old, getting sick, and dying that God has established, you want to stop them from getting sick, and from dying—what would that make them? Wouldn’t that make them plastic people? Would they still be people, then? Therefore, you must accept this fact. Before you hear news that your parents are growing old, that they have gotten sick, and died, you should prepare yourself for this in your heart. One day, sooner or later, every person will grow old, they will weaken, and they will die. Since your parents are normal people, why can’t they experience this hurdle? They should experience this hurdle, and you should approach it correctly. Has this matter been resolved? Can you deal with such things rationally now? (Yes.) Then, when your parents become seriously ill or have some great misfortune befall them in the future, how will you approach this? It is also wrong to ignore it, and people will say: “Are you a toad or a snake? How could you be so cold-blooded?” You are a normal person, so you should have a reaction. You should ponder: “My parents have had hard lives, and they’ve contracted this illness at a young age. They haven’t enjoyed any blessings, and they haven’t been diligent in their belief in God. That’s how their lives have been. They’ve understood nothing, they haven’t walked the right path or pursued the truth. They’ve just passed their days. There’s no difference between them and animals—there’s no difference between them and old cows or old horses. Now that they’ve become seriously ill, they’ll just have to fend for themselves, but I hope that God can reduce some of their suffering.” Pray for them in your heart, and that’s enough. What can any person do? If you’re not with your parents, you cannot do anything; even if you are by their side, what can you do? How many people have personally seen their parents going from youth to old age, from old age to contracting various illnesses, from contracting these various illnesses to their medical treatment failing, to them being declared dead, and to them being pushed to the morgue? There is no shortage of them. These children all stay with their parents, but what can they do? They cannot do anything; they can only watch. Not watching this process now will save you some trouble; it is better not to watch it, watching it happen wouldn’t be a good thing for you. Isn’t that the case? (It is.) When it comes to this matter, in one respect you must see through to the fact that people being born, growing old, falling ill, and dying is a law established by God; in another respect, you must see the responsibilities that people ought to fulfill and their fates clearly, must not be irrational, and must not do impulsive or foolish things. Why shouldn’t you do impulsive or foolish things? Because even if you do them, it won’t be of any use, instead it will reveal your foolishness. More seriously, while you are doing foolish things, you are disobeying God, and God does not like this, He loathes it. You are clear on and understand all of these truths in terms of doctrine, but you still cling to your own path, and do some things in an obstinate and contrived way, so God does not like you, He abhors you. What does He abhor about you? He abhors your stubborn foolishness and your disobedience. You think that you possess some human feeling, but God says that you are stubborn and foolish—you are stubborn, foolish, stupid, and intransigent, and you do not accept the truth or submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. God has clearly told you the essence, source, and specific principles of practice that are contained within this matter, but you still want to use your feelings to handle all of this, so God doesn’t like you. Ultimately, if God does not take your parents’ illness away from them, then they will become seriously ill and die, if that is what’s supposed to happen to them. No person can change this fact. If you wish to change it, this only proves that you want to use your own hands and methods to change God’s sovereignty. This is the greatest disobedience, and you are opposing God. If you do not want to oppose God, when you hear that these things have happened to your parents, you should be calm, and find a place where you can be alone to cry, think, and pray, or express your feelings of longing to the brothers and sisters around you. That’s all you need to do. You must not think about changing something, and you certainly must not do foolish things. Do not pray to God, asking Him to take away your parents’ illness, and to allow them to live for a few more years, or to take two years of your own life and give it to them, just because you believe in God, or on the basis that you have forsaken your family and abandoned your career to perform your duty for so many years. Do not do these kinds of things. God will not listen to these kinds of prayers, and He abhors these kinds of thoughts and prayers. Do not upset or anger God. God is most fed up with people wishing to manipulate someone’s fate, to change the fact of God’s sovereignty over the fate of a person, or to change some facts that have long been established by God or the trajectories of people’s fates. God loathes this the most.
I have finished fellowshiping on the attitude, thoughts, and understanding that people ought to have regarding the matter of their parents falling ill. In the same way, when it comes to their parents passing away, people should also possess a correct and rational attitude. Some people have been apart from their parents for many years, they haven’t been by their parents’ side or lived with them, and when they hear that their parents have suddenly passed away, it deals a big blow to them, and it all feels incredibly abrupt. Because these people haven’t been with their parents or lived with them for so many years, they always harbor a kind of misconception in their thoughts and notions. What kind of misconception? When you left your parents, they were alive and well. After being away from them for so many years, in your mind, your parents remain the same age, and remain in the same physical and living condition that you remember. This makes a mess of things. Then you believe that your parents will never grow old and that they will live to celebrate a great many birthdays. That is, as soon as their faces are stored in your heart, as soon as their lives, their words, and their deportment leave an impression and an imprint on your mind and on your memory, you think that your parents will be like that forever, that they will not change, grow old, and certainly not die. What does “not die” refer to here? In one respect, it means that their physical bodies will not disappear. In another respect, it means that their faces, their feelings for you, and so on, will not disappear. This is a misconception, and it will cause you a great deal of trouble. Therefore, no matter what age your parents are, whether they die of old age, or because of an illness, or because some incidents happened, it will deal a blow to you, and it will feel very abrupt to you. Because, in your mind, your parents are still alive and well, and then they’re suddenly gone, you will think: “How can they be gone? How could living people just turn to dust? In my heart, I always feel that my parents are still living, that my mom is still cooking in the kitchen, keeping very busy, and that my dad is working outside each day, only coming home in the evening.” These scenes from their lives have left some impressions on your mind. So, because of your feelings, your consciousness harbors something that it shouldn’t, which is the belief that your parents will live forever in your heart. As such, you believe that they shouldn’t die, and no matter in what circumstances your parents pass away, you will feel that it is a huge blow to you, and you won’t be able to accept it. It will take time for you to overcome this fact, right? Your parents getting sick would already be a big shock for you, so your parents passing away would be an even greater shock. Then, before this has happened, how should you resolve the unexpected blow that it will deal to you, so that it will not impact, interfere with, or affect your performance of your duty or the path that you walk? First, let’s look at what exactly death is all about, and what exactly passing away is all about—doesn’t it mean that a person is leaving this world? (Yes.) It means that the life a person possesses, which has a physical presence, is removed from the material world that humans can see, and disappears. That person then goes on to live in another world, in another form. The lives of your parents departing means that the relationship you have with them in this world has dissolved, disappeared, and ended. They are living in another world, in other forms. As for how their lives will go in that other world, whether they will return to this world, meet you again, or have any kind of fleshly relationship or emotional entanglements with you, this is ordained by God, and it has nothing to do with you. In sum, their passing away means that their missions in this world are over, and a full stop has been placed behind them. Their missions in this life and in this world have ended, so your relationship with them has also ended. As for whether they will be reincarnated in the future, or if they will meet with any kind of penalty and restriction, or any kind of handling and arrangements in the other world, does this have anything to do with you? Can you decide this? It has nothing to do with you, you cannot decide this, and you will not be able to obtain any news of this. Your relationship with them in this life comes to an end at that time. That is, the fate that bound you together as you lived alongside one another for 10, 20, 30, or 40 years comes to an end then. After that, they are them, you are you, and no relationship exists between you at all. Even if you all believe in God, they performed their own duties, and you perform yours; when they no longer live in the same spatial environment, there’s no longer any relationship between you. They have simply completed the missions that God entrusted to them already. So, when it comes to the responsibilities they fulfilled for you, those end the day that you begin existing independently from them—you have nothing to do with your parents anymore. If they pass away today, you will just be missing something on an emotional level, and have two less loved ones to yearn for. You will never see them again, and you will never be able to hear any news of them again. What happens to them afterward and their future has nothing to do with you, there will be no blood ties between you, you will not even be the same kind of being anymore. That’s how it is. Your parents passing away will just be the last news that you hear about them in this world, and the last of the hurdles that you see or hear about when it comes to their experiences of being born, growing old, getting sick, and dying in their lives, that is all. Their deaths won’t take anything away or give anything to you, they will have simply died, their journeys as people will have come to an end. So, when it comes to them passing away, it doesn’t matter whether these are accidental deaths, normal deaths, deaths from illness, and so on, in any case, if not for God’s sovereignty and arrangements, no person or force could take away their lives. Their passing away only means the end of their physical lives. If you miss them and yearn for them, or feel ashamed of yourself due to your feelings, you shouldn’t feel any of these things, and it is not necessary to feel them. They have departed from this world, so missing them is redundant, isn’t it? If you think: “Did my parents miss me over all those years? How much more did they suffer because I wasn’t by their side showing filial piety to them for so many years? Over all these years, I’ve always been wishing that I could spend a few days with them, I never expected that they’d pass away so soon. I feel sad and guilty.” It is not necessary for you to think in this way, their deaths have nothing to do with you. Why do they have nothing to do with you? Because, even if you showed them filial piety or accompanied them, this is not the obligation or task that God has given you. God has ordained how much good fortune and how much suffering your parents will encounter from you—this has nothing at all to do with you. They will not live longer because you are with them, and they will not live shorter lives because you’re far from them and couldn’t be with them often. God has ordained how long they will live, and it has nothing to do with you. Therefore, if you hear news that your parents have passed away during your lifetime, you do not need to feel guilty. You should approach this matter in the correct way and accept it. If you already shed a lot of tears while they were seriously ill, you should feel happy and free when they pass away; after you send them off, there is no need to cry. You will have already fulfilled your responsibilities as their child, you will have prayed for them, felt sad for them, and shed countless tears for them, and, of course, you will have thought of many possible solutions to treat their illness, and you will have done your utmost to lessen their suffering. You will have already done everything you can as their child. When they pass away, you could only say: “You’ve had pretty hard lives. As your child, I hope you rest in peace. If you did many things to offend God in this life, then you will have to receive punishment in the next world. If, after you have received your punishment, God gives you the opportunity to be reincarnated as people again in this world, I hope that you’ll do your best to comport yourselves well, and walk the right path. Don’t do any more things to offend God, and strive to not receive any punishment in your next lives.” That is all. Isn’t this well-put? This is all that you can do; whether it is for your parents or for another one of your loved ones, this is all that you can do. Of course, when your parents ultimately pass away, if you cannot be with them or give them some final comfort, it is not necessary for you to feel sad. This is because every person actually leaves this world alone. Even if their children are with them, when a messenger comes to collect them, only they will be able to see it. When they leave, no person will be accompanying them, their children cannot accompany them, and neither can their significant other. When people leave this world, they are always alone. In their final moments, every person needs to face this situation, this process, and this environment. Therefore, if you are by their side, and they are looking right at you, it will still be of no use. When they have to depart, if they want to call your name, they will not be able to, and you will not be able to hear it; if they want to reach out and grab you, they won’t have the strength, and you won’t be able to feel it. They will be alone. This is because every person enters this world alone, and ultimately, they must leave it alone too. This is ordained by God. The existence of such things enables people to see even more clearly that their lives and fates, and them being born, growing old, falling ill, and dying, are all in God’s hands, and that every person’s life is independent. Even though all people have parents, siblings, and loved ones, from God’s perspective, and from the perspective of life, every person’s life is independent, lives are not grouped together, and no life has a partner. From the perspective of created humans, every life is independent, but from the perspective of God, no life that He has created is alone, because God is accompanying each one of them and pulling them forward. It is just that when you are in this world, you are born to your parents, and you think that your parents are the people closest to you, but in fact, when your parents leave this world, you will realize that they are not the people closest to you. When their lives end, you will still be living, their lives ending won’t take away your life, and it certainly won’t impact your life. You’ve been away from them for all these years, and you’re still living a good life. Why is that? Because God is watching over you and guiding you; you are living under His sovereignty. When your parents depart from this world, this will make you even more aware that without your parents accompanying you, caring for you, looking after you, or raising you, over these years you went from growing up, to adulthood, to middle age, to old age, and under the guidance of God, you’ve understood more and more in your life, and your forward direction and path have become increasingly clear. Therefore, people are able to leave their parents. The existence of their parents is only necessary during their childhoods, but after they grow up, the existence of their parents is merely a formality. Their parents are just their emotional sustenance and support, and they are not necessary. Of course, when your parents leave this world, these things will feel increasingly clear to you, and you will feel even more that people’s lives come from God, and that people cannot live without leaning on God, without God as their mental and spiritual sustenance, and the sustenance for their lives. When your parents leave you, you will just miss them on an emotional level, but at the same time, you will be set free emotionally or in other respects. Why will you be set free? When your parents are around, they are both worries and burdens for you. They are people to whom you can be willful, and they make you feel as though you cannot break free from your feelings. When your parents pass away, all of this will be resolved. The people you felt were closest to you will be gone, and you won’t have to worry about them, or yearn for them. When you break through this dependent relationship you have with your parents, when they depart from this world, when you thoroughly feel in the depths of your heart that your parents are already gone, and you feel that you have already transcended your blood ties with your parents, you will truly become mature and independent. Think about it: No matter how old people are, if their parents are still around, whenever they have a problem, they’ll think: “I’ll ask my mom, I’ll ask my dad.” There is always emotional sustenance for them. When people have the emotional sustenance, they feel that their existence in this world is overflowing with warmth and happiness. When you lose that feeling of happiness and that warmth, if you do not feel that you are alone, or that you have lost happiness and warmth, then you are mature, and you are truly independent in terms of your thoughts and feelings. Most of you probably haven’t experienced these things yet. When you do, you will understand. Think about it: No matter how old people are, whether they are 40, 50, or 60 years old, when their parents pass away, they immediately become much more mature. It is like they go from a naive child to a sensible adult in an instant. Overnight they come to understand things, and to be independent. Therefore, for every person, their parents passing away is a great hurdle. If you can handle and approach your relationship with your parents correctly, and at the same time correctly approach, handle, and let go of your parents’ various expectations for you, or the responsibilities that you ought to perform for your parents on an emotional and ethical level, then you will have truly matured, and at the very least, you will be an adult before God. To become an adult like this is not easy, you must suffer some pain in terms of your fleshly feelings, in particular, you must endure some emotional devastation and torment, as well as the pain of things not going well, not going as you hoped, or being unfortunate, and so on. When you have experienced all of this pain, you will gain a bit more insight into these matters. If you link them to the truths that we have fellowshiped on regarding these matters, you will gain a bit more insight into people’s lives and fates, which are ordained by God, as well as the affection that exists between people, in a very thorough way. When you gain insight into these things, it will be easy for you to let go of them. When you can let go of these things and handle them correctly, you will be able to approach them correctly. You will not approach them based on human doctrines or the standards of human conscience; you will approach them in accordance with the truth principles. What does it mean to be in accordance with the truth principles? It means that you can submit to God. If you can submit to God and to His orchestrations, this is a good sign and a good portent. What does it portend? That you have hope for salvation. Therefore, when it comes to the matter of your parents’ expectations, no matter if you’re young, middle-aged, elderly, or in your later years now, and regardless of if you haven’t experienced this, if you’re experiencing it right now, or if you’ve already experienced it, what you need to do is not merely let go of your feelings, or cut ties with your parents and disconnect yourself from them, it is to put effort into the truth, and to seek to understand these aspects of the truth. This is the most important thing. When you understand these different, complex relationships, you can be freed from them, and you will no longer be constrained by them. When you are no longer constrained by them, it will be much easier for you to submit to God’s orchestrations, and you will face fewer obstacles and smaller hindrances in doing so. Then you’ll be less likely to disobey God, right?
Are you now able to see through and resolve all of these major matters that relate to parents? When you have free time, ponder on the truth. If, in the future, or in the things that you are experiencing now, you can link these matters to the truth, and resolve these problems based on the truth, you’ll face a lot less trouble and fewer difficulties, and you’ll live a very relaxed and joyful life. If you do not approach these things based on the truth, you’ll encounter a lot of trouble, and your life will be very painful. This is the outcome. I’ll finish fellowshiping on the topic of parental expectations here today. Goodbye!
April 29, 2023