How to Pursue the Truth (3)
Where did we get to in our fellowship at our last gathering? We were fellowshiping on how to pursue the truth, which relates to two major topics which are primarily two aspects of practice. What is the first? (The first is letting go.) And the second? (The second is devoting oneself.) The first is letting go, and the second is devoting oneself. With regard to the practice of “letting go,” we first fellowshiped on letting go of various negative emotions. The first aspect of “letting go” involves letting go of various negative emotions. So when we spoke about letting go of various negative emotions, which ones did we mention? (God talked about inferiority, hatred, and anger the first time, and then the second time about depression.) The first time, I talked about the need to let go of hatred, anger, and inferiority—these three negative emotions were what I spoke about primarily, and I also spoke at some length on depression. The second time, I spoke about practicing letting go of depression as one of the negative emotions. People can get depressed for all kinds of reasons, and last time I mainly spoke about several ways in which the negative emotion of depression can come about. Tell Me, what were the main causes I gave for the emotion of depression to come about? (God, there are altogether three causes. The first is people always feeling that they have a bad fate; the second is people blaming their bad luck when things happen to them; and the third is when people have committed serious transgressions in the past, or when they have done foolish or ignorant things, which caused them to sink into depression.) These are the three main ones. The first is because people believe that their fate is bad, and so they are often depressed; the second is because people believe themselves to be unlucky, and so often get depressed as well; and the third is because people have committed serious transgressions, which leads them to often feel depressed. These are the three primary causes. The emotion of depression is not a fleeting feeling of negativity or sadness. Rather it is a habitual and recurrent negative emotion in the mind brought about by certain causes. This negative emotion causes people to have many negative thoughts, views, and standpoints, and even many extreme and fallacious thoughts, views, behaviors, and methods. It is not a temporary mood or a fleeting idea; it is a recurrent and habitual negative emotion, with people all the time, accompanying people in their lives in their innermost hearts and deep in their souls, and with them in their thoughts and actions. Not only does this negative emotion affect the conscience and reason of people’s normal humanity, but it can also have an impact on the various standpoints, views, and perspectives people have in the way they look at people and things, and in their conduct and actions in their daily lives. Therefore, it is necessary for us to analyze different negative feelings, dissect them, and recognize them, before then letting them go and changing them one by one, striving to gradually leave them behind so that your conscience and reason, as well as the thinking of your humanity, become normal and practical, and so that the way you look at people and things and the way you conduct yourselves and do things in your daily lives are no longer impacted, controlled or even oppressed by these negative feelings—this is the main objective of dissecting and discerning these various negative emotions. The main objective is not for you to listen to what I say, know it, understand it, and then leave it there, but rather it is for you to know from My words exactly how harmful negative emotions are to people, to know how harmful they are and how great an impact they have on people’s daily lives, the way they view people and things, and the way they conduct themselves and behave.
We also fellowshiped before on how, to a certain extent, these negative emotions do not reach the level of corrupt dispositions and a corrupt essence, but do facilitate and exacerbate people’s corrupt dispositions to some degree, providing a basis for their doing things based on their corrupt dispositions, and giving people more reason to live by their corrupt dispositions while supported by these negative emotions, as well as reason to view anyone or anything based on their corrupt dispositions. These negative emotions, therefore, all impact people’s daily lives to varying degrees, and, to a certain extent, they affect and control people’s various thoughts, and influence the attitudes, perspectives, and standpoints they have on the truth and God. It can be said that these negative emotions do not have a good impact on people at all, nor any positive or helpful effect, but, conversely, can only harm people. That’s why when people live within these negative emotions, their hearts are naturally influenced and controlled by them, and they are unable to stop themselves from living in a state of negativity, and they even adopt extreme views on people and things from absurd standpoints. When people view a person or a thing from the perspective and standpoint of negative emotions, naturally the behaviors, approaches, and effects of the comportment and actions that they produce will be adulterated with extreme, negative, and depressive emotions. These negative, depressive, and extreme emotions will cause people to be disobedient to God, dissatisfied with God, to blame God, to defy Him, and even to oppose Him, as well as, of course, to hate Him. For example, when a person believes they have a bad fate, who do they blame for it? They may not say it, but in their heart, they believe that God has acted wrongly and that He is unfair, and they think, “Why did God make him so good-looking? Why did God allow him to be born into such a great family? Why did He give him such gifts? Why did He give him such good caliber? Why is my caliber so bad? Why did God arrange for him to be a leader? Why is it never my turn, why have I never gotten to be a leader even once? Why does everything go so smoothly for him, and when I do anything, it never goes right or smoothly? Why is my fate so miserable? Why are the things that happen to me so different? Why do only bad things happen to me?” Although these thoughts that arise from depressive emotions do not cause people to blame God, or to oppose God and their fate in their subjective consciousness, they do cause people to often and involuntarily sink into emotions of being disobedient, dissatisfied, resentful, envious, and hateful in their innermost hearts. In severe cases, they can even cause people to produce more extreme thoughts and behaviors. For example, when some people see someone else performing better than them and being commended by God, they feel envy and loathing. Consequently, a series of petty actions are set in motion: They speak ill of the other person and undermine them behind their back, they secretly do some shady and irrational things, and so on. The arising of this series of issues is directly related to their depression and negative emotions. This series of thoughts, behaviors, and approaches which arises from their depressive emotions may seem like just kinds of emotions at first, but as things progress, these negative and depressive emotions can increasingly encourage people to live by their corrupt satanic dispositions. However, if people understand the truth and live with normal humanity, when these negative and depressive emotions arise within them, their conscience and reason can promptly spring into action, and these people can perceive the presence and disturbance of these depressive emotions and see through them. They can then very quickly leave their depressive emotions behind them, and when they encounter people, events, and things in their present situation, they can make rational judgments and rationally regard the situations they encounter and the things they experience from the correct perspective. When people do all these things rationally, the most basic thing that they will be able to achieve is to accept the governance of the conscience and reason of normal humanity. Even better, if they understand the truth, they will be able to act in accordance with the truth principles in a more rational manner, upon the basis of their conscience and reason, and they will not comport themselves or act under the mastery of their corrupt dispositions. However, if negative emotions take the predominant position in their hearts, influencing their thoughts, views, and the way they handle matters and conduct themselves, then naturally these negative emotions will affect their progress in life, and lead to their thoughts, choices, behavior, and approaches being obstructed and disturbed in all manner of situations. In one respect, these negative emotions facilitate people’s corrupt dispositions, causing people to feel at ease and justified living in their corrupt dispositions; in another respect, they can also cause people to resist positive things and to live in negativity, unwilling to see the light. In this way, negative emotions become more rampant and severe in people, and they absolutely do not permit people to act rationally within the boundaries of conscience and reason. Instead, they prevent people from seeking the truth and from living before God, and, in this way, people naturally degenerate even further, not only feeling negative, but also straying far from God. And what will the consequences be of things continuing like this? Not only can negative emotions not resolve people’s corrupt dispositions, but they will facilitate them, which will cause people to handle matters and conduct themselves based on their corrupt dispositions and to go their own way. What will people do when they’re dominated by fallacious and extreme thoughts and views? Will they disturb the work of the church? Will they spread negativity, and judge God and the work arrangements of God’s house? Will they blame God and defy Him? They certainly will! These are the ultimate consequences. A series of approaches, such as disobedience, dissatisfaction, negativity, and opposition will arise within people—these are all the consequences of negative emotions taking a predominant position in people’s hearts over a long period of time. Look, just a tiny negative emotion—an emotion that people would seemingly be unable to feel, that people could not even sense the existence of or feel whatever effect it’s having on them—this tiny negative emotion still follows them around as if it has been with them since birth. It causes people harm of all shapes and sizes, and it is even constantly enveloping, intimidating, suppressing, and binding you, to the point where it accompanies you all the time, just like your life does, and yet you are totally unaware of it, often living within it and taking it for granted, thinking things like, “This is how people are supposed to think, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s very normal. Who doesn’t have some active thoughts like these? Who doesn’t have some negative emotions?” You are unable to sense the harm this negative emotion is causing you, but the harm is very real, and you will often be involuntarily incited by it to naturally pour forth your corrupt dispositions, and to act and comport yourself based on your corrupt dispositions, until finally you do everything based on your corrupt dispositions. You can imagine what the final results of this are: They are all negative, all adverse, with nothing beneficial or positive, much less anything that can help people to gain the truth and God’s commendation—these are not optimistic outcomes. Therefore, as long as negative emotions exist in a person, all kinds of negative thoughts and views will severely influence and dominate their life. As long as negative thoughts and views influence and dominate their life, there will be huge obstacles stopping them from pursuing the truth, practicing the truth, and entering into the truth reality. And so, it is necessary for us to continue exposing and dissecting these negative emotions, so that all of them can be resolved.
The negative emotions we have just fellowshiped on have a serious effect and cause severe harm to people, but there are other negative emotions which likewise influence and harm people. Besides the negative emotions of hatred, anger, inferiority, and depression which we have already talked about, there are the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry. These emotions are likewise rooted deep in people’s innermost hearts, and they accompany people in their everyday lives, and in their words and actions. Of course, when things happen to people, they also affect the thoughts and views that arise within them, as well as the standpoints and perspectives they take. Today, we will dissect and expose the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, and endeavor to help people discover them within themselves. After people discover these negative emotions within themselves, the ultimate goal is for them to know these negative emotions thoroughly, to clear them out, to no longer live under their influence, and to no longer live and comport themselves with these negative emotions as their basis and foundation. First, let’s look at the words “distress, anxiety, and worry.” Are they not ways of expressing emotions? (They are.) Before we fellowship on this topic, let’s first contemplate on it, so that you have the most basic concept of “distress, anxiety, and worry.” Whether you reach a literal understanding of the words, or a deeper understanding beyond their literal meaning, you will then have a basic knowledge of these negative emotions. First tell Me what has caused you to worry in the past, or what things you are always feeling distressed, anxious, and worried about. They can be like a great stone crushing you, or like a shadow that is always following you, binding you. (God, I’ll say a few words. When I don’t achieve any results in my duty, this emotion is quite prominent, and I worry whether I’ll be exposed and cast out, and whether I’ll have a good future and a good destination. When I achieve results in my duty, I don’t feel like this, but whenever I don’t achieve results in it for some time, this kind of negative emotion becomes extremely evident.) Is this not a manifestation of the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry? (It is.) That’s right. This kind of negative emotion hides within people’s innermost hearts at all times, constantly influencing their thoughts. Although people can’t sense this kind of negative emotion when nothing bad has happened, it’s like an odor, or like a kind of gas, or even more so like an electric wave. You can’t see it and when you aren’t aware of it, you’re even not able to feel it either. However, you can always sense its presence in your innermost heart, like the so-called sixth sense, and you can always subconsciously feel the existence of this kind of thought and emotion. At the appropriate time, in the appropriate place, and in the appropriate context, this kind of negative emotion will rise up little by little, and emerge bit by bit. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) So, what other things make you feel distressed, anxious, and worried? Is there nothing besides what was just mentioned? If so, then you must be living so happily and without worry, without any anxiety, and without feeling distressed about anything—then you would be a free person indeed. Is that how it is? (No.) Well then, tell Me what is in your hearts. (When I don’t perform well in my duty, I’m always worrying about losing reputation and status, worrying what my brothers and sisters will think of me, and what my leader will think of me. Also, when I’m working together with my brothers and sisters to do my duty and I keep revealing my corrupt dispositions, I’m always worrying that I’ve believed in God for so long yet I haven’t changed at all, and if this carries on, then perhaps one day I’ll be cast out. These are the misgivings I have.) When you have these misgivings do the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry arise in you? (They do.) So, most of you are anxious and worried because you’re not performing your duties well, is that right? (Mostly, I’m worried about my future and my fate.) Worrying about one’s future and fate is the predominant one. When people are unable to see through to, understand, accept, or submit to the environments that God orchestrates and His sovereignty, and when people face various difficulties in their daily lives, or when these difficulties exceed what normal people can bear, they subconsciously feel all kinds of worry and anxiety, and even distress. They don’t know what tomorrow will be like, or the day after, or how things will be in a few years’ time, or what their future will be like, and so they feel distressed, anxious, and worried about all manner of things. What is the context in which people feel distressed, anxious, and worried about all manner of things? It is that they don’t believe in the sovereignty of God—that is, they are unable to believe in and see through to God’s sovereignty. Even if they saw it with their own eyes, they wouldn’t understand it, or believe it. They don’t believe that God holds sovereignty over their fate, they don’t believe that their lives are in God’s hands, and so distrust arises in their hearts toward God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and then blame arises, and they are unable to submit. Besides blaming and being unable to submit, they want to be the masters of their own fate and act on their own initiative. What then becomes the actual situation after they start acting on their own initiative? All they can do is live relying on their own caliber and abilities, but there are many things they cannot achieve, or reach, or accomplish with their own caliber and abilities. For example: what will happen to them in the future, whether they’ll be able to get into college, whether they’ll be able to get a good job when they finish college, and whether everything will go well for them once they get a job; and if they want to climb the ladder and get rich, whether they’ll be able to achieve their ideals and desires within a few years; and then when they want to find a partner, and to get married and start a family, what kind of partner will be suitable for them? To man, things such as these are unknown. With such things unknown, people feel at a loss. When people feel like they’re at a loss, they become distressed, anxious, and worried—they feel distressed, anxious, and worried about everything the future may hold for them. Why is this? It’s because, within the ambit of normal humanity, people just cannot bear all these things. No one knows how they will be in a few years’ time, no one knows what their job, or marriage, or children will be like in the future—people just don’t know these things. These are things that cannot be foreknown within the range of the abilities of normal humanity, and that’s why people always feel distressed, anxious, and worried about them. No matter how simple a person’s mind is, so long as they are able to think, these negative emotions will arise in their innermost heart once they reach adulthood, one by one. Why do distress, anxiety, and worry arise within people? Because people are always fretting and getting agitated about things beyond the scope of their ability; they always want to know, to understand, and to achieve things beyond the scope of their ability, and even to control things outside the range of the abilities of normal humanity. They want to control all of this, and not just that—they also want the laws and outcomes of the development of these things to progress and be fulfilled according to their own will. Therefore, dominated by such irrational thoughts, people feel distress, anxiety, and worry, and the consequences of these emotions differ from person to person. Regardless of what things people feel intensely distressed, anxious, or worried about, thereby forming these negative emotions, people should take them very seriously and seek the truth to resolve them.
We will fellowship on the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry primarily from two aspects: The first will be to dissect people’s difficulties to see what they are, and from there see exactly what the reasons are for the arising of the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, and exactly how they arise; the second will be to dissect the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry in terms of the various attitudes people have toward God’s work. Do you understand? (Yes.) How many aspects are there? (Two.) We are to dissect the reasons for the arising of the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, first from the difficulties people have, and second from people’s attitudes toward God’s work. Repeat that back to Me. (We are to dissect the reasons for the arising of the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, first from the difficulties people have, and second from people’s attitudes toward God’s work.) There are many difficulties people can have, all of which people meet in their everyday lives, difficulties which arise often within the scope of living a life of normal humanity. And how do these difficulties come about? They come about because people are always trying to overreach themselves, always trying to control their own fate, to know their future ahead of time. If their future doesn’t look good, they immediately go in search of a feng shui expert or fortuneteller to redress and correct it. That’s why people encounter so many difficulties in their everyday lives, and it is these difficulties which cause people to often slide down into the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry. What are these difficulties? Let’s first take a look at what people consider to be their greatest difficulty—what is that? It is their future prospects, meaning what a person’s future will be in this lifetime, whether they will be wealthy or ordinary in the future, whether they will be able to stand out, achieve great success, and prosper in the world and among people. Especially among those who believe in God, they may not know what will happen to others in the future, but they often worry about their own future and always wonder, “Is this all there is to believing in God? Will I ever get to stand out from the crowd in the future? Will I be able to take on an important role in God’s house? Will I be able to be a team leader or someone in charge? Will I be able to be a leader? What’s going to happen to me? If I constantly perform my duty like this in God’s house, what will become of me in the end? Will I attain salvation? Do I have any future prospects? Do I still need to keep doing my job in the world? Do I need to continue studying the professional skill I was learning before, or take it into further education? If I can keep performing my duty full-time in God’s house, I shouldn’t have any issues with the basic necessities of life, but if I don’t perform my duty well and I get reallocated and replaced, how will I live then? Should I take the opportunity now, before I get replaced or cast out, to prepare for that eventuality?” They wonder about these things and see that they have some savings, and they think, “How many years can I last on what I have saved? I’m in my thirties now, and in ten years I’ll be in my forties. If I get removed from the church, will I be able to keep up with the situation when I return to the world? Will my health be good enough to allow me to keep working? Will I be able to earn enough to live on? Will I find it hard to live? I perform my duty in God’s house, but will God keep me until the end?” Although they think about these things all the time, they never find the answers. Although there is never any conclusion, they can’t help but keep thinking these things—it is out of their control. When they encounter some setback or difficulty, or when something doesn’t go the way they wanted, in their innermost hearts, they consider these things, without telling anyone. When some people are pruned and dealt with, when they are replaced in their duties, when they are reallocated to different duties, or when they meet with some crisis or other, they involuntarily look for a route of retreat and can’t help but make plans and schemes for their next steps. Regardless of what happens in the end, people still often make plans and schemes for the things they’re feeling worried, anxious, and distressed about. Are these not things people think about for their own future prospects? Don’t these negative emotions arise because people are unable to let go of their own future prospects? (Yes, they do.) When people are feeling particularly enthusiastic and when things are going very smoothly in the performance of their duties, and especially when they get promoted, used for some important tasks, when they enjoy the support of most of their brothers and sisters, and when their own value is reflected, they don’t think about these things. The moment their reputation, status, and interests are threatened, they can’t help but retreat back into the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry. When they go back into these negative emotions, the way they approach these negative emotions is not to flee from them or reject them, but rather it is to cater to them, and try to work hard to sink down into these feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry, to go deeper into them. Why do I say this? When people sink down into these negative emotions, they then have more reason, more of an excuse to, and can more freely make plans for their future and for their next steps. While they’re making these plans, they think this is just how it should be, that this is what they’re supposed to be doing, and they use the saying, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and another saying, “He who doesn’t plan for the future will have troubles right at hand,” meaning that if you don’t make plans for and consider your future and fate in advance, then no one else will worry about them for you, and no one else will care about them for you. When you have no idea how to take your next step, you will face awkwardness, pain, and embarrassment, and the one who will suffer and endure the hardships will be you. So, people feel that they are very smart, and every step they take, they will look forward ten steps. The moment they encounter any difficulties or disappointments, they immediately return to their negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry in order to protect themselves, to have their future and their next step in life be foolproof, to have food to eat and clothing to wear, to not be wandering the streets, and to not be short of food or clothing. Therefore, under the influence of these negative emotions, they often warn themselves, thinking, “I must make plans in advance, hold some things back, and leave myself a sufficient way of retreat. I mustn’t be stupid—my fate is in my own hands. People often say, ‘Our fates are in God’s hands, and God holds sovereignty over the fates of man,’ but this is just empty pleasantries. Who has actually seen this? How does God hold sovereignty over our fates? Who has actually seen God personally arrange three meals a day for anyone, or arrange all the things they need in life? No one.” People believe that when they don’t see God’s sovereignty, and if they feel distressed, anxious, and worried about their future prospects, then these negative emotions are like a protection for them, like a protective shield, a safe haven. They constantly warn and remind themselves to make plans for the future, that they have to worry about tomorrow, that they mustn’t just stuff themselves full of food all day and remain idle; that it’s not wrong to make plans for oneself, to find a way out for oneself, and to work day and night for one’s own future. They tell themselves that this is natural and perfectly justified and is not something to feel ashamed about. So, even though people believe distress, anxiety, and worry to be negative emotions, they never think that to feel them is a bad thing, they never think these negative emotions might be harming them in any way, or that they might be obstacles to their pursuit of the truth and entering the truth reality. Instead, they enjoy them tirelessly, and they willingly and tirelessly live within these negative emotions. This is because they believe that only by living within these negative emotions and constantly feeling distressed, anxious, and worried about their future prospects can they be secure. Otherwise, who else will feel distressed, anxious, and worried about their future? No one. No one loves them more than they do themselves, no one understands them like they do, or gets them like they do. So, even if people can recognize to a certain extent and on a literal, doctrinal level that the existence of such negative emotions is harmful to them, they are still unwilling to give up such negative emotions because these negative emotions allow them to firmly take hold of the initiative to grasp and take control of their own future. Is this right to say? (Yes.) To people, therefore, worrying, feeling anxious, and feeling distressed about their future is a matter of tremendous responsibility. It is not shameful, nor pathetic, nor hateful, but to them it is rather just as things should be. That’s why these negative emotions are very difficult for people to let go of, as if they have been with them since birth. Everything people think about since their birth is for themselves, and the most important matter to them is their own future prospects. They think that if they take a firm hold on their future and keep watch on it, then they will live a worry-free life. They think that with good future prospects, they will have everything they want, and it will all be a cinch. And so, people never get sick of feeling distressed, anxious, and worried about their future, over and over again. Even if God has given His promise, even if people have enjoyed or received much grace from God, even if they have seen God bestow all manner of blessings on mankind, and other such facts, people still want to live in the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, and to make plans and designs for their future.
Besides future prospects, there is something else important, something which people also often feel distressed, anxious, and worried about, and that is marriage. Some people don’t worry about it and are not concerned if they’re still not married in their thirties, because there are many people now in their thirties who aren’t married. This is something often seen in society, and no one laughs at you for it, and no one says there’s something wrong with you. However, if someone isn’t married by the time they get to their forties, they begin to faintly feel panic deep inside them, and they think, “Should I look for a partner or not? Should I get married or not? If I don’t get married and have a family, if I don’t have any children, will I have anyone to look after me when I’m older? Will anyone take care of me when I’m sick? Will I have anyone to arrange my funeral when I die?” People worry about these things. Those who don’t plan on getting married don’t feel so distressed, anxious, or worried. For example, some people say, “I believe in God now, and I’m willing to expend myself for God. I’m not going to look for a partner, and I’m not going to marry. I’m not going to get distressed over these things no matter how old I get.” Single people, people who have been single for 10 or 20 years, who have been single from the age of 20 to the age of 40, shouldn’t have any major concerns. Even though they may occasionally feel some slight worry and distress because of environmental factors or objective reasons, because they believe in God and are busy performing their duty, and because their current resolve hasn’t changed, the kind of worry they feel is vague and comes only now and then, and it’s not a big deal. This kind of emotion which doesn’t affect the normal performance of duties is not harmful to people, nor can it be considered a negative emotion, that is, this matter has not turned into a negative emotion for you. As for those who are already married, what kind of things do they worry about? If both husband and wife believe in God and perform their duties, then will this marriage be maintained? Does the family exist? What about the children? In addition, if one of the two pursues the truth and the other doesn’t, if the one who doesn’t pursue the truth always pursues the world, pursues a wealthy life, and the one who pursues the truth always wants to perform their duty, while the one who doesn’t pursue the truth is always trying to stop their spouse but feels embarrassed to, occasionally voicing some complaint or saying negative things to discourage their spouse, then the one who pursues the truth will wonder, “Oh, my husband doesn’t truly believe in God, so how will it go with us in the future? If we get divorced, I’ll be single and unable to maintain a livelihood. If I stay with him, we won’t be walking the same path, we’ll be harboring different dreams, and then what will I do?” They feel distressed, anxious, and worried about these things. Once they have begun to believe in God, some sisters believe that, although their husbands don’t believe in God, they don’t try too hard to obstruct their own belief in God, and they aren’t being persecuted, so there’s no reason to divorce. If they stay together, however, they always feel restricted and influenced. What are they influenced by? They are restricted and influenced by their affections, and the various difficulties in family life and marriage occasionally stir things up in the depths of their hearts, causing them to experience some distress, anxiety, and worry of a kind that is neither major nor minor. Under such circumstances, marriage is a formality which maintains a normal family life, and it becomes something that fetters the wives’ normal thinking, their normal lives, and even the normal performance of their duties—it is difficult to keep the marriage going, but they cannot extricate themselves from it. There is no particular reason to keep such a marriage as this going, nor is there any particular reason for them to get divorced either; there is no ample reason to take either action. They don’t know what the right choice to make is, and they don’t know what the wrong thing to do is. Therefore, distress, anxiety, and worry arise in them. These feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry are constantly floating up in their minds and binding them in their daily lives, and they also affect their normal life. In the course of performing their duties, these things are always floating up in their minds and arising in their innermost hearts, influencing the normal performance of their duties. Although these things do not seem like a clear word on what these wives should do or what choice they should make, these matters cause them to become mired deep in the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, which makes them feel oppressed and trapped. Is this not another kind of difficulty? (It is.) This is another kind of difficulty, a difficulty that is brought about by marriage.
There are also those who, because they’ve come to believe in God, live the church life, read God’s words, and perform their duties, won’t have any time to associate normally with their non-believing children, their wives (or husbands), their parents, or their friends and relatives. In particular, they will be unable to properly look after their non-believing children, or do any of the things their children require, and so they worry about their children’s future and prospects. Especially when their children grow up, some people will begin to fret: Will my child go to college or not? What will they major in if they get into college? My child doesn’t believe in God and wants to go to college, so should I, as someone who believes in God, pay for their studies? Should I take care of their daily needs and support them in their studies? And when it comes to them getting married, having a job, and even having a family and children of their own, what role should I play? What things should I do and not do? They have no idea about these things. The moment something like this comes along, the moment they find themselves in such a situation, they are at a loss and have no idea what to do, nor do they know how to handle such things. As time passes, distress, anxiety, and worry arise regarding these things: If they do these things for their child, they fear going against God’s will and displeasing God, and if they don’t do these things, they fear not fulfilling their parental responsibilities and being blamed by their child and other family members; if they do these things, they fear that they will lose testimony, and if they don’t do these things, they fear being mocked by worldly people, and being laughed at, jibed at, and judged by their neighbors; they fear dishonoring God, but they’re also afraid of earning themselves a bad reputation, and feeling so ashamed that they cannot show their face. As they vacillate around these things, distress, anxiety, and worry arise in their hearts; they feel distressed about not knowing what to do, they feel anxious about doing the wrong thing no matter what they choose, and not knowing whether anything they do is appropriate, and they worry if these things keep happening, then one day they won’t be able to cope with them, and if they have a breakdown then things will be even harder for them. People in such a situation as this feel distressed, anxious, and worried about all of these things that crop up in life, whether they are big things or small things. Once these negative feelings arise in them, they become mired in this distress, anxiety, and worry, and are unable to free themselves: If they do this, it’s wrong, if they do that, it’s wrong, and they don’t know what the right thing to do is; they want to please other people, but they fear displeasing God; they want to do things for other people so that they are spoken well of, but they don’t want to dishonor God or cause God to detest them. That is why they always become mired in these feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry. They feel distressed both for other people and for themselves; they feel anxious about things both for other people as well as for themselves; and they also worry about things for other people as well as for themselves, and so they become mired in a double difficulty from which they cannot escape. Such negative emotions as these not only affect their daily lives, but affect the performance of their duties as well, as well as, of course, affecting their pursuit of the truth to some degree. This is a kind of difficulty, that is, these are difficulties relating to marriage, family life, and personal life, and it is because of these difficulties that people often become stuck in distress, anxiety, and worry. Aren’t people to be pitied when they become stuck in this kind of negative emotion? (They are.) Are they to be pitied? You still say, “They are,” showing that you are still very sympathetic toward them. When someone becomes mired in a negative emotion, regardless of what the background is to the arising of that negative emotion, what is the reason for its arising? Is it because of the environment, because of the people, events, and things around that person? Or is it because the truth God expresses disturbs them? Is it the environment that affects the person, or is it that God’s words disturb their lives? What exactly is the reason? Do you know? Tell Me, whether it be in people’s normal lives or in the performance of their duty, are these difficulties present if they pursue the truth and are willing to practice the truth? (No.) These difficulties are present in terms of objective fact. You say they are not present, so could it be that you have resolved these difficulties? Are you capable of doing that? These difficulties are unresolvable, and they are present in terms of objective fact. What will the outcome of these difficulties be in people who pursue the truth? And what will their outcome be in those who don’t pursue the truth? They will have two completely different outcomes. If people pursue the truth, they won’t get caught up in these difficulties and sink into the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry. Conversely, if people don’t pursue the truth, these difficulties are present in them just the same, and what will the outcome be? They will entangle you so that you’re unable to escape, and if you’re not able to resolve them, they will ultimately become negative emotions that tie themselves into knots in your innermost heart; they will affect your normal life and the normal performance of your duties, and they will make you feel oppressed and unable to find release—this is the outcome they will have on you. These two outcomes are different, aren’t they? (Yes.) So, let’s return to that question I asked just now. What was it I asked? (Is it environmental influences or is it God’s words disturbing people that cause negative emotions to arise in them?) So, what is the reason? What’s the answer? (It’s because people don’t pursue the truth.) That’s right, it’s neither of those things, but rather it’s because people don’t pursue the truth. When people don’t pursue the truth, they often become mired in extreme thoughts and negative emotions and are unable to free themselves. Repeat the question I asked just now. (Is the reason for the arising of negative emotions in people because of their environment and the people, events, and things around them, or is it because the truth God expresses disturbs people?) To say it simply, is it because of environmental influences or because God’s words disturb people? Which one is it? (Neither of them.) Correct, neither of them. Environments influence everyone fairly; if you pursue the truth, then you won’t sink into a negative emotion because of some environment. If you don’t pursue the truth, however, you will very naturally become overwhelmed by your environment again and again and will become stuck in the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry. Looking at it from this perspective, is pursuing the truth not important? (It is.) There are the truth principles to be sought in everything that happens. In reality, however, because people don’t pursue the truth and don’t seek the truth principles, or else they know clearly what God requires, what the truth principles are, what path they should practice, and what the criteria for practice are, but they don’t pay them any heed or follow them, when they always make their own choices and plans, what will happen to them in the end? When people don’t practice in accordance with God’s words, always worrying about this and that, then there is only one outcome, and that is that they become mired in distress, anxiety, and worry, and cannot get back out again. Is it possible for people to always rely on their own imaginings, for things to always go as they would wish, to keep other people happy as well as receive God’s approval? That’s impossible! They always want to handle things in a way that makes everyone around them happy, pleased, and full of praise for them. They want to be called a good person, and for God to be satisfied, and if they don’t meet this standard, they feel distressed. And don’t they deserve to feel distressed? (Yes.) This is what people choose for themselves.
There are also some absurd people who say, “If God didn’t speak so many words, I would do things according to the moral standards of being a good person. That’d be so simple, and there wouldn’t be so many statements made. Just like in the Age of Grace, people kept the commandments, and they endured and tolerated, and bore the cross and suffered, and it was so simple. Wasn’t that the end of the matter? Now, with so many truths spoken by God and so many principles of practice given in fellowship, why can’t people achieve them after such a long time? People’s calibers are too lacking, and they aren’t able to understand it all, and there are many truths they cannot achieve; there are also many difficulties in people putting the truth into practice, and even if they do understand it, they still find it hard to achieve. If you understand the truth but don’t practice it, you feel uneasy, but when you do practice it, there are so many practical difficulties.” People believe that God’s words are disturbing them, but is this how it is in reality? (No.) This is called being unreasonable and irrational. They are sick of the truth and do not pursue the truth, nor do they practice the truth, but they still want to pretend to be spiritual, pretend to be practicing the truth, and they want to attain salvation. In the end, when they cannot achieve these things, they feel depressed and distressed, thinking, “Who can balance all these things? It would be better if God lowered His standards a little, and then people would be fine, God would be fine, everyone would be fine—what a heavenly life that would be!” People like this always think that the words God speaks are inconsiderate toward man. In fact, when they have feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry, they are dissatisfied with God about many things. In particular, when it comes to how they approach the truth principles, they cannot achieve them or attain them, they cannot talk about them at all, and this has a severe impact on their reputation and prestige in the eyes of other people, as well as their desire to be blessed, causing them to become mired in distress, anxiety, and worry, and that’s why they believe there are many things God does that they’re not happy about. There are even some who say, “God is righteous, I don’t deny it; God is holy, and I don’t deny that either. Everything God says is the truth sure enough, it’s just a shame that what God says now is too lofty, His demands on people are too stringent, and it’s not easy for people to achieve it all!” They have no love for the truth, and they place all responsibility onto God. They begin with the premise that God is righteous, and God is holy, and they believe that all this is true. God is righteous, God is holy—is it necessary for you to acknowledge God’s essence? These are facts; they are not true only because you acknowledge them. So that they are not condemned for their blaming of God, they hurriedly say that God is righteous, God is holy. However, no matter what they say about God being righteous and holy, their negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry are still present and, not only are these emotions present, but they’re unwilling to let these emotions go, unwilling to leave them behind, unwilling to change their principles of practice, change the direction of their pursuit, and change the path they follow through life. Such people are both pitiable and hateful. They are simply undeserving of sympathy, and no matter how much they suffer, they are not worth our pity. All we need to do is tell them these few words: It serves you right! If you die from feeling so distressed, still no one will pity you! Who made you not seek the truth to resolve your problems? Who made you unable to submit to God and practice the truth? For whose sake are you feeling distressed, anxious, and worried? Are you feeling those things in order to gain the truth? Or to gain God? Or for the sake of God’s work? Or for the sake of God’s glory? (No.) Then what are you feeling those emotions for? It’s all for yourself, for your children, for your family, for your self-respect, for your reputation, for your future and prospects, for everything to do with yourself. Such a person doesn’t give anything up, or let anything go, or forsake anything, or abandon anything; they have no true faith in God, and no genuine loyalty to performing their duty. In their belief in God, they do not truly expend themselves, they just believe to get blessings, and believe in God only with a conviction to receive blessings. They’re filled with “faith” in God, in God’s work, and in God’s promises, but God does not commend such faith, nor does He remember it, but rather He detests it. Such people don’t follow or practice the principles for handling any matter that God requires of them, they don’t let go of the things they should let go of, they don’t give up the things they should give up, they don’t abandon the things they should abandon, and they don’t offer up the loyalty they should offer up, and so they deserve to sink into the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry. However much they suffer, they do so only for themselves, not for their duty and not for the work of the church. Therefore, such people are simply not in pursuit of the truth—they are just a bunch of people who nominally believe in God. They know exactly that this is the true way, but they don’t practice it, nor do they follow it. Their faith is pitiable and cannot win God’s approval, and God will not remember it. Such people become mired in the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry because of the manifold difficulties in their home lives.
Then there are those who are in poor health, who have a weak constitution and lack energy, who are often sick with major or minor illnesses, who cannot even do the basic things necessary in daily life, who cannot live or get about like normal people. Such people often feel uncomfortable and unwell while performing their duties; some are physically weak, some have real illnesses, and of course there are some who have known and potential diseases of some kind or other. Because they have such practical physical difficulties, such people often sink into negative emotions and feel distress, anxiety, and worry. What are they feeling distressed, anxious, and worried about? They worry that if they keep performing their duty like this, expending themselves and running around for God like this, and always feeling this tired, then will their health deteriorate more and more? When they reach 40 or 50, will they be confined to their beds? Do these worries hold up? Will anyone provide a concrete way of dealing with this? Who will take responsibility for this? Who will be answerable? People with poor health and who are physically unfit feel distressed, anxious, and worried about such things. People with an illness will often think, “Oh, I’m determined to perform my duty well, but I’ve got this illness. I ask God to keep me from harm, and with God’s protection I need not be afraid. But if I get exhausted when performing my duties, will my condition flare up? What will I do if my condition really flares up? If I need to be admitted to hospital to undergo an operation, I have no money to pay for it, so if I don’t borrow the money to pay for my treatment, will my condition get even worse? And if it gets really bad, will I die? Could such a death be considered a normal death? If I really do die, will God remember the duties I’ve performed? Will I be considered to have done good deeds? Will I attain salvation?” There are also some who know they are sick, that is, they know they have some real illness or other, for example stomach diseases, lower back and leg pain, arthritis, rheumatism, as well as skin diseases, gynecological diseases, liver disease, hypertension, heart disease, and so on. They think, “If I keep performing my duty, will God’s house pay for treatment for my illness? If my illness gets worse and it affects the performance of my duty, will God heal me? Other people have been cured after believing in God, so will I be cured too? Will God cure me, just as He shows kindness to others? If I loyally perform my duty, God should heal me, but if only I wish God to heal me and He doesn’t, then what am I going to do?” Whenever they think of these things, they get a profound feeling of anxiety rising up in their hearts. Even though they never stop performing their duty and they always do what they’re supposed to, they think constantly about their illness, their health, their future, and about their life and death. Finally, they reach the conclusion of wishfully thinking, “God will heal me, God will keep me safe. God won’t abandon me, and God won’t stand by and do nothing if He sees me getting sick.” There is no basis at all for such thoughts, and they can even be said to be a kind of notion. People will never be able to resolve their practical difficulties with such notions and imaginings as these, and in their innermost hearts, they feel vaguely distressed, anxious, and worried about their health and their illnesses; they have no idea who will take responsibility for these things, or whether anyone will take responsibility for them at all.
There are also some who, although they don’t actually feel sick and have not been diagnosed with anything, know they have some latent disease. What latent disease? For example, it could be a hereditary disease like heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension, or it could be Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or some kind of cancer—these are all latent diseases. Some people know that since they’re born into such a family, this genetic disease will afflict them sooner or later. They wonder, if they believe in God and pursue the truth, perform their duty well, perform sufficient good deeds, and can please God, will this latent disease pass them by and not come upon them? God, however, never made such a promise to them, and they never had this kind of faith in God, and never dared to make any guarantees or have any unrealistic ideas. Because they cannot have any guarantee or assurance, they expend a lot of energy and exert great effort in the performance of their duties, they focus on suffering and paying the price, and they will always do more than others and stand out more than others, thinking, “I will be the first to suffer and the last to take my enjoyment.” They always motivate themselves with this kind of motto, yet the fear and worry deep inside them about their latent disease cannot be driven away, and this worry, this distress, is always with them. Even though they may be able to endure suffering and hard work and are willing to pay the price in the performance of their duties, they still feel that they are unable to obtain God’s promise or an accurate word from God on the subject, and so they continue to be filled with distress, anxiety, and worry concerning this matter. Even though they try their best not to do anything about their latent disease, they still occasionally and subconsciously go looking for all manner of folk remedies to prevent this latent disease from suddenly befalling them on a certain day, at a certain hour, or without them being aware of it. Some people may from time to time prepare some Chinese medicinal herbs to take, some people occasionally go asking about folk remedy preparations they can take when needed, while some people from time to time go online searching for exercise tips so that they can exercise and experiment. Although it may be only a latent disease, still it is at the forefront in their minds; although these people may not feel unwell or have any symptoms at all, they are still filled with worry and anxiety about it, and deep inside them they feel distressed and depressed about it, always hoping to ameliorate or dispel these negative emotions from inside them through prayer or performing their duties. These people who really have an illness or who have a latent disease, along with those who worry about getting sick in the future, and those who were born with poor health, who have no major illness but who are constantly suffering from minor ailments, they constantly feel distressed and worried about the sicknesses and the various difficulties of the flesh. They wish to escape them, flee them, but they have no way to do it; they wish to let them go but they cannot; they want to ask God to take these sicknesses and difficulties from them, but they cannot say the words and feel embarrassed, because they feel that there is no justification for this kind of request. They know well that God is not to be beseeched regarding these matters, but they feel powerless in their hearts; they wonder, if they place all their hopes on God, will they feel more at ease, and will their conscience be comforted? Therefore, from time to time they pray silently on this matter in their innermost hearts. If they receive some additional or unexpected favor or grace from God, they feel a little joy or comfort; if they receive no special care from God’s house at all, and feel no kindness from God at all, then they unknowingly slide once again down into the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry. Even though birth, old age, sickness and death are constants among mankind and are unavoidable in life, there are those with a certain physical constitution or special illness who, whether they’re performing their duties or not, fall into distress, anxiety, and worry over the difficulties and diseases of the flesh; they worry about their illness, they worry about the many hardships their illness may cause them, whether their illness will become serious, what the consequences will be if it does become serious, and whether they will die from it. In special situations and certain contexts, this series of questions causes them to become mired in distress, anxiety, and worry and unable to extricate themselves; some people even live in a state of distress, anxiety, and worry because of the serious disease they already know they have or a latent disease they can do nothing to avoid, and they are influenced, impacted, and controlled by these negative emotions. Once they fall under the control of these negative emotions, some people utterly give up all chances and hope of attaining salvation; they choose to give up performing their duty and even any chance of receiving God’s kindness. Instead, they choose to face and handle their own illness without asking for anyone else’s help and without waiting for any opportunity. They dedicate themselves to treating their illness, they perform no duty anymore, and even if they are physically able to perform their duty, they still don’t do it. What is the reason for this? They worry, “If my illness carries on like this and God doesn’t cure me, I could keep performing my duty the way I’m doing now and still die in the end. If I stop performing my duty and seek treatment, I could live a couple more years, and maybe it could even be cured. If I continue performing my duty and God hasn’t said He will cure me, my health might get even worse. I don’t want to perform my duty for another 10 or 20 years and then die. I want to live a few more years, I don’t want to die so soon, so early!” So, they perform their duty in God’s house for a time, observe for a time and, we could say, they watch to see what happens for a time, and then they begin to wonder, “I’ve been performing my duty, but my illness hasn’t gotten any better and hasn’t been alleviated. It looks as if there’s no hope of getting better. Back then I had a plan, thinking that if I abandoned everything and performed my duty faithfully, perhaps God would take this disease from me. But nothing has turned out the way I planned, figured, and wished. My illness is just the same as it was. All these years have gone by, and this disease still hasn’t let up any. It looks as if I must treat this illness myself. I can’t rely on anyone else, no one else can be relied upon. I have to seize my fate in my own hands. Science and technology are now so developed, as is medicine, effective medicines are available to treat all manner of diseases, and there are advanced treatment methods for everything. I’m sure this disease can be treated.” Having made such plans, they begin searching online or asking around and making inquiries, until finally they find some solutions. In the end, they decide what medicine to take, how to treat their illness, how to exercise, and how to take care of their own health. They think, “If I don’t perform my duty and focus on treating this disease, then there’s hope of being cured. There are so many instances of this kind of disease being cured.” After planning and scheming like this for a while, they finally decide not to perform their duty anymore and treating their illness becomes their number one priority—nothing to them is more important than living. Their distress, anxiety, and worry turn into a kind of practical action; their anxiety and worry turn from mere thoughts into a kind of action. Unbelievers have a saying which goes: “Action is better than thought, and even better than action is immediate action.” Such people think and then act, and they act fast. One day they think about treating their disease, and the next morning they have their things packed and are ready to leave. A few short months later, the bad news arrives that they died without being cured of their illness. Did they recover from their illness? (No.) It’s not necessarily possible to cure a disease by yourself, but is it for certain that you won’t get sick when performing your duty in God’s house? No one will make you such a promise. So, how should you choose, and how should you approach the matter of becoming ill? It’s very simple, and there is one path to follow: Pursue the truth. Pursue the truth and regard the matter according to God’s words and according to the truth principles—this is the understanding people should have. And how should you practice? You take all these experiences and put into practice the understanding you have gained and the truth principles you have understood according to the truth and God’s words, and you make them your reality and your life—this is one aspect. The other aspect is that you must not abandon your duty. Whether you are sick or in pain, as long as you have a single breath left, as long as you are still living, as long as you can still speak and walk, then you have the energy to perform your duty, and you should be well-behaved in the performance of your duty with your feet planted firmly on the ground. You must not abandon the duty of a created being or the responsibility given to you by the Creator. As long as you are not yet dead, you should fulfill your duty and fulfill it well. Some people say, “These things You say are not very considerate. I’m sick and it’s hard for me to bear!” When it’s hard for you, you can take a rest, and you can take care of yourself and receive treatment. If you still wish to perform your duty, you can reduce your workload and perform some suitable duty, one that doesn’t impact your recovery. This will prove that you have not abandoned your duty in your heart, that your heart has not strayed from God, that you have not denied God’s name in your heart, and that you have not abandoned the desire to be a proper created being in your heart. Some people say, “I’ve done all of that, so will God take this sickness from me?” Will He? (Not necessarily.) Whether God takes that sickness from you or not, whether God cures you or not, what you do is what a created being ought to do. Whether you are physically capable of performing your duty or not, whether you can take on any work or not, whether your health permits you to perform your duty or not, your heart must not stray from God, and you must not abandon your duty in your heart. In this way, you will fulfill your responsibilities, your obligations, and your duty—this is the faithfulness you should hold to. Just because you cannot do things with your hands or you’re not able to speak anymore, or your eyes no longer see, or you cannot move your body anymore, you must not think that God ought to heal you, and if He doesn’t heal you then you want to deny Him in your innermost heart, abandon your duty, and leave God behind. What is the nature of such an act? (It is a betrayal of God.) It is a betrayal! When they’re not sick, some people will often come before God to pray, and when they’re sick and they hope that God will heal them, placing all their hopes on God, they will still come before God and not abandon Him. However, after some time has passed and God has still not cured them, they become disappointed in God, they abandon God deep in their hearts and they abandon their duties. When their illness isn’t so bad and God does not cure them, some people do not abandon God; when their illness becomes serious, however, and they are facing death, they know then for certain that God really hasn’t cured them, that they have waited all this time only to have waited for death, and so they abandon and deny God in their hearts. They believe that if God hasn’t cured them, then God must not exist; that if God hasn’t cured them, then God must not be God at all, and is not worth believing in. Because God hasn’t cured them, they regret ever having believed in God, and they stop believing in Him. Is this not a betrayal of God? This is a serious betrayal of God. Therefore, you absolutely must not go that way—only those who obey God until death have true faith.
When sickness comes calling, what path should people follow? How should they choose? People should not sink into distress, anxiety, and worry, and contemplate their own future prospects and paths. Rather, the more people find themselves in times like these and in such special situations and contexts, and the more they find themselves in such immediate difficulties, the more they should seek the truth and pursue the truth. Only by doing this will the sermons you have heard in the past and the truths you have understood not be in vain and will take effect. The more you find yourself in such difficulties as these, the more you should relinquish your own desires and submit to God’s orchestrations. God’s purpose in setting up this kind of situation and arranging these conditions for you is not to make you sink into the emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, and it is not so that you can test God to see if He will cure you when sickness befalls, or sound out the truth of the matter; God sets up these special situations and conditions for you so that you can learn the practical lessons in such situations and conditions, to attain deeper entry into the truth and into submission to God, and so that you know more clearly and accurately how God orchestrates all people, events, and things. The fates of man are in God’s hands and, whether people can sense it or not, whether they are truly aware of it or not, they should obey and not resist, not reject, and certainly not test God. You may die in any case, and if you resist, reject, and test God, then it goes without saying what your end will be. Conversely, if in the same situations and conditions you are able to seek how a created being ought to submit to the Creator’s orchestrations, seek what lessons you are to learn and what corrupt dispositions you are to know in the situations God brings about for you, and understand God’s will in such situations, and bear your testimony well to meet God’s demands, then this is what you should do. When God arranges for someone to get an illness, whether major or minor, His purpose in doing so is not to make you appreciate the ins and outs of being sick, the harm the illness does to you, the hardships and difficulties the illness causes you, and all the myriad feelings the illness causes you to feel—His purpose is not for you to appreciate sickness through being sick. Rather, His purpose is for you to learn the lessons from sickness, to learn how to feel for God’s will, to know the corrupt dispositions you reveal and the wrong attitudes you adopt toward God when you’re sick, and to learn how to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, so that you can achieve true obedience to God and be able to stand firm in your testimony—this is absolutely key. God wishes to save you and cleanse you through sickness. What about you does He wish to cleanse? He wishes to cleanse all your extravagant desires and demands toward God, and even cleanse the various plans, judgments, and schemes you make at all costs to survive and live. God does not ask you to make plans, He does not ask you to judge, and He does not allow you to have any extravagant desires toward Him; He requires only that you submit to Him and, in your practice of experiencing and submitting, to know your own attitude toward sickness, and to know your attitude toward these bodily conditions He gives to you, as well as your own personal wishes. When you come to know these things, you can then appreciate how beneficial it is for you that God has arranged the circumstances of the illness for you or that He has given you these bodily conditions; and you can appreciate just how helpful they are to changing your disposition, to you attaining salvation, and to your entry into life. That is why, when illness comes calling, you must not always be wondering how you can escape it or flee from it or reject it. Some people say, “You say that I mustn’t flee from it or reject it, and that I mustn’t try to escape it, so what You mean is, I mustn’t go and get treatment for it!” I never said that; that is your incorrect understanding. I support you in actively treating your illnesses, but I don’t want you to live in your illness or to fall into distress, anxiety, and worry because of the impact caused by your illness, until finally you stray from and abandon God because of all the pain caused by your illness. If your illness causes you great suffering and you wish to receive treatment and for your illness to go away, then that’s fine, of course. It is your right; you have the right to choose to get treatment, and no one has the right to stop you. However, you must not live in your illness and refuse to perform your duty, or abandon your duty, or reject God’s orchestrations and arrangements because you are receiving treatment. If your illness cannot be cured, you will fall into distress, anxiety, and worry, and will therefore be filled with complaints and doubt concerning God, and will even lose faith in God, lose hope, and some will choose to abandon their duties—this is something you really should not do. When facing illness, you may actively seek treatment, but you should also approach it with a positive attitude. As to how much your illness can be treated and whether it can be cured, and whatever may happen in the end, you should always submit and not complain. This is the attitude you should adopt, for you are a created being and you have no other option. You cannot say, “If I’m cured of this disease, then I’ll believe it is God’s great power, but if I’m not cured, then I’ll not be happy with God. Why did God give me this disease? Why does He not cure this disease? Why did I get this disease and not someone else? I don’t want it! Why do I have to die so early at such a young age? How come other people get to keep on living? Why?” Don’t ask why, it is God’s orchestration. There is no reason, and you shouldn’t ask why. Asking why is rebellious talk, and this is not a question a created being should ask. Don’t ask why, there is no why. God has arranged things and planned things like this. If you ask why, then it can only be said that you are too rebellious, too intransigent. When something dissatisfies you, or God does not do as you wish or let you have your way, you become unhappy, you’re disgruntled, and you always ask why. So, God asks you, “As a created being, why haven’t you done your duty well? Why haven’t you faithfully performed your duty?” And how will you respond? You say, “There is no why, this is just how I am.” Is that acceptable? (No.) It’s acceptable for God to speak to you that way, but it’s not acceptable for you to speak to God in that way. Your standpoint is wrong, and you are too senseless. No matter what difficulties a created being encounters, it is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth that you should submit to the arrangements and orchestrations of the Creator. For example, your parents begat you, raised you, and you call them mother and father—this is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, and this is how it should be; there is no why. So, God orchestrates all these things for you and, whether you enjoy blessings or suffer hardships, this is also ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, and you have no choice in the matter. If you can submit until the very end, then you will attain salvation like Peter did. However, if you blame God, abandon God, and betray God because of some temporary illness, then all the relinquishing, the expending, the performing of your duty, and the paying the price you have done before will have been for nothing. This is because all your past hard work will not have laid any foundation for you to perform the duty of a created being well or take your proper place as a created being, and it will not have changed anything about you. This will then cause you to betray God because of your illness, and your end will be as Paul’s, to be punished in the end. The reason for this determination is that everything you have done before was so that you can obtain a crown and for the sake of receiving blessings. If, when you finally face illness and death, you are still able to submit without any complaints, it proves that all you did before was done sincerely and willingly for God. You are obedient to God, and ultimately your obedience will mark a perfect end to your life of faith in God, and this is commended by God. Therefore, an illness can cause you to have a good end, or it can cause you to have a bad end; the kind of end you come to depends on the path you follow and what your attitude toward God is.
Has the problem of people falling into negative emotions because of illness now been resolved? (It has.) Do you now have the correct ideas and views about how to face illness? (Yes.) Do you know how to practice this? If not, I’ll give you the trump card, the best thing to do. Do you know what it is? If illness befalls you, and no matter how much doctrine you understand you’re still unable to overcome it, your heart will still become distressed, anxious, and worried, and not only will you be unable to face the matter calmly, but your heart will also be filled with complaints. You will be constantly wondering, “Why isn’t anyone else sick with this disease? Why make me get this disease? How did this happen to me? It’s because I’m unlucky and I have a bad fate. I’ve never offended anyone, nor have I committed any sin, so why has this happened to me? God is treating me so unfairly!” You see, besides distress, anxiety, and worry, you fall into depression as well, with one negative emotion following another and without any way to escape them no matter how much you might want to. Because it is a real illness, it is not easily taken from you or cured, so what should you do? You want to submit but you can’t, and if you submit one day, the next day your condition worsens and it hurts so much, and then you don’t want to submit anymore, and you start complaining again. You go back and forth like this all the time, so what should you do? Let Me tell you the secret of success. Whether you encounter a major illness or a minor one, the moment your illness gets serious or you’re facing death, just remember one thing: Do not fear death. Even if you’re in the final stages of cancer, even if the death rate for your particular illness is very high, do not fear death. Regardless of how great your suffering is, if you fear death then you will not submit. Some people say, “Hearing You say this, I feel inspired and have an even better idea. Not only will I not fear death, but I’ll beg for it. Won’t that make it easier to get through?” Why beg for death? Begging for death is an extreme idea, whereas not fearing death is a reasonable attitude to adopt. Isn’t that right? (Right.) What is the right attitude you should adopt to not fear death? If your illness gets so serious that you may die, and the death rate for it is high regardless of how old the person is who contracts the illness, and the time from when people contract the illness to when they die is very short, what should you think in your heart? “I must not fear death, everyone dies in the end. Submitting to God, however, is something most people can’t do, and I can use this illness to practice submitting to God. I should have the thinking and the attitude of submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and I must not fear death.” Dying is easy, much easier than living. You can be in extreme pain and you won’t be aware of it, and as soon as your eyes close, your breath ceases, your soul leaves the body, and your life ends. This is how death goes; it is this simple. Not fearing death is one attitude to adopt. Besides this, you mustn’t worry about whether your illness will get worse or not, or whether you will die if you cannot be cured, or how long it will be until you die, or what pain you will be in when it comes time to die. You mustn’t worry about these things; these are not things you should be worrying about. This is because the day must come, and it must come in some year, some month, and on some particular day. You cannot hide from it and you cannot escape it—it is your fate. Your so-called fate has been predestined by God and already arranged by Him. The span of your years and the age and time at which you die are already set by God, so what are you worried about? You can worry about it but that won’t change anything; you can worry about it, but you cannot prevent it from happening; you can worry about it, but you cannot stop that day from arriving. Therefore, your worry is superfluous, and all it does is make the burden of your illness even heavier. One aspect is to not worry, and another is to not fear death. Another aspect is to not feel anxious, saying, “After I’m dead, will my husband (or wife) remarry? Who will look after my child? Who will take over my duty? Who will remember me? After I’m dead, what will God determine my end to be?” Such matters as these are nothing you should be worrying about. People who die all have their proper place to go to and God has made the arrangements. Those who are living will keep on living; the existence of any one person will not affect the normal activity and survival of mankind, nor will the disappearance of any one person change anything, and so these things are nothing you should be worrying about. It is unnecessary to worry about your various relatives, and it is even more unnecessary to worry about whether anyone will remember you after you’re dead. What would be the point in anyone remembering you? If you were like Peter, then there would be some value to remembering you; if you were like Paul, then all you would bring to people would be calamity, and so why would anyone want to remember you? There is another matter for worry which is a most realistic thought people have. They say, “Once I’m dead, I’ll never lay eyes on this world again, and I’ll never again be able to enjoy the material life of all these things. Once I’m dead, nothing in this world will concern me anymore, and the feeling of living will be gone. Once I’m dead, where will I go?” Where you go is not something you should worry about, nor is it something you should feel anxious about. You won’t be a living person anymore, and you’re worrying about never again being able to sense all the people, events, things, environments, and so on of the material world. This is even more so something you shouldn’t be worrying about, and even if you can’t let these things go, it’ll be no use. What can bring you a little comfort, however, is that perhaps your death or your departure could be a new beginning for your next incarnation, a better beginning, a healthy beginning, a completely well beginning, a beginning for your soul to return again. It will not necessarily be a bad thing, as you could perhaps return to exist in a different way and in a different form. As to what form it will take exactly depends on the arrangements of God and of the Creator. On this point, it can be said that everyone should just wait and see. If you choose to live in a better way and in a better form after you die in this life, then regardless of how bad your illness gets, the most important thing is how you face it and what good deeds you should prepare, and not your pointless distress, anxiety, and worry. When you think in this way, doesn’t the level of your fear, terror, and rejection of death decrease? (Yes.) How many aspects did we just talk about? One was not fearing death. What others were there? (We’re not to worry about whether our illnesses will get worse or not, and we’re not to feel anxious about our spouses or children, or about our own ends and destinations, and so on.) Leave all of this in God’s hands. What else? (We’re not to worry about where we go after we die.) It’s useless to worry about these things. Live in the present and do the things you should be doing here and now well. You don’t know how things will go in the future, so you should leave all of this in God’s hands. What else? (We should hurry to prepare good deeds for our future destination.) That’s right, people should prepare more good deeds for the future, and they should pursue the truth and be people who understand the truth and are in possession of the truth reality. Some people say, “You’re talking about death now, so do You mean that everyone will have to face death in the future? Is this a bad omen?” This is not a bad omen, nor is it giving you a preventive inoculation, much less is it cursing anyone to death—these words are not curses. So, what are they? (They are a path of practice for people.) Correct, they are what people should practice, they are the correct views and attitudes people should hold to, and they are the truths people should understand. Even people who don’t have any kind of illness should also adopt this kind of attitude to face death. So, some people say, “If we don’t fear death, does that mean death will not come upon us?” Is this the truth? (No.) Then what is it? (It is a notion and their imagining.) It is absurd, it is logical reasoning, and satanic philosophy—it is not the truth. It is not the case that if you don’t fear or worry about death then death will not come upon you and you won’t die—this is not the truth. What I’m talking about is the attitude people should have toward death and illness. When you adopt this kind of attitude, you can then leave the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry behind you. You will then not be caught up in your illness, and your thinking and the world of your spirit will not be harmed or disturbed by the fact of your illness. One of the personal difficulties people face is their future prospects, and another is sickness and death. Future prospects and mortality can take control of people’s hearts, but if you can correctly face these two problems and overcome your negative emotions, then commonplace difficulties will not defeat you.
Besides illness, people often feel distressed, anxious, and worried about some other real problems in their lives. There are many real problems in life, for example, there are elderly people or children in your home who need looking after or raising, the money your children need for their schooling and living expenses, elderly people needing money to treat medical conditions, and the large amounts of money required for daily living expenses. You want to perform your duty, but if you give up your job, how are you going to live? Your home savings will be quickly exhausted, so what will you do then without any money? If you go out to earn money, it will cause delays in the performance of your duty, but if you give up your job to perform your duty, you will have no way to solve the difficulties at home. So, what should you do? Many people struggle with and get confused by such things, and so they all long for the day of God to come and wonder when the great disasters will befall and whether they need to make stores of food. If they prepare, they have no spare money at home and life becomes very difficult. They see other people wearing better clothes and eating better food and they feel unhappy and that their life is too hard. They go without eating meat for a long time, and if they have some eggs they feel reluctant to eat them, and they hurry to the market to sell them and make a few dollars. As they think of all these difficulties, they begin to worry: “When will these difficult days come to an end? They always say, ‘The day of God is coming, the day of God is coming,’ and ‘God’s work will soon come to an end,’ but when will anyone tell me when this is actually going to happen? Who can say this for sure?” Some people spend years performing their duty away from home, and from time to time they think, “I have no idea how big my kids are now, or whether my parents are in good health. I’ve been away from home all these years and haven’t looked after them. Do they have any difficulties? What will they do if they get sick? Will anyone look after them? My parents must be in their 80s or 90s by now, and I have no idea whether they’re even still alive.” When they think of these things, a nameless anxiety arises in their hearts. Beyond feeling anxious, they will worry, but worrying never solves anything, and so they begin to feel distressed. When they feel very distressed, their attention turns to God’s work and the day of God, and they wonder, “Why hasn’t the day of God arrived yet? Are we to always live a life of wandering and isolation like this? When will the day of God arrive? When will God’s work come to an end? When will God destroy this world? When will the kingdom of God be made manifest on earth? When will we see God’s person appear?” They think on these things over and over, and the negative emotions of worry, anxiety, and distress surge up into their hearts, they instantly wear a worried expression, they feel no joy anymore, they walk listlessly, they eat without any appetite, and they spend every day with their mind in a whirl. Is it a good thing to live within such negative emotions? (No.) Even a tiny difficulty in life can make people occasionally fall into these negative emotions of passivity, and even sometimes without any reason at all, or without any particular context, or without any particular person saying anything special, these negative emotions will unknowingly surge into their hearts. When these negative emotions surge into people’s hearts, the wishes people have, yearning for the day of God to arrive, for His work to come to an end, and for His kingdom to come, become even more insistent. Some people even kneel earnestly and pray to God in floods of tears, saying, “Oh God, I hate this world, and I hate this mankind. Please end it all as quickly as possible, end people’s fleshly lives, and end all these hardships.” They pray like this many times without result, and the negative emotions of worry, anxiety, and distress are still wrapped around their hearts, and remain in their thoughts and deep in their spirits, profoundly influencing them and encompassing them. In fact, this happens for no other reason than because they long for the day of God to come sooner, for God’s work to end sooner, for them to receive blessings as soon as possible, for them to have a good destination, for them to enter into the heaven or the kingdom that they imagine and long for in their own notions; that is why they always get so worked up in their innermost hearts about these things. They show themselves getting worked up on the surface, but actually they are feeling distressed, anxious, and worried. When such feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry are constantly surrounding people, they get an active thought, thinking, “If the day of God is not coming soon, and God’s work won’t be completed as soon as possible, I should take advantage of my youth and my ability to work hard. I want to work and earn money, work hard in the world for a while and enjoy life. If the day of God is not coming soon, I want to return home and reunite with my family, find a partner, live well for a while, support my parents, raise my children. When I get old, I’ll have lots of children and they’ll live together with me, and we’ll enjoy the family life—what a wonderful scene that is! What a sweet image!” Thinking like this, they look forward to enjoying that kind of life. Whenever people think that the day of God will soon be here and that God’s work will soon come to an end, their desires burn even more fiercely, and their yearning for God’s work to end as soon as possible grows even more intense. In such a situation, when facts do not accord with what people wish for, when people cannot see any indication of God’s work ending or the day of God arriving, their feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry grow ever more severe. They worry about, in a few years’ time, when they’ve gotten old and haven’t found a partner, who will look after them in their old age. They worry, if they constantly perform their duty in God’s house and have already broken all ties with society, whether they’ll be able to integrate back into society when they return home to live. They worry, if they get back into business in a few years’ time or go back to work, whether they’ll be able to keep up with the times, whether they’ll be able to stand out from the crowd, and whether they’ll be able to survive. The more they worry about such things and the more anxious and distressed they feel about them, the more they are unable to calmly perform their duty and follow God in God’s house. Thus, they worry about their future, their prospects, and their family life more and more, as well as worrying about all the difficulties that may arise in life in the future. They think of everything they can, they worry about everything they can; they even worry about their grandsons and how life will be for their grandsons’ descendants. Their thoughts reach far, their thoughts are very thorough, and they think everything through. When people have these worries, anxieties, and feelings of distress, they become unable to perform their duties calmly, and they cannot simply follow God, but instead they often have active thoughts and blow hot and cold. When they see that the gospel work is going very well, they think, “The day of God will soon come. I must perform my duty well, yeah! Come on! I have to keep going for a few more years, it’s not long to go now. All this suffering will be worth it and it will all bear fruit, and I’ll have no more worries!” After a few years, however, the great disasters still have not arrived and no one mentions the day of God, and so their hearts cool. This distress, anxiety, and worry, as well as their active thoughts, keep coming and going and repeating over and over in this way, going around in endless circles according to the international situation and the situation in God’s house, and there’s nothing they can do to control them—they’re unable to change the state they’re in no matter what anyone says. Are there such people? (Yes.) Is it easy for people like this to stand firm? (No.) Their attitude and mood in the performance of their duties, and the amount of energy they apply to their duties, are all based on “the latest news.” Some people say, “According to reliable news, God’s gospel is spreading wonderfully!” And some people say, “The latest news is that disasters are happening now across the world very frequently, and apparently the situation of the world and the disasters have now fulfilled the such-and-such disaster in the Book of Revelation. God’s work will soon be completed, the day of God will soon be here, and the religious world is all in an uproar!” Whenever they hear “the latest news” or “reliable news,” their distress, anxiety, and worry cease temporarily and no longer disturb them and they let their active thoughts go for a time. However, when they haven’t heard any “reliable news” or any “accurate news” recently, their distress, anxiety, and worry, as well as their active thoughts, begin flooding out. Some people even prepare by thinking where to apply for a job, where to work, how many children to have, where their children will go to school in a few years, how to prepare for their college tuition, and they even plan to buy a house, land, or car. However, upon hearing “reliable news,” these things are temporarily put on hold. Doesn’t this seem like a joke? (It does.) They believe in God but they don’t set their heart on this and say faith in God is the right path in life, that it is the most meaningful life, that to live this way has the most value; no matter how God leads them or what God does, they’re certain that everything God does is done to save people, and so they will follow God till the very end. Whether it takes until heaven and earth grow old, until the stars change their positions, whether it takes until the seas dry up, the rocks turn to dust, or the seas become the land and the land becomes the seas, their heart remains the same, and it is set. Their heart will be given to God for the rest of their life, and if there is another life after this one, they will still follow God. These people who have so many difficulties in their lives, however, don’t think like this. Their faith in God involves watching for the time being, and they live their lives in whichever way they think they ought to live it. They will not change the ways and means in which they live or change their wishes or plans just because they believe in God and follow the path of faith in God. Whatever their plans were in the beginning, they don’t change them just because they believe in God, they don’t change anything at all, and they seek to live in whatever way the unbelievers live. Yet faith in God involves one special thing, and that is that the day of God will soon arrive, God’s kingdom will soon come, and the great disasters will befall. Those who believe in God can then escape the disasters, they will not fall into the disasters, they can be saved, and it’s only because of this special thing that they are so exceedingly interested in believing in God. Therefore, their purpose and what they focus on in their belief in God is only ever this one thing. No matter how many sermons they listen to, or how many truths they hear people fellowship on, or how long they’ve believed in God for, the way they believe in God doesn’t ever change, and they never give it up. Neither because of the sermons they listen to nor the truths they understand do they change or let go of their wrong views on belief in God. And so, whether there is some change in or some saying about the situation in the outside world or in God’s house, it always has an impact on this thing that they’re most concerned about in their innermost hearts. If they hear that God’s work will soon be completed, they’re overjoyed; if they hear that it’s still too early for God’s work to be completed, however, and they can’t keep going, their distress, anxiety, and worry will grow by the day, and they will begin preparing to take their leave of God’s house and their brothers and sisters at any time, to make a clean separation from God’s house. Of course, there are also those who, at any time, begin preparing to completely erase all contact details of their brothers and sisters and all their messages, and return the books of God’s words that God’s house has sent them back to the church. They think, “I really can’t go on following this path of believing in God and pursuing the truth. I thought that believing in God meant I would live a happy life, have children, receive blessings and enter the kingdom of heaven. Now this beautiful dream has been smashed, so I will still choose to live a happy life, have children, and enjoy life. Yet I still can’t give up my belief in God. If there’s a chance I could receive a hundredfold in this life and eternal life in the life to come, wouldn’t that be even better?” This is their view on belief in God, it is their plan and, of course, it is also what they do. This is the thinking and the planning in the innermost hearts of those who rely on their imaginings in their belief in God, who always feel distressed, anxious, and worried about their fleshly lives, and it represents what they pursue and the path they follow in their belief in God. What is it they’re most hung up on? The thing they’re most hung up on is when the day of God will arrive, when God’s work will come to an end, when the great disasters will befall, and whether they will be able to escape the great disasters—this is what they’re most hung up on.
As far as those who are always distressed, anxious, and worried about their fleshly lives are concerned, their pursuit in their belief in God is to “receive a hundredfold in this life and eternal life in the life to come.” They do not, however, like to hear about how far God’s work has progressed, whether those who believe in God achieve the result of attaining salvation, how many people have gained the truth, come to know God, and borne good testimony, as though these things have nothing to do with them. So, what is it that they want to hear? (When God’s work will come to an end.) They have greater hopes, right? Most people are too small-minded. Look at what they set their sights on and they hope just for great things—what a high state they’re in! Most people are just so vulgar, always talking about dispositional changes, submitting to God, faithfully performing their duty, doing things in accordance with the truth principles—what are these people? They’re too small-minded! What do Chinese people say? They’re too low. What does low mean? It’s too vulgar. And where do these people set their sights? They hope for great things, lofty things, upscale things. Those who hope for upscale things always want to progress upward, still vainly hoping that God will one day raise them up into the air to meet Him. You want to meet God but you don’t ask whether or not God wants to meet you—you just keep wanting these amazing things! Have you only met God a few times? People don’t know God, so when you meet Him you’ll still be defying Him. So, what is the reason behind these people’s distress, anxiety, and worry? Is it really all because of difficulties in their lives? No, it’s not that they really have difficulties in their lives, it’s that they have set the focus of their faith in God on their fleshly lives. The focus of their pursuit is not the truth, but rather it is to live a happy life, to enjoy the good life and to enjoy a good future. Are these people’s problems easy to resolve? Are there people like this in the church? They’re always asking others, “Oh, when will the day of God come? Wasn’t it said a couple of years ago that God’s work was about to come to an end? So why hasn’t it ended yet?” Is there any way to deal with people like this? Just say one word to them, and tell them, “Soon!” When it comes to people like this, first ask them, “You’re always asking about this. Have you made some plans? If so, then don’t bother staying here when you don’t want to. Just go with what you want. Don’t go against your own desires, and don’t make life hard for yourself. God’s house isn’t keeping you here, it isn’t trapping you here. You can leave whenever you want. Don’t always be asking what’s new on the grapevine. To any of the news on the grapevine you’ll just be told ‘Soon!’ If you’re not happy with that answer, if you have already made plans in your heart and will carry them through sooner or later anyway, then take my advice: Give your books of God’s words back to the church as soon as possible, pack your stuff and go. We’ll just say goodbye to each other, and you won’t ever need to feel distressed, anxious, or worried about these things again. Go back home and live your life. I wish you well! I wish you a happy and contented life and I hope everything works out for you in the future!” What do you think of this? (It’s good.) Advise them to leave the church; don’t try to keep them. Why not try to keep them? (They don’t truly believe in God, so there’s no point in keeping them.) That’s right; they’re nonbelievers! What would be the point in keeping nonbelievers and not kicking them out? Some people say, “But they haven’t done anything evil, and they haven’t disrupted anything.” Do they need to disrupt anything? Tell Me, does someone like this staying in a group of people not constitute a disruption? Wherever they go, their demeanor and actions already constitute a disruption. They never carry out spiritual devotions, they never read God’s words, they never pray or give fellowship in gatherings, they just go through the motions in their duties, always asking for what’s new on the grapevine. They are exceptionally emotional and capricious. They are also exceptionally focused on eating, drinking, and enjoying themselves, and there are even some who are lazy, who indulge in eating, who indulge in sleep, who mess around, who are just there to make up the numbers in God’s house. They don’t concern themselves with the performance of their duties, and they’re just loafers. When they come to God’s house, they’re just there looking for things to benefit themselves and taking advantage. If they can’t take advantage, they will leave at the drop of a hat. Seeing as they will leave at the drop of a hat, isn’t it better for them to leave sooner rather than later? People like this can’t even render service to the end and their service has no good effect. When they do render service, they don’t do the right things—they’re just nonbelievers. In their belief in God, they regard issues from a third perspective. When God’s house prospers, they’re happy, thinking that they have hope of being blessed, that they have the advantage, that their belief in God has not been in vain, that they haven’t lost out, and that they’ve bet on the winning side. If, however, God’s house is oppressed by satanic forces, abandoned by society, subjected to slander and persecution, and in dire straits, then not only are they not upset, but they laugh at it. Can we keep people like this in the church? (No.) They’re nonbelievers and enemies! If an enemy is right beside you and yet you regard them as a brother or sister, then doesn’t that make you stupid? If people like this are unable to willingly render service, then they should be kicked out, right? (Right.) Right indeed, do it promptly and thoroughly. There’s no need to advise them, just comfortably ask them to leave. There’s no need to waste your breath on them, you should just send them packing back home. In essence, they are not people who belong to God’s house, they are just nonbelievers who made their way into the church. They can just go back where they came from, and you can just ask them to leave. After they’ve entered the church, some people actually draw a clear distinction between themselves and brothers and sisters and God’s house. This is because they know what they’ve come to do, they know whether they truly believe or not, and besides their hopes regarding when God’s work will come to an end and whether they can receive blessings, no work of God’s house or any of the truths God requires people to enter have anything to do with them at all; they pay no attention to these things, they don’t read the books of God’s words the church sends them to read, and they just leave them lying around with the packaging still unopened. Such people only say they believe in God; they appear to believe as others do on the surface and they go through the motions to perform their duties, but they never read God’s words. They’ve never once opened a book of God’s words, they’ve never turned a single page—they never read any of it. They never watch the videos of people bearing witness to their experiences, the gospel movies, or the hymns and so on that God’s house puts online either. What do they watch ordinarily? They watch the news, popular shows, video clips, and comedies, only watching what is pointless. What are these people? They occasionally visit the church to ask, “How many countries has the gospel work spread to now? How many people have turned to God? How many countries have churches been set up in now? How many churches are there? What stage is God’s work at?” In their free time, they always ask about these things. Is there not a suspicion that this person is a spy? Tell Me, is it okay to keep someone like this? (No.) If they don’t leave the church of their own accord, then you must remove them as soon as you discover them and rid the church of these scourges. Keeping them is pointless and will cause trouble. So, the things these people get distressed, anxious, and worried about have nothing to do with us whatsoever. Don’t bother to offer them advice, and it’s useless to fellowship on the truth with them. Just get rid of them and have done with it—this is the best way to deal with people like this.
Apart from nonbelievers, there are also elderly people among brothers and sisters, who are aged from 60 up to around 80 or 90 and who, because of their advanced age, also experience some difficulties. Despite their age, their thinking is not necessarily so correct or rational, and their ideas and views do not necessarily accord with the truth. These elderly people have problems just the same, and they’re always worrying, “My health isn’t so good anymore and I’m limited as to what duty I can perform. If I just perform this little duty, will God remember me? Sometimes I get sick, and I need someone to look after me. When there’s no one to look after me, I’m not able to perform my duty, so what can I do? I’m old and I don’t remember God’s words when I read them and it’s hard for me to understand the truth. When fellowshiping on the truth, I speak in a muddled and illogical way, and I haven’t any experiences worth sharing. I’m old and I don’t have enough energy, my eyesight isn’t very good and I’m not strong anymore. Everything is difficult for me. Not only can I not perform my duty, but I easily forget things and get things wrong. Sometimes I get confused and I cause problems for the church and for my brothers and sisters. I want to attain salvation and pursue the truth but it’s very hard. What can I do?” When they think of these things, they begin to fret, thinking, “How come I only started believing in God at this age? How come I’m not like those who are in their 20s and 30s, or even those in their 40s and 50s? How come I only came across God’s work now when I’m so old? It’s not that my fate is bad; at least now I’ve encountered God’s work. My fate is good, and God has been kind to me! There’s just one thing that I’m not happy about, and that is that I’m too old. My memory isn’t very good, and my health isn’t that great, but I have a strong heart. It’s just that my body doesn’t obey me, and I get sleepy after listening for a while at gatherings. Sometimes I close my eyes to pray and fall asleep, and my mind wanders when I read God’s words. After reading for a bit, I get sleepy and doze off, and the words don’t sink in. What can I do? With such practical difficulties, am I still able to pursue and understand the truth? If not, and if I’m not able to practice in line with the truth principles, then won’t all my faith be in vain? Won’t I fail to attain salvation? What can I do? I’m so worried! At this age, nothing is important anymore. Now that I believe in God, I have no more worries or anything to feel anxious about, and my children are grown and they don’t need me to look after or raise them anymore, my greatest wish in life is to pursue the truth, perform the duty of a created being, and ultimately attain salvation in the years I have left. However, looking now at my actual situation, dim-sighted from age and confused in mind, in poor health, not able to perform my duty well, and sometimes creating problems when I try to do as much as I can do, it seems as though attaining salvation isn’t going to be easy for me.” They think these things over and over and grow anxious, and then think, “It seems as though good things only ever happen to young people and not to old people. It looks as though no matter how good things are, I won’t be able to enjoy them anymore.” The more they think about these things, the more they fret and the more anxious they get. They not only worry about themselves, but they also feel hurt. If they cry, they feel it’s not really worth crying over, and if they don’t cry, that pain, that hurt, is always with them. So, what should they do? In particular, there are some elderly people who want to spend all their time expending themselves for God and performing their duty, but they’re physically unwell. Some have high blood pressure, some have high blood sugar, some have gastrointestinal problems, and their physical strength cannot keep up with the demands of their duty, and so they fret. They see young people able to eat and drink, to run and jump, and they feel envious. The more they see young people do such things, the more distressed they feel, thinking, “I want to do my duty well and pursue and understand the truth, and I want to practice the truth, too, so why is it so hard? I’m so old and useless! Does God not want old people? Are old people really useless? Can we not attain salvation?” They’re sad and unable to feel happy no matter how they think about it. They don’t want to miss such a wonderful time and such a great opportunity, yet they’re unable to expend themselves and perform their duty with all their heart and soul like young people do. These elderly people fall into deep distress, anxiety, and worry because of their age. Every time they encounter some difficulty, setback, hardship, or obstacle, they blame their age, and even hate themselves and have no liking for themselves. But in any case, it is to no avail, there is no solution, and they have no way forward. Could it be that they really have no way forward? Is there any solution? (Elderly people should also perform their duties as much as they’re able.) It’s acceptable for elderly people to perform their duties as much as they’re able, right? Can elderly people not pursue the truth anymore because of their age? Are they not capable of understanding the truth? (Yes, they are.) Can elderly people understand the truth? They can understand some, and not even young people can understand it all, either. Elderly people always have a misconception, believing that they’re confused, that their memory is bad, and so they can’t understand the truth. Are they right? (No.) Although young people have much more energy than elderly people, and are physically stronger, actually their capacity to understand, comprehend, and know is just the same as that of elderly people. Weren’t elderly people once young as well? They weren’t born old, and young people will all grow old one day, too. Elderly people mustn’t always be thinking that because they’re old, physically weak, unwell, and with bad memories, they’re different from young people. In fact, there is no difference. What do I mean when I say there is no difference? Whether someone is old or young, their corrupt dispositions are the same, their attitudes and views on all manner of things are the same, and their perspectives and standpoints on all manner of things are the same. So, elderly people mustn’t think that because they’re old, with fewer extravagant desires than young people, and able to be stable, they have no wild ambitions or desires, and that they have fewer corrupt dispositions—this is a misconception. Young people can jockey for position, so can’t elderly people jockey for position? Young people can do things against the principles and act arbitrarily, so can’t elderly people do the same? (Yes, they can.) Young people can be arrogant, so can’t elderly people also be arrogant? However, when elderly people are arrogant, due to their advanced age they aren’t so aggressive, and it’s not such a high-minded arrogance. Young people show more obvious manifestations of arrogance due to their flexible limbs and minds, while older people show less obvious manifestations of arrogance due to their rigid limbs and inflexible minds. However, their essence of arrogance and their corrupt dispositions are the same. No matter how long an elderly person has believed in God for, or how many years they have performed their duty for, if they are not in pursuit of the truth, then their corrupt dispositions will remain. For example, some elderly people who live alone are used to living by themselves and they’re set in their ways: They have set times and their own arrangements for eating, sleeping, and resting, and they’re unwilling to disrupt the order of things in their lives. These elderly people seem like wonderful people from the outside, but they still have corrupt dispositions, and you come to know this after you’ve associated with them for a long time. Some elderly people are incredibly capricious and arrogant; they absolutely must have what they want to eat, and no one can stop them when they want to go somewhere for leisure. When they set their minds on doing something, wild stallions couldn’t drag them away. No one can change them, and they are capricious their entire lives. Such stubborn old people are even more troublesome than wayward youths! Therefore, when some people say, “Old people are not as deeply corrupted as young people. Old people lived through a time that was rather more conservative and closed off, and that’s why this generation of old people aren’t so deeply corrupted,” does this saying hold true? (No.) This is just quibbling for their own sake. Young people don’t like working with others, and can’t elderly people be just the same? (They can.) Some elderly people have corrupt dispositions that are even more severe than those of young people, always flaunting their old age and priding themselves on their veteran years, saying, “I’m advanced in years. How old are you? Am I the elder, or are you? You won’t like to hear this, but I’ve been around the block more times than you’ve had hot dinners, and you have to listen to me. I’m experienced and knowledgeable. What do you young kids understand? I was believing in God before you were even born!” Isn’t this more troublesome? (It is.) Once they have the title “elderly,” older people can be more troublesome. So, it is not that elderly people have nothing to do, nor are they unable to perform their duties, much less are they unable to pursue the truth—there are many things for them to do. The various heresies and fallacies that you have accumulated during your lifetime, as well as the various traditional ideas and notions, ignorant and stubborn things, conservative things, irrational things, and absurd things that you have accumulated have all piled up in your heart, and you should spend even more time than young people to dig out, dissect, and recognize these things. It’s not the case that you have nothing to do, or that you should feel distressed, anxious, and worried when you are at a loose end—this is neither your task nor your responsibility. First of all, elderly people should have the correct mindset. Although you may be getting on in years and you are physically relatively aged, still you should have a young mindset. Although you’re getting old, your thinking is slowed and your memory is poor, if you can still know yourself, still understand the words I say, and still understand the truth, then that proves you are not old and that your caliber is not lacking. If someone is in their 70s but is not able to understand the truth, then this shows that their stature is too small and not up to the task. Therefore, age is irrelevant when it comes to the truth and, moreover, age is irrelevant when it comes to corrupt dispositions. Satan has existed for tens of thousands of years, hundreds of millions of years, and it is still Satan, yet we must still add an attributive adjective before the word “Satan,” and that is “old Satan,” meaning that it’s evil to the nth degree, right? (Yes.) So, how should elderly people practice? One aspect is that you should have the same mindset as young people, pursue the truth and know yourself, and once you have come to know yourself, you should repent. Another aspect is that you should seek the principles in the performance of your duty and practice in accordance with the truth principles. You shouldn’t write yourself off from pursuing the truth, saying that you’re old, advanced in years, that you don’t have the active thoughts that young people have, that you don’t have the corrupt dispositions that young people have, that you’ve experienced everything in this life, gained insight into it all, and therefore you have no wild ambitions or desires. What you really mean by saying this is, “My corrupt dispositions aren’t that serious, so pursuing the truth is for you young people. It has nothing to do with us old people. We old people just do whatever work and exert whatever effort we can in God’s house, and then we will have done our duty well and we’ll be saved. As for God revealing people’s corrupt dispositions, antichrist dispositions, and antichrist essence, that’s what you young people should understand. You may listen to it carefully, and it’s enough that we host you well and keep an eye on the surroundings to keep you safe. We old people don’t have wild ambitions. We’re getting old, our brains respond slowly, and that’s why all our responses are positive. Before we die, we become kindhearted. When people get old, they become well-behaved, so we are well-behaved people.” What they really mean is that they don’t have any corrupt dispositions. When have we ever said that elderly people don’t need to pursue the truth or that pursuing the truth differs depending on your age? Have we ever said this? No, we haven’t. In God’s house and when it comes to the truth, are elderly people a special group? No, they’re not. Age is irrelevant when it comes to the truth, as it is when it comes to your corrupt dispositions, the depth of your corruption, whether you are qualified to pursue the truth, whether you can attain salvation, or what the probability is of you being saved. Isn’t that so? (It is.) We’ve fellowshiped on the truth for so many years now, but we’ve never fellowshiped on different kinds of truths according to people’s different ages. The truth has never been fellowshiped on nor corrupt dispositions revealed exclusively for either young people or elderly people, nor has it been said that, because of their old age, rigid thinking, and inability to accept new things, their corrupt dispositions naturally decrease and change—these things have never been said. No single truth has ever been fellowshiped on specifically according to people’s age and excluding elderly people. Elderly people are not a special group in the church, in God’s house, or before God, but are rather the same as any other age group. There is nothing special about them, it’s just that they have lived a little longer than others, that they arrived in this world a few years earlier than others, that their hair is a little greyer than others, and that their bodies have gotten old a little earlier than others; besides these things, there is no difference. And so, if elderly people always think, “I’m old so that means I’m a well-behaved person, that I have no corrupt dispositions, and that I only have a slight bit of corruption,” then is this not a fallacious understanding? (It is.) Isn’t it somewhat shameless? Some elderly people are crafty old scoundrels, cunning to the nth degree. They say they have no corrupt dispositions, and even that their corrupt dispositions have been worn away, when in fact the outpourings of their corrupt dispositions are no less than those of other people. In reality, there are many ways in which we can describe the corrupt dispositions and quality of humanity of this kind of elderly person. For example, “crafty old scoundrels,” and “old ginger is the spiciest, experience beats youth”—these both use the word “old,” right? (Right.) What other descriptions are there that use the word “old”? (Old schemers.) Yes, that’s a good one, “old schemers.” You see, they all use the word “old.” Then there’s “old Satan” and “old devils”—the quintessential seniors! What do people believe when they’re part of a group of elderly people? They believe, “Our corrupt dispositions have all been worn away. Corrupt dispositions are a matter for you young people. You’re more deeply corrupted than we are.” Isn’t this a deliberate distortion? They want to paint themselves in a good way and blow their own trumpet, but in fact that is not the case, and things are not like that. “Old devils,” “old Satan,” “old schemers,” “crafty old scoundrels,” and “flaunting one’s old age”—these descriptions that use the word “old” aren’t good things, and they aren’t positive things.
We’re fellowshiping on this now to give elderly people a warning, to advise them, and to guide them, and also to give young people a preventive injection. The purpose of saying these things is primarily to resolve what problem? It is to resolve these elderly people’s distress, anxiety, and worry, and to make sure they understand that this distress, anxiety, and worry are superfluous and unnecessary. If you wish to perform a duty and you are suited to performing a duty, will God’s house refuse you? (No.) God’s house will certainly give you an opportunity to perform a duty. It will absolutely not say, “You can’t perform a duty because you’re old. Get out. We’re not giving you a chance.” No, God’s house treats all people fairly. As long as you are suited to performing a duty and there is no hidden danger, God’s house will give you the opportunity and allow you to perform a duty as much as you are able. Moreover, if you wish to know yourself and pursue the truth, will anyone mock you and say, “Is such an old person as you qualified to pursue the truth?” Will anyone mock you? (No.) Will anyone say, “You’re old and confused. What’s the point in you pursuing the truth? God won’t save someone as old as you”? (No.) No, they won’t. Everyone is equal before the truth, and everyone is treated fairly. It’s just that you might not pursue the truth and will always come the old soldier, always thinking, “I’m old and I can’t perform any duty.” In fact, there are many duties you can perform to the extent of your ability. If you don’t perform any duty and instead flaunt your old age, wanting to lecture others, then who would want to listen to you? No one. You always say, “Oh, you young people just don’t understand things!” and “Oh, you young people are just selfish!” and “Oh, you young people are just arrogant!” and “Oh, you young people are just lazy. We old people are hardworking, and in my day we were such and such.” What’s the use of saying such things? Don’t go on about your “magnificent” history; no one wants to hear it. It’s pointless talking about those obsolete things; they do not represent the truth. If you want to talk about something, then make some effort with the truth, understand the truth a little more, know yourself, see yourself as just another ordinary person and not as a member of a special group who should be respected by others, venerated by others, held in high esteem by others and with other people flocking around you. This is an extravagant desire, and it is wrong thinking. Age is not a symbol of your identity, age does not represent eligibility, and age does not represent seniority, much less does it represent that you are in possession of the truth or humanity, and age cannot weaken your corrupt dispositions. So, you’re just the same as other people. Don’t always label yourself as “elderly” to separate yourself from others, and even set yourself apart as holy. That shows you don’t know yourself at all! While they’re living, elderly people should strive even more to pursue the truth, pursue life entry, and work harmoniously together with brothers and sisters to perform their duty; only in this way can their stature grow. Elderly people must absolutely not presume themselves to be senior to others and flaunt their old age. Young people can reveal all kinds of corrupt disposition, and so can you; young people can do all manner of foolish things, and so can you; young people harbor notions, and so do elderly people; young people can be rebellious, and so can elderly people; young people can reveal an antichrist disposition, and so can elderly people; young people have wild ambitions and desires, and so do elderly people, without the slightest difference; young people can cause interruptions and disturbances and get cleared out of the church, and so can elderly people. Therefore, besides being able to perform their duty well to the best of their abilities, there are many things they can do. Unless you’re stupid, demented, and cannot understand the truth, and unless you’re unable to take care of yourself, there are many things you should do. Just like young people, you can pursue the truth, you can seek the truth, and you should often come before God to pray, seek the truth principles, strive to view people and things and comport yourself and act wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. This is the path you should follow, and you should not feel distressed, anxious, or worried because you’re old, because you have many ailments, or because your body is aging. Feeling distress, anxiety, and worry is not the right thing to do—they are irrational manifestations. Elderly people should let go of their “elderly” title, integrate with young people and sit as equals with them. You mustn’t flaunt your old age, always thinking that you are of lofty virtue worthy of respect, that you are supremely qualified, that you can manage young people, that you are the seniors and elders to young people, always having the ambition to control young people, and always having the desire to manage young people—this is an out-and-out corrupt disposition. Since elderly people have corrupt dispositions just as young people do, and often reveal their corrupt dispositions in life and when performing their duties just as young people do, why then do elderly people not do what is proper, and instead always feel distressed, anxious, and worried about their old age and what happens to them after death? Why don’t they perform their duties like young people do? Why don’t they pursue the truth like young people do? This opportunity has been given to you, so if you don’t grab hold of it, and you really get so old that you cannot hear or see or take care of yourself, then you will regret it, and your life will pass by in this way. Do you understand? (Yes.)
Has the problem of elderly people’s negative emotions now been resolved? When you grow old, will you flaunt your old age? Will you become crafty old scoundrels and old schemers? When you see an old person, will you call them “old brother” or “old sister”? They have names but you don’t call them by their names, instead adding the word “old.” If you always add the word “old” when speaking to elderly people, won’t that harm them? They already think themselves old and have some negative emotions, so if you call them “old,” it’s like you’re telling them, “You’re old, older than I am, and you’re of no use anymore.” Will they feel comfortable when they hear you say this? They will certainly feel unhappy. Will it not hurt them if you address them in this way? Some elderly people will be delighted when they hear you addressing them like this, and will think, “See, I have a lofty virtue worthy of respect and a worthy reputation. When brothers and sisters see me, they don’t call me by my name. In God’s house, people don’t call old people uncle, or grandpa, or grandma. Instead, when the brothers and sisters address me, they add the word ‘old,’ and call me ‘old brother’ (or ‘old sister’). Look at how dignified I am, and look at how respectable I am before others. God’s house is good—people respect the old and care for the young!” Are you worthy of respect? What edification have you brought to your brothers and sisters? What benefit have you brought to them? What is your contribution to God’s house? How much of the truth do you understand? How much of the truth do you put into practice? You think yourself of lofty virtue worthy of respect and yet have made no contribution at all, so do you deserve to be called “old brother” or “old sister” by your brothers and sisters? Absolutely not! You flaunt your old age and always want other people to respect you! Is it good to be addressed as “old brother” or “old sister”? (No.) No, it isn’t, but I hear it often. It’s so bad, yet people still often address elderly people in this way. What kind of atmosphere does this create? It’s disgusting, isn’t it? The more you address an elderly person as “old brother” or “old sister,” the more they think themselves qualified, and the more they think themselves of lofty virtue worthy of respect; the more you address them as “old so-and-so,” the more special they think they are, more important and better than other people, their hearts incline toward leading other people, and the farther they stray from pursuing the truth. They always want to lead other people and manage other people, always regarding themselves as better than other people, always finding other people disagreeable, always seeing the problems other people have and seeing none in themselves. Tell Me, can such a person as this still pursue the truth? No, they can’t. So, addressing people as “old brother” or “old sister” is of no benefit to them, and all it can do is hurt them and harm them. If you simply call them by their name and drop the title “old,” if you regard them in the correct manner, and sit as equals with them, then their state and their mentality will become normal, and they will no longer pride themselves on their veteran years and look down on others. In this way, it will become easy for them to regard themselves as the equals of other people, they will be able to regard themselves and other people correctly, able to see themselves as just the same as other people, just the same as ordinary people, and not better than other people at all. In this way, their difficulties will grow smaller, and they will not experience the negative emotions that can arise due to their advanced years and them not having gained the truth, and they will then have hope of pursuing the truth. When these negative emotions do not arise, they will regard their own problems, especially their corrupt dispositions, with the correct mindset. This has a positive and helpful effect on their pursuit of the truth, their self-knowledge, and their ability to follow the path of pursuing the truth. Won’t the issues with negative emotions in elderly people then be resolved? (They will.) They will be resolved, and there will be no more difficulties. So what is the mindset that elderly people should first adopt? They must adopt a positive mindset; they must not only be prudent, but they must be magnanimous. They mustn’t make a fuss over things with young people but should set an example and show the way for young people, and not be too harsh on them. Young people have a quick temper and speak urgently, so don’t make a fuss over things with them. They’re young, immature, and inexperienced, and a few years of tempering will see them right. This is how things should be, and elderly people should understand this. So what mindset should elderly people adopt that is in conformity with the truth? They should treat young people correctly and, at the same time, they mustn’t be arrogant and self-conceited, thinking themselves greatly experienced, and insightful. They should regard themselves as ordinary people and just the same as everyone else—this is the correct thing to do. Elderly people mustn’t be held back by their age, nor must they change to having a young person’s mentality. Changing into having a young person’s mentality isn’t normal, either, so just don’t be held back by your age. Don’t always be thinking, “Oh, I’m so old, I can’t do this, I can’t say this, I can’t do that. Because I’m so old, I must this, I must that, I must sit in a certain way and stand in a certain way, and I must even eat in a certain good way, all for young people to see, so that they don’t look down on elderly people.” This mindset is wrong, and by thinking this, you are being controlled and restricted by a kind of wrong thinking, and you are being a little artificial, fake, and false. Do not be held back by your age, be the same as everyone else, do whatever you are able to do, and do what you ought to do—in this way, you will have a normal mindset. Do you understand? (Yes.) So, when an elderly person has a normal mindset, the various negative emotions that can arise in them because of their advanced years disappear without them being aware of it; they can no longer entangle you, the harm they cause you also vanishes, and then your humanity, your reason, and your conscience all become relatively normal. Under the premise of having a normal conscience and rationality, people’s starting point becomes relatively correct for pursuing the truth, performing their duty, engaging in any activity and any work, and the results that are achieved are also relatively correct. First, elderly people will not be held back by their age but will be able to take their own measure objectively and practically, do what they ought to do, be the same as other people, and perform the duty they ought to perform to the best of their ability. Young people shouldn’t think, “You’re so old, you never make way for me, nor do you look after me. You’re so old, you should be experienced, but you don’t give me tips on how to do things and there’s no benefit to being with you. You’re old, so how come you don’t know how to be understanding toward young people?” Is this right to say? (No.) It’s inappropriate to make such demands of elderly people. Therefore, all people are equal before the truth. If all your thinking is practical, objective, accurate, and rational, then it will certainly be in accord with the truth principles. If you are unaffected by any objective condition, cause, environment, or even any factor at all, if you only do what people should do and only do what God teaches people to do, then what you do will certainly be appropriate and proper, basically in conformity with the truth. You will not become mired in the negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry due to your old age, either, and this problem will be solved.
Great, I’ll end today’s fellowship here. Goodbye!
October 22, 2022