How to Pursue the Truth (9)
Last time we gathered, we fellowshiped on the second part of what needs to be let go of in the context of “how to pursue the truth”—namely, letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires. On this subject, we listed four things in total: first, interests and hobbies; second, marriage; third, family; and fourth, career. Last time, we fellowshiped about interests and hobbies. One of the elements of letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires is the human pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise as a result of interests and hobbies. Having listened to My fellowship, does everyone have a correct attitude and perspective on interests and hobbies? (Yes.) The point of us fellowshiping is to let go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise as a result of interests and hobbies, but to let these things go, you must first understand what interests and hobbies are, then understand how you ought to treat them, and how to let go of these things that arise as a result of them. It does not matter whether we fellowship on the positive or on the negative. In short, the goal is to enable people to comprehend what interests and hobbies are, and then to correctly treat and apply them, to give them the appropriate space or value for existing, and at the same time, to enable people to let go of the pursuits, desires, and ideals which are incorrect, inappropriate, which they ought not to have, which influence their belief in God and the doing of their duty. One could say that the pursuits, ideals and desires that arise from your interests and hobbies will influence your life, survival, and your view of survival; of course, they will have an even greater influence on the path you walk, and your duty and mission in this life. So, from a passive perspective, the pursuits, ideals, and desires that interests and hobbies bring to people are not the goals they pursue, nor are they the direction they pursue—much less are they the view on life and the values that they ought to establish in this lifetime. By fellowshiping on what interests and hobbies are, I tell people how to correctly know and treat them, and then get them to know whether their pursuits, ideals, and desires are correct or not from the perspective of the influence interests and hobbies have. That is to say, I use both the positive and negative sides to allow people to clearly see how to correctly treat interests and hobbies. For one thing, if someone has a correct knowledge and an accurate comprehension of interests and hobbies, and they are able to treat them accurately, then they are also truly letting go of the ideals and desires that arise from interests and hobbies. Once you have a correct understanding of interests and hobbies, the methods and the ways you treat them will be correct and relatively in accordance with principles and with God’s requirements of man. In this way, you will be enabled to let go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from interests and hobbies in a positive way. Additionally, this fellowship also allows you to clearly see the various detrimental influences that the pursuits, ideals, and desires which arise from interests and hobbies bring, or the oppositional, negative influence they produce, which then allows you to actively let go of these inappropriate pursuits, ideals, and desires. After our fellowship on all this, are there not some who will say: “The various kinds of people in this world all have different interests and hobbies, and their individual interests and hobbies give rise to different pursuits, ideals, and desires. Suppose we went according to our current way of speaking, and people had not gone to pursue their ideals and desires—would this world have developed? How could fields like mankind’s technology, culture, and education, which touch on mankind’s survival and life, still have developed? Would mankind still be able to enjoy their current lifestyle? Would the world have developed to this current state? Would the world not be like a primitive society? Would we have today’s modern human lifestyle?” Is this an issue? It is possible that no matter what topic we fellowship on, you all accept it from the perspective of “God’s words are the truth, they should be accepted and submitted to,” so most of the time, you do not have differing opinions with which to refute the words I fellowship to you. But that is not the same thing as there not being anyone—or there not being a third party—who would bring up such doubts, is it? If there really was someone who brought up such a question, how would you respond? (I feel that the perspective expressed in this question is wrong, because people’s interests and hobbies do not control the development of technology, nor do they control the progress of the ages. The development of technology and the progress of the ages are all under God’s sovereignty. You can’t say that someone with an interest or a hobby can push the world’s development forward, that they can change the world.) You are speaking on a macroscopic level. Are there any different ways of looking at it? It depends on whether or not you really understand the truth. Do you think that after hearing these words of fellowship, the unbelievers will bring up such a question? (Probably.) So if they bring up this question, how can you answer in accordance with objective facts, with the truth? If you cannot answer, then they will say that you have been hoodwinked. You not being able to answer at least proves one fact, which is that you do not understand this aspect of the truth. Are you not unable to answer? (We are unable.) Then let us talk about this matter.
Some people say: “If mankind did not pursue their ideals, then would the world have developed to its current state?” The answer is “yes.” Is that not simple? (It is.) What is the simplest, bluntest explanation for this “yes”? It is that whether or not mankind pursues their ideals does not have any influence on the world, because the world’s development up to the present has not been pushed forward and led by mankind’s ideals; rather, the Creator has led mankind to the present, to today. Without their pursuits, ideals, and desires, mankind would have come to today just the same, but without the leadership and sovereignty of the Creator, they would not have. Is such an explanation suitable? (Yes.) What is suitable about it? Does it answer the question? Does it explain the essence of the question? It does not explain it; it merely answers the question theoretically, in what could be called the terms of a vision. But there is a more detailed, essential explanation which has not been voiced. What is that detailed explanation? Let us first talk simply. In all mankind, people follow their own kind, each kind of person having their own mission. The mission of those who believe in God is to testify of the sovereignty of the Creator, to testify of His conduct, to complete what He has entrusted to them, to do their duty well, and in the end, to be saved. This is their mission. To speak in more detail, it is to spread God’s word and His work, and then by accepting His leadership and experiencing His work, to throw off their corrupt disposition and be saved. This kind of person is chosen by God. They are the kind of person who cooperates with the work He does in His management work. The mission of this kind of person is to do their duty well and complete what God has entrusted to them. One could say that such people are a unique group among all mankind. This unique group of people bear a unique mission in God’s management work, in His six-thousand-year management plan; they have a unique duty and a unique responsibility. So when I say to let go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from interests and hobbies, I am requiring these people—by which I mean you all—to let go of personal pursuits, ideals, and desires, because your mission, your duty, and your responsibility are in the house of God and in the church, not on this earth. That is to say, you all have nothing to do with the development and advancement of this world or with any of its trends. One could also say that God has not bestowed upon you any mission regarding the development and advancement of this world. This is His ordination. What is the mission that God has bestowed upon those He has chosen, those He will save? It is to do their duty well in the house of God, and to be saved. One of the things He requires of people in order to be saved is to pursue the truth, and one of the ways He requires people to pursue the truth is to let go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires. So these words and requirements are not directed at all mankind; rather, they are directed at you, at every one of God’s chosen people that He has selected, and at everyone who wants to be saved—and of course, they are directed at everyone who is able to do their duty in God’s management work for the salvation of mankind. What is the role that you are able to play in the work of God’s management plan? You are the ones God is going to save. So when it comes to the ones God is going to save, what does this “salvation” include? It includes accepting God’s words, His chastisement and judgment, His ordination, His sovereignty and arrangements, submitting to all His words, walking in His ways, and ultimately, worshiping Him and shunning evil; by so doing, you will be saved, and enter into the next age. This is the role you play among all mankind, and is the unique mission that God has bestowed upon you among all people. Of course, speaking from your perspective, this is a special kind of responsibility and duty that you have among all mankind. This is speaking of this issue from the perspective of those of God’s chosen people that He has selected. Secondarily, among all mankind, God has given this unique group of people a unique mission. He does not need them to have any obligation or responsibility toward the development of, advancement of, or anything else having to do with the world. Besides this unique group of people, God has bestowed various missions upon the remaining people of all kinds that He has not chosen, regardless of their nature essence. In mankind’s different time periods, different social environments, and among different races, their different missions cause them to play all kinds of roles, filling up all walks of life. Because of the various roles God has ordained them to play, they each have their own interests and hobbies. Under the preconditions of those interests and hobbies, all kinds of pursuits, ideals, and desires arise in them. Because they have all kinds of pursuits, ideals, and desires, in different eras and in different social environments, the world produces all kinds of new things and new industries—for example, technology, medicine, business, economics, and education, or light industries like textiles and handicraft, as well as aviation and maritime industries, and so forth. Thus, the leading figures, outstanding individuals, and unique enthusiasts who arise in every field as a result of their various pursuits, ideals, and desires have their own missions at different times and under different social environments. At the same time, in their particular social environment, they are also continuously fulfilling their mission. In this way, in mankind’s different time periods and social environments, society continuously develops and advances as a result of the realization of the pursuits, ideals, and desires of these unique individuals. And of course, it continuously brings mankind different qualities of material life. For example, a few hundred years ago, there was no electricity, so people used oil lamps. In these unique circumstances, a unique person came along and invented electricity, and mankind started to use electricity for illumination. As another example, in one particular social environment, another unique person appeared. He saw that writing on bamboo slips was too much trouble, and he hoped the day would come in which one could write on a thin, flat surface, which would be both convenient and easy to read. Then he started to research the techniques of paper manufacturing, and through his continuous research, exploration, and experimentation, he ultimately invented paper. Then there was also the invention of the steam engine. In a unique time period, a unique person came along who thought that working by hand was too exhausting, too wasteful of human energy, and too inefficient. If there were a machine or some other method that could replace human labor, then people would save a lot of time and be able to do other things. Thus, with research and exploration, the steam engine was invented, and then all kinds of mechanical things were invented one after another which used the motive principles of the steam engine. Is that not right? (It is.) Thus, at different times, the continuous realization and verification of the pursuits, ideals, and desires of one person or a group of people gradually and continuously advance and develop both light and heavy industry, causing the quality of life and the living conditions of all mankind to continuously improve. Light industries, like textiles and handicraft, are now developing to increasing levels of quality, fineness, and precision, and mankind’s enjoyment of them grows. Heavy industries, like all kinds of transportation, such as cars, trains, steamships, and planes, bring great ease to people’s lives, making it easy and convenient for people to travel. This is the true process and detailed manifestation of humanity’s development. In short, whether light industry or heavy industry, no matter the aspect, everything is initiated and produced by one unique person’s or a group of unique people’s interests and hobbies. Because of their unique interests and hobbies, they have their own pursuits, ideals, and desires. At the same time, because of their unique pursuits, ideals, and desires, in mankind’s different time periods and in the social environments they live in, the various fields among them give rise to more advanced things of all kinds, more convenient things, things which are more beneficial to raising the quality of life among all mankind. This brings ease to mankind and raises their quality of life. We will not talk about all this. We will instead take a look at the origins of these unique individuals. Where do these unique individuals in different time periods come from? Are they not ordained by God? (They are.) This point is certain beyond a doubt, and no one can deny it. Seeing as they are ordained by God, their missions are also related to God’s ordination. What does that mean, “related to God’s ordination”? It means that God has bestowed unique missions upon these unique individuals, causing them to come forth at particular times, to do what they want to at particular times, and then spurring on humanity at different times through the unique things those individuals do. Because of these unique individuals, the world is continuously undergoing subtle changes and renewals. This is how humanity develops.
What is the difference between those who have these unique interests and hobbies and the chosen people God has selected? The difference is that although God has ordained a unique mission for these people, they are not the ones He has ordained for salvation, so His requirements of them are just that they must do something unique in their unique age, their unique time. They complete their mission, and then at their unique time, they leave. While they live on the earth, God does not do the work of salvation on them. They just have a mission for the development and advancement of this society and mankind, or in order to change mankind’s living conditions at different periods. They have absolutely nothing to do with the work of the salvation of mankind in God’s management plan, so no matter what kind of mission they complete, how great their contributions to mankind are, or how profound an influence they have on mankind, they have nothing to do with God’s work of the salvation of mankind. They belong to the world, to its trends, its development, and its every field and industry; they have nothing to do with God’s work of the salvation of mankind, so they have nothing to do with each word He speaks, each word He provides to mankind, the truth and life He expresses, or the various requirements He has of mankind. What does this mean? It means that the utterances of God to all mankind, to the whole universe, all the way down to the specific requirements and principles He talks about, are not directed to all people; of course, they are much less directed to those unique people who have an important role to play in the development of human society. God’s words—the truth, the way, and the life—are directed only at the chosen people He has selected. This issue is easily explained: God’s words are directed at whoever He chooses, whoever He wants to save, whoever He wants to be saved. If someone is not chosen by God, and if He does not plan on saving them, then these words of life are not being spoken to them—they have no part in them. Do you understand? (Yes.) These unique individuals have unique interests and hobbies, so they have different, higher pursuits, ideals, and desires from ordinary people. Because they have these unique pursuits, ideals, and desires, and because they have different or unique interests and hobbies, they play an important role in the course of the development of human society, and of course, at different times, they complete their important missions. Regardless of whether or not they ultimately complete their missions to an acceptable standard, they are the only ones who have anything to do with the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise because of these interests and hobbies. Because these people have unique missions, they must realize their pursuits, ideals, and desires at particular times and under particular social circumstances. This is the mission God bestows upon them, the mission He adds unto them; this is their responsibility, and is how they must act. No matter how much stress their flesh, their hearts, or their mental worlds bear, or how great a price they pay, in order to pursue the realization of their ideals and desires, they all will—or must—complete the mission they ought to, because this is the ordination of God. No one can escape God’s ordination, nor can anyone escape His sovereignty and arrangements. So, they have absolutely nothing to do with what we are talking about regarding letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires. What does it mean that they have nothing to do with one another? It means that these words about letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires are not directed at them. No matter the time period, no matter the social circumstances, and no matter the point to which mankind develops, these words from God have nothing to do with them. These words are not directed at them, so these words are not a requirement of them. They must complete the mission they ought to under God’s ordination, sovereignty, and arrangements. They must do what they ought to at the different times and under the different social circumstances of wicked and corrupt mankind, fulfill their obligations, and complete the mission they ought to. So are they playing the part of a service-doer or a foil? However you say it is fine. In short, they are not the ones chosen by God, nor are they the ones He wants to save—that is all. So, no matter how believers let go of pursuits, ideals, and desires, it will not delay the development of the world or of mankind; and of course, neither will it delay the development of various fields and industries in the different time periods and different social circumstances of the world. Is this not the case? (It is.) What is the reason? It is that the development of mankind and of society’s industries has nothing to do with the believers, or with the people God has chosen, so you need not worry: “If we do as You say and let go of pursuits, ideals, and desires, then will this society and mankind keep developing?” Why would you be anxious? You need not be. God has plans and arrangements—you understand that, right? (Yes.) Your anxiety is superfluous, caused by you not seeing things clearly, and by you not understanding the truth.
What are the pursuits, ideals, and desires that a believer in God ought to have? You must do your duty well, to an acceptable standard, complete that which God has entrusted to you, pursue and practice the truth in the process of doing your duty, achieve entry into the truth reality, viewing people and things, and comporting yourself and acting wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. These are the pursuits, ideals, and desires you ought to have. The worldly pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from interests and hobbies are the things you ought to let go of. Why do you need to let them go? You are different from people outside the church; God has chosen you, you have chosen to pursue the truth, and you have made up your mind to follow the path of pursuing the truth, so your life goals and direction should experience a change, and you should totally and utterly let go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from interests and hobbies. Why do you need to let them go? Because that is not the road you ought to walk. That is the road of the unbelievers, those who do not believe in God. If you pursue walking that road, then you are not one of those God has chosen. If you pursue the ideals and desires that the unbelievers do, then you cannot pursue the truth, and you cannot attain salvation. To speak more specifically, if you cannot let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires, and moreover want to realize them, then you are unable to submit to God’s work or fear God and shun evil, and you can never be saved. What does this mean? Being unable to let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires, and moreover wanting to realize them, is equivalent to abandoning your pursuit of the truth, abandoning salvation, and not wanting to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Is this not the case? (It is.) So in the end, it is as I said: If you want to pursue the truth, you should first let go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from interests and hobbies. You must let go of them, because the pursuit of worldly ideals and desires has nothing to do with those who pursue the truth and salvation; that is not the road you should walk, nor is it the goal and direction you should establish and have in your life. If you often plan and calculate for it in your heart, racking your brains to ponder and consider it, then you should let go of it as soon as possible. You cannot have one foot in both camps, wanting to pursue the truth and attain salvation, while also wanting to pursue the world, and realize your own ideals and desires. In this way, you would not only be unable to attain or realize either one, but moreover—and most importantly—it would affect your salvation. Ultimately, you would miss out on God’s work of human salvation, let slip the best opportunity for God’s salvation of mankind, and lose out on the chance to be saved. In the end, you would fall into disaster, beating your chest and stomping your feet, and it would be too late for regret—this would be your sorry fate. If you are smart, and have already made up your mind to pursue the truth, then you should let go of the ideals and desires you once had or are still pursuing. Silly people, idiots, the unwise, and muddled people—these people want to pursue the truth and be saved, but they do not want to let go of their worldly pursuits, ideals, and desires. They want to have it both ways. They think that acting this way is taking advantage, that it is smart, when in fact, it is the stupidest course of action of all. Smart people will utterly abandon their worldly pursuits, ideals, and desires, and choose to pursue the truth and be saved. No matter the degree to which the world develops, and no matter the state of affairs or development of various fields and industries, none of it has anything to do with you. Let those who belong to the world, those devils who live on the earth, do whatever they ought to. That which we will do is, for one thing, to complete the duty we ought to do, and for another, it is to enjoy the fruits of their labor. How wonderful! For example, the computers and the software they invent are very beneficial to you doing your duty and working. You take and use it, make it serve you; you make it assist you as you do your duty, assist you in better completing your work, increasing the efficiency with which you do your duty, and bettering the results thereof, while also saving more time. How wonderful! You do not need to rack your brains researching: “How was this software invented? Who does it come from? How should I put effort into this software, into this technical area?” Racking your brains like this is useless. Your thoughts and energy are not meant for this. You do not need to contribute your energy or brain cells to this matter. Let those worldly people who ought to do so contribute; after their contributions, we take and use it. How wonderful! Everything is ready-made. God arranged everything in advance, so you do not need to pursue it, and in these matters, you need not be anxious or put effort. In these matters, you need not take anything upon yourself, nor worry or concern yourself about anything. All you need to do is do your duty well, pursue the truth, achieve an understanding of the truth, and enter into the truth reality. Is this not the most correct path in life? (It is.)
Do you now understand the issue of pursuing ideals and desires? Some people say: “If people did not pursue their ideals, then would the world still have forward development?” I say it would. Do you comprehend this answer? Do you understand? (Yes.) Then do you also clearly see the essence of the issue we are talking about? Is this not in fact how it is? (It is.) When it comes to the last word—the world’s development, progress, and affairs—let the devils who belong to the world, or the so-called “humans” who belong to the world, deal with it. It has nothing to do with those who believe in God. What is the mission and responsibility of those who believe in God? (To do their duty well, to pursue the truth, and to achieve salvation.) That’s right. This is very specific and practical. Is this not simple? (It is.) Those who believe in God need only to pursue the truth and walk in His ways, and they will ultimately be saved. This is your mission, and is God’s greatest expectation and hope for you. God arranges the remaining matters, so you need not be anxious or worried. When the time comes, you will enjoy all that you ought, eat all that you ought, and use all that you ought. Everything will surpass your imagination and expectations, and will be abundant. God will not let you go without, nor be poor. There is a line in the Bible which says that the Lord’s burden is light. What does the original say? (“For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).) Is that not the meaning? (It is.) Requiring you to let go of your own pursuits, ideals, and desires is not meant to make you mediocre, nor to make you lazy, nor without pursuits, nor to make you a walking corpse, a soulless person; rather, it is meant to change the incorrect direction and goals of your pursuits. You are meant to let go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires you ought not to have, and to establish correct pursuits, ideals, and desires. Only in this way can you walk on the correct path of life. So is this problem done being resolved? If people did not pursue their ideals, would the world keep developing? The answer is “yes.” Why is that? (Because God has ordained a mission for those who belong to the world; they will do this work.) That’s right, it’s because God has His ordination and arrangements, so you do not need to be anxious. The world will develop, and it does not need believers in God to take upon themselves this mission, to fulfill this responsibility and obligation. God has things arranged. You do not need to worry about who God arranges. It is enough for you to pursue the truth, walk in God’s ways, and achieve salvation. Do you need to worry about anything else? (No.) No. So, letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires is a path you ought to practice. You need not worry about what will become of the world or of mankind after you let go of your ideals and desires. That is not something you need to worry about. It has nothing to do with you. God has things arranged. It’s that simple. Do you understand? (Yes.) By fellowshiping in this way, have I not resolved the problem at its roots? (You have.) If someone asked you again, how would you look at and explain this problem? If someone who does not believe in God were to ask: “You always talk about not pursuing ideals, letting go of ideals and desires. If everyone were to practice according to you, then would the world still exist? Would humanity keep developing?” then you can answer by saying: “Each person has their own aspirations; you cannot force them.” This is a popular saying in the world. You should say: “God requires people to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires; that is the truth. If you are willing to accept this, then you can let go of these things. If you are unwilling to accept this, then you can also choose to not let go of them. God will not force anyone. Letting go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires is voluntary on your part, and it is your right. Not letting them go is also voluntary, and is also your right. Every individual has their specific mission. Among all mankind, each person has their own mission, their own role they should play. People’s choices are different, so the paths they walk are different. You choose to pursue the world, to realize your ideals and desires in the world, and to embody your values, while I choose to let go of my pursuits, ideals, and desires to follow God, to listen to His words, to walk in His ways, and to satisfy Him. Ultimately, I will be able to attain salvation. You do not pursue this path, which you are free to do. No one can force you.” How is this answer? (It is good.) If you can accept the idea of “letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires,” then these words are directed at you. If you cannot accept it, then there is no indication that you must listen to and accept these words. You can choose not to listen; you can choose to forfeit God’s management work for the salvation of mankind, and abandon your chance at salvation. This is your right. You can also not let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires, and go out into the world and self-assuredly, boldly realize them. No one will force you, and no one will condemn you. This is your right. Your choice is also your mission, and your mission is the role that God has ordained you to play among men. That is all. This is the true state of the facts. Whatever you choose, that is the kind of road you will walk; whatever kind of road you walk, that is the role you will play among men. It’s that simple. This is the true state of the facts. So, it is still the words from before: “Each person has their own aspirations; you cannot force them.” But where does that aspiration come from? At its source, it is ordained by God. If you do not choose to accept the truth and do your duty, then this means God did not choose you, and you do not have an opportunity for salvation. To speak plainly, you do not have this blessing; it was not ordained by God. If you are not interested in believing in God or pursuing the truth—if you do not pursue this aspect—then you lack this blessing. Those who are ordained to come into the house of God are willing to do their duty there. Whatever God says, they listen; if He wants them to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires, they do it. If they cannot let go of them, then they rack their brains pondering how to do so. Someone like this is willing to pursue salvation. This is the deepest need and requirement of their soul, which is ordained by God, so they have this blessing, which is their good fortune. The role God ordains for you is the one you should play. That is the source. Those who are not blessed pursue the world, while those who are blessed pursue the truth—is that not a fact? (It is.) So if someone asks you again, will you be able to answer? (Yes.) What is the simplest answer? (Each person has their own aspirations; you cannot force them.) Each person has their own aspirations; you cannot force them. Requiring you to let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires is just meant to give you a path of practice. You can choose to let go of them, and you can choose not to let go of them. Each person has their own aspirations; they cannot be forced. If you accept, then these words are directed at you. If you do not accept, then these words are not directed at you, and letting go of pursuits, ideals, and desires has nothing to do with you; you are free. Is this issue resolved? (Yes.) It is resolved, so no one will keep harping on this matter, right? (Right.)
There is another issue when it comes to letting go of personal pursuits, ideals, and desires. Some people say: “You speak now of letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires—is it because the time is near, the last days are here, and the disasters have come, and because the day of God has come, that You requires people to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires?” Is that the case? (No.) The answer is in the negative: No! So let us talk of the specific reason. Since the answer is no, there are certainly some detailed issues here that need to be fellowshiped on and understood. Let’s talk about this: Two thousand, or even a few hundred, years ago, the entire social environment was different from today; the state of affairs for all mankind was different from today. Their life environment was very orderly. The world was not as wicked as it is now, human society was not as chaotic as it is now, and there were no disasters. Did people still need to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires? (Yes.) Why? Give a reason, and speak to your specific knowledge. (Now that mankind is corrupted by Satan, they have Satan’s corrupt disposition, so when they pursue their ideals and desires, it is all in the pursuit of fame, profit, and status. Because they pursue fame and profit, they struggle and fight with one another, fighting for life and death, and the result is that they are corrupted ever more deeply by Satan, increasingly losing the semblance of humanity, growing further and further away from God. Thus one can see that the path of pursuing ideals and desires is mistaken. So it is not because God’s day is near that He requires people to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires; rather, people should not pursue these things in the first place. They should pursue correctly, according to God’s words.) Do you think that letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires is a principle of practice? (Yes.) Is letting go of human pursuits, ideals, and desires the truth? Is it a requirement God has of man? (Yes.) It is a truth, a requirement God has of man. So is it the way in which people ought to walk? (Yes.) Since it is the truth, a specific requirement God has of man, and the way in which people ought to walk, is it made different by time and background? (No.) Why not? Because the truth, God’s requirements, and God’s ways do not change with changes of time, place, or environment. No matter the time, no matter the place, and no matter the space, the truth is always the truth, and the standard God requires of man does not change, nor does the standard He requires of His followers. So no matter the time, place, or context, the ways of God in which those who follow Him are to walk do not change. So, requiring people to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires in today’s age is not a requirement put forward for man just because the time is near, or because the last days are here; nor is it because the days are few and the disasters are great, nor is it for fear of man falling into disaster, that there is such an urgent requirement of man, requiring them to engage in extreme or radical courses of action, in order to achieve the fastest entry into the truth reality. This is not the reason. What is the reason then? No matter the time, whether a few hundred or a few thousand years ago—even at present—God’s requirements of man in this regard have not changed. It’s just that a few thousand years ago, even up to any time before today, God had not publicly published these words to mankind in detail, but His requirements of man have never changed at any point in time. Starting from the time that humankind first kept records, God’s requirements of them have never been for them to diligently pursue the world, or to realize their own ideals and desires in the world. His only requirements of them are to listen to His words, to walk in His ways, to not wallow in the mire with the world, and to not pursue the world. Let the people of the world deal with worldly matters; let them complete these things. They have nothing to do with those who believe in and follow God. The only thing believers in God need to do is walk in God’s ways and follow Him. Walking in God’s ways is something that believers and followers of God are duty-bound to do. This matter is not made different by time, place, or background. Even in the future, when mankind is saved and enters into the next age, this requirement will not change. Listening to God’s words and walking in His ways is the attitude and specific practice that a follower of God ought to have toward Him. Only by listening to God’s words and walking in His ways can people successfully fear God and shun evil. So, God requiring people to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires does not arise because of time, nor because of unique environments or backgrounds; rather, as long as man has existed, even if God has not clearly given them the words, He has always required this standard and principle of them. No matter how many people can achieve it, how many people are able to practice His words, or how many of His words they are able to understand, this requirement from God is unchanging. Look in the Bible, where there are records of those unique people that God chose at unique times—Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Job, etc. God’s requirements of them, the ways in which they walked, their life goals and direction, as well as the goals they pursued and the specific courses of action they took for life and survival, all embody God’s requirements of man. What are God’s requirements of man? Included in them is that people must let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires, right? (Right.) Whether in spirit or in form, they must shun noisy, disorderly, wicked mankind, and shun their noisy, disorderly, wicked trends. Before, there was a word which was not too suitable—“sanctified.” In reality, the meaning of this word is to require you to let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires—to prevent you from becoming an unbeliever, or from doing the things unbelievers do, or from pursuing the pursuits of an unbeliever, and rather making you pursue the things a believer ought to. That is what it means. So, when some people say: “Is it because the time is near, the last days are here, and the disasters have come, that God requires people to let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires?” what should the answer to this question be? It should be that any and all of God’s requirements of man are the truth, and the ways in which people ought to walk. They do not change based on changes of time, place, environment, geographical location, or social background. God’s words are the truth, the truth that has not changed from time immemorial, which does not change throughout all eternity—so every one of God’s requirements of man and every specific principle of practice He puts forth to them date back to after He created mankind, when they did not yet have records of time. They are coexistent with God. In other words, from the moment there were humans, mankind has been able to understand God’s requirements of them. No matter the area on which the requirements touch, they are all eternal, and will not change. Overall, God’s requirements of man are to listen to His words and walk in His ways. Do you understand? (Yes.) God’s requirements are totally unrelated to the development of the world, to human social backgrounds, to time or place, or to the geographical environment and space in which people live. After listening to God’s words, it is right for people to keep and practice them. God has no other requirements of people. When they hear and understand His words, it is enough for them to practice and keep them; they will have achieved the standard of being an acceptable created being in His eyes. Do you understand? (Yes.) So, no matter the time, social environment or background, or geographical location, what you have to do is listen to God’s words, understand what He says and what His requirements are of you, and then the next thing you ought to do is hearken, submit, and practice. Do not concern yourself with things like “Are the disasters in the outside world great right now? Is the world chaotic? Is it dangerous to go out into the world? Could I fall ill with a plague? Could I die? Will I fall into the disasters? Are there temptations out there?” Thinking on such things is useless, and they have nothing to do with you. You just need to concern yourself with pursuing the truth and walking in God’s ways, not with the environment of the outside world. No matter what the environment of the outside world is like, you are a created being, and God is the Creator. The relationship between Creator and creation will not change, your identity will not change, and God’s essence will not change. You will always be someone who ought to walk in God’s ways, who ought to listen to His words and submit to Him. God will always be the One who rules over you, arranges your fate, and leads you through life. Your relationship with Him will not change, His identity will not change, and your identity will not change. Because of all this, no matter the time, your responsibility, obligation, and highest duty are to listen to God’s words, submit to them, and practice them. This will never be wrong, and it is the highest standard. Is this issue resolved? (Yes.) It is resolved. Have I spoken clearly? Have I spoken more correctly than you did? (Yes.) In what way am I correct? (We were just speaking in broad strokes, but God has dissected this issue quite thoroughly, and has also fellowshiped that God’s words are the truth, the ways people are to abide by, and that people should listen to God’s words and walk in His ways. God has spoken this all clearly.) What I’m saying is an aspect of the truth. The phrase “an aspect of the truth” is a theory, so what is there supporting this theory? It is these previously spoken-of, specific facts and content. There is evidence of all these facts; not one of them is fabricated, not one is imagined. They are all facts, or they are the essence and reality of the outward phenomena of the facts. If you can comprehend and understand them, it proves that you understand the truth. The reason you cannot say it out loud is because you do not yet understand this aspect of the truth, nor do you understand the underlying essence and reality of these phenomena, so you just talk a little about your feelings and knowledge, which is a far cry from the truth. Is this not the case? (It is.) This issue is resolved, so let’s leave it at that. Regarding the topic of letting go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise as a result of interests and hobbies, was it necessary to include this question as an additional point? (Yes.) It was necessary. Every question touches on some of the truth, that is to say, it touches on the reality and essence of some facts, and behind the reality and the essence is always God’s arrangements, plans, ideas, and wishes. And what else? Some of God’s specific methods, as well as the basis, goals, and background of His actions. These are the reality.
After finishing fellowshiping on the topic of letting go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from interests and hobbies, we should fellowship on the next topic. What is the next topic? It is that people should let go of the human pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from marriage. Obviously, this topic touches on all the various problems associated with marriage. Is this topic not a bit bigger than interests and hobbies? But do not fear its size. We will break it down bit by bit, slowly understanding and piercing this topic through fellowship. The line we will take in fellowshiping on this topic is dissecting the issue of marriage from the perspectives and aspects of the essence of the problems here, both positive and negative; people’s varied understandings of marriage, both correct and incorrect; the mistakes they make in marriage, as well as various incorrect ideas and viewpoints to which the issue gives rise, ultimately enabling people to let go of the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from marriage. The best and easiest practice to achieve “letting go” is this: First, you must clearly see the essence of the problems, and see through them, whether they are positive or negative. Then you must be able to correctly and rationally deal with the problems. This is the active side of things. On the passive side of things, you must be able to understand and see through the mistaken ideas, viewpoints, and attitudes the problems bring you, or the various harmful and negative influences they produce in your humanity, and then from these aspects, be able to let go. In other words, you must be able to understand and see through these problems, without being tied up or bound by the mistaken ideas these problems produce, and without letting them control your life and lead you into crooked paths, or lead you to make wrong choices. In short, whether we are fellowshiping on the positive or the negative, the ultimate goal is to enable people to deal with the problem of marriage rationally, to not use erroneous ideas and views to comprehend and approach it, nor to have incorrect attitudes toward it. This is the correct comprehension of the practice of “letting go.” Alright, let us continue to fellowship on the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from marriage. First, let us look at the definition of marriage, what the concept is. The majority of you have not entered into marriage, right? I see that the majority of you are adults. What does it mean to be an adult? It means that you have already reached or passed a marriageable age. Whether you are at or have passed that age, every person has some relatively bourgeois views, definitions, and concepts of marriage, whether correct or incorrect. So let us first explore what marriage actually is. First, in your own words: What is marriage, actually? If we want to speak of who is qualified to talk about what marriage is, it’s probably those who have been married before. So let us first start with those who have been married, and when they are done speaking, we can move on to unmarried adults. You can talk about your views on marriage, and we will listen to your comprehension and definition of marriage. Say what you have to say, whether it is nice to listen to or not—complaints about marriage or expectations of marriage, it’s all fine. (Before getting married, everyone has expectations. Some people get married so they can live a rich lifestyle, while some people pursue a happy marriage, looking for a prince on a white stallion, fantasizing that they will live a happy life. There are also some who want to use marriage to achieve some of their own purposes.) So in your view, what is marriage, actually? Is it transactional? Is it a game? What? Some of the situations you have mentioned are about living well-off, which is a kind of transaction. What else? (I feel like for me, marriage is just something I yearn for, something I long for.) Who else wants to talk? What knowledge do the married people have about marriage? Especially the people who have been married for ten or twenty years—what feelings do you have about marriage? Are you not usually full of reflections on marriage? For one thing, you have experience with your own marriage, and for another, you have seen the marriages of those around you; at the same time, you have considered the marriages of others that you have seen in books, literature, and movies. So from those aspects, what do you think marriage is? How would you define it? What do you comprehend about it? How do you define marriage? Married people, those who have been married for a few years—especially those of you who have raised children—what are your feelings on marriage? Speak. (I can fill in a little. I watched a lot of television programs from a young age. I would always yearn for a happy married life, but after getting married, I realized that it wasn’t the way I had imagined. After getting married, the first thing I had to do was work hard for my family, which was very tiring. For another thing, because of incompatibility between my husband’s and my temperaments, and between the things we yearned for and pursued—especially the difference between the roads we pursued—we had many differences in life, to the point that we would argue. Life was hard. At this point, I felt that the kind of married life I had yearned for as a child was actually not realistic. It was just a pleasant desire, but real life is not like that. These are my thoughts on marriage.) So your comprehension of marriage is that it is bitter, is that right? (Yes.) So all your memories and recollections are bitter, tiring, painful, and unbearable to look back on; you felt upset, so afterward, you had no better expectations of marriage. You think that marriage does not conform to your wishes, that it is not good or romantic. You comprehend marriage as a tragedy—is that about what you mean? (Yes.) In your marriage, whether in things you were able to do or in things you were unwilling to do, you were particularly tired and bitter about everything, is that right? (Yes.) Marriage is bitter—that is one kind of feeling, a feeling that people can relate to or feel themselves. Regardless of form, there are probably more than a few different statements about marriage and family in the world right now. There are more than a few in films and books, and there are marriage experts and relationship experts in society who analyze and dissect all kinds of marriages, who deal with and resolve the contradictions that come up in those marriages, in order to mediate them. Ultimately, society has popularized some sayings about marriage. Which of these popular sayings about marriage do you agree with or sympathize with? (God, people in society often say that getting married is like entering a grave. I feel that after getting married, establishing a family, and having children, people have responsibilities, that they have to work endlessly to support their family, and add to that the disharmony that comes from two people living together, and all kinds of problems and difficulties arise.) What is the phrase specifically? “Marriage is a grave.” Are there some famous, popular sayings in China? Is the phrase “marriage is a grave” not quite popular? (It is.) What else? “Marriage is a city under siege—those outside want to get in, and those inside want to get out.” What else? “A marriage without love is immoral.” They think that marriage is a sign of love, and a marriage without love is immoral. They use romantic love to measure the standard of morality. Are those the definitions and concepts of marriage that married people have? (Yes.) In short, those who are married are full of bitterness. To use a phrase to describe it: “Marriage is a grave.” Is it that simple? The married people are finished speaking, so we can now listen to what the unmarried, single people have to say. Who wants to talk about their comprehension of marriage? Even if it’s childish, or a fantasy or expectations that are out of touch with reality, it’s all fine. (God, I feel that marriage is two people living as partners, a life of daily necessities.) Have you been married before? Do you have any personal experience? (No.) Daily necessities, living as partners—is that really what you think? That practical? (In my ideals, marriage is not like that, but that’s what I have seen in my own parents’ marriage.) Your parents’ marriage is like this, but your ideal marriage is not. What is your comprehension and pursuit when it comes to marriage? (When I was little my comprehension was just to find someone I admired, then to live happily and romantically with him.) You wanted to live with him, hold his hand and grow old together, is that right? (Yes.) This is your specific comprehension of marriage, which involves you yourself; you are not getting it from looking at others. What you see in the marriages of others is just their superficial appearance, and because you have not yet experienced it yourself, you do not know if what you see is the reality of the facts or just a superficial appearance of the facts; the thing you think is real will forever be in your ideas and viewpoints. One part of the understanding young people have of marriage is to live romantically with their beloved, to hold hands and grow old together, and to live this life together. Do you all have any other comprehension of marriage? (No.)
Some people say: “Marriage is about finding someone who loves you. Whether they are romantic or not does not matter, nor do you need to love them so much. At the very least, they should love you, have you in their heart, and have shared pursuits, ideals, character, interests, and hobbies with you, so you can find one another congenial and live together.” Other people say: “Find someone to live with who you love and who loves you. That alone is happiness.” And there are others whose understanding of marriage is: “You must find someone who is economically strong, so you will not worry about clothing and food the latter part of your life, and so your material life will be plentiful, and you will not suffer poverty. Regardless of their age or how they look, regardless of their character, and regardless of their tastes, they’re fine as long as they have money. As long as they can give you money to spend and can satisfy your material needs, they’re acceptable. Living with this sort of person brings happiness, and you will be physically comfortable. This is marriage.” These are some of the requirements and definitions people give marriage. The majority of people understand marriage to be finding the lover, the beloved of their dreams, a Prince Charming, and living with them and finding one another congenial. For example, some people imagine their Prince Charming to be some star or celebrity, someone with money, fame, and wealth. They think that only living with such a person is a creditable, pleasant marriage, a perfect marriage, and that only such a life is happy. Some people imagine their other half to be someone with status. Some people imagine their other half to be someone pretty and beautiful. Some people imagine their other half to be someone with a well-connected, powerful, wealthy family, a rich person. Some people imagine their other half to be ambitious and strong in their work. Some people imagine their other half to be uniquely talented. Some people imagine their other half to have some particularities of character. All these and more are requirements that people have of marriage, and of course, they are the imaginings, notions, and viewpoints that they have about marriage. In short, those who have been married before say that marriage is a grave, that entering into marriage is entering into a grave, or into a disaster; those who are unmarried imagine marriage to be especially pleasant and romantic, and they are full of yearning and expectations. But whether those who have been married or those who have not, no one can speak too clearly on their comprehension or understanding of marriage, or what the actual definition and concept of marriage is, can they? (No.) Those who have experienced marriage say: “Marriage is a grave, it is bitter.” Some of those who are unmarried say: “Your understanding of marriage is incorrect. You say marriage is bad, which is because you are too selfish. You did not put much out in your marriage. Because of your various flaws and problems, you managed your marriage into a mess. You destroyed and broke up your marriage with your own hands.” There are also some who are already married who say to those single people who have not yet entered into marriage: “You’re an ignorant child, what do you know? Do you know what marriage is like? Marriage is not a matter of a single person, nor of two people—it is a matter of two families, or even two clans. There are many issues contained therein that are neither simple nor straightforward. Even in a world of only two, where it is only a matter of two individuals, it is not so simple. No matter how pleasant your understanding and fantasy of marriage is, as the days drag on, it will be ground down by the trivialities of everyday needs, until its color and flavor will fade. You aren’t married, so what do you know? You have never been married, have never managed a marriage, so you are unqualified to evaluate marriage or make critical remarks. Your understanding of marriage is imagination, wishful thinking—it is not grounded in reality!” No matter who is talking about it, there is an objective rationale, but when all is said and done, what actually is marriage? Which perspective is the most correct, most objective way to look at it? Which is most in line with the truth? How should one look at it? Whether speaking of those who have experienced marriage before or those who have not, for one thing, their understanding of marriage is filled with their own imaginations, and for another, corrupt mankind is full of emotions regarding the role they play in marriage. Because corrupt mankind does not understand the principles to which they should hold in various environments, and does not understand the role they play in marriage or the obligations and responsibilities they ought to fulfill, some of their sayings about marriage are unavoidably emotional, and involve their personal selfishness and hotheadedness, etc. Of course, whether an individual is married or not, if they do not see marriage from the perspective of the truth, and if they do not have a pure understanding and knowledge of it from God, then except for all their practical personal experience of marriage, their understanding of marriage is in great degree influenced by society and by wicked mankind. It is also influenced by the atmosphere, trends, and public opinions of society, as well as by the mistaken, biased—and what might more specifically be termed inhumane—things said about marriage by the people of every level and stratum of society. Because of these things others say, people will, for one thing, be unconsciously influenced and controlled by these thoughts and viewpoints, and for another thing, they will unconsciously accept these attitudes and ways of looking at marriage, as well as these ways of dealing with marriage, and the attitudes toward life held by those who live married. To begin with, people do not have a positive understanding of marriage, nor a positive, accurate knowledge and cognition of it. Besides, both society and wicked mankind instill negative and mistaken thoughts about marriage into them. Therefore, people’s thoughts and viewpoints about marriage become biased, and even wicked. As long as you live and survive in this society and have eyes to see, ears to hear, and thoughts to ponder questions, you will to differing degrees accept these mistaken thoughts and viewpoints, which leads to an incorrect, biased understanding and knowledge of marriage. For example, one hundred years ago, people did not understand what romantic love was, and their understanding of marriage was very simple. When someone reached a marriageable age, a matchmaker would introduce them, their parents would handle everything, and then they would hold a wedding with a member of the opposite sex, enter into marriage, and the two of them would live together and pass their days. Thus they would accompany one another through this life, until they got to the end. That is how simple marriage was. It was a matter of two individuals—two people from different families living together, accompanying one another, taking care of one another, and living a lifetime together. It was that simple. But at some point, people started bringing up what they call romantic love, and romantic love was added to the content of marriage, all the way up to the present day. This term “romantic love,” or the meaning and idea of it, is no longer something that people, deep in their hearts, feel embarrassed about or have difficulty talking about. Rather, it very naturally exists in people’s thoughts, and is natural for people to discuss, to the point that even people who are not yet adults discuss what they call romantic love. So these kinds of thoughts, viewpoints, and statements intangibly form an influence on everyone, men and women, old and young. This influence is the reason that everyone’s understandings of marriage are so pretentious—to speak more accurately, they are prejudiced. Everyone has started to play with love and toy with passion. Man’s so-called “romantic love” is just the joining of love and passion.[a] What does “love” mean? Love is a kind of affection. What does “passion” mean? It means lust. Marriage is no longer as simple as two people passing the days together as partners; rather, it has become a toy for affection and lust. Is this not the case? (It is.) People have come to understand marriage as a joining of lust and affection, so can their marriages be good? Men and women do not live well, nor do they fulfill their responsibilities well, and they pass their days in a way that is not down to earth. They often speak of love, of passion, of affection and lust. Do you think they can thus live smoothly and steadily? (No.) What person is there that can pass through these temptations and enticements? No one can pass through these temptations and enticements. In society, people are filled with lust and affection for one another. This is what they call romantic love, and it is the way contemporary people understand marriage; it is their highest evaluation of marriage, the highest of tastes. So, contemporary people’s marriage situation has changed beyond recognition, and is in a terrible, awful mess. Marriage is no longer as simple as a matter of a man and a woman; rather, it has become a matter of all people, men and women, playing with affection and lust—totally depraved. Under the enticement of wicked trends, or through the inculcation of wicked thoughts, people’s understanding and perspective on marriage become deformed, abnormal, and wicked. In addition to this, society’s films and TV programs, as well as literary and artistic works, continually put out ever more wicked and immoral interpretations and statements about marriage. Directors, writers, and actors all elaborate on marriage as a terrible state. This is full of wickedness and lust, which leads to proper marriages being thrown into chaos. So, ever since there has been romantic love, divorce has become more and more common in human society, as have extramarital affairs; more children have been compelled to endure the injury of parental divorce, compelled to live with single mothers or single fathers, thus passing their childhood and youth, or growing up under the improper marriage situations of their parents. The reason for all these different marital tragedies, these incorrect or malformed marriages, is that the view of marriage which society advocates is prejudiced, wicked, and immoral, to the point that they lack ethics and morality. Because mankind does not have an accurate understanding of things positive or proper, people will unwittingly accept these thoughts and viewpoints that society advocates, no matter how malformed they are. These things are like a plague, spreading throughout your body, corroding your every thought and idea, and corroding the correct parts of your humanity. The conscience and reason of your normal humanity quickly become blurred, indistinct, or weak; then, these thoughts and viewpoints that come from Satan which are deviant, wicked, and lack ethics and morals, take the superior position and dominant role in the depths of your thoughts and heart, and in your mental world. After these things take the superior position and dominant role, your perspective on issues like marriage quickly becomes twisted and deviant, and devoid of ethics and morals, to the point that it becomes wicked, but you yourself do not know it, and you think it entirely proper: “Everyone thinks this way, so why should I not? Everyone thinking this way is proper, so is it not proper for me to think this way as well? So if no one else blushes talking about romantic love, I shouldn’t either. The first time, I was a little bashful, a little embarrassed, and I had a hard time opening my mouth. After talking about it a few more times I was fine. Listening more and talking about it more made it my own.” True, you are talking and listening, and this thing has become your own, but the true, original understanding of marriage cannot stand firm in the depths of your thoughts, so you have lost the conscience and reason you ought to have as a normal person. What is the reason for losing it? It is because you have accepted the so-called “romantic love” view of marriage. This so-called “romantic love” view of marriage has swallowed up the original understanding and feeling of responsibility your normal humanity has toward marriage. Very quickly, you start to personally put into practice your own understanding of romantic love. You continuously seek out people who you find congenial, people who love you or who you love, and you pursue romantic love by fair means or foul, taking great pains and being quite shameless, to the point of expending a lifetime of energy for the sake of romantic love—then you are done for. In the process of pursuing romantic love, say a woman finds someone she admires, and she thinks: “We are in love, so let’s get married.” After she gets married, she lives with the person for a while, then realizes that he has some flaws, and she thinks: “He doesn’t like me, and I don’t really like him. The two of us are unsuitable, so our romantic love was a mistake. Fine, we’ll get divorced.” After the divorce, she carries around a child of two or three years and prepares to find someone else, thinking: “Since my last marriage was loveless, I need to make sure that the next one has true romantic love. This time I have to be certain, so I have to spend some time examining.” After a while, she runs into someone else, “Ah, this is the lover of my dreams, the person I imagined I would like. He likes me, and I like him. He can’t stand to be apart from me and I can’t stand to be apart from him; we are like two magnets attracting one another, always wanting to be together. We are in love, let’s get married.” And so she gets married again. Once married, she has one more child, and after two or three years, she thinks: “This person has more than a few flaws; he is both lazy and greedy. He likes to boast and brag, as well as chit chat. He does not fulfill his responsibilities, he does not give the money he earns to the family, and he drinks and gambles all day long. This is not the person I want to love. This is not how the person I love is. Divorce!” Carrying two children around, she divorces again. After getting divorced, she starts to consider: What is romantic love? She cannot say. Some people have two or three failed marriages, and what do they say in the end? “I don’t believe in romantic love, I believe in humanity.” You see, they go back and forth, and they do not know what they should believe in. They do not know what marriage is; they accept erroneous thoughts and perspectives, and use these thoughts and perspectives as their standards. They personally put into practice these thoughts and perspectives, and at the same time, they also ruin marriage and themselves, as well as ruining other people; to different degrees, they harm the next generation and themselves, both physically and spiritually. These things are all part of the reason why people feel pained and helpless regarding marriage, why they have no good feelings about marriage. I just fellowshiped about people’s various perspectives and definitions of marriage, as well as the situation that human marriage is in as a result of the incorrect viewpoints modern people hold regarding marriage; in short, is the situation of modern human marriage good or bad? (Bad.) It has no prospects, it is not optimistic, and it is ever more turned upside-down. From the East to the West, from the South to the North, human marriage is in a terrible, awful state. People of the current generation—people under the age of forty or fifty—all witness the misfortune of the previous and next generations’ marriages, as well as these generations’ views on marriage, and their failed marriage experiences. Of course, many people under the age of forty are victims of all kinds of unfortunate marriages; some of them are single mothers, others are single fathers, though of course, relatively speaking, there are not as many single fathers. Some people grow up with their birth mother and stepfather, some grow up with their birth father and stepmother, and others grow up with siblings from different mothers and fathers. Others have divorced parents who remarry, and none of the parents want them, so they become orphans, who grow up into adults after a few years of muddling through society; then they become a stepfather or stepmother, or they become a single mother or father. This is the situation of modern marriage. Is mankind’s management of marriage to this degree not the result of Satan’s corruption of them? (It is.) This necessary form of mankind’s most basic survival and multiplication has been utterly mutilated and made a mess of. How do you think mankind lives? Seeing each family’s life is vexing, too awful to even look at. Let us speak no more of this; the more one says, the more vexed one feels, right?
Seeing as we are talking about the topic of marriage, we ought to see what the accurate, correct definition and concept of marriage actually is. Since we are talking about the accurate, correct definition and concept of marriage, we have to look for the answer in the words of God, to give marriage a correct definition and concept based on all that God has said and done regarding the matter, to clarify the true state of marriage, and to clarify the original intent behind the creation and existence of marriage. If one wants to clearly see the definition and concept of marriage, then one must first start by looking at the ancestors of mankind. What is the reason for starting by looking at the ancestors of mankind? Mankind has been able to survive to the present because of the marriage of their ancestors; that is, the root cause of there being so many people today is the marriage between the people God created in the beginning. So, if one wants to understand the accurate definition and concept of marriage, one must start by looking at the marriage of mankind’s ancestors. When did marriage start for mankind’s ancestors? It started with God’s creation of man. It is recorded as early as the Book of Genesis, so we must open the Bible and see what these passages say. Are the majority of people interested in this topic? Those who are already married might think that there isn’t even anything to talk about, that this topic is very commonplace, but young single individuals are especially interested in this topic, because they think that marriage is mysterious, and that there are many things they do not know about it. So let us begin talking at the root. Someone read Genesis 2:18. (“And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”) Next, Genesis 2:21–24. (“And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”) Next, Genesis 3:16–19. (“To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you. And to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return.”) We’ll stop there. There are five verses in chapter two and four verses in chapter three, nine verses of scripture in total. Nine verses in Genesis describe one thing, which is how the marriage of mankind’s forefather came about. Is that not the case? (It is.) Do you understand now? Do you understand the general meaning a bit better, and are you able to remember it? What is the main thing being talked about here? (How the marriage of mankind’s forefather came about.) So how did it actually come about? (God prepared it.) That’s right, that is the true state of affairs. God prepared it for man. God created Adam, then created a partner for him, a spouse to help and accompany him, to live with him. This is the origin of marriage for mankind’s forefather, and is the source of human marriage. Is this not the case? (It is.) We know the source of human marriage: It was ordained by God. God prepared a partner for mankind’s forefather, which could also be termed a spouse, who would then help and accompany him through life. This is the origin and source of human marriage. So having looked at the origin and source of human marriage, how should we correctly understand marriage? Would you say that marriage is sacred? (Yes.) Is it sacred? Does it have anything to do with sanctity? It does not. You cannot say it is sacred. Marriage is arranged and ordained by God. It has its origin and source in God’s creation. God created the first man, who needed a partner to help and accompany him, to live with him, and so God created a partner for him, and then human marriage came into being. That is all. It is that simple. This is the rudimentary understanding of marriage you should have. Marriage comes from God; it is arranged and ordained by Him. At the very least, you can say that it is not a negative thing, rather, it is a positive thing. It could also accurately be said that marriage is proper, that it is a proper segment in the course of human life and within the process of people’s existence. It is not wicked, nor is it a tool or means by which to corrupt mankind; it is proper and positive, because it was created and ordained by God, and of course, He arranged it. Human marriage originates in God’s creation, and it is something He personally arranged and ordained, so looking at it from this angle, the only perspective that one ought to have regarding marriage is that it comes from God, that it is a proper and positive thing, that it is not negative, wicked, selfish, or dark. It does not come from man, nor from Satan, much less did it organically develop within nature; rather, God created, arranged, and ordained it with His own hands. This is absolutely certain. This is the most original, accurate definition and concept of marriage.
Now that you understand the accurate concept and definition of marriage that people ought to have, let us take a look: What is the meaning behind God’s ordination and arrangement of marriage? This is mentioned in the Bible verses we just read, namely, why mankind has marriage, what God’s thoughts were, what the situation and circumstances of that time were, and under what kind of circumstances God gave this marriage to man. Jehovah God said it this way: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” These words are saying two things. First, God saw that this man was too lonely being alone, without a partner, without someone to talk to, or a companion to share his happiness and thoughts with; He saw that his life would be dry, insipid, and uninteresting, so a thought occurred to Him: One man is a little lonely, so I must make a partner for him. This partner will be his spouse, who will accompany him everywhere and help him do everything; she will be his partner and spouse. The purpose of a partner is to accompany him through life, to walk onward together with him on the path of his life. Whether for ten, twenty, a hundred, or two hundred years, this partner will be the one at his side, the one with him everywhere, who will speak with him, share in happiness, pain, and every emotion with him, and at the same time, accompany him and keep him from being alone or lonely. These thoughts and ideas arising in the mind of God are the circumstances of the source of human marriage. Under these circumstances, God did something else. Let us look at the biblical record: (“And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man.”) God took a rib from the man, and took clay, and used the rib to make another person. This person was made from the rib of the man, created from his rib. To speak colloquially, this person—Adam’s partner was created from the flesh and bone taken from his body, so could one not say that as she was his partner, she was also part of his body? (Yes.) In other words, she was derived from him. After she was created, what did Adam call her? “Woman.” Adam was a man, she was a woman; clearly, these were two people of different sexes. God first made a person with male physiological characteristics, then He took a rib from the male and created a person with female physiological characteristics. These two people lived together as one, which constitutes a marriage, and so marriage came about. So, no matter what set of parents someone is raised by, in the end, they all need to get married and be joined with their other half under God’s ordination and arrangements, and walk to the end of the course. This is God’s ordination. For one thing, looking at it objectively, people need partners; for another, looking at it subjectively, seeing as marriage is ordained of God, husband and wife ought to be as one, a single person who cannot be divided. This is both a subjective and objective fact. So, each person needs to leave the family of their birth, enter into marriage, and establish a family with their other half. This is inevitable. Why? Because it is ordained of God, and it is something that He arranged from the beginning of man. What does this tell people? No matter who you imagine your other half to be, whether or not they are the one you subjectively need and hope for, and no matter what their background is, the person you will marry, with whom you will establish a family and spend this life, is certainly the one already arranged and ordained for you by God. Is this not the case? (It is.) What is the reason for it? (God’s ordination.) The reason is God’s ordination. Looking at it in the context of previous lives, or from God’s perspective, a husband and wife who enter into marriage are actually one, so God arranges for you to marry and spend your life with the person with whom you are one. Put plainly, that is the way it is. Regardless of whether the person you marry is the lover of your dreams, whether they are your Prince Charming, whether they are the person you were expecting, whether you love them or they love you, whether you are very naturally married by luck and coincidence or under some other circumstance, your marriage is ordained by God. You are the partners that God has ordained for one another, the people that God has ordained to accompany one another, and that He has ordained to spend this life together and walk to the end with hands joined. Is this not the case? (It is.) Do you think this understanding is pretentious or erroneous? (No.) It is neither pretentious nor erroneous. Some people say: “You might be wrong in saying this. If these marriages are really ordained by God, then why do some marriages still end in divorce?” That is because these people’s humanity has problems, which is a separate matter. This touches on the subject of pursuing the truth, which we will fellowship about later. Right now, speaking to the definition, understanding, and accurate concept of marriage, the fact is that this is the case. Some people say: “Since You say that husband and wife are one, then is it not as unbelievers say, ‘If it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be, and if it’s not meant to be, then it’s not meant to be,’ and as people from some nations say,[b] ‘it takes a hundred years of good karma to earn the chance to share a boat journey with someone, and a thousand years of good karma to share a marital bed’?” Do you think that marriage, as we are talking about it now, has anything to do with these sayings? (No.) They are unrelated. Marriage is not cultivated into existence—it is ordained by God. When God ordains two people to become husband and wife, to become one another’s partners, they need not self-cultivate. What would they cultivate? Moral fiber? Humanity? They need not self-cultivate. That is a Buddhist way of speaking, which is not the truth, and has nothing to do with the truth. Human marriage is arranged and ordained by God. Whether in form or literally, in definition or concept, marriage should be understood this way. Through the words recorded in the Bible, through this fellowship, do you have an accurate, truth-aligned definition and concept of marriage? (Yes.) This concept, this definition, is not erroneous; it is not a perspective seen through colored glasses, much less is it understood and defined by human emotion. Rather, it has a basis; it is based on the words and actions of God, and it is based on His arrangements and ordinations. Having gotten to this point, does everyone grasp the understanding and basic definition of marriage? (Yes.) Now that you understand it, you will no longer hold any non-objective fantasies about marriage, or your complaints about marriage will lessen, right? There might be some who say: “Marriage is ordained of God—there is nothing to talk about there—but marriages break apart. What is that all about?” There are many reasons for this. Corrupted mankind has corrupt dispositions, they cannot see through to the essence of issues, they pursue the satisfaction of their own lusts and preferences, to the point of advocating wickedness, so their marriages break apart. This is a separate topic, which we will not speak more of.
Let us talk about helping one another and accompanying one another in marriage. God said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Those who are married know that marriage brings many benefits to a family and to a person’s life which they would not have imagined. People are initially very lonely and solitary when they live alone, with no one to confide in, no one to talk to, no one for company; life is particularly dry and helpless. Once they are married, they no longer need to suffer this loneliness and solitude. They have someone to confide in. Sometimes, they pour out their miseries with their partner, and sometimes, they share their emotions and joys, or even vent their anger. Sometimes, they pour out their hearts to each other, and life seems joyful and happy. They are one another’s confidants, and they believe in one another, so aside from no longer being lonely, they experience many more delights, and they enjoy the happiness of having a partner. Aside from various moods, emotions, and feelings, as well as various thoughts which need to be expressed, people have to face many practical issues in their daily lives, in the process of living, issues like daily necessities, clothing, food, and housing. For example, say two people want to live together, and they need to build a little storehouse. The man has to be a bricklayer, laying bricks to build a wall, and the woman can help him out, handing him bricks and mixing mortar, or wiping away his sweat and giving him water. The two of them talk and laugh together, and he has a helper, which is good. Before it is even dark, the work is done. It is like the old Chinese opera “Fairy Couple” describes: “I draw water and you water the garden.” What else? (“You till the fields and I weave the cloth.”) That’s right. One weaves cloth while the other tills the field; one is mistress inside, the other is master outside. Living this way is quite good. One could call it harmonious complementing, or coexisting in harmony. In this way, in life, the male’s skills are put on show, and the areas in which he is lacking or is unskilled are made up for by the female; where the female is weak, the male forgives her, helps and assists her, and her strengths are also put on show, benefiting the male in the family. Husband and wife each do their duty, learning from each other’s strengths to make up for their own weaknesses, and working together to safeguard the household’s harmony and the whole family’s life and survival. Of course, more important than companionship is that they each support and help one another through life, passing the days well, whether in poverty or in wealth. In short, as God said, it is not good for man to be alone, so He arranged marriage on man’s behalf—the man to chop wood and keep the yard, the woman to cook, clean, mend, and wait upon the whole family. Each one does their work well, doing what they each need to in life, and their days pass happily. The lives of humans have gradually developed outward over the whole from this singular point, with human beings propagating and multiplying to the present day. So marriage is indispensable to mankind as a whole—indispensable to their development, and indispensable to them as individuals. The true meaning of marriage is not just for the multiplication of the human race, but more importantly, it is for God to arrange a partner for each man and woman, who will accompany them through each time of their life, whether difficult and painful, or easy, joyful, and happy—in it all, they have someone to confide in, to be one with them in heart and mind, and to share in their sorrow, pain, happiness, and joy. This is the meaning behind God arranging marriage for people, and it is the subjective need of each individual person. When God created mankind, He did not want them to be lonely, so He arranged marriage for them. In marriage, men and women each take on different roles, and the most important thing is that they accompany and support one another, living each day well, moving well along the road of life. For one, they can accompany each other, and for another, they can support each other—this is the meaning of marriage and the necessity for its existence. Of course, it is also the understanding and attitude people ought to have toward marriage, and it is the responsibility and obligation they ought to fulfill toward marriage.
Let us go back and look at Genesis 3:16. God said to the woman: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” This is the charge that God has given to the female sex, which is, of course, also a command, in which He ordains the role that the woman would play in marriage and the responsibilities she would take on. The woman must give birth, which in one respect was a punishment for her previous transgression, and in another, was the responsibility and obligation that she was supposed to accept in marriage as a woman. She would conceive and give birth, and moreover, she would bring forth children in sorrow. Consequently, after entering into marriage, women should not reject having children because they fear suffering. This is a mistake. Bearing children is a responsibility you ought to take on. Therefore, if you want to have someone to accompany you, to help you in life, then you must consider the first responsibility and obligation that you take upon yourself when you enter into marriage. If there is a woman who says, “I do not want to bear children,” then men will say, “You don’t want to bear children, then I don’t want you.” If you do not want to suffer through the pain of childbirth, then you should not marry. You should not enter into marriage, you are not worthy of it. Upon entering into marriage, the first thing you ought to do as a woman is to have children, and moreover, to suffer. If you cannot do this, then you should not enter into marriage. Although it cannot be said that you are unworthy to be a woman, at the very least, you have failed to fulfill your responsibility as a woman. To conceive and bear children is the first requirement of women. The second requirement is “Your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Being a man’s other half—as a woman, marrying a man proves that you are his other half, and to speak somewhat dogmatically, that you are thus a part of him, so the desire of your heart must be toward him, which is to say, he must be in your heart. Only when he is in your heart can you take care of him and gladly accompany him. Only then, even when your husband is sick, when he encounters difficulties and setbacks, or when he encounters failure, stumbling, or distress either among other people or within his own life, can you fulfill your responsibilities and obligations as a woman, caring for him, treasuring him, taking care of him, talking sense into him, comforting him, and advising and encouraging him in a womanly way. This is a companionship that is true, that is better. Only in this way will your marriage be happy, and only then will you be able to fulfill your womanly responsibility. Of course, this responsibility is not entrusted to you by your parents, but by God. This is the responsibility and obligation that a woman ought to fulfill. As a woman, this is the way you ought to be. This is the way you ought to treat and care for your husband; this is your responsibility and obligation. If a woman cannot do this, then she is not a good woman, and of course, she is not an acceptable woman, because she has failed to do even the bare minimum of God’s requirements of women: “Your desire shall be to your husband.” Do you understand? (Yes.) As the other half of a man, you are able to adore and take care of your husband when things are smooth, when he has money and power, when he is obedient and takes good care of you, when he makes you happy and satisfied in all things. But when he encounters difficulties, sickness, frustrations, failures, discouragements, or disappointments, when things do not go his way, then you are unable to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations that a woman ought to, unable to comfort him heart to heart, talk sense into him, encourage him, or support him. In this case, you are not a good woman, because you have not fulfilled a woman’s responsibility, and you are not a good partner for a man. So could one say that such a woman is a bad woman? “Bad” is out of the question; but at the very least, you do not have the conscience and reason that God requires, that someone with normal humanity ought to have—you are a woman without humanity. Is that not so? (It is.) We are done speaking about the requirements made of women. God has stated the responsibility of a woman to her husband, which is: “Your desire shall be to your husband.” This word “desire” is not about love or affection; rather, it means that he must be in your heart. He must be dear to you; you must treat him as your beloved one, your other half. He is the one you must cherish, accompany, and care for, the one whom you must mutually look after until the end of your lives. You must take care of him and treasure him with all your heart. This is your responsibility—this is what is referred to as “desire.” Of course, when God here says “your desire shall be to your husband,” this “desire shall be” phrase is a teaching given to people. As a woman with humanity, an acceptable woman, your desire should be to your husband. Moreover, God has not told you to desire both your husband and other men. Did God not say this? (He did not say this.) God requires that a woman be faithful to her husband, and that the only person in her heart, the only one her desire is intended for, is her husband. He does not want her to be changeable in who her affections are directed toward, or to be promiscuous, or unfaithful to her husband, or desiring someone else outside of her marriage. Rather, He wants her to desire the person she’s married to and spends the rest of her life with. This man is the one to whom your true desire should be directed, he is the one you should spend a whole lifetime of painstaking effort taking care of, treasuring, caring for, accompanying, helping, and supporting. Do you understand? (Yes.) Is this not a fine thing? (It is.) This kind of fine thing is present among the birds and fowls, and among the rest of the animal kingdom, but it is virtually nonexistent among humans—you can see how deeply Satan has corrupted mankind! We have fellowshiped clearly about the most basic obligations a woman ought to fulfill in marriage, as well as the principles according to which she should treat her husband. Additionally, there is something else here, that is, marriage as ordained and arranged by God is monogamous. From where in the Bible do we find a basis for this? God pulled one rib from the body of the man to create a woman—He did not pull two or more ribs from the man, creating multiple women. He created only one woman. That is to say, God created the only woman for the only man He created. This means there was only one partner for the man. The man had only one other half, and the woman had only one other half; moreover, at the same time, God cautioned the woman, “Your desire shall be to your husband.” Who is your husband? It is the person with whom you enter into marriage, and no one else. It is not your secret lover, nor is it the famous idol whom you adore, nor is it the Prince Charming of your dreams. It is your husband, and you only have one. This is the marriage God has ordained—monogamy. Is it embodied in the words of God? (Yes.) God said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God did not say that He made a few or many help meets for him, it was not necessary. One was enough. God also did not say that a woman should marry multiple husbands, or that a man should take multiple wives. God did not make several spouses for a man, nor did He take a rib from several different men to make several women, so a man’s spouse can only be the woman made from his own rib. Is that not a fact? (It is.) So in the later development of mankind, polygyny arose, as did polyandry. Such marriages are abnormal, and are not marriage at all. This is all fornication. The exception is for a few unique circumstances, like a man dying, and his woman remarrying. This is ordained and arranged by God, which is allowed. In short, marriage has always maintained monogamy. Is this not the case? (It is.) Look at the natural world. The wild goose is monogamous. If a human kills one of the geese, the other goose will never “remarry”—it will become a lone goose. It is said that when flocks of geese fly, the one in the lead is usually a lone goose. Things are hard for a lone goose. It has to do the things that the other geese in its flock are unwilling to do. When the other geese are eating or resting, it has to be responsible for keeping the rest of the flock safe. It can neither sleep nor eat; it must pay attention to the safety of its surroundings to protect the flock. There are many things it cannot do. It can only be solitary, it cannot take another love. It cannot take another mate for as long as it lives. Wild geese always keep the rules God has ordained for them, never changing, even up to the present, but humans are turned upside down. Why are humans so upside down? Because humans are the ones Satan has corrupted, and because they live in wickedness and promiscuity, they cannot stay monogamous, and they cannot uphold their marital roles or keep the responsibilities and obligations they ought to. Is that not true? (It is.)
Let us read on. God said: “Your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” What does “rule over” mean? To govern with a rod, to make women into slaves, is that what it means? (No.) So what does it mean? (To take care of her and be responsible for her.) This idea of “responsibility” is a little closer. This ruling over is related to the matter of the woman enticing the man to sin. Because the woman first violated the words of God and was tempted by the serpent, and then led the man to be enticed the same as she, to betray God, God was a little angry with her, and therefore required her to refrain from taking the initiative, to counsel with the man in everything she did; it would be best for her to allow the man to be the master. So are women given the opportunity to be the master? Such may be given to them. A woman can counsel with her man, and can also be the master, but it is best for her not to make decisions on her own; she must counsel with her husband, with her man. It is best for her to counsel with her man in big matters. As a woman, you not only need to accompany your husband, you also need to help your husband handle household duties. More importantly, the role your husband should fill in the family and in your marriage is as the master, so you should counsel with your husband in whatever you do. Because of differences between the sexes, women do not have an advantage over men in their thoughts, their forbearance, their perspectives, or in any kind of external matters; on the contrary, men hold the advantage over women. So, based on this difference between the sexes, God has given men unique authority—in the family, the man is the master, and the woman is auxiliary. The woman needs to assist her husband, or accompany her husband in managing matters large and small. But when God said “he shall rule over you,” He did not mean that males are higher in status than females, or that males should dominate all of society. That is not the case. In saying this, God was only speaking with regard to marriage; He was only speaking of families, and of trivial household matters that are handled by men and women. When it comes to trivial household matters, God does not require the man to control or coerce the woman in everything; rather, the man needs to actively take up the burdens and responsibilities of his family, and at the same time, he needs to attend to the woman, who is relatively weak, and he needs to provide correct guidance. As one can see from this point, men have been given some unique responsibilities. For example, the man should take the initiative in taking up the responsibility for major matters of right and wrong; he should not thrust the woman into the fiery pit, nor should he allow her to suffer social indignity, bullying, and trampling. The man should take the initiative in taking up this responsibility. It does not mean that because of the words of God which say “he shall rule over you” that he can drive the woman with a stick, or that he can control her, or make her into a slave to treat as he will. Under the preconditions and framework of marriage, male and female are equal before God; it is just that the man is the husband, and God has given him this right and responsibility. This is just a kind of responsibility, not a unique power, and not a reason to treat a woman as something other than a person. The two of you are equal. The male and female are both created by God, it is just that there is a unique requirement made of the male, which is that for one thing, he must bear the burdens and responsibilities of the family, and for another, when big matters appear, the man must step forward boldly and bear the responsibilities and obligations that he ought to in the role of a male, of a husband—to protect the woman, to work his hardest to prevent his woman from doing things a woman ought not to, or to speak colloquially, to keep her from having a hard time, to keep her from suffering as a woman ought not to. For example, in order to elevate their position, to live well and get rich, to pursue fame, profit, and status, and to make others think highly of them, some men give their wives to their bosses as concubines or lovers, prostituting their wives’ flesh. After selling out their wives, when their goals are accomplished, they stop valuing their woman, and they do not want her. What kind of man is this? Do such men not exist? (They do.) Is this man not devilish? (It is.) The point of ruling over a woman is for you to fulfill your responsibilities and protect her. This is because, from a physiological gender standpoint, males have an advantage over women in the various ideas, viewpoints, levels, and insights they have toward things; this is a fact, which no one can deny. So, seeing as God has given women to men, saying “he shall rule over you,” the responsibility that a male ought to fulfill is to bear the burdens of the family, or when serious things happen, to protect and cherish his woman, to sympathize with and understand her; not to thrust her into temptation, but to bear the responsibilities that a husband and a man ought to. This way, in the family and under the framework of marriage, you will fulfill the responsibilities and obligations that you ought to, and you will make your woman feel like you are worth her entrustment, that you are the person she will spend her life with, that you are trustworthy, and that your shoulders are reliable. When your woman relies on you, when she needs you, her husband, to make a decision to deal with some serious matters, you do not want to be off sleeping, or drinking, or gambling, or wandering the streets. This is all unacceptable; this is cowardly. You are not a good man; you have not fulfilled the responsibilities you ought to. If you as a man always need your woman to come forward in every major matter, and if you are pushing her, who has a role more delicate than a man, toward the fiery pit, pushing her to where the wind and waves are highest, pushing her toward the whirlpool of diverse kinds of complicated matters, then this is not something a good man ought to do, nor is it the way a good husband ought to behave. Your responsibility is not merely to make your woman desire you, accompany you, and assist you in living well; that is not all it is, you also have the responsibility you ought to take on. She has fulfilled her responsibilities toward you—have you fulfilled your responsibilities toward her? It is not enough to give her good food, warm clothes to wear, and to set her heart at ease; what’s more important is that in various big matters and disputes over right and wrong, you should be able to accurately, correctly, and appropriately help her deal with everything, to keep her from having any worries, to enable her to receive real benefits from you, and to see that you fulfill the responsibilities you ought to as a husband. This is the source of a woman’s happiness in marriage. Is this not the case? (It is.) No matter how honeyed your words are, or how you charm her, or how much you accompany her, in big matters, if your woman cannot rely on you or trust you, if you do not bear the responsibilities you ought to, and instead allow a delicate woman to come forward and endure humiliation, or to endure any pain, then such a woman will be unable to feel happiness or joy, and she will see no hope in you. So, any woman who married such a man would feel unlucky in her marriage, and that her future days and life were without hope and without light, because she married an unreliable man, a man who does not fulfill his responsibilities, a chicken-heart, a good-for-nothing, and a coward; she would feel no happiness. So, males need to bear their own responsibilities. For one thing, this is a requirement of humanity, and for another—and more importantly—they need to understand this from God’s perspective. This is the responsibility and obligation that God has given to every man in marriage. So, speaking to the women: if you want to get married and find your other half, then at the very least, you must first look at whether or not the man is reliable. His looks, his height, his diploma, whether he is rich, and whether he makes a lot of money is all secondary. The key is to see whether or not this person has humanity and a sense of responsibility, whether or not their shoulders are broad and thick, and when you rely on him, whether he will fall or be able to hold you up, and whether he is reliable. To speak accurately, whether or not he can fulfill a husband’s responsibilities as God has said, whether or not that is the kind of person he is; to say nothing of walking in God’s ways, at the very least, he should be someone who has humanity in God’s eyes. When two people live together, it does not matter whether they are rich or poor, what their quality of life is, what is in their house, or whether they are of compatible character or not; at the very least, the man you marry needs to fulfill his obligations and responsibilities toward you, to have a sense of responsibility for you, to have you in his heart. Whether he is fond of you or loves you, at the very least, he needs to have you in his heart, to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations that he ought to in the framework of marriage. Then your life will be joyful, your days will be happy, and your future path will not be hazy. If the man a woman marries is always unreliable, and runs away and hides the moment anything happens, and he brags and boasts when nothing is wrong, as if he has great skill and is manly and virile, but then he turns into tofu when something happens, do you think that woman would be upset? (Yes.) Would she be happy? (No.) A decent, good woman would think: “I’m always taking care of him and cherishing him, I’m willing to suffer anything, to fulfill my responsibilities as a wife, but I cannot see a future with this man.” Is such a marriage not painful? Is this pain the woman feels not related to the male, her other half? (It is.) Is this the male’s responsibility? (It is.) The male should self-reflect. He cannot always complain that the woman is nitpicky, that she likes to nag and split hairs. Both parties must mutually reflect on whether or not they are fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities, and whether they are doing so according to God’s words after hearing them. If they are not fulfilling them, they need to quickly turn around, quickly put themselves right and remedy the situation; it is not too late. Is this a good way to conduct oneself? (Yes.)
Let us now read on. After this is another command of God to Adam, the first of mankind’s ancestors. God said: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return” (Genesis 3:17–19). This passage is primarily God’s command to males. No matter the circumstances, seeing as God has given a command to males, His command is the obligations and tasks they need to fulfill in the framework of marriage and in the family. God requires males to uphold the family’s livelihood after marriage, which is that they must work hard their whole lives to maintain their livelihood. Males need to maintain their livelihood, so they must labor; using modern language, they need to go get a job and work to make money, or they need to grow grain out of the ground, and harvest it to maintain the family’s livelihood. Males need to toil and labor to support the whole family, to maintain their livelihood. This is God’s command for husbands, for males; this is their responsibility. So under the framework of marriage, males cannot emphasize: “Ah, my health is bad!” “Ah, work is hard to find in today’s society, I’m so stressed!” “I was pampered by my parents growing up, I can’t do any job!” If you can’t do any job at all, why did you get married? If you cannot support a family, and you do not have the ability to labor to take upon yourself the livelihood of a whole family, then why did you get married? This is an irresponsible thing to say. For one thing, God requires men to work diligently, and for another, He requires them to labor in order to get food from the earth. Of course, these days He does not insist that you get food from the earth, but labor is a necessity. That’s why man’s physique is so thick and strong, while the woman’s is comparatively weak; they are different. God created different physiques for men and women. By nature, the man should labor and work to maintain his family’s livelihood, to support the family; that is his role, he is the family’s main strength. The woman, on the other hand, is not thus commanded by God. So can the woman reap where she has not sown, waiting to eat ready-made meals without doing anything? That is also not right. Although God has not commanded the woman to uphold the family’s livelihood, she cannot just sit idle. Do not think that because God has not commanded women that they can just stand off to the side in this matter. That is not the case. Women also need to fulfill their responsibilities; they should assist their husbands in maintaining the family’s livelihood. A woman does not only need to be a partner—at the same time, she needs to help her man fulfill his responsibilities and mission in the family. She cannot just stand off to the side, looking on and making fun of her husband, nor can she wait for ready-made food. The two of them need to be in harmony. This way, the obligations and responsibilities that men and women ought to fulfill will all be fulfilled, and will be done well.
Let us read on. God said: “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field.” You see, on top of the labor God has given to men, there are additional burdens; it is not enough that you labor, the fields also grow weeds that you must pull. This means that if you are a farmer, you have additional work to do beyond planting. You must also pull weeds, and you cannot sit idle; you must labor hard enough to maintain the livelihood of your family, just as God said: “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread.” What does this phrase mean? It means that there is further weight given to men on top of their labor. Until when? “Till you return to the ground.” Until you breathe your last, when you finish the journey of life; then you will no longer need to act this way, and your responsibilities will be fulfilled. This is the instruction given to men by God and it is the commandment of God to men, as well as a responsibility and burden He has given them. Whether you are willing or not, this is ordained of God, and you cannot escape it. So, in all society or all mankind, whether one looks at it from a subjective or an objective viewpoint, men have greater stress in their survival on earth compared to women, which unavoidably must be said to be the result of God’s ordination and orchestration. In this matter, men need to understand it from God’s perspective and bear the responsibilities and obligations they ought to; in particular, those people in the framework of marriage who have families and spouses should not try to escape or reject the fulfillment of their responsibilities because life is too hard, bitter, or tiring. If you say, “I don’t want to do this responsibility, and I don’t want to labor,” then you can choose to back out of marriage or reject marriage. So, before you get married, you must first think it out, think and understand clearly about what the responsibilities are that God requires a married man to take upon himself, whether or not you can fulfill them, whether or not you can do them well, whether or not you can play your role properly, God’s commands to you, and whether or not you can bear the burdens of family that God will give you. If you feel that you lack the faith to do all this well, or if you lack the willingness to do so—if you don’t want to do it—if you refuse this responsibility and obligation, refuse to bear a burden within the household and within the framework of marriage, then you should not get married. To both male and female, marriage implies responsibilities and burdens; it is not a trifling matter. Although it is not sacred, by My understanding, marriage is at the very least solemn, and people should rectify their attitudes toward it. Marriage is not for playing around with carnal lusts, nor is it for satisfying one’s own momentary emotional needs, much less is it for satisfying one’s curiosity. It is a responsibility and an obligation; and of course, even more so, it is a confirmation and verification of whether or not a man or woman has the ability and faith to bear the responsibilities of marriage. If you do not know whether or not you have the ability to bear the responsibilities and obligations of marriage, if these are totally unknown quantities to you, or if you do not want to get married—or if you are even sick of the very idea—if you do not want to bear the responsibilities and obligations of family life, be they trivial or bigger matters, and you want to be single—“God said it is not good to be alone, but I think being alone is pretty nice”—then you can reject marriage, or even leave your marriage. This varies from individual to individual, and each person can choose freely. But, no matter what you say, if you look at what’s recorded in the Bible about the sayings and ordinations given by God with regard to mankind’s earliest marriage, you will see that marriage is not a game, nor a trifling matter; of course it is much less the grave which people describe it as. Marriage is arranged and ordained by God. From the beginning of man, God ordained and arranged it. So those worldly sayings—“marriage is a grave,” “marriage is a city under siege,” “marriage is a tragedy,” “marriage is a disaster,” and so on—do they hold any water? (No.) They do not. This is just the understanding that corrupt mankind has toward marriage after warping, corrupting, and stigmatizing it. After warping, corrupting, and stigmatizing proper marriage, they criticize it as well, spouting a few inappropriate falsehoods, releasing fallacies, and as a result, those who believe in God also become misled, so they also have incorrect and abnormal views on marriage. Have you also been misled and corrupted? (Yes.) Then through our fellowship, after you have an accurate and correct understanding of marriage, when someone again asks, “Do you know what marriage is?” will you still say, “Marriage is a grave”? (No.) Is this statement correct? (No.) Should you say that? (No.) Why not? Seeing as marriage is arranged and ordained by God, humans should treat marriage correctly. If people act wantonly and indulge their lusts, messing around with promiscuity and bringing about evil consequences, saying that marriage is a grave, then I can only say that they are digging their own grave and are making trouble for themselves; they cannot complain. It has nothing to do with God. Is this not the case? Saying that marriage is a grave is Satan’s warping and condemnation of marriage and of a positive matter. The more positive a thing is, the more Satan and corrupt mankind warp it into something wicked. Is this not evil? If a person lives in sin, engaging in promiscuity and love triangles, why do people not say that? If a person fornicates, why do people not say so? Proper marriage is not fornication, nor promiscuity, it is not the satisfaction of carnal lusts, nor is it a trifling matter; of course much less is it a grave. It is something positive. God has ordained and arranged human marriage, and He has given entrustment and commands regarding it; of course, even more so, He has given responsibilities and obligations to both parties in marriage by way of command, as well as His sayings about what constitutes marriage. Marriage can only be comprised of one man and one woman. In the Bible, did God create a man, then create another man, and then marry them? No, there is no homosexual marriage between two men or between two women. There is only the marriage of one man and one woman. Marriage is comprised of one man and one woman, who are not only partners, but also helpers, who accompany one another, take care of one another, and mutually fulfill their responsibilities, living well and accompanying each other properly on the paths of their lives, accompanying each other through every difficult period of life, every different and unique period; and of course, they also get through the ordinary times. This is the responsibility that both parties in marriage ought to take on themselves, and it is also God’s entrustment to them. What is God’s entrustment? It is the principles that people ought to keep and practice. So, for everyone who gets married, marriage is meaningful. It has a supplementary effect on your personal experience and knowledge, as well as the growth, maturity, and perfection of your humanity. And on the contrary, if you are not married, and just live with your parents, or live alone all your life, or if you have an abnormal marriage, a marriage which is immoral and not ordained of God, then what you experience will not be the life experience, knowledge, or encounters, nor the growth, maturity, and perfection of humanity that you would obtain from a proper marriage. In marriage, beyond the two people experiencing mutual company and support, they of course also experience the disagreements, disputes, and contradictions that come up in life. At the same time, they experience together the pain of bearing children, and the experience of educating and raising children, and providing for their elders, watching the next generation grow up, watching the next generation get married and have children just like them, repeating their same course. In this way, the experience, knowledge, or encounters of people’s lives is quite rich and varied, is it not? (It is.) If you had had such life experience before you believed in God, before you accepted God’s work, words, judgment and chastisement, and in addition, if you could worship God and follow God after you came to believe in Him, then your life would be a bit more abundant than most people; your experience and personal understanding would be a bit greater. Of course, all of this I’m speaking about is based on the premise that, under the framework of marriage, you should earnestly carry out your own responsibilities and obligations, the responsibilities and obligations of men and women, and the responsibilities and obligations of husbands and wives. These are things that should be done. If you do not carry out your responsibilities and obligations, then your marriage will be a mess, and it will fail, and in the end, your marriage will break apart. You will experience a broken, failed marriage, as well as the troubles, entanglements, pains, and turbulence that marriage will bring to you. If the two parties who enter into marriage together cannot take the initiative and personally carry out their responsibilities and obligations, then they will argue and contradict one another. As time goes on, they will argue more and more, their contradictions will grow deeper and deeper, and cracks will start to appear in their marriage; as the cracks are around longer, they will be unable to repair the broken mirror of their marriage, and such a marriage will certainly be headed toward breaking apart, toward destruction—such a marriage is certainly failed. So from your perspective, the marriage God has ordained is not according to your wishes, and you think it unsuitable. Why do you think that way? Because in the framework of marriage, you do not do anything according to God’s requirements and commands; you selfishly pursue the satisfaction of your own requirements, the satisfaction of your own preferences and wishes, and the satisfaction of your imagination. You do not restrain yourself or change on your partner’s behalf, nor endure any pain; rather, you just emphasize your own excuses, your own profit and preferences, and you do not ever think about your counterpart. What will happen in the end? Your marriage will break apart. The source of this breakage is people’s corrupt dispositions. People are too selfish, so even husband and wife, who should be as one, are unable to live together in harmony, unable to sympathize with, understand, comfort, and accept one another, or change and give things up for each other. You can see how corrupt mankind has become. Marriage cannot restrain people’s conduct, nor can it make people give up their selfish desires, so there are no moral principles or good practices that come from society that can make people better, or that can maintain their conscience and reason. So when it comes to marriage, people should come to know it from the way God first ordained marriage for man. Of course, they should also learn of this matter from the perspective of God. Learning of all this from God’s perspective is pure, and when people are able to learn all this, the angle and viewpoint from which they see marriage will be correct. The reason their angle and viewpoint on marriage needs to be correct is not merely to make them know the concept and correct definition of marriage; it is also to enable people to have a proper, correct, accurate, appropriate, and reasonable method of practice when they encounter marriage, so they will not be misled by Satan or the various ideas of the wicked trends of the world in the way they treat marriage. When you choose marriage on the basis of God’s words, those of you who are women need to clearly see whether or not your counterpart is the kind of person who is able to fulfill a man’s responsibilities and obligations as God has said, whether or not he is worth entrusting your whole life to. Those of you who are men need to clearly see whether or not a woman is the kind of person who is able to set aside her own profit for the sake of family life and her husband, to change her shortcomings and flaws. You must consider all these things and more. Do not rely on your imagination, or on momentary interests or hobbies; much less should you rely on the mistaken ideas of love and romanticism that Satan instills in you to blindly choose marriage. With this fellowship, is everyone clear on the ideas, viewpoints, angles, and standpoints people should have on marriage, as well as the practice they ought to choose and principles they ought to hold to with regard to marriage? (Yes.)
Today, we have not yet spoken about giving up the pursuits, ideals, and desires of marriage; we have only clarified the definition and concept of marriage. Have I not spoken clearly on the subject? (You have.) I have spoken clearly. Do you have still any complaints about marriage? (No.) And the one you were once married to, the one you left, do you have any enmity for them? (No.) Do your abnormal, biased understandings and views of marriage, or even your childish fantasies which were out of line with the facts, still exist? (No.) You should be more realistic now. But marriage is not a simple matter of daily necessities. It touches on the lives of people with normal humanity, and on people’s responsibilities and obligations, and moreover, there are the more practical standards and principles that God has warned people about, required of them, and commanded them of. These are the responsibilities and obligations that people should complete, and are the responsibilities and obligations that they ought to take on themselves. This is concrete definition of marriage and the significance of the concrete existence of marriage, which people with normal humanity ought to possess. All right, this is where we’ll end for today. Goodbye!
January 7, 2023
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “Man’s so-called ‘romantic love’ is just the joining of love and passion.”
b. The original text does not contain the phrase “as people from some nations say.”