143. The Principles of Interpersonal Association

1. Be principled in your contact with others. Do not engage in life philosophies or physical interactions, but establish normal interpersonal relations in conformity with the principles of the truth;

2. You must possess normal humanity, be able to love one another, be an honest person, and be able to respect, understand, tolerate and exercise patience with one another;

3. Seek to be an honest person. Because mankind has been corrupted so deeply, you should be wise and principled in your association with others, in a way that is beneficial to others, to yourself and to the church;

4. Treat others correctly—do not think too highly of them or disparage them. Be able to treat other people’s imperfections and transgressions correctly, and treat other people both fairly and impartially.

Relevant Words of God:

When your relationship with God has become normal, then you will also have a normal relationship with people. Everything is established on the foundation of God’s words. Through eating and drinking the words of God, practice in accordance with God’s requirements, put your viewpoints right, and do not do things that resist God or disturb the church. Do not do things that do not benefit the lives of the brothers and sisters, do not say things that do not contribute to other people, do not do shameful things. Be just and honorable when doing all things and make them presentable before God. Even though the flesh is weak sometimes, you are able to attach the highest importance to benefiting God’s family, not covet your own benefits, and carry out righteousness. If you can practice in this way, your relationship with God will be normal.

… Whenever you do or say anything, you must put your heart right, be righteous, and not be led by your emotions, or act according to your own will. These are the principles by which believers in God conduct themselves.

from “How Is Your Relationship With God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

A proper relationship between people is established on the foundation of giving their heart to God; it is not achieved through human effort. Without God, relationships between people are merely relationships of the flesh. They are not proper, but are indulgent of lust—they are relationships that God detests, that He loathes. If you say that your spirit has been moved, but you always want to have fellowship with people who appeal to you, with whoever you think highly of, and if there is another seeker who does not appeal to you, who you hold a bias against and will not engage with, this is more proof that you are an emotional person and you do not have a proper relationship with God at all. You are attempting to deceive God and cover up your own ugliness. Even if you can share some understanding but you carry wrong intentions, everything you do is good only by human standards. God will not praise you—you are acting according to the flesh, not according to God’s burden. If you are able to quiet your heart in front of God and have proper interactions with all those who love God, only then are you fit for God’s use. This way, no matter how you associate with others, it will not be according to a life philosophy, but it will be living in front of God, considerate of His burden. How many people like this are there amongst you? Are your relationships with others really proper?

from “It Is Very Important to Establish a Proper Relationship With God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The people God uses appear from the outside to be irrational and seem to not have proper relationships with others, though they speak with propriety, don’t speak carelessly, and can always keep a quiet heart before God. But it is just this kind of person who is sufficient to be used by the Holy Spirit. This “irrational” person God speaks of looks like they don’t have proper relationships with others, and they don’t have outward love or superficial practices, but when they are communicating spiritual things they can open their heart and selflessly provide others with the illumination and enlightenment they have acquired from their actual experience before God. This is how they express their love for God and satisfy God’s will. When others are all slandering and ridiculing them, they are able to not be controlled by outside people, occurrences, or things, and can still be quiet before God. Such a person seems to have their own unique insights. Regardless of others, their heart never leaves God. When others are chatting cheerfully and humorously, their heart still remains before God, contemplating God’s word or praying in silence to the God in their heart, seeking God’s intentions. They never make the maintenance of their proper relationships with other people the main focus. Such a person seems to have no philosophy of life. On the outside, this person is lively, adorable, and innocent, but also possesses a sense of calmness. This is the likeness of a person God uses. …

… If you don’t have a proper relationship with God, no matter what you do to maintain your relationships with other people, no matter how hard you work or how much energy you exert, it will still belong to a human philosophy of life. You are maintaining your position among people through a human perspective and a human philosophy so that they will praise you. You do not establish proper relationships with people according to the word of God. If you don’t focus on your relationships with people but maintain a proper relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, very naturally, your relationships with all people will become proper. This way, these relationships aren’t established on the flesh, but on the foundation of God’s love. There are almost no interactions based on the flesh, but in the spirit there is fellowship as well as love, comfort, and provision for one another. This is all done on the foundation of a heart that satisfies God. These relationships aren’t maintained by relying on a human philosophy of life, but they are formed very naturally through the burden for God. They don’t require human effort—they are practiced through the principles of the word of God.

from “It Is Very Important to Establish a Proper Relationship With God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

In the dispositions of normal people there is no crookedness or deceitfulness, people have a normal relationship with each other, they do not stand alone, and their lives are neither mediocre nor decadent. So, too, is God exalted among all, His words permeate among man, people live in peace with one another and under the care and protection of God, the earth is filled with harmony, without the interference of Satan, and the glory of God holds the utmost importance among man. Such people are like angels: pure, vibrant, never complaining about God, and devoting all their efforts solely to God’s glory on earth.

from “Interpretation of the Sixteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Normal humanity includes these aspects: insight, sense, conscience, and character. If you can achieve normality in each of these respects, your humanity is up to standard. You should have the likeness of a normal human being and behave like a believer in God. You don’t have to achieve great heights or engage in diplomacy. You just have to be a normal human being, with a normal person’s sense, be able to see through things, and at least look like a normal human being. That will be enough. … A lot of people see that the age has changed, so they don’t exercise any humility or patience, and they might as well not have any love or saintly decency either. These people are too absurd! Do they have an ounce of normal humanity? Do they have any testimony to speak of? They don’t have any insight and sense whatsoever. Of course, some aspects of people’s practice that are deviant and erroneous need to be corrected. Like people’s rigid spiritual life or appearance of numbness and imbecility of the past—all of these things have to change. Change doesn’t mean letting you be dissolute or indulge in the flesh, saying whatever you want. Speaking carelessly cannot do! Behaving like a normal human being is to speak with coherence. Yes means yes, no means no. Be true to the facts and speak appropriately. Don’t cheat, don’t lie.

from “Improving Caliber Is for Receiving God’s Salvation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide to each other or help one another. Do you have such a feeling? If your friend says everything to you, saying all of what they’re thinking in their heart, and what suffering or happiness they have in their heart, then do you not feel particularly intimate with them? That they are willing to tell these things to you is because you have also spoken of the words in your heart to them—you are especially close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along with them and help each other out. Without this among the brothers and sisters in the church, there would never be harmony among the brothers and sisters, which is one of the requisites of being honest.

from “To Be Honest, You Should Lay Yourself Open to Others” in Records of Christ’s Talks

The Man’s Fellowship:

The love between brothers and sisters should be established upon the principles of the truth. What is said and done should be in line with the truth; that should be the standard. There shouldn’t be emotionality, deceit or cunning, and you particularly should not be using each other. In mutual love, you can frequently have fellowship on the truth, encourage and help each other in your entry into life, and you don’t need to keep tally of gains or losses. In interactions blunders can be unavoidable, but have mutual tolerance and forgiveness, and seek the truth together and remain in step with each other to meet a common goal. By frequently having fellowship on the truth you can open up your hearts and be free from prejudice, encouraging and obeying each other, becoming partners in life. This is what mutual love should look like. If brothers and sisters really are kindred spirits they will be able to establish relationships of mutual love. In their mutual love they will be able to have proper fellowship and communally investigate and seek the truth; they will not collude to do things in violation of the truth or to take the path of a sinner. Instead, they will link hands and together, side-by-side move forward toward satisfying God’s will. If anyone makes a blunder or wounds the other person, they will both be tolerant and forgiving. If the other one does something contrary to the truth that harms the church’s interests, they will not shield them, but will point out their transgression directly by means of fellowshiping on the truth so that they have the opportunity to repent and awaken, to repent of what they have done. This is true mutual love.

from the fellowship from the above

After believing in God, a person’s life disposition can change accordingly through entry into the truth, but people are really unclear on the principles of practice in proper interpersonal relationships. Here I’ll list out several principles on this for everyone’s reference. First, you should love each other. All people have weaknesses and deficits; we all need others’ help. If people’s interactions are built on the foundation of mutual love we can achieve harmonious coexistence without any difficulties, but without love, people are like cold-blooded animals without any feelings. They lose human warmth and there’s no way to deal with them. Someone who has love has a compassionate heart, loves to help others, and is particularly able to comfort those who have suffered difficulties. They are very well-liked. Within love, one can be tolerant and patient and not keep count of others’ transgressions. Within love, people can be accepting and forgiving and achieve harmonious coexistence. Second, one must have wisdom. It’s unavoidable that there will be many difficulties in human interactions; on top of having a heart of love, wisdom cannot be done without. The principle of using wisdom is so that people can benefit from it, so that no harm will come to others, to yourself, or to the church. There are some issues that cannot be resolved without wisdom. For example, you should carefully consider what the repercussions of your actions will be and how to behave appropriately so that no trouble will arise. Or, consider what kind of disposition the other person has and what you should pay attention to in your interactions, what to do so that it is beneficial for them, and not harmful. Consider which things you should let them know about and which things you should not mention, what the impact of your words will be. If you need to say something, think about how you should say it. All of this refers to speaking with wisdom. It is very important for people to have principles in their interactions. Third, be able to approach others properly. That is, don’t look up to them, but don’t look down on them. Whether another person is foolish or intelligent, if they are of high or low caliber, if they are rich or poor, you should not be biased and rely on emotions. Don’t force your own preferences on others and particularly do not force your own dislikes on others. This is not forcing someone into something they don’t want to do. When doing things do not just look at yourself; you must also look at the other person and learn more about how to be considerate of others so that others may benefit. Listen to others’ opinions more and if they have some deficiencies or have done something wrong that is disadvantageous to you, handle it correctly. Don’t use it against them, don’t strike back and take revenge. Learn to fellowship on the truth to help others so that they can change, and make a correct assessment of others. This way, there will be no more difficulties in your future interactions with them. Don’t set your expectations of others too high, and do not look to gain any particular benefits from another person. This is one of the principles of dealing with others correctly. Fourth, in your interactions with others you should have a conscience, reason, and integrity. If someone treats you benevolently you should seek to repay that, and if someone treats you with love, you should particularly repay them with love. As for reason, learn how to respect others, and in spite of whatever faults or shortcomings they have, absolutely do not make fun of them or belittle them. Additionally, do not harbor improper intentions for anyone, but learn to respect others. You particularly cannot take advantage of anyone in the slightest. As for integrity, be careful not to say filthy, debased things, and don’t take part in crassly entertaining things to avoid others’ disgust and resentment. Have self-respect and do more things that are beneficial for others; do not harm others’ interests and take advantage of them. Be trustworthy in your words and deeds. Absolutely do not say one thing to someone’s face and something else behind their back, but open up and speak from your heart. Be frank in your interactions, do not care about others’ mistakes, and be magnanimous with others. This way, you can interact harmoniously with people. These are the four principles that people should possess for proper interpersonal relationships.

from the fellowship from the above

Dealing with people with wisdom. Some people say: “Does getting along with brothers and sisters require wisdom?” Yes, it does, because using wisdom provides even greater benefits for your brothers and sisters. Some will ask: “Isn’t being wise with brothers and sisters being cunning?” Wisdom is not cunning. Rather, it is the complete opposite of cunning. To use wisdom means paying attention to the way you talk to brothers and sisters when they have small stature, in case they won’t be able to accept what you say. Also, for people with small stature, especially those who are not possessed of the truth and who reveal some corruption and have some corrupt disposition, if you are too simple and open and tell them everything, it can sometimes be easy for them to have something on you or for you to be used. This is not good either. Since humans have corrupt disposition, you must more or less take some precautions and have some technique when speaking. But being cautious against people doesn’t mean not helping them or not having love for them. It just means not telling them some of the important things about God’s household right away, and simply communicating the truth to them. If they need spiritual assistance in life and the truth to be supplied to them, we have to do everything in our ability to satisfy them in this regard. But if they are inquiring about this and that about God’s household, or this and that about its leaders and workers, then there’s no need to tell them. If you tell them, they are likely to leak this information and this will affect the work of God’s household. In other words, if it is something they shouldn’t know or something they have no need to know, then don’t let them know about it. If it is something they ought to know, then do all you can to let them know about it, concretely and without reservation. So what are things they ought to know? The pursuit of truth is what they should know; what truth they should be equipped with, what aspects of the truth they should understand, what duties they should fulfill, what duties they are suited to fulfill, how they should fulfill those duties, how to live out normal humanity, how to live the church life—these are all things people should know. On the other hand, the rules and principles of God’s household and the work of the church cannot be divulged to outsiders, nor can the situations of your brothers and sisters be disclosed to outsiders or non-believers in your family. This is the principle that must be abided by when we use wisdom. The names and addresses of your leaders, for example, are things you should not talk about. If you talk about these things, you never know when this information might fall into the ears of outsiders, and things could get very troublesome if it then gets passed on to some evil spies or secret agents. You must be wise about these things. That is why I say wisdom is very necessary. Moreover, when you are being simple and open, you cannot just tell anyone certain private things. You have to judge the stature of your brothers and sisters to see if, after you tell them, they might be ungodly and joke about what you say. It will be a problem if they let it get out there; it will damage your character. So being simple and open also requires wisdom.

from “How to Build Church Life and the Meaning of Building Church Life” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (I)

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