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Chapter 89. What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity

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Chapter 89. What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity

Normally, if one is treated like a child, what is the reason—apart from if they look young—for others to still think of them like this after spending a lot of time in their company and knowing them well? To them, the things you do and say appear frivolous and immature, and so they look upon you as a child. To always be thought of as a child is something that other people do, you have no control over how other people treat you. This is most certainly your own fault; it is caused by you, and not something forced on you by the outside world. And why is it chiefly caused by you? In one regard, your humanity is immature; in another, are you capable of investment? (No. I feel that most of the time, I’m not engaged.) You’re not engaged, and you are incapable of investment—this is true. You must learn how to be invested. There are some twenty-something people that others think very highly of, whose words others take in and think about; look at what they do and how they live. If you’re in your mid-twenties and no one respects you when you talk, if they still treat you like a child, then there’s a problem with your humanity. Normally someone this age with dignity wouldn’t want their parents to always treat them like a child. “You always treat me like a child. How old am I? Yet you still keep nagging me. I’m not an idiot. I’m a grown-up, I understand things, I get all this, you don’t have to tell me.” If they don’t want their parents to treat them like this, how much more does this apply to other people?

What is manifested in people who are mature? There are several characteristics to the way they act, speak, behave, and conduct themselves. You must grasp these things and be aware of them; if you act according to these several aspects, people will respect you. It does not require that you learn how to pretend to be an adult, this isn’t something you can fake. You must learn how to be invested, how to do things like an adult, and in your heart, there must be something serious. When there’s something serious in a person’s heart, when they want to do something serious, then they are burdened by certain things—and the next time they act, their viewpoints and the things they say will be worthy. What does it mean that they are worthy? It means that there is something serious in their heart, and it has already taken root within their heart. When this matter occurs, or when this kind of thing befalls them, there is weight to the words they speak and they don’t just blurt things out like a child. When people hear them speak they think that it makes sense and they’ve got a handle on it, so people respect them. When a child hears adults talking and the child blurts something out, do you know what the adults normally say to the child? (They say the grown-ups are talking, don’t interrupt.) That’s one thing. And they say, “Go, go and play. Children don’t understand adult matters.” Yes or no? If you’re grown-up, but you’re incapable of being invested, nor try to be invested, or contemplate something serious, or aim for something serious, can you understand when adults are having a conversation? Most of the time, what are you doing when the adults, the grown-ups, are having a conversation or sorting things out? Do you think it has nothing to do with you, that it’s time to space out? Or else you go and play or rest a while? This is troublesome! Can you gain anything by being like this? If there’s never anything serious in your heart, if you never aim for anything serious, then can you achieve anything serious? And so, if you wish to be someone with dignity, if you wish for people to respect you and treat you as someone who is mature, you have to know how to live, how to act, and what you have to do to achieve this effect. Listening to adults, people who are respectable, or people who do serious things, you must think about and learn what they discuss, and what they think in their hearts. If your mind is always idle and empty, or if you always feel at a loose end, if you’re forever incapable of finding your own place, then you’re in trouble. You’re in your mid-twenties but others still treat you like a child, then life is going to be very difficult for you! You’ll be thirty in the blink of an eye. Is it good that people still look upon you as a child? (It’s bad.) Why is it bad? (It’s living without dignity. What’s key is that if people always regard you as a child, as time goes on you get used to it, and think nothing of it, in which case you will have led yourself astray. If you truly think yourself a child, how can you do some proper duties? Can you be mature?

So how can you escape such state? If you’re the same age, but other people take too much care of you, what causes this? Take a five- or six-year-old child. The adults wash their clothes and spoon-feed them. If they get to ten-years-old and their parents still chase after them and spoon-feed them, why is this so? Whose problem is this? It’s certainly not because the parents are stupid; the child might be disabled. It’s alright to be cared for by people, but if you always have people looking after you when you’re an adult, this is troublesome! You’re not young anymore, but you still can’t look after yourself. You are incapable of living independently, and people are always anxious about you, your parents always worry about you—is this not only half a person? How could half a person make it through life? Never growing up—this is a defect, it’s a problem. This doesn’t relate to what a person’s disposition is like; it’s a problem with how an individual pursues and lives, it’s a problem of certain viewpoints. You must have something serious in your heart and do some proper duties. You don’t necessarily have to embark upon some grand enterprise, but you must have something serious in your heart: You must learn how to be invested, and how to be more considerate and helpful to others, or else you have to know when to put up with certain things. When you are in difficulty, you have to know how to overcome it, how to solve it yourself. And you have to learn how to interact with, speak to, open up to adults and grown-ups. You have to learn how to work with adults. In this, will you gradually become mature? You must learn things. If you spend all day at a loose end, if all you care about is eating three square meals a day and getting a good night’s sleep, if you do nothing more than what’s in front of you, and you feel you’re done and you’ve completed the task, then does this state need to be changed? Are you in this condition most of the time? (Yes.) And when you’re in this condition, can you make rapid progress? In everything, you’re negative and passive, you always need other people to hurry you along and push you—and so it’s troublesome. Even after a few years, there is no sign of any progress or change. When you see an adult is going to speak to you, you are afraid. You’re as scared as a mouse, you stuff yourself into any available hole. You don’t dare meet adults or talk to them. When you speak with them, you don’t know where to look, nor where to put your hands. The sight of a child makes you happy. You feel they’re fun and so play with them and talk with them. Everything you say are the words of a child, everything you do are the actions of a child. These are all manifestations of childishness and immaturity.

It’s not easy for people to be mature and grown-up. There are things they have to overcome. Sometimes it’s because they’re timid and cowardly, sometimes it’s because they go easy on themselves, and don’t feel like studying anything; they’re lazy, and think to themselves, “It’s pretty good living like this, I’m free and can do whatever I want. What’s the use in always tiring yourself out like that? Always doing proper duties, always having to be mature and grown-up—what’s so good about growing up? Once you’ve grown up you have burdens, and it is exhausting. There’s no need to learn anything. I just need to do what’s in front of me, what I’ve been given to do.” They muddle their way through like this, and in the blink of an eye, three or five years have passed, and someone asks them: “What have you gained from believing in God?” “I am able to perform my duty properly.” “Are you really able to? So, speak of your experiences in performing your duty during these years.” “There’s nothing to say; I just did my duty properly, wasn’t lazy, I didn’t skate through, I did what I was asked, and I wasn’t negative when I was dealt with.” “What did you do when you were having a hard time or were negative?” “I prayed to God.” “Did you have any special experiences when you prayed to God?” “I just prayed to God when something happened to me, and after I prayed I was better, I felt better—that was all I needed.” Are these not the most superficial of all words? If you never experience anything more, then have you or have you not not grown up? And not become mature? Are you all in this state? Do you know where the source lies when you’re always in this state?

At the moment, are you able to talk like an adult? Do you know how to open up to an adult? Do you know what it means to open up to someone? (It means to speak of the words in my heart.) What else, apart from speaking the words in your heart? (Fellowshiping with each other when we encounter hardship, difficulties, or problems in real life.) So what if you don’t have much to fellowship about? (Then we will stop speaking to each other.) Then you will stop speaking to each other—so you don’t know how to open up to others. Let Me tell you what it means to open up to someone. There are times when adults have a lot more to say in their hearts than children. Why, then, do they say nothing of this to children? (The children won’t understand.) In fact, do the children really not understand? Which of the children’s manifestations give the adults this false impression? Most of the time, when adults talk about adult things and say something serious with children, seeing that the children have no reaction, pay no attention, have no interest, or else go off and play games, or do something of their own, the adults think they are too small to understand and stop speaking to them. As time goes on, the adults have nothing to say when they see the children. Or they just say things like, “Eat it,” “Drink it,” or “What do you want to eat today? Mom will make it for you,” “You must do what you’re told, you have to learn to be good; do not go off the rails,” “Don’t play games, and don’t spend so much time on the computer, or else you’ll go short-sighted,” “Make sure you go to bed early and get up early,” “Don’t be picky when you eat,” “You must do more exercise,” “Make sure you play with good kids, be polite to adults.” They say nothing more than these things, these clichés, this nagging. This isn’t opening up. When people talk like this, are children willing to listen? There’s nothing serious when the adults say such things, and the child doesn’t want to listen. If the adults always try to subdue the child in this way, if they’re always telling the child what to do, treating them like a doll in their hands, always carrying them around, clutching and cradling them, the child won’t want to listen. In one regard, the adults don’t know how to open up to children, and in another, when the adults are talking about serious things, the children appear particularly uncooperative and reluctant, and thus, there’s a distance between the two. The child says: “I never have anything to talk about with my parents.” And the parents say: “This child isn’t like he used to be, he’s grown up. I don’t know what he’s thinking, he never tells me what he’s really thinking. When he gets home he sits himself in front of the computer, he has nothing to say to me.” The child’s hard-headed—and the parents are, too. None of them know how to open up to each other. Is this normal humanity? (No.) So what’s the problem here? Who’s at fault? The adults have a problem, they’ve led the child astray, and the child doesn’t listen to what they say; the child is badly-behaved, rebellious, he makes the adults irritated, angry, unwilling to speak to him. Is this a one-sided problem? (Both sides have a problem.) Yes—both sides have a problem, none of them have normal humanity, and so there’s no way for them to open up to each other.

Parents raise their children from infancy to adulthood, nagging them and looking after them throughout. How do parents see time? Whether twenty or thirty years later, their attitude toward their children is the same as when they were born, it doesn’t change. The child has, in fact, long since grown up, he’s long since established his own way of thinking, state of mind, insight, and viewpoints—he’s long since had these things—yet the adults never realize this, they can never keep up, they always talk and interact with the child as if he’d just been born. So what issue does the child have? As soon as the parents start nagging, the child objects. He stays away from them, he avoids them, saying to himself, “How I wish there was no nagging, how I wish that no one nagged me, then I’d be free.” He doesn’t know how to open up to them, or look for the chance to tell them what’s in his heart, which would allow his parents to understand him, and know what he needs, what he’s thinking in his heart, whether there is any problem with what’s in his mind, or anything erroneous about it; whether, if he carries on thinking like this, it will make him do something wrong. He suppresses these things, he doesn’t know how to have a heart-to-heart talk, with the result that the two generations reach an impasse. Could such an impasse yield any conversation? This is the kind of environment most people grow up in. They feel depressed, having never received any emotional care, or spiritual nourishment and support, from their parents. This includes your belief in God. What do your parents say about that? What do they teach you? “Don’t slack in your belief in God. If you do, you won’t get into the kingdom; I’ll enter the kingdom and you’ll be left behind. How terrible that would be for you! You should listen to me, I’m saying this for your own good. Didn’t the Bible say, ‘There shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. … Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left’ (Luk 17:34, 36). Don’t be the one that remains—we must enter the kingdom together. Don’t slack in your belief—we must obey whatever God’s words say.” Is that what they say? If they always say: “I’m saying this for your own good, but you don’t listen to me,” isn’t it too simple?

So what counts as being capable of opening up? You should come to some conclusions about this. It’s not good to say little. It proves there’s no depth to your thoughts. You have to turn what’s in your subconsciousness into your thoughts, reflect on them, and share and communicate them with others, including your parents. You must learn to open up, to communicate. You must learn how to express yourself, how to use language to express your thoughts, ideas, and the words in your heart, and you must also gain new information and enlightenment from others. In this way, will you not gradually be enriched? Treat your parents and interact with them like an ordinary friend or a brother or sister you know. In this way, your relationship will become normal, and you will have something to say to them. Don’t always say to yourself, “I know them too well, it’s been nothing but this for years. Every time they open their mouths they say the same thing, I can even recite it.” Don’t treat your parents like this, with this viewpoint. There’s actually also a lot else going on in their minds that you don’t know, and if you don’t interact with them, you never will. If you want your parents to treat you like an adult, you must learn how to act toward them, using your attitude to give them a good impression of you; you must act in a way that is mature and tactful, and you must be like an adult. If you always pit yourself against your parents, and have nothing to say to them when you’re with them, and you pull a long face when they speak to you or nag you, then when they see this, they’ll think to themselves, “This child will never change, that’s just how he is. I’ll never be able to communicate with him.” They will have nothing to say to you. If your attitude doesn’t change and theirs doesn’t either, there’ll be no way to turn this situation around. You must endeavor to take the initiative in changing. Put yourself aside, don’t pit yourself against them, don’t contradict them. Don’t always say to yourself, “I’m their child, I can do whatever I want.” When you act from this perspective, such an attitude is inherently wrong. You must put this attitude aside, it must be changed. When you interact with your parents like you would with an ordinary brother or sister, their attitude toward you will most certainly change. Seeing this, they’ll say, “This child has grown up. He allowed me to criticize him and he also fellowshiped with me how he experienced it. This is great, has he not grown up?” Seeing that you’ve grown up puts their mind at rest, and they don’t nag you in many things that they used to think you were too young to do, or which they worried about—and if they don’t nag you, have you not won? You’ve been waiting for the day when you overcome your parents’ nagging, right? But you had no way of doing this. How about the method I told you? (It’s great.) You have to change your attitude. The goal of changing your attitude is to make your parents know that you’ve grown up, that you’re mature, that you have your own thoughts, that you’re no longer a child. That’s one aspect of it. Another is that you must endeavor to make your parents change their attitude toward you, to make them know what’s in your heart, and what you lack, what you’re struggling with, why you’re down, why you’re happy—this is what you must make them aware of. Don’t avoid them in all you do. You must make them see in you the rationality and attitude toward people that ought to be in normal humanity. You must make them learn things from you. When they look at you, they see you’ve grown up, that you speak like an adult, that you’re not at loggerheads in your attitude toward them, and don’t pull a long face or screw your face up at them. If your parents criticize you, you listen to them, and then fellowship with them. Listening to your fellowship, they feel it’s beneficial, and they gain a lot from it—how great that is!

When parents talk down to their child and say, “I’m your father (or mother)! You must do as I say!” the child takes exception to this “must”; it’s definitely not an expression of normal humanity. Conversely, if the child’s attitude to their parents is, “Ugh, you do nothing but nag me, I hate listening to you! I’m an adult but you’re still trying to control me!” what is this attitude? Some other children even think, “I’m your child, you should do everything for me—you should pay for me, make me food, and look after me when I’m ill.” What attitude is this? Is this normal humanity? It isn’t right to think that your parents should do everything for you. When they see this, they think to themselves, “When I do anything for you, you feel it’s owed to you, that it’s your due. You’re so thoughtless!” So they feel sad. No matter how much the parents suffer, no matter how much concern they show for their child, the child senses none of it. He thinks that’s what parents should do, that his parents can’t feel upset, pain, hurt or sadness. This is wrong, it is not normal humanity. If both sides lived by normal humanity, and if they were able to reach possession of the truth, with both sides putting themselves in each other’s shoes, and taking into account each other’s difficulties, from the perspective of normal humanity, and both sides standing on an equal footing when they interacted, spoke to each other, and did things, would this stop the estrangement developing between them? What causes what the unbelievers call the “generation gap”? Isn’t it that the older generation acts high and mighty, and the younger generation doesn’t like them doing so, which produces the estrangement, and leads to the generation gap—isn’t that how it comes about? If parents don’t act high and mighty, and the children can open up to them, and treat them as intimates, could there still be the estrangement between them? In particular, parents always treat their children like slaves, or else spoil them, overindulge them, and dote on them like a kitten or a puppy, whilst holding them tight, keeping a tight rein on them, strictly controlling them—with the result that the child stops being a child, and being a parent becomes very tiring. Why is it tiring? Why is it hurtful? Why doesn’t your child listen to you? Why, having put in all this effort, doesn’t the child understand you in the slightest? Doesn’t this serve you right?

If we dissect this matter, it actually comes down to a case of reaping what one sows. Many might well believe in God, and in appearance they look very spiritual, but as how to treat their children, and as to how children are to treat their parents, they do not have a clue in their views and attitudes how to put the truth into practice in these cases, and what principles should be applied in treating these matters and dealing with them. In a parent’s eyes, the parent is always a parent, and the child is always a child. Thus, the relationship between parent and child becomes very difficult to deal with, and it’s very hard for both sides to get along with each other. Precisely because a parent always assumes their place as a parent and will not budge from it, keeping that status from which they will not come down, their child becomes at odds with them. A lot of things really result from the parent always assuming their place as such and taking themselves too seriously; they always see themselves as the parent, the elder: “Regardless of when, you won’t get escape from your mother’s (or father’s) control; you’ll still have to listen to me. You are my child. The fact of this doesn’t change, regardless of when.” This viewpoint makes them miserable and wretched, and makes the child miserable and exhausted. Isn’t this the case? Is this not a manifestation that one doesn’t understand the truth? How is the truth to be practiced in this case? (Letting go of your pride.) What does one let go of? Some people say, “If you don’t allow me to be your parent, I’ll stop working, and you support yourself. I won’t pay any attention to you, I won’t take any responsibility.” Is this letting go? “Whatever happens to you afterward, even if you ask me, I won’t care. I’m not your parent, I’m just an ordinary brother or sister, so what do I care about you?” Is this letting go? “Whatever happens later, I’m not going to nag you. Even if I see, even if I know, I’m not saying anything. I’m just going to worry about myself, and not worry about you.” Is this letting go? (No, it isn’t.) So, what is “letting go”? What principle do you apply in doing things that is “letting go”? What point of view, what attitude do you apply that is really “letting go”? Do you know how to put it into practice? You haven’t been a parent, and you don’t know what a parent’s attitude is, what their concerns are, right? Actually it’s simple. Just be an ordinary person: Treat your children, treat those in your own family the same as you would an ordinary brother or sister. Although you have a responsibility, a fleshly relationship, nevertheless the position and perspective you should have is the same as with friends or ordinary brothers and sisters. That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have complete control over them. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things. No matter what happens, sit down and calmly talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and pride.) It is the letting go of the position and status of a parent, the airs of a parent, and all of the responsibility one thinks they should assume, everything that one thinks they should be doing as a parent; instead, it’s enough that one does the best they can in terms of their responsibility as an ordinary brother or sister. Would you say that’s easy to do? (It’s not easy.) Why? (Because people have expended effort; they feel that they gave birth to the child, it’s them who raised it. They think, “I should be in charge of you, I should be telling you off, I have the right to do so.”) That’s right. The parent does not have the right to take charge of others, and others would not let them. They cannot take charge of anyone else; they wouldn’t dare to. It wasn’t easy to get to the position of a parent, so how could they not want to occupy that position all their lives? It has by no means been easy for the parent to find themselves with someone to take charge of, so isn’t it natural they want to do so right to the end? And many parents think they are always right. “As long as it’s for the child’s sake, what I’m doing is right.” They really have such thoughts and points of view. How could you not make mistakes? You too are a corrupted human being, how can you determine that you are without error? As long as you admit that you do not possess the truth, that you are a corrupted human being, then you have errors and you can make mistakes. You can make mistakes, yet at every turn how is it that you try to take charge of your children, and have them at every turn listen to you? Is this not an arrogant disposition? This is an arrogant disposition and a ferocious one at that.

Regardless of what methods parents use to put themselves in that position, what things they do, what they nag their children about, and what means they use to try and control their children, in sum, they have one intention: making their children obey everything they say, making them live and act by what they say, so that nothing will go wrong and their children will live a safe life. This is their aim. Is it right to do this? From the parents’ perspective, and from the perspective of human sentiment, it is—but viewed from the perspective of the truth, is it right? (No.) What they do inherently lacks rationality, it is at odds with the truth; if it lacks rationality, then it is most certainly at odds with the truth. They are acting according to human sentiment, according to their own imaginings, their own likes and desires, their own selfish wants; the motives and starting point for their actions[a] are inherently wrong. And so what is the consequence of doing such things? What does this consequence bring? Does it bring a positive effect? Some people say: “How could it not? Could I have grown up without my Mom watching over me? Who knows what damage I might have done to myself?” It is the responsibility of your parents to take care of your flesh as you grow up; that’s what they’re capable of, and the very least they should do. But in what respect don’t they do well? They do not play any positive role in ideological education and guiding you toward positive things. And so, having gotten to your age, what did you understand from your parents? In terms of the belief in God and the truth, what have you gained from your parents? Have you gotten anything at all? It is fair to say you haven’t gotten anything—nothing! Since the day your parents introduced you to the belief in God, you’ve gotten nothing from them with respect to the knowledge of God and knowledge of the truth of the belief in God. What you’ve gotten from your parents is zero—not only zero, but perhaps a negative number! What do I mean by a negative number? Your parents could have instilled some conceptions, imaginings, and something that is of human will in you. Being given great blessings after doing a good job of performing your duty, for example–isn’t this instilled in you by your parents? From this perspective, what are they giving you? Things that are false, and negative. Things, in short, that are not positive, and not in accordance with the truth. So, in addition to philosophies of life, petty tricks, and the philosophy of not getting the short end of the stick in people’s minds, what other impact do parents have on their children? At most, some parents possess a little insight, a bit of learning and culture, and they instill something of learning and culture in their children, as well as some common sense about life—that’s the most they give you. Nothing else. This is your parents’ responsibility to you up to your twenties. That’s all you get from them, right? Parents that are a little better will have taken good care of you as they brought you up, leaving you in good health. Some families are hard up, and the parents don’t take good care of their children, so the health of young children isn’t good, they often get colds, they have a weak constitution, and after being knocked around when they were little, some have disabilities. That’s all the responsibility parents assume—yet they spend the rest of their lives putting on the airs of parents and trying to control their children, so that the children remain devoted to them their whole lives. This is what they desire and what they think. If they don’t believe in God, most parents want to keep their children on a leash for the rest of their lives. When they believe in God, they say: “I gave my child to God, I made him expend himself for God!” How could they offer their child to God? Don’t you think these words are laughable? God put you with them to be looked after for twenty years, and twenty years later, when you’ve grown up and the time has come for you to perform your duty, they say they are giving you to God. You don’t belong to them, you didn’t come from them, yet they talk of giving you to God. Hearing this, what else could you feel but that this is laughable? Is it ignorant for parents to say this? Words spoken by ignorant people sound irrational, and listening to them is embarrassing: “How could you give me to God? Is this up to you? I was due to be returned to God from the very start. Could it be that if you don’t give me to God, I shouldn’t perform my duty? That if you don’t give me to God, I shouldn’t come before God? And should not expend myself for God? And not perform the duty of a created being?” Is this the case? Would you say that most parents are capable of realizing this after saying those words? (No.) Even today, they are still proud of themselves, thinking: “Look at me—my faith and love for God are so great! I have given my child to God, just as Abraham gave Isaac to God. This is a righteous act!” Is there a connection between these two? Are they the same? (No.) How are they not the same? You know they’re not the same, but not how they’re different, yes? When Abraham gave Isaac to God, what did he give him as? (A sacrifice.) So what about when your parents give you to the house of God? What do they give you as? They put you in the house of God for safekeeping, so that you will not go off the rails in the outside world. They see the house of God as an incubator,[b] a strongbox, a refuge—you come here for refuge. Could this be the same? It is not. Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac was to give this person, this life, to God, to return him to God; that is, Abraham gave up the child’s life, he gave up the child’s whole being, and God intended to take it away, and so Abraham gave it to God as a sacrificial offering. So what is the idea behind your parents giving you to God? They send you here so that you might enjoy a happy life, so that you might be blessed by God, and your life be saved. They are not offering your life to God, they are not offering you to God. Rather, they want you to stay here so that your life can be saved and you won’t be destroyed. Are these not two different kinds of offerings? So what is the correct way of putting this, one that is in accordance with the truth? People lack the faith to do the same righteous act as Abraham, and they have strong selfish motives. In addition, the children are grown-up, they have their own thoughts, they can make their own judgments, and they are able to understand God’s words—and after hearing God’s call, they have their own subjective awareness, and their own subjective choices. Do they need anyone to give them to God? They are a living creature, they don’t need you to offer them, they are able to make their own choices. They, too, are a created being before God, they have God’s leadership, God’s guidance, God’s commission, and their own duty; they can choose to perform their duty, they can choose to expend themselves in the house of God, they don’t need their parents’ permission, nor do they need to go through the procedure of their parents saying they must or must not be given to God in order to perform such a duty. So what do you think of the parents’ words of “I gave my child to God”? Ignorant, nauseating, fake, hypocritical, right?

When you next hear your parents say this, what should you say to them? “What are you on about? You have no sense! Did you make the offering? It was arranged and led by God—all of this is under God’s dominion! If you don’t give me to God, am I unable to perform my duty? What a thing to say! Everything you say is ignorant, but you feel no shame—I’m embarrassed for you.” What do you think about saying this? When your parents hear this, they think, “Performing his duty has made this child understand the truth, these words are right.” Are they able to accept it? (No.) So how should this be fellowshiped? How did I just fellowship with you? Did I try and tell you off? (No.) I explained this to you to make you understand the truth here. People should not have any misunderstandings, and should not do or say anything irrational; once people have understood the truth, they should practice according to the truth, then their practice will become accurate, and they will no longer speak in such a way, nor believe such things, and their viewpoints will be put aside. Are you capable of fellowshiping in this way? When this happens to you, when you hear someone say this, you must think it over, “In this, they misunderstand God. They also say things that are irrational. I must fellowship about this matter, I must think it over, I must marshal my words, and see how to say it so that they understand this aspect of the truth, and no longer misunderstand God or do things that have no sense. I must fellowship about this aspect of the truth clearly, and I’m burdened by this. I must find a chance to fellowship about it.” When there’s nothing else to do, when everyone’s in a good mood, sit together to eat and drink a passage of God’s words, and then you start to fellowship: “Ordinarily, when we’ve nothing to do, we feel that we’re pretty sensible, but as soon as we do something, we feel we lack sense. What does it mean to lack sense? It means that your words and actions are at odds with the truth, that you do not stand from the perspective of a created being, that you always stand upon high, always put feathers in your own cap, and always do hypocritical things: You’re not like that, but you’re always trying to make yourself look good, to make other people look up to you. For example, how should we treat, and try to know, our child’s performance of their duty? How should we understand this truth in order to be rational?” Isn’t this where all your talk of this topic has gotten you to? So do you know what shall come next?

When you fellowship the truth and speak the words in your heart, and describe something clearly and understandably, so that it can edify and benefit others, make them understand God’s will, and help them escape misunderstandings and fallacies, is there any need to stand on high? Is there any need to use a lecturing tone? You don’t need to scold them, you don’t need to speak loudly, or shout at them, much less use words, or a tone, or an intonation that are blunt. You just need to learn to use a normal tone, commune from the position and status of an ordinary person, speak calmly, speak the words in your heart, endeavor to pour out what you understand, what other people need to understand, and speak clearly and understandably. When what you say is understandable, other people will understand, your burden will be released, they will cease to have misunderstandings, and you will see what you say more clearly; isn’t this edifying both of you? Is there any need to harangue them? In many cases, there is no need to force this upon them. So what should you do if they don’t accept? Some of what you say is the truth, and things really are as you say, but could people accept them as soon as you say them? What do they need in order to accept these words and to change? They need a process; you must give them a process by which to change. If you say, “I told you yesterday, why are you saying this again today? You don’t listen to or take in anything I say! You really are old, you’re useless.” How about these words? What do you think about this kind of child? What do you think about doing this when you say that your parents have no sense? Could your parents approve? You require them to change by saying these words once—but how many times did you have to be told before you changed? You, too, didn’t change after being told once, nor were you able to understand and accept after being told once, so you must allow your parents a process of change. Tell them this: “It’s actually very simple. You don’t always think of yourselves as my parents, and I won’t think of myself as your child. The relationship between us will be that of ordinary brothers and sisters. If something’s up with you, tell me. Don’t suppress it or hide it. I won’t laugh at you. If you see something wrong with me, you can point it out to me. Tell me what you understand, so that I can put it into practice and not walk the wrong path.” What’s it called when two people confer in this way? It’s called speaking heart-to-heart. And what is the purpose of speaking heart-to-heart? Is it to maintain a proper relationship between parents and children? Let Me tell you, narrowly speaking, the purpose of speaking heart-to-heart is for there to be normal human communication, having an exchange of minds. That’s narrowly speaking. Broadly speaking, it is for people to understand each other’s state, learn from each other, support each other, and help one another—that’s the effect. And thus, isn’t the relationship by which people interact with each other normal?

No matter how capable people are, how astute they are, or how talented they are, there’ll always be something that’s beyond them, something they’re incapable of understanding. It’s like on people’s backs, isn’t there a spot that they can’t reach? In the place it’s itching you say, “Mom, give me a scratch here.” These words are the most real, they are the words in your heart. In the areas that are beyond you, you always need the support and help of others. So your parents are the ones that nurture you, but they’re also your helpers. What’s best is when you can make them your friends, intimates, and confidants. They help you, you help them, you support each other, and make up for one another’s shortcomings, and in this way the relationship between you becomes normal. When your relationship is at this level, could you still have nothing to say to each other? In this, what issue are people incapable of breaking through, so that they live in such circumstances and their lives are so tiring? In fact, the two are inseparable. When parents meet their children they keep nagging and feel annoyed, saying to themselves, “He annoyed me yet again—when I’m not with him, there’s nothing I have to nag about and I feel pretty relaxed. Every time I meet him, I always have to nag, I can’t just let him do as he pleases.” When the children meet their parents, they’re also annoyed, and think, “They always go on and on. They’ve talked about nothing else for decades, they nag and nag.” But when they’re apart, the two keep thinking about each other, and miss each other. The parents worry about their children: “Is he eating well? Is he going hungry? How’s his health? It’s cold—is he wearing warm clothing? Is anyone taking care of his problems? It makes me worry!” And when the parents leave their children, the children also miss them, and think: “My Mom’s old, and my Dad’s not in good health. How are they now?” But when the two are together, they can’t get on, yes? And what causes this? Some people say, “It’s caused by people having a corrupt disposition, and being without the truth.” Is this right? This is empty talk. The root cause is certainly not those two major doctrines. What is the most practical root cause? (Being incapable of interacting on an equal footing, trying to constrain each other.) Trying to constrain each other—it is true, and that’s the practical way of putting it. This is the most prominent aspect of a corrupt disposition. Parents always feel their children are small and that they have to keep tabs on them. The children feel their parents are old and don’t understand anything, they feel that they know too little of the outside world, and that they have to keep tabs on them and watch over them. In fact, when all is said and done, neither have normal humanity. Neither treat each other rationally from the perspective of normal people; they see the other as stupid, naive, as needing a lot of care or nagging. But after leaving their parents and spending two or three years away from home, the children are actually better at looking after themselves and dealing with different things by themselves, far more so than their parents could imagine. Yet the parents can never trust them, right?

Can your inability to open up be solved? Will you be able to open up from now on? (A little.) Sometimes, when parents see their child always speaking heart-to-heart with other people but not talking to them, what do they feel? They raised you, but you don’t have anything to say to them, you always keep your distance from them, which makes them distressed and envious, and they say: “Why doesn’t this child have anything to say to me? We used to be so close when he was small, I was the only one he’d stick to, he’d go everywhere with me—but now when we’re together, he purses his lips and keeps his mouth shut. Why does he have so much to say to other people?” They’re envious, because there’s actually a kind of spiritual need, so you must try to understand what they’re feeling. If you repeat to them what you said to other people, will they still be envious? They won’t. Their envy is because you don’t treat them in the right way. Sometimes when they nag you, regardless of whether their perspective is right, whether the way they nag is right, or what they do is right, they have a certain need: They need you to pay attention to them, to care about them, to be close to them. From their perspective, this is what they’re asking from you. If you’re capable of being mindful and considerate of these emotions of theirs, they’ll have nothing to nag you about, and their nagging may well lessen. When they see how warm and friendly you are with other people, how much you’ve got to say to them, but that you have nothing to say when you’re with them, this makes them sad. In short, the most proper relationship between children and parents is for them to understand each other, support each other, help each other, and make up for each other’s shortcomings. If you can practice this and achieve this, the conflicts between you and your parents will surely be resolved, and there will be no longer any problems. You have to learn to open up. Some people say: “I’m not with my parents now, how can I open up?” You can open up to your brothers and sisters. Do you only have to open up to your parents? In normal human relations, can’t you open up to your brothers and sisters? The principle is the same. Doing so, you will gradually become more mature, the various aspects of the expression of your normal humanity, and the various aspects of what you ought to possess, will become increasingly normal, you will reap more and more—and so will there not be more and more to what you live out in your normal humanity? And thus, will others still treat you as a child? (No.) That’s it.

Did you learn something when we fellowshiped this today? (We’ve learned something.) What did you learn? (We have to learn to open up to others, and learn from what other people say and do. This will make our thoughts gradually more mature, and we will also gain more.) Are you interested in reaping positive things, and in matters that adults understand? (I’m not overly interested.) Why aren’t you interested? (I often feel these have nothing to do with me.) So what are you interested in? What do you care about? (I feel indifferent, just like God said: “He has no real hate nor any real love in his heart.”) You have to learn! Does that only involve learning skills and techniques? No. Some people aren’t very old, but others respect them when they talk. This is an ability, it is what ought to be possessed by one’s humanity. If one’s brain is always empty, if they’re always at a loose end, if they don’t care about anything, aren’t interested in anything, and have no hobbies, this is a defect in their humanity. When you have this defect, you must overcome it and learn how to interact with people. People’s rationality, wisdom, and insight grow with age. If they increased in direct proportion to age, then there’d be no problems with your intellect and humanity; if your age increased but your wisdom and insight didn’t, then there’d be a problem with your intellect. And it is due to poor caliber! People of poor caliber can’t learn anything. Do you want to be that kind of person? (No.)

Footnotes:

a. The original text reads “their motives and source are inherently wrong.”

b. The original text reads “The house of God is an incubator.”

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Next:Chapter 90. Contemplate the Truth in All Things and You Will Make Progress

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