51. The Principles of Handling One’s Failures and Falls
(1) It is necessary to dissect and understand the origins of one’s failures and falls. One should see that people who have an arrogant nature, absurdities, and prejudices can do naught but fail and fall;
(2) It is necessary to know that in failures and falls lies God’s good will. These are the best opportunities to know oneself, and they often lead one to make a turnaround;
(3) In pursuing the truth, one must have resolve. Failing and falling are not to be feared. If one is constantly unable to accept or submit to the truth, they cannot be saved;
(4) One should extrapolate lessons from their failures, and seek the truth to rectify any transgressions. As long as one genuinely repents, they are bound to be saved by God.
Relevant Words of God:
God causes you to experience all manner of tempests, hardships, difficulties, and numerous failures and setbacks, so that, ultimately, in the course of experiencing these things, you come to discover that everything God says is correct, and that your beliefs, notions, imaginings, knowledge, philosophic theories, philosophies, what you have learned in the world and been taught by your parents are all wrong. They cannot lead you onto the right path in life, they cannot lead you to understand the truth and come before God, and the path you walk is the path of failure. This is what God will make you ultimately realize. For you, this is a necessary process, and what you should gain during the process of experiencing salvation. Yet it also saddens God: Because people are rebellious, and are possessed of corrupt dispositions, they must undergo this process and experience these setbacks. But if someone truly loves the truth, if they are truly willing to be saved by God, if they are willing to accept the various methods of God’s salvation—for example trials, discipline, judgment and chastisement—if they are determined to suffer thus, if they are willing to pay this price, God does not in fact wish for them to suffer so much hardship, nor does He wish them to undergo so many setbacks and failures. But people are too rebellious. They want to take the crooked path, they are willing to suffer these hardships. That is just the kind of thing man is, and God has no choice but to hand people over to Satan, and put them in various situations to constantly temper them, so that they gain all kinds of experiences and learn various lessons from these situations, and recognize the essence of all kinds of evil things. Afterward, they look back and discover that God’s words are the truth, they acknowledge that God’s words are the truth, that only God is the reality of all positive things, and that only God is the One who truly loves man, and no one is better to man than God, or more caring. To what extent are people tempered, ultimately? To the extent that you say, “I have experienced every kind of situation, and there is not a single situation, a single person, matter or object that can make me understand the truth, that can make me enjoy the truth, that can make me enter truth reality. I can only obediently practice according to God’s words, obediently stay in man’s place, abide by the status and duty of a created being, obediently accept the sovereignty and arrangements of God, and come before the Creator without any complaint or any choice, and without my own demands or desires.” When they have reached this level, people truly bow before God, and God need not create any more situations for them to experience. So which path do you wish to take? No one, in their subjective desires, wishes to suffer hardship, and no one wants to experience setbacks, failure, adversity, frustrations, and tempests. But there is no other way. The things inside man—his nature essence, his rebelliousness, his thoughts and perspectives—are too complicated; each day, they become mixed up and entwined inside you, and they roil within you. You enter little of the truth reality, you understand little of the truth, and you lack the power to overcome the essence of your corrupt disposition, your notions, and imaginings. You therefore have no choice but to accept the other approach: to constantly experience failure and frustration, and to constantly fall down, tossed around by hardship, roiling in the muck, until a day comes when you say, “I’m tired, I’m fed up, I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to undergo these failures, I want to come before the Creator with obedience. I shall listen to God’s words, I shall do what He says. Only this is the right path in life.” Only on the day you fully admit defeat will you come before God. Do you come to know something of God’s disposition from this? What is God’s attitude toward man? No matter what God does, He wishes the best for man. No matter what environment He sets out or what He asks you to do, He always wishes to see the best outcome. Say you go through something and encounter setbacks and failure. God does not wish to see you fail and then think yourself finished, that you have been snatched by Satan, from which point you never find your feet again, and are plunged into dejection—God does not wish to see this outcome. What does God wish to see? You may have failed in this matter but you are able to seek the truth, to find the reason for your failure; you accept the fact of this failure and take something from it, you learn a lesson, you realize it was wrong to act that way, that only acting according to God’s words is right. You realize, “I am bad and I have corrupt satanic dispositions. There is rebelliousness in me, I am some way from the righteous people of whom God speaks, and I do not have a heart that fears God.” You realize a phenomenon, a true fact of the matter, and you understand things and grow up through this setback and failure. This is what God wishes to see. What does it mean to “grow up”? It means God is able to gain you, and you are able to attain salvation. It means you are able to enter truth reality, that you have come a step closer to setting foot on the path of fearing God and shunning evil. This is what God wishes to see. God acts with good intention, and His acts all contain His hidden love, which people often cannot appreciate. Man is narrow-minded and petty, and his heart is as narrow as the eye of a needle; when God does not acknowledge him or has no grace or blessings for him, he blames God. Yet God does not bicker with man; He lays out environments that let man know how grace and benefit are obtained, what grace means to man, and what man can draw from it. Say you liked to eat some good thing that God says is bad for your health when eaten in excess. You do not listen, but insist on eating it, and God allows you to make that choice freely. As a result, you get sick. After experiencing this several times, you come to understand that it is God’s words that are right, that all He says is true, and that you must practice according to His words. This is the correct path. And so what do these setbacks, failures and sorrows that people go through become? You appreciate God’s painstaking intention, and you also believe and are sure that God’s words are right; your faith in God grows. There is something else, too: Through experiencing this period of failure, you come to realize the veracity and accuracy of God’s words, you see that God’s words are the truth, and you understand the principle of practicing the truth. And so, it is good for people to experience failure—though it is also something painful, something that tempers them. But if being tempered thus ultimately makes you return before God, accept His words, and take them as the truth, then such tempering, setbacks and failures have not been experienced in vain. This is what God wishes to see.
Excerpted from “How to Discern the Nature Essence of Paul” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When you suffer a little constraint or hardship, it is good for you; if you were given an easy time of it you would be ruined, and then how could you be protected? Today, it is because you are chastised, judged, and cursed that you are given protection. It is because you have suffered much that you are protected. If not, you would have long since fallen into depravity. This is not making things difficult for you intentionally—man’s nature is hard to change, and it must be thus for their dispositions to be changed. Today, you do not even possess the conscience or sense that Paul possessed, nor do you even have his self-awareness. You always have to be pressured, and you always have to be chastised and judged in order to awaken your spirits. Chastisement and judgment are what is best for your life. And when necessary, there must also be the chastisement of the facts coming upon you; only then will you fully submit. Your natures are such that without chastisement and cursing, you would be unwilling to bow your heads, unwilling to submit. Without the facts before your eyes, there would be no effect. You are too lowly and worthless in character! Without chastisement and judgment, it would be difficult for you to be conquered, and hard for your unrighteousness and disobedience to be overcome. Your old nature is so deeply rooted. If you were placed upon the throne, you would have no idea of heaven’s height and earth’s depth, much less of where you were headed. You do not even know where you came from, so how could you know the Lord of creation? Without the timely chastisement and curses of today, your final day would have long since arrived. That is to say nothing of your fate—would not that be even more in imminent danger? Without this timely chastisement and judgment, who knows how arrogant you would grow, or how depraved you would become. This chastisement and judgment have brought you to today, and they have preserved your existence. If you were still “educated” using the same methods as those of your “father,” who knows what realm you would enter into! You have absolutely no ability to control and reflect upon yourselves. For people like you, if you just follow and obey without causing any interference or disruptions, My aims will be achieved. Should you not do better in accepting the chastisement and judgment of today? What other choices do you have?
Excerpted from “Practice (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Having failed and fallen down multiple times is not a bad thing; nor is being exposed. Whether you have been dealt with, pruned, or been exposed, you must remember this at all times: Being exposed does not mean that you are being condemned. Being exposed is a good thing; it is the best opportunity for you to get to know yourself. It can bring your life experience a change of gears. Without it, you will possess neither the opportunity, the condition, nor the context to be able to reach an understanding of the truth of your corruption. If you can come to know the things inside you, all those aspects hidden deep within you that are hard to recognize and difficult to unearth, then this is a good thing. Becoming able to truly know yourself is the best opportunity for you to mend your ways and become a new person; it is the best opportunity for you to obtain new life. Once you truly know yourself, you will be able to see that when the truth becomes one’s life, it is a precious thing indeed, and you will thirst for the truth and enter into the reality. This is such a great thing! If you can grab this opportunity and earnestly reflect upon yourself and gain a genuine knowledge of yourself whenever you fail or fall down, then in the midst of negativity and weakness, you will be able to stand back up. Once you have crossed this threshold, you will then be able to take a big step forward and enter truth reality.
Excerpted from “To Gain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Your many experiences of failure, of weakness, your times of negativity, can all be said to be God’s trials. This is because everything comes from God, and all things and events are in His hands. Whether you fail or whether you are weak and you stumble, it all rests on God and is within His grasp. From God’s perspective, this is a trial of you, and if you cannot recognize that, it will become temptation. There are two kinds of states that people should recognize: One comes from the Holy Spirit, and the likely source of the other is Satan. One is a state in which the Holy Spirit illuminates you and allows you to know yourself, to detest and feel regret about yourself and to be able to have genuine love for God, to set your heart on satisfying Him. The other is a state in which you know yourself, but you are negative and weak. It could be said that this state is God’s refinement, and also that it is Satan’s temptation. If you recognize that this is God’s salvation of you and if you feel that you are now deeply in His debt, and if from now on you try to repay Him and no longer fall into such depravity, if you put your effort into eating and drinking His words, and if you always consider yourself to be lacking, and have a heart of longing, then this is God’s trial. After the suffering has ended and you are once again moving forward, God will still lead, illuminate, enlighten, and nourish you. But if you do not recognize it and you are negative, simply abandoning yourself to despair, if you think in this way, then Satan’s temptation will have come upon you.
Excerpted from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
It has been said “He that follows to the end shall be saved,” but is this easy to put into practice? It is not, and some people are unable to follow to the end. Perhaps a time comes when they encounter trial, temptation, or pain, and they may fall, and be unable to move forward any longer. All the things that arise each day, big or small, that can shake your resolution, occupy your heart, or restrict your ability to do your duty and your forward progress require diligent treatment; they should be examined carefully and their truth sought. These are all things that happen within the realm of experience. Some people quit their duties when negativity befalls them, and are unable to crawl back to their feet after each setback. All these people are fools who do not love the truth, and they would not gain it with even a lifetime of faith. How could such fools follow to the end? If the same thing happens to you ten times, but you gain nothing from it, then you are a mediocre, useless person. Astute people and those of true caliber who understand spiritual matters are seekers of the truth; should something happen to them ten times, then, in perhaps eight of those cases, they would be able to gain some inspiration, learn some lesson, attain some enlightenment, and make some progress. When things befall a fool ten times—one who does not understand spiritual matters—not once will it benefit their life, not once will it change them, and not once will it cause them to understand their nature, and that is the end for them. Each time something happens to them, they fall down, and each time they fall down, they need someone else to support them and coax them; without support and coaxing, they cannot rise. If, each time something happens, they are in danger of falling, and if, each time, they are in danger of being degraded, is this not the end for them? Are there any other grounds for such useless people to be saved? God’s salvation of mankind is a salvation of those who love the truth, a salvation of the part of them with will and resolve, and the part of them that is their yearning for truth and righteousness in their heart. A person’s resolve is the part of them in their heart that yearns for righteousness, goodness, and truth, and is possessed of conscience. God saves this part of people, and through it, He changes their corrupt disposition, so that they may understand and gain the truth, so that their corruption may be cleansed, and their life disposition may be transformed. If you do not have these things within you, you cannot be saved. If, within you, there is no love for the truth or aspiration for righteousness and light; if, whenever you encounter evil, you have neither the will to cast off evil things nor the resolve to suffer hardship; if, moreover, your conscience is numb; if your faculty for receiving truth is also benumbed, and you are unattuned to the truth and to events that arise; and if you are undiscerning in all matters, and unable to handle or resolve things on your own, then there is no way to be saved. Such a person has nothing to recommend them, nothing worth working on. Their conscience is numb, their mind is muddied, and they do not love the truth, nor yearn for righteousness deep in their heart, and, no matter how clearly or transparently God speaks of the truth, they do not respond, as if they were already dead. Are things not over for them? A person with a breath left in them may be saved by artificial respiration, but, if they have already died and their soul has left, artificial respiration will do nothing. If, whenever you encounter a problem, you shrink from it and try to avoid it, this means you have not borne witness; as such, you can never be saved, and you are completely done for. When an issue befalls you, you must have a cool head and a correct approach, and you must make a choice. You should learn to use the truth to resolve the issue. At normal times, what is the use of understanding some truths? It is not to fill your belly, and it is not merely to give you something to say, nor is it to resolve the problems of others. More importantly, its use is to resolve your own problems, your own difficulties—only after you resolve your own difficulties can you resolve the difficulties of others. Why is it said that Peter is a fruit? Because there are things of worth in him, things worth perfecting; he was resolved to seek the truth and was firm of will; he had reason, was willing to suffer hardship, and loved the truth in his heart, and he did not let go of what came to pass. These are all strong points. If you have none of these strong points, it means trouble. You are incapable of experience and have none, and you cannot resolve the difficulties of others. This is because you do not know how to enter. You are confused when things befall you; you feel distressed, weep, become negative, run away, and, no matter what you do, you are unable to handle them correctly.
Excerpted from “Confused People Cannot Be Saved” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Man must know his corrupt disposition. He must have knowledge of his nature, of what he has done and the path he has taken, or of his transgressions and mistakes—he must dissect them. Moreover, man must see clearly why he is capable of such things, and what the nature of doing such things is. He must also understand what precisely God intends for man. Man may feel guilty, indebted or indicted for mistakes he has made, but is it right if he is always stuck in a negative state? Is this kind of approach or having such thoughts correct? Does it accord with the truth? Does it accord with God’s will? Has your state truly emerged from this? Has it truly been remedied? Or does that past matter still affect your current practice or the path you are walking—does it cast its pall? If you often feel its effect, this shows that the matter has not been entirely resolved in your heart, and that you have not come to know its essence or have not derived from it the lesson you should. This is not only an issue of not knowing God—it is something to which man’s nature or essence gives rise. What problem is it now pressing to consider? It is how to walk the path ahead—that chapter is over. God treats man’s expressions of corruption according to whether man is ultimately able to accept the truth and resolve his corruption. Moreover, people are the descendants of Satan, and their nature essence is the same whether or not they have offended God’s disposition. It may have happened to be that you did something, yet another person just did not have the chance to do it. And since you who did the thing, you must be clear in your heart about the attitude you should adopt before God, the answers you ought to submit before Him, and what He wants. When you understand these things completely and regard them with complete clarity, pursue as you ought to, and do not be influenced and constrained by that thing, but take the path ahead as you ought to do—leave it behind you once and for all, then perform your duty as you ought. In one regard, performing your duty now is a way to atone for past transgressions. This is the negative regard, and though it is not very desirable, it is the minimum acceptable mindset you should have. In another regard, you must be proactive, and say: “Whatever I did in the past, I now understand God’s will and the truth. I should do my utmost to offer up all I’m capable of—to offer it to God. I should fulfill my responsibilities well and do my duty well. That’s what a created being should do.” You must enter via the positive regard. No matter whether you have notions about God or you offend His disposition by exposing your corruption, you must reflect on yourself and seek the truth. Learn your lesson, and do not let that negative thing from the past influence you. Leave it behind you, once and for all.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some people follow their own wills when they act. They violate the principles and admit only that they are arrogant, that they made a mistake only because they do not have the truth. In their hearts, they even complain, “No one else sticks their neck out, just me—and in the end, I get stuck with the responsibility. That’s dumb of me. I won’t do the same thing next time, sticking my neck out. Birds that stick their necks out get shot!” What do you think of this attitude? Is it an attitude of repentance? (No.) What attitude is it? Through the mistake they make, they become slippery and deceitful—a fall in the pit, a gain in your wit, so to speak. “I’m lucky that didn’t lead to a disaster. If I caused a disaster, I’d go to hell and be destroyed. I have to be more careful in the future.” They do not seek the truth, using their pettiness and cunning schemes to handle and treat the matter. Can they gain the truth in this way? They cannot—they do not know to repent. The first thing to be done when repenting is to know the thing you have done and to understand where you have erred, the essence of the problem, and the disposition you have revealed; reflect on these things and accept them, then practice according to the truth. This is the attitude of repentance. If, on the other hand, your way of considering the issue is more slippery than before, and your techniques are more clever and concealed, and you have more methods to deal with it, then the problem is not quite as simple as being deceitful. You are using underhanded means and you have secrets you will not divulge, and what you are doing is evil. God sees you as overly hard and evil, one who superficially admits that they have erred and accepts being dealt with and pruned, yet who is without even the least bit of a repentant attitude. This is because, in the aftermath of the event or while it is happening, you do not practice according to the truth at all, nor do you seek it. Your attitude is one of using Satan’s methods, techniques and philosophies to resolve or sidestep the problem, to wrap it up in a neat package so that others can see no trace of the problem, nor see the package’s seams—and, in the end, you feel you are quite smart. These are the things God sees, rather than your having truly reflected, repented, and confessed your sin in the face of the matter that has befallen you, then going on to seek the truth and practicing according to the truth. Your attitude is not one of seeking the truth or of practicing the truth, nor is it one of submission to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, but one of using Satan’s techniques and methods to resolve your problem. You give others a false impression and resist being exposed by God, and you are confrontational and defensive regarding the circumstances that God has orchestrated for you. This means your heart is more closed than before. If you are more closed to God, can you still live in the light, with peace and joy? No longer—you have shunned the truth and shunned God. Is such a state prevalent in people? “I was dealt with this time. Next time, I’ve got to be more careful, and smarter. Being smart is the foundation of life—and people who aren’t smart are dummies.” If you are always guiding and goading yourself so, will you ever get anywhere? Will you be able to gain the truth? If an issue befalls you and you can seek the truth, then you can understand an aspect of the truth and gain that aspect of the truth. What can be achieved by understanding the truth? When you understand an aspect of the truth, you understand an aspect of God’s will, and you understand why God visited this thing on you, why He would make such a demand of you, why He would orchestrate circumstances to chasten and discipline you so, why He would use this matter to discipline you, and why you have fallen down, failed, and been exposed in this matter. If you can understand these things, you will be able to pursue the truth and will achieve life entry. If you cannot understand these things and do not accept these facts, but insist on opposition and resistance, on using your own techniques to cover up after yourself, on facing all others and facing God with a false countenance, then you will be forever unable to gain the truth.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
We should resolve that no matter how serious our circumstances, no matter what kind of hardship befalls us, no matter how weak we are, or how negative, we must not lose faith in dispositional change, nor in the words spoken by God. God gave man a promise, and man must have the resolve and perseverance to receive this promise. God does not like cowards, God likes people with resolve. You may have revealed much corruption, you may have taken many a crooked path, or committed many a transgression, or previously defied God; alternatively, there may be blasphemy, or grumblings, or defiance toward God in some people’s hearts—but God does not look at these things, God only looks at whether someday they will change. In the Bible, there is a story about the return of the prodigal son. Why did the Lord Jesus tell such a parable? God’s will to save mankind is sincere. He gives people opportunities to repent and opportunities to change. During this process, He understands people and has a profound knowledge of their weaknesses and the extent of their corruption. He knows that they will stumble and fail. It is like when children learn to walk: No matter how strong your body, there will be times when you stumble, and times when you are tripped up. God understands each person as a mother understands her child. He understands each person’s difficulties, He understands each person’s weaknesses, and He understands, too, each person’s needs; He understands, moreover, what problems people will encounter in the process of entering dispositional change, what kinds of weaknesses they will suffer from, what kinds of failures will occur—there is nothing God understands better. Thus does God scrutinize the innermost heart of man. No matter how weak you are, as long as you do not forsake God’s name, as long as you do not leave God, and do not stray from this way, then you will always have the opportunity to achieve dispositional change. Our having the opportunity to achieve a change in our disposition means that we have hope of remaining, and our having hope of remaining means we have hope of God’s salvation.
Excerpted from “What Changes in Disposition Are, and the Path to Changes in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks