127. The Principles of Helping Others Lovingly
(1) It is necessary to discern between the various sorts of people on the basis of God’s words. Interact lovingly with good people who have true faith in God; treat each other with sincerity and help one another;
(2) One who helps others lovingly should not do so for the sake of some ulterior motive or to get something in return; rather, they should do it solely in order to practice the truth, perform their duties well, and bring others before God;
(3) When people help one another, they should each understand the other’s difficulties and seek the truth to resolve each other’s problems in ways they feel are appropriate and acceptable;
(4) One should treat others fairly based in God’s words. One must not use their notions and imaginings to stereotype others, or condemn others on the basis of their transgressions.
Relevant Words of God:
As for whether someone is good or bad, and how he or she should be treated, people should have their own principles of behavior; however, as for what the outcome of that person will be—whether he or she ends up getting punished by God, or whether he or she ends up getting judged and chastised—that is God’s business. People should not interfere; God would not allow you to take the initiative on His behalf. How to treat that person is God’s business. As long as God has not decided what sort of outcome such people will have, has not expelled them, and has not punished them, and they are being saved, then you should help them patiently, out of love; you should not hope to determine the outcome of such people, nor should you use human means to crack down on them or punish them. You may deal with and prune such people, or you may open your heart and engage in heartfelt fellowship to help them. However, if you contemplate punishing, ostracizing, and framing these people, then you will be in trouble. Would doing so be in line with the truth? Having such thoughts would result from being hot-blooded; those thoughts come from Satan and originate from human resentment, as well as from human jealousy and loathing. Such conduct does not conform to the truth. This is something that would bring down retribution upon you, and is not in line with God’s will.
Excerpted from “The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Christ’s Talks
You need to have an understanding of the many states that people will be in when the Holy Spirit performs work on them. In particular, those who coordinate in service to God must have an even stronger grasp of the many states brought about by the work that the Holy Spirit performs on people. If you only talk about a lot of experiences or ways of attaining entry, it shows that your experience is overly one-sided. Without knowing your true state and grasping the truth principle, it is not possible to achieve a change in disposition. Without knowing the principles of the Holy Spirit’s work or understanding the fruit it bears, it will be difficult for you to discern the work of evil spirits. You must expose the work of evil spirits, as well as the notions of man, and penetrate straight to the heart of the issue; you must also point out many deviations in people’s practice and problems they might have in their faith in God, so that they may recognize them. At the very least, you must not make them feel negative or passive. However, you must understand the difficulties that objectively exist for most people, you must not be unreasonable or “try to teach a pig to sing”; that is foolish behavior. To resolve the many difficulties people experience, you must first comprehend the dynamics of the work of the Holy Spirit; you must understand how the Holy Spirit performs work on different people, you must have an understanding of the difficulties people face and of their shortcomings, and you must see through to the key issues of the problem and get to its source, without deviating or making any errors. Only this kind of person is qualified to coordinate in service to God.
Excerpted from “What an Adequate Shepherd Should Be Equipped With” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you have a good relationship with a brother or a sister, and they ask you to point out what is wrong with them, how should you do it? This relates to what approach you take to the matter. Is your approach that of practicing the truth, or do you use philosophies for living? If you say, “You’re good in every area and you’re better than me. You’re able to bear hardships, and your caliber is good. There’s no need for you to be negative. You’re so good; what’s there to be humble about?”—if you clearly see there are things wrong with them, yet do not clearly say what they are so as not to harm the peace between the two of you—then you are using a philosophy for living. One who takes a different approach to such a matter says, “My stature is small now and I don’t understand your problems thoroughly. When I do, I’ll tell you.” Is this not trying to fool others? Could they really not understand anything thoroughly at all? Could they have no thoughts on the issue at all? They have thoughts; they simply do not say them for fear of causing offense. They say nothing to you and leave you unable to grasp the matter, making you think you are great. Perhaps you will fail and fall one day, and they will be laughing behind your back. When that happens, they will look better by comparison; this is how they play tricks on you. Is such a person not bad? Of these two approaches, which is preferable? They are both disgusting; neither is preferable. Some people say they must tell the truth. They say, “You’re a bad person, and evil. I can tell at a glance you won’t be saved.” Though they speak honestly, and such a person does think so in their heart, there is a hint of an ulterior motive in their saying so: “If I say this, then you sure won’t be arrogant or haughty.” This approach is wrong, as well—it does not take the other’s feelings into account, nor does it consider the consequences. What do you think of the disposition of this sort of person? Are they practicing the truth? No—to act in this way might make the other negative or cause them to stumble. This would severely block the path they walk. One must consider all these things. This approach is also no good; it carries within it a disposition. It is not speaking or acting from within the rationality of normal humanity, nor is it behaving according to the truth principle.
According to the truth principle, then, how should you approach this matter? What action accords with the truth? How many relevant principles are there? You must have a firm grasp on the principles. Firstly, do not cause others to stumble. You must first consider the other’s weaknesses and what way of speaking with them will not cause them to stumble. This is the very least that ought to be considered. Next, you should consider the positive side of things—what you could do to help the other person. The goal of helping them is to allow them to understand God’s will, to bring them before God, and to have them leave such difficult circumstances behind and gain the truth, as you have done. This is the best sort of person with the kindest of hearts; this is the practice of the truth. First: Do not cause them to stumble. Second: Be able to help them. Third: Allow them to gain the truth. You must grasp these three principles. But how are they enacted, specifically? Do you truly understand the other’s difficulty? Is this not another problem? You must also think: “What is the origin of their problem? Can I help them? If I cannot and I speak arbitrarily and carelessly, I may point them onto the wrong path. Beyond that, how well can this person understand the truth, and what is their caliber? Are they opinionated? Do they understand spiritual matters? Can they accept the truth? Do they pursue the truth? If they see that I am better than them, and I still fellowship with them, will jealousy or negativity arise in them?” These questions must all be considered; this is a thing of humanity. So, when you encounter this issue, you must first consider these things, then go fellowship with them with a positive, proactive mind, and, as you do, pray and seek how to help them, how you can adhere to these principles, and how you can enable them to leave their difficulty behind and be benefited. Is this a simple thing to do? It requires sincerity. If one feels it suffices merely to employ the bare minimum of thought and say, “Read God’s words and love God. You have to repay His love. What’s so hard about that? What are you negative about?” then what they are doing is just going through the motions, and their treatment of others is insincere. Such people are disingenuous, unkind at heart, without sympathy for others, and without love for others. If you truly have a conscience, you must think carefully, pondering thus: “Seeing as they asked me, they must be in quite a tough spot. They normally pursue so ardently and are so positive while performing their duty. If this difficulty really causes them to stumble, or makes them negative and affects their duty, that won’t be beneficial for them or for the house of God. How must I help them so that their problem is resolved?” You ponder this and you then find the way forward in your heart and you know what to do, and then you fellowship with them. Sometimes, your first fellowship will not be entirely clear, as you yourself are also pondering, seeking and praying and cannot yet understand the matter thoroughly. You must take the time to think of the right words to say, and think about how you can say these things such that the other person will be edified and not likely to become negative, and so that they will be able to find the path forward. All these things require careful thought, and they require that you make the effort to ponder them carefully. Thus you ponder carefully, you pray and pray, and the words you say at first will perhaps not have much structure, but, as you speak, what you mean will grow more and more distinct and clear—and when you understand the matter thoroughly, so will the other. As you resolve the problem, you act according to the truth principle, and you, too, will be able to gain an aspect of the truth and be edified, all while being of help to another. This is the special treatment God gives man when he practices the truth, and the special favor in which man is held.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
For someone who truly has humanity—that is, a person who possesses truth reality—what are their principles for doing things? First, they are able to treat the majority of God’s chosen ones with love, whether they know them or not. Only after you are completely certain that someone is a wicked person, one who dislikes the truth and can never change, can you then treat such a person using wisdom instead of love. If you are not absolutely sure that they are a wicked person who dislikes the truth and is completely hopeless, you must treat them with love. What is love? Love is the practice of helping, watering, providing for, and supporting people based on the truth and in accordance with God’s words. In addition, it is resolving people’s difficulties and problems according to the truth, and this includes pruning them and dealing with them, and sternly exposing and dissecting any who have committed transgressions or exhibited reckless behavior or who disrupt God’s work. As long as it is for the sake of helping people and guiding them to enter truth reality, whether you speak to them gently or prune and deal with them harshly, all of this falls within the scope of love. If you fellowship based on God’s word the truth, causing people to accept it wholeheartedly and see that you have no malice and are being fair and impartial, then they will be convinced of what you say. However, you must have principles when handling people. You cannot replace, eliminate, or expel anyone casually without first pruning and dealing with them, after discovering their transgressions; doing so would be unacceptable. You may be severe when pruning and dealing with people, but some leeway must be given to people when you handle them. You cannot be so heavy-handed as to just beat people to death with a stick; you must give them a chance to repent, handle them fairly, and allow them to see that God saves people to the greatest extent possible. However, if some people use the expression, “God saves people to the greatest extent possible,” as an excuse to keep those irredeemable demons and Satan in God’s house, then this is Satan’s trickery. They want to use these words to achieve the purpose of keeping Satan in God’s house to cause disturbances to the work of God’s house. Therefore, the principle of helping others out of love should be applied to those who can be saved, but not to those irredeemable people who can instead be handled according to the administrative decrees and principles of the church as well as with wisdom. This is the way to handle matters with principle.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life
You have to grasp the principles when loving one another, too. When it is necessary to help and fellowship with others, you should help them properly and effectively in accordance with their stature and states; help them in whatever ways will make them able to accept it. If someone has done something wrong, and will not accept your fellowship no matter how you deliver it, then you should stop trying to fellowship with that person for the time being. Instead, start by praying for them, and then wait for a suitable opportunity to come along to fellowship. If the words they speak are inappropriate, you can correct them, but you also have to base that on their situation; if they can accept your constructive criticism, then you may directly point things out to them to make them aware of their problems. If they have a hard time accepting your criticism, though, then you should not directly tell them that they are wrong; instead, begin by using a bit of wisdom. In short, the most crucial thing in helping people is to base how you help them on whether or not they can accept it. If they can, and a good effect can be achieved, then you can go ahead; if they cannot accept your help, and no good effect can be achieved, then you should not act rashly and hold off before you destroy the connection between you. Humans are very prone to acting out of their flesh and blood; if this connection is broken, then it is not easy to do the work. Start by protecting the connection, and then pray to God in search of a suitable path. Through fellowshiping on the truth, get the other person to accept your help little by little and make gradual improvements.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life
Those who are leaders and workers must solve their brothers’ and sisters’ problems according to their brothers’ and sisters’ stature, paying attention to the methods they use. Only then can they achieve the aim of helping their brothers and sisters; only then can their work be effective. When a brother or sister says something inappropriate that does not, in fact, constitute a serious issue, nor is it resisting or judging God, there are some leaders and workers who label them, saying: “You are rebelling against God and resisting Him. You are doing such-and-such.” Does this help their brothers and sisters? Is this not a way of persecuting, punishing, and labeling them? This is not the way to serve one’s brothers and sisters. If, among your brothers and sisters, you discover in someone something that is not in accordance with the truth, do not judge, and do not point blindly to their faults before a suitable opportunity has arisen. Do not harp on the matter. Interact with them normally until the moment is ripe to resolve the issue through fellowship. For instance, say you discover someone has said or done something wrong. You could begin by mulling it over, pondering over the relevant truths, and see in what way what they said or did was wrong. Think about which aspect of truth it violated, which aspect of Satan’s venom controlled it. Then, draw a comparison and examine yourself, and see if such a problem exists in you. If you find similar corruption in yourself, resolve your own problem first. You will therefore have experience and testimony. After you have had this experience and truly know yourself, and after you have changed, then go to your brother or sister and fellowship slowly with them. Bring your actual experience into your fellowship. Having heard it, your brothers and sisters will also be able to reflect on themselves and see their own corruption, and their problems will also be resolved. This is a good way to go about helping people. The majority of people are of small stature, do not understand a great deal of the truth, and are not discerning, so, when you discover a problem in someone else, do not harp on it without cease. Sort out your own problems first, and, after they are resolved, look for an opportunity to employ the method of speaking your testimony and fellowship on how you came to understand this aspect of the truth, how you recognized the aspect of corruption revealed, and how you were able to distinguish and see through this aspect of Satan’s venom. After hearing this, others can be helped by your experiences and find the path of practice. In this way, not only do you not harm others or influence their seeking, but you also resolve their problems. This is good. If there is someone committing true acts of destruction or disturbance against the work of God’s house, exerting a grave influence on the life entry of their brothers and sisters, you can, in such a situation, find an immediate opportunity to fellowship with them. However, when you fellowship, the method you employ must be correct, since corruption is revealed in all people, and especially in newcomers to faith, whose stature is small. We must treat them with patience and take an indirect approach to our fellowship with them. Talk about your own relevant revelations of corruption, and how you discovered and recognized them after the fact, so that they, too, can reach such an understanding. Whatever you do, do not harp on their shortcomings, exposing, condemning, and labeling them. If you do, it will be difficult for them to accept. Therefore, when fellowshiping the truth to help others, you must pay attention to the manner in which you do so. There are some people whose stature is quite small, so you must treat them with methods that befit people of small stature. When their stature has grown, you can speak a little more directly to them, or slightly more sternly. This approach keeps them from stumbling. In short, to help and serve people, and especially to lead brothers and sisters who are new to faith, you must be mindful of your manner and act with love. In this way, your brothers and sisters will find what you say easy to accept; if your fellowship with others is loveless, and your mentality is one of contempt and mockery, and you blame them, they will be put off and remain unconvinced. They will want to argue with you or even expose your own problems in return. This is troublesome. So, when you discover which aspect of corruption your brothers and sisters have and want to help them, first pray for them. When you have finished praying, rectify your own mentality, correct your mindset, and then go and fellowship with them. This is a good way to resolve things. If your mindset is wrong, then you will be liable to accomplish the exact opposite of what you intend. If you think of yourself as a leader or worker with the right to criticize or blame your brothers and sisters, always speaking from your position, your brothers and sisters will find your words difficult to accept, and it will not be easy to help others solve their problems.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life