129. The Principles of Making Amends and Apologizing to Others
(1) If one has tricked or hurt a brother or sister and made them negative and weak, they must proactively make amends and apologize, and seek to obtain that person’s forgiveness;
(2) An apology must be based in fact. One must apologize with a sincere and genuine heart, and not just disingenuously offer a few minimal, perfunctory words;
(3) When misunderstood by someone, one may explain the truth of the facts to that person, if there is need. One should not be fraudulent, making amends and apologizing without principles;
(4) In interactions with their brothers and sisters, one should fellowship frequently on the truth and reflect on themselves. Come to love each other and know each other’s hearts, and you will be able to get along in harmony.
Relevant Words of God:
Against a certain background or in a certain environment, you may have felt that acting a certain way was quite wise or that you had ample reasons to do so, and so you acted; afterward, you felt you were fully justified in your actions and had no remorse. When evening came, and you reflected upon what you had done—or, one day when you gained enlightenment or were reproached—you then felt that the reason you had given at that time was not a reason at all, and that you should have behaved in another way. At such times, how should you practice? For example, let us say you cheated someone, or spoke adulterations to him and had your own ulterior motives. Well, you should go and find that person and dissect your actions. You should say, “I had an ulterior motive in saying what I said to you at that time. If you can accept my apology, then please forgive me.” In this way, you dissect yourself and lay yourself bare. It takes courage to be an honest person who dissects and lays himself bare. Whether people come before God to pray and admit their mistakes, to repent, or to dissect their corrupt dispositions, they can say whatever they want, because people cannot see anything with their eyes closed. It is like speaking to the air; they can bring themselves to light, and when doing so, they can voice whatever they were thinking and saying before, whatever motives they might have been harboring, and whatever treachery they were engaging in. However, if you lay yourself bare to another person, you may lose your courage and your resolve to act because you want to save face; as such, it will be very difficult for you to put these things into practice. If you are asked to speak in generalities, you are able to say that there are occasionally personal incentives and ulterior motives behind the things you do or say, and that your words and actions contain treachery, impurities, lies, and deceit. However, when you encounter a problem that makes you have to uncover how what happened to you played out from beginning to end, which of the words you said were deceptive, what kinds of ulterior motives they contained, what you were thinking, and how malicious and insidious you were, then you could well lose your nerve and be unwilling to reveal yourself to that level of detail or be so specific in what you say. There will even be people who gloss over it and say, “It was just one of those things. Suffice to say, humans are pretty deceitful, insidious, and unreliable.” This shows an inability to correctly face your corrupt essence, deceitfulness, and insidiousness; your attitude is always evasive, and you are always in an evasive state of being. You are constantly forgiving yourself, and in this matter, you are incapable of suffering and paying a price. There are therefore many people who have cried out for years, always saying, “I’m so deceitful and insidious; I’m often duplicitous in my actions, and not at all genuine toward others.” To this day, however, they remain totally and utterly deceitful, for you have never heard them express remorse for, or dissect the deceitfulness and insidiousness exposed in their words or actions. Although there is no way for us to be sure that they have or have not confessed their sins and repented before God, when faced with other people, once they have finished cheating, tricking, or manipulating them, they have never apologized, dissected themselves, or come to know themselves, or spoken of what they have learned from this matter. That they do not do so proves something: In such matters, they have never rebelled against themselves; they merely voice catchphrases and doctrines. They may speak catchphrases and doctrines to follow the trend, or may have been forced to do so by their environments. Whatever the case, uttering such catchphrases and doctrines can never change them.
Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Do not always focus on others’ faults, but reflect on yourself frequently, and be proactive afterward in admitting to another what you have done that constitutes interference or harm to them. Learn to open yourself up and fellowship, and often discuss together how to fellowship practically on the basis of God’s words. When the environment of your lives is frequently thus, relationships among the brothers and sisters become normal—not complicated, indifferent, cold, or cruel like relationships between unbelievers. You will slowly divest yourselves of such relationships. Brothers and sisters become closer and more intimate with each other; you are able to support one another, and to love each other; there is goodwill in your hearts, or you have a mentality with which you are capable of tolerance and compassion toward each other, and you support and care for each other, rather than a state and attitude in which you fight with each other, trample over one another, are jealous of each other, engage in secret competition, harbor hidden scorn or contempt for each other, or in which none obeys another. Living in such states or circumstances creates terrible relationships between people. It not only creates all sorts of negative influences on you and causes you harm, but also negatively influences and harms others to varying degrees.
Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Principle for the Practice of Entering Truth Reality” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
People who love the truth can, after listening to God’s word the truth, hurry up and put it into practice, regardless of how much of it they understand. For example, when doing work, some people, due to not having gained a clear understanding of the truth of a matter, end up pruning and dealing with their brothers and sisters, only later to realize through understanding that they have dealt with them mistakenly; they then rush over to apologize to those brothers and sisters, asking their forgiveness. Some people, while working, always try to show off by speaking letters and doctrines. Upon hearing them, their brothers and sisters get turned off and have opinions about them and reproach them. They can admit fault and say sorry to everyone, and guarantee that they will never again speak letters and doctrines. People like these are willing to practice the truth, are they not? During work, if they can correct any deviations or mistakes that occur, and practice the aspects of the truth that they understand, then these are people who are willing to practice the truth, and such people can achieve an understanding of the truth and enter reality. Some people, even after doing something wrong and being pointed out by others, continue to brazenly rationalize, stubbornly refusing to admit fault. People like these cannot practice the truth, because if they cannot concede to having made a mistake and are unable to accept the truth, then how can they even consider putting it into practice? If someone has clearly made a mistake but still will not admit fault, claiming, in order to protect their pride, that wrong is right, then what sort of nature is this person being controlled by? Is this not the demonic nature of Satan? Is it not the nature of the great red dragon? If we who believe in God have actually committed a mistake, then what should we do? We should be brave enough to bring our mistakes to light, have the courage to admit fault, say that one is one and two is two, understand where we went wrong so that we can change, and guarantee that in the future we will never make the same sort of mistake again. This is what it means to be people who are willing to practice the truth. If you are not brave enough to practice this way, and remain capable of not relenting and continue to rationalize your actions, or attack and suppress anyone who is dissatisfied with you and has an opposing opinion about you, then this shows you detest the truth and hate it, and are not someone who practices it. Furthermore, when practicing the truth, making amends and apologizing to people must come from the heart. For example, if you have done someone a disservice, and you want to voice a verbal apology but do not feel apologetic deep down, then this apology is just a bunch of words; it is not sincere, and is just a façade. This is deceit and lies, is it not? Practicing the truth must come from within; you must have a heartfelt desire to practice it—and only then can you succeed.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life
If God’s chosen people’s criticism and reproach of you are not in line with the facts, then how do you react? Is it okay for you to directly deny it and refuse to admit it? You must start by accepting their criticism, and say, “I hadn’t previously recognized this issue you’ve brought up, but based on the fact of my corrupt nature, I am definitely capable of making such a mistake; I simply had not yet become conscious of it. Regardless, I should first accept it, but as for where specifically I have acted unsuitably, I should take some time to self-reflect and seek knowledge. So, thank you for voicing this opinion to me.” Would it be alright to say that? The requirements of God’s chosen people are not very high; if you are fair and reasonable, they will be understanding. If you are not, and instead fail to treat their constructive criticism in the right manner, then that is your problem; it means you do not possess truth reality or normal humanity. If one of God’s chosen people misunderstands what you have said, assuming it to have been suppressive against them, how should you deal with this situation? You should say, “When I said those things, it was not at all my intention to try to suppress you; I also never thought it would put you under so much pressure. If you feel like what I said was suppressive toward you, then I accept that, because judging by the consequences of the objective facts, that, too, was a form of suppression. So I offer you an apology; I’m sorry, and from now on, I won’t do that again.” Speaking like this would be quite practical and in line with the facts, as it was spoken from the heart. Even if that offense was never your intention, you should have accepted the criticism, admitted to your mistakes, and expressed willingness to repent. Such behavior conforms with the standards of normal humanity, and is completely correct and in line with God’s will. In future, whenever you encounter this sort of situation, this is what you should do.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life