125. The Principles of Opening One’s Heart to Others
(1) When speaking with one who loves the truth, one should speak from the heart. Lay bare your true state and your difficulties, and seek the truth, that you may obtain loving aid;
(2) It is necessary to treat others with sincerity and to interact with them lovingly, and to speak in line with the truth, thereby helping and edifying others. Never attack or have suspicions about people;
(3) One must understand others’ weaknesses and difficulties. Be able to stand on equal footing with them and help them by speaking from your heart, that they may feel comforted and unconstrained;
(4) In conversation with others, one should fellowship their experience of God’s words, so that others may be edified and brought benefit. Help others feel God’s love and salvation, and help them embark on the right path of life.
Relevant Words of God:
“Sharing and communing experiences” means giving voice to every thought in your heart, your state of being, your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, and the corrupt disposition within you, and then letting others discern them, accept the positive parts, and recognize that which is negative. Only this is sharing, and only this is truly communing. It does not simply involve having certain insights into God’s words or a part of a hymn, and then communing as you please without taking it any further or saying anything related to your own actual life. Everyone talks about doctrinal and theoretical knowledge, but says nothing of knowledge gained from actual experiences. You all avoid talking about such things—about your personal lives, about your life in the church with your brothers and sisters, about your own inner world. In doing so, how can true communication between people occur? How can there be any real trust? There cannot be any! If a wife never voices the words in her heart to her husband, are they confidants? Do they know what is on each other’s mind? Suppose that they are constantly saying, “I love you!” They say only this, yet have never laid bare what they are actually thinking deep down, what they want of each other, or what problems they have. They have never spoken to each other of such things, nor have they ever confided in each other—so are they really a couple who love each other? If, when together, they have nothing but superficial niceties for each other, then are they truly husband and wife? Certainly not! If brothers and sisters are to be capable of confiding in each other, helping each other out, and providing for one another, then each person must speak of his or her own true experiences. If you do not talk of your own true experiences, and only speak catchphrases and words that are doctrinal and superficial, then you are not an honest person, and you are incapable of being an honest person. For example, while living together for several years, a husband and wife try to get used to each other, occasionally locking horns. However, if you are both of normal humanity, you will always speak to him from the heart, and he to you. Whatever difficulties you encounter in life, whatever problems occur in your work, whatever you are thinking deep down, however you plan to sort things out, whatever ideas and plans you might have for your children—you will tell your partner everything. As such, will the two of you not feel especially close and intimate with each other? If he never tells you his innermost thoughts, and does nothing but bring home a paycheck, and if you never speak to him of your own thoughts and never confide in him, then is there not an emotional distance between the two of you? There surely is, for you do not understand each other’s thoughts or intentions. Ultimately, you cannot tell what kind of person your partner is, nor can he tell what kind of person you are; you do not understand his needs, nor does he understand yours. If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, then there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they cannot provide for each other or help one another. You have experienced this before, have you not? If your friend confides everything to you, giving voice to all that he is thinking and whatever suffering or happiness he harbors, then do you not feel particularly intimate with him? The reason he is willing to tell you these things is that you have confided your innermost thoughts to him as well; you are especially close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along and help each other out. Without this kind of communication and exchange between brothers and sisters in the church, harmony could never exist.
Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When you fellowship on the truth, and describe something clearly and understandably so that it can edify and benefit others, make them understand God’s will and help them to escape misunderstandings and fallacies, is there any need to be condescending? Do you have to use a lecturing tone? You do not need to scold them, nor do you need to speak loudly; there also is no need to shout, much less be blunt in your words, tone, or intonation. You just need to learn to use a normal tone, fellowship from a position of equality, talk calmly, voice the words in your heart, and endeavor to speak clearly and obviously of what you understand and what others need to understand. When you speak understandably, other people will know what you mean, your burden will be released, they will cease to misunderstand, and you will be clearer on what you are communicating. Does this not edify you both? Is there any need to harangue them? In many cases, there is no need to force this upon them. If you do not force any teachings on them, yet they still refuse to accept what you have to say, what should you do? Some of what you say is the truth, and is fact, but could people accept your words as soon as you utter 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. … The purpose of speaking heart-to-heart is for there to be normal human communication between people, and for an exchange of minds to occur. That is a narrow way of putting it. Broadly speaking, the point is for people to understand each other’s states, draw on each other’s strengths to make up for one another’s deficiencies, support each other, and help one another. This is the effect of this. Does this not lead to a normal interaction between people?
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
Every time you finish doing something, the parts you think you did right must be held up for scrutiny—and, moreover, the part you think you did wrong must also be held up for scrutiny. This requires the brothers and sisters to spend more time together fellowshiping, seeking, and helping each other out. The more we fellowship, the more light enters our hearts; God will then enlighten us with regard to all our issues. If none of us speaks up, and we all just package ourselves to look good, hoping to leave a good impression in the minds of others and wanting them to think highly of us and not scoff at us, then we will have no means of growing. If you always package yourself to look good, you will not grow, and you will forever live in darkness. You will also be incapable of transformation. If you wish to change, then you must pay a price, lay yourself bare, and open up your heart to others, and by doing so, you will benefit both yourself and other people. When someone says, “Why don’t you say a few things about your recent experiences?” no one talks about issues of essence; no one dissects himself or lays himself bare. When people speak of words and doctrines, no one has a problem, but when they talk about knowing themselves, no one says anything. Those who do have a little knowledge of themselves do not dare to lay it bare, either; they do not have the courage to do that. What ends up happening? When people are together, they toady up to each other with mutual flattery. No one is willing to present his true face to be dissected and known by everyone. Once such a situation has developed, can a true church life be had? It cannot.
Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you wish to seek the truth, if you wish to bring about a wholesale change in your wrong motivations, states, or moods, then before all else, you must learn to open up and fellowship. Naturally, you can choose who you open up and fellowship to. Normal people would surely not choose someone who would laugh at them, denigrate them, mock them, take advantage of their weaknesses, and try to make things even worse for them after they have opened up; they would undoubtedly look for someone who is better at seeking the truth, someone of better humanity, someone whose character is more honest and upstanding, someone who, after they have fellowshiped with them, is able to help them. These are the people they look for to open up and fellowship to, to help them solve their difficulties. Opening up and laying oneself bare—first of all, this is a kind of attitude that a person should have before God, and this attitude is of critical importance. Do not hold things in, saying, “These are my motivations, these are my difficulties, I have a bad state inside me, I’m negative, but I still won’t tell anyone, I’ll just keep it all to myself.” If you always keep things to yourself, over time you will stop wanting to pray, your state will slip further and further downhill, and turning things around will be hard. And so, no matter what your state is, regardless of whether you are negative, or in difficulty, regardless of your own personal motivations or plans, no matter what you have come to know or realize through examination, you must learn to open up and fellowship, and as you fellowship, the Holy Spirit works. And how does the Holy Spirit work? He allows you to see the severity of the problem, He makes you aware of the root and essence of the problem, and then, little by little, He allows you to understand the truth, to enter truth reality, and understand the will of God. When people are able to open up and fellowship, then above all, this represents a certain attitude toward the truth—an honest kind of attitude—and it also shows exactly whether or not you are sincere and what your attitude toward the truth is. When people who are sincere are beset by hardship and negativity, they unfailingly try to find someone to fellowship with, they seek a path of resolution, and they look for a way to satisfy God’s will and solve this problem or difficulty. They do not find someone to offload to because they are having a hard time, but seek a means of resolution, to attain entry into truth reality; they thereby resolve their difficulty and leave it behind them. If these things stay hidden within people for long, they become a sickness! When it comes to people who are not sincere toward God, they appear quite normal on the outside when encountering a problem, but internally, their negativity has grown so much that they are not able to get back up, even though you cannot see this. Nor is it obvious when they have grievances, misunderstandings, and personal motivations within them. They just hold things in and keep them to themselves. Though they may still be performing their duty, they will not have life entry, and there is no principle to anything they do, and they appear unmotivated and unenthusiastic on the outside. This is a problem.
Excerpted from “The Principles of Practice Concerning Submission to God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If two people want to get along well, they must open their hearts to each other; this is even more necessary between people who would work in harmony together. Sometimes, when two people interact, their personalities clash, or their family environments, backgrounds or economic conditions do not match. Yet if those two people can open their hearts to each other and be entirely open about their issues, and communicate without any lies or deceit, and are able to show their hearts to each other, then, in this way, they will be able to become genuine friends, which means to become intimate friends. Perhaps, when the other person has a difficulty, they will look for you and no one else. Even if you give them a telling off, they know you speak truly, because they know you are an honest person with a sincere heart. Can you be such people? Are you such people? If not, then you are not honest people. When you interact with others, you must first have them perceive your true heart and sincerity. If, in speaking and making contact and working together with others, someone’s words are perfunctory, grandiloquent, pleasantries, flattery, irresponsible, and imaginary, or if they simply speak to seek the other’s favor, then their words lack all credibility, and they are not sincere in the least. This is their mode of interaction with others, no matter who those others are. Does such a person have an honest heart? This is not an honest person. Say someone has some shortcoming, and they say to you sincerely and truthfully: “Tell me why, exactly, I’m so negative. I just can’t figure it out!” And say you do, in fact, understand their problem in your heart, but you do not tell them, instead saying: “It’s nothing. I often get negative, too.” These words are a great consolation to their hearer, but is your attitude sincere? No, it is not. You are being perfunctory with the other person; so as to make them feel more comfortable and consoled, you have refrained from speaking honestly with them. You are not helping them in earnest so that they can leave their negativity behind. All for the sake of trying to console them and make sure there is no estrangement or conflict between you, you have done the bare minimum with them—and this is not what it is to be an honest person. So, as an honest person, what should you do when encountering this kind of situation? Tell them what you have seen and identified: “I will tell you what I have seen and what I have experienced. You decide whether what I say is right or wrong. If it’s wrong, you don’t have to accept it. If it’s right, I hope you will. If I say something that is hard for you to hear and hurts you, I hope you can accept from God. My intention and purpose is to help you. I see the issue clearly: Your personal pride has been wounded. No one feeds your ego, and you think everyone else looks down on you, that you are being attacked, and that you have never been so wronged. You can’t bear it and become negative. What do you think—is this what’s really going on?” And, hearing this, they feel it is indeed the case. This is what is actually in your heart, but if you are not an honest person, you will not say it. You will say, “I often get negative, too,” and when the other person hears that everyone gets negative, they think this is normal, and, in the end, they do not leave their negativity behind. If you are an honest person and you help them with an honest attitude and an honest heart, you can help them understand the truth.
Excerpted from “Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Christ’s Talks