Only an Honest Person Can Live Out True Human Likeness (Part Three)

To believe in God and walk the right path in life, at the very least you must live with dignity and human likeness, you must be worthy of people’s trust and be regarded as valuable, people must feel that there is substance to your character and integrity, that you follow through with everything that you say, and keep to your word. People must appraise you like this: They should say that you are certain to honor your words, that you are certain to do what you promise to, that you are certain to carry out what is entrusted to you dutifully and with all your heart, and to the complete satisfaction of the person who entrusted the task to you. Isn’t this a person of their word? Don’t people like this live with dignity? (Yes.) There are some people who nobody ever dares to entrust anything to. Even when others do entrust things to them, it’s because they can’t find someone more appropriate, and they’re the only option, and someone still has to be arranged to watch over them. What kind of person is this? Is it a person who has dignity? (No.) You have to analyze and examine everything they say, you have to second guess it, and you have to pay attention to their tone, and seek confirmation and verification from the people around you. When they make some statement or talk about something, their level of trustworthiness is close to zero. The thing they’re talking about may exist, but they’ll either be exaggerating or minimizing it, or it may not exist at all and they’re just making it up. And why do they make things up? Because they want to deceive people, to make people see them as brilliant and capable; that is their goal. Do other people like individuals like this? (No.) How much do they dislike them? People abhor and look down upon such individuals—and may even feel it would be better to have never met them. When people are with such individuals, they don’t trust anything they say or take it seriously; they just make some small talk and go through the motions by casually talking about some external matters. Even when these individuals tell the truth, other people don’t trust them. This kind of person is totally worthless and lowly; no one regards them as having value. When a person’s behavior has reached this point, do they have any dignity? (No.) No one entrusts them with anything, no one trusts them, no one lays their heart bare to them, no one believes what they say; other people just listen, and nothing more. When these individuals say, “I’m telling the truth this time,” no one believes them or pays them any attention, even if what they’re saying is true. When they say, “Not everything I say is false, right?” people reply, “I don’t care to analyze whether what you said is true or false. It’s so exhausting listening to you speak; I have to analyze and examine your motives and intentions, and it’s just too much trouble. The time I spent doing that could be used to ponder over a passage of God’s words or to learn to sing a hymn and I would actually gain some benefits from doing those things. I cannot gain anything at all from speaking to you. Not a single word you say is truthful and I don’t want anything to do with you.” They abandon such people in this way. Nowadays you will often hear unbelievers saying, “Do you want to hear the truth or would you rather hear a lie?” No one wants to hear lies. So, those that always tell lies and prevaricate are the lowliest of people; they are worthless. No one wants to pay them any attention, no one wants to associate with them, much less lay their heart bare to them or be friends with them. Do such people have any character or dignity? (No.) Everyone who meets people like this will abhor them; they are totally untrustworthy in their words, actions, character, and integrity—such individuals have no substance at all. Would people like and respect them if they were gifted and talented? (No.) And so, what do people need in order to get along with each other? They need character, integrity, dignity, and to be someone that others can lay their hearts bare to. People with dignity all have a bit of personality, they sometimes don’t get along with others, but they are honest, and there is no falseness or trickery to them. Others ultimately hold them in high esteem, because they are able to practice the truth, they are honest, they have dignity, integrity, and character, they never take advantage of others, they help people when they’re in trouble, they treat people with conscience and reason, and never make snap judgments about them. When assessing or discussing other people, everything these individuals say is accurate, they say what they know and don’t run their mouths about what they don’t, they don’t embellish, and their words can serve as evidence or reference. When they speak and act, people who possess integrity are relatively practical and trustworthy. No one regards people who lack integrity as valuable, no one pays any attention to what they say and do, or treats their words and actions as important, and no one trusts them. This is because they tell too many lies and speak too few honest words, it is because they lack sincerity when they interact with people or do anything for them, they try to trick and fool everyone, and no one likes them. Have you found anyone who, in your eyes, is trustworthy? Do you think yourselves worthy of other people’s trust? Can other people trust you? If someone asks you about another person’s situation, you should not appraise and judge that person according to your own will, your words must be objective, accurate, and in line with the facts. You should speak about whatever you do understand, and not talk about things that you lack insight into. You must be just and fair toward that person. That is the responsible way to act. If you have only observed a surface-level phenomenon, and what you want to say is just your own judgment about that person, then you must not blindly pass a verdict on that person, and you certainly must not judge them. You must preface what you say with, “This is just my own judgment,” or “This is just how I feel.” That way, your words will be relatively objective, and after hearing what you said, the other person will be able to sense the honesty of your words and your fair attitude, and they will be able to trust you. Are you sure that you can accomplish this? (No.) This proves that you are not honest enough toward others, and that you lack sincerity and an honest attitude in the way you conduct yourselves and handle affairs. Say that someone asks you, “I trust you: What do you think about that person?” And you reply, “They’re okay.” They ask, “Can you go into more detail?” And you say, “They’re well-behaved, they are willing to pay a price when they perform their duty, and they get on with people.” Is there practical evidence for any of these three statements? Are they enough to serve as proof of that person’s character? No. Are you trustworthy? (No.) None of these three statements include any details, they are just sweeping, empty, perfunctory words. If you had just met that person and were saying that they were okay based on appearances, then that would be normal. But you’d been in contact with them for some time, and you should have been able to discover some substantial problems with them. People want to hear what your estimation and view of that person is in the depths of your heart, but you say nothing real, or critical, or key, so people won’t trust you, and they will no longer want to interact with you.

When interacting with the brothers and sisters, you must lay your heart bare to them and confide in them in order for it to benefit you. When performing your duty, it is even more important to lay your heart bare and confide in people; only then will you work well together. But if someone doesn’t lay their heart bare to you, if they are not someone who accepts the truth, if they are instead a very deceitful person, then it would be foolish for you to lay your heart bare to them, and doing so could easily lead to trouble. There should be principles to how you interact with the brothers and sisters; you should only lay your heart bare and simply open up to people who truly believe in God and are able to accept the truth. If you lay your heart bare to evil people and nonbelievers, then you are foolish and ignorant, and lacking in wisdom. You must only lay your heart bare to brothers and sisters who truly believe in God and are able to accept the truth. Deceitful people, muddled-headed people, evil people, and nonbelievers—people who are devoid of any acceptance of the truth—are not brothers and sisters; whatever you do, do not lay your heart bare to them, laying your heart bare to them is laying your heart bare to devils, and ultimately likely to lead to you falling prey to their schemes and traps. There are false leaders and false workers among the leaders and workers, and false believers and nonbelievers among the believers. None of these people are brothers and sisters, so whatever you do, do not treat them as if they were. Only those who are kindhearted and love the truth, who can accept the truth and put it into practice, are brothers and sisters, and when you interact with these true brothers and sisters, you must lay your heart bare to them, you must simply open up to them, and only then will it be possible for you to love one another, and to cooperate harmoniously while performing your duties well. 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 lay their hearts bare 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, and they will trust only you to be able to help them. Even if you give them a telling-off, they don’t argue back, because they know you are an honest person with a sincere heart. They trust you, so no matter what you say or how you treat them, they will be able to understand. 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 working together and making contact 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. Such a person does not have an honest heart. This is not an honest person. Say someone is in a negative state, and they say to you sincerely: “Tell me why, exactly, I’m so negative. I just can’t figure it out!” And suppose you do, in fact, understand their problem in your heart, but you do not tell them, instead saying: “It’s nothing. You’re not being negative; I get that way, too.” These words are a great consolation to that person, but your attitude is not sincere. You are being perfunctory with them; 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 and putting their problem plainly, so that they can leave their negativity behind. You have not done what an honest person should. All for the sake of trying to console them and make sure there is no estrangement or conflict between you, you have been perfunctory with them—and this is not what it is to be an honest person. So, to be an honest person, what should you do when encountering this kind of situation? You need to 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 it from God. My intention and purpose is to help you. I see the issue clearly: Because you feel that you have been humiliated, and 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 accept 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 it is normal for them to be negative, 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 and leave their negativity behind.

Practicing honesty covers many aspects. In other words, the standard for being honest is not merely achieved through one regard; you must be up to standard in many regards before you can be honest. Some people always think that they need only manage not to lie in order to be honest. Is this view correct? Does being honest merely involve not lying? No—it also relates to several other aspects. Firstly, no matter what you are faced with, be it something you have seen with your own eyes or something someone else has told you, be it interacting with people or sorting out a problem, be it the duty you ought to be performing or something that God has entrusted to you, you must always approach it with an honest heart. How should one practice approaching things with an honest heart? Say what you think and speak honestly; do not speak empty, pompous, or pleasant-sounding words, do not say flattering or hypocritical false things, but speak the words that are in your heart. This is being someone honest. Expressing the true thoughts and views that are in your heart—this is what honest people are supposed to do. If you never say what you think, and the words fester in your heart, and what you say is always at odds with what you think, that is not what an honest person does. For example, suppose that you do not perform your duty well, and when people ask what is going on, you say, “I want to do my duty well, but for various reasons, I have not.” Actually, you know in your heart that you were not diligent, but you do not tell the truth. Instead you find all kinds of reasons, justifications, and excuses to cover up the facts and to avoid responsibility. Is that what an honest person does? (No.) You fool people and muddle through by saying these things. But the essence of what is inside you, of the intentions within you, is a corrupt disposition. If you cannot bring the things and intentions within you out into the open and dissect them, they cannot be purified—and that is no small matter! You must speak truthfully, “I’ve been procrastinating a bit in doing my duty. I have been perfunctory and inattentive. When I’m in a good mood, I can give a little effort. When I’m in a bad mood, I slack off and don’t want to put in the effort, and covet the comforts of the flesh. So, my attempts to do my duty are ineffective. The situation has been turning around these past few days, and I’m trying to give my all, improve my efficiency, and perform my duty well.” This is speaking from the heart. The other way of speaking was not from the heart. Due to your fear of being pruned, of people discovering your problems, and of people holding you accountable, you found all kinds of reasons, justifications, and excuses to cover up the facts, first getting other people to stop talking about the situation, then shifting responsibility, in order to avoid being pruned. This is the source of your lies. No matter how much liars talk, some of what they say is sure to be truth and factual. But some key things they say will contain a bit of falsity and a bit of their motive. So, it is very important to discern and differentiate what is true and what is false. This is not easy to do, however. Some of what they say will be tainted and embellished, some of what they say will accord with the facts, and some of what they say will contradict the facts; with fact and fiction thus muddled, it is hard to distinguish the true from the false. This is the most deceitful kind of person, and the most difficult to identify. If they cannot accept the truth or practice honesty, they will definitely be eliminated. Which is the path that people should choose, then? Which one is the way to practice honesty? You should learn to speak the truth and be able to fellowship openly about your real states and problems. That is how honest people practice, and such practice is correct. People who possess conscience and reason are all willing to strive to be honest. Only honest people feel truly joyful and at ease, and only by practicing the truth to achieve submission to God can one enjoy real happiness.

Many practical problems arise as people experience being honest. Sometimes they speak without thinking, they slip up momentarily and tell a lie because they are governed by a wrong motive or aim, or vanity and pride, and as a result, they have to keep telling more and more lies to cover it up. In the end, they do not feel at ease in their hearts, but they can’t take those lies back, they lack the courage to correct their mistakes, to admit that they told lies, and in this way, their mistakes go on and on. After this, it is always like there is a rock pressing on their hearts; they always want to find an opportunity to come clean, to admit their mistake and repent, but they never put this into practice. Ultimately, they think it over and say to themselves, “I’ll make up for it when I perform my duty in the future.” They always say they’ll make up for it, but they never do. It is not as simple as just apologizing after telling a lie—can you make up for the harm and consequences of telling lies and engaging in deception? If, amidst great self-hatred, you are able to practice repentance, and never do that kind of thing again, then you might receive God’s tolerance and mercy. If you speak honeyed words and say that you’ll make up for your lies in the future, but do not truly repent, and later continue to lie and deceive, then you are extremely stubborn in your refusal to repent, and you are sure to be eliminated. This should be recognized by people who are possessed of conscience and reason. After telling lies and engaging in deception, it is not enough to only think about making amends; what matters most is that you must truly repent. If you wish to be honest, then you must resolve the problem of lying and deception. You must tell the truth and do practical things. Sometimes telling the truth will result in you losing face and being pruned, but you will have practiced the truth, and submitting to and satisfying God in that one instance will be worth it, and it will be something that brings you comfort. In any case, you will have finally been able to practice being honest, you will have finally been able to say what’s in your heart, without trying to defend or vindicate yourself, and this is true growth. Regardless of whether you are pruned or replaced, you will feel steadfast in your heart, for you did not lie; you will feel that since you didn’t do your duty properly, it was right for you to be pruned, and for you to take responsibility for it. This is a positive mental state. And yet, what will the consequences be if you engage in deception? After you engage in deception, how will you feel in your heart? Uneasy; you will always feel that there is guilt and corruption in your heart, you will always feel accused: “How could I tell lies? How could I have engaged in deception yet again? Why am I like this?” You will feel like you cannot lift your head high, like you are too ashamed to face God. In particular, when people are blessed by God, when they receive God’s grace, mercy, and tolerance, they feel even more that it is shameful to deceive God, and in their hearts, they have a stronger sense of reproach, and less peace and joy. What problem does this demonstrate? That deceiving people is a revelation of a corrupt disposition, it is to rebel against and resist God, and so it will bring you pain. When you lie and deceive, you may feel that you have spoken very cleverly and tactfully, and that you haven’t given any small clues of your deception away—but later, you will feel a sense of reproach and accusation, which may follow you around your whole life. If you intentionally and deliberately lie and deceive, and a day comes when you realize the gravity of this, it will pierce you through your heart like a knife, and you will always be looking for a chance to make amends. And that is what you ought to do, unless you have no conscience, and have never lived by your conscience, and have no humanity, and no character or dignity. If you have a little character and dignity, and some awareness of conscience, when you realize that you are lying and engaging in deception, you will feel this behavior of yours to be shameful, to be disgraceful and low; you will despise and detest yourself, and you will abandon the path of lies and deception. The ilk of Satan lack the conscience and reason of normal humanity; they remain oblivious of and unbothered by all the lies they tell, and they even have a theoretical basis for their lying, which is that no great feats can be accomplished without telling lies, and so they stubbornly refuse to repent. People with conscience and reason are different. These people have only undergone the corruption of Satan, and although they reveal corrupt dispositions, they are not evil people, they have the awareness of conscience, they have the needs of normal humanity, and the instincts and needs of a love for good, just, and positive things. Therefore, when they feel accused by their conscience, they are able to reflect on themselves and truly repent. Satan is a thing of extreme evil. It does not like positive things, it does not like good things, and within its nature there are only dark and evil things, there’s nothing but corrupt and malicious things; it has no humanity, it does not have the needs of normal humanity, and it has no awareness of conscience. But people are different. People were created by God, they have conscience and reason; people with conscience have awareness in their hearts, they can feel the accusation and reproach of their consciences when they try to deceive God or other people, and this reproach and accusation pains them. When a person feels this pain, when they feel this accusation and reproach, their conscience begins to have awareness: They realize that people should be honest, and that they should walk the path of pursuing the truth. When they have this need, that is a good thing. Right now, do you feel any sense of reproach when you lie and deceive? (Yes.) That you feel reproach proves that you have some of the awareness of conscience and that there is still some hope for you; this is the bare minimum level of awareness and kind of behavior you must possess in order to attain salvation. If your conscience doesn’t feel any reproach, this is problematic, and it means that you do not have humanity. Now, do you know to repent after lying to and deceiving others? If you stubbornly refuse to repent, what will be the consequence? You will be irredeemable. You can now all see that God will save those who possess conscience, reason, the needs of normal humanity, the ability to discern good from evil, a love of positive things and good things, a hatred of evil, and the ability to accept the truth. Such people can be saved.

November 30, 2017

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