Words on Knowing Oneself (Excerpt 43)

Although gatherings often fellowship on the truth, dissect people’s corrupt dispositions, talk about knowing oneself, and discuss people’s various states and behaviors, there are now still many people who do not know their own corrupt disposition. Some people merely acknowledge that they have a corrupt disposition, but do not know it when they reveal it. Some people have comprehension ability, and when reading God’s words, they acknowledge that God’s words are the truth and that what He says is practical. However, when things befall them, their understanding becomes superficial. They always believe that they are still doing just fine, that they are still a good person, and although they believe they have a bit of a corrupt disposition, they still group themselves together with the good people. They do not know the nature of their corrupt disposition or what consequences it will cause. Is this really knowing oneself? After people have believed in God for a few years, through reading His words, listening to sermons and fellowship, as well as being pruned, most of them have finally seen clearly that their humanity is not good, and that they truly have a corrupt disposition and can do things that violate the truth and oppose God. However, many people do not truly recognize this; they merely acknowledge verbally that they are devils, that they are Satans, and that they should be cursed. Is this kind of understanding practical or not? Is it something that comes from the heart? Is it something said out of a genuine hatred of oneself? For example, there was a leader or worker who was dismissed for not doing real work, and to show everyone their “remorse,” they wrote a letter of repentance: “I have let God down and I owe Him. I am not worthy of His salvation or His painstaking care and effort. I am a demon, I am Satan, my humanity is bad. I should be cursed, and I should go to hell and perish!” In this letter of repentance, with every sentence they deny and condemn themselves, speaking words that a nonbeliever would never say. Although they acknowledge that they are a demon and Satan, are any of these words truthful? (No. They do not mention which corruptions they have revealed, which bad things they have done, or what losses they have brought to the work of the church.) There is not a single sentence that explains the actual situation or what is in their heart; they are all empty words. Is this true understanding? (No.) If it is not true understanding, then do they acknowledge that they are corrupt? (No.) Let’s define it for them: This person does not acknowledge their own corruption. They wrote a letter of repentance, and on the surface, it seems that they know themselves and acknowledge their corruption. From then on, you should look at how they behave in daily life and whether their true behavior behind the scenes has changed; only then can you draw an accurate conclusion. From what behaviors can we see that they genuinely acknowledge their own corruption, and that they truly know themselves? (After a person has genuine understanding of themselves, there will be real changes.) This is correct. God looks at whether there is real change in a person. If someone writes a letter of repentance, and their words seem sincere and they seem to have genuine understanding, does this mean that they have truly repented? Can it prove that they have truly repented? No, we must look at whether there has been a genuine change in them—this is the most crucial aspect. But after they are dismissed, they often justify and defend themselves before the brothers and sisters, which is tantamount to still not acknowledging their own corruption and having no genuine understanding of themselves. Their resistance, self-defense, and justification behind the scenes have confirmed this point. In addition, when the Above dissects their actions and says that they are an antichrist, a false leader, and someone who does not do real work, what is their reaction to being exposed by the Above? They reason, defend and justify themselves, explaining these matters everywhere, not acknowledging that they do not do real work, that they are lacking in caliber, that they do not understand the truth, and that they are a false leader. What kind of disposition is behind this non-acknowledgment and self-defense? This is a kind of intransigent and arrogant disposition, a disposition that is averse to the truth. When they wrote their letter of repentance, they said that they were a devil and Satan, that they were unworthy of God and owed God, and that their humanity was not good, but immediately after acknowledging this, they reverted to their old ways. What is going on here? (Their acknowledgment is not true.) Which is their true side? What is their true stature? (Defending and justifying themselves.) Their behind-the-scenes justifications and self-defense, their explaining themselves everywhere—this is their true side. Does this not prove that they do not acknowledge that they cannot do real work and that they do not have the truth reality? They do not acknowledge it at all. If they do not even acknowledge this, then do they truly know themselves? If they do not know themselves, then is their characterization of themselves as a devil and Satan not misleading people? Then everything they say about knowing themselves is a lie; all of it is deceptive. They do not acknowledge that they cannot do the work, and that their humanity is not good, so why do they still say those words of self-condemnation? It is unfathomable. If they do not know themselves, why do they still pretend that they do? It is to cheat people. The facts before us have already proven that they are a hypocritical person. So do they acknowledge that they have a corrupt disposition? (They do not acknowledge it.) They refuse to acknowledge it, and even go out of their way to find various excuses and reasons to prove that these things they have done are not wrong. They believe that no matter what they do, it is right, and the Above should not condemn or dissect it. They can accept being dismissed, but not being treated unjustly because of these things. No matter the reason for their dismissal, they can submit to it and accept it; it is solely because they were dismissed for these particular things they have done that they cannot accept or submit. Is this not the root of their justifications and self-defense? A person like this speaks about being a devil and Satan, says they should be cursed and sent to hell, and repeatedly shouts out these slogans while continuing to argue and justify—do they truly know themselves? (No.) They repeatedly shout out that they are devils and Satans, yet they do not acknowledge any of their wrongdoings. Do they acknowledge that they have corrupt dispositions? (No.) Why is it said that they do not acknowledge it? They all acknowledge that they are devils and Satans, so why do they not acknowledge that they have corrupt dispositions? Which consequence is more severe—acknowledging that one has a corrupt disposition, or acknowledging that one is a devil and Satan? In fact, they understand in their hearts that acknowledging they are Satans and devils can mislead others and achieve a good result, and that people will not do anything to them. However, if they acknowledge their wrongdoings, or that they do not have humanity, people will shun and hate them. Therefore, they choose a poster-worthy slogan to mislead everyone and explain things away. Why do they shout out such taglines and slogans? What is the purpose? (It is that people will see how much they know themselves.) In one respect, they are flaunting their spirituality. In another respect, they think: “Everyone says that they are devils and Satans. If I say I’m a devil and Satan, I won’t have to bear any consequences and can even gain everyone’s approval. Why not do it?” Is that not the idea? Is this kind of knowing oneself not quite cunning? (Yes, it is misleading.) This is misleading and cheating by nature, and it bears the traits of a religious trickster! What do religious tricksters say? “We are all sinners; we have all sinned!” They do not say how they are bad or detail the bad things they have done. They also say: “We are all sinners, and we must repent. Look at how much precious blood the Lord Jesus shed for us!” What goal do they want to achieve with these words? It is to make themselves appear spiritual. They are showing off and making others think highly of them in order to achieve their goal of winning hearts and minds. Do those people who claim to acknowledge that they are devils and Satans also want to achieve this result? Is this not also their purpose? At first glance, it seems that they know themselves, and they appear to be people who genuinely repent, proclaiming themselves to be devils and Satans, to be children of hell, and deserving of death. How earnest their words are! But while they speak very earnestly, are they as earnest in what they actually do behind the scenes? Not at all. They employ a two-faced approach: On one hand, they publicly acknowledge that they are devils and Satans, but on the other, they go around defending and justifying themselves, explaining that they did nothing wrong. They say that they were treated unjustly by the Above, that the Above is not aware of the actual situation, and that in doing these things they have endured great hardship and grievance and paid a great price, and should not be treated this way. They say these things to gain more sympathy, to make more people mistakenly believe that they acknowledge themselves as devils and Satans and that they truly know themselves, that the Above was unfair to them, and that they were dismissed over a trivial matter. They make it seem that they know themselves and deserve to be leaders. They are actually vigorously defending and justifying themselves. Can these people who are good at disguising and justifying themselves and shouting out spiritual slogans truly know themselves? (They cannot.) Their so-called self-knowledge is just going through the motions, cheating others, and putting on a pretense all in order to leave a good impression on others. They do not genuinely come before God to repent and admit their guilt, and they do not accept God pruning them, exposing them, and disciplining or even dismissing them. They simply do not have such an attitude.

Nowadays, most people’s experience is too shallow, and their self-knowledge is too limited. Many only acknowledge the mistakes in their methods and their own faults, while few acknowledge their poor caliber, distorted comprehension, lack of spiritual understanding, and lack of humanity. Fewer still acknowledge that God’s words of exposure are absolute facts, that these words expose the truth of their own corruption, or that His words are entirely accurate and without any error. This is proof that people still do not truly know themselves. Not acknowledging that they live according to their satanic dispositions and satanic nature means that they do not truly know themselves. No matter which corrupt dispositions they reveal, they do not acknowledge them. They cover and wrap them up, preventing others from seeing their corruption. Such people are very good at disguising themselves and are hypocrites. Nowadays, most people are inclined toward the truth, and their state has somewhat improved, but they still do not truly know themselves. Many people consistently react to making a mistake by merely acknowledging that they were wrong in that instance. If you ask them, “Where exactly did you go wrong in this matter? Which truth principles did you violate? Which corrupt dispositions did you reveal?” they would reply, “This has nothing to do with corrupt dispositions. It was just a momentary lapse; I didn’t think it through and acted impulsively. It wasn’t my intention.” Their unintended actions and errors have become shields and excuses for the corrupt dispositions they have revealed. Is this a genuine acknowledgment of their own corruption? It is not. If you frequently make excuses or find reasons for the corrupt dispositions you reveal, then you cannot truly face your own corrupt dispositions, nor can you acknowledge or understand them. For example, a person performs their duties well for a period of time; their state is stable, whatever they do goes smoothly and without a hitch, and they produce some positive results and receive praise from others. They feel that they have made great contributions and that God should bestow rewards upon them. As a result, they reveal an arrogant and self-righteous corrupt disposition—they believe themselves to be better than others, and refuse to listen to and are unable to cooperate harmoniously with anyone. Before long, they make mistakes in the performance of their duties, and their brothers and sisters prune them and expose them, saying that they are too arrogant. They have difficulty accepting this fact and ponder incessantly over the matter: “I’m arrogant? I don’t think so. I didn’t brag about anything, so how could I have become arrogant?” They are stuck on the word “arrogant” and cannot get past it. Their inability to accept this word shows that they are without reason, do not know themselves at all, and do not acknowledge their own corrupt disposition. When something befalls you and you reveal a corrupt disposition, if someone criticizes you or prunes you, and says that what you did violates the truth principles, yet you only acknowledge your mistake in that particular matter, are unwilling to admit that it was a consequence caused by a revealed corrupt disposition, and are only willing to rectify the mistake without ever accepting the fact that you revealed a corrupt disposition, then you do not truly know yourself. Can acknowledging mistakes represent self-knowledge on its own? Self-knowledge refers to identifying the root cause of one’s mistakes and knowing one’s corrupt disposition. If you acknowledge that you have done something wrong, and afterward your behavior changes so that it seems like you no longer make the same mistake, but you have not cast off your corrupt disposition and the root cause of the mistake has not been resolved, then what would be the consequence? You would still inevitably reveal a corrupt disposition and rebel against and oppose God. Do not assume that a few behavioral changes equate to a change in your disposition. Knowing oneself is an endless matter; if one cannot know the root causes of their corrupt disposition or where the root of their rebellion against and opposition to God lies, then they cannot achieve a change in their disposition. This is what is difficult about changing one’s disposition. Why do many people who believe in God only change their behavior and not their life disposition? This is where the problem lies. If you acknowledge that what you reveal is a corrupt disposition which has caused you to act as you please, make arbitrary decisions, not cooperate harmoniously with others, and place yourself above others, and then after acknowledging these things you further acknowledge that they are caused by an arrogant disposition, what benefit will it bring you? It is only then that you will truly reflect on these matters, and recognize that a corrupt disposition is the root cause of opposing God, and is ironclad proof of Satan’s corruption of mankind. You will recognize that if one does not cast off this corrupt disposition, they are unworthy of being called human and unworthy of living before God. However, if you only acknowledge that you have done something wrong, what will be the consequence? You will only focus on and put effort into the way you do things and correcting them, how to do things so that they appear proper on the surface, and how to conceal the revelation of your arrogant disposition. You will become more and more deceitful and the methods you use to cheat others will become more and more sophisticated. You will think: “I made a mistake this time, and everyone saw it because I wasn’t careful. I won’t be like that next time.” The result is that while the way you do things has changed on the surface, and others cannot see any problems, you have hidden your corrupt disposition. What have you become? You have become more deceitful and become hypocritical. If one focuses on and puts effort into how they speak and act so that on the surface no one can see any problems or find fault with them and their actions seem flawless, but they do not change their corrupt disposition in the slightest, are they not becoming a Pharisee? While acting hypocritically might trick people, can it trick God? What exactly does pursuing the truth mean? Primarily, it refers to pursuing a change in one’s disposition. If one never knows their own corrupt disposition, then it is impossible for there to be a change in their disposition. At the same time as acknowledging that they have a corrupt disposition, they must also accept the truth, reflect on where exactly they went wrong and where they failed, and then seek the truth to resolve their problems. Only in this way can one gradually cast off their corrupt disposition, practice the truth in the performance of their duties, and act with principles. In doing this, they will enter into the truth reality. Only those who can seek and practice the truth are the ones who pursue the truth. They are the ones who can continuously put effort into practicing the truth and acting with principles, and who can summarize their experiences and draw lessons. Once they practice the truth and enter into reality, have principles in their actions, and make fewer mistakes, they will gradually become suitable for being used by God. If one is not someone who pursues the truth, no matter how they indulge in empty talk about knowing themselves, or how they characterize themselves as a devil and Satan, ultimately they still will not put the truth into practice. So, what is the difference between these two? One acknowledges their own corrupt disposition, seeks the truth principles, and practices in accordance with the truth—this is the path of pursuing the truth. The other does not acknowledge that they have a corrupt disposition and does not accept the fact of their own corrupt disposition, instead putting effort into the way they do things. However, this only changes their outward behavior, and there is no change in their life disposition, which makes their behavior more cheating. Is what these kinds of people practice in line with the truth principles? It entirely falls short of this and does not even scratch the surface. What they do is disguise, pretend, and cheat, and their goal is to cheat God’s chosen people. They do not practice the truth but still want everyone to praise them, approve of them, and endorse them so that they can have status in the church. Is this not a manifestation of disguise and cheating? They disguise and cover themselves and focus on how to gain the favor of others. Are there any truth principles in this way of doing things? Not at all—it is entirely based on the human mind’s imaginings, human methods, human philosophies for worldly dealings, and it is still living according to a satanic disposition. This practice of hypocrisy belongs to fake spirituality; it is cheating people and lacks even the slightest truth reality.

Why do some people, who also appear to be performing their duties like the others, suddenly come out of nowhere and shock people by committing great evil in the end? Can the occurrence of such a thing be brought about in just one or two days? Absolutely not. Three feet of ice cannot freeze in a single day. Outwardly, they seem well-behaved and simple, and no one can find fault with them, but in the end, the bad things they do are more extreme and astonishing than those done by anyone else. These things are done by these so-called “well-behaved” people. Do you know what common characteristic these kinds of people have? (They appear to have good behavior and usually seem quite well-mannered.) What they live out and their nature essence have two distinct characteristics—can you grasp these key points? (They do not love the truth or acknowledge their corrupt disposition. When they talk about knowing themselves, they are putting on a disguise and acting hypocritically.) Acting hypocritically is one aspect of this, so how can you discover and confirm that these people are hypocritical? How can you confirm that these good behaviors they are living out are just a pretense? (On the surface, they talk very nicely, but in their true actions, they protect their own interests without considering the interests of God’s house.) This is the specific manifestation of acting hypocritically. Although these hypocritical people speak nicely, they are actually cheating and misleading people. Additionally, they expose their selfishness and baseness, only protecting their own interests and not considering the interests of God’s house—they want to live like a whore while still expecting a monument to their chastity. All of this represents their nature essence, devoid of any humanity. I just mentioned that their nature essence has two distinct characteristics. The first characteristic is that these kinds of people often shout slogans and speak of doctrines as if they are deeply spiritual, but in fact they do not love the truth in the slightest, and without a love for the truth, it is impossible for them to practice it. Based on this point, is what you mentioned earlier about them only considering their own interests not one of these manifestations? Why do they consider their own interests? Do they love the truth? (They do not love the truth; they only like interests.) They only protect their own interests and do not at all consider the interests of God’s house or the brothers and sisters. Is this not the behavior of not loving the truth in the slightest? Some people say, “If they don’t love the truth, why do they always fellowship about things related to the truth?” How would you explain this? (They do it to impress others, disguise themselves, and dress themselves up.) This is one aspect of it, but besides this, are they actually fellowshipping about the truth? It is not the truth at all; it is just words and doctrines. If it is clearly just words and doctrines, then how can it be called the truth? Only fools would equate words and doctrines with the truth. Devils are highly skilled at speaking words and doctrines to mislead people, and they also want to pretend to be people who have the truth to cheat others and God. No matter how lofty the words and doctrines that people speak are, they are not the truth; only the words spoken by God are the truth. How can words and doctrines spoken by humans be mentioned in the same breath as the truth? They are two different things. This is the first aspect, that these people have absolutely no love for the truth. Is this aspect their nature essence? (Yes.) Why do we say it is their nature essence and not just a temporary revelation or behavior? It is because when we look at all of their revelations and behaviors, it can be concluded that their humanity essence is that they do not love the truth at all. Due to these various behaviors, it can be determined that they are people who do not love the truth. That is the first characteristic. Now, what is the second characteristic? It is that these people do not acknowledge their own corrupt dispositions at all. What does it mean that they do not acknowledge it at all? If it is said that they do not acknowledge their corrupt dispositions, then why do they always talk about knowing themselves? Not only do they talk about knowing themselves, but they also shamelessly help other people know themselves. They also often say they are not doing enough, that they owe God, that they are devils and Satans and deserve to be cursed. How can this be explained? (When they talk about knowing themselves, there is no true content or detail. For example, there is no practical content regarding which corruptions they have revealed, what wrong intentions they harbor, which corrupt dispositions they are controlled by, what specific manifestations they have, what nature essence they belong to, and so on. They merely vaguely state that they are devils and Satans without expressing genuine feelings and understanding.) (One result of truly knowing oneself is being able to truly hate oneself. These types of people verbally acknowledge their corruption but do not hate themselves at all in their hearts, and they also find all kinds of reasons to defend and justify themselves. Sometimes, they do not explain themselves outwardly, but they do not accept and acknowledge their corruption internally. They are entirely unable to accept the truth and do not change at all.) They do not acknowledge their own corruption—how can this be explained? (When something befalls them and they are revealed, they feel that they are incapable of doing such a thing, and so they do not acknowledge that they have this type of corrupt disposition.) These kinds of people always talk about knowing themselves, but what exactly do they know? Do they know their behaviors and manifestations, or do they know their corrupt dispositions? Or do they only know which things they have done wrong? There is a big difference between these types of knowledge. Some types of knowledge are true knowledge, while some are superficial and lack essence. Some people’s knowledge is even more shallow, and they only know which things they did wrong or acknowledge the things they have done that went against morality or the law. This is no different from religious people admitting their guilt to the Lord; it does not lead to genuine repentance. There are also some people who just speak some doctrines when they talk about knowing themselves, or imitate what others say about self-knowledge. This is an even greater form of disguise and cheating. Why do these people not truly know themselves? The most crucial reason is that they never accept the truth, so all of their actions and behaviors are based entirely on their own preferences, their own satanic philosophy, and their own interests, ambitions and desires. Deep in their hearts, they do not see their ambitions and desires as corrupt; anything that they need is not corrupt, so they do whatever they want, whatever they like. When judging this from the starting point of their actions, do they acknowledge their own corruptions? (They do not acknowledge them.) How do people who acknowledge their corruptions act? Do they act by seeking the truth principles, or do they just pray, contemplate, and do things according to what they think in their minds? Which of these do they follow? (They seek the truth principles.) So, from looking at the actions of those aforementioned kinds of people, it is evident that they always do whatever they want. They believe that God’s words are meant for others and they impart the doctrines they understand to others, which means that they make others act according to God’s words, implying that “you all reveal corruptions, but I seek the truth in everything I do and hardly reveal any corruptions.” Are these people who truly know themselves? They do not dare to acknowledge their own corruptions; this is the truth of the matter. They believe that paying a price, as well as speaking a bit more, enduring a little more suffering, or even forsaking and expending of themselves all in order to satisfy their ambitions and desires is all in line with the truth and is right. If you were to ask them, “Since all humans have corruptions, aren’t you afraid of being wrong when you think that way?” they would say: “No, it’s fine; I’m not afraid. I’m right in my intentions.” Look at how they regard their ambitions, desires and intentions as something positive. Do these kinds of people acknowledge their own corruptions? (No, they don’t acknowledge them.) From an objective perspective, they simply do not acknowledge their own corruptions. Can someone who does not acknowledge their own corruption genuinely repent? (No, they cannot.) They absolutely will not repent; they never will. Do they have true submission? (No.) Even less so. They do not even know what the truth is, so how can they submit? All that they submit to is their own ambitions and desires. They live their lives entirely by undertaking all matters according to their own desires, and they speak, act and choose their path based solely on their own will, without ever seeking the truth. Some people say: “They never seek the truth, so why do they listen to sermons?” Listening to sermons doesn’t necessarily mean they are able to seek the truth; it is just one aspect of believing in God. If they did not listen to sermons or attend gatherings, would they not then be revealed? So, this process is necessary for them to go through, but listening to sermons does not mean they are someone who accepts the truth or acknowledges their own corruption; one cannot make this inference. Acknowledging that one has corruption is not an easy thing, and it is difficult to do for people who do not love the truth.

We just mentioned that people who do not know themselves have two distinct characteristics: One is that they fundamentally do not love the truth, and the other is that they never acknowledge that they have corrupt dispositions. So, how far are you from knowing yourselves? (Right now, we still don’t know ourselves, and we haven’t reached the point of hating ourselves.) You are very far away. Knowing oneself primarily means knowing one’s corrupt disposition, one’s preferences, and one’s erroneous views and behaviors. This is the key, and other aspects of self-knowledge are secondary. You can only truly accept the truth and bring about genuine repentance when you acknowledge that you have a corrupt disposition, that you have all sorts of nature essences and revelations of corruptions that God has brought to light in people, and when you can list them specifically and acknowledge that these specific facts, behaviors, and revelations are all out of line with the truth, are all against God, and are all detested by Him. Nowadays, when people claim to accept the truth, they are just acknowledging it in doctrine and changing their behaviors to some extent. But after this, they still live out satanic corrupt dispositions and live according to Satan’s philosophy; they do not change at all. Changes in behavior do not represent changes in disposition. To transform one’s disposition, one must know their own nature essence and their own corrupt disposition—this is the starting step. One who only recognizes that their own actions are problematic, that they are not a good person, or that they are a devil and Satan is still far away from knowing their nature essence and transforming their disposition.

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