To Perform One's Duty Well, One Must at Least Be Possessed of a Conscience and Reason (Part Two)

Many people wish to perform duties, and some are willing to perform them, but why do they all find it so hard to practice the truth? Why can’t they even put the truths they understand into practice? What exactly is going on here? Do you think that practicing the truth is hard? (No.) So why aren’t you able to practice it? (We dislike the truth.) What is disliking the truth related to? (One’s nature.) It has to do with one’s humanity and nature. People who do not possess humanity have no consciences or reason, so they cannot love the truth, and they feel that it has little use. They also believe that they’ll lose out if they practice the truth, and that being an honest person is for fools, so they think that there is no need to pursue the truth. For instance, when some people are offended by others, they start thinking, “I need to do something to get revenge and let them know how ferocious I am.” Once a thought like this arises in them, do they have to follow through on it? Evil thoughts arise in people because they are dominated by their natures, but do all people act on these thoughts and heed them? (Not in all cases.) How many different cases are there? (Sometimes the situation does not allow it, so people are unable to follow through with their evil thoughts. It’s also possible that they have consciences and reason, and are aware that their thoughts are evil, so they consciously control themselves.) Yes, some people heed their evil thoughts, and act on them in order to satisfy themselves as soon as the opportunity presents itself—these are evil people. No matter what evil idea an evil person has in their head, they always think it’s right and they always want to seek an opportunity to turn it into a reality. That is to say, they transform their evil thoughts into actions, turning the evil in their mind into real actions in order to achieve their goals. They are irrational, they do not hold back, and they do not use their conscience to restrain themselves, nor do they self-reflect to judge the appropriateness or consequences of their actions, or the impact or harm they may cause to themselves or others. They take no notice of these things. They do as they please, and on top of this, they believe: “A real man is not without venom. People must be evil and cruel, for if they are not cruel, they will be bullied by everyone, but everyone fears an evil person.” The more they think about this, the more convinced they become that it’s right to think this way, and they then act accordingly. Is such a person’s behavior restrained by rationality and conscience? (It isn’t.) It is under no such restriction. Another type of person also has thoughts like these, and when they do, they may break things to vent their frustration, but they will not turn their thoughts into actions when it comes time to act. Why won’t they? (Because their conscience and reason can restrain them from committing evil deeds.) They have conscience and reason, as well as the ability to discern right from wrong, and they can determine: “I can’t act this way, as it will result in both harm to others and losses to myself. There might even be retribution!” They are able to judge whether their thoughts are right or wrong, or good or evil. After an outburst of anger, they will contemplate: “I should be lenient wherever possible. Never mind; I just won’t interact with that person in the future. I’ll learn a lesson from this and try not to be cheated again in the future. There’s no need for revenge.” After this, this will restrain themselves. What foundation is this “restraint” built on? It is built on the foundation of them having conscience and rationality, an ability to determine what is right and what is wrong, a baseline for their conduct, and their choices and inclination. What is their inclination? They are not inclined to requite evil with evil, but rather to avoid doing bad things and evil acts, so they ultimately decide to restrain themselves, and do not act on their thoughts. They are also angry, and in their anger, they also want to commit some cruel acts or to say some cruel words. But when it comes time to act, they hold back, stop themselves, and do not act. The evil is restricted to the realm of their thoughts, and does not become action or a fact. Both of these types of people have evil thoughts, so what is the difference in terms of nature between this one, and the type previously mentioned who lets their evil thoughts guide their actions? (This kind of person has a virtuous nature, so they can’t be controlled by evil thoughts.) There’s a difference between the natures of these two types of people. Some people are filled with hate, disobedience, and dissatisfaction when they are criticized, exposed, or pruned by others, and they adopt a vengeful attitude. Other people, however, can face these situations correctly and rationally, they can accept what was said if it was true, and then learn a lesson from it, they adopt an attitude of submission and acceptance. Which of these two types of people can practice the truth? (The one who has conscience and can accept the truth and submit to God.) Why do you say that such a person has a bit of conscience? (Because their conscience has an effect on them, it controls their evil thoughts.) Yes, that’s what’s happening. Their conscience is having an effect on them, controlling, guiding, and making sense of their thoughts; it has an effect. Does the conscience of the other type of person have an effect? It does not; it does not have an effect. Those people merely give it some thought occasionally, but afterward they still act as they normally do. Their conscience is nothing more than decoration and it effectively does not exist. Which of these types of people is relatively possessed of humanity? (The one whose conscience and reason have an effect.) Those whose consciences have an effect have the ability to judge right from wrong and can control their evil deeds. This kind of person can practice the truth and achieve the pursuit of the truth. When you ask some people to do good things, or to handle things according to the truth principles, their consciences have no effect on them. They don’t do what they know to be right, instead they just do what they like. They are willing to gossip, to judge others, and to flatter others or suck up to them, and they do these things without hesitation. What type of person are you? (I think I’m a people pleaser.) Are people pleasers restrained by their consciences and rationality? Can they tell the difference between right and wrong? (I think people pleasers can actually tell who is right and who is wrong, but they lack a sense of justice, do not protect the church’s work, and are dominated to a relatively severe degree by satanic philosophies. For instance, when someone asks me about something, if I’m referring to another person who is not there, I can speak honestly, but if they are there, I hold back, and do not speak as directly.) Although many people do not love the truth or pursue it, they do, in fact, have some understanding of their various states. Forget about whether or not you love the truth or can practice the truth for now; first, try to gradually improve and transform those corrupt states of yours that you can identify. That way, you will slowly get onto the right track. Start by changing the things you are conscious of—that is, those that your conscience and rationality can perceive, or the incorrect states, statements, ideas, and viewpoints that your mind can sense and identify—start by transforming these things that you can sense. If you can change these things, you will have gained quite a lot. At the very least, you will be a person who has conscience and reason, you will act rationally, you will be able to discern your own incorrect states, and you will be able to strive toward the truth. In this way, you will be able to handle things with principles, and enter into the truth realities. Then your performance of your duty will be up to standard. If you can understand the truth and resolve practical problems in your duty, you will face fewer and fewer difficulties. For example, say that in the past, there was always something in your heart that stopped you from speaking freely, so you did not directly point out problems you saw in others. Instead, you always beat around the bush with pleasant-sounding words, because you were afraid of hurting others, and always worried about pride, feelings, and interpersonal relationships. Now, you don’t beat around the bush anymore; when there is a problem, you speak directly and clearly about it, and you are able to point out others’ problems and fulfill your responsibilities. There are no more worries or difficulties in your heart and you are able to speak right from the heart when you open your mouth, without being affected or constrained by any other factors. Now you know that you must follow principles in what you do, that you cannot live according to philosophies for worldly dealings, and that you must set aside your pride and hold to the principles. These things get clearer and clearer, and your pride no longer has such a strong effect on you, and you can speak without being constrained by your pride or feelings. You are able to speak some fair words and no longer feel uncomfortable in your heart. In other words, there are fewer and fewer things that can disturb you; you are able to break through them, let go of them, and be free of their control. When you practice the truth, and work and speak according to the principles, you will not be constrained by corrupt dispositions, and your heart will no longer suffer. Rather, this will feel entirely natural, your conscience will be at peace, and you will feel like your actions are just as they should be. Your expression and actions will be natural and your difficulties only minor. Is this not change?

People’s conduct and ways of dealing with the world must be based on the words of God; this is the most basic principle for human conduct. How can people practice the truth if they do not understand the principles of human conduct? Practicing the truth is not about saying empty words or shouting slogans. Rather it is about how, no matter what people encounter in life, as long as it involves the principles of human conduct, their perspectives on things, or the matter of performing their duties, they are faced with making a choice, and they should seek the truth, search for a basis and principles in God’s words, and then find a path of practice. Those who can practice in this way are people who pursue the truth. To be able to pursue the truth in this way no matter how great the difficulties one encounters is to walk the path of Peter, the path of pursuing the truth. For example: What principle should be followed when it comes to interacting with others? Perhaps your original viewpoint is that “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” and that you should keep on everyone’s good side, avoid causing others to lose face, and offend no one, thereby achieving good relations with others. Constricted by this viewpoint, you keep silent when you witness others doing bad things or violating the principles. You would rather that the work of the church suffers losses than offend anyone. You seek to stay on everyone’s good side, no matter who they are. You think only about human sentiments and saving face when you speak, and you always speak nice-sounding words to please others. Even if you discover that someone has problems, you choose to tolerate them, and just talk about them behind their back, but to their face you keep the peace and maintain your relationship. What do you think of such conduct? Is it not that of a people pleaser? Is it not pretty slippery? It violates the principles of human conduct. Is it not lowly to conduct yourself in such a manner? Those who act like this are not good people, this is not a noble way to conduct oneself. No matter how much you have suffered, and no matter how many prices you have paid, if you conduct yourself without principles, then you have failed in this respect, and your conduct will not be recognized, remembered, or accepted before God. Having realized this problem, do you feel distressed? (Yes.) What does this distress prove? It proves that you still love the truth, and that you have a heart that loves the truth and a will to love the truth. It proves that your conscience still has awareness, and that your conscience is not thoroughly dead. No matter how deeply you are corrupted, or how many corrupt dispositions you have, in your humanity, you still have an essence which loves the truth and positive things. So long as you have awareness, and know what problems exist with regard to your humanity, dispositions, the performance of your duty, and how you treat God, and you even have awareness when your words and actions touch on views, stances, and attitudes, and can realize that your views are wrong, that they are not in line with the truth or God’s will, but it is not easy to let go of them, and you want to practice the truth but are unable to do so, and your heart is struggling, in pain, and tormented, and you feel indebted—this is one manifestation of a humanity which loves positive things. This is the awareness of conscience. If your humanity has the awareness of conscience, and there is a part of it which loves the truth and positive things, you will have these feelings. Having these feelings proves that you have the ability to distinguish between positive things and negative things, and that you do not have a neglectful or indifferent attitude toward these things; you are not numb or lacking in awareness, rather, you have awareness. And because you have awareness, you possess the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and between positive things and negative things. If you have awareness and this ability, then won’t it be easy for you to hate these negative things, these wrong views, and corrupt dispositions? It will be relatively easy. If you understand the truth, then you will certainly be able to hate negative things and things of the flesh, because you possess the minimum and most basic of things: the awareness of conscience. Having the awareness of conscience is so valuable, as is having the ability to differentiate between what is true and false, and having a sense of justice when it comes to loving positive things. These three things are the most desirable and valuable things in normal humanity. If you possess these three things, then you will certainly be able to practice the truth. Even if you only have one or two of these things, you will still be able to practice some of the truth. Let us take a look at the awareness of conscience. For example, if you encounter an evil person disturbing and disrupting the church’s work, will you be able to discern it? Are you able to pick out obvious evil deeds? Of course you can. Evil people do bad things, and good people do good things; the average person can tell the difference with one glance. If you possess the awareness of conscience, won’t you have feelings and views? If you have views and feelings, then you possess one of the most basic conditions for practicing the truth. If you can tell and feel that this person is doing evil, and you can discern it and then expose that person, and enable God’s chosen people to discern this matter, won’t the problem be resolved? Is this not practicing the truth and holding to the principles? What methods are used to practice the truth here? (Exposing, reporting, and stopping the evildoing.) Correct. Acting in this way is practicing the truth, and by doing this, you will have fulfilled your responsibilities. If you can act according to the truth principles that you understand when you encounter situations like this, this is practicing the truth, this is doing things with principles. But if you did not possess the awareness of conscience, and you saw evil people doing evil, would you be aware of this? (I wouldn’t.) And what would people with no awareness think about it? “What’s it to me if that person does evil? They’re not hurting me, so why would I offend them? Is it really necessary to? How would I benefit from doing that?” Do people like this expose, report, and stop evil people from doing evil? Certainly not. They understand the truth but can’t practice it. Do such people have consciences and reason? They have neither consciences nor reason. Why do I say this? Because they understand the truth but don’t practice it; this means that they have no consciences or reason, and that they are rebelling against God. They only focus on protecting their own interests from harm; they have no regard for whether the church’s work suffers losses, or whether damage is done to the interests of God’s chosen people. They only try to protect themselves, and if they discover problems, they ignore them. Even when they see someone committing evil, they turn a blind eye to it, and think that it’s fine, as long as it isn’t hurting their interests. No matter what others do, it seems to be none of their business; they feel no sense of responsibility, and their consciences do not have any effect on them. Based on these manifestations, do these people have humanity? A person without a conscience and reason is a person without humanity. People without consciences and reason are all evil: They are beasts disguised as humans, who are capable of all manner of bad things.

Is someone who does not possess the awareness of conscience able to discern good deeds and evil things? Do they have any concept of right versus wrong, or correct versus incorrect? (They don’t.) So how do they approach other people? How do they view the corrupt human race? They believe that all of mankind is rather bad, that they themselves are not the worst among mankind, and that the majority of people are worse than they are. If you tell them that people must have consciences and rationality, and that people should prepare good deeds, they’ll say that’s a lie and won’t believe it. People like this, who do not possess the awareness of conscience, will therefore never know the meaning and value of practicing the truth. So, is it possible to get this kind of person to love the truth? (No.) There is nothing within their nature essence that loves the truth, so they will never be able to love the truth. This kind of person will never understand what the truth is, what good is, or what evil is. In their mind, positive things are negative and negative things are positive; the two concepts are muddled together. On what principles do they base their actions? They do not distinguish between right and wrong, or good and evil, and they do not care about retribution or reward; whatever they do or say just needs to be for their own benefit. As for their viewpoints, they change them according to their environment as needed to suit their own interests. They hold onto the viewpoints that will help their interests until they have achieved their goals and desires. Is it possible for someone with this type of humanity, with this nature essence, to practice the truth? (No.) What must one possess in order to practice the truth? (The awareness of conscience, the ability to discern between right and wrong, and a heart with love for justice and positive things.) Which of these do you possess? Of these three, acquiring the ability to discern between right and wrong, and coming to love justice and positive things may be a bit strenuous. These two things are very difficult to achieve for those who don’t love the truth. But people with consciences and reason, at the very least, must do things in accordance with their consciences and reason, at minimum, not hurting others, not causing others harm for their own benefit, and not doing evil or unconscionable things—that way their consciences can rest easy. If they genuinely believe in God, then they must at least be honest, and accord with their consciences and reason in everything they do. These are the standards for being a good person. If they have a bit of caliber and can grasp the truth, that’s even better; then they can seek the truth in everything they do, and constantly reflect on their actions for violations of the principles. Deep in your heart, do you have a standard of assessment? If you do something wrong, or violate the principles, if you are perfunctory, or if you safeguard your fleshly relationships, are you aware of this? If you are, then you have a bit of conscience. If you do not possess the awareness of conscience, then you’re in trouble. You must at least possess the awareness of conscience in order to have hope of salvation; if you don’t even have that, you are in danger, because God does not save those without humanity. What effect does the awareness of conscience have within your humanity? The effect is that you must use your conscience to evaluate the rightness and wrongness of what you personally experience, what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears, what you think, what you plan to do, and what you have already done. Your conduct and actions must at least have a baseline. For instance, say that you see someone who pursues with a lot of enthusiasm, but is also very simple and guileless, and you always look down on them, and constantly want to bully them, and irritate and ridicule them with your words. You have these thoughts, and you occasionally also reveal some behaviors like this—will you be aware of this in your heart? Will you know that these thoughts and actions are wrong and unsightly? Will you realize what the nature of your actions is? (Yes.) If so, that means you possess the awareness of conscience. If you are not even able to discern if your views on people, events, and things, or the thoughts deep inside your own heart, are unsightly or if they are beautiful and good, if you have no standard of assessment in your heart, then you have no humanity. People without consciences have no humanity. If you do not even know basic humanity, then you have no value whatsoever and cannot be saved. Why did God assign Judas the role of selling out the Lord? He did so according to Judas’ nature. Judas was the kind of thing that would betray his Master for his own gain, and God does not save people like that. Judas was able to steal money, so did he have a conscience? (No.) This is what not having a conscience looks like. In particular, the fact that the money he stole was the Lord’s means that he was a thing that lacked all conscience and reason; he was a demon who was not restrained in any way from doing bad things. He did not possess the awareness of conscience and could not restrain himself, so he was able to secretly spend those offerings to God. If a person can secretly spend offerings to God, what sort of humanity do they have? (That of an evil person.) They have no humanity. The first mark of a lack of humanity is not possessing the awareness of conscience, and not being governed by one’s conscience in anything one does. Judas lacked even this most basic thing, which means that he had no humanity, so it was normal for him to do something like that. Therefore, God arranging for Judas to play the part of selling out the Lord, and getting him to render this service, was the most appropriate choice; none of God’s materials are wasted, everything God does is right. When Judas stole the money from the money bag, and no one knew about it, he believed that God did not see him doing it either. He did not have the awareness of conscience, and thought that no one else knew, and what was the result of this? He committed the grave sin of selling out the Lord, of betraying the Lord, and became known as a sinner through the ages. Then he hung himself, and died with his abdomen burst open. Should such a person be pitied? A beast with no humanity being punished like that deserves no pity at all.

People with humanity do everything according to their consciences and reason. The baseline for their conduct, at the very least, will not sink beneath the standard of their consciences. If they are aware that it is wrong to do something, they will be able to keep their behavior in check. Consciences can tell people the appropriate way to act, so people with consciences are able to speak and act based on their consciences. After becoming believers, their consciences continue to play a role as they did before. So, when there are many things that they cannot see clearly, they can still, at the very least, approach and handle those things based on their consciences. If, on top of this foundation, they understand the truth, then they will handle things according to the truth principles; their consciences will have an awareness of whether their action conforms to the truth principles or not, and will have an effect on them. If people violate the principles and safeguard their fleshly interests, this is due to the domination of their corrupt dispositions, and those who possess consciences should be aware of this. If someone understands the truth but doesn’t practice it, do they feel the accusation of their conscience? Can their heart rest easy? People are all able to experience this. In your everyday life, whether you’re dealing with people or doing things, is the awareness of your conscience obvious? Do you sometimes feel indebted or rebuked? Do you sometimes feel inner unease and accusation, or inner pain and struggle? Do you ever have these feelings? If you do, that’s not so bad, but if you don’t, then you’re in danger. No matter who you are, if you do not have the feelings of conscience, then you do not genuinely believe in God. Some people ask, “How does this have anything to do with whether someone’s belief is genuine or false?” What would you say is the link between these things? (When a person who possesses the awareness of conscience does something wrong, the self-reproach, misery, remorse, and sense of indebtedness they feel all come from God. The fact that they are able to sense God’s reproaching indicates that in their heart they accept God’s scrutiny. Some people do not have this awareness at all, which indicates that in their hearts, they don’t believe at all that God is scrutinizing everything. When they do something wrong, they don’t feel like they are indebted; they do not have this kind of awareness.) That is partially right. Is there anything else? (People who possess consciences acknowledge that there is a God and when they do something wrong, they know to pray to God and self-reflect, and seek the truth to resolve the problem. When a person who lacks a conscience encounters a problem, they are not affected by conscience; there is no place in their heart for God, and they don’t seek the truth to resolve the problem. They don’t believe the truth is something they need, so they don’t try to practice the truth. Those who believe in God but don’t practice the truth are nonbelievers.) No matter what a person of true faith encounters, they can accept God’s scrutiny, and in this way their conscience has an awareness of what is right and wrong, or good and bad. Even more importantly, they believe God exists and they believe in His word. They keep the words of God that they hear in their hearts, which then act as their standard of assessment for their own comportment and the way they deal with the world, and in everything they do. What is this standard? Regardless of whether they understand the truth or not, most of the time they take God’s word as their standard, because they believe in God, they believe He exists, and they believe that His word is the truth. Since they believe God’s word is the truth, when they encounter problems, they naturally use His word to assess them. At the very least, they know that their own thoughts and notions are not the truth. So, when they encounter problems, the awareness of conscience tells them that they must take God’s word as their basis, and if they can’t do that, and can’t put it into practice, their conscience won’t be able to rest easy and will feel tormented. For example, how do people know that things like safeguarding their fleshly relationships with others, reveling in comfort, and being people pleasers are negative things? (It is exposed in God’s word.) Yes, if you measure those things according to God’s word, they are all negative, revelations of corrupt dispositions, and caused by people’s natures. When these people reveal those things, do they feel happy and joyful in their hearts, or upset and pained? They feel internal struggle and upset, like a knife twisting into them. Every time they encounter these things, when they can’t handle them according to the truth principles, or break through the constraints of their feelings, their hearts feel pained. How does this pain come about? It comes about on the condition that they have the awareness of conscience and understand the truth of God’s word. When all this pain, reproach, and accusation arises in them, deep in their hearts, they feel hatred and disgust toward themselves, and may even view themselves with contempt, saying, “I may talk a good game, saying that I want to love God and satisfy God, and I proclaim these slogans quite loudly, but when things befall me, I always consider my own pride. No matter how many times I try, I cannot break through this constraint. I’m just unwilling to offend others, and am constantly offending God.” Over time, they develop an opinion of themselves in the depths of their hearts—what is it? They don’t think they’re good people; they know they are capable of many bad things, and they see that they’re very good at putting on an act, and that they are hypocrites. Under these circumstances, they begin to deny themselves, and no longer believe in themselves. How are these results achieved? They are achieved upon the foundation of understanding God’s word, when their consciences have awareness and fulfill their function.

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