18. How to approach familial, fleshly relationships
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
Pernicious influences that thousands of years of “the lofty spirit of nationalism” have left deep in the human heart, as well as the feudal thinking by which people are bound and chained, without an iota of freedom, with no will to aspire or persevere, no desire to make progress, remaining instead passive and regressive, entrenched in a slave mentality, and so on—these objective factors have imparted an indelibly filthy and ugly cast to the ideological outlook, ideals, morality, and disposition of humanity. Humans, it would seem, are living in a dark world of terrorism, which none among them seeks to transcend, and none among them thinks of moving on to an ideal world; rather, they are content with their lot in life, to spend their days bearing and raising children, striving, sweating, going about their chores, dreaming of a comfortable and happy family, and dreaming of conjugal affection, of filial children, of joy in their twilight years as they peacefully live out their lives…. For tens, thousands, tens of thousands of years until now, people have been squandering their time in this way, with no one creating a perfect life, all intent only on mutual slaughter in this dark world, on the race for fame and fortune, and on intriguing against one another. Who has ever sought after God’s will? Has anyone ever heeded the work of God? All the parts of humanity occupied by the influence of darkness have long since become human nature, and so it is quite difficult to carry out the work of God, and people have even less heart to pay attention to what God has entrusted to them today.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (3)
People who live in this real society have been deeply corrupted by Satan. Regardless of whether they’re educated or not, a lot of traditional culture is ingrained in people’s thoughts and views. In particular, women are required to attend to their husbands and raise their children, to be a good wife and loving mother, devoting their whole lives to their husbands and children and living for them, making sure the family has three square meals a day, and doing the washing, cleaning, and all other housework well. This is the accepted standard of being a good wife and loving mother. Every woman also thinks this is the way things should be done, and that if she doesn’t then she’s not a good woman, and has violated conscience and the standards of morality. Violating these moral standards will weigh heavily on some people’s conscience; they’ll feel they’ve let their husbands and children down, and that they’re not a good woman. But after you believe in God, have read a lot of His words, understood some truths, and seen through some matters, you’ll think, “I am a created being and should perform my duty as such, and expend myself for God.” At this time, is there a conflict between being a good wife and loving mother, and fulfilling your duty as a created being? If you want to be a good wife and loving mother, then you cannot perform your duty full time, but if you want to perform your duty full time then you cannot be a good wife and loving mother. What do you do now? If you choose to perform your duty well and be responsible for the work of the church, devoted to God, then you must give up being a good wife and loving mother. What would you think now? What sort of discord would arise in your mind? Would you feel like you’ve let down your children, your husband? Where does this feeling of guilt and unease come from? When you don’t fulfill the duty of a created being, do you feel like you’ve let God down? You have no sense of guilt or blame because, in your heart and mind, there isn’t the slightest hint of the truth. So, what do you understand? Traditional culture and being a good wife and loving mother. Thus the notion of “If I’m not a good wife and loving mother, then I’m not a good or decent woman” will arise in your mind. You’ll be bound and fettered by this notion from then on, and will remain so by these kinds of notions even after you believe in God and fulfill your duty. When there is a conflict between fulfilling your duty and being a good wife and loving mother, while you may reluctantly choose to fulfill your duty, possessing perhaps a little loyalty to God, there’ll still be a feeling of unease and blame in your heart. Therefore, when you have some spare time while fulfilling your duty, you’ll look for chances to take care of your children and husband, wanting to make it up to them even more, and think it’s fine even if you have to suffer more, as long as you have peace of mind. Is this not brought about by the influence of traditional culture’s ideas and theories about being a good wife and loving mother? You now have a foot in both camps, wanting to fulfill your duty well but also wanting to be a good wife and loving mother. But before God, we only have one responsibility and obligation, one mission: to properly fulfill the duty of a created being. Have you fulfilled this duty well? Why did you stray off track again? Is there really no sense of blame or reproach in your heart? Because the truth has still not laid foundations in your heart, and does not yet reign over it, you can stray off track when fulfilling your duty. Although now you’re able to fulfill your duty, you’re actually still falling far short of the standards of truth and God’s requirements. Can you see this fact clearly now? What does God mean when He says that “God is the source of man’s life”? It is to make everyone realize this: Our lives and souls all come from God and were created by Him—not from our parents, and certainly not from nature, but given us by God. Only our flesh was born of our parents, as our children are born of us, but their fate is entirely in God’s hands. That we can believe in God is an opportunity given by Him; it is ordained by Him and is His grace. There is therefore no need for you to fulfill your obligation or responsibility to anyone else; you should only fulfill your duty to God as a created being. This is what people must do above anything else, the main thing that should be done as the primary affair of one’s life. If you do not fulfill your duty well, you are not a qualified created being. In the eyes of others, you may be a good wife and loving mother, an excellent housewife, a filial child, and an upstanding member of society, but before God you are one who rebels against Him, one who has not fulfilled their obligation or duty at all, one who accepted yet did not complete God’s commission, one who gave up halfway. Can someone like this gain God’s approval? People like this are worthless.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Recognizing One’s Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform
If we look at it from the perspective of children, their lives and bodies come from their parents, who also have the kindness to raise and educate them, so children should obey their every word, fulfill their filial obligation, and not find fault with their parents. The hidden import of these words is that you should not discern your parents for who they really are. If we analyze it from this perspective, is this view correct? (No, it’s wrong.) How should we treat this matter according to the truth? What would be the correct way of putting it? Are children’s bodies and lives given to them by their parents? (No.) A person’s fleshly body is born of their parents, but where does the parents’ ability to have children come from? (It is given by God and comes from God.) What about a person’s soul? Where does it come from? It also comes from God. So at the root, people are created by God, and all of this was preordained by Him. It was God who preordained you to be born into this family. God sent a soul to this family, and then you were born of this family, and you have this predestined relationship with your parents—this was preordained by God. Because of God’s sovereignty and preordination, your parents were able to have you and you were born into this family. This is looking at it from the root. But what if God didn’t preordain things this way? Then your parents would never have had you, and you would never have had this parent-child relationship with them. There would have been no blood relationship, no family affection, and no connection whatsoever. Therefore, it is wrong to say that a person’s life is given to them by their parents. Another aspect is that, looking at it from the child’s perspective, their parents are one generation older than them. But as far as all human beings are concerned, parents are like everyone else, insofar as they are all members of the corrupt human race, and all have the corrupt dispositions of Satan. They are no different from anyone else, and no different from you. Although they physically gave birth to you, and in terms of your flesh-and-blood relationship, they are one generation older than you, nevertheless in terms of the essence of your human dispositions, you are all living under Satan’s power, and you have all been corrupted by Satan and possess corrupt, satanic dispositions. In view of the fact that people all have corrupt, satanic dispositions, the essences of all people are the same. Regardless of differences in seniority, or one’s age, or how early or late one came into this world, in terms of essence, people essentially have the same corrupt dispositions, they are all human beings who have been corrupted by Satan, and are no different in this respect. Regardless of whether their humanity is good or evil, because they have corrupt dispositions, they adopt the same perspectives and standpoints when it comes to viewing people and matters, and approaching the truth. In this sense, there is no difference between them. Also, everyone who lives among this evil human race accepts the various ideas and views that abound in this evil world, whether in terms of words or thoughts, or whether in form or ideology, and accepts all kinds of ideas from Satan, whether through state education or the conditioning of social mores. These things are not in line with the truth at all. There is no truth in them, and people certainly do not understand what the truth is. From this point of view, parents and their children are equal and have the same ideas and views. It’s just that your parents accepted these ideas and views 20 or 30 years previously, whereas you accepted them slightly later. That is to say, given the same social background, as long as you are a normal person, both you and your parents have accepted the same corruption from Satan, the conditioning of social mores, and the same ideas and views that stem from the various evil trends in society. From this point of view, children are the same type as their parents. From God’s point of view, leaving aside the premise that He preordains, predestines, and selects, in God’s eyes, both parents and their children are similar in that they are created beings, and whether they are created beings that worship God or not, they are all collectively known as created beings, and are all accepting of God’s sovereignty, orchestrations, and arrangements. From this point of view, parents and their children actually have equal status in the eyes of God, and they all accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements similarly and equally. This is an objective fact. If they are all chosen by God, they all have equal opportunities to pursue the truth. Of course, they also have equal opportunities to accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and equal opportunities to be saved. Apart from the above similarities, there is only one difference between parents and their children, which is that the parents’ ranking in the so-called family hierarchy is greater than that of their children. What does their ranking in the family hierarchy mean? It means that they are only a generation older, by 20 or 30 years—it’s nothing more than a big age difference. And because of parents’ special status, children must be filial and fulfill their obligations to their parents. This is the only responsibility a person has toward their parents. But because children and parents are all part of the same corrupt human race, parents are not moral exemplars for their children, nor are they a benchmark or role model for their children’s pursuit of the truth, nor are they a role model for their children in terms of worshiping and obeying God. Of course, parents are not the incarnation of truth. People have no obligation or responsibility to regard their parents as moral exemplars and figures who should be obeyed unconditionally. Children should not be afraid to discern their parents’ conduct, actions, and disposition essence. That is to say, when it comes to handling their own parents, people should not abide by such ideas and views as “The parent is always right.” This view is based on the fact that parents have a special status, in that they gave birth to you under God’s preordination, and are 20, 30 or even 40 or 50 years older than you. It is only from the perspective of this flesh-and-blood relationship, in terms of their status and their ranking in the family hierarchy, that they are different from their children. But because of this difference, people regard their parents as having no faults whatsoever. Is this right? This is wrong, irrational, and does not accord with the truth. Some people wonder how one should treat one’s parents, given that parents and children have this flesh-and-blood relationship. If parents believe in God, they should be treated accordingly as believers; if they do not believe in God, they should be treated accordingly as unbelievers. Whatever kind of people the parents are, they should be treated according to the corresponding truth principles. If they are devils, you should say that they are devils. If they have no humanity, you should say that they have no humanity. If the ideas and views they teach you are not in line with the truth, you don’t have to listen to these things or accept them, and you can even discern them for what they are and expose them. If your parents say, “I’m doing it for your own good,” and throw a tantrum and kick up a fuss, will you care? (No, I won’t care.) If your parents don’t believe, just don’t pay them any mind, and leave it at that. If they make such a big fuss, you will see that they are devils and nothing less. These truths concerning faith in God are the ideas and views that people most need to accept. They can’t accept them or take them on board, so just what kind of things are they? They don’t understand God’s words, so they’re subhuman, right?
—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (13)
No matter how much your parents nurtured you while they were raising you, and how much they fulfilled their responsibility to you, they were only doing what they ought to within the scope of the abilities of a created human—it was their instinct. Just look at birds, for more than a month before mating season, they are constantly looking for a safe place to make their nests. Male and female birds go out in shifts, carrying different kinds of plants, feathers, and twigs to start building their nests in relatively dense trees. The little nests built by various kinds of birds are all incredibly sturdy and intricate. For the sake of their offspring, birds expend all this effort making nests and building shelters. After they have built their nests and it comes time for incubation, there’s always a bird in each nest; the male and female birds are on alternating shifts for 24 hours a day, and they are incredibly attentive—when one of them returns, the other flies away soon after. Not long after this, some chicks hatch and poke their heads out of their shells, and you can hear them start to chirp in their trees. The adult birds fly back and forth, now returning to feed their chicks some worms, now returning again to feed them something else, showing incredible attentiveness. After a couple of months, some of the baby birds have grown a little, and can stand on the brim of their nests and flap their wings; their parents fly back and forth, taking shifts feeding and guarding their chicks. … All kinds of living creatures and animals possess these instincts and laws, and they abide by them very well, carrying them out to perfection. This is something that no person can destroy. There are also some special animals, like tigers and lions. When these animals reach adulthood, they leave their parents, and some males even become rivals, biting, contending, and fighting as necessary. This is normal, it is a law. They are not very affectionate, and they do not live amid their feelings like people do, saying: “I have to repay their kindness, I have to recompense them—I have to obey my parents. If I don’t show filial piety to them, other people will condemn me, berate me, and criticize me behind my back. I couldn’t bear that!” Such things are not said in the animal world. Why do people say such things? Because in society and within groups of people, there are various incorrect ideas and consensuses. After people have been influenced, corroded, and rotted by these things, different ways of interpreting and dealing with the parent-child relationship arise within them, and they ultimately treat their parents as their creditors—creditors that they will never be able to repay their whole lives. There are even some people who feel guilty for their whole lives after their parents die, and think themselves unworthy of their parents’ kindness, because of one thing they did that didn’t make their parents happy or didn’t go the way their parents wanted it to. Tell Me, is this not excessive? People live amid their feelings, so they can only be encroached upon and disturbed by various ideas stemming from these feelings. People live in an environment that is colored by the ideology of corrupt mankind, so they are encroached upon and disturbed by various erroneous ideas, which makes their lives exhausting and less simple than those of other living creatures. However, right now, because God is working, and because He is expressing the truth to tell people the true nature of all these facts, and to enable them to understand the truth, after you come to understand the truth, these erroneous ideas and views will no longer burden you, and they will no longer serve as a guide for how you handle your relationship with your parents. At this point, your life will become more relaxed. Living a relaxed life does not mean that you will not know what your responsibilities and obligations are—you will still know these things. It just depends on which perspective and methods you choose to approach your responsibilities and obligations with. One path is to take the route of feelings, and to deal with these things based on emotional means, and the methods, ideas, and views that Satan guides man toward. The other path is to deal with these things based on the words that God has taught man. When people handle these matters according to Satan’s erroneous ideas and views, they can only live within the entanglements of their feelings, and they are never able to distinguish right from wrong. Under these circumstances, they have no choice but to live in a snare, always tangled up with matters such as, “You’re right, I’m wrong. You’ve given me more; I’ve given you less. You’re ungrateful. You’ve done too much for me.” Consequently, there is never a time when they speak clearly. However, after people understand the truth, and when they escape from the web of erroneous ideas, views, and feelings, these matters become simple to them. If you abide by a truth principle, idea, or view that is correct and comes from God, your life will become very relaxed. Neither public opinion, nor the awareness of your conscience, nor the burden of your feelings will impede how you handle your relationship with your parents anymore; by contrast, these things will enable you to face this relationship in a correct and rational way. … I am not fellowshiping on this to make you betray your parents, and I am certainly not doing it to make you draw boundaries between you and your parents—we’re not starting a movement, there is no need to draw any boundaries. I am fellowshiping on this just to impart a correct understanding of these matters to you, and to help you to accept a correct idea and view. In addition, I am fellowshiping on this so that when these things befall you, you will not be troubled by them, or bound by them hand and foot, and more importantly, when you encounter these things, they will not impact your fulfillment of the duty of a created being. In this way, My fellowship will achieve its goal.
—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (17)
Is showing filial piety toward one’s parents the truth? (No, it’s not.) Being filial to one’s parents is a correct and positive thing, but why do we say that it is not the truth? (Because people do not show filial piety to their parents with principles and they are not able to discern what kind of people their parents truly are.) How a person should treat their parents relates to the truth. If your parents believe in God and treat you well, should you be filial to them? (Yes.) How are you filial? You treat them differently from brothers and sisters. You do everything they say, and if they are old, you must stay by their side to care for them, which stops you from going out to perform your duty. Is it right to do this? (No.) What should you do at such times? This depends on the circumstances. If you are still able to look after them whilst performing your duty near your home, and your parents do not object to your faith in God, then you should fulfill your responsibility as a son or daughter and help your parents with some work. If they are ill, look after them; if something is troubling them, comfort them; if your financial circumstances allow, buy them the nutritional supplements that suit your budget. However, what should you choose to do if you are busy with your duty, there is no one to look after your parents, and they, too, believe in God? What truth should you practice? Since being filial to one’s parents is not the truth, but only a human responsibility and obligation, what then should you do if your obligation conflicts with your duty? (Prioritize my duty; put duty first.) An obligation is not necessarily one’s duty. Choosing to perform one’s duty is practicing the truth, whereas fulfilling an obligation is not. If you have this condition, you may fulfill this responsibility or obligation, but if the current environment does not allow it, what should you do? You should say, “I must do my duty—that is practicing the truth. Being filial to my parents is living by my conscience and it falls short of the practice of the truth.” So, you should prioritize your duty and uphold it. If you have no duty now, and don’t work far from home, and live close to your parents, then find ways to take care of them. Do your best to help them live a little better and lessen their suffering. But this also depends on what kind of people your parents are. What should you do if your parents are of poor humanity, if they constantly hinder you from believing in God, and if they keep dragging you away from believing in God and performing your duty? What is the truth that you should practice? (Rejection.) At this time, you must reject them. You have fulfilled your obligation. Your parents don’t believe in God, so you have no obligation to show filial respect to them. If they believe in God, then they are family, your parents. If they do not, then you are walking different paths: They believe in Satan and worship the devil king, and they walk the path of Satan; they are people who are walking different paths to those who believe in God. You are no longer a family. They regard believers in God as their adversaries and enemies, so you have no more obligation to take care of them and must cut them off completely. Which is the truth: being filial to one’s parents or performing one’s duty? Of course, performing one’s duty is the truth. Performing one’s duty in God’s house is not simply about fulfilling one’s obligation and doing what one is supposed to do. It is about performing the duty of a created being. Herein is God’s commission; it is your obligation, your responsibility. This is a true responsibility, which is to fulfill your responsibility and obligation before the Creator. This is the Creator’s requirement of people, and it is the great matter of life. But showing filial respect to one’s parents is merely the responsibility and obligation of a son or daughter. It is certainly not commissioned by God, and less still does it accord with God’s requirement. Therefore, between showing filial respect to one’s parents and performing one’s duty, there is no doubt that performing one’s duty, and that alone, is practicing the truth. Performing one’s duty as a created being is the truth, and it is a bounden duty. Showing filial respect to one’s parents is about being filial to people. It does not mean that one is performing their duty, nor does it mean that they are practicing the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Truth Reality?
If, based on your living environment and the context you find yourself in, honoring your parents does not conflict with you completing God’s commission and performing your duty—or, in other words, if honoring your parents does not impact your loyal performance of your duty—then you can practice them both at the same time. You do not need to formally separate from your parents, and you do not need to formally renounce or reject them. In what situation does this apply? (When honoring one’s parents does not conflict with the performance of one’s duty.) That is right. In other words, if your parents do not try to hinder your belief in God, and they are also believers, and they really support and encourage you to perform your duty loyally and complete God’s commission, then your relationship with your parents is not a fleshly relationship between relatives, in the regular sense of the word, and it is a relationship between brothers and sisters of the church. In that case, aside from interacting with them as fellow brothers and sisters of the church, you must also fulfill a few of your filial responsibilities to them. You must show them a bit of extra concern. As long as it does not affect the performance of your duty, that is, so long as your heart is not constrained by them, you can call your parents to ask them how they are doing and to show a bit of concern for them, you can help them to resolve a few difficulties and handle some of their life problems, and you can even help them to resolve some of the difficulties they have in terms of their life entry—you can do all of these things. In other words, if your parents do not obstruct your belief in God, you should maintain this relationship with them, and you should fulfill your responsibilities to them. And why should you show concern for them, take care of them, and ask them how they are doing? Because you are their child and you have this relationship with them, you have another kind of responsibility, and because of this responsibility, you must ask after them a little more and provide them with more substantive assistance. So long as it does not affect the performance of your duty, and so long as your parents do not hinder or disturb your faith in God and your performance of your duty, and they do not hold you back either, then it is natural and fitting for you to fulfill your responsibilities to them, and you must do this to the extent where your conscience does not reproach you—this is the lowest standard that you must meet. If you cannot honor your parents at home due to the impact and hindrance of your circumstances, then you do not have to hold to this rule. You should put yourself at the mercy of God’s orchestrations and submit to His arrangements, and you do not need to insist on honoring your parents. Does God condemn this? God does not condemn this; He does not force people to do this. … If your parents do not believe in God, and they do not share a common language or common pursuits and goals with you, and they are not walking the same path as you, and they even hinder and persecute your belief in God, then you can discern them, see through to their essence, and reject them. Of course, if they verbally abuse God or curse you, you can curse them in your heart. So, what does the “honoring one’s parents” that God speaks of refer to? How should you practice it? That is, if you can fulfill your responsibilities, then fulfill them a bit, and if you do not have that chance, or if the friction in your interactions with them has already become too great, and there is conflict between you, and you have already reached the point where you can no longer see each other, then you should hurry to separate yourself from them. When God speaks of honoring these kinds of parents, He means that you should fulfill your filial responsibilities from the perspective of your position as their child, and do the things that a child ought to do. You should not mistreat your parents, or argue with them, you should not hit or shout at them, you should not abuse them, and you should fulfill your responsibilities to them to the best of your ability. These are things that ought to be carried out within the scope of humanity; these are the principles that one should practice with regard to “honoring one’s parents.” Are they not easy to carry out? You do not need to deal with your parents hot-headedly, saying: “You devils and nonbelievers, God curses you to the lake of fire and brimstone and the bottomless pit, He will send you to the eighteenth level of hell!” That is not necessary, you do not need to go to this extreme. If circumstances allow, and if the situation requires it, you can fulfill your filial responsibilities to your parents. If this is not necessary, or if circumstances do not allow it and it is not possible, you can dispense with this obligation. All you need to do is fulfill your filial responsibilities when you meet with your parents and interact with them. When you have done that, you have completed your task. What do you think of this principle? (It’s good.) There must be principles to how you treat all people, including your parents. You cannot act impetuously, and you cannot verbally abuse your parents just because they persecute your belief in God. There are so many people in the world who do not believe in God, there are so many unbelievers, and there are so many people who insult God—are you going to go curse and shout at all of them? If not, then you should not shout at your parents either. If you shout at your parents but not at those other people, then you are living amid hot-headedness, and God does not like this. Do not think that God will be satisfied with you if you verbally abuse and curse your parents without good cause, saying that they are devils, a living Satan, and Satan’s lackeys, and cursing them to hell—that is just not the case. God will not find you acceptable or say that you have humanity because of this false display of proactivity. Instead, God will say that your actions carry with them emotions and hot-headedness. God will not like you acting in this way, it is too extreme, and it does not accord with His will. There must be principles to how you treat all people, including your parents; regardless of whether they believe in God or not, and regardless of whether or not they are evil people, you must treat them with principles. God has told man this principle: It is about treating others fairly—it is just that people have an extra degree of responsibility toward their parents. All you need to do is fulfill this responsibility. Regardless of whether your parents are believers or not, regardless of whether they pursue their belief or not, regardless of whether their outlook on life and their humanity line up with yours or not, you just need to fulfill your responsibility to them. You do not need to avoid them—just let everything take its natural course, according to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. If they hinder your belief in God, then you should still fulfill your filial responsibilities to the best of your ability, so that your conscience at least does not feel indebted to them. If they do not hinder you, and they support your belief in God, then you should also practice according to the principles, treating them well when it is fitting to do so. In sum, no matter what, God’s requirements of man do not change, and the truth principles that people should practice cannot change. In these matters, you simply need to uphold the principles, and fulfill the responsibilities that you are able to.
—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (4)
By what principle do God’s words ask that people treat others? Love what God loves, and hate what God hates: This is the principle that should be adhered to. God loves those who pursue the truth and are able to follow His will; these are also the people that we should love. Those who are not able to follow God’s will, who hate and rebel against God—these people are despised by God, and we should despise them, too. This is what God asks of man. If your parents do not believe in God, if they know full well that faith in God is the right path, and that it can lead to salvation, yet remain unreceptive, then there is no doubt that they are people who are sick of and hate the truth, and that they are people who resist and hate God—and God naturally abhors and despises them. Could you despise such parents? They oppose and revile God—in which case they are surely demons and Satans. Could you abhor and curse them? These are all real questions. If your parents prevent you from believing in God, how should you treat them? As is asked by God, you should love what God loves, and hate what God hates. During the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus said, “Who is My mother? And who are My brothers?” “For whoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.” These words already existed back in the Age of Grace, and now God’s words are even more clear: “Love what God loves, and hate what God hates.” These words cut straight to the point, yet people are often unable to grasp their true meaning. If a person is someone who denies and opposes God, who is cursed by God, but they are a parent or relative of yours, and not an evildoer as far as you can tell, and they treat you well, then you might find yourself unable to hate that person, and might even remain in close contact with them, your relationship unchanged. Hearing that God despises such people will trouble you, and you are unable to stand on the side of God and ruthlessly reject them. You’re always bound by emotion, and you cannot fully let go of them. What is the reason for this? This happens because your emotions are too strong, and they hinder you from practicing the truth. That person is good to you, so you can’t bring yourself to hate them. You could only hate them if they did hurt you. Would that hatred be in line with the truth principles? Also, you’re bound by traditional notions, thinking that they are a parent or relative, so if you hate them, you would be scorned by society and reviled by public opinion, condemned as unfilial, without a conscience, and not even human. You think you would suffer divine condemnation and punishment. Even if you want to hate them, your conscience won’t let you. Why does your conscience function this way? It’s because a way of thinking has been sown within you since you were a child, through the inheritance of your family, the education given to you by your parents, and the indoctrination of traditional culture. This way of thinking is rooted very deeply in your heart, and it makes you mistakenly believe that filial piety is perfectly natural and justified, and that anything inherited from your ancestors is always good. You learned it first and it remains dominant, creating a great stumbling block and disturbance in your faith and acceptance of the truth, leaving you unable to put God’s words into practice, and to love what God loves, hate what God hates. You know in your heart that your life came from God, not from your parents, and you also know that your parents not only don’t believe in God, but resist God, that God hates them and you should submit to God, stand on His side, but you just can’t bring yourself to hate them, even if you want to. You can’t turn that corner, you can’t steel your heart, and you cannot practice the truth. What’s the root of this? Satan uses this kind of traditional culture and notions of morality to bind your thoughts, your mind, and your heart, leaving you unable to accept God’s words; you have been possessed by these things of Satan, and rendered incapable of accepting God’s words. When you want to practice God’s words, these things cause disturbance within you, cause you to oppose the truth and God’s requirements, and make you powerless to rid yourself of the yoke of traditional culture. After struggling for a while, you compromise: You prefer to believe traditional notions of morality are correct and in line with the truth, and so you reject or forsake God’s words. You do not accept God’s words as the truth and you think nothing of being saved, feeling that you still live in this world, and can only survive by relying on these people. Unable to endure society’s recrimination, you would rather choose to give up the truth and God’s words, abandoning yourself to traditional notions of morality and the influence of Satan, preferring to offend God and not practice the truth. Is man not pitiful? Do they not have need of God’s salvation? Some people have believed in God for many years, but still have no insight into the matter of filial piety. They really do not understand the truth. They can never break through this barrier of worldly relationships; they do not have the courage, nor the confidence, let alone the determination, so they cannot love and obey God. Some people are able to see beyond this, and it is no easy thing indeed for them to say, “My parents don’t believe in God, and they stop me from believing. They are devils.” No unbelievers have faith that there is a God, or that He created the heavens and earth and all things, or that man is created by God. There are even some who say, “Life is given to man by their parents, and they should honor them.” Where does such a thought or view come from? Does it come from Satan? It is millennia of traditional culture that have educated and deluded man in this way, causing them to deny God’s creation and sovereignty. Without Satan’s deception and control, mankind would investigate God’s work and read His words, and they would know that they are created by God, that their life is given by God; they would know that everything they have is given by God, and that it is God whom they should thank. Should anyone do us a good turn, we should accept it from God—in particular our parents, who gave birth to and raised us; this is all arranged by God. God rules over all; man is just a tool for service. If someone can set their parents aside, or their husband (or wife) and children, in order to expend themselves for God, then that person will be stronger and have a greater sense of righteousness before Him.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Recognizing One’s Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform
One day, when you understand some of the truth, you will no longer think that your mother is the best person, or that your parents are the best people. You will realize that they are also members of the corrupt human race, and that their corrupt dispositions are all the same. All that sets them apart is the physical blood relationship with you. If they don’t believe in God, then they are the same as the unbelievers. You will no longer look at them from the perspective of a family member, or from the perspective of your fleshly relationship, but from the side of the truth. What are the main aspects you should look at? You should look at their views on belief in God, their views on the world, their views on handling matters, and most importantly, their attitudes toward God. If you assess these aspects accurately, you will be able to see clearly whether they are good or bad people. One day you may see clearly that they are people with corrupt dispositions just like you. It may be even clearer that they are not the kind-hearted people who have real love for you that you imagined them to be, nor are they able to lead you to the truth or onto the right path in life at all. You may see clearly that what they have done for you is of no great benefit to you, and that it is of no use to you in taking the right path in life. You may also find that many of their practices and opinions are contrary to the truth, that they are of the flesh, and that this makes you despise them, and feel aversion and hatred. If you come to see these things, you will then be able to treat your parents correctly in your heart, and you will no longer miss them, worry about them, or be unable to live apart from them. They have completed their mission as parents, so you will no longer treat them as the closest people to you or idolize them. Instead, you will treat them as ordinary people, and at that time, you will completely escape the bondage of emotions and truly emerge from your emotions and family affection. Once you’ve done that, you will realize that those things are not worth cherishing. At that point, you will see relatives, family, and fleshly relationships as stumbling blocks to understanding the truth, and to freeing yourself of emotions. It’s because you have that familial relationship with them—that fleshly relationship that paralyzes you, leads you astray, and makes you believe that they treat you the best, are the closest to you, care for you better than anyone, and love you the most—it’s all of this that makes you unable to clearly discern if they are good or bad people. Once you have truly walked away from these emotions, though you may still think of them from time to time, will you still miss them with all of your heart, dwell on them, and long for them the way you do now? You won’t. You won’t say: “The person I really can’t be without is my mother; she is the one who loves me, takes care of me, and cares for me the most.” When you have this level of perception, will you still cry when you think of them? No. This problem will be resolved. So with problems or matters that are causing you difficulty, if you haven’t gained that aspect of the truth and if you haven’t entered into that aspect of the truth reality, you will be trapped in such difficulties or states, and you will never be able to come out from them. If you treat these kinds of difficulties and problems as the key problems of life entry and then seek the truth to resolve them, then you will be able to enter into this aspect of the truth reality; unwittingly, you will learn your lesson from these difficulties and problems. When the problems are resolved, you will feel that you are not as close to your parents and family members, you will more clearly see their nature essence, and you will see what kind of people they truly are. When you see your loved ones clearly, you will say: “My mother does not accept the truth at all; she is actually sick of the truth and hates it. In her essence, she is an evil person, a devil. My father is a people-pleaser, standing on the side of my mother. He neither accepts nor practices the truth at all; he is not someone who pursues the truth. Based on my mother’s and father’s behavior, the two of them are nonbelievers; they are both devils. I have to completely forsake them, and draw clear boundaries with them.” In this way, you will stand on the side of the truth, and will be able to renounce them. When you are able to discern who they are, what kind of people they are, will you still have feelings for them? Will you still feel affection for them? Will you still have a fleshly relationship with them? You will not. Will you still need to restrain your emotions? (No.) So what do you actually rely on to resolve these difficulties? You rely on understanding the truth, on depending on God, and looking up to God. If you are clear on these things in your heart, then do you still need to restrain yourself? Do you still feel wronged? Do you still need to suffer such great pain? Do you still need others to fellowship with you and do ideological work? You do not, because you have already settled things yourself—it is a piece of cake. Coming back around, how do you resolve the issue of not wanting to think of or miss them? (Seek the truth to resolve it.) Those are big words that sound very official—but speak a little more practically. (Apply God’s words to see through to their essence; that is, discern them based on their essence. Then, we will be able to set aside our affection, and our fleshly relationship.) That’s right. You must base your discernment of people’s nature essence on the words of God. Without the revelation of the word of God, no one can see through to the nature essence of others. Only by being based in the words of God and the truth can one see through to people’s nature essence; only then can one solve the problem of human emotions at its source. Start first by leaving behind your affections and fleshly relationships; whoever your emotions are strongest for, that is who you should first analyze and discern. What do you think of this solution? (It’s good.) Some people say: “Discerning and analyzing the people for whom my feelings are strongest—that’s so callous!” The point of having you discern them is not so that you will sever relations with them—it is not so that you will cut off your parent-child relationships, nor is it so that you will totally forsake them, never to interact with them again. You should fulfill your responsibilities toward your loved ones, but you cannot be constrained or tangled up by them, because you are a follower of God; you must possess this principle. If you might still become constrained or tangled up by them, you cannot do your duty well, nor can you guarantee that you can follow God to the end of the road. If you were not a follower of God or lover of the truth, then no one would require this of you.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Resolving One’s Corrupt Disposition Can Bring About True Transformation
How did Job treat his children? He just fulfilled his responsibility as a father, sharing the gospel and fellowshiping on the truth with them. However, whether or not they listened to him, whether or not they obeyed, Job didn’t force them to believe in God—he didn’t drag them kicking and screaming, or interfere in their lives. Their ideas and opinions were different to his own, so he did not interfere with what they did, and did not interfere with what sort of path they were taking. Did Job seldom speak to his children about believing in God? He certainly would have had enough words with them about this, but they refused to listen, and did not accept them. What was Job’s attitude toward that? “I have fulfilled my responsibility; as for what kind of path they take, that is up to what they choose, and it is up to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. If God does not work on them, or move them, I will not try to force them.” Therefore, Job did not pray for them before God, or cry tears of anguish over them, or fast for them or suffer in any way at all. He did not do these things. Why did Job not do any of these things? Because none of these were ways of submitting to God’s rule and arrangements; they all came out of human ideas and were ways of actively forcing matters. When Job’s children would not take the same path as he did, this was his attitude; so when his children died, what was his attitude? Did he cry or not? Did he vent his feelings? Did he feel hurt? The Bible contains no record of any of these things. When Job saw his children die, did he feel heartbroken or sad? (He did.) Speaking in terms of the affection he felt for his children, he certainly did feel that little bit of sadness, but he still submitted to God. How was his submission expressed? He said: “These children were given to me by God. Whether or not they believed in God, their lives are in God’s hands. If they had believed in God, and God wanted to take them away, He would still have done so; if they had not believed in God, they still would have been taken away if God had said they would be taken away. All of this is in God’s hands; otherwise, who could take people’s lives away?” In short, what is this to be taken to mean? “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). He maintained this attitude in the way he treated his children. Whether they were alive or dead, he continued to have this attitude. His method of practice was correct; in every way he practiced, in the viewpoint, attitude and state with which he treated everything, he was always in a position and state of submitting, waiting, seeking, and then achieving knowledge. This attitude is very important. If people never have this kind of attitude in anything they do, and have especially strong personal ideas and place personal intentions and benefit before all else, then are they really submitting? (No.) In such people genuine submission cannot be seen; they are unable to achieve genuine submission.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Principles of the Practice of Submitting to God
Another side of Job’s humanity is demonstrated in this exchange between him and his wife: “Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die. But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:9–10). Seeing the torment he was suffering, Job’s wife tried to give Job advice to help him escape his torment, yet her “good intentions” did not gain Job’s approval; instead, they stirred his anger, for she denied his faith in, and obedience to Jehovah God, and also denied the existence of Jehovah God. This was intolerable to Job, for he had never allowed himself to do anything that opposed or hurt God, to say nothing of others. How could he remain indifferent when he saw others speak words that blasphemed against and insulted God? Thus he called his wife a “foolish woman.” Job’s attitude toward his wife was one of anger and hate, as well as reproach and reprimand. This was the natural expression of Job’s humanity—differentiating between love and hate—and it was a true representation of his upright humanity. Job was possessed of a sense of justice—one which made him hate the winds and tides of wickedness, and loathe, condemn, and reject absurd heresy, ridiculous arguments, and ludicrous assertions, and allowed him to hold true to his own, correct principles and stance when he had been rejected by the masses and deserted by those who were close to him.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II
Each person has their own destiny, and this is all predestined by God; no one can take charge of someone else’s fate. You need to stop stressing over your family and learn to let go and relinquish everything. How do you do this? One way is to pray to God. You must also contemplate how your relatives who do not believe in God pursue worldly things, wealth, and material comforts. They belong to Satan, and they’re a different type of person than you. You’ll lead a life of suffering if you don’t fulfill your duty and you live among them. Since you view matters differently from them, you won’t get along well but will instead be tormented. There will be only pain and no happiness. Can affection bring you peace and joy? Catering to the flesh will bring you nothing but suffering, emptiness, and lifelong regret. This is something you need to grasp thoroughly. So, missing your family is unilateral; it’s being needlessly sentimental! You’re walking a different path than they are. Your outlook on life, worldview, path in life, and goals of pursuit are all different. You aren’t with your family now, but because you’re related by blood, you always feel that you’re close to them and that you’re one family. However, when you actually are living with them, just a few days of dealing with them will leave you completely annoyed. They’re full of lies; what they say is all false, sweet talk, and deceitful. Their way of behaving and dealing with the world is all based on satanic philosophy and life maxims. Their thoughts and views are all wrong and absurd, and they’re simply unbearable to hear. Then you’ll think to yourself, “I used to have them on my mind all the time, and I was constantly afraid that they weren’t living well. But living with these people now is truly insufferable!” You’ll be repulsed by them. You haven’t yet figured out what kind of people they are, so you still think that family ties are more important and more real than anything else. You’re still constrained by affection. Try to let those things of affection go however you can. If you can’t, then put your duty first. God’s commission and your mission are most important. Fulfilling your duty first tops everything else, and don’t bother for now with those things of your relatives in the flesh. When your commission and your duty are fulfilled, the truth becomes clearer and clearer to you, your relationship with God becomes more and more normal, your God-obeying heart grows ever greater, and your God-fearing heart grows ever greater and more evident, then the state in you will change. Once your state changes, your worldly views and affections will fade, you won’t seek those things anymore, and your heart will just want to seek how to love God, how to satisfy Him, how to live in a manner that pleases Him, and how to live with the truth. Once your heart strives toward this, things to do with affections of the flesh will slowly fade, and they won’t be able to bind or control you anymore.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
Those who drag their utterly unbelieving children and relatives into church are all extremely selfish, and they are just exhibiting kindness. These people only focus on being loving, regardless of whether they believe or not and regardless of whether it is God’s will. Some bring their wives before God, or drag their parents before God, and whether or not the Holy Spirit agrees with this or is working in them, they blindly continue to “adopt talented people” for God. What benefit can possibly be gained from extending kindness toward these nonbelievers? Even if they, who are without the presence of the Holy Spirit, struggle to follow God, they still cannot be saved as one might believe. Those who can receive salvation are not actually so easy to obtain. People who have not undergone the Holy Spirit’s work and trials, and have not been perfected by God incarnate, are utterly incapable of being made complete. Therefore, from the moment they begin to nominally follow God, those people lack the Holy Spirit’s presence. In light of their conditions and actual states, they simply cannot be made complete. As such, the Holy Spirit decides not to expend much energy upon them, nor does He provide any enlightenment or guide them in any way; He merely allows them to follow along, and will ultimately reveal their outcomes—this is enough. Humanity’s enthusiasm and intentions come from Satan, and in no way can these things complete the Holy Spirit’s work. No matter what people are like, they must have the work of the Holy Spirit. Can humans make humans complete? Why does a husband love his wife? Why does a wife love her husband? Why are children dutiful to their parents? Why do parents dote on their children? What sorts of intentions do people actually harbor? Is their intent not to satisfy their own plans and selfish desires? Do they truly mean to act for the sake of God’s management plan? Are they really acting for the sake of God’s work? Is their intent to fulfill the duties of a created being? Those who, ever since the moment they began to believe in God, have been unable to attain the presence of the Holy Spirit, can never gain the work of the Holy Spirit; these people are decidedly objects to be destroyed. No matter how much love one has for them, it cannot replace the work of the Holy Spirit. People’s enthusiasm and love represent human intentions, but cannot represent God’s intentions, and nor can they be a substitute for God’s work. Even if one extends the greatest possible amount of love or mercy toward those people who nominally believe in God and pretend to follow Him without knowing what it actually means to believe in God, they will still not obtain God’s sympathy, nor will they gain the work of the Holy Spirit. Even if people who sincerely follow God are of poor caliber and unable to understand a lot of truths, they can still occasionally gain the work of the Holy Spirit; however, those who are of considerably good caliber, but do not sincerely believe, simply cannot gain the Holy Spirit’s presence. There is absolutely no possibility for salvation with such people. Even if they read God’s words or occasionally listen to sermons, or even sing praises to God, they will ultimately not be able to survive until the time of rest.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together
Those words spoken in the past, “When one believes in the Lord, fortune smiles upon one’s entire family,” are suitable for the Age of Grace, but are unrelated to humanity’s destination. They were only appropriate for a stage during the Age of Grace. The connotation of those words was directed at the peace and material blessings that people enjoyed; they did not mean that the entire family of one who believes in the Lord will be saved, nor did they mean that when one receives blessings, one’s entire family can also be brought into rest. Whether one receives blessings or suffers misfortune is determined according to one’s essence, not according to any common essence one might share with others. That sort of saying or rule simply has no place in the kingdom. If a person is ultimately able to survive, it is because they have met God’s requirements, and if they are ultimately unable to remain until the time of rest, it is because they have been disobedient toward God and have not satisfied God’s requirements. Everyone has a suitable destination. These destinations are determined according to each individual’s essence, and have absolutely nothing to do with other people. A child’s wicked behavior cannot be transferred to their parents, nor can a child’s righteousness be shared with their parents. A parent’s wicked behavior cannot be transferred to their children, nor can a parent’s righteousness be shared with their children. Everyone bears their respective sins, and everyone enjoys their respective blessings. No one can be a substitute for another person; this is righteousness. From man’s perspective, if parents receive blessings, then their children should be able to, too, and if children commit evil, then their parents must atone for those sins. This is a human perspective and a human way of doing things; it is not God’s perspective. Everyone’s outcome is determined according to the essence that comes from their conduct, and it is always determined appropriately. No one can bear the sins of another; even more so, no one can receive punishment in another’s stead. This is absolute. A parent’s doting care for their children does not indicate that they can perform righteous deeds in their children’s stead, nor does the dutiful affection of a child to their parents mean that they can perform righteous deeds in their parents’ stead. This is what is truly meant by the words, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” People cannot take their evildoing children into rest on the basis of their deep love for them, nor can anyone take their wife (or husband) into rest on the basis of their own righteous conduct. This is an administrative rule; there can be no exceptions for anyone. In the end, doers of righteousness are doers of righteousness, and evildoers are evildoers. The righteous will eventually be allowed to survive, while the evildoers will be destroyed. The holy are holy; they are not filthy. The filthy are filthy, and not one part of them is holy. The people who will be destroyed are all the wicked ones, and the ones who will survive are all the righteous—even if the children of the wicked ones perform righteous deeds, and even if the parents of the righteous ones commit evil deeds. There is no relationship between a believing husband and an unbelieving wife, and there is no relationship between believing children and unbelieving parents; these two types of people are completely incompatible. Prior to entering into rest, one has physical relatives, but once one has entered into rest, one will no longer have any physical relatives to speak of. Those who do their duty are enemies of those who do not; those who love God and those who hate Him are in opposition to one another. Those who will enter into rest and those who will have been destroyed are two incompatible types of creatures. Creatures that fulfill their duties will be able to survive, while those that do not fulfill their duties will be objects of destruction; what is more, this shall last through eternity. Do you love your husband in order to fulfill your duty as a created being? Do you love your wife in order to fulfill your duty as a created being? Are you dutiful to your unbelieving parents in order to fulfill your duty as a created being? Is the human view on believing in God right or wrong? Why do you believe in God? What do you wish to gain? How do you love God? Those who cannot fulfill their duties as created beings, and who cannot make an all-out effort, will become objects of destruction. There are physical relationships that exist between the people of today, as well as associations by blood, but in the future, these will all be shattered. Believers and unbelievers are not compatible; rather, they are opposed to one another. Those in rest will believe that there is a God and will submit to God, whereas those who are disobedient to God will all have been destroyed. Families will no longer exist upon earth; how could there be parents or children or spousal relationships? The very incompatibility of belief and unbelief will have utterly severed such physical relationships!
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together
Once humankind has entered into rest, the evildoers will have been destroyed and all of humanity will be on the right track; all the types of people will be with their own kind in accordance with the functions that they should carry out. Only this will be humanity’s day of rest, it will be the inevitable trend for humanity’s development, and only when humanity enters into rest will God’s great and ultimate accomplishment reach completion; this will be the final part of His work. This work will end all of humanity’s decadent life of the flesh, as well as the life of corrupt humanity. Humans shall thenceforth enter into a new realm. Though all humans will live in the flesh, there will be significant differences between the essence of this life and the life of corrupt humanity. The significance of this existence and that of the existence of corrupt humanity also differ. Although this will not be the life of a new kind of person, it can be said to be the life of a humanity that has received salvation, as well as a life in which humanity and reason have been regained. These are people who once were disobedient to God, who have been conquered by God and then saved by Him; these are people who dishonored God and later bore witness to Him. After they have undergone and survived His test, their existence will be the most meaningful existence; they are people who bore witness to God before Satan, and are humans who are fit to live. Those who will be destroyed are the ones who cannot stand witness to God and are not fit to go on living. Their destruction shall be a result of their wicked behavior, and such annihilation is the best destination for them. In the future, when humanity enters the beautiful realm, there will be none of the relationships between husband and wife, between father and daughter, or between mother and son that people imagine they will find. At that time, each human will follow their own kind, and families will already have been shattered. Having completely failed, Satan will never disturb humanity again, and humans will no longer have corrupt satanic dispositions. Those disobedient people will already have been destroyed, and only the people who submit will remain. As such, very few families will survive intact; how can physical relationships continue to exist? Humanity’s previous life of the flesh will be utterly banned; how can physical relationships then exist between people? Without corrupt satanic dispositions, human life will no longer be the old life of the past, but rather a new life. Parents will lose children, and children will lose parents. Husbands will lose wives, and wives will lose husbands. Physical relationships currently exist between people, but they will exist no longer once everyone has entered into rest. Only this sort of humanity will possess righteousness and holiness; only this sort of humanity can worship God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together
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