31. How to practice being an honest person
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
Honesty means giving your heart to God, being genuine with God in all things, being open with Him in all things, never hiding the facts, not trying to deceive those above and below you, and not doing things only to curry favor with God. In short, to be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. What I say is very simple, but to you it is doubly arduous. Many people would rather be condemned to hell than speak and act honestly. Little wonder that I have other treatment in store for those who are dishonest. Of course, I know full well how difficult it is for you to be honest. Because you are all so clever, so good at measuring people with your own petty yardstick, this makes My work much simpler. And since you each hug your secrets to your bosom, well then, I shall send you, one by one, into disaster to be “schooled” by fire, so that thereafter you may become dead set on your belief in My words. Ultimately, I shall wrest from your mouth the words “God is a faithful God,” whereupon you shall beat upon your breast and lament, “Devious is the heart of man!” What will be your state of mind at this time? I imagine you will not be as triumphant as you are now. And much less will you be as “profound and abstruse” as you are now. In the presence of God, some people are all prim and proper, they take pains to be “well-behaved,” yet they bare their fangs and brandish their claws in the presence of the Spirit. Would you number such people among the ranks of the honest? If you are a hypocrite, someone who is skilled in “interpersonal relations,” then I say that you are definitely someone who tries to trifle with God. If your words are riddled with excuses and valueless justifications, then I say that you are someone who is loath to put the truth into practice. If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, if you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily, and who will not easily emerge from the darkness. If seeking the way of the truth pleases you well, then you are someone who dwells always in the light. If you are very glad to be a service-doer in the house of God, working diligently and conscientiously in obscurity, always giving and never taking, then I say that you are a loyal saint, because you seek no reward and are simply being an honest person. If you are willing to be candid, if you are willing to expend your all, if you are able to sacrifice your life for God and stand firm in your testimony, if you are honest to the point where you know only to satisfy God and not to consider yourself or take for yourself, then I say that such people are those who are nourished in the light and who shall live forever in the kingdom.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Three Admonitions
Today, most people are too afraid to bring their actions before God; while you may deceive His flesh, you cannot deceive His Spirit. Any matter that cannot withstand God’s scrutiny is at odds with the truth, and should be cast aside; to do otherwise is to commit a sin against God. So, you must lay your heart before God at all times, when you pray, when you speak and fellowship with your brothers and sisters, and when you perform your duty and go about your business. When you fulfill your function, God is with you, and so long as your intent is correct and is for the work of God’s house, He will accept all that you do; you should sincerely devote yourself to fulfilling your function. When you pray, if you have a God-loving heart and seek God’s care, protection and scrutiny, if these things are your intent, your prayers will be effective. For example, when you pray at meetings, if you open your heart and pray to God and tell Him what is in your heart without speaking falsehoods, then your prayers will surely be effective. …
To be a believer in God means that all you do must be brought before Him and made subject to His scrutiny. If what you do can be brought before God’s Spirit but not before God’s flesh, this shows that you have not come under scrutiny by His Spirit. Who is the Spirit of God? Who is the person to whom God bears witness? Are They not one and the same? Most see Them as two separate beings, believing God’s Spirit is God’s Spirit, and the person to whom God bears witness is merely a human. But are you not mistaken? On whose behalf does this person work? Those who do not know God incarnate do not have spiritual understanding. God’s Spirit and His incarnate flesh are one, because God’s Spirit is materialized in the flesh. If this person is unkind to you, will God’s Spirit be kind? Are you not confused? Today, all who cannot accept God’s scrutiny cannot receive His approval, and those who do not know God incarnate cannot be perfected. Look at all that you do, and see if it can be brought before God. If you cannot bring all that you do before God, this shows that you are an evildoer. Can evildoers be perfected? All that you do, every action, every intention, and every reaction should be brought before God. Even your daily spiritual life—your prayers, your closeness to God, how you eat and drink of God’s words, your fellowship with your brothers and sisters, and your life within the church—and your service in partnership can be brought before God for His scrutiny. It is such practice that will help you achieve growth in life. The process of accepting God’s scrutiny is the process of purification. The more you can accept God’s scrutiny, the more you are purified and the more you are in accord with God’s will, so that you will not be drawn into debauchery, and your heart will live in His presence. The more you accept His scrutiny, the greater are Satan’s humiliation and your ability to forsake the flesh. So, the acceptance of God’s scrutiny is a path of practice people should follow. No matter what you do, even when communing with your brothers and sisters, you can bring your acts before God and seek His scrutiny and aim to obey God Himself; this will make what you practice much more correct. Only if you bring all you do before God and accept God’s scrutiny can you be someone who lives in the presence of God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Perfects Those Who Are After His Own Heart
To pursue being an honest person, you must behave in accordance with God’s requirements; you must undergo judgment, chastisement, being dealt with and pruned. When your corrupt disposition is cleansed and you are able to practice the truth and live by God’s words, only then will you be an honest person. People who are ignorant, foolish, and guileless are absolutely not honest people. By demanding that people be honest, God is asking them to possess normal humanity, to cast off their deceitfulness and disguises, to not lie to or trick others, to perform their duty with loyalty, and be able to truly love and obey Him. Only these individuals are the people of God’s kingdom. God demands that people be the good soldiers of Christ. What are the good soldiers of Christ? They must be equipped with the truth reality and be of one heart and mind with Christ. At any time and any place, they must be able to exalt and testify to God, and able to use the truth to wage war with Satan. In all things, they must stand on God’s side, bear testimony, and live out the truth reality. They must be able to humiliate Satan and win marvelous victories for God. That is what it means to be a good soldier of Christ. The good soldiers of Christ are overcomers, they are those who overcome Satan. In requiring that people be honest and not deceitful, God is not asking them to be fools, but to rid themselves of their deceitful dispositions, achieve submission to Him and bring glory to Him. This is what can be achieved by practicing the truth. This is not a change in one’s behavior, it is not a matter of speaking more or speaking less, nor is it about how one acts. Rather, it is about the intent behind one’s speech and actions, one’s thoughts and ideas, one’s ambitions and desires. Everything that belongs to outpourings of corrupt disposition and to error must be changed at its root, so that it aligns with the truth. If one is to achieve a change in disposition, they must be able to see through to the essence of Satan’s disposition. If you can see through to the essence of a deceitful disposition, that it is Satan’s disposition and the face of the devil, if you can hate Satan and forsake the devil, then it will be easy for you to cast off your corrupt disposition. If you do not know that there is a deceitful state within you, if you do not recognize the outpourings of a deceitful disposition, then you will not know how to seek the truth to resolve this, and it will be hard for you to change your deceitful disposition. You must first recognize what things pour forth from you, and which aspect of a corrupt disposition they are. If the things that you reveal are of a deceitful disposition, will you despise it in your heart? And if you do, how should you change? You have to deal with your intents and correct your views. You must first seek the truth on this matter to resolve your problems, strive to achieve what God asks and satisfy Him, and become someone who does not try to trick God or other people, even those who are a little foolish or ignorant. Trying to trick someone who is foolish or ignorant is very immoral—it makes you the devil. To be an honest person, you must not trick or lie to anyone. To devils and Satan, however, you must choose your words wisely; if you do not, you are liable to be made a fool of by them and bring shame upon God. Only by choosing your words wisely and practicing the truth, will you be able to overcome and shame Satan. People who are ignorant, foolish, and stubborn will never be able to understand the truth; they can only be duped, toyed with, and trampled by Satan, and ultimately, devoured.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Knowledge of the Six Kinds of Corrupt Dispositions Is True Self-Knowledge
What is the most important practice for an honest individual? It is the act of opening up one’s heart to God. But what does it mean to open up? It means sharing your thoughts, intent, and the things you are governed by with Him, and then seeking the truth from Him. God sees everything with exceptional clarity, regardless of what you disclose. If you can express your feelings to God, open up to Him about the things you hide from others, clearly stating them without hiding anything, and expressing your thoughts as they are, without any intent, then this is openness. Sometimes, speaking honestly may hurt or offend others. In such instances, would anyone say, “You speak with too much honesty, it’s too hurtful, and I can’t accept it”? No, they would not. Even if you occasionally say something that does hurt others, if you open up and apologize, acknowledging that your words lacked wisdom and that you were unsympathetic to their weakness, they will recognize your lack of ill-intent. They will understand that you are an honest person who simply communicates in a straightforward and tactless manner. They will not argue with you, and in their hearts, they will like you. In this way, can there be barriers between you? If there are no barriers, conflicts can be avoided, and problems can be swiftly resolved, allowing you to live in a state of liberation and relaxation. This is the meaning of “only honest people can live happily.” The most important part of being an honest person is opening up to God first and then learning to open up to others. Speak honestly, sincerely, and from the heart. Strive to be a person of dignity, character, and integrity, avoid speaking in empty pleasantries or in a deceitful manner, and refrain from speaking in a deceptive or misleading way. Another aspect of being an honest person is performing your duty with an honest attitude and an honest heart. At the very least, rely on your conscience to guide your actions, strive to adhere to the truth principles, and strive to meet God’s requirements. It is not enough to merely acknowledge these things verbally, and simply adopting a certain attitude does not mean you are practicing the truth. Where is the reality of being an honest person in that? Merely chanting slogans without practical action is not enough. When God examines individuals, He scrutinizes not only their hearts, but also their actions, behaviors, and practices. If you claim that you wish to be an honest person but when anything befalls you, you are still able to lie and deceive, is this the behavior of an honest person? No, it is not; it is saying one thing but meaning another. You say one thing and do another, glibly deceiving others and acting sanctimoniously. You are just like the Pharisees who could recite all the scriptures forward and backward while explaining them to people, but failed to practice according to the scriptures when anything befell them. They were constantly driven by a desire for the benefits of status, unwilling to relinquish their reputations, profits, and status. The Pharisees were hypocritical in this way. They did not walk the correct path, their path was not the right path, and God detests their kind.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only an Honest Person Can Live Out True Human Likeness
To practice being an honest person, you first need to learn to open your heart to God and say heartfelt words to Him in prayer every day. For example, if you told a lie today that went unnoticed by other people, but you lacked the courage to open up to everyone, at the very least, you should bring the mistakes that you have examined and discovered and the lies you have told before God for reflection, and say: “Oh God, I have lied again to protect my own interests, and I was wrong. Please discipline me if I lie again.” God is pleased with such an attitude and He will remember it. It may require strenuous effort for you to resolve this corrupt disposition of telling lies, but don’t worry, God is by your side. He will guide you and help you to overcome this recurring difficulty, giving you the courage to go from never acknowledging your lies to acknowledging your lies and being able to openly reveal yourself. Not only will you acknowledge your lies, but you will also be able to openly reveal why you lie, and the intent and motives behind your lies. When you have the courage to break through this barrier, break through Satan’s cage and control, and progressively reach a point where you no longer lie, you will gradually come to live in the light, under God’s guidance and blessing. When you break through the barrier of fleshly control, and are able to submit to the truth, openly reveal yourself, publicly declare your stance, and have no reservations, you will be liberated and free. When you live this way, not only will people like you, but God will also be pleased. Although you may sometimes still make mistakes and tell lies, and you may sometimes still have personal intentions, ulterior motives, or selfish and despicable behaviors and thoughts, you will be able to accept God’s scrutiny, revealing your intentions, actual state, and corrupt dispositions before Him and seeking the truth from Him. When you have understood the truth, you will then have a path of practice. When your path of practice is correct, and you move in the right direction, your future will be beautiful and bright. In this way, you will live with your heart at peace, your spirit will be nourished, and you will feel fulfilled and gratified. If you cannot break free from the control of the flesh, if you constantly succumb to emotions, personal interests, and satanic philosophies, speak and act in a secretive manner, and always hide in the shadows, then you are living under Satan’s power. However, if you understand the truth, break free of the control of the flesh, and practice the truth, you will gradually come to possess human likeness. You will be frank and straightforward in your words and deeds, and you will be able to reveal your opinions, ideas, and the mistakes you have made, allowing everyone to see them clearly. In the end, people will recognize you as a transparent person. What is a transparent person? It is someone who speaks with exceptional honesty, whose words everyone believes to be true. Even if they unintentionally lie or say something wrong, people are able to forgive them, knowing that it was unintentional. If they realize they have lied or said something wrong, they apologize and correct themselves. This is a transparent person. Such a person is liked and trusted by everyone. You need to reach this level to gain God’s trust and the trust of others. This is not a simple task—it is the highest level of dignity that a person can possess. A person like this has self-respect. If you are unable to gain the trust of other people, how can you expect to earn the trust of God? There are individuals who lead dishonorable lives, constantly fabricating lies and approaching tasks in a careless and perfunctory way. They don’t have the slightest sense of responsibility, they reject being pruned and dealt with, they always resort to specious arguments and are disliked by everyone who encounters them. They live without any sense of shame. Can they truly be regarded as human beings? People who are perceived as obnoxious and unreliable by others have completely lost their humanity. If others cannot place their trust in them, can God trust them? If others harbor dislike toward them, can God like them? God abhors and is fed up with such people, and they will inevitably be cast out. As a human being, one must be honest and honor one’s commitments. Whether performing deeds for others or for God, one must keep their word. When one has earned people’s trust and can satisfy and assure God, they are then a relatively honest person. If you are trustworthy in your actions, not only will others like you, but God will also surely like you. By being an honest individual, you can please God and live with dignity. Therefore, honesty should be the foundation of one’s conduct.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only an Honest Person Can Live Out True Human Likeness
To be an honest person, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can look into it, see all that you are thinking, and look upon your true face. You must not try to disguise yourself, or cover yourself up. Only then will others trust you and consider you to be an honest person. This is the most fundamental practice, and a prerequisite to being an honest person. If you are always pretending, always feigning holiness, nobility, greatness, and high character; if you do not let people see your corruption and your flaws; if you present a false image to people so that they believe you have integrity, that you’re great, self-denying, just, and selfless—is this not deceitfulness and falsity? Will people not be able to see through you, given time? So, do not put on a disguise or cover yourself up. Instead, lay yourself and your heart bare for others to see. If you can lay your heart bare for others to see, if you can lay bare all your thoughts and plans—both positive and negative—isn’t that honesty? If you can lay yourself bare for others to see, then God, too, will see you. He will say: “If you have laid yourself bare for others to see, then you are surely honest before Me.” But if you only lay yourself bare to God when out of view of other people, and always pretend to be great and noble or selfless when in their company, then what will God think of you? What will He say? He will say: “You are a thoroughly deceitful person. You are thoroughly hypocritical and vile, and you are not an honest person.” God will thus condemn you. If you wish to be an honest person, then regardless of whether you are before God or other people, you should be able to provide a pure and open account of your inner state and the words in your heart. Is this easy to achieve? It requires a period of training, as well as frequent prayer and reliance on God. You must train yourself to speak the words in your heart simply and openly on all matters. With this kind of training, you can make progress. If you encounter a major difficulty, you must pray to God and seek the truth; you need to fight in your heart and overcome the flesh, until you can practice the truth. In training yourself this way, little by little, your heart will gradually open up. You will become more and more pure, and the effects of your words and actions will be different than before. Your lies and tricks will become fewer and fewer, and you will be able to live before God. You will then, essentially, have become an honest person.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person
Training oneself to be an honest person is mainly a matter of resolving the problem of telling lies, as well as resolving one’s corrupt disposition. Doing this involves a key practice: When you realize that you have lied to someone and tricked them, you should open up to them, lay yourself bare, and make an apology. This practice is of great benefit to the resolution of lying. For instance, if you have tricked someone or if there was some adulteration or personal intent to the words you spoke to them, you should then approach them and dissect yourself. You should tell them: “What I said to you was a lie, designed to protect my own pride. I felt uncomfortable after I said it, so I’m apologizing to you now. Please, forgive me.” That person will feel that this is quite refreshing. They’ll wonder how there could be a person who, having told a lie, will then apologize for it. Courage like that is something they really admire. What benefits does one gain from having engaged in such practice? Its purpose is not to gain the admiration of others, but to more effectively restrain and inhibit oneself from lying. So, after lying, you must practice apologizing for having done so. The more you train yourself to practice dissecting, laying yourself bare, and apologizing to people in this way, the better the results will be—and the number of lies you tell will grow smaller and smaller. Practicing dissecting and laying yourself bare in order to be an honest person and restrain yourself from lying requires courage, and apologizing to someone after lying to them requires even more courage. If you practice this for a year or two—or perhaps for three to five years—you are guaranteed to see clear results, and it will not be difficult to rid yourselves of lies. Ridding oneself of lies is the first step toward becoming an honest person, and it cannot be taken without three or five years of effort. After the problem of lying has been resolved, the second step is to resolve the problem of deception and trickery. Sometimes, trickery and deception do not require a person to lie—these things can be accomplished through action alone. A person may not outwardly lie, but they might still harbor deception and trickery in their heart. They will know this better than anyone else, because they have thought about it deeply and considered it carefully. It will be easy for them to recognize upon later reflection. Once the problem of lying has been resolved, resolving the problems of deception and trickery will be a little easier by comparison. But one must possess a God-fearing heart, for man is governed by intent when he engages in deception and trickery. Others cannot perceive this from the outside, nor can they discern it. Only God can scrutinize this, and only He knows about it. Therefore, one can only resolve the problems of deception and trickery by relying on prayer to God and accepting His scrutiny. If one does not love the truth or fear God in their heart, their deception and trickery cannot be resolved. You may pray before God and admit your mistakes, you may confess and repent, or you may analyze your corrupt disposition—stating truthfully what you were thinking at the time, what you said, what your intent was, and how you engaged in deception. This is all relatively easy to do. However, if you are asked to lay yourself bare to another person, you might lose your courage and resolution because you want to save face. It will then be very difficult for you to practice opening up and laying yourself bare. Perhaps you’re able to admit, in a general way, that you occasionally find yourself speaking or acting based on your own personal aims and intent; that there is a level of deceit, adulteration, lies or trickery in the things you do or say. But then, when something happens and you are made to dissect yourself, exposing how things played out from beginning to end, explaining which of the words you spoke were deceptive, what intent was behind them, what you were thinking, and whether or not you were being malicious or sinister, you don’t want to go into specifics or give details. Some people will even gloss over things, saying: “That’s just the way things are. I’m just quite a deceitful, insidious, and unreliable person.” This shows their inability to properly face their corrupt essence, or how deceitful and insidious they are. These people are always in a mode and a state of evasion. They are always forgiving and accommodating themselves, and are unable to suffer or pay a price to practice the truth of being an honest person. Many people have been preaching the words and doctrines for years, always saying: “I’m so deceitful and insidious, there’s often trickery in my actions, and I don’t treat people sincerely at all.” But after shouting that for so many years, they remain just as deceitful as they were before, because one never hears genuine dissection or remorse from them when they reveal this deceitful state. They never lay themselves bare to others or apologize after lying or tricking people, much less do they fellowship about their experiential testimony of self-dissection and self-knowledge in gatherings. Nor do they ever say how they came to know themselves or how they repented with regard to such matters. They do none of these things, which proves that they do not know themselves and have not truly repented. When they say they are deceitful and want to be an honest person, they simply shout slogans and preach doctrine, nothing more. It may be that they do these things because they are trying to swim with the tide and follow the herd. Or, it may be that the environment of church life compels them to go through the motions and put up a front. Either way, such shouters of slogans and preachers of doctrine will never truly repent, and they will definitely not be able to attain God’s salvation.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person
To practice being honest, you must have a path, and you must have an aim. First, resolve the problem of telling lies. You must know the essence behind your telling of these lies. You must also dissect what intents and motives drive you to speak these lies, why you are possessed of such intents, and what their essence is. When you have clarified all these issues, you will have thoroughly seen through the problem of lying, and when something befalls you, you will have principles to practice. If you carry on with such practice and experience, then you will surely see results. One day you’ll say: “It’s easy being honest. Being deceitful is so tiring! I don’t want to be a deceitful person anymore, always having to think about what lies to tell and how to cover up my lies. It’s like being a person with a mental illness, speaking in contradictions—someone who doesn’t deserve to be called ‘human’! That sort of life is so tiring, and I don’t want to live like that anymore!” At this time, you’ll have a hope of being truly honest, and it will prove that you have begun to make progress toward being an honest person. This is a breakthrough. Of course, there may be some of you who, when you begin to practice, will be mortified after speaking honest words and laying yourselves bare. Your face will go red, you will feel ashamed, and you will fear the laughter of others. What should you do, then? Still, you must pray to God and ask that He give you strength. You say: “Oh God, I want to be an honest person, but I’m afraid that people will laugh at me when I speak the truth. I ask that You rescue me from the bondage of my satanic disposition; let me live by Your words, and be freed and liberated.” When you pray like this, there will be ever more brightness within your heart, and you will say to yourself: “It’s good to put this into practice. Today, I have practiced the truth. Finally, I’ve been an honest person for once.” As you pray like this, God will enlighten you. He will work in your heart, and He will move you, allowing you to appreciate how it feels to be an honest person. This is how the truth must be put into practice. At the very start you will have no path, but through seeking the truth you will find a path. When people begin seeking the truth, they don’t necessarily have faith. Not having a path is hard for people, but once they understand the truth and have a path of practice, their hearts find enjoyment in it. If they are able to practice the truth and act according to principles, their hearts will find comfort, and they will gain freedom and liberation.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person
Practicing honesty covers many aspects. In other words, the standard for being honest is not merely achieved through one regard; you must be up to standard in many regards before you can be honest. Some people always think that they need only manage not to lie in order to be honest. Is this view correct? Does being honest merely involve not lying? No—it also relates to several other aspects. Firstly, no matter what you are faced with, be it something you have seen with your own eyes or something someone else has told you, be it interacting with people or sorting out a problem, be it the duty you ought to be performing or something that God has entrusted to you, you must always approach it with an honest heart. How should one practice approaching things with an honest heart? Say what you think and speak honestly; do not speak empty, pompous, or pleasant-sounding words, do not say flattering or hypocritical false things, but speak the words that are in your heart. This is being someone honest. Expressing the true thoughts and views that are in your heart—this is what honest people are supposed to do. If you never say what you think, and the words fester in your heart, and what you say is always at odds with what you think, that is not what an honest person does. For example, suppose that you do not perform your duty well, and when people ask what is going on, you say, “I want to do my duty well, but for various reasons, I have not.” Actually, you know in your heart that you were not diligent, but you do not tell the truth. Instead you find all kinds of reasons, justifications, and excuses to cover up the facts and to avoid responsibility. Is that what an honest person does? (No.) You fool people and muddle through by saying these things. But the essence of what is inside you, of the intentions within you, is a corrupt disposition. If you cannot bring the things and intentions within you out into the open and dissect them, they cannot be purified—and that is no small matter! You must speak truthfully, “I’ve been procrastinating a bit in doing my duty. I have been careless, perfunctory, and inattentive. When I’m in a good mood, I can give a little effort. When I’m in a bad mood, I slack off and don’t want to put in the effort, and covet the comforts of the flesh. So, my attempts to do my duty are ineffective. The situation has been turning around these past few days, and I’m trying to give my all, improve my efficiency, and perform my duty well.” This is speaking from the heart. The other way of speaking was not from the heart. Due to your fear of being dealt with, of people discovering your problems, and of people holding you accountable, you found all kinds of reasons, justifications, and excuses to cover up the facts, first getting other people to stop talking about the situation, then shifting responsibility, in order to avoid being dealt with. This is the source of your lies. No matter how much liars talk, some of what they say is sure to be truth and factual. But some key things they say will contain a bit of falsity and a bit of their motive. So, it is very important to discern and differentiate what is true and what is false. This is not easy to do, however. Some of what they say will be tainted and embellished, some of what they say will accord with the facts, and some of what they say will contradict the facts; with fact and fiction thus muddled, it is hard to distinguish the true from the false. This is the most deceitful kind of person, and the most difficult to identify. If they cannot accept the truth or practice honesty, they will definitely be cast out. Which is the path that people should choose, then? Which one is the way to practice honesty? You should learn to speak the truth and be able to fellowship openly about your real states and problems. That is how honest people practice, and such practice is correct. People who possess conscience and sense are all willing to strive to be honest. Only honest people feel truly joyful and at ease, and only by practicing the truth to achieve submission to God can one enjoy real happiness.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only an Honest Person Can Live Out True Human Likeness
When you interact with others, you must first have them perceive your true heart and sincerity. If, in speaking and working together and making contact with others, someone’s words are perfunctory, grandiloquent, pleasantries, flattery, irresponsible, and imaginary, or if they simply speak to seek the other’s favor, then their words lack all credibility, and they are not sincere in the least. This is their mode of interaction with others, no matter who those others are. Such a person does not have an honest heart. This is not an honest person. Say someone is in a negative state, and they say to you sincerely: “Tell me why, exactly, I’m so negative. I just can’t figure it out!” And suppose you do, in fact, understand their problem in your heart, but you do not tell them, instead saying: “It’s nothing. You’re not being negative; I get that way, too.” These words are a great consolation to that person, but your attitude is not sincere. You are being perfunctory with them; so as to make them feel more comfortable and consoled, you have refrained from speaking honestly with them. You are not helping them in earnest and putting their problem plainly, so that they can leave their negativity behind. You have not done what an honest person should. All for the sake of trying to console them and make sure there is no estrangement or conflict between you, you have been perfunctory with them—and this is not what it is to be an honest person. So, to be an honest person, what should you do when encountering this kind of situation? You need to tell them what you have seen and identified: “I will tell you what I have seen and what I have experienced. You decide whether what I say is right or wrong. If it’s wrong, you don’t have to accept it. If it’s right, I hope you will. If I say something that is hard for you to hear and hurts you, I hope you can accept it from God. My intention and purpose is to help you. I see the issue clearly: Because you feel that you have been humiliated, and no one feeds your ego, and you think everyone else looks down on you, that you are being attacked, and that you have never been so wronged, you can’t accept it and become negative. What do you think—is this what’s really going on?” And, hearing this, they feel it is indeed the case. This is what is actually in your heart, but if you are not an honest person, you will not say it. You will say, “I often get negative, too,” and when the other person hears that everyone gets negative, they think it is normal for them to be negative, and, in the end, they do not leave their negativity behind. If you are an honest person and you help them with an honest attitude and an honest heart, you can help them understand the truth and leave their negativity behind.
Being an honest person is a requirement God has of man. It is a truth that man must practice. What, then, are the principles man should observe in their dealings with God? Be sincere: This is the principle that should be followed when interacting with God. Do not engage in the unbelievers’ practice of currying favor or brown-nosing; God has no need of man’s brown-nosing and favor-currying. It’s enough to be sincere. And what does it mean to be sincere? How should this be put into practice? (Simply opening up to God, without putting up a front or hiding anything or keeping any secrets, meeting God with an honest heart, and being straightforward, without any deceit or trickery.) That’s right. To be sincere, you must first put aside your personal desires. Instead of focusing on how God treats you, say what is in your heart, and do not ponder or consider what the consequences of your words will be; say whatever you are thinking, put aside your motivations, and do not say things just to achieve some objective. When you have too many personal intentions and contaminants, you are always calculated in the way you speak, considering, “I should talk about this, and not that, I must be careful about what I say. I will put it in a way that benefits me, and which covers up my shortcomings, and will leave a good impression on God.” Do you not have motivations? Before you open your mouth, your mind is filled with devious thoughts, you emend what you want to say several times, so that when the words come out of your mouth they are no longer so pure, and are not in the slightest bit genuine, and contain your own motives and the schemes of Satan. This is not what it is to be sincere; this is having sinister motives and ill intentions. What’s more, when you talk, you always take your cues from God’s facial expressions and the look in His eyes: If He has a positive expression on His face, you keep talking; if not, you hold it in and say nothing; if the look in God’s eyes is bad, and it seems as if He doesn’t like what He is hearing, you think it over and say to yourself, “Well, I’ll say something that interests You, that makes You happy, that You will like, and which makes You well-disposed toward me.” Is this being sincere? It is not. Some people do not report it when they see someone doing evil and causing a disturbance in the church. They think, “If I were the first to report this, I’d offend that person, and if I happened to be mistaken, I’d have to be dealt with. I’ll wait for others to report it, and I’ll join in with them. Even if we’re wrong, it’s no big deal—you can’t convict a crowd, after all. As the saying goes, ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered in.’ I won’t be that nail; you’d have to be a fool to insist on sticking out.” Is this being sincere? It certainly is not. Such a person is wily, indeed; if they became a person in charge, would they not incur a loss to the work of the church? They certainly would. Such a person absolutely must not be used. Can you discern this sort of person? Say, for instance, there is someone who has done some bad things and disturbed the work of the church, yet no one understands what is actually going on with this person, nor does the Above know what they are like—only you know what is actually going on with them. Would you honestly convey the issue to the Above in such circumstances? This issue is what exposes man the most. If you hid the matter and said nothing to anyone, not even to God, waiting until the day came when that person has done so much evil as to make a mess of the work of the church, and everyone has already exposed and handled them, to stand up and say, “I’ve known all along that they aren’t a good person. It’s just that some people thought they were; if I’d said anything, no one would have believed me. So, I didn’t speak up. Now that they’ve done some bad things and everyone can tell who they are, I can speak up about what’s really going on with them,” is that being sincere? If you, every time someone’s problems are exposed, or a problem is being reported, follow the crowd and are the last to stand up and expose them or report the problem, are you being sincere? None of this is being sincere. If you take a dislike to someone, or someone has offended you, and you know that they are not an evil person, but you, being petty, come to hate them and wish to take revenge on them, to make a fool of them, you may think of ways and seek out opportunities to say some bad things about them to the Above. You may just be stating facts, not condemning that person, but when stating those facts, your intent has been revealed: You wish to avail yourself of the hand of the Above or have God say something in order to handle them. By reporting problems to the Above, you are trying to achieve your goal. This is obviously contaminated with selfishness, and it certainly is not being sincere. If they are an evil person who is disturbing the work of the church, and you report it to the Above in order to safeguard that work, and beyond that, the problems you report are completely factual, that is different from handling things by means of satanic philosophies. It is borne of a sense of righteousness and responsibility, and it is the fulfillment of your loyalty; that is how being sincere manifests.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Ten (Part Two)
If someone is open and upright, they are an honest person. They have opened up their heart and spirit completely to God, and have nothing to hide, and nothing to hide from. They have handed their heart over to God, and shown it to Him, which means they have given their whole self to Him. So, can they still be estranged from God? No, they cannot, and therefore, it is easy for them to submit to God. If God says they are deceitful, they admit it. If God says they are arrogant and self-righteous, they admit that too, and they don’t just admit these things and leave it at that—they are able to repent, to strive toward the truth principles, to rectify it when they realize they are wrong, and fix their mistakes. Before they know it, they will have corrected many of their erroneous ways, and they will become less and less deceitful, deceptive, careless and perfunctory. The longer they live this way, the more open and honorable they will become, and the closer they will be to the goal of becoming an honest person. That is what it means to live in the light. All of this glory goes to God! When people live in the light it is God’s doing—it is not something for them to boast about. When people live in the light, they understand every truth, they have a God-fearing heart, they know to seek and practice the truth in every issue they encounter, and they live with conscience and reason. Although they cannot be called righteous people, in God’s eyes they have some human likeness, and at the very least, their words and deeds do not vie with God, they can seek the truth when things befall them, and they have a God-obeying heart. Therefore, they are relatively safe and secure, and could not possibly betray God. Though they do not have a very deep understanding of the truth, they are able to obey and submit, they have a God-fearing heart, and they can shun evil. When they are given a task or a duty, they are able to do it with all their heart and mind, and to the best of their ability. This kind of person is worthy of trust, and God has confidence in them—people like this live in the light. Are those who live in the light able to accept God’s scrutiny? Might they still hide their hearts from God? Do they still have secrets they cannot tell God? Do they still have any shady tricks up their sleeves? They do not. They have completely opened up their hearts to God, and there is nothing they are still hiding or have tucked away out of sight. They can confide candidly in God, fellowship with Him about anything, and let Him know everything. There is nothing they will not tell God and nothing they will not show Him. When people are able to attain this standard, their lives become easy, free and liberated.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
Can you be an honest person just by saying so? (No, you must have the manifestations of an honest person.) What are the manifestations of an honest person? Firstly, having no doubts about God’s words. That is one of the manifestations of an honest person. Apart from this, the most important manifestation is seeking and practicing the truth in all matters—this is most crucial. You say that you are honest, but you always push God’s words to the back of your mind and just do whatever you want. Is that the manifestation of an honest person? You say, “Although my caliber is poor, I have an honest heart.” And yet when a duty falls to you, you are afraid of suffering and bearing responsibility if you do not do it well, so you make excuses to shirk your duty or suggest that someone else do it. Is this the manifestation of an honest person? Clearly, it is not. How, then, should an honest person behave? They should submit to God’s arrangements, be devoted to the duty they are supposed to perform, and strive to satisfy God’s will. This manifests itself in several ways: One is accepting your duty with an honest heart, not considering your fleshly interests, not being half-hearted about it, and not plotting for your own benefit. Those are manifestations of honesty. Another is putting all your heart and strength into performing your duty well, doing things properly, and putting your heart and love into your duty to satisfy God. These are the manifestations an honest person should have while performing their duty. If you do not carry out what you know and understand, and if you only put in 50 or 60 percent of your effort, then you are not putting all your heart and strength into it. Rather, you are sly and slacking off. Are people who perform their duties in this way honest? Absolutely not. God has no use for such slippery and deceitful people; they must be cast out. God only uses honest people to perform duties. Even devoted service-doers must be honest. People who are perennially careless, perfunctory, sly and looking for ways to slack off are all deceitful, and are all demons. None of them truly believe in God, and they shall all be cast out. Some people think, “Being an honest person is just about telling the truth and not telling lies. It’s easy to be an honest person, really.” What do you think of this sentiment? Is being an honest person so limited in scope? Absolutely not. You must reveal your heart and give it to God; this is the attitude an honest person ought to have. That is why an honest heart is very precious. What does this imply? That an honest heart can control your behavior and change your state. It can lead you to make the right choices, and to submit to God and gain His approval. A heart like this is truly precious. If you have an honest heart like this, then that is the state you should live in, that is how you should behave, and that is how you should give of yourself.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
You must be an honest person, you must have a sense of responsibility when you face problems, and you must find ways to seek the truth to resolve problems. Do not be a treacherous person. If you shirk responsibility and wash your hands of it when problems arise, even unbelievers will condemn you, not to mention God’s house! This is condemned and cursed by God and God’s chosen people despise and reject such behavior. God loves honest people, but hates deceitful and slippery people. If you are a treacherous person and attempt to play tricks, will God not hate you? Will God’s house simply let you off the hook? Sooner or later, you will be held accountable. God likes honest people and dislikes treacherous people. Everyone should understand this clearly, and stop being confused and doing foolish things. Momentary ignorance is understandable, but refusing to accept the truth at all is just obstinacy. Honest people can take responsibility. They do not consider their own gains and losses, they just safeguard the work and interests of God’s house. They have kind and honest hearts that are like bowls of clear water that one can see the bottom of at a glance. There is also transparency in their actions. A deceitful person always plays tricks, always disguises things, covers up, and wraps themselves up so tightly that no one can see through them. People can’t see through your inner thoughts, but God can see the deepest things in your heart. If God sees that you are not an honest person, that you are slippery, that you never accept the truth, that you are always trying to deceive Him, and that you do not hand your heart over to Him, then God will not like you, He will hate and abandon you. Those who prosper among the unbelievers, who are silver-tongued and quick-witted, what kind of people are they? Is this clear to you? What is their essence? It can be said that they are all extraordinarily shrewd, they are all extremely deceitful and treacherous, they are the genuine devil Satan. Could God save someone such as this? God hates nothing more than devils—people who are deceitful and treacherous. God absolutely will not save such people, so whatever you do, do not be this kind of person. Those who are quick-witted and consider all the angles when they speak, who are smooth and slick and look to see which way the wind blows when they deal with matters—I tell you, God loathes these people the most, people like this are beyond saving. When people are deceitful and treacherous, no matter how nice their words may sound, they are still deceptive lies. The nicer their words sound, the more they are the devil Satan. These are exactly the kind of people that God despises most. What do you say: Can people who are deceitful, good at lying and smooth-tongued receive the work of the Holy Spirit? Can they receive the illumination and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? Absolutely not. What is God’s attitude toward people who are deceitful and treacherous? He detests and rejects them, He sidelines them and pays them no heed, He regards them as of the same class as animals. In God’s eyes, such people are merely wearing human skin; in their essence, they are of the same kind as the devil Satan, they are walking corpses, and God will never save them.
—The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers (8)
When people do their duty or any work before God, their heart must be pure: It must be like a bowl of fresh water—crystal clear, without impurity. So what kind of attitude is correct? No matter what it is that you’re doing, you are able to discuss with others whatever is in your heart, whatever ideas you may have. If someone says that your way of doing things will not work, and they propose another idea, and if you feel it is a pretty good idea, then you give up your own way, and do things according to what they think. By doing that, everyone sees that you can accept others’ suggestions, choose the correct path, act according to principles, and with transparency and clarity. There’s no darkness in your heart, and you act and speak sincerely, relying on an attitude of honesty. You call a spade a spade. If it is, it is; if it isn’t, it isn’t. No tricks, no secrets, just a very transparent person. Isn’t that a kind of attitude? This is an attitude toward people, events and things and it is representative of a person’s disposition. On the other hand, someone might never open up and communicate what they think with others. And in all that they do, they never consult with others, but instead they keep their hearts closed off to others, seemingly constantly on their guard against others at every turn. They enshroud themselves as tightly as can be. Is this not a cunning person? For example, they have an idea that they feel is ingenious, and think, “I’ll keep it to myself for now. If I share it, you could use it and steal my thunder, and that just wouldn’t do. I’ll hold back.” Or if there’s something they don’t fully understand, they will think: “I won’t speak up now. If I do, and someone says something more elevated, won’t I look like a fool? Everyone will see right through me, see my weakness in this. I shouldn’t say anything.” Regardless of the considerations, regardless of the underlying motive, they’re afraid everyone will see right through them. They always approach their own duty and people, things and events with this kind of perspective and attitude. What kind of disposition is this? A crooked, deceitful and evil disposition. They seem, on the surface, to have said everything to others that they believe they can, but below the surface, they hold some things back. What do they hold back? They never say things that touch upon their reputation and interests—they think these things are private and they never speak on them to anyone, not even to their parents. They never say these things. This is trouble! You think that if you don’t say these things, God won’t know about it? People say that God knows, but can they be sure in their hearts that God knows? People never realize that “God knows everything; that which I think in my heart, even if I haven’t revealed it, God scrutinizes in secret, God absolutely knows. I cannot hide anything from God, so I must speak it out, openly communicate with my brothers and sisters. Regardless of whether my thoughts and ideas are good or bad, I must speak them truthfully. I cannot be crooked, deceitful, selfish, or despicable—I must be an honest person.” If people can think this way, this is the right attitude. Instead of searching for the truth, most people have their own petty agendas. Their own interests, face, and the place or standing they hold in other people’s minds are of great importance to them. These are the only things they cherish. They cling to these things with an iron grip and regard them as their very lives. And how they are viewed or treated by God is of secondary importance; for the moment, they ignore that; for the moment, they only consider whether they are the boss of the group, whether other people look up to them, and whether their words carry weight. Their first concern is with occupying that position. When they are in a group, almost all people look for this kind of standing, these kinds of opportunities. When they’re highly talented, of course they want to be top dog; if they are of middling ability, they’ll still want to hold a higher position in the group; and if they hold a low position in the group, being of average caliber and abilities, they, too, will want others to look up to them, they won’t want others to look down on them. These people’s face and dignity are where they draw the line: They have to hold on to these things. They could have no integrity, and be possessed of neither God’s approval nor acceptance, but they absolutely cannot lose the respect, status, or esteem they have strived for among others—which is the disposition of Satan. But people have no awareness of this. It is their belief that they must cling to this scrap of face to the very end. They are not aware that only when these vain and superficial things are completely relinquished and put aside will they become a real person. If a person guards these things that should be discarded as life, their life is lost. They do not know what is at stake. And so, when they act, they always hold something back, they always try to protect their own face and status, they put these first, speaking only for their own ends, to their own spurious defense. Everything they do is for themselves. They rush to anything that shines, letting everyone know they were a part of it. It didn’t actually have anything to do with them, but they never want to be left in the background, they’re always afraid of other people looking down on them, they’re always fearful of other people saying they’re nothing, that they are incapable of anything, that they have no skills. Is this all not directed by their satanic dispositions? When you are able to let go of things like face and status, you will be much more relaxed and freer; you will have set foot on the path to being honest. But for many, this is not easy to achieve. When the camera appears, for example, people scramble to the front; they like having their face on camera, the more coverage the better; they’re afraid of not getting enough coverage, and will pay any price for the chance to get it. And is this not all directed by their satanic dispositions? These are their satanic dispositions. So you get coverage—what then? People think highly of you—so what? They idolize you—so what? Does any of this prove you have the truth reality? None of this has any value. When you can overcome these things—when you become indifferent to them, and no longer feel them important, when face, vanity, status, and people’s admiration no longer control your thoughts and behavior, much less how you perform your duty—then your performance of your duty will become ever more effective, and ever more pure.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
If you are someone who loves the truth, and who is able to accept the truth, then being an honest person will not be too hard. You will feel that it is much easier. Those with personal experience know very well that the greatest barriers to being an honest person are people’s insidiousness, their deceitfulness, their maliciousness, and their despicable intents. As long as these corrupt dispositions remain, being an honest person will be too difficult. All of you are training to be honest people, so you have some experience in this. What have your experiences been like? (Every day I write down all the garbage I’ve said and the lies that I’ve told. Then, I do some introspection and self-analysis. I’ve found that there’s some sort of intent behind most of these lies, and that I’ve told them for the sake of vanity and saving face. Even though I’m aware that what I say doesn’t comport with the truth, I still can’t help but lie and pretend.) This is what’s so hard about being an honest person. Whether or not you’re aware of it is not important; the key thing is that you stubbornly continue to lie, knowing what you do is wrong, in order to achieve your aims, to maintain your own image and face, and any claim of ignorance is a lie. The key to being an honest person is to resolve your motives, your intents, and your corrupt dispositions. This is the only way to resolve the problem of telling lies at its source. To achieve one’s personal goals, that is, to personally benefit, to take advantage of a situation, to make oneself look good, or to gain the approval of others—these are people’s intents and aims when they tell lies. This sort of lying reveals a corrupt disposition, and this is the discernment you need with regard to telling lies. So, how should this corrupt disposition be resolved? That all hinges on whether or not you love the truth. If you can accept the truth and speak without advocating for yourself; if you can stop considering your own interests and instead consider the church’s work, the will of God, and the interests of God’s chosen people, then you will stop telling lies. You will be able to speak truthfully, and straightforwardly. Without this stature, you won’t be able to speak truthfully, proving that your stature is lacking and that you are unable to practice the truth. And so, being an honest person requires a process of understanding the truth, a process of growing in stature. When we look at it this way, it is impossible to be an honest person without eight to ten years of experience. This is the time that must be spent on the process of growing in one’s life, on the process of understanding and gaining the truth. Some people might ask: “Can resolving the issue of lying and becoming an honest person really be that hard?” That depends on who you are talking about. If it’s someone who loves the truth, then they will be able to give up lying when it comes to certain matters. But if it’s someone who doesn’t love the truth, then giving up lying will be all the more difficult.
God’s demand for honesty is extremely important. What should you do if you experience many failures in the course of practicing honesty and find it exceedingly difficult? Should you become negative and shrink back, and abandon your practice of the truth? This is the clearest indication of whether a person loves the truth or not. After practicing honesty for a certain period, some individuals think, “Being honest is too difficult—I can’t stand the damage it’s doing to my vanity, pride, and reputation!” As a result, they no longer want to be honest. In reality, this is where the challenge of being an honest person lies, and most individuals find themselves stuck at this point and unable to experience it. So, what does it take to practice being an honest person? What kind of person is able to practice the truth? First and foremost, one must love the truth. One has to be a person who loves the truth—that is certain. Some people truly achieve results after several years experiencing the practice of honesty. They gradually reduce their lies and deception, and indeed become fundamentally honest people. Could it be that during their experience of practicing honesty, they didn’t face difficulties or suffer along the way? They most certainly endured a great deal of suffering. It was because they loved the truth that they were able to suffer to practice it, to persist in speaking truthfully and doing practical things, to be honest people, and to finally gain God’s blessing. To be an honest person, one must love the truth and possess a God-obeying heart. These two factors are of the utmost importance. All those who love the truth have God-loving hearts. And those who love God find it especially easy to practice the truth, and they can endure any form of suffering in order to satisfy God. If someone has a God-loving heart, when their practice of the truth meets with humiliation or setbacks and failures, they will be able to endure humiliation and suffering to satisfy God, as long as God is pleased. Therefore, they are able to put the truth into practice. Of course, practicing any aspect of the truth comes with a certain degree of difficulty, and being an honest person is even more difficult. The greatest difficulty is the obstacle of one’s corrupt dispositions. All humans have corrupt dispositions and live according to satanic philosophies. Take for instance, the sayings “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” or “No great feats can be accomplished without telling lies.” These are examples of a satanic philosophy and a corrupt disposition. People resort to telling lies to get things done, gain personal advantages, and accomplish their goals. It is not easy to be an honest person when one possesses this kind of corrupt disposition. One must pray to God and rely on Him, and frequently self-reflect and come to know oneself, in order to gradually rebel against the flesh, forsake one’s personal interests, and relinquish one’s vanity and pride. Furthermore, one must endure various kinds of defamation and judgment before being able to become an honest person who can speak the truth and refrain from telling lies. During the period where one practices being an honest person, encountering many failures and moments where one’s corruption is revealed is inevitable. There may be times when one’s words and thoughts don’t align, or moments of pretense and deceit. However, regardless of what befalls you, if you want to tell the truth and be an honest person, you must be able to let go of your pride and vanity. When you don’t understand something, say that you don’t understand; when you are unclear about something, say you are unclear. Do not be afraid of others looking down on you or thinking less of you. By consistently speaking from the heart and telling the truth in this way, you will find joy, peace, and a sense of freedom and liberation in your heart, and vanity and pride will no longer rule over you. No matter who you interact with, if you can express what you truly think, open your heart to others, and not pretend to know things you don’t, then that is an honest attitude. Sometimes, people may look down on you and call you foolish because you always tell the truth. What should you do in such a situation? You should say, “Even if everyone calls me foolish, I resolve to be an honest person, and not a deceitful one. I will speak truthfully and according to the facts. Although I am filthy, corrupt, and worthless before God, I will still tell the truth without pretense or disguise.” If you speak in this way, your heart will be steady and at peace. To be an honest person, you must let go of your vanity and pride, and in order to speak the truth and express your true feelings, you should not fear the ridicule and contempt of others. Even if others treat you like a fool, you should not argue or defend yourself. If you can practice the truth in this way, you can become an honest person. If you cannot let go of fleshly preferences and vanity and pride, if you constantly seek approval from others, pretending to know what you don’t, and living for the sake of vanity and pride, then you cannot become an honest person—this is a practical difficulty. If your heart is always ruled over by vanity and pride, you will be likely to tell lies and put on facades. Furthermore, when others belittle you or expose your true self, you will have difficulty accepting it, and you will feel that you have suffered a great disgrace—your face will flush, your heart will race, and you will feel agitated and ill at ease. To resolve this problem, it will be necessary for you to endure a little more pain and undergo a few more refinements. You will need to understand where the root of the problem lies, and once you see through these matters, you will be able to alleviate some of your pain. When you have thoroughly understood these corrupt dispositions and are able to relinquish your vanity and pride, it will be easier for you to become an honest person. You won’t mind if other people mock you when you tell the truth and speak your mind, and no matter how others judge or treat you, you will be able to bear it and respond correctly. You will then be free of suffering, and your heart will always be peaceful and joyful, and you will achieve freedom and liberation. In this way, you will break free of corruption and live out a human likeness.
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