16. How to resolve the problem of telling lies and engaging in deception
God’s Words From the Bible
“You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
“But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37).
“Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
“These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no lie; they are without blemish” (Revelation 14:4–5).
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
That God asks for people to be honest proves that He truly loathes and dislikes deceitful people. God’s dislike of deceitful people is a dislike of their way of doing things, their dispositions, their intents and their methods of trickery; God dislikes all of these things. If deceitful people are able to accept the truth, admit to their deceitful dispositions, and are willing to accept God’s salvation, then they too have a hope of being saved—for God treats all people equally, as does the truth. And so, if we wish to become people who please God, the first thing we must do is change our principles of comportment. No longer can we live according to satanic philosophies, no longer can we get by on lies and trickery. We must cast off all our lies and become honest people. Then God’s view of us will change. Previously, people always relied on lies, pretense, and trickery while living among others, and used satanic philosophies as the basis of their existence, their lives, and the foundation for their comportment. This was something that God despised. Among unbelievers, if you speak frankly, tell the truth, and are an honest person, then you will be slandered, judged, and forsaken. So you follow worldly trends and live by satanic philosophies; you become more and more skilled at lying, and more and more deceitful. You also learn to use insidious means to achieve your goals and protect yourself. You become more and more prosperous in Satan’s world, and as a result, you fall deeper and deeper into sin until you cannot extricate yourself. In God’s house, things are precisely the opposite. The more you lie and play deceitful games, the more God’s chosen people will become sick of you and forsake you. If you refuse to repent and still cling to satanic philosophies and logic, if you use ploys and elaborate schemes to disguise and package yourself, then you are very likely to be revealed and cast out. This is because God hates deceitful people. Only honest people can prosper in God’s house, and deceitful people will eventually be forsaken and cast out. All of this is preordained by God. Only honest people can have a share in the kingdom of heaven. If you do not try to be an honest person, and if you don’t experience and practice in the direction of pursuing the truth, if you don’t expose your own ugliness, and if you don’t lay yourself bare, then you will never be able to receive the Holy Spirit’s work and gain God’s approval.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person
If people wish to be saved, then they must start by being honest. In the end, those who are gained by God are marked with a sign. Do you know what it is? It is written in Revelation, in the Bible: “And in their mouth was found no lie; they are without blemish” (Revelation 14:5). Who are “they”? They are those who are saved, perfected and gained by God. How does God describe these people? What are the characteristics and expressions of their conduct? They are without blemish. They speak no lies. You can probably all understand and grasp what speaking no lies means: It means being honest. What does “without blemish” refer to? It means doing no evil. And what foundation is doing no evil built on? Without any doubt, it is built upon the foundation of fearing God. To be unblemished, therefore, means to fear God and shun evil. How does God define someone without blemish? In God’s eyes, only those who fear God and shun evil are perfect; thus, people who are unblemished are those who fear God and shun evil, and only those who are perfect are unblemished. This is totally correct. If someone lies every day, is that not a blemish? If they speak and act according to their own will, is that not a blemish? If they always ask for recognition when they act, always asking God for a reward, is that not a blemish? If they have never exalted God, always bearing witness to themselves, is that not a blemish? If they do their duty perfunctorily, act opportunistically, harbor evil intentions, and slack off, is that not a blemish? All these outpourings of corrupt dispositions are blemishes. It’s just that before people understand the truth, they do not know it. Right now, you all know that these corrupt outpourings are blemishes and filth; only once you understand a little bit of the truth can you have this kind of discernment. All that pertains to corrupt outpourings is related to lies; the Bible’s words, “found no lie,” are the key element to reflecting on whether or not you have blemishes. So, in judging whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life, there is one more indicator, which is: whether or not you have entered into being an honest person, how many lies can be found in the things you say, and whether your lies are gradually decreasing or if they are the same as before. If your lies, including your disguising and deceiving words, are gradually decreasing, that proves that you have started to enter into reality, and your life is growing. Is this not a practical way to look at things? (Yes.) If you feel like you have already experienced growth, but your lies have not decreased at all, and you are basically the same as an unbeliever, then is this a normal manifestation of entering into the truth reality? (No.) When someone has entered into the truth reality, they will at the very least speak much fewer lies; they will basically be an honest person. If you lie too much and your words are too adulterated, this proves that you have not changed at all, and you are not yet an honest person. If you are not an honest person, then you do not have life entry, and so what growth can you experience? Your corrupt disposition is still intact, and you are an unbeliever and a devil. Being an honest person is an indicator by which to judge whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life; people must know how to compare these things against themselves and know how to take their own measure.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Six Indicators of Life Growth
In their everyday lives, people often talk nonsense, tell lies, and say things that are ignorant, foolish, and defensive. Most of these things are said for the sake of vanity and pride, to satisfy their own egos. Speaking such falsehoods reveals their corrupt dispositions. If you were to resolve these corrupt elements, your heart would be purified, and you would gradually become purer and more honest. In reality, people all know why they lie. For the sake of personal gain and pride, or for vanity and status, they try to compete with others and pass themselves off as something that they’re not. However, their lies are eventually revealed and exposed by others, and they end up losing face, as well as their dignity and character. This is all caused by an excessive amount of lies. Your lies have become too numerous. Every word you say is adulterated and insincere, and not a single one can be considered true or honest. Even though you don’t feel that you’ve lost face when you tell lies, deep down, you feel disgraced. Your conscience blames you, and you hold a low opinion of yourself, thinking, “Why am I living such a pitiful life? Is it so difficult to speak the truth? Must I resort to lies for the sake of my pride? Why is my life so exhausting?” You don’t have to live an exhausting life. If you can practice being an honest person, you will be able to live a relaxed, free, and liberated life. However, you have chosen to uphold your pride and vanity by telling lies. Consequently, you live a tiresome and miserable existence, which is self-inflicted. One may gain a sense of pride by telling lies, but what is that sense of pride? It is just an empty thing, and it is completely worthless. Telling lies means selling out one’s character and dignity. It strips away one’s dignity and one’s character, and it displeases and disgusts God. Is this worthwhile? It is not. Is this the correct path? No, it is not. … If you are someone who loves the truth, you will endure various hardships in order to practice the truth. Even if it means sacrificing your reputation, status, and enduring ridicule and humiliation from others, you won’t mind—as long as you are able to practice the truth and satisfy God, it is enough. Those who love the truth choose to practice it and be honest. This is the correct path and it is blessed by God. If a person does not love the truth, what do they choose? They choose to use lies to uphold their reputation, status, dignity, and character. They would rather be deceitful, and be despised and rejected by God. Such people reject the truth and reject God. They choose their own reputation and status; they want to be deceitful. They do not care about whether God is pleased or if He will save them. Can such people still be saved by God? Certainly not, because they have chosen the wrong path. They can only live by lying and cheating; they can only live painful lives of telling lies and covering them up and racking their brains to defend themselves every day. If you think that lies can uphold the reputation, status, vanity, and pride you desire, you are completely mistaken. In reality, by telling lies, not only do you fail to maintain your vanity and pride, and your dignity and character, more grievously, you miss the opportunity to practice the truth and be an honest person. Even if you manage to protect your reputation, status, vanity, and pride at that moment, you have sacrificed the truth and betrayed God. This means you have completely lost your chance for Him to save and perfect you, which is the greatest loss and a lifelong regret. Those who are deceitful will never understand this.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only an Honest Person Can Live Out True Human Likeness
Some people never tell anyone the truth. They deliberate on and polish everything in their minds before they speak to people. You can’t tell which of the things they say are true, and which are false. They say one thing today and another tomorrow, they say one thing to one person, and something else to another. Everything they say contradicts itself. How can such people be believed? It’s very difficult to get an accurate grasp of the facts, and you can’t get a straight word out of them. What disposition is this? It is deceitfulness. Is a deceitful disposition easy to change? It’s the most difficult to change. Anything that involves dispositions relates to a person’s nature, and nothing is harder to change than things to do with one’s nature. The saying, “A leopard can’t change its spots,” is absolutely true! No matter what they’re talking about or doing, deceitful people always harbor their own aims and intents. If they do not have any, they will say nothing. If you try to understand what their aims and intents are, they will clam up. If they do accidentally let something true slip, they’ll go to any length to think of a way to twist it around, to confound you and stop you from knowing the truth. No matter what deceitful people are doing, they will not let anyone know the whole truth about it. No matter how much time people spend with them, no one knows what’s really going on in their minds. Such is the nature of deceitful people. No matter how much a deceitful person speaks, other people will never know what their intents are, what they’re really thinking, or exactly what they are trying to achieve. Even their parents have a hard time knowing this. Trying to understand deceitful people is extremely difficult, nobody can figure out what is on their minds. This is how deceitful people speak and act: They never speak their minds or convey what is really going on. This is a type of disposition, is it not? When you have a deceitful disposition, it does not matter what you say or do—this disposition is always within you, controlling you, making you play games and engage in trickery, toy with people, cover up the truth, and put up a front. This is deceitfulness. What other specific behaviors do deceitful people engage in? I will give an example. Two people are talking, and one of them is speaking about their self-knowledge; this person keeps talking about how they have improved, and tries to make the other person believe this, but they do not tell them the real facts of the matter. In this, something is being concealed, and this indicates a certain disposition—that of deceitfulness. Let us see if you can discern it. This person says, “I’ve experienced some things recently, and I feel that over these years my belief in God has been in vain. I haven’t gained anything. I am so poor and pathetic! My behavior hasn’t been too good recently, but I’m ready to repent.” Yet a while after they say this, an expression of repentance is nowhere to be seen in them. What is the problem here? It is that they lie and trick others. When other people hear them say those things, they think, “This person did not pursue the truth before, but the fact that they can say such things now shows that they have truly repented. There’s no doubt about it. We mustn’t look at them as we used to, but in a new, better light.” That is how people ponder and think after hearing those words. But is that person’s current state the same as they say it is? The reality is that it is not. They have not truly repented, but their words give the illusion that they have done so, and that they have changed for the better, and that they are different from before. This is what they want to achieve with their words. By speaking in this way to trick people, what disposition are they revealing? It is deceitfulness—and it is very insidious! The fact is that they are not at all aware that they have failed in their belief in God, that they are poor and pitiful. They are borrowing spiritual words and language to trick people, to achieve their aim of making others think well of them and hold a good opinion of them. Is this not deceitfulness? It is, and when someone is too deceitful, it is not easy for them to change.
—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
Be an honest person, or to go into a bit more detail: Be a simple and open person, who does not cover anything up, who does not lie, who does not mince words, and be a direct person who has a sense of justice, who can speak truthfully. People must achieve this first. Say that there is an evil person who does something that disturbs the work of the church, and a leader comes to you to better understand the situation. You know who did it, but because you have a good relationship with that person, and you do not want to offend them, you lie and say that you do not know. The leader asks for more details, and you beat around the bush, making up an excuse to cover for the evil person. Is that not deceitful? You did not tell the leader the truth about the situation, and hid it instead. Why would you do this? Because you did not want to offend anyone. You put protecting interpersonal relationships and not offending anyone first, and you put speaking truthfully and practicing the truth last. What are you being controlled by? You are being controlled by your satanic disposition, it has sealed your mouth and prevented you from speaking truthfully—you are only able to live by your satanic disposition. What is a corrupt disposition? A corrupt disposition is a satanic disposition, and a person who lives by their corrupt disposition is a living Satan. Their speech always carries temptation within it, it is always roundabout, and never direct; even if they were being beaten to death, they would not speak truthfully. This is what happens when a person’s corrupt disposition becomes too severe; they completely lose their humanity and become a devil. Many of you would prefer to offend and cheat God in order to protect your relationships with others, and the status and reputation that you hold among other people. Does a person who acts in this way love the truth? Are they someone who pursues the truth? They are someone who cheats God with their eyes wide open, who has not even the slightest bit of a God-fearing heart. They dare to cheat God; their ambition and rebelliousness must be truly great! Such people usually still think that they love and fear God, and often say: “Every time I think of God, I think of how immense, how great, and how unfathomable He is! God loves mankind, His love is so real!” You may speak nice-sounding words, but you would not reveal an evil person if you saw them disturbing the work of the church. You are people-pleasers, you only protect your own prestige, profit, and status, instead of protecting the interests of God’s house. When you know the true state of affairs, you do not speak truthfully, you beat around the bush, protecting evil people. If you were asked to speak truthfully, it would be very difficult for you. You speak so much nonsense, just to avoid telling the truth! When you speak, you go in so many circles, you expend so much thought, and live in such a tiring way, all to protect your own reputation and pride! Is God pleased by people who act this way? God detests deceitful people above all. If you want to be free of Satan’s influence and achieve salvation, then you must accept the truth. You must first start by becoming an honest person. Be frank, tell the truth, do not be constrained by your feelings, cast aside your pretense and trickery, and speak and handle matters with principles—this is an easy and happy way to live, and you will be able to live before God. If you always live according to satanic philosophies, and always rely on lies and trickery to get through your days, then you will be living under the power of Satan, and you will be living in darkness. If you live in Satan’s world, you will only become more and more deceitful. You have believed in God for so many years, you have listened to so many sermons, but your corrupt disposition has not yet been cleansed, and now you are still living by your satanic disposition—do you not feel disgusted by this? Do you not feel ashamed? No matter how long you have believed in God, if you are still like an unbeliever, then what is the point of you believing in God? Can you really attain salvation by believing in God like this? Your life goals have not changed, nor have your principles and methods; the only thing you have that an unbeliever does not is the title of “believer.” Although you follow God outwardly, your life disposition has not changed at all, and in the end you will not achieve salvation. Are you not getting your hopes up for nothing? Can this kind of belief in God help you to obtain the truth or the life? Absolutely not.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Practicing the Truth Can One Cast Off the Shackles of a Corrupt Disposition
Those that always tell lies and prevaricate are the lowliest of people; they are worthless. No one wants to pay them any attention, no one wants to associate with them, much less lay their heart bare to them or be friends with them. Do such people have any character or dignity? (No.) Everyone who meets people like this will feel fed up with them; they are totally untrustworthy in their words, actions, character, and integrity—such individuals have no substance at all. Would people like and respect them if they were gifted and talented? (No.) And so, what do people need in order to get along with each other? They need character, integrity, dignity, and to be someone that others can lay their hearts bare to. People with dignity all have a bit of personality, they sometimes don’t get along with others, but they are honest, and there is no falseness or trickery to them. Others ultimately hold them in high esteem, because they are able to practice the truth, they are honest, they have dignity, integrity, and character, they never take advantage of others, they help people when they’re in trouble, they treat people with conscience and sense, and never make snap judgments about them. When assessing or discussing other people, everything these individuals say is accurate, they say what they know and don’t run their mouths about what they don’t, they don’t embellish, and their words can serve as evidence or reference. When they speak and act, people who possess integrity are relatively practical and trustworthy. No one regards people who lack integrity as valuable, no one pays any attention to what they say and do, or treats their words and actions as important, and no one trusts them. This is because they tell too many lies and speak too few honest words, it is because they lack sincerity when they interact with people or do anything for them, they try to trick and fool everyone, and no one likes them. Have you found anyone who, in your eyes, is trustworthy? Do you think yourselves worthy of other people’s trust? Can other people trust you? If someone asks you about another person’s situation, you should not appraise and judge that person according to your own will, your words must be objective, accurate, and in line with the facts. You should speak about whatever you do understand, and not talk about things that you lack insight into. You must be just and fair toward that person. That is the responsible way to act. If you have only observed a surface-level phenomenon, and what you want to say is just your own judgment about that person, then you must not blindly pass a verdict on that person, and you certainly must not judge them. You must preface what you say with, “This is just my own judgment,” or “This is just how I feel.” That way, your words will be relatively objective, and after hearing what you said, the other person will be able to sense the honesty of your words and your fair attitude, and they will be able to trust you. Are you sure that you can accomplish this? (No.) This proves that you are not honest enough toward others, and that you lack sincerity and an honest attitude in the way you conduct yourselves and handle affairs. Say that someone asks you, “I trust you: What do you think about that person?” And you reply, “They’re okay.” They ask, “Can you go into more detail?” And you say, “They’re well-behaved, they are willing to pay a price when they perform their duty, and they get on with people.” Is there practical evidence for any of these three statements? Are they enough to serve as proof of that person’s character? No. Are you trustworthy? (No.) None of these three statements include any details, they are just sweeping, empty, perfunctory words. If you had just met that person and were saying that they were okay based on appearances, then that would be normal. But you’d been in contact with them for some time, and you should have been able to discover some substantial problems with them. People want to hear what your estimation and view of that person is in the depths of your heart, but you say nothing real, or critical, or key, so people won’t trust you, and they will no longer want to interact with you.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only an Honest Person Can Live Out True Human Likeness
The humanity of antichrists is dishonest, which means they are not truthful in the least. Everything they say and do is adulterated and contains their own intentions and goals, and hidden in it all are their unsaid and unspeakable tricks and conspiracies. So the words and actions of antichrists are too contaminated and too full of falsity. No matter how much they speak, it’s impossible to know which of their words are true, which are false, which are right, and which are wrong. Because they are dishonest, their minds are extremely complicated, full of treacherous schemes and rife with tricks. None of what they say is straightforward. They do not say one is one, two is two, yes is yes, and no is no. Instead, in all matters, they beat around the bush and think things through several times in their minds, working out the consequences, weighing the merits and drawbacks from every angle. Then, they manipulate things with their language such that everything they say sounds quite unwieldy. Honest people never understand what they say and are easily deceived and tricked by them, and whoever speaks and communicates with such people finds the experience tiring and laborious. They never say one is one and two is two, they never say what they are thinking, and they never describe things as they are. Everything they say is unfathomable, and the goals and intentions of their actions are very complicated. If their cover is blown—if other people see through them, and catch on to them—they quickly concoct another lie to get around it. This kind of person often lies, and after lying, they have to tell more lies to sustain the lie. They deceive others to hide their intentions, and fabricate all kinds of pretexts and excuses in aid of their lies, so that it is very difficult for people to tell what’s true and what’s not, and people don’t know when they are being truthful, much less when they’re telling a lie. When they lie, they do not blush or flinch, just as if they were telling the truth. Does this not mean lying has become their nature? For example, sometimes antichrists seem on the surface to be good to others, to be considerate of them, and to be warm-hearted in their speech, which is pleasing and moving to hear. Yet even when they speak like this, no one can tell whether they are being sincere, and it always requires waiting until things happen a few days later to reveal whether they were being sincere. Antichrists always speak with certain intentions, and no one can work out what it is, exactly, that they are after. Such people are habitual liars who give no thought to the consequences of any of their lies. As long as their lie benefits them and is able to deceive others, as long as it can achieve their goals, they don’t care what the consequences are. As soon as they are exposed, they will continue to conceal, to lie, to trick. The principle and method by which these people interact with others is tricking people with lies. They are two-faced and speak to suit their audience; they perform whatever role the situation demands. They are smooth and slick, their mouths are filled with lies, and they are untrustworthy. Whoever is in contact with them for a while grows deceived or disturbed and cannot receive provision, help, or edification. No matter if the words from such people’s mouths are nasty or nice, or reasonable or absurd, or in accord or disaccord with humanity, or coarse or civilized, they are essentially all falsehoods, untruths, lies.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Four: Summarizing the Character of Antichrists and the Essence of Their Disposition (Part One)
Let Me give two examples of lying. There are two types of people who are capable of lying. You need to distinguish which people are intransigent and irredeemable. You also need to distinguish which can be saved. Although those that can be saved often reveal corruption, as long as they can accept the truth and reflect on and know themselves, there is still hope. In the first example, there is a person who frequently told lies. However, after understanding the truth, their reaction was different the next time they told a lie. They felt deep pain and torment, and they pondered, “I lied again. Why can’t I change? This time, no matter what, I must expose this matter, casting myself wide open to reveal and dissect my true self. I need to be clear about the fact that I was lying for the sake of saving face.” After opening up and fellowshiping, they felt at ease and realized, “It turns out lying is so painful, while being an honest person is so easy and wonderful! God requires people be honest; this is the likeness people should have.” After experiencing this bit of well-being, from then on, they were mindful about lying less, not telling lies as much as possible, speaking when they had something to say, speaking honestly, doing honest deeds, and being an honest person. However, when faced with a situation that involved their own pride, they naturally lied and later regretted it. Then, when they found themselves in a situation where they could make themselves look good, they lied again. They hated themselves inside, thinking, “Why can’t I control my mouth? Could this be a problem with my nature? Am I too deceitful?” They realized that this problem must be resolved; otherwise, God would detest and reject them, and cast them out. They prayed to God, asking to be disciplined if they lied again, and were willing to accept punishment. They gathered the courage to analyze themselves in gatherings, and said, “When I told lies in these situations, it was because I had selfish motives and was controlled by my intent. As I reflected on myself, I realized that every time I lie, it is for the sake of vanity or for my own personal gain. I see it clearly now: I live for my pride and personal interests, which is what led me to lie all the time about everything.” While dissecting their own lies, they also exposed their intent and discovered the problem of their corrupt disposition. It’s a win-win situation; they can practice being an honest person and at the same time obtain enlightenment and recognize their corrupt disposition. Afterward, they contemplated, “I need to change! I just discovered I have this problem. It’s true enlightenment from God. People who practice the truth are blessed by God!” They also experienced a bit of the sweet taste of practicing the truth. However, one day the person unwittingly told a lie again. They once again prayed to God, seeking His discipline. Moreover, they reflected on why they always have hidden intent when speaking, and why they always consider their own vanity and pride instead of God’s will. After reflecting, they gained some understanding of their corrupt disposition and began to detest themselves. They continued in this way to seek and strive toward the truth. After three to five years, their lies indeed became fewer and fewer, and the number of times they said what they thought and conducted themselves honestly increased. Their heart gradually became purer and contained increasingly more peace and joy. They spent more and more time living in the presence of God and their state became more and more normal. This is the real state of a person who often lied when they experience being an honest person. So, does this person still lie now? Are they still capable of lying? Are they truly an honest person? It cannot be said that they are an honest person. It can only be said that they can practice the truth of being an honest person, and are in the process of practicing being an honest person, but they have not yet completely transformed into an honest person. In other words, this is a person who is willing to practice the truth. Can a person who is willing to practice the truth be said to be a person who loves the truth? They have practiced the truth and the facts have been revealed, so isn’t it natural to define them as a person who loves the truth? Of course, while they were practicing being an honest person, they were not immediately able to practice pure and open fellowship, or expose everything hidden within themselves without reservation. They still kept some things back and cautiously tried to move forward. However, through their attempts and experiences, they realized that the more they live honestly, the better they feel, the more peace of mind they have, the easier it becomes to practice the truth, without any major difficulties. It is only then that they tasted the sweetness of being an honest person, and their faith in God increased. By experiencing what it is to be an honest person, they not only become able to practice the truth, but also experience peace and joy in their heart. At the same time, they gain a clearer understanding of the path of practicing honesty. They feel that being an honest person is not too difficult. They see that God’s requirements for people are reasonable and attainable, and they gain some understanding of God’s work. All of this is not an extra benefit, but rather, it is what a person should gain in their journey of life entry, and they are capable of gaining it.
The second example is about a person who loves to lie—it’s in their nature. It’s alright when they don’t speak, but as soon as they open their mouth their speech is filled with many adulterations. Whether they do this intentionally or not, in short, the majority of what they say cannot be trusted. One day, after telling a lie, they pondered, “It’s wrong to tell a lie and it displeases God. If people were to find out that I lied I would be disgraced! But it seems as though someone has noticed that I lied. Well, I can easily manage that. I’ll find another subject, and use different wording to lower their guard, confuse them, and make them unable to see through my lies. Now isn’t that even more clever?” They then told an even bigger lie to cover up their previous lie and patch up the holes, which successfully deceived people. They felt smug and self-satisfied, thinking, “Look at how smart I am! I told a lie without any holes, and even if there are some holes, I can just lie again to cover them up. Most people can’t see through me. Telling lies takes skill!” Some people say, “It’s hard work telling lies. After telling one lie you have to tell many more to cover it up. It takes a lot of thought and effort.” However, this master liar didn’t feel that way. In this instance, their lies weren’t exposed. They successfully told a lie to deceive others, then when they were afraid of being exposed, they lied again to cover up the previous lie. They felt proud, and there was no guilt or self-reproach in their heart. Their conscience was completely unaffected. How is this possible? They are unaware of how harmful lying is for them. They believe that using lies to cover up previous lies allowed them to improve their image and gain benefits. Despite the hardship and fatigue, they think it’s worth it. They believe it’s more valuable than understanding the truth, and practicing the truth. Why do they often lie without feeling guilty? Because they don’t have love for the truth in their heart. They value their vanity, reputation, and status. They never open up their heart in fellowship to others; instead, they use false appearances and guises to conceal their lies. That’s how they interact and engage with people. No matter how many lies they tell, how many lies they cover up, or how many selfish and base intentions they hide, they feel no guilt or discomfort in their heart. Generally speaking, people with a conscience and some humanity would feel uneasy after telling a lie, and would have a hard time reconciling themselves with it. They would have a sense of shame; but this person doesn’t think this way. After telling a lie they feel self-satisfied, saying, “I told another lie today and fooled that idiot. I was sweating bullets, but they somehow didn’t even notice!” Aren’t they tired of this life of constantly lying and covering lies up? What kind of nature is this? It is the nature of a devil. Devils lie every day. They live a life of lies without any feeling of discomfort or pain. If they did feel discomfort or pain they would change, but they cannot feel pain because lying is their life—it’s in their nature. When they express themselves naturally, they show no restraint and do not engage in any self-reflection. No matter how many lies they tell or deceptions they commit they feel no guilt in their heart, and no nagging in their conscience. They are unaware that God examines the depths of people’s hearts; they fail to realize the responsibility they bear and the retribution they will receive after telling lies and acting deceitfully. Their greatest fear is that someone will expose their deceitful schemes, so they resort to telling even more lies to cover their schemes up, and at the same time exhaust themselves trying to find some way, some means to conceal their lies and the truth about who they are. Has such a person repented at all during the entire process? Do they feel any blame or sadness? Do they have any desire to turn themselves around? No. They think it’s not a sin to tell lies or cover lies up, that most people live like this, and they have no intention to change. As for being an honest person, in their heart they think, “Why should I be an honest person, speak from the heart, and tell the truth? I don’t do that. That’s for fools and I’m not that foolish. If I lie and am afraid of being exposed, I’ll just find other reasons and excuses to cover it up. I’m not the sort of person who can speak honestly. If I did I’d be a complete idiot!” They do not accept or acknowledge the truth. People who do not acknowledge the truth cannot love the truth. What is the state of such a person from the beginning to the end? (They are unwilling to turn themselves around.) Their unwillingness to turn things around is evident from an objective standpoint, but what is their true state? They fundamentally deny that being an honest person is the right path in life. They also deny the existence of truth, God’s judgment of mankind in the last days, and that God determines the final outcome of man and the individual retribution for one’s deeds. This is undiscerning, foolish and stubborn. Such thinking gives rise to their intransigent state, actions and behaviors. These things arise from one’s nature essence. That is the kind of person they are—a genuinely deceitful person—and they cannot change. Some people may find it inconceivable when they see such people refuse to accept the truth, and cannot understand it. In reality, people like this lack normal humanity and their conscience is not functioning. Moreover, they lack the sense of normal humanity. Upon hearing the truth and the words of judgment, a person with normal humanity and sense would at least reflect upon themselves and genuinely repent, but this person shows no response after hearing the true way. They still insist on living according to the philosophy of Satan, without the slightest change in their faith in God over the years. Such a person lacks the sense of normal humanity, and it is difficult for such a person to be saved.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, What Is Most Important Is to Practice and Experience His Words
Many practical problems arise as people experience being honest. Sometimes they speak without thinking, they slip up momentarily and tell a lie because they are governed by a wrong motive or aim, or vanity and pride, and as a result, they have to keep telling more and more lies to cover it up. In the end, they do not feel at ease in their hearts, but they can’t take those lies back, they lack the courage to correct their mistakes, to admit that they told lies, and in this way, their mistakes go on and on. After this, it is always like there is a rock pressing on their hearts; they always want to find an opportunity to come clean, to admit their mistake and repent, but they never put this into practice. Ultimately, they think it over and say to themselves, “I’ll make up for it when I perform my duty in the future.” They always say they’ll make up for it, but they never do. It is not as simple as just apologizing after telling a lie—can you make up for the harm and consequences of telling lies and engaging in deception? If, amidst great self-hatred, you are able to practice repentance, and never do that kind of thing again, then you might receive God’s tolerance and mercy. If you speak honeyed words and say that you’ll make up for your lies in the future, but do not truly repent, and later continue to lie and deceive, then you are extremely stubborn in your refusal to repent, and you are sure to be cast out. This should be recognized by people who are possessed of conscience and sense. After telling lies and engaging in deception, it is not enough to only think about making amends; what matters most is that you must truly repent. If you wish to be honest, then you must resolve the problem of lying and deception. You must tell the truth and do practical things. Sometimes telling the truth will result in you losing face and being dealt with, but you will have practiced the truth, and obeying and satisfying God in that one instance will be worth it, and it will be something that brings you comfort. In any case, you will have finally been able to practice being honest, you will have finally been able to say what’s in your heart, without trying to defend or vindicate yourself, and this is true growth. Regardless of whether you are dealt with or replaced, you will feel steadfast in your heart, for you did not lie; you will feel that since you didn’t do your duty properly, it was right for you to be dealt with, and for you to take responsibility for it. This is a positive mental state. And yet, what will the consequences be if you engage in deception? After you engage in deception, how will you feel in your heart? Uneasy; you will always feel that there is guilt and corruption in your heart, you will always feel accused: “How could I tell lies? How could I have engaged in deception yet again? Why am I like this?” You will feel like you cannot lift your head high, like you are too ashamed to face God. In particular, when people are blessed by God, when they receive God’s grace, compassion, and tolerance, they feel even more that it is shameful to deceive God, and in their hearts, they have a stronger sense of reproach, and less peace and joy. What problem does this demonstrate? That deceiving people is a revelation of a corrupt disposition, it is to rebel against and resist God, and so it will bring you pain. When you lie and deceive, you may feel that you have spoken very cleverly and tactfully, and that you haven’t given any small clues of your deception away—but later, you will feel a sense of reproach and accusation, which may follow you around your whole life. If you intentionally and deliberately lie and deceive, and a day comes when you realize the gravity of this, it will pierce you through your heart like a knife, and you will always be looking for a chance to make amends. And that is what you ought to do, unless you have no conscience, and have never lived by your conscience, and have no humanity, and no character or dignity. If you have a little character and dignity, and some awareness of conscience, when you realize that you are lying and engaging in deception, you will feel this behavior of yours to be shameful, to be disgraceful and low; you will despise and detest yourself, and you will abandon the path of lies and deception.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only an Honest Person Can Live Out True Human Likeness
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.
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.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person
Right now, do you have a path to being honest? You must examine your every utterance and action in life so that you can detect more lies and deceit, and recognize your own deceitful disposition. Then you must look at how honest people practice and experience, and learn some lessons. You must also practice accepting God’s scrutiny in all things, and come before God often to pray and fellowship with God. Say you’ve just told a lie: You immediately realize that, “A couple of the things I just said weren’t accurate—I must quickly admit to this and put it right, letting everyone know that I just told a lie.” You correct yourself there and then. If you always correct yourself like this, and if practicing in this way becomes a habit, then when you ever tell a lie and don’t correct it, you will feel uneasy, and God will help keep watch over you. Practicing and experiencing thus for a while, you will begin to lie less, there will be fewer and fewer impurities in your words, and your actions will become less and less tainted, and increasingly pure—and in this you will have been cleansed. Such is the path to being honest. You must change gradually, little by little. The more you change, the better you will become; the more you change, the more honest your words will become, and you will cease to lie—which is the right state. Corrupt people all share the same problem: They are all born capable of lying, and find it exceedingly difficult to share their innermost thoughts or to speak truthfully. Even if they want to tell the truth, they just cannot bring themselves to do so. People all believe that being honest is stupid and foolish—they think that only idiots speak frankly, and that a person is most likely to suffer losses if they are completely transparent with other people and always speak their mind, and that others will not want to interact with them, and will disdain them instead. Would you disdain this kind of person? Do you harbor this view? (Before I came to believe in God, I would disdain them, but now I admire such people and think it is better to live a simple and honest life. Living in this way, one puts less of a burden on one’s heart. Otherwise, after I lie to someone, I have to cover it up, and I end up digging myself a bigger and bigger hole, and eventually the lie will be exposed.) Lying and being deceitful are both foolish behaviors and it is much wiser to just tell the truth and to speak from the heart. People all have an understanding of this issue now—if anyone still thinks that lying and deceiving people is a sign of having caliber and being shrewd, then they are incredibly foolish, stubbornly ignorant, and they lack even the slightest bit of the truth. Any person that is already getting on in years who still believes that deceitful people are the smartest, and that honest people are all fools, is an absurd type who cannot see through to anything. Everyone lives their own lives—some people who practice being honest every day are happy and unstressed, and feel free and liberated in their hearts. They lack for nothing and live more comfortable lives. Everybody enjoys interacting with people like this, and they should really be the subject of everybody’s envy—such people have come to understand life’s meaning. There are some foolish people who think: “That person always tells the truth and he got dealt with, didn’t he? Well, that’s what he deserved! Look at me—I keep my intentions close to my chest, and I don’t talk about them or reveal them, so I haven’t been dealt with, or suffered any losses, or embarrassed myself in front of everyone. It’s wonderful! People who conceal their intentions, do not speak honestly with anyone, and prevent others from knowing what they’re thinking are the superior and highly intelligent ones.” Yet everyone can see that these people are the most deceitful and shrewd; other people are always on their guard around them and keep their distance from them. No one wants to be friends with deceitful people. Are these not the facts? If a person is guileless, and often tells the truth, if they are able to lay their heart bare to others, and they harbor no harmful intentions toward other people, though they may occasionally seem ignorant and act foolishly, they will generally be acknowledged as being a good person and everyone will be quite willing to interact with them. It is a commonly acknowledged fact that people enjoy benefits and a sense of security when interacting with honest, good people. Believers in God who are honest and pursue the truth are not only loved by others in the church, but also by God Himself. As soon as they gain the truth, they possess real testimony and are able to receive God’s commendation—does this not make them the most blessed of all people? Those that understand a bit of the truth will see this matter clearly. In your comportment, you should try to be a good and honest person who possesses the truth; in this way, not only will you be loved by others, you will also attain God’s blessings.
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.
There are often intents behind people’s lies, but some lies don’t have any intent behind them, nor are they deliberately planned. Instead, they just come out naturally. Such lies are easy to resolve; it is lies with intents behind them that are difficult to resolve. This is because these intents come from one’s nature and represent Satan’s trickery, and they are intents that people intentionally choose. If someone does not love the truth, they will be unable to forsake the flesh—so they should pray to God and rely on Him, and seek the truth to resolve the issue. But lying cannot completely be resolved all at once. There will be the occasional relapse, even multiple relapses. This is a normal situation, and as long as you resolve each and every lie you tell, and keep up with this, then the day will come when you will have resolved them all. The resolution of lying is a protracted war: When one lie pours out, reflect on yourself, and then pray to God. When another one comes out, reflect on yourself and pray to God again. The more you pray to God, the more you will hate your corrupt disposition, and the more you will long to practice the truth and live it out. Thus, you will have the strength to abandon lies. After a time of such experience and practice, you will be able to see that your lies have grown much fewer, that you are living with much greater ease, and that you need not lie or cover up your lies anymore. Though you may not speak much day to day, every sentence will come from the heart and be true, with very few lies. How will it feel to live like that? Will it not be freeing and liberating? Your corrupt disposition will not govern you and you will not be bound by it, and you will at least begin to see the results of being an honest person. Of course, when you come across special circumstances, you may sometimes let a small lie slip. There may be times when you encounter danger or trouble of some sort, or want to maintain your safety, at which times lying cannot be helped. Still, you must reflect on it, understand it and resolve the problem. You should pray to God and say: “There are still lies and trickery in me. May God save me from my corrupt disposition once and for all.” When one is intentionally exercising wisdom, it does not count as a revelation of corruption. This is what one must experience to be an honest person. In this way, your lies will become ever fewer. Today you tell ten lies, tomorrow you might tell nine, the day after that you’ll say eight. Later, you’ll only say two or three. You’ll tell the truth more and more, and your practice of being an honest person will come ever closer to God’s will, His requirements, and His standards—and how good that will be! 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
Ultimately, the simplest way to practice being an honest person is to simply tell things like they are, speak honest words, and speak according to the facts. As the Lord Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no” (Matthew 5:37). Being an honest person requires practicing according to this principle—after training at this for a few years, you will certainly see results. How do you practice being an honest person now? (I do not adulterate what I say, and I do not trick others.) What does “not adulterate” mean? It means that the words you speak do not contain lies or any personal intents or motives. If you harbor trickery or personal intents and motives within your heart, then lies will naturally pour forth from you. If you have no trickery, or personal intents, or motives within your heart, then what you say will be unadulterated and will not contain lies—in this way, your communication will be: “Yes, yes; No, no.” The most crucial thing is to first purify one’s heart. Once one’s heart is purified, one’s arrogance and deceitfulness will be resolved. To be an honest person, one must resolve these adulterations. After having done so, it will be easy to be an honest person. Is being an honest person complicated? No, it is not. No matter what your internal state is or what corrupt dispositions you may have, you should practice the truth of being an honest person. You must first resolve the problem of telling lies—this is most important. Firstly, in speaking, you should practice speaking what is on your mind, speaking true words, telling it like it is, and refrain from lying completely; you should not even speak words that are adulterated, and you should ensure that everything you say throughout the day is truthful and honest. In doing so, you are practicing the truth and practicing being an honest person. If you find that lies or adulterated words pour forth from you, promptly reflect on yourself, and dissect and gain awareness of the reasons why you lie and what is commanding you to lie. Then, based on God’s words, dissect this underlying and essential problem. Once you gain clarity on the root cause of your lies, you will be able to rebel against this satanic disposition in your speech and actions. You will no longer resort to lies when faced with similar situations, and you will be able to speak according to the facts and no longer engage in deceptive speech. In this way, your spirit will be freed and liberated and you will be able to live before God. If you are able to live according to God’s words, you are living in the light. However, if you constantly engage in deceit, plotting and scheming, always hiding like a thief in dark corners, and conducting your affairs secretly, then you will not dare to live before God. Because you have secret motives, always want to trick others to achieve your own goals, and harbor too many shameful and unspeakable things in your heart, you constantly try to hide and conceal them, to package them up and disguise them, but you cannot conceal these things forever. Sooner or later, they will come to light. A person who has secret motives is unable to live in the light. If they do not practice self-reflection, analyzing themselves and laying themselves bare, they will be unable to break free from the control and bondage of their corrupt dispositions. They will remain trapped in a life of sin, unable to extricate themselves. Ultimately, in any situation, you must not lie. If you know that lying is wrong and does not accord with the truth, yet you insist on lying and tricking others, even making things up to conceal the facts and the reality of the situation in order to mislead people, then you are intentionally engaging in wrongdoing. Such a person cannot attain salvation.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Path of Resolving a Corrupt Disposition
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