Reflections on Not Doing to Others What You Wouldn’t Want Done to Yourself
By Bai Xue, South Korea
I had so many problems cropping up in my duty, both big and small. Some were from being too careless, and some were from not knowing the principles. I was kind of worried, afraid my leader or the sister I worked with would deal with me, saying I was sloppy in my duty, but my partner barely mentioned the problems, telling me to just be more careful in the future. This always made me happy. Later, when I saw some obvious problems others had in their duties, I felt that they were being too sloppy in their work, and wanted to fellowship with them and analyze the problem so they could understand its nature and the serious consequences of going on like that. But then I thought, bluntly pointing out other people’s issues would wound their pride. It would be better to say just enough to make them aware of the issue, and leave it at that. Besides, I’d been having the same problems, so what right did I have to speak up? What if I dealt with others for something, and then did it myself later? Wouldn’t I be a hypocrite? I figured I should just say nice things. That way if I did something wrong in the future, the others wouldn’t make a fuss. Forgiving others is forgiving yourself. When I thought about it that way, the bit of righteousness in my heart disappeared. I said to my partner, “There’s no need to call out specific people who have problems. We can just refer to the problems.” She didn’t say anything in response. I felt a little uneasy after that. Would the others realize they had a problem if they weren’t singled out? Would they change in the future? If they didn’t, that could impact the work. I felt conflicted. I wanted to speak up but didn’t dare, and by not speaking, I felt I wasn’t doing my duty. Afterward, I wondered why it was so difficult for me. What was keeping me from exposing the problems of others? I said a silent prayer, asking God to guide me in understanding my issue.
Later, I told another sister about my current state, and she sent me a passage of God’s words. Reading it really opened my eyes, and I gained some understanding of my problem. Almigthy God says, “Are you a proponent of the moral maxim, ‘What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others’? If someone were a proponent of this phrase, would you think they were great and noble? There are some who would say, ‘Look, they don’t impose, they don’t make things hard for others, or put them in difficult positions. Aren’t they wonderful? They are always strict with themselves yet lenient with others; they never tell anyone to do something that they wouldn’t do themselves. They give others a lot of freedom, and make them feel an abundance of warmth and acceptance. What a great person!’ Is that really the case? The implication of the phrase ‘What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others,’ is that you should only give or supply the things you like and take pleasure in to others. But what things do corrupted people like and take pleasure in? Corrupted things, preposterous things, and extravagant desires. If you give and supply these negative things to people, will all of humanity not become more and more corrupted? There will be fewer and fewer positive things. Is this not the truth? It is a fact that humanity is deeply corrupted. Corrupted humans like to pursue fame, gain, status, and pleasures of the flesh; they want to be celebrities, to be mighty and superhuman. They want a comfortable life and are averse to hard work; they want everything to be handed to them. Very few of them love the truth or positive things. If people give and supply their corruption and predilections to others, what will happen? It is just as you would imagine: Humanity will only become more and more corrupt. Those who are a proponent of the idea of ‘what you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others,’ ask that people impress their corruption, predilections, and extravagant desires onto others, making other people seek evil, comfort, money, and advancement. Is this the right path in life? It is plain to see that ‘What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others’ is a very problematic saying. The holes and flaws in it are glaringly obvious; it is not even worth dissecting and discerning it. With the slightest examination, its errors and ridiculousness are plain to see. However, there are many among you who are easily persuaded and influenced by this saying and accept it without discernment. When interacting with others, you often use this maxim to admonish yourself and exhort others. By doing this, you think that your character is particularly noble, and that you are very reasonable. But without realizing it, these words have revealed the principles you live by and your stance on issues. At the same time, you have deceived and misled others into approaching people and circumstances with the same views and stance as you. You have acted like a veritable fence-straddler, and completely taken the middle road. You say, ‘No matter what the issue is, there is no need to take it seriously. Don’t make things difficult for yourself or others. If you make things difficult for other people, then you’re making them difficult for yourself, too. Being kind to others is being kind to yourself. If you’re hard on other people, then you’re being hard on yourself too. Why put yourself in a difficult position? Not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself is the best thing you could do for yourself, and the most considerate.’ This attitude is obviously one of not being meticulous in anything. You have no clear stance or perspective on any issue; you have a muddled view of everything. You are not meticulous and just turn a blind eye to things. When you finally stand before God and account for yourself, it will be a big muddle too. Why is that? Because you always say you should not do to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself. This is very comforting and pleasant, but at the same time it will cause you a lot of trouble, making it so that you can’t have a clear view or stance on many matters. Of course, it also makes you unable to understand clearly what God’s requirements and standards for you are when you encounter these situations, or what outcome you should achieve. These things happen because you are not meticulous in anything you do; they are caused by your muddled attitude and views. Is not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself the tolerant attitude you should have toward people and things? No, it is not. It is just a theory which appears right, noble, and kind from the outside, but is actually a thoroughly negative thing. Clearly, even less is it a principle of the truth that people should be adhering to” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (10)). God’s words exposed my attitude toward getting along with others. When I saw an issue in someone’s approach to their duty, I didn’t want to clearly point it out. On the surface it looked like I was being kind, letting others save face, and not embarrassing them, but I had an ulterior motive. Since I was also sloppy in my duty quite often and had similar issues, I was afraid of pointing out problems in others and later displaying the very same problem. Wouldn’t that make me a hypocrite? Being strict with others would be bad for me, too, by not leaving myself a way out, so I didn’t want to take the problems of others seriously, preferring to gloss over them. I was well aware that if they were always careless in their duties, not only would they not get good results or do any good deeds, but it would also impact the church’s work, even causing major disruptions. As a supervisor, I should’ve been taking responsibility, fellowshiping and pointing out others’ issues, and when necessary, exposing, analyzing, and dealing with them. But to save face and protect my status, I lost even the slightest will to practice the truth. From the outside, I seemed really considerate, but in reality, I wanted to protect myself and keep others from mentioning my problems. If it hadn’t been for the revelation of God’s words, I never would have realized that not pointing out others’ problems actually stems from being impacted and controlled by satanic philosophies. I never would have seen how deceitful I was.
I read something in God’s words. “In a literal sense, ‘What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others’ means that if you do not like something, or do not like to do something, then you shouldn’t force it onto other people either. This seems smart and reasonable, but if you use this satanic philosophy to handle every situation, then you will make many mistakes. It is likely that you will hurt, mislead, or even harm people. Just like how some parents are not fond of studying, but like to make their children study, and always try to reason with them, urging them to study hard. If you were to apply the requirement here to ‘not do to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself,’ then these parents shouldn’t make their children study, because they themselves do not enjoy it. There are other people who believe in God, but do not pursue the truth; yet in their hearts they know that believing in God is the right path in life. If they see their children are not on the right path, they urge them to believe in God. Even though they themselves do not pursue the truth, they still want their children to pursue it and be blessed. In this situation, if they were to treat others how they want to be treated, then these parents should not make their children believe in God. That would be in line with this satanic philosophy, but it also would have destroyed their children’s chance at salvation. Who is responsible for this outcome? Does the traditional moral maxim of not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself not harm people? … Haven’t these examples thoroughly refuted this saying? There is nothing correct about it. For example, some people do not love the truth; they covet the comforts of the flesh, and find ways to slack off when performing their duty. They are not willing to suffer or pay a price. They think that the saying ‘What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others’ puts it well, and tell people, ‘You should learn how to enjoy yourself. You don’t need to perform your duty well or suffer hardship or pay a price. If you can slack off, then slack off; if you can muddle through something, then muddle through it. Don’t make things so hard on yourself. Look, I live this way—isn’t it great? My life is just perfect! You’re exhausting yourself living that way! You should learn from me.’ Does this not meet the requirement of ‘not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself’? If you act this way, are you a person with conscience and reason? (No.) If a person loses their conscience and reason, are they not lacking virtue? This is called lacking virtue. Why do we call it this? Because they crave comfort, they muddle through their duty, and incite and influence others to join them in being perfunctory and craving comfort. What is the problem with this? Being perfunctory and irresponsible in your duty is an act of trickery and resistance to God. If you continue to be perfunctory and do not repent, you will be exposed and cast out” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (10)). “If people love the truth, they will have the strength to pursue the truth, and can work hard practicing the truth. They can abandon that which should be abandoned, and let go of that which should be let go of. In particular, things that pertain to your own fame, gain, and status should be let go of. If you do not let them go, it means you do not love the truth and do not have the strength to pursue the truth. When things happen to you, you must seek the truth. If, at those times when you need to practice the truth, you always have a selfish heart and cannot let go of your own self-interest, you will be unable to put the truth into practice. If you never seek or practice the truth in any circumstance, you are not a person who loves the truth. No matter how many years you have believed in God, you will not obtain the truth. Some people are always pursuing fame, gain, and self-interest. Whatever work the church arranges for them, they always deliberate, thinking, ‘Will this benefit me? If it will, I’ll do it; if it won’t, then I won’t.’ A person like this does not practice the truth—so can they perform their duty well? They most certainly cannot. Even if you do not do evil, you are still not a person who practices the truth. If you do not pursue the truth, do not love positive things, and whatever befalls you, you only care about your own reputation and status, your own self-interest, and what is good for you, then you are a person who is only driven by self-interest, and you are selfish and base. … If people never practice the truth after years of believing in God, they are one of the nonbelievers, they are evil. If you never practice the truth, if your transgressions grow ever more numerous, then your end is set. It is clear to see that all your transgressions, the mistaken path you walk, and your refusal to repent—all of this combines into a multitude of evil deeds; and so your end is that you will go to hell, you will be punished” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is Most Important in Believing in God Is Putting the Truth Into Practice). I couldn’t help but shudder at what God’s words reveal. Basing interactions on “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others” made me seem understanding toward others, but in fact, I was doing them harm. I wasn’t practicing or entering into God’s words or His demands. I was pandering to others over their problems, not asking them to practice God’s word, as if they should be just like me, not seeking progress, negative, and depraved. Doing things that way is irresponsible. It’s being a people pleaser. It’s unconscionable and lacking in virtue. That’s how I was behaving. I didn’t love the truth, and was only seeking to put myself at ease. I didn’t want to take my duty seriously or be detailed. There were all sorts of issues and deviations in my duty, but I was afraid of exposing my faults. I hoped the leader and my partner wouldn’t be too strict with me. I was also afraid if I was too direct with others, I’d have to set an example and accept their oversight, which would not make my life easier. So I wanted to shield others and allow them to be like me, not mentioning problems they noticed, and not keeping an eye on each other. Before gaining the truth, people tend to follow their corrupt dispositions in life, slacking off and being perfunctory in their duties. This is when mutual supervision and guidance are needed most. This is a good thing, and it protects the church’s work. As a supervisor, I really should have taken the lead in practicing the truth, but on top of not being a good example, I allowed everyone to be sloppy and not strive for progress, just like me. Essentially, I was sick of the truth, and unwilling to accept it. I was taking the lead in being careless and cheating God. Not only was I not doing my duty well, I was also harming my brothers and sisters. The more I reflected on it, the more I saw that it was a more serious issue than I’d thought. To protect my reputation and status, I disregarded the church’s work and the brothers’ and sisters’ entry into life. I was so selfish and vile. I also came to understand why God says people like that are nonbelievers, that they’re evil people who worm their way into God’s house. It’s because the only thing in their hearts is themselves—they don’t think of the church’s work. God hopes that all of us can practice the truth, speaking and acting with principle. But I didn’t love the truth. I hoped everyone would shield each other, and that no one would practice the truth. I was doing the opposite of what God wanted—this was doing evil. I used to think that only intentionally disrupting the church’s work was evildoing that would disgust God, but I saw then that protecting your own interests at every turn, speaking and acting out of corruption, and not practicing the truth is also doing evil. Realizing this, I quickly prayed to God in repentance: “God, I’m a supervisor, but I’m not practicing the truth. To protect my reputation and status, I’ve wanted everyone to shield each other. I have no conscience or reason, and I don’t deserve this duty. God, I want to repent and change.” After praying, I listed out all the problems the others had had in their duties lately. I was stunned when I saw the details of all these issues. A couple of people had been irresponsible and careless in their duty, that meant some work had to be redone. Seeing one problem after another made me really uncomfortable. I hadn’t imagined there would be so many problems in everyone’s duties. But I still thought I could let things slide, indulging others and myself. I had no consideration for God’s will. If things went on that way, the delays in our work would all be on my head.
That evening I read a passage of God’s words that helped me understand my behavior. God’s words say, “No matter what they’re doing, the antichrists first consider their own interests, and they only act once they’ve thought it all out; they do not truly, sincerely, and absolutely obey the truth without compromise, but do so selectively and conditionally. What condition is this? It is that their status and reputation must be safeguarded, and must not suffer any loss. Only after this condition is satisfied will they decide and choose what to do. That is, antichrists give serious consideration to how to treat the principles of the truth, God’s commissions, and the work of God’s house, or how to deal with the things they face. They do not consider how to fulfill God’s will, how to keep from damaging the interests of God’s house, how to satisfy God, or how to benefit the brothers and sisters; these are not the things they consider. What do antichrists consider? Whether their own status and reputation will be affected, and whether their prestige will be lowered. If doing something according to the principles of the truth benefits the work of the church and the brothers and sisters, but would cause their own reputation to suffer and cause many people to realize their true stature and know what sort of nature and essence they have, then they will definitely not act in accordance with the principles of the truth. If doing practical work will cause more people to think highly of them, look up to them and admire them, or enable their words to carry authority and make more people submit to them, then they will choose to do it that way; otherwise, they will never choose to disregard their own interests out of consideration for the interests of God’s house or of the brothers and sisters. This is the nature and essence of antichrists. Isn’t it selfish and vile? In any situation, antichrists see their status and reputation as of utmost importance. No one can compete with them. No matter the method required, so long as it wins people over and makes others worship them, the antichrists will do it. … Put simply, the goal and motive behind everything an antichrist does revolve around these two things—status and reputation. Whether it is their outward way of talking, acting, or behaving, or a kind of thinking and viewpoint or way of seeking, everything revolves around their reputation and status. This is the way antichrists work” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). God’s words are crystal clear. Everything antichrists do is to protect their own reputation and status. They never consider how to protect the church’s work or what would benefit their brothers and sisters. They’d rather see the church’s work impacted than endanger their own interests. They care too much about reputation and status. In my reflection, I saw that I acted just like an antichrist. When faced with something, I always put my interests, face, and status above everything. When I saw that some people were being quite careless in their duty, I knew I should point it out and deal with them so they could see their problems and recognize their corruption. But I didn’t want to offend anyone, and I wanted to protect myself, so I didn’t practice the truth. I couldn’t get a single word in line with the truth out of my mouth. Instead, I racked my brains to make sure I had a way out. I was really slippery and deceitful, a people pleaser who wanted to take the middle road. I just kept pursuing fame and status, protecting my own interests, allowing others to do their duties out of corruption, not thinking of the church’s work. I was on the path of an antichrist. If I kept on that way, I was sure to be exposed and cast out by God. This realization showed me how grave this problem was. I prayed to God, asking Him to guide me so I could let go of fame and status, uphold the church’s work, and fulfill my responsibilities.
I read more of God’s words after that. “God does not demand people only do to others what they would want done to themselves, instead He asks people to be clear on the principles they should observe when handling different situations. If it is correct and in line with God’s words and the truth, then you must cling to it. And not only must you cling to it, you must admonish, persuade, and fellowship with others, so that they understand exactly what God’s will is, and what the principles of truth are. This is your responsibility and obligation. God does not ask you to take the middle road, and even less does He ask you to show off how big your heart is. You should cling to the things God has admonished you for and taught to you, and what God talks about in His words: the requirements, the criterion, and the principles of the truth that people should be observing. Not only must you cling to them, but you must cling to them forever. You must also practice by leading by example, as well as persuading, supervising, helping, and guiding others to cling to, observe, and practice these principles of the truth in the same way you do. God demands that you do this; He does not demand that you let yourself and other people off the hook. God demands that you take the correct stance on issues, cling to the correct codes, and know precisely what the criteria in God’s words are, and that you figure out precisely what the principles of truth are. Even if you cannot accomplish this, even if you are unwilling, if you don’t like it, if you have notions, or if you resist it, you must treat it as your responsibility, as your obligation. You must fellowship with people on the positive things that come from God, on things which are right and correct, and use them to help, impact, and guide others, so that people can be benefited and edified by them, and walk the correct path in life. This is your responsibility, and you should not stubbornly cling to the idea of ‘what you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others’ which Satan has put into your mind. In God’s eyes, that saying is just a philosophy for living; it is one of Satan’s tricks; it is not the correct path, nor is it a positive thing. All God requires of you, is for you to be an upright person who understands clearly what they should and should not do. He does not call you to be a people-pleaser or a fence-straddler; He has not called you to take the middle road. When a matter concerns the principles of the truth, you must say what needs to be said, and understand what needs to be understood. If someone does not understand something but you do, and you can give pointers and help them out, then you absolutely must fulfill this responsibility and obligation. You must not just stand by the wayside and watch, and even less should you cling to the tricks that Satan has put into your mind such as not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself. … If you always uphold this, then you are someone who lives according to satanic philosophies; a person who completely lives in a satanic disposition. If you do not follow God’s way, then you do not love or pursue the truth. No matter what happens, the principle you should follow and the most important thing you must do is help people as much as you can. You should not do as Satan says and only do to others what you would want done to yourself, or be a ‘smart’ people-pleaser. What does it mean to help people as much as you can? It means fulfilling your responsibilities and obligations. As soon as you see that something is part of your responsibilities and obligations, you should fellowship on God’s words and the truth. This is what it means to fulfill your responsibilities and obligations” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (10)). From God’s words I saw that not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself is a tactic, a ploy Satan uses to corrupt and control people’s thoughts so they live by satanic philosophies, not practicing the truth in their interactions. They become tolerant and give each other leeway. If everyone lives by their corrupt disposition, Satan gains control and evil gets the upper hand. Eventually, the Holy Spirit forsakes them. Though I couldn’t yet live up to or put into practice God’s words and His requirements, I had to fulfill my responsibilities and fellowship with the others on my enlightenment and understanding of God’s words. If I saw people going against the principles of the truth in their duties, instead of displaying an attitude of leniency and tolerance, I had to be principled, helping others through fellowship and criticism. Only then would I be upholding the church’s work and fulfilling my duty. I also had to stand as an example of putting the truth into practice. It was a fact that there were problems in my duty, but I couldn’t cut myself any slack, put on an act, or escape reality. If I did, I’d never make any progress. I should proactively acknowledge my issues, accept others’ oversight, and take my duty seriously. I also realized that the idea that you have to be free of mistakes and issues to criticize others is not in line with the truth at all—it’s putting yourself on a pedestal. I’m just another corrupt human with a gravely satanic disposition. I often go against the principles of the truth in my duty, and need to undergo God’s judgment and pruning. I need oversight from brothers and sisters, too. If more problems become apparent, I’ll need to face them, not keep running from them. Realizing this was enlightening for me, and I found a path for practice. In the next gathering, I first addressed the issues I’d had recently in my duty, exposing and analyzing my sloppiness, and asked everyone to keep an eye on me. I also told them to let it serve as a warning. Finally, I also singled out two of the brothers and sisters who had been particularly careless and fellowshiped on the consequences of failing to change. I felt really at ease after doing that.
It was really moving for me when a brother I’d dealt with recognized his problem because he was singled out like that, and sent me a message saying, “If I hadn’t been exposed and dealt with like that, I would have been totally unaware of my issue. Thank you for helping me this way. Now I want to really reflect and enter into the truth.” I was greatly moved by this message. I used to hate being dealt with and exposed, so I wanted to do that to others even less, but in fact, that wasn’t doing them any favors. I really regretted protecting my own reputation and status, always indulging and tolerating everyone’s problems in their duties, and not fulfilling my duty or responsibilities. I felt I owed God, and the brothers and sisters. I also realized that putting God’s words into practice is the principle by which we should live. Being able to point out problems in others without mincing words is helpful for them—but also benefits ourselves. But not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself is actually a satanic fallacy that hurts people. I also saw that always being afraid of being dealt with when problems cropped up in my duty meant I didn’t understand the significance of being dealt with. God’s words say, “Supervising people, keeping an eye on them, finding out more about what they’re doing—this is all in order to help them enter the right track of faith in God, to enable them to perform their duty as God asks and according to principle, so that they do not cause any disturbance or disruption, so that they are not wasting time. The aim of doing this is entirely born of responsibility to them and to the work of God’s house; there is no malice to it” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). It’s true. We all have corrupt dispositions and we’re all liable to be sloppy and deceitful in our duty. If there’s no one to supervise and inspect our work, or offer fellowship and criticism for our problems, we can’t possibly do a good job. We’ll just pander to our own comfort, or even wantonly do something disruptive to the church’s work. So, when leaders supervise work or offer criticism, they’re being responsible in their duty, and it’s to uphold the church’s work. It’s also good for our life entry, not to make things hard on us. But I was a supervisor following the satanic idea of “not doing to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself.” I saw issues in others’ duties but was still nice to everyone. I didn’t fellowship with, help, or deal with anyone, but indulged and shielded them. It was irresponsible, not to mention harmful to others and the church. This experience turned around this mistaken idea of mine and made me see the significance of supervision and exposure.
This experience was really moving for me. I saw that when we live by satanic philosophies, all of our ideas are mistaken. We can’t tell right from wrong, and we don’t know what is in line with the principles of truth and God’s requirements. It’s easy to follow satanic philosophies and do things that disrupt the church’s work. Only looking at things and living according to God’s words is in line with His will. I also got a taste of the sweetness of practicing the truth and gained the confidence to focus on doing what God demands in the future. Thank God!
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