Chapter 61. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person
Do you have any experience of being honest? (It’s difficult being honest.) And why is it difficult? (When I reflect upon myself each day, I discover that I’m good at putting on an act, and that I have said much that is inaccurate. Sometimes, my words will contain emotion and motivations, sometimes I’ll create some artifice to achieve my aims, telling half-truths that are incompatible with the facts; some words, too, will be completely irrelevant, and made up.) These things are the deceitful side of people’s corrupt disposition. Why do people engage in such deceit? To achieve their own aims, and to achieve the objectives they desire. And so they adopt certain methods. The adoption of such methods shows that they are not upstanding, and that they are not honest. At such times, people’s insidiousness and cunning is revealed, or else their maliciousness and ignobility. With these things, you feel that it is especially hard to be honest; without them, you would feel that being honest is easy. The greatest obstacles to being honest are people’s insidiousness, their deceitfulness, their maliciousness, and their ignoble motivations. Have you ever trained yourselves to be honest? And what was your state while you were training yourselves? (Each evening I would write down all the nonsense, lies, irrelevances, and fabrications I had said during the day. Then I’d examine and dissect myself, and would discover that these words contained motivations, that they were lies uttered against a background of incentives, and incompatible with the truth. Though I knew they were incompatible with the truth, the next time I couldn’t stop myself from once more lying, making things up, and putting on an act. On some occasions, I didn’t know I was pretending or lying at the time, I only knew later. On some occasions, I knew at the time, but I couldn’t instantly rebel against myself. On some occasions, I had no sense of what I was doing at the time.) Yes! At the time you couldn’t feel it—you thought you had especially good reasons to do so, and that it was proper to do so. Against a certain background or in a certain environment, you felt it was wise, or that there was a good reason to do so, or that you had ample reasons to do so, and ultimately acted, after which you felt you were fully justified in doing so, and had nothing to be remorseful of. When evening came and you reflected upon what you did, or else one day when you gained enlightenment or were reproached, you then felt that the reason for saying those words at that time was not a reason, and that you should have behaved in another way. How should you practice at such times? For example, you did something to someone, you cheated them, or you spoke words that were either tainted or which contained your own motivations, and so you should go and find that person and dissect yourself and say: “The words I said at that time contained my personal motivations. If you can accept my apology, please forgive me.” Thus you dissect yourself, and lay yourself bare. It takes courage to dissect yourself and lay yourself bare. When no one else is around, whether you pray before God, or you admit your mistakes, repent, or dissect your corrupt disposition to God, you can say whatever you want, for with your eyes closed you can’t see anything, it’s like speaking to air, and so you are able to lay yourself bare; you can then speak about whatever you thought, or whatever you said at the time, as well as your motivations and your deceitfulness. Yet if you have to lay yourself bare to another person, you may lose your courage, and you may lose your resolve to do so, because you want to save face, and so it is very difficult to put these things into practice. If you are asked to speak in generalities, you are able to say that sometimes there are personal motivations in the things you do or say, that your words and actions contain treachery, impurities, lies, and deceit, as well as your own aims. But when something happens to you, if you have to dissect yourself and reveal how what happened to you played out from beginning to end, which of the words you said were deceitful, what kind of motivations they contained, what you thought in your heart, how you were malicious and insidious, then you could well lose your nerve, and so you will be unwilling to reveal yourself to that level of detail or be so specific in what you say. There will even be people who gloss over it and say, “It was just one of those things. Suffice to say, man is pretty deceitful, insidious and unreliable.” This is the inability to correctly face your corrupt substance, deceitfulness, and insidiousness; your state is always one of evasiveness, your condition is always evasive, you always forgive yourself, and are incapable of suffering or paying a price in this matter. And so there are many people who have cried out for years that “I’m so deceitful, so insidious, I’m often duplicitous in my actions, and not at all genuine toward others.” They go on and on, but having cried these words for many years, today they remain totally and utterly deceitful, for you have never heard them express remorse for, or dissect the deceitfulness and insidiousness exposed in their words or actions. There’s no way for us to be sure that they have not confessed their sins and repented before God, but before other people they have never apologized, dissected themselves, or known themselves, saying something of what they have come to know in this matter, once they have finished cheating, tricking, or manipulating others. That they do not do so proves something: In these matters, they have never rebelled against themselves; they merely speak catchphrases and doctrines. They may speak catchphrases and doctrines to follow the latest trend or fad, or may have been forced to do so by their environment, which will never be able to make them change.
When God asks that people put every truth into practice, they are required to pay a price, and to really and literally act, practice, and experience, to incorporate them into their real lives. God does not ask that people speak catchphrases or spend the whole day repeating that they are deceitful, and a liar, and manipulative, and that there are motivations in everything they do, whilst still, when something happens to them, employing the same means and methods as before; their means and methods have never changed, the way they behave toward others has never changed, and the way in which they act has never changed. What do you say, is someone like this capable of change? No, they can never change! (So is this to say that, apart from admitting our errors before God, we must also lay ourselves bare before our brothers and sisters?) Of course you must. If you do not lay yourself bare, how can you prove that you admit you are truly deceitful? If you do not lay yourself bare, and if someone else does not, either, if you all remain hidden, harboring your own individual plans within your hearts, and if everyone keeps maintaining a private space within their hearts, then how can you talk of real experience? How could any of you have true experiences to commune to each other? “Sharing and communing experiences” means speaking of every thought in your heart, your state, your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, as well as the corrupt disposition within you. And after that, others discern these things, and accept the positive and recognize that which is negative. Only this is sharing, and only this is truly communing. It does not simply mean having insights into the words of God or a part of a hymn, and communing as you please and then not taking it any further, and not saying anything related to your own actual life. Everyone talks about doctrinal and theoretical knowledge and says nothing of knowledge drawn from actual experiences. You all avoid talking about such things, about your personal lives, about your life in the church with your brothers and sisters, and about your own inner world. By doing this, how can there be true communication between people? How can there be real trust? There cannot be any! If a wife never speaks of the words within her heart to her husband, are they confidants? Do they confide in each other? Suppose that all day long they say, “I love you!” They say only this, yet they have never laid bare what they are thinking in their hearts, what they want of each other, or what problems they have. They have never spoken to each other of such things, nor have they ever confided in each other—and if the two of them have never confided in each other, then are they a couple who love each other? If they have nothing but high-sounding words for each other when they are together, are they truly husband and wife? Certainly not! If brothers and sisters are to be able to confide in each other, help each other out, and provide for one another when they are together, then each person must speak of their own true experiences. If you don’t talk of your own true experiences, and only speak high-sounding words, and words that are doctrinal and superficial, then you are not an honest person, and you are incapable of being honest. For example, after living together for several years, a husband and wife will have gotten used to each other, and locked horns sometimes. But if you are both of normal humanity, you will always commune the words within your heart to him, and he to you. Whatever difficulties you have in life, the problems in your work, what you’re thinking in your heart, how you plan to sort things out, what ideas and plans you have for your children—you’ll tell him everything. In that case, aren’t the two of you especially close to each other, and especially intimate with each other? If he never tells you the words in his heart, and does nothing but bring home a paycheck, and if you never speak to him of the words in your own heart and never confide in him, then is there not a distance between the two of you in your hearts? There surely is, because you do not understand each other’s thoughts or intentions. Ultimately, you cannot tell what kind of person he is, nor can he tell what kind of person you are; you don’t understand his needs, nor does he understand your requirements. If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide for each other or help one another. You have experienced this before, have you not? If your friend says everything to you, saying all of what they’re thinking in their heart, and what suffering or happiness they have in their heart, then do you not feel particularly intimate with them? That they are willing to tell these things to you is because you have also spoken of the words in your heart to them—you are especially close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along with them and help each other out. Without this kind of communication and exchange among the brothers and sisters in the church, there would never be harmony among brothers and sisters. This is one of the requisites of being honest.
Some people say: “It’s hard being honest. Do I have to tell everything I think in my heart to others? Isn’t it enough to commune the positive things? I don’t need to tell others of my dark or corrupt side, do I?” If you do not speak these things, and do not dissect yourself, then you will never know yourself, will never know what kind of thing you are, and there will be no chance of others trusting you. This is fact. If you wish for others to trust you, first you must be honest. To be honest, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can see your heart, see all that you are thinking, and see your true face; you must not pretend or try to cover yourself up. Only then will people trust you and consider you honest. This is the most fundamental practice, and the prerequisite, of being honest. You are always pretending, always feigning holiness, virtuousness, greatness, and feigning high moral qualities. You do not let people see your corruption and your failings. You present a false image to people, so that they believe you are upstanding, great, self-sacrificing, impartial, and selfless. This is deceitfulness. Don’t pretend and don’t package yourself; instead, lay yourself bare and lay your heart bare for others to see. If you can lay your heart bare for others to see, and lay bare all that you think and plan to do in your heart—regardless of whether it is positive or negative—then are you not being honest? If you are able to lay yourself bare for others to see, God will also see you, and say: “You have laid yourself bare for others to see, and so before Me you are surely honest, too.” If you only lay yourself bare to God out of view of others, and always pretend to be great and virtuous or just and selfless before them, then what will God think and what will God say? God will say: “You are genuinely deceitful, you are purely hypocritical and petty, and you are not honest.” God will condemn you thus. If you wish to be honest, then regardless of what you do before God or people, you should be able to open up and lay yourself bare. Is this easy to achieve? It requires time, for there to be battles within our hearts, and for us to continually practice. Little by little, our hearts will be opened, and we will be able to lay ourselves bare.
People live in corrupt satanic disposition. No matter what they’re doing, they put on an act, and package themselves, and create artifice; they are deceitful in everything, believing nothing to be unworthy of their deceit and manipulation. There are people who can be duplicitous even when they buy something, which is actually a very common situation. Suppose that someone buys a pair of shoes. She thinks: “These shoes are pretty fashionable at the moment. When the brothers and sisters see me wearing them they’ll undoubtedly have something to say about me. They’ll say, ‘Look, you’ve got money but you’re not spending it in a right way, how could you spend it on those? Something fashionable like that must have cost a lot!’ They’ll definitely say that about me. So I won’t wear these shoes in front of them, I’ll put them on when we’re not having an assembly, and when we are having an assembly I won’t. I’ll wear them when they’ve gone out of fashion, when they won’t think they’re worth anything when they see them.” Irrespective of your actions, in sum, by calculating and thinking in this way, are you not being deceitful? You are, yes? You already live in deceit, you’re already prepared to act in this way, and when you do, is there not already treachery in your heart? There is, yes? You’re being deceitful, yes? And why are you being deceitful? Because you have your own motivations, and your own aims. And are these aims of yours valid? What is their substance? Is it not the case that you don’t wish to be honest, and are being deceitful? You act one way in front of people, and a different way behind their backs; your behavior is not the same, there’s a difference, you’re secretly scheming, you’re meticulous in your planning and calculations, which have already been tainted with your motivations. By practicing and acting in this way, you are being deceitful. What do you say, are people who are deceitful foolish? See how the petty schemes of deceitful people can’t be laid bare. Why is it that, as soon as some people are asked to dissect themselves, they become anxious? Their petty schemes appear foolish, stupid, and ignoble, and they’re disgraceful; these are the dirty dealings of vile people. Those who are deceitful are never able to lay their actions bare to others. Why is that? As soon as they lay themselves bare, they suddenly discover: “Oh, how could I have been so foolish when I did that? How could I have been so disgusting?” They’re even disgusting to themselves, but when they do it they can’t help themselves; they always want to act like that, for in nature they are deceitful, and in everything they do, their crafty nature is naturally revealed. Even small things will reveal their deceitful nature, there is nothing in which they can hold themselves back, and this is their Achilles’ heel. There was once a brother whose mother-in-law’s family was particularly deceitful, as was his sister-in-law’s. His whole family was filled with deceitful people—not a single one of them was honest and dependable. The words of the child in that family beggared belief. When the child was six or seven, there was one time when, after his family had had a special meal, an adult asked him: “Hey, what did your family have to eat today?” He blinked, and didn’t make a sound. The adult asked him again: “What did you eat today?” Unwilling to speak, he said: “I’ve forgotten.” He’d eaten less than half an hour ago, but he said he had forgotten. This six- or seven-year-old child was already capable of making things up, of telling lies—and had he been trained to do so by adults? Was he influenced by his environment? Neither. This was his inherent nature; he was inherently deceitful. Let’s dissect this nature. Regardless of what you eat—even if you eat a mountain of gold or silver—there’s no need to lie. Even if you have eaten something tasty, no one can take it from you, nor will they be jealous or envious. There’s no need to tell this lie. What do you say, is it necessary to lie? It is not! Since there was no need, does this show that what he did was particularly foolish? It does. Let’s dissect why he was so foolish: Firstly, there’s no need for you to lie. Whatever you’ve eaten, other people won’t be envious, and won’t try to take it from you. Secondly, is your memory really that bad? Forgetting what you had less than half an hour after eating it? Children have good memories, he couldn’t possibly forget, and so people can clearly tell that he’s lying, that he is being deceitful. When he said, “I’ve forgotten,” he was stalling, so that you’d stop asking. His meaning was: “I said ‘I’ve forgotten,’ yet you still ask; isn’t asking again a waste of time? I won’t tell you, I’ll just say ‘I’ve forgotten.’” He didn’t directly say, “I’m not telling you,” but “I’ve forgotten.” Is this not someone who is deceitful? This child’s already grown up, he’s over twenty, and the facts prove that he certainly is deceitful. His deceitfulness was visible right from when he was small. People who are deceitful can’t control themselves in their actions, and their deceitfulness can appear at any time or place. This isn’t something they have to learn, or which requires the teaching or guidance of others; in something so simple, something about which there is no need to lie or be evasive, he is evasive, he lies, misleads people, and makes up lies and falsehoods. Have you ever been in such a state? You all have, yes? And in that case, what does this prove? That none of you are honest!
What is God’s standard for the honest people He requires? This has been mentioned in the words of God. Do you have your hymn books? What does it mean to be “honest”? (“Honesty means to give your heart to God; never to play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never hiding the truth; never to do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and never to do that which merely ingratiates yourself with God. In short, to be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. … If your words are riddled with excuses and valueless justifications, then I say that you are one who is extremely loath to put the truth into practice. If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, and if you are very unwilling to lay bare your secrets—that is to say, your difficulties—before others so as to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are one who will not receive salvation easily and who will not easily emerge from the darkness.”) There are some very important words here, do you see what they are? God said, “If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share.” “Many” refers to how you have done many things that you don’t dare speak of, and have too many dark sides; none of your day-to-day actions are according to the words of God, you do not rebel against the flesh, you do whatever you want, and after believing in God all these years you have not the slightest reality, and have not entered into reality. “If you are very unwilling to lay bare your secrets—that is to say, your difficulties—before others so as to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are one who will not receive salvation easily and who will not easily emerge from the darkness.” Here God has granted humans a path of practice, and if you do not practice in this way, and merely shout slogans and doctrines, then you are someone who will not receive salvation easily. This is indeed linked to salvation. Being saved is very important to each and every person. Has God referred to this anywhere else? Elsewhere, He seldom refers to the difficulty of being saved, but He does speak of it when talking about being honest: If you do not act in this way, then you are someone who is very difficult to save. “Not receiving salvation easily” means it is difficult for you to be saved and you are incapable of taking the right track to salvation, and so it is impossible to save you. God says this in order to give people some leeway; that is to say, you are not easy to save, but on the other hand, if you put God’s words into practice, there will be hope for you and you can be saved. If you do not put God’s words into practice, and if you never dissect your own secrets or difficulties, or never tell anyone these private things or open up to people about them, never commune with people about them, or dissect them with people in order to lay yourself bare, then there’s no possibility of you being saved. And why is that? If you do not lay yourself bare or dissect yourself in this way, your corrupt disposition will never change. And if you are unable to change, you can forget about being saved. This is what God means in saying these words, and this is God’s will.
Why has God always emphasized that people should be honest? Because it is so important, and it directly relates to whether or not you can be saved. Some people say: I’m so arrogant, so self-righteous, I’m quick-tempered, I often expose my naturalness, I’m often superficial and vain, I always want the approval of others…. But these are all mere trifles. And why do I say they are mere trifles? Because they are insignificant. Don’t always go on about them, saying: I’m so image-obsessed, I’m always facetious, I love making jokes and wisecracks…. Are these faults? They are mere trifles. Regardless of your disposition or personality, as long as you are able to be honest according to God’s manner you can be saved. So what do you say, is it important to be honest? This is the most important thing, and so it is that in Three Admonitions God talks about being honest. See how, despite the fact that God talked about living in the spirit, being capable of a normal spiritual life, or having a proper church life, or normal humanity in other texts, nowhere did He explicitly tell you what kind of person to be, or how to practice—but in talking about being honest, He shows you a path, and tells you how to put it into practice; this is quite explicit. God said, “Then I say that you are one who will not receive salvation easily.” Have you ever paid any attention to these words? If you haven’t, it is because you still do not know how to eat and drink the words of God, and still do not know which of God’s words are especially important; they still haven’t awakened you, or caught your attention. See how being honest concerns salvation. What do you say, is being honest important? What God wants are people who are honest. If you are capable of lies and deception, you are a treacherous, crooked, and sinister person, and not an honest person. If you are not an honest person, then there is no chance that God will save you, nor can you possibly be saved. You have not changed into someone who is honest, and you say, “I’m already very devout, but I’m just not honest,” or “I’m not self-righteous, but I’m not honest, either,” or “I’m well able to pay a price, but I’m not honest,” or “I’m still treacherous, I’ve not changed at all, but I can spread the gospel and bring many people to God.” What do you say, can people who act like this be saved? They cannot. And so these words of God remind every one of us that to be saved, we must first of all be honest in accordance with the words and requirements of God, we must open ourselves up, lay bare our corrupt dispositions, and be able to lay bare our secrets to search for the way of the light. What does it mean to “seek the way of the light”? It means seeking the truth in order to resolve your corrupt disposition, which is to say, when you lay yourself bare, you’re also dissecting yourself, after which you should seek: “Why do I have to do this? What do I gain when I do this? By doing this, am I sinning against God? By doing this, am I deceiving God? If it deceives God, then I shouldn’t do this; I should act by another means—and what means should that be? I should look at what God requires, at what God says, what the truth says.” This is seeking the way of the light.
That God asks for people to be honest proves that He really loathes those who are deceitful, that He does not like deceitful people. The fact that God does not like deceitful people means that He dislikes their actions, disposition, and their motivations; that is, God does not like the way they do things. So, if we are to please God, we must first change our actions and manner of existence. Previously, we relied on lies and pretense to live among people, using these as our capital and as the existential basis, life, and foundation by which we conducted ourselves. This was something that God despised. Among the world’s unbelievers, if you do not know how to be manipulative or deceitful, then it could be difficult for you to stand firm. You would only be able to tell lies, engage in trickery, and use conniving and insidious methods to protect and camouflage yourself in order to obtain a better life. In the house of God, it is precisely the opposite: The more deceitful you are, the more you employ sophisticated manipulation to put on an act and package yourself, then the less able you are to stand firm, and the more God despises and rejects such people. God has predestined that only honest people will have a part to play in the kingdom of heaven. If you are not honest, and if, in your life, your practice is not directed toward being honest and you don’t reveal your own true face, then you will never have any chance of gaining God’s work or gaining God’s praise. It matters not what you are motivated to do. Take, for example, when you are performing a duty—does this duty require that we have an honest attitude? It does. If, while performing our duty, there are some things we haven’t done properly, then we must lay ourselves bare and dissect ourselves, and try hard to do them properly next time; we should strive to do better the next time, and should not be perfunctory, or mess around. If you do not try and satisfy God with a heart that is honest, and always look to satisfy your own flesh, or your own pride, then will you be able to do a good job whilst working in this way? Can you perform your duty well? Certainly not. Those who are deceitful are perfunctory, and mess around, when they perform their duty, they do not do it well, and such people are not easy to save. What do you say, when deceitful people put the truth into practice, do they engage in deceit? Putting the truth into practice requires them to pay a price, to relinquish their own interests, to lay themselves bare to others. But they hold something back; when they speak, they say half of it, and hold on to the rest. You always have to guess what they mean, you always have to connect the dots to work out their meaning. They give themselves some space, they give themselves some wiggle room. As such, as soon as people see that they are deceitful, they don’t want anything to do with them, they don’t want to interact with them, and always take precautions when dealing with them. There’s no alternative—these people are deceitful, so it is always necessary to guard against them, and people don’t believe anything they say: “Is what he said true or false? How much of it is inaccurate?” And so, in their hearts, people often lose trust in them, they have a very low estimation of them, or might not think anything of them at all. Such is your status in people’s hearts, such is your level. And so how will you be looked upon by God when you are before Him? Compared to man, God sees people more accurately, more incisively, and more realistically.
And so, regardless of how long you have believed in God, what duty you are performing, what work you are doing, what family you come from, or how well-qualified you are, as long as you try to be honest, then you are sure to gain something. If you say, “I won’t try to be honest, I’m just going to do my duty well,” then you never will do your duty well. You say: “I’m not going to pursue being honest. I’ll first put that to one side, I don’t think it’s a big deal. First I’ll serve God; if I can serve His will, then I will have satisfied God, and that’s all that is needed.” Well then, have a go, see if you can serve God’s will. Some people say: “I am not going to pursue being honest. In any case, when the time comes I’ll go to the assembly, when there’s an assembly I’ll take part, each day I’ll pray and eat and drink the words of God at the proper times, I won’t do any of the things the unbelievers do, and I won’t commit any crimes, or do anything that sins against God. I’ll just focus on satisfying God.” I’ll see how you satisfy God—if you are not honest, how can you satisfy God? All this means that, if you depart from being honest, then in many things you will be incapable of satisfying God’s will. In what will you be able to satisfy God without an honest attitude? How can you satisfy God if you perform your duty without an honest attitude? Could you do it properly? You always think of your flesh and your own prospects, you always want to lessen the suffering of the flesh, to make less effort, to devote less, to pay less of a price, and you always give yourself room to maneuver—and this is your deceitful attitude. When you expend for God you also think twice, saying: “Aw! Devote myself to God? I’ve still got to make a good living; what will I do if God’s work does not end? So I won’t give it my all. We don’t know when God’s words will be fulfilled, so I’ve got to be careful, I must think twice. Once I’ve arranged my family life, and once I’ve arranged my future prospects and got them sorted out, I’ll dedicate myself to God.” Such reticence is also deception, and acting amid deception, and it is not an honest attitude. When interacting with their brothers and sisters, some people are afraid of them finding out the difficulties within their hearts, and that the brothers and sisters will have something to say about them or look down on them. As they speak, they always try to give the impression that they’re really zealous, that they really want God, and are really keen to put the truth into practice, but in fact, in their hearts, they’re extremely weak and passive. They pretend to be strong, so that no one can see through them. This is also deceit. In sum, regardless of what you do—whether it be in life, serving God, or performing your duty—if you present a false face to people and use it to mislead them, to make them think highly of you or not look down on you, then you are being deceitful.
Have a go at dissecting yourselves against these words. This pretense exists in everyone, to a greater or lesser degree, to a deeper or shallower extent, and you’ll all be able to think of a situation or an action in which you have put on a pretense to others or been deceitful toward them. If some of you say: “How could I not have felt this? I’m pretty simplehearted. I’m always being pushed around and cheated in the outside world. I’ve never been deceitful, I’ve never held anything back,” this doesn’t prove that you’re honest; you could be pretty stupid, or ill-educated, or you could be ill-informed about modern technology, civilization, or science. You might not have high status in this world, you might belong to the lower levels of society—but that doesn’t mean you’re honest. It could be that you’re put upon by those around you, that you’re wretched, that you’re witless in your actions in the outside world, that you don’t have much ability, and are of low social status—but this also doesn’t mean that you’re honest. People who are honest are possessed of the truth, they are not pitiable, wretched, stupid, or simplehearted. Are you able to differentiate in this? I often hear people say: “Aw, I never lie, and I’m always cheated by others, people in the outside world always push me around. Why is it said that God lifts the needy from the dunghill? I am the needy, this is the grace of God. God pities us—He pities us decent people who can’t make it in society, He really does.” There is reality to these words, but knowing them does not prove you are honest. You’re simplehearted, you’re an ignoramus, you’re a fool, you’re an idiot, and you have nothing in common with the honest people spoken of by God. Any mention of these words disgusts Me, and I say: “What are these circumstances of yours? You are innately stupid, you are of poor caliber, you are a born coward, and having been born in such a poor family this is the only way you can be. In society, this makes you of lower-class status—but being lower-class doesn’t mean that you’re honest; this is not included in ‘being honest’ spoken of by God.” And so, do not put this crown upon your head, thinking that you are honest because you suffer in society, are discriminated against, and are pushed around and cheated by everyone you meet. This is utterly wrong. In their hearts, do people not have an erroneous, fallacious understanding of “being honest”? Has our communion given you a sense of this? Being honest isn’t as people imagine: People aren’t honest simply because they are straightforward and plain-dealing. Some people may be naturally very forthright in the way they speak, but being forthright does not mean they are without deceit. Deceit is people’s motivations, and their disposition. When people live in this world, when they live under the influence of Satan’s corruption, it is impossible for them to be honest; they can only become ever more deceitful. So will we be able to exist in this world if we become honest? Will we be marginalized by others? No—we’ll live as before, because we don’t rely on treachery to eat food, or breathe air. Instead, we rely on the breath and the life given by God to live. It’s just that we have accepted the truths of God’s words, and we have new rules for how we live, new life goals, which will lead to changes in the basis of our lives; it’s just that we are changing the means and way in which we live in order to satisfy God and seek salvation. None of this has any relation to the food, clothing, and habitation of the flesh; it is our spiritual need.
What do we see from God’s words? God wishes to save us, and to change us. It is not the case that He merely does the work of precursors or prophecy, and that’s all, and He does not change our external behavior. Instead, He changes each one of us starting from the depths of our hearts, and starting from our disposition and substance, He changes every one of us starting from the source. To put it bluntly, He will really get down to it. And since God works thus, how should we act toward ourselves? We should take responsibility for our disposition and for our pursuit, we should take responsibility for every one of our actions, and we should take what we do seriously, being serious, and not lax, in all things, and being able to hold it up for dissection in everything. Each time you do something, the things you think you did right must be held up for dissection—and, more than that, the things you think you did wrong must be held up for dissection. This requires that the brothers and sisters spend more time together communing, searching, and helping each other out. If we commune more, God will enlighten us in all matters. If none of us speak up, and package and wrap ourselves up, wishing to leave a good impression in the minds of others, wanting others to think highly of us and not scoff at us, then none of us will grow, we will have no means of growing, it will not be easy for us to grow. If you do not grow, and always package and wrap yourself up, then you will forever live in darkness, and you will be incapable of changing. If you wish to change, then you must pay a price, and lay bare all that you do. When someone says, “Ah, why don’t you talk a little of your recent experiences?” no one talks about issues of substance, no one dissects themselves, no one lays themselves bare. Asked to talk of words and doctrines, no one has a problem, but asked to know themselves, no one says anything. People who do have a little knowledge of themselves don’t dare to lay it bare, either—they don’t have the courage to do that. And so what happens in the end? When everyone’s together, they toady up to each other, and flatter one another: “You’ve been doing well recently, there’ve been changes in you,” “You’ve been very faithful lately,” “You’re so passionate,” “You’ve expended even more than I have,” “You’re even more devoted than I am.” Such is the situation that is formed; toadying up to each other, flattering one another, and, in the depths of their hearts, no one willing to present their true face to be dissected by everyone and known by them. Like this, can there be a true church life? There cannot. Some people say: “I’ve led the life of the church for several years, and every day I feel satisfied, every day I enjoy myself.” When you ask them how they spend their church life, they say: “When I go there I pray to God, and when I pray I weep bitter tears. All the brothers and sisters pray, they are all keen to open their mouths to speak with God and pray to God, after which we sing songs of praise, and when we sing we’re so moved that we all have tears running down our faces. Sometimes, I get so stirred up that I start sweating, I sweat so much I can wring the sweat out of my shirt, I’m dripping. And the brothers and sisters also dance, there are people singing and dancing. Church life is wonderful! Then we eat and drink the words of God, and when we eat and drink the words of God we feel that they are speaking to the bottom of our hearts. When we commune, everyone feels energized.” And after leading the life of the church like this for ten or so years, what is the result? No one focuses on being honest, no one dissects themselves, no one shares their true state with their brothers and sisters, and no one shares or lays bare their true substance with them. Ten or so years of church life have been in vain, spent dancing about, and amid people’s feelings and enjoyment. What do you say, where do people’s enjoyment and happiness come from? I dare say it isn’t the wish of God, nor does it satisfy Him, for God wants to see change in people, and wants to see His words actually lived out in people. This is what He wants to see; He doesn’t want to see you holding your hymn books and singing during assemblies or when you’re feeling especially fervent, nor does He want to see you there praising Him and dancing. He doesn’t want to see this. Quite the opposite, when God sees this He is mournful and heartbroken, because He has spoken millions upon millions of words, yet His words have not been carried out or lived out in any one of you. God feels mournful and anxious; this is what God is worried about. Often, we feel contented after having lived a little of the life of the church; often, we feel somewhat happy, somewhat at peace, somewhat delighted, when we praise God there is a feeling of elation and comfort in our hearts, or else we feel spiritually fulfilled, and so we think that we’ve done very well in our belief in God. And we keep holding on to these false images, considering them the things most due to us in the belief in God and the things we have already gained, and we use them to substitute changes in disposition and entry onto the path of salvation; we then don’t need to pursue, nor do we need to pursue being honest, we don’t try and lay ourselves bare, or put the words of God into practice. And so God feels very worried.
When people have just engaged with reality, and just engaged with the substance of the truth, they’re very passionate, and think to themselves: Ah! Now I’ve understood the truth and found the true way—I’m so happy! Every day is like Chinese New Year, every day feels like something nice will happen, every day you long for someone to commune with, every day you long for an assembly, and after longing for several years, some people have become indifferent toward church life and the belief in God. Why is that? Because they have but a superficial and theoretical knowledge of God’s words and the truth. They have not genuinely entered into God’s words or experienced the reality of His words. As has been said in God’s words, many people have seen sumptuous foodstuffs or dishes at a feast, but most of them only come over to take a look; they don’t pick anything up to try, taste, or replenish themselves with. This is what God hates, and it is also what worries God. Are you in this kind of a state at the moment? Thus, while we often hold such communion with you, helping you and communing with you, what worries us most is that, after hearing the messages, and after having satisfied all your spiritual needs, you do not practice, and do not treat these things as important at all. In that case, our words would have been spoken in vain. In whether someone truly seeks the truth, three years of listening to the messages—or, if their caliber is a little better, two years—determines whether they will be able to change in the future, and shows if they are someone who seeks the truth. As such, now at the beginning when I commune about this, I have some expectations of you. But what will you be like as time goes on? Do you love the truth? Are you willing to be honest? What will you be like in the future? After communing these words, how many of them will be carried out in you? How many of these words will prove effective? This is an unknown. It matters not how fervent you were when you first began listening to the messages, how much you could endure hardship for its sake, or how much time you could find to take part in assemblies—these things don’t matter. Of course, they are also one aspect of what determines whether you can accept the truth in the future, but what will you do after hearing the messages? How do you plan to go and put these messages to use? How will you put them into practice? This depends on what attitude you have, on how you plan to put them into practice, and on what your aims are. Some people say: “After equipping myself with these messages, I will go and help others, serve God, and lead those in the church properly.” Is this view correct? It is not. And why not? Irrespective of how many messages you have heard, or what your plans are, let Me tell you what’s most critical, and what view is the most correct: No matter what duty you perform, and whether or not you are a leader, you must first hold these words up against yourself. Do not treat them like a tool in your work, or the accumulation for your work. First you must compare them to yourself, first you must put them into action in yourself. If you do all this, then you will surely be able to do your work well. If you always try and check these words off against so-and-so, or carry them out on so-and-so, or if they become the capital of your work, then you’re in trouble, you’re walking the path of Paul. That’s absolutely right. This is because if you have this view, you undoubtedly treat these words as doctrine and theory, and you wish to disseminate them, and do the work—which is very dangerous. If you hold these words up against yourself, and first put them into practice in yourself, then the first one to change and enter is you yourself. Only if you yourself gain something will you have the stature, qualifications, and ability to do well in the work you must do; if you are without stature, if you have not experienced, and you have not entered, then you are working blindly, and are running about blindly, there aren’t any real effects, and you cannot achieve any outcome. Regardless of which aspect of the reality of truth you have heard, if you hold yourself up against it, if you carry out these words in your own life, and incorporate them into your own practice, you will definitely gain something, and will definitely change. If you stuff these words into your belly, and memorize them in your brain, then you will never change. Whilst listening to communion, you must ponder thus: “What kind of state are these words referring to? What aspect of substance are they referring to? In what matters should I apply this aspect of the truth? Each time I do something related to this aspect of the truth, am I putting this aspect of the truth into practice? And when I’m putting it into practice, is my state in keeping with these words? If my state is not, should I commune, or search, or wait?” Do you practice in this way in your lives? If you do not, then your life is without God, and without the truth. You live according to letters and doctrines, or else according to your own interests, confidence, and enthusiasm. Those who do not have the truth as reality are people who have no reality, and someone who does not have God’s words as their reality is someone who has not entered into the words of God. Do you understand these words? It’s best if you are able to understand these words—but regardless of how you understand them, regardless of how much you have understood of what you’ve heard, what’s crucial is that you are able to introduce what you have grasped into your lives. Only then will your stature be able to grow, and only then will there be changes in your disposition.
Look, in every passage of words spoken by God, or every instance that God makes requirements of people, God will point out a means of practice and a principle by which to practice. For example, when we just spoke about being honest, God pointed out a path to people, He told them how to be honest, and how to act when they’re being honest in order to take the right track in being honest, saying: “If you are very unwilling to lay bare your secrets—that is to say, your difficulties—before others so as to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are one who will not receive salvation easily and who will not easily emerge from the darkness.” The implication of these words is that we are required to lay bare the things that we believe to be secret or private, and must be able to dissect them. This didn’t occur to you; you didn’t understand or know that these words of God were in order to make you practice in this way. Sometimes, the way you act is a form of deception, and so it should change, and your motivations should also change. It’s possible that no one realizes that your words are deceitful, yet there are motivations in the way you act, and those motivations are deceitful, and so they should change—and if they are to change, you must dissect them: Does God despise these motivations? Are the way you act and your motivations displeasing to God? Are you incapable of laying them bare? Is it hard to speak up about them? Are they at odds with the truth? If, when you dissect and analyze them, you say, “Oh, it turns out this is at odds with the truth, it turns out that when I act in this way, it’s not easy to lay things bare, and acting like this is despised by God,” then you should change the way you act—there is no need to act so redundantly. Do you feel distressed when I commune this to you, thinking: “If I am to believe in God in this way, then it appears I must start from the beginning. It’s been hard enough getting to where I am today, why should I start from scratch again”? In fact, now is the beginning, and when you start, you must start well. Right from the start you must be aware of the importance of entering reality—you must lay a good foundation. If, at the very beginning, you lay a foundation of letters and doctrines, then you’ll be in trouble. It’s like when people build a house on a beach: The house will be in danger of collapse no matter how high you build it, and won’t last for long. Yet, today, you have an advantage—you’re able to accept what we commune with you, and are willing to listen. That’s good! You should be aware of what’s important, what’s of secondary importance, and how you should enter. As for what faults, transgressions, and failings you have that should be rectified, you must hurry up and rectify them. Don’t wait; time waits for no one! If you waste these years, and spend them in vain, then you’ll soon come to your senses and say: Oh! I have no stature. When things happen to me, I’m still unable to deal with them, and in all things I am confused and passive; in all things I rely on my corrupt disposition and my own life philosophy to live, or upon my own imagination, or knowledge and doctrine. How pathetic! When the day comes when you are asked to do some work for the church, or to fulfill a certain duty, you’ll find yourself empty-handed, and will become anxious. What’s more, the work of the Holy Spirit does not wait for people. In the first few years He gave you some grace, compassion, help, and provision. But if, after He’s waited for so long, you still haven’t changed or entered into reality, and only understand letters and doctrines, then you’re finished—you’ve already missed the chance of the work of the Holy Spirit.
At the beginning when you are laying the foundation, you should plant your feet on the path of reality, not on the way of letters and doctrines. You should choose entry into reality, and in everything you should enter into reality, and hold yourself up against the reality, and ask yourself: “How should I practice in this matter? How should I practice in that matter? And what is the principle for practicing in this matter? What is the principle for practicing in that matter? What should be done in order to satisfy God? What should I do in order to fulfill God’s requirements and His standards?” This is what you should ask. But people’s stature is too small, and they always ask about things that have nothing to do with putting the truth into practice, or bear no relation to knowing themselves and being honest. What do you say, is that not pathetic? Is their stature not small? There are some people who have been followers ever since God began this stage of work; there are even those who got started and began following when the Holy Spirit was working in this stream—but having followed up until today, they still don’t understand what “reality” means, and having followed up until today, have never entered into any reality. Some people say: “It’s not right to say that, having followed up until today, they haven’t entered into reality. At the very least they have expended themselves and devoted themselves; some people have even given up their prospects, work, and families, and there are even those who have forsaken marriage. Is this not practicing?” Externally, you may have shown some devotion and dedication, and acted in a certain way, but doing these things doesn’t mean you are honest, much less does it mean that you have gained the truth from your belief in God. These actions merely imply people’s cooperation in order to be saved through the belief in God; their actions are not a manifestation of entry into the reality of truth. And so, many people who have followed God for twenty years may still abandon Him, and having followed for twenty years they may still be expelled from the house of God. There are even those who, despite having followed up until today, have never been honest, have never put being honest into practice, for they don’t see being honest or putting the truth into practice and entering into reality as important. And what do they see the belief in God as? They think: “As long as I run about, devote myself, pay a price, and give up my work, then God should commemorate my behavior,” or, “I deserve to be one of those who are saved.” This is whimsy, and wishful thinking. If we are to be saved, and to truly come before God, then we must first ask: “O God! What should I put into practice? What are Your standards? What are the standards for Your salvation of people? What kind of people do You save?” These signify genuine rationality, this is what we should ask above all, and what we should seek and know above all. If you plant your roots in reality and the truth, if you work hard in all aspects of the truth and reality, then you are someone who has roots, and who is possessed of the life. If you plant your roots in letters and doctrines, and thus never put any truth into practice or work hard for any truth, then you will be someone who never has the life.
Look, being honest is beloved by God. When we put being honest into practice, we also have the life of being honest, and the reality and substance of being honest—and thus we have the practice of being honest, and the manifestation of being honest. At the very least, the side of us that is honest is beloved by God and approved of by God. Yet we still have many areas in which we are not honest, and we need to keep changing and pursuing—God is waiting for us, and giving us opportunities. If we never plan to be honest, and never seek how to be honest, or search for what actions and words are the manifestation of being honest, then we will never have the substance of being honest, and could not possibly have the life of being honest. Whatever kind of reality you have is the stature you have, and the aspect of the truth that you are equipped with. If you don’t have such a reality, then you do not have such a life or stature. And so, when you encounter trials or tests, or a commission, if you are devoid of reality, when these things happen to you it will be easy for you to fall, to make mistakes, to sin against God, and to rebel against God—all of which will be out of your control. Ultimately, some people will be eliminated, the Holy Spirit will abandon them and cease to work in them, and there will even be those who, having caused great damage to the house of God, will end up being expelled. This is an inevitable outcome. But if, today, you put the truth into practice and are honest, who can take away the part of you that is honest? No one can, no one can strip you of this aspect of reality and this life. And if, sometime in the future, you say: “I’ve been honest for a long, long time, could I revert to someone who is deceitful?” it likely won’t happen easily, for you already live in God’s light, and live in the way of the light. It’s not easy to change from someone who is deceitful to someone who is honest. Changing back from a genuinely honest person beloved by God—that’s neither likely nor easy. Some people say: “I’ve been putting being honest into practice for some time. Most of the time I am able to speak honest words, and I am relatively honest, but sometimes I reveal my deceitful disposition, I expose my deceitful substance.” This needs to be gradually solved later. As long as you pursue, and work hard and achieve entry in this regard, then you don’t have to worry about what you’ll be like in the future. When planting seedlings in the ground, if you water them and give them sunlight every day, you don’t need to worry about whether they’ll bear fruit; come autumn, there’ll surely be something to harvest. Today, what concerns us most should be whether we are already putting being honest into practice, and whether we partake in this reality. If you say, “I know that I’m deceitful, but I’ve never put being honest into practice,” then you don’t have any of the reality of being honest, and you still must work hard: Every little detail of your life, every way that you act in your life, the way you have always acted, your frequent means of practice, and how you act toward people—you must hold them all up for dissection. If you don’t dissect them, you’ll still be conceited, and will still be satisfied with how you are doing things—but when you dissect them, you’ll be astonished: Oh, it turns out the me in my imagination is so low, so malicious, so insidious! You’ll be amazed; you’ll discover your true self, and you will truly know your own troubles and faults, and your own deceitfulness. And if you don’t dissect? You will always believe yourself to be honest, and someone who is without deceitfulness. Your mouth will say you’re deceitful, but in your heart you will still believe yourself to be honest. In that case, you’ll never change. If you don’t dissect yourself, how could you know yourself? If you don’t dissect yourself, how can you lay yourself bare? How can you dig out the things and motivations in the depths of your heart? And if you don’t dig them out, how can you change? If you don’t dig them out, you’ll be ignorant of which direction to practice in, and what to aim for in your practice. This is precisely the real meaning of the words “If you don’t enter into the reality, you will forever be without the reality of the truth.”
All of God’s words have real meaning, and are for people to hold up against themselves. They are not to give you something to read, or to satisfy some of your spiritual needs, or for you to murmur from your mouth, fulfilling your need for words and doctrines. All of God’s words have their own substance, and their own reality, and if you don’t try and put this aspect of reality into practice or try to enter it, then you will forever be someone who is disconnected from reality. If you put being honest into practice, you will be connected to the reality of being honest and will enter the actual state of being honest. You’ll also understand what kind of people are honest, what kind of people aren’t, and why God hates those who are deceitful; you’ll genuinely understand the meaning of these things, and will appreciate God’s intentions in asking that people be honest, and why He makes these requirements. After discovering how deceitful you are, you’ll be desperate to change, you’ll be disgusted by your own deceitfulness and crookedness, you’ll be repulsed by your own shameless reliance on deceitfulness and crookedness to live, and so you’ll increasingly feel how necessary it is to be honest, and how God’s requirement that people be honest is so timely, and good, and how right His words are. What do you say, is it not necessary that God make this requirement? It is. And so, starting from today, we should dissect the part of us that is deceitful and crooked. After dissecting it, you’ll discover that behind every piece of deceitfulness are motivations, certain aims, your shame, and that they also show your foolishness, and your lowliness. After discovering this, you’ll behold your own true face, and having discovered your true face you’ll hate yourself. When you hate yourself and know what kind of thing you really are, will you still show off then? Will you still boast about yourself in everything? Will you still try and gain other people’s approval in everything? And will you still say that God asks too much? That there is no need for God’s requirements? You will stop acting in this way and saying these things, you will say amen to, and agree with the words uttered by God, and will be thoroughly and utterly convinced by them. This is what’s most effective about putting every one of God’s words into practice, and entering into reality, and the more you put God’s words into practice, the more you will feel how right and necessary they are. Suppose you do not practice, and always say, “Oh, I’m not honest, I’m deceitful!” When you are being deceitful, you think to yourself, “I’ll just practice like this; it isn’t too deceitful, it still counts as being honest. I’m pretty straightforward, this little bit of treachery can’t be considered deceitfulness,” and that’s all. When the same thing happens to you again, you are manipulative and crooked once more; as soon as you open your mouth, the words that come out are shifty, after which you think awhile, and say: “Was I crooked today?” You have a think, and say to yourself that it doesn’t seem you have been, and nothing more; you say, “No problem, I wasn’t crooked.” Next time, you lie again, and after lying you think awhile, and say to yourself: “Oh, was I crooked and deceitful again? Did I lie again? It doesn’t seem like I did.” Praying before God, you say: “O God! See how I’m always manipulative, how I’m always crooked and deceitful. I beg You to forgive me, and stop me from being crooked or deceitful next time—and if I am, please discipline me, God.” You casually write off such matters. What kind of person is this? This is someone who does not love the truth, and who is unwilling to put the truth into practice. You may have paid a small price and spent meager time for the sake of performing your duty, serving God, and listening to the messages, and you might have given up time you would otherwise have spent working and earned a little less money, but in fact, you haven’t put the truth into practice at all. When it comes to putting the truth into practice, you’re really superficial, and irresponsible, and uncaring; so, too, are you perfunctory about putting the truth into practice. This proves that your attitude toward the truth is one of dislike, that you are someone who is unwilling to put the truth into practice, who has strayed from the truth, who does not leave God only because you wish to gain blessings and fear punishment. For the sake of keeping up with a fad, you copy what all your brothers and sisters say, you learn some technical spiritual terms, some familiar songs, and some words that everyone often says, and you think you’re being on trend, and that you’re being spiritual. Ultimately, these superficial phenomena will toy with you until your death, when you’ll be finished, your end will be announced, and you’ll go to hell. In this, is there any point in believing in God? There is no reality to your “belief,” you haven’t entered any reality, and so, likewise, your final end will be hell, and you will bear no fruit. What does God say? God wants fruit, not flowers; no matter how much you blossom, how beautiful you are, God doesn’t want you. Which is to say, no matter how nice the things you say, no matter how great your outward dedication and sacrifice, or how many things you forsake, none of this is beloved by God. God looks at how much you have actually changed, how much you have entered reality, how much you have entered the truth, and how many things you have done that satisfy God’s heart, and which are in accordance with His requirements. This is what God looks at. When people don’t comprehend God, when they don’t understand His heart, they always misinterpret His heart, and always bring some superficial things before Him to give account, saying: “O God! See how long I’ve devoted myself to You, see how long I’ve believed in You, see how much I’ve run around for You, see how many people I’ve won to You, see how many passages and sentences of Your words I’ve memorized, see how many of these hymns I can sing—have I not paid a great price? Every day I get up at 4 am to pray, to say my morning prayers. Even when something major has happened, or I’m in difficulty, or I’ve done something wrong, I fast and pray. And I spend a lot of time reading God’s words each day….” Yet the result is that God says: “Are you now honest? Has there been a change in your craftiness? Have you ever paid any price for being honest? Have you ever brought the crafty things you’ve done and the revelations of your craftiness before Me to lay bare? How much has your deception of Me lessened? Do you yourself know your deception of Me, and the lies you have told Me? Have you put these things aside?” You give it some thought—it seems you haven’t, at all. You’re dumbstruck, and alarmed to feel that you have no means of giving account before God.
My intention in saying all this is that you should concentrate on putting the truth into practice. Every word, communion, and truth should not just be passed on to others, but put into practice. Why does God say that the truth is your life, that it can act as your life? Because the truth can change you, and in this, it becomes your life. If the truth hasn’t changed you, that is not because it hasn’t performed its function, but because you haven’t put it into practice, or entered it; you haven’t accepted the truth within you to expel and change those things of yours that are corrupt, to transform those things within you that are rebellious and at odds with God’s will. Ultimately, if the truth hasn’t performed any function in you, if it hasn’t changed any of your corrupt disposition, then one day, when your life of the belief in God is about to end, your fate will also be determined. When we commune this today, do you not feel the urgency of putting the truth into practice? Don’t be like the people of before, waiting three or five, five or six years before you begin putting the truth into practice. There’s no set time to put the truth into practice: If you put the truth into practice sooner, you will change sooner. If you put it into practice later, you’ll change later—but if it is so late you miss the chance of the work of the Holy Spirit, and miss the stream of the Holy Spirit’s work, then you’re totally finished. If you wait until God’s management plan has ended and the stream of God’s salvation has passed, then you will have completely missed your chance, and when you’ve missed your chance you’ll say: “Oh! Back then I didn’t put in any effort. I’ll begin putting the truth into practice today.” At that time it’ll be too late, and not easy to do, for when the Holy Spirit stops working, your knowledge of any matter or truth will be superficial, and lacking an environment, and without force—and at that time, what use will there be in beating your breast and wailing in anguish?
What do you say, does living with people who are deceitful make you feel tired? It does. And do they get tired? They get tired, too, because being deceitful isn’t as good as being honest. Being honest is simple, your thoughts and mind aren’t that complex—but when you’re deceitful, you always have to be evasive. Which takes longer: the roundabout path, or the direct one? The roundabout one, certainly. With water pipes, if the pipe is straight the water comes out directly, it’s easy, it’s not hard to get water. But if you run water through a pipe with several bends in it, does the water not come out more slowly? Going slowly takes more effort. More effort makes people feel it’s redundant, and redundancy makes people feel disgusted. And so deceitful people themselves also feel tired; always being deceitful is tiring. Do you know how far some people even go when they’re being deceitful? They fight with everyone. And to what extent? It gets so they can’t sleep at night, which is because fighting all day is so exhausting, and wears them down mentally. What do you say, when things have gotten to that point, how deceitful is this person? If they were honest, there’s no way they’d be mentally exhausted and unable to sleep at night. Living life as an honest person isn’t tiring: They say whatever’s on their mind, they reveal whatever they’re thinking, and they act upon whatever they’re thinking in their mind, seeking God’s will in everything they do and acting according to God’s will. There may be things about them that are ignorant, so in the future they must be wiser, and must constantly grow. But deceitful people do not act this way. They live based on the philosophy of Satan and their deceitful nature and substance. They have to be cautious in everything they do lest others have something on them; in everything they do, they have to use their own methods, and their own deceitful and crooked manipulation, to cover up their true face, for fear that sooner or later they’ll give themselves away—and when they do show their true colors, they try to turn things around. When they try to turn things around, there are times when it’s not so easy, and when they can’t, they start getting anxious. They’re afraid that others will see through them; when that happens, they feel they’ve shamed themselves, and then they have to think of ways to say something to retrieve the situation. Isn’t going back and forth like this tiring? They have to think all of it over in their minds; if they didn’t, where would these words come from? If you are honest, and are without motivations or intentions, then you will act in a frank manner and have nothing that cannot be brought to light. But people who are deceitful always harbor intentions in the words they say and the things they do, and as soon as they’re exposed, they think up ways to turn things around, when they’ll give you another false impression, making you misunderstand the matter yet again, which makes them exhausted. Living with them you feel just how silly it is for them to act in this way, and it’s pointless to say so. There’s actually no need for them to explain to you, you don’t think it’s important, but they keep explaining and explaining, trying to retrieve the situation. You get fed up of listening to them, so in order to forbear with them, in order to give them some face and let them off the hook, you are forced to be tolerant and patient toward them, and they think to themselves: Look how I always have to say things that are honest; if I didn’t have to explain these things to you it wouldn’t be so tiring. In their minds, they’re always thinking about how to prevent you misunderstanding them, how to get you to listen to what they’re saying and regard what they’re doing in a way that achieves the aims of their motivations. And so they go over and over it in their head. When they can’t sleep at night they think about it; during the day, if they can’t eat they’re thinking about it; during discussions with others they deliberate it. They’re always putting on a front, so that you don’t think they’re that kind of person, so that you think they’re good, or that you don’t think that’s what they meant. When you, someone deceitful, are with someone honest, they may see through you. They don’t call you out, though: They tolerate you, and that’s all. But if both people are deceitful, then the misunderstanding between them will become ever deeper and they’ll be incapable of getting along. But if you’re honest, and they’re deceitful, then you’ll undoubtedly be disgusted by the way they’re acting. When they persistently act in this way you’ll find them especially objectionable. When they do so occasionally, you’ll say: “People all have a corrupt disposition, there’s nothing to be done,” but when they do it persistently, you’ll find them especially objectionable, you’ll despise the way they act, you’ll despise this face of theirs, you’ll despise their intentions—and despising them to that extent, would you still want to have any contact with them? Would you still be willing to interact with them? Unless they change, yes?
Is it not really tiring being deceitful? Since it’s so tiring, why are people still willing to be deceitful instead of honest? Have you ever thought about that? This is the outcome of how satanic nature plays around with people, leaving them unable to escape this life and this disposition. They’re also willing to accept being played around with in this way; they’re willing to live in this, and are unwilling to put the way of the light into practice. You feel that for them to live like that is exhausting, that there’s no reason to act in such a way—but they feel that it is quite necessary, they think that they have a lot to lose if they don’t act in that way, that their own interests will be harmed, that they will lose a lot of face and their reputation will suffer. They feel they’ll lose so much, and they treasure these things; they treasure their pride and their motivations. This is the true face of people’s dislike of the truth. Anyway, people don’t put the truth into practice and are unwilling to be honest because they don’t like the truth. And why is that? You always cherish those things. You haven’t believed in God for but one or two days, you’re not someone who has only just begun believing in God, someone who doesn’t understand the truth and is unaware of what kind of people are beloved by God, and who thus relies on those things of the unbelievers to live, who relies on the things of Satan to live. Today, there are people who are not ignorant of the truth. They have already heard a lot, and have revealed much, or else they’ve listened for a while and are aware of what believing in God involves—but why has there still not been any change in them? Because they don’t love the truth. And what should those who don’t love the truth do? There are no shortcuts in this! They themselves must pay a price, suffer, and pray and lay themselves bare before God, after which they need to gradually lay themselves bare and dissect themselves before others. This requires courage, it requires you to rebel against yourself, and it requires self-denial. If you don’t deny yourself and rebel against yourself, if you wish to put the truth into practice without enduring any suffering or paying any price, then there will be no effect. Some people ask questions like, “What do I do if I don’t like the truth?” If you don’t like the truth, then do those things that go against the truth, and see whether God disciplines you! Some people say: “What do I do if I don’t want to take part in assemblies?” Then go and live with the unbelievers, go and fool around with them, see what ultimately happens! Some people say: “I want to be deceitful, I don’t want to be honest. Being honest, I will lose too much, I can’t do it. Being honest, my own interests will suffer too much, and too many of my secrets will be known by others. I don’t want to allow other people to know my private things, I don’t want to let them figure me out or understand me, I should be in control of my own fate.” So have a go—see what happens to you in the end, see who goes to hell and suffers punishment!
Are you willing to be honest? What do you plan to do after hearing these communions? What will you start with first? (First I’ll concentrate on not lying.) Right. Not lying isn’t easy. Do lies contain motivations? So first, don’t tell the lies that contain motivations. Is that easy to achieve? For instance, you feel these words contain motivations, that they’re tainted, that they’re lies—and you know when you’re lying, right? So first don’t say these lies. Take them before God to include in your prayers and lay bare; first put this into practice. After doing so for a while, you should pray to God and ask that He discipline and reproach you if you ever lie again, after which you should gradually bring your lies before your brothers and sisters to be dissected…. In this way, bit-by-bit, your lies will become ever fewer, ever less. Today you’ll tell ten lies, tomorrow you might tell nine, the day after that you’ll say eight, after which you’ll only say two or three. You’ll tell the truth more and more. Being honest, you’ll come closer to God’s will, His requirements, and His standards ever more—and how good that will be! You must have an aim, you must have a path. First don’t say those lies, then dissect the motivations contained in them: Why are you possessed of such motivations? And what is the substance of them? This you must also gradually dissect, and if you carry on putting this into practice, there will surely be an outcome. One day you’ll say: “Hey, it’s easy being honest. Being deceitful is so tiring! I don’t want to be deceitful ever again, it’s exhausting! There’s too much going on in my heart, everything’s mixed up in my brain, my mind always has to think things over and deliberate: ‘How do I say this? How can words be used to fool people and pull the wool over their eyes?’ I always have to deliberate and weigh things up like this; my words can’t be too light-hearted, but neither can they be too solemn—and in my heart I’m unable to bear this pressure, I don’t want to live like this ever again, living like this is too exhausting!” At this time, you’ll have hope of being truly honest, and it proves that you have begun to make progress toward being honest. This is a breakthrough. Of course, there may be some of you who, at the start, after speaking honest words, will feel: “When I laid myself bare today it was mortifying, my face went red, it was so embarrassing!” When you meet others, you’ll say to yourself: “Everyone knows what I did to him, what I said behind his back, and the deceitful lies I told! I’m finished. Everyone knows how worthless I am. They used to think I was OK, other people had a good impression of me; today, having laid myself bare, no one thinks I’m any good. What do I do?” You have to pray about this before God, saying: “God, I want to be honest. Today I’m putting being honest into practice. I beg You to let me enter more deeply, I beg You to allow me to put aside my pride, and allow me to not be governed and constrained by these deceitful matters and deceitful motivations. I want to live in the light, I don’t want to live under Satan’s domain and be constrained by Satan, I don’t want to be bridled, controlled, constrained by the corrupt satanic disposition, or to even be harmed by it.” When you pray in this way, 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 put the truth into practice—great! I feel that only now am I living as a real person.” And as you pray like this, has God not enlightened you? God has begun to work in your heart, He has touched you, allowing you to appreciate how it feels to be a real person. This is how the truth must be put into practice. From not knowing the path at the beginning, to knowing the path; after that, you’ll pay a price and suffer, then undergo mental hardship until you find spiritual enjoyment, feeling that satisfying God has such important significance, that the spiritual comfort and sense of fulfillment you gain after satisfying God is so important. At that time, you will understand what it means to truly put the truth into practice, you will understand what it means to satisfy God, and what it means to be a real person—and in this, you will have taken the right track in the belief in God.