What Is the Truth Reality?

There are many people who believe in God, but few who pursue the truth. How can you discern whether someone pursues the truth? How can you evaluate whether someone is a person who pursues the truth? Suppose there is a person who has believed in God for seven or eight years. They can speak many words of doctrine, their mouths are full of spiritual vocabulary, they often help others, they seem to be very enthusiastic, they are able to forsake things, and they perform their duties with great vigor. Yet one cannot see them practicing much of the truth, nor are they able to discuss real experiences of life entry, much less can one perceive a change in their life disposition. It can be said with certainty that someone like this does not pursue the truth. If someone genuinely loves the truth, after a period of time, they will be able to talk about their understanding, and at least be able to act according to principles in some things; they will have some experience of life entry, and at the very least they will show some changes in behavior. Those who pursue the truth have a constantly improving spiritual state, their faith in God gradually increases, they have some understanding of what they reveal and of their corrupt dispositions, and they have personal experience of and genuine insight into how God works to save people. These things all become gradually elevated in them. If you see these manifestations in a person, you can know with certainty that this is someone who pursues the truth. People are fairly enthusiastic when they first come to believe in God, but they do not know anything about believing in God. They think that believing in God means being a good person and walking the right path. Later, through eating and drinking God’s words and listening to sermons and fellowship, they are able to discern various matters. They realize that people have corrupt dispositions and that they should seek the truth to resolve them, and that they should accept God’s salvation, and they understand what it means to believe in God. They gradually gain some understanding of God’s work and God’s intention to save mankind. This is accumulated little by little, and they gradually embark upon the right path of belief in God. Their understanding and experience of the truth realities are gradually elevated, and they don’t get stuck on literal interpretations or on the words of doctrine. If a person has believed in God for several years and continues to speak the words of doctrine, often saying some catchphrases about believing in God, and it seems their faith is going quite well, but they cannot talk about life experience or about knowing themselves, and they are unable to discern nonbelievers and evil people, if these problems exist in them, it means that they do not know the work of God, and it can be determined that they have not pursued the truth in the few years that they’ve believed in God. This is a very clear sign.

To measure whether a leader or a worker has the truth reality, first look at whether their fellowship contains true testimony and new light. When you have not seen some people in a few years, their fellowship may feel new and fresh initially because they can speak with a new light after hearing a sermon. However, after you spend two or three days with them, they start speaking again about little experiences and testimonies from their past, about how God saved them and how He bestowed grace and blessings upon them. In less than a week, they repeat those superficial experiences and knowledge that they talked about before. Is this progress? With one look you can see that it is not progress. After believing in God for several years, they are equipped with a lot of words of doctrine and they can say some things that are correct, but when things befall them, they still get confused and cannot handle them. They cannot find the truth principles, nor can they discern people. Is this progress? (No.) This is not progress. Although they have performed their duties for several years, if you ask them whether they have achieved loyalty to God, they themselves do not understand. In any case, they are on time for every gathering and they appear to perform their duties normally. But if you ask them whether they have undergone any genuine transformation, they cannot provide a clear answer. This is a problem. It shows that they do not understand the truth. If they understood the truth, they would be able to see these problems clearly. Some people get some results in their duties, but if you ask them why they perform their duties, they can only say that created beings should perform duties, but they are not clear about the details. If you ask them if they possess principles of practice in the performance of their duties, they cannot gauge this. Would you say that they can perform their duties adequately? (No, they cannot.) This is not progress. Is it not bothersome to make no progress? If you ask them how they approach being dealt with and pruned while performing their duties, they say that they listen, obey, and do not resist. They had this principle several years ago, and they still have this same principle now, and it has not changed. In any case, they just do what they are told. If you ask them if they’ve gained any understanding from being dealt with and pruned, if they’ve discovered their own rebellious state and corrupt nature, or if their self-knowledge has become more profound, they do not know or understand any of that. At any rate, they hold to one rule: When faced with being dealt with and pruned, they must obey, adjust their mentality, not resist or justify themselves, and they must endure and meekly submit. This was their viewpoint before, and it is even more so now. Is this a manifestation of gaining the truth? (No.) In the process of believing in God, these people have not entered into the reality of any aspect of the truth, and they have not grasped the principles of any aspect of the truth firmly. Even though they are told, “When things befall you, you must practice the truth, grasp the truth principles firmly, and not stray from this scope,” they still do not know how to seek the truth principles when things befall them, they are not meticulous, and they muddle their way through. It seems that they hold to the overarching direction, that they are obedient and listen, that they do the work they have at hand well, not perfunctorily and carelessly, and that they can protect the interests of the church, but do they understand the details of each aspect of the truth? Can they put them into practice? This depends on whether people have true knowledge and experience of each aspect of the truth. They don’t know the relationship between each aspect of the truth, or which aspects of the truth and which state are specifically involved when something happens, or which disposition caused that state. If two people say the same thing, they don’t know the differences between the natures of those two people, nor how to treat them. Is this understanding the truth? This is not understanding the truth. If you have believed in God for three to five years but do not know the practical side of these truths, and if you have believed in God for eight or ten years and you still don’t know it, then you have not gained the truth. What are you lacking now? Most people believe in God like they are holding on to a battle line, thinking that as long as they hold on to the words “belief in God” until the very end, they will succeed. However, they don’t take the initiative to seek or accept the truth; they fail to perform their duties well, to stand firm in their testimony, and to defeat the enemy, Satan; and they have not gained the truth and the life. What a grave mistake! This is how pitiful it is, to have believed in God for many years without any life experiences. When people fall into such a state, they are only keeping busy every day on the surface, holding on to some regulations, not violating the administrative decrees within this scope, and finishing the work they have at hand. This is considered appropriate in the eyes of man, and if you measure this state using the truth, they have not committed a horrible mistake. What do you think of this way of believing? (God does not like it.) This response is just doctrine. From your own perspective, this kind of belief cannot obtain the truth because you never make progress. When, for a period of time, God’s house speaks of truths about knowing God, you focus on knowing God; when it talks about dispositional change, you focus on dispositional change; when it talks about knowing God incarnate, you focus on knowing God incarnate; when it talks about the visions of God’s work, you focus on truths relating to visions; when it speaks of truths about spreading the gospel, you focus on this aspect of the truth. You listen to and understand whatever God’s house says, so when no one preaches sermons to supply you, will you have your own path? Will you still be able to move forward? How will you walk? For example, when people fellowship at gatherings on what obedience to God is, you say, “I don’t have very deep experience of this, I just feel that obedience to God is crucial.” When people ask you how you practice obeying God, you say, “To obey God is to think about what it is that God says when things befall you, and to practice according to His words.” When people ask you to fellowship more details, and what to do if you are unable to obey when something befalls you, or what to do when your personal interests are involved, you say, “I haven’t experienced those things yet.” This means you have not yet gained entry. For a while, God’s house speaks on truths about knowing God. When a person asks you if you have made progress in your knowledge of God, you say, “I have made progress. I think that knowing God is the most important thing in belief in God. If people don’t know God, they will always offend God’s disposition, and if people always do this, they will fall into the darkness, only be able to speak superficial words, and they won’t understand any truths, they will be just like unbelievers—they will always do things that go against the truth, and they will always do things that resist God.” That person asks again, “So, how do you know God? When you experience God’s work, God’s sovereignty, and God’s guidance in your daily life, which things do you recognize as God guiding you, and in what things can you clearly feel God’s sovereignty? How do you understand God’s sovereignty? In real life, based on what you sense and feel, what aspect of God’s disposition do you see in His sovereignty?” If you are unable to say anything, it proves that you have no experience. If you say, “There is one thing in which I feel God’s guidance,” this is just having a bit of a feeling, and it does not mean that you have knowledge of God. In fact, in real life, everything is ruled over, arranged, and ordained by God. If people have experienced a lot, they can feel that nothing is simple, and that everything happens so that people can learn lessons, and see God’s sovereignty and His omnipotence, and ultimately come to know God’s disposition. Only when you achieve this result will you know how to obey God in line with His will, then you will completely have a path forward in your practice. With this level of experience, not only does a person’s faith get stronger and stronger, but the most important thing is that they have an understanding of God’s disposition, and they know how to obey God. This is gaining the truth.

Some people always have deviations in their pursuit of the truth; they always focus on empty talk about some spiritual doctrines and hollow theories in order to show off. What do you think of this kind of pursuit? Regardless of whether you think you are a person who pursues the truth or not, the most crucial question right now is whether you have gained some practical things, namely, practical knowledge? (I have gained some.) What have you gained? Can you evaluate it? (I have gained some understanding and insight into how people are corrupted by Satan, and into this evil world.) You have gained a bit of knowledge. So, can this knowledge change your life direction, your goal in life, and your principles of comportment in your real life? No matter which group of people you live among, can this knowledge or the truths you’ve understood influence your life and your goal in life? If they can’t completely change you, there must at least be some changes and some restraint in what you say and do. Right now, aren’t most of you still stuck at this level in terms of your stature? (Yes.) This requires growth. If your understanding of the truth is too superficial, that’s no good, nor is it any good to only be able to speak a bit of doctrine and to be a bit restrained. You must understand the truth to have a path to practice it and to be able to change your goal in life. If all of the truths you understand and the sermons you have listened to have already been accepted in your heart and can influence your life, change the direction and goal of your comportment, and change your principles of comportment, isn’t this a bit better than the effects achieved by accepting a bit of restraint? Right now, you are stuck at accepting restraints and following rules—is this the path for actively practicing and entering? Absolutely not. If you remain stuck forever at accepting restraints or following rules, what will be the consequences? Will you be able to enter into the truth reality? Will you be able to undergo real change? Additionally, while being restrained and following rules, have you gotten any results in practicing the truth? Not at all. Therefore, focusing on understanding the truth is still the most important thing. Being restrained and following rules does not mean that you understand the truth, let alone that you are practicing the truth. Being restrained and following rules for a lifetime will not achieve the effect of understanding the truth and practicing the truth. It is futile! Therefore, no matter how much suffering one endures from being restrained and obeying rules, it does not have the slightest value or meaning.

After listening to sermons and understanding the truth, have you experienced any real changes? For example, thinking that your previous pursuits of specious knowledge and theories, and your pursuit of prestige, profit, and status is not belief in God, and that rather, it belongs to religious belief, and that pursuing prestige, profit, and status is vile, and that if you live and comport yourself like that, you will completely become a demon who should go to hell, and that living like that is too painful. Do you possess this experience and knowledge? What personal experience do you have? That pursuing knowledge and prestige, profit, and status is so tiring! You feel that there are too many disputes, that there is too much trouble, and that life is tiring and too painful living among unbelievers. You say, “I can’t live like that. If I live like them, I’ll be in as much pain as they are. I need to break away from their way of life.” Is this your firsthand experience? You have deeply experienced that corrupt mankind does not accept the truth in the slightest, that they all fight, scheme, and try to cheat each other, that they undermine each other in secret, and that they beat each other until blood is shed for just a little profit. You have experienced how none of them want to walk the right path of life, and that instead, they rely on tricks and schemes to do things. What do you feel the most when living in such an environment? You feel that there is no fairness or righteousness in that world, that it is too evil and too dark, and that people live like demons there. You think if you were to try to be a good person, it would not be easy and you couldn’t achieve it. You feel that if you wanted to adapt to that world, you would also need to become a demon and live like a demon, so that you could blend in with groups of demons and join with social trends; in order to fight for a bite of food and for your own livelihood and survival, you’d have to contend with them and say and do things that go against your will. Living like this each day would be so exhausting, but if you didn’t live like that, people would exclude you, and you would have no way to live. In this kind of living environment, what have you experienced? Pain, torment, and helplessness. You have experienced evil, cruelty, and darkness that exists between people, and you cannot see the light of human life. When you came to believe in God and focused on reading God’s words, what did you experience? (I understood the truth in my heart, I felt that it is better to believe in God, and I felt comfort in my heart.) While living in God’s house, you feel blissful, you have God’s blessings, and you can understand many truths; when you are with your brothers and sisters, you can help and support each other, treat each other equally, and live in harmony. Every day, you feel at ease in your heart, and free and liberated. You do not need to worry about being deceived and you are no longer oppressed and mistreated by others. Evildoers are gradually exposed and cast out, and they become fewer and fewer in number. The house of God is reigned by the truth and by God. God’s chosen people can speak freely without restriction, they have the right to elect, and the right to expose wicked people. Those who do not accept the truth and are furthermore capable of doing evil are gradually cleared out. No phenomena exist of people being tormented or suppressed in the house of God. If there is an issue, everyone discusses it. If there is a problem, leaders and workers fellowship on the truth to solve it. People gradually come to understand the truth, and fewer and fewer of those lawless things occur. God’s chosen people can all accept the truth, be restrained by the truth, and make some changes in terms of their words and deeds. If anyone does evil, everyone can clearly see it and reports it. Therefore, there are fewer and fewer evil people in God’s house. Now, you feel more and more that the environment of God’s house is truly good—the brothers and sisters love each other and anyone who has difficulties or deviations can obtain help; anyone who has hardships can have them resolved, and if there are problems that cannot be resolved, people can look to God and lean on Him, and resolve them according to His words. Living in God’s house makes you feel blissful and hopeful, you can see the light, and you can fully enjoy God’s love and salvation. This environment is very beneficial to people’s progress in life. By living in the church, in this environment that has the truth, you can gradually understand the truth, your heart gradually becomes brighter, and you will feel free and liberated. These are results attained by understanding the truth. There is an obvious characteristic of people who have gained the truth: They are relatively free and liberated. They do not need to be restrained, the truth will influence their words and deeds, and it will change their way of life and their life’s direction. When a heart of fear for God emerges within you, and when you have a heart that fears God guiding you, the nature of the things you do will be completely different from what you did before when you adopted self-control and restraint. Under these circumstances, if you were given status, and you had the opportunity and the right conditions to torment others, would you still do it? (No.) Why not? Is it because you don’t plan to torment people, or because you don’t have the ability to torment people? (It’s because my disposition will have changed.) That’s right, you will have a heart of fear for God, and you will have principles and a baseline in your actions. At this point, no matter what temptations you face, you will be able to say from your heart, “Doing this does not please God, and I cannot do things that offend God.” Your stature will naturally reach this step, and you will be able to say such words. Right now, can you accomplish this step so naturally? (Not yet.) This proves that the truth has not yet had an effect within you; it merely restrains your behavior, but it cannot firmly restrain your heart, or change your life’s direction, nor the principles and goal of your comportment.

You have all now begun focusing on pursuing the truth in your belief in God, so what do you base your conduct on? Conscience, the baseline for human conduct, and morality. How far are these things from the truth? Are conscience, the baseline for human conduct, and morality related to the truth? Far from it. At best, conducting yourself based on conscience can make you a good person, but it falls far short of God’s requirement. God’s requirement is for people to conduct themselves based on the truth and to live by His words. When a person who believes in God can grasp the truth, understand and practice the truth, and restrain themselves according to the principles of the truth, they will have grown up. If they do not pursue the truth, they will never grow up. Some people have begun to pursue the truth, and they have resolve, saying, “I must do my utmost to strive toward the truth and endeavor to practice according to God’s words and the truth, to do things according to the rules, to act with principles and boundaries, and to refrain from doing things that offend God’s disposition or that sin again God, without needing anyone to manage, restrain, or supervise me in order to do so. Although no one is supervising me, if doing something will offend the disposition of God, lacks a heart of fear for God, and will offend God, I absolutely will not do it. Even if I have that idea in my heart, I can restrain myself—I must not carry it out.” This state is active and positive. For example, say that God’s house asks someone to safeguard a precious object, and only a few people know about this. When other people know about this matter, that person is able to take good care of that object, to be concerned about it, and to prevent it from being lost, damaged, stolen, or ruined. At the same time, they are also able to refrain from being greedy and possessive, and in their heart, they thoroughly sanctify this object. Is this not a good person? From the present perspective, it can be said that they are a good person because they have no ideas or thoughts of misappropriating the object. Going one step further, they are able to safeguard this object with utter loyalty to their post, and shoulder this responsibility wholeheartedly and to the best of their ability, and it can be said that they are giving it their whole heart, and doing their job well. But one day things change. Some of the people who knew about this matter are arrested and imprisoned, and some are transferred to different locations. That person is the only one left who knows about this object. Under these circumstances, hasn’t their environment changed? Yes, their environment has changed, and the test has arrived. At first, their heart remains unmoved, and they still seriously and responsibly safeguard the object without any other thoughts. Later, they hear that the people who knew about it have disappeared. Even then, they still think, “I cannot hatch any plans about this object; I must continue to safeguard it well. Even if people don’t know about it, God knows!” Is this not a good person? (At present they still appear to be a good person.) Why is that? Because, when measured by the standards of being a good person, if one can reach this level, they are already very good. But one day, a major crisis occurs in their family, they urgently need money, and they don’t have enough of it on hand. Their environment has changed again, and when the environment changes, the time has come once again for them to be tested. At first, they still consider borrowing money, but after two or three unsuccessful attempts, their heart starts to stir: “Don’t I have a precious object in my possession? Isn’t it foolish for me to go borrow money, when I have some right in front of me? No one knows that I’m safeguarding this object. Besides, this object is just gathering dust here. Isn’t it just right for me to use it? I might as well!” They then have a better, logical thought, “Wasn’t this prepared for me by God? God is showing me grace, thanks be to God!” The more they think about it, the more they feel that this is the appropriate thing to do. After contemplating for two or three days, they feel at peace in their heart, and their conscience does not rebuke them. Finally, they decide, “I’ll just use this money!” What happened? (A change in their thinking began to occur.) How did this change in their thinking come about? (It was caused by the environment.) So, is there a problem with the environment? Did the environment change them? (No.) Then how can we accurately describe this? When their environment changed twice before, why didn’t their heart waver then? (It was not yet a time of extreme poverty and frustration.) Before this point is reached, a person’s true inner thoughts and true dispositions will not be exposed. At that time, can we say that this person is loyal to God? Or that they love the truth? We could say that, because when they safeguarded the offering, they were able to do their duty with all their heart and strength, without any other ideas or active thoughts. They never hatched any plans about that object—what a great person! However, when their living environment changed and they felt trapped with no way out, their active thoughts emerged, and they began to hatch plans about the offering. In fact, it’s not that they didn’t have these thoughts before, but that they hid them in their heart. Upon encountering a suitable environment, their thoughts naturally surfaced like spring water. In the end, they even found “grounds” for this, saying that it was prepared for them by God. When these “grounds” were found, wasn’t their evil nature exposed? Where did their loyalty, goodness, and sense of justice go? (They are gone.) So, were their previous manifestations just an act? They were not an act; they were also natural outpourings, but they weren’t deep ones. They were the most superficial outpourings, they were surface-level phenomena. There are some illusions among the surface-level phenomena of humanity, and sometimes people can’t see through them and are easily deceived. For example, some people appear to perform their duties very well for six months or a year, but after one year, they become negative. After two years, they might run away and return to the secular world; some to make money, and some to live their own lives. So, it would be wrong for you to determine that they are a person who sincerely expends for God based on their performance within six months or a year. Their behavior for those six months or a year is actually an illusion, a temporary enthusiasm. When faced with some environments and temptations, their true countenance, and the adulterations in the intentions behind their belief in God are exposed. Isn’t this a fact? They haven’t changed at all. What exactly does God want to change in people? What problems does God want to solve by getting people to accept the truth? (Things within man’s nature.) That’s right, it is the things within man’s nature that must be solved. When nothing has befallen them, people have a fundamental moral baseline and they don’t take advantage of others. Especially the elderly often say, “Don’t covet the possessions of others, and do not part with your own.” That is to say, do not casually give away your own belongings, and do not become greedy or have covetous thoughts toward other people’s belongings. This is just what normal humanity should possess and it falls short of the truth. So, can people achieve this? (They cannot.) People can’t even achieve this, and yet they say not to have covetous thoughts. Seizing other people’s belongings without even waiting for covetous thoughts to arise within oneself—this is the result of the domination of one’s nature. As long as the environment permits, people don’t even need to think about it, they will pour forth the evil nature within them, and their vicious, greedy, and deceitful dispositions. Regarding the person who misappropriated the offering in the example I just mentioned—which of their ideas and manifestations were deceitful? (They seized God’s offering, while claiming that God prepared this and opened up a way out for them.) This is deceitful, it is deceiving oneself as well as others. They tricked themselves and they tried to trick God too. They used these pleasant-sounding words to prevaricate themselves, and to comfort their own conscience so that they could avoid its accusations. Moreover, they fabricated a beautiful lie for themselves, and they wanted to use this lie to fool and trick God. Isn’t this deceitful? (Yes.) It is deceitful. When you are faced with such environments, and your nature gives birth to thoughts and makes you want to do something, first of all, your conscience will take effect inside you, and then the truths that you understand will also take effect, making you realize that thinking in this way will get you nowhere, that it’s despicable and evil, and that what you think and believe are not the truth. Although you temporarily have the impulse to do this thing, after praying to God, you think, “I cannot do this; it would offend God. It is evil! Doing this is incompatible with the truth, and wouldn’t it be tricking God? I can never do this. This is something that is sanctified, it belongs to God, and it absolutely must not be touched. Although no one knows about this thing, and only God knows about it, because only God knows about it, I absolutely can’t touch it.” If a person can think in this way, then they have real stature. If they relied on their good intentions and moral baseline, could they restrain themselves? Could they guarantee that they would not steal the offering? (They could not.) What must a person possess in order to achieve this? (They must have fear of God in their heart.) Only the truths that you understand, your knowledge of God, and the fear of God in your heart can restrain your heart and actions, and determine what path you choose and how you conduct yourself in accordance with God’s will. Besides the truth and the words of God, is there a second thing that can help people to achieve this? No, there isn’t. This is the only way; this can enable you to fear God and shun evil. No matter what kind of environments you encounter, whether they’re trials or temptations, they can’t change your loyalty and obedience to God. Once you solidify your resolve, it will never change. No matter how difficult an environment you encounter, even if it is an especially big temptation for you, your resolve will remain unchanged, and your principles for doing things will remain unchanged. In this way, you will stand firm in your witness, and you will obtain the truth. God will not test you again with regard to this matter. You will have overcome it and you will have stood firm. Right now, can most people reach this stature? (They cannot.) They still cannot reach it, which proves that the truth has not become their life. Then what things are their life now? Satan’s philosophies for living, Satan’s poisons, and some human instincts, that is, to hold on to the baseline of morality and human conduct, as well as some spiritual doctrines and expressions that they acquired after coming to believe in God. Having grasped these things, people always think, “I have obtained the truth. I have understood so much in my belief in God. I have changed and I have gained something.” What is it that they have gained? In fact, it is only surface-level things. It is just having some restraint in their behavior, and their behavior being somewhat more regulated. Additionally, they can ponder in a more positive way in their mind and heart and think more about positive things. Due to the influence of their environment, listening to sermons often, as well as performing their duties, and being in contact with positive things more and more frequently, they are affected in some positive ways. These are the benefits and changes that the environment of the church brings to people. But how big and how numerous are the changes that the truth brings to people? This depends on their pursuit. If you are truly a person who pursues the truth, then you will always gain something in terms of the practical aspects of the truth, and you will gain a little bit and understand a bit at each stage. In their hearts, people understand and have a feeling about whether they have gained something or not. What do most people feel now? That, based on their good intentions, they are often diligently and deliberately doing some good deeds, things that people believe possess conscience and sense, and things that won’t get them accused or criticized by others. Even though they are good deeds, it cannot be said that they are the practice of the truth. Is this not the case? (Yes.) Most people have a fundamental principle for their actions, which is to act according to their conscience. They feel that the truth is too profound, too abstract, and that it seems too distant from people. People don’t understand the truth well and they can’t explain it clearly, so they merely act according to their conscience, and muddle through day after day. Some people don’t even have any of the awareness of conscience, and they don’t act according to the standards of conscience. Some people perform their duties without getting any results at all; they are just freeloading and enjoying God’s grace but not giving anything in return, without any guilt in their hearts. Do these people have conscience and sense? If you ask them, “How do you feel about living like this?” They say, “God’s will is too great, I cannot reach it. In any case, I am a person who sincerely believes in God, and I have not done evil. I feel peace in my heart.” Do people such as this practice the truth? Although they perform their duties, are they sincerely expending themselves for God? From man’s perspective, it seems that they are performing their duties, but they get no results in them at all. Can God commend them? They might say, “I perform my duties based on my conscience, I’m not idle, I’m not lazy, and I pay a price.” But does this standard of conscience represent that they are practicing the truth? When you have time, you should ponder, come up with a topic to fellowship on together, and see how you should act in order to practice the truth. Don’t just stop at the standard of conscience, or at the standards of being a good person and having good behavior. Don’t be satisfied with being a people-pleaser. You need to pursue and enter into the height of the truth. Only in this way can you satisfy God’s will and enter into the truth reality. If you always seek to satisfy your conscience, and think that you’re doing fine so long as you do not breach the moral baseline, then you will always stay within this scope when you do things, and you won’t go beyond this scope, which means that the truth will never have anything to do with you. If your actions and words never have anything to do with the truth, can you still obtain the truth? It will be difficult for you to obtain the truth.

In ancient times, scholars often studied the books “The Analects of Confucius,” “Tao Te Ching,” and “Three Character Classic.” They shook their heads all day long, as if chanting scriptures, with classical sayings always on their lips. After reading a few books and memorizing a few Tang and Song poems, they considered themselves knowledgeable and spent their days lecturing others, thinking themselves very impressive. In their whole lives, they weren’t able to accomplish anything righteous and just conducted themselves based on those few books of sages that they had read. They didn’t understand anything, and they couldn’t figure anything out. They muddled through life, achieving nothing. And yet, they still felt pleased with themselves in their hearts, thinking they understood a lot and were superior to all others. There is a phrase called “being holier-than-thou”—it is very correct, and you absolutely must not live in such a state. Some people always feel that they have knowledge and benevolence and righteousness in their hearts. Consequently, they feel all holier-than-thou, and think that they are entirely worthy of being called a good person and a gentleman. Some people especially value loyalty and would take a bullet for their friends. Some people especially value conscience and are able to fulfill the words: “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring.” Some people don’t get married, and they cultivate their minds and bodies through self-reflection, and pursue immortality. Some people devote themselves entirely to studying books of sages and pay no attention to outside matters. Are these so-called good people truly good people? They live by their knowledge, and they speak and act with a little conscience, so can these people be considered to have the truth reality? Can they really be guaranteed to not do evil? Some people have good intentions toward others, and frequently offer charity and assistance, so they believe themselves to be great philanthropists. But is it accurate to judge whether a person is good or evil by always relying on the claims of traditional culture? Always using moral standards to evaluate others and show yourself off is being holier-than-thou. Do these holier-than-thou people have the truth? Can they accept and submit to the truth? Certainly not. If they were to gain power and status, could they oppose God and cruelly persecute people who believe in Him? They are more than capable of doing this, which illustrates that they still have malice in their nature, and that their nature is that of Satan. Based on this, it can be determined that those who always live by knowledge and traditional culture are all hypocrites, who can do evil and resist God. Some people have believed in God for several years, yet surprisingly, they have no discernment of traditional culture and knowledge. They cannot thoroughly understand that, in essence, these things are satanic philosophies, logic, and laws, and they are a knowledge and culture that harms people. Do such people have the truth reality? People who cannot see through traditional culture and knowledge, and have no discernment of them, are people who do not understand the truth at all, and who do not possess the slightest truth reality. There are people who think that some kinds of knowledge can also help people to be good and that these kinds of knowledge instruct people to do good deeds. This is very wrong. Knowledge is not the life; it is a kind of rule, it is in opposition to the truth, and it is a fallacy. No matter how lofty or deep a person’s knowledge is, they can’t even see through mankind’s corrupt essence, or their own nature, or what corrupt mankind is. What is the use of their knowledge then? Isn’t it the most superficial and misleading doctrine? Like Confucianist theory and the “Tao Te Ching”—the words in these so-called classical Chinese sage books are specious, they are lies that deceive, they are hypocritical heresies and fallacies, and they are satanic poisons and logic. Some people worship these things as the truth—are they still believers in God? If you believe in God in your heart and listen to sermons and read God’s words every day, why can’t you understand the truth? Why can’t you make the truth the goal of your pursuit? These people are the most foolish and utterly ignorant people, they are beasts in human clothing, and they are inhuman.

What is the truth? First of all, it must be determined that philosophies for dealing with the world are definitely not the truth, and that the mottos of celebrities and great figures are not the truth. The sayings from Confucianism and Taoism, the good behaviors and actions that are inherited and commonly recognized by corrupt mankind, the things and theories that guide people’s minds, and so on—none of these things are the truth. Is deriving pleasure from helping others the truth? (No.) Deriving pleasure from helping others and being charitable are good acts, and a warm-hearted person is at least kind-hearted and able to take pity on others—why is this not in line with the truth? (There are no principles to how they help people.) Is helping people without principles being a good person? That’s being a people-pleaser and trying to be on good terms with everyone. Is showing filial piety toward one’s parents the truth? (No, it’s not.) Being filial to one’s parents is a correct and positive thing, but why do we say that it is not the truth? (Because people do not show filial piety to their parents with principles and they are not able to discern what kind of people their parents truly are.) How a person should treat their parents relates to the truth. If your parents believe in God and treat you well, should you be filial to them? (Yes.) How are you filial? You treat them differently from brothers and sisters. You do everything they say, and if they are old, you must stay by their side to care for them, which stops you from going out to perform your duty. Is it right to do this? (No.) What should you do at such times? This depends on the circumstances. If you are still able to look after them whilst performing your duty near your home, and your parents do not object to your faith in God, then you should fulfill your responsibility as a son or daughter and help your parents with some work. If they are ill, look after them; if something is troubling them, comfort them; if your financial circumstances allow, buy them the nutritional supplements that suit your budget. However, what should you choose to do if you are busy with your duty, there is no one to look after your parents, and they, too, believe in God? What truth should you practice? Since being filial to one’s parents is not the truth, but only a human responsibility and obligation, what then should you do if your obligation conflicts with your duty? (Prioritize my duty; put duty first.) An obligation is not necessarily one’s duty. Choosing to perform one’s duty is practicing the truth, whereas fulfilling an obligation is not. If you have this condition, you may fulfill this responsibility or obligation, but if the current environment does not allow it, what should you do? You should say, “I must do my duty—that is practicing the truth. Being filial to my parents is living by my conscience and it falls short of the practice of the truth.” So, you should prioritize your duty and uphold it. If you have no duty now, and don’t work far from home, and live close to your parents, then find ways to take care of them. Do your best to help them live a little better and lessen their suffering. But this also depends on what kind of people your parents are. What should you do if your parents are of poor humanity, if they constantly hinder you from believing in God, and if they keep dragging you away from believing in God and performing your duty? What is the truth that you should practice? (Rejection.) At this time, you must reject them. You have fulfilled your obligation. Your parents don’t believe in God, so you have no obligation to show filial respect to them. If they believe in God, then they are family, your parents. If they do not, then you are walking different paths: They believe in Satan and worship the devil king, and they walk the path of Satan; they are people who are walking different paths to those who believe in God. You are no longer a family. They regard believers in God as their adversaries and enemies, so you have no more obligation to take care of them and must cut them off completely. Which is the truth: being filial to one’s parents or performing one’s duty? Of course, performing one’s duty is the truth. Performing one’s duty in God’s house is not simply about fulfilling one’s obligation and doing what one is supposed to do. It is about performing the duty of a created being. Herein is God’s commission; it is your obligation, your responsibility. This is a true responsibility, which is to fulfill your responsibility and obligation before the Creator. This is the Creator’s requirement of people, and it is the great matter of life. But showing filial respect to one’s parents is merely the responsibility and obligation of a son or daughter. It is certainly not commissioned by God, and less still does it accord with God’s requirement. Therefore, between showing filial respect to one’s parents and performing one’s duty, there is no doubt that performing one’s duty, and that alone, is practicing the truth. Performing one’s duty as a created being is the truth, and it is a bounden duty. Showing filial respect to one’s parents is about being filial to people. It does not mean that one is performing their duty, nor does it mean that they are practicing the truth. After fellowshiping about these things in this way, you should be able to differentiate these things on your own, and know what is the truth and what is not the truth. Have a think now about what other things people esteem that are regarded as the truth? (The term “positive energy” is often used in society; this is also a negative thing and not the truth.) Most of the terms that unbelievers speak about are devilish things. From what background did the term “positive energy” emerge? These popular sayings, strange theories, or buzzwords that emerge in society all have a background. Do you know the background from which this buzzword emerged? In China, the social climate is becoming increasingly wicked, and people advocate for wickedness. No matter what the devils say or do, people follow. Although some people cannot stand this and comment on it, it is of no use, and no one responds. In China, wickedness has become a trend, and no group of people can stop this wicked trend. Everyone feels that the country’s morals are declining more with each passing day. Evil demons hold all the power, and completely control the country and its people. The devils do whatever they want, and no one can stop them. In order to fool the public, those in power have done many specious things to confuse and deceive people, even claiming that these actions all belong to positive energy. This is the background from which “positive energy” emerged. What do unbelievers mean by “positive energy”? It’s what they call righteousness or a kind of good behavior. In actuality, can this positive energy have an effect in society? Can it resolve the inundation of wicked trends? Can it stop the tendency of wicked trends to develop? It cannot; it cannot change anything. Why can’t it change anything? The term “positive energy” sounds very powerful, so why can’t it change anything or solve any problems? It can’t even change or solve the problem of children being addicted to the internet all day long. In the past, there was still a bit of affection and a bit of conscience and reason between people, and there was still a bit of propriety between neighbors, but now it is different. Human relationships have become fickle and inconstant, and people are all like strangers to each other. People don’t even care when they see accidents befall their neighbors, nor do they dare to get involved when they see someone calling for help. What is the problem here? Is it because there is no positive energy that people become like this? Could it be that there was positive energy in society before? No, it was just the same. “Positive energy” is just a pleasant-sounding term, there is nothing practical in it. It is an empty theory that is completely ineffective.

Tell Me, who’s worse: people in the past or people today? (People are worse now.) How do you measure that? Your point of view is that people today are hard-hearted, and lacking in familial love and genuine friendships, that no one cares about loyalty or conscience, and that people always say, “How much is conscience worth?” “What about conscience? Making money comes first!” You think that people have lost their consciences, and that it’s normal now for people to shortchange others when selling goods and earn dirty money, and that everyone swindles and defrauds each other. By contrast, you believe that skilled merchants in ancient times had principles in selling goods, that they sold their goods at fixed prices, were honest with all their customers, both young and old, and did not deceive anyone. Therefore, you think that people in the past were much better than people are now. So, what is this “better” referring to? It’s actually based on conscience and the behaviors they live out. If you measure people based on this, people in the past were better than people are now. People in the past were simpler and more guileless, and they had a sense of conscience and shame. They had a baseline for their conduct and at least didn’t do anything too lacking in conscience, nor did they do anything to make people criticize them behind their backs or that would give them a bad name. People today don’t care about those things; they don’t have a sense of shame. They only want to make money and a name for themselves. That’s why it’s said that people today are thoroughly bad. So, how did the thoroughly bad people of today develop this way? Haven’t they just multiplied from generation to generation, from ancient times to the present? People today are no different from people in ancient times. Their DNA has not changed and neither has their appearance. It’s just that the living conditions are better than in ancient times. Today, people learn more complex things and are proficient in more fields, their knowledge is higher than that of ancient people, they possess more skills than ancient people did, and they have the capital of arrogance. If we look at it from this perspective, is it accurate to say that people today are worse than people in the past? How can we evaluate whether this statement is accurate and in line with the truth? Let’s expound on it like this: If you watch historical dramas, whether they are about the imperial court, Jianghu,[a] or the lives of ordinary people, the plots will be filled with conflict. This is the true side of humanity. Humans fight each other for power and for their own desires in life-or-death struggles. In this, human nature is exposed very thoroughly and vividly and it is exactly like Satan. So, is it true that all those things you see happening now have only occurred in one time period? Do people fight so fiercely in certain places on earth because there’s bad feng shui there, and because unclean demons swarm there? Or is it that those people have bad genes, making them aggressive by nature? (Neither.) Then how do these conflicts come about? They’re all fought for the sake of power, status, and self-interest. No matter the social stratum, from high to low, people have always been constantly fighting and competing, fighting until they’re exhausted, and competing within an inch of their lives. What can we see from these phenomena? Judging from these microcosms of the development of all of human history and from the perspective of historical facts, the nature of mankind has never changed. As long as people live under Satan’s power, the content of life that plays out in each era and each stage remains the same, as does its essence. This is because the goals, causes, and roots of human conflicts are always the same—they are all fought for the sake of power, status, and ultimately, for self-interest. All means of conflict stem from one source—the nature and disposition of Satan. Why have the means and methods of human conflict remained unchanged? This is entirely due to human nature. People rack their brains and look for every means to fight and harm each other, defrauding, deceiving, and cheating one another—they use all kinds of deceitful means. Whether in major political struggles or in conflicts among humble families, they are always fighting for their own interests. This is the true face of humanity, the true colors of mankind. The mankind that has developed to the present is still the same mankind and it is still the same Satan that corrupts mankind. Even though the external environment is gradually changing, this doesn’t mean that human nature has changed. Although the methods and means of human conflicts may have slightly changed, the fighting nature of man and the starting point of these conflicts have not changed at all. Man still has one nature, and there is still one goal and one source of these conflicts—these things haven’t changed at all. You said that people in the past were better. In what way were they better? They were restrained a bit by traditional culture, so they were more or less capable of doing some good deeds. Now mankind has developed to this day, and no matter how high the quality of life is, how much knowledge and education people acquire, or the breadth of their experience, human nature has not changed. Moreover, with the development of society, revelations of human nature are becoming increasingly evil, blatant, and unscrupulous. No matter how many words God speaks or how many truths He expresses, people ignore them. People don’t love the truth at all, instead they have become even more sick of the truth, and feel even more hatred for it. Are there any people who do good things in society now? (Yes, but fewer than before.) Then, can you say that these people are good, and that they haven’t become bad? (No.) Surely they are not living in a vacuum? What kind of good things do they do? They are merely good behaviors and good intentions. If you talk to them about matters of believing in God, such as believing in God in order to be a good person and to worship God, observe their reactions. If they hear that people will end up being persecuted by the government if they believe in God, they will treat you as an enemy and ridicule you. If you are being pursued and persecuted, and you try to hide at their homes for a bit, they will report you and hand you over to the government. They will take a victim of a car accident to the hospital to save their life, yet they will also send a good person who believes in God into the hands of evil demons, to be abused or even persecuted to death. How do you explain this? Which behavior reflects their nature? The latter is their nature. They save other people, and they also place other people in deadly situations. Are such people humans or demons? If there is just one day where a person does not cast off their satanic nature, they will be capable of doing evil and resisting God. As long as they can resist God, they are not a good person. Is this statement right? (Yes.) What is right about it? (What they practice is not the truth. No matter how good their external actions and behavior are, their nature is still hostile to God.) Their nature is hostile to God. This statement is true. How do we explain this statement? Why do we say that someone who is hostile to God is not a good person? (God is a symbol of all positive things. If someone can be hostile to God, then what’s inside them is all negative.) In theory, that’s how it is, and that statement is true. No matter how good or pious someone may appear on the outside, no matter how much they derive pleasure from helping others or how kind they are to others, if they feel aversion and antipathy when they hear positive things, and if they cannot accept the truth when they hear it and feel sick of it, then what kind of person are they? They are not a good person. People who are enemies of positive things and the truth are not good people. In general, you can say that. Of course, there are many details within this. Let Me give you an example, and then you will understand why this statement is the truth. For example, some people abandon their families because they believe in God and perform their duties. They become famous because of this and the government frequently searches their house, harasses their parents, and even threatens their parents to hand them over. All their neighbors talk about them, saying, “This person has no conscience. They don’t care for their elderly parents. Not only are they unfilial, but they also cause so much trouble for their parents. They are an unfilial child!” Are any of these words in line with the truth? (No.) But aren’t all these words considered right in the eyes of the unbelievers? Among unbelievers, they think this is the most legitimate and reasonable way of looking at it, and that it is in line with human ethics, and in accordance with the standards of human conduct. No matter how much content is included in these standards, such as how to show filial respect to parents, how to take care of them in their old age and arrange their funerals, or how much to repay them, and regardless of whether these standards accord with the truth or not, in the eyes of unbelievers, they are positive things, they are positive energy, they are right, and they are considered irreproachable within all groups of people. Among unbelievers, these are the standards for people to live by, and you have to do these things to be an adequately good person in their hearts. Before you believed in God and understood the truth, didn’t you also firmly believe that such conduct was being a good person? (Yes.) Moreover, you also used these things to evaluate yourself and restrain yourself, and you required yourself to be this kind of person. If you wanted to be a good person, you must have surely included these things in your standards of conduct: how to be filial to your parents, how to make them feel less worried, how to bring them honor and credit, and how to bring glory to your ancestors. These were the standards of conduct in your heart and the direction of your conduct. However, after you listened to God’s words and His sermons, your viewpoint began to change, and you understood that you have to forsake everything to fulfill your duty as a created being, and that God requires people to conduct themselves this way. Before you were certain that performing your duty as a created being was the truth, you thought you should be filial to your parents, but you also felt you should perform your duty as a created being, and you felt conflicted inside. Through the continuous watering and shepherding of God’s words, you gradually came to understand the truth, and it was then that you realized that performing your duty as a created being is perfectly natural and justified. Up until this day, many people have been able to accept the truth and completely abandon the standards of conduct from man’s traditional notions and imaginings. When you completely let go of these things, you are no longer constrained by words of judgment and condemnation from unbelievers when you follow God and perform your duty as a created being, and you could cast them off easily. So, why have those old, traditional notions disappeared from your heart? Could it be that you have become bad? Has your heart hardened and your conscience disappeared? (No.) In fact, your conscience hasn’t changed, you are still the same person, and your personality, preferences, and standards of conscience and morals haven’t changed. So, why don’t you feel sad or pained when unbelievers say those words of judgment and condemnation, and instead feel peace and joy in your heart? This is quite a transformation, how have you become like this? (Through eating and drinking God’s words, and coming to understand some truths, I have gained the correct standards of evaluation, and been able to discern that their words are just fallacies.) Unbelievers spread rumors about us, saying, “After these people start believing in God, they don’t take care of their families, they have no love for their families, and they are particularly cold—they become like cold-blooded animals.” It may seem that way on the outside, but it’s not the reality. There is an essential problem here that blind people have no way of seeing. Could it really be that the truth makes people cold-hearted after they begin believing in God? (No.) So, what is really going on? (Those believers’ perspectives on things have changed; they have understood the truth and gained discernment.) This is a result achieved through eating and drinking God’s words. How is this result achieved? What changed your perspective on things? When did it begin to change? It is God’s words that change people’s perspectives, changing all their perspectives on life and various matters, making them different from those of unbelievers.

In the past, people always acted on their consciences and used them to measure others. People constantly had to pass the test of conscience, they always felt that gossip was a frightening thing, and were afraid of being laughed at or of gaining a bad reputation, or of being called “without a conscience, a bad person.” So, they had to reluctantly say and do some things to cope with the environment. How should these things be measured now? (By the truth principles.) How were things back then, when people’s lives were bound by the notions and fallacies of unbelievers? By way of example, since you were small, your parents kept indoctrinating you with such words as: “When you grow up, you must make us proud; you must bring honor to our family!” What have these words been to you? An encouragement, or a restraint? A positive influence, or a kind of negative control? The fact is that they are a kind of control. Your parents set a goal for you based on some statement or theory that people think is right and good, making you live your life in service of that goal, and you end up losing your freedom. Why do you end up losing your freedom and falling under its control? Because people think that bringing honor to their family is a good thing that should be done. If you don’t share that thought or aspire to do things that bring honor to your family, you are seen as a foolish waste of space, a good-for-nothing loser, and people will look down on you. In order to be successful, you must study hard, gain ever more skills, and bring honor to your family name. That way, people won’t bully you in the future. Are all the things you do for the sake of this goal not, in effect, shackles that bind you? (They are.) Since pursuing success and bringing honor to the family is what your parents demand, and since they are acting in your best interests so that you live a good life and do your family proud, it is only natural that you would aspire to such a lifestyle. But effectively, these things are troubles and shackles of a sort. When people do not understand the truth, they think that these things are positive, the truth, the right way, and therefore, they take them for granted and abide by them or obey them, and they absolutely comply with these words and requirements that come from their parents. If you live by these words, working hard and dedicating your youth and your whole life to them, and finally you get to the top, live a good life, and do your family proud, you may be brilliant to other people, but inside, you are increasingly hollow. You don’t know what the point of life is, or what destination the future holds, or what kind of path people should take in life. You haven’t understood or gained anything at all about those mysteries of life whose answers you yearn for, and want to know, and want to understand. Have you not effectively been ruined by your parents’ good intentions? Have your youth and your whole life not been ruined by your parents’ demands, which, in their words, are “in your best interests”? (They have.) So, are your parents right or wrong to make demands that are “in your best interests”? It may be that your parents genuinely think that they are acting in your best interests, but are they people who understand the truth? Do they have the truth? (They do not.) Many people spend their whole lives hanging on their parents’ words, “You must make us proud, you must bring honor to the family”—words that inspire them, and that influence them throughout their lives. When the parents say, “It’s in your best interests,” this becomes the impulse behind a person’s life, providing a direction and goal to work toward. As a result, no matter how glamorous that person’s life, no matter how dignified and successful it is, their life is actually ruined. Is that not so? (It is.) Does this mean that if someone doesn’t live according to their parents’ demands, they are not ruined? No; they also have a goal of their own. What goal is that? It is still the same, namely to “live a good life and do their parents proud,” not because their parents have told them to, but because they have accepted this goal from elsewhere. They still want to live by these words, and do their family proud, and get to the top, and become an honorable, dignified person. Their goal hasn’t changed; they still dedicate their whole life, and live their whole life, trying to achieve these things. So, when people do not understand the truth, and accept many so-called correct doctrines, correct statements, and correct views that prevail in society, they turn those correct things into the direction, foundation, and motivation for their own life’s efforts. In the end, people live uncompromisingly and unreservedly for the sake of these goals, struggling through life until they die, at which point, some are still unwilling to see the truth. What pitiful lives people lead! However, once you understand the truth, do you not then gradually leave behind these so-called correct things, correct teachings, and correct statements, as well as your parents’ expectations of you? Once you gradually leave behind these so-called correct things, and the standard by which you measure things is no longer based on the statements of traditional culture, are you not then no longer bound by those statements? And if you are not bound by these things, do you live freely? You may not then be completely free, but at least the shackles will have been loosened. In their belief in God people still have a lot of notions, imaginings, intentions, and impurities, as well as their philosophies for dealing with the world, deceitful thoughts, corrupt natures, and so on. When these things are resolved, and people are able to live entirely by the truth, they will live before God and be truly liberated and free.

What is the first priority when it comes to pursuing and obtaining the truth now? It is to first dissect the specious fallacies and sayings that you previously thought were right and that belong to traditional notions, and to cast them off once you have thoroughly understood their essence. These things are the first layer of shackles that bind people. Now, how many of these things do you still keep in your hearts? Have you completely cast them off? (Not completely.) Is it easy to cast these things off? For example, some people want to perform their duties but also feel that they must honor their parents, which involves feelings. If you just keep dealing with your feelings, telling yourself not to think about your parents and family, and to only think about God and focus on the truth, but you still can’t help but think about your parents, this cannot solve the fundamental problem. To solve this problem, you need to dissect the things you thought were right, along with the sayings, knowledge, and theories that you inherited and that align with human notions. In addition, when dealing with your parents, whether you fulfill your obligations as a child to take care of them must be entirely based on your personal conditions and God’s orchestrations. Doesn’t this explain the matter perfectly? When some people leave their parents, they feel that they owe their parents a lot and that they do nothing for their parents. But then when they do live together, they are not filial to their parents at all, and they do not fulfill any of their obligations. Is this a truly filial person? This is saying empty words. No matter what you do, what you think, or what you plan, those things are not important. What is important is whether you can understand and truly believe that all created beings are in the hands of God. Some parents have that blessing and that destiny to be able to enjoy domestic bliss and the happiness of a large and prosperous family. This is God’s sovereignty, and a blessing God gives them. Some parents don’t have this destiny; God has not arranged this for them. They are not blessed to enjoy having a happy family, or to enjoy having their children stay by their side. This is God’s orchestration and people cannot force this. No matter what, ultimately when it comes to filial piety, people must at least have a mindset of obedience. If the environment permits and you have the means to do so, then you can show your parents filial piety. If the environment does not permit and you lack the means, then do not try to force it—what is this called? (Obedience.) This is called obedience. How does this obedience come about? What is the basis for obedience? It is based on all of these things being arranged by God and ruled over by God. Though people may wish to choose, they cannot, they do not have the right to choose, and they should obey. When you feel that people should obey and that everything is orchestrated by God, don’t you feel calmer in your heart? (Yes.) Then will your conscience still feel rebuked? It will no longer feel constantly rebuked, and the idea of not having been filial to your parents will no longer dominate you. Occasionally, you may still think about it as these are some normal thoughts or instincts within humanity, and no one can avoid them. For example, upon seeing that their mother is sick, normal people feel distressed and wish they could suffer in her place. Some people say, “If only my mother could be cured, even if it means shortening my life by a few years!” This is the positive side of humanity; it is human instinct. So, when you see that your mother is sick and you feel distressed, is this feeling of misery a problem? No, it is not a problem, because this is something that normal humanity should possess. Feeling distressed in your heart is a good thing; it proves that you have a heart and that you have humanity. In this world, your mother is the person God has arranged for you to be closest to. If she is sick and in pain, and you are indifferent, then are you still human? If you say, “I have no feelings for her and I have no feelings about her pain, I only feel pain when God feels pain!” Is this statement true? It is not true; it is false. Your mother gave birth to you, she raised you for so many years, she is the closest person to you, and she loves you the most. When she is sick and in pain, if you feel no distress in your heart, then your heart must be very hardened! This is not normal; don’t strive to be this kind of person. Feeling distressed over this is very normal, but if you stop performing your duty because of this feeling of distress and you complain about God, is this normal? (No, it’s not normal.) Why is it not normal? Because your thinking does not align with the truth and it is not what normal humanity should have, it is not normal. People have Satan’s nature, they live by their corrupt dispositions, so they can violate the truth and lose their consciences and reason, just like suddenly becoming mentally ill. This is not normal, so how does this come about? It is caused by people’s corrupt dispositions. Once their corrupt dispositions are revealed, they can resist God anytime and anywhere, and they can produce some thoughts that are not in line with the truth and that rebel against God on a whim anytime and anywhere. That’s how it is.

Corrupt human beings all have feelings and are often constrained by them, which makes them unable to obey God or act according to the truth principles. To achieve obedience to God, one must resolve the issue of feelings. Which kind of feelings most obstruct people from practicing the truth and must be cast off? Which kind of feelings are a part of what normal humanity should possess and not a problem? Which kind of feelings belong to a corrupt disposition? These things must be clearly discerned. For example, say that your child is bullied, and as their mother, you protect them and go look for the family that bullied your child to reason with them—is this normal? That is your child, so it is proper and normal for you to protect them. But if your child bullies other children, if they even bully well-behaved children, and you see this but don’t care, and you believe your child is pretty awesome, and you even secretly teach them to hit other people, and when others come to reason with you, you still defend your child, is this behavior right? No, it is not. What is the problem with this behavior? It is driven by feelings. Why do I say that it is driven by feelings? You think it’s unacceptable for others to bully your child, and if your child suffers a little, you immediately go to resolve the problem and ask for an explanation, so why are you blind to your child bullying other people’s children? You even encourage your child to hit others, isn’t that malicious? People who do this are malicious in terms of their disposition. How can this be explained in terms of feelings? What characterizes feelings? Certainly not anything positive. It is a focus on physical relationships and satisfying the predilections of the flesh. Favoritism, defending other people’s shortcomings, doting, pampering, and indulging all fall under feelings. Some people place great stock in feelings, they react to whatever happens to them based on their feelings; in their hearts, they know full well this is wrong, and yet are still incapable of being objective, much less of acting according to principle. When people are always constrained by feelings, are they capable of practicing the truth? This is extremely difficult! Many people’s inability to practice the truth comes down to feelings; they regard feelings as especially important, they put them in the first place. Are they people who love the truth? Certainly not. What are feelings, in essence? They are a kind of corrupt disposition. The manifestations of feelings can be described using several words: favoritism, unprincipled protection of others, maintenance of physical relationships, and partiality; these are what feelings are. What are the likely consequences of people’s having feelings and living by them? Why does God most loathe people’s feelings? Some people are always constrained by their feelings, they cannot put the truth into practice, and though they wish to obey God, they cannot, so they feel tormented by their feelings. There are many people who understand the truth but cannot put it into practice; this, too, is because they are constrained by feelings. For example, some people leave their homes to perform their duties, but they are always thinking about their family, day and night, and they cannot perform their duties well. Is this not a problem? Some people have secret crushes, and there is only a place for that person in their hearts, which affects their performance of their duties. Is this not a problem? Some people admire and idolize others; they won’t listen to anyone except for that person, to the extent that they don’t even listen to what God says. Even if someone else fellowships the truth with them, they won’t accept it; they only listen to that person’s words, to their idol’s words. Some people have an idol in their hearts, and they do not permit other people to speak about or touch their idol. If anyone talks about their idol’s problems, they become angry and have to defend their idol and turn that person’s words around. They won’t allow their idol to suffer an injustice undefended and they do everything in their power to protect their idol’s reputation; through their words, their idol’s wrongs become right, and they do not let people speak true words or expose them. This is not justice; these are called feelings. Are feelings only directed toward one’s family? (No.) Feelings are quite broad; they are a kind of corrupt disposition, they are not just about fleshly relationships between family members, they are not limited to that scope. They can also involve your superior, or someone who has shown you favor or helped you, or someone who has the closest relationship with you or who gets along with you, or your fellow townsman or friend, or even someone you admire—this is not fixed. Then is casting off feelings merely as simple as not thinking about your parents or family? (No.) Is it so easy to cast off feelings? When most people reach their 30s and can live independently, they don’t miss home as much, and by their 40s, this becomes completely normal. When people have not yet reached adulthood, they feel very homesick and cannot leave their parents because they do not yet possess the ability to survive independently. Missing your family and missing your parents is normal. It’s not a matter of feelings. It’s when your attitude and viewpoint about doing things get adulterated with feelings that it becomes a matter of feelings. Because there is a blood tie between you and your parents on a fleshly level, and you have lived together for so many years, it is normal for you to miss your parents. Some people say they don’t miss their parents at all, but perhaps they have just recently left home, and everywhere they look is fresh and new, they have finally gotten away from their parents’ nagging, and no one is trying to control them, so they feel happy. But does feeling happy mean they have no feelings? No, it does not. Some people say, “I have believed in God for several years, and I have come to understand some truths. I perform my duty without being constrained by feelings at all and I have no feelings anymore.” Is this statement practical? These are clearly the words of someone who doesn’t understand the truth. When people listen to many sermons, understand some words and doctrines, and can talk about some spiritual theories, they think, “I have grown in stature and understood many truths. If I am arrested, I won’t be a Judas. At least I have this faith and resolve. Isn’t this stature? When I think back to my enthusiasm from when I first came to believe in God, I was willing to dedicate my whole life to God. That enthusiasm and that oath have not changed and have not faded in the slightest. Isn’t this progress?” Is this a superficial phenomenon? (Yes.) These are all superficial phenomena. If people want to make real progress, they must understand the truth. Can being able to talk about doctrines and spiritual theories achieve real change? (No, it cannot.) If you can’t even solve your own problems and you can’t put any of the truth into practice, can you be of benefit to others? Just listening to sermons and understanding doctrines is useless; you must practice and experience God’s words. When you understand the truth, you must practice it; only then will you possess reality. You can only understand the truth more deeply by practicing it, you can only gain the truth when you truly understand it, and you can only grow up by gaining the truth.

What do you understand now that I’ve fellowshiped with you and helped you to distinguish what the truth is and what correct words are? (That we have to view things based on the truth principles, and that we can’t treat usual outward good behaviors or spiritual doctrines as the truth.) Good behaviors and correct sayings cannot change a person. No matter how true they are, not only are they not the truth, but they have nothing to do with the truth. If you always cling to them and treat them as the truth, then you will never understand the truth and you will never gain the truth. This is one aspect. There is another aspect, which is: Can spiritual doctrines enable a person to understand the truth? (No, they cannot.) Why? Although spiritual doctrines can all be considered to be correct words, they cannot achieve the result of changing a person’s corrupt dispositions. So, what exactly can be relied on to change a person’s corrupt dispositions? Some people say to rely on the truth, some people say to rely on understanding and accepting the truth, and others say to rely on practicing the truth. Are these words correct? From a literal perspective, there is a correct side to all of them, but they are all the shallowest doctrines; these doctrines cannot save you or solve your difficulties. When you face a situation and people tell you that you must accept the truth, you’ll say, “How can I accept it? I have difficulties, and I can’t let go!” Can these doctrines become your path for practicing the truth? (No, they cannot.) Some people say that when you face a situation, you should eat and drink more of God’s words. You have heard this many times, but which of your difficulties has it solved? It is right to eat and drink more of God’s words, but which aspect of God’s words should you eat and drink? How should you link them to your difficulties? After you link them to your difficulties, how do you resolve them? What is the path of practice? Which aspect of the truth should you use to solve your difficulties? Aren’t these real problems? (Yes.) These are the real problems. Therefore, correct doctrines cannot solve people’s practical difficulties, let alone solve people’s corrupt dispositions. What exactly can solve people’s corrupt dispositions? Everyone knows that only the truth can resolve the problem of people’s corrupt dispositions, but if people do not understand what the truth is, or if they do not seek or accept the truth, can their corrupt dispositions be solved? (No.) Therefore, to solve one’s corrupt dispositions, one must experience God’s work. That is to say, it is only by experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement that one’s corrupt dispositions can be purified. This requires people to pursue the truth and cooperate with God’s work in order to achieve results. If you do not pursue the truth and only focus on understanding spiritual doctrines, not even knowing whether they are the truth or not, but accepting them as the truth, can this solve your corrupt dispositions? Additionally, if you do not understand the truth, when you reveal a corrupt disposition, can you discern this? Can you check it against God’s words for comparison? You one hundred percent cannot. You might blindly apply rules, which is even less capable of solving your corrupt dispositions. What is the most important thing in solving corrupt dispositions? The most important thing is that people must understand the truth. Right now, most people regard doctrines as the truth and do not understand what the truth is. Just like the example of feelings I just mentioned, the first approach of the mother was to protect her child from being bullied, which is justified. From your point of view, “These are feelings; you cannot do that. This kind of behavior must be criticized and condemned.” You define things that do not involve the truth, that are unrelated to the truth, and, in fact, some things that people should do instinctively, as things that violate the truth, and then you reject those things. You think that adhering to this principle is practicing the truth. And as for the second approach of the mother condoning her child’s bullying of other people’s children, when it really involves the revealing of a corrupt disposition and practicing the truth, you think, “As long as it is not doing evil, it is not such a big problem.” Why do you have such thoughts and understanding? (Because we do not understand the truth.) The problem lies here! So, because they do not understand the truth, a lot of the time people choose an approach that they regard as right, and think that they are practicing the truth. Many times, because they do not understand the truth, people can only apply and abide by rules, and when faced with matters, they do not know how to handle them, so they treat abiding by rules as practicing the truth. Can people who believe in God like this achieve progress in life? Can they achieve an understanding of the truth and enter into reality? Many people believe that being able to talk about words and doctrines is understanding the truth and being an adequate believer in God. So, why do they still reveal corrupt dispositions in many matters? Why can’t they solve the practical problems they encounter? This proves that being able to talk about words and doctrines is not understanding the truth at all. No matter how many doctrines you can speak about, it does not prove that you have obtained the truth. You must be able to solve practical problems and find the principles of practice, only that is truly understanding the truth. Many people think that as long as they can perform their duties, suffer, and pay the price, no matter what corrupt dispositions they reveal, it is not a big problem. They think that, as long as they perform their duties, as long as they can suffer, and not blame God, they are loving God and showing loyalty. There are many times where, because people do not understand the truth, they show some good intentions, but in fact they are disrupting and disturbing the work of the church, and yet they think that they are safeguarding the interests of God and God’s house. What is going on? This happens because people do not understand the truth and do not have practical knowledge of the truth, which leads them to constantly do things that are contrary to the truth. Meanwhile, they think that they are doing the right thing, that they have practiced the truth, and that they have satisfied God’s will. This is their greatest difficulty. Although it is a difficulty, there is always a way to solve it. The only way is that whenever you encounter a problem and reveal a corrupt disposition, you must reflect on yourself and seek the truth to understand it. As long as there are corrupt dispositions within you, then many kinds of states will arise in you. When people live in different environments and states, they will reveal some thoughts, perspectives, and intentions—these are their true inner states. By observing people’s thoughts, perspectives, and intentions, you can see their dispositions and know what their natures are. By reflecting on yourself and discerning others in this way, it is easy to achieve results. It is only by knowing your own corrupt dispositions and thoroughly understanding their essence that you can fully achieve results in knowing yourself. Then you will naturally have a path for how you should seek the truth to resolve your corrupt dispositions. As long as people can accept the truth, their corrupt dispositions can be purified, and the problem of their corruption can be easily solved. If people cannot accept the truth, then they will never achieve a change in their life dispositions. Now, you are all willing to pursue the truth, so you must focus on the truth.

To solve people’s nature, we must excavate it from its root, and from people’s dispositions, rather than from people’s ways of doing things. We also should not emphasize objective reasons and conditions, instead we must compare it against the truth. The truth expressed in God’s words is targeted at people’s corrupt dispositions. Take the example of feelings mentioned earlier: People think that sometimes missing one’ parents or feeling homesick are feelings. Are these the same as what God refers to as feelings? (No.) Then the feelings you comprehend cannot be spoken of in the same breath as the feelings God talks about. The feelings you talk about belong to normal human states, they do not belong to a corrupt disposition. If you treat your fleshly kin as idols, and this causes you to not follow or obey God, then your feelings are too strong, and this belongs to a corrupt disposition. Therefore, this involves the issue of whether you have a pure comprehension of the truth. When you treat what you believe to be homesickness or being a bit kinder to one’s parents as feelings, isn’t this a distorted comprehension of the truth? In fact, what you comprehend is not the truth, and it does not align with the truth; it is merely an external phenomenon. What are the feelings that God speaks of? They are the second approach of how the mother treated her child that was mentioned earlier, which is a state of favoritism and giving unprincipled protection to someone. These are the feelings God exposes—the mother’s revelation of a corrupt disposition in this matter. Aren’t those two approaches radically different? The first approach is a normal phenomenon, and there is no need to deal with it, nor to dig deep into it, dissect it, and even less so to hold it up against the truth for comparison, or to practice a certain aspect of the truth or let go of something. Then, is this approach proper? Is it necessary to act in this way? It is not necessary; there is no right or wrong in this approach. The second approach involves a disposition. What kind of manifestations of feelings involve corrupt dispositions? (Favoritism, unprincipled protection of others, maintaining relationships of the flesh, and a lack of justice.) These are the things embodied by the word “feelings” that God speaks of. If you can understand this much and truly link these things to yourself, then you should put effort into resolving these corrupt dispositions. It is only when you are no longer constrained by these feelings, that your actions will all be the practice of the truth. Then the states that you understand feelings to encompass will completely correspond with the word “feelings” as spoken by God. This is the truth that you will understand. If you were asked to fellowship on what feelings are, and you speak about the first approach of the mother, this is a manifestation of not understanding the truth. If you fellowship about the second approach of the mother and dissect her corrupt disposition, then you understand the truth. If the things you fellowship about, experience, and understand are in line with the truth of God’s words, and there are no contradictions or inconsistencies, this proves that you understand God’s words, that you have grasped their meaning, that you have understood them, and that you can practice and apply them. Then you will have gained the truth and the life, and the implication of this is that you will have already entered into the truth reality. At that time, when you see this kind of thing again, you will be able to discern it, and you will know what kind of revelations are normal, and what kind of revelations are those of a corrupt disposition, and you will be completely clear about this in your heart. In this way, won’t your actions be accurate? Won’t your actions conform to the truth? Won’t you have the truth reality? If you act accurately and understand the truth, then won’t the understanding and experiences you fellowship on be able to help others and solve their difficulties? (Yes.) This is the practical side of the truth.

Some people do not perform their duties well because of their poor caliber, but they always claim it’s because they lack conscience. Which explanation is accurate? (That they have poor caliber.) Sometimes, when a person performs a duty, they may grasp the basics of that professional knowledge, but not understand more advanced aspects of it, because they never learned them before. Their leader labels them as careless, perfunctory, slippery, and work-shy, but actually, they just lack professional knowledge, and have not learned those things yet, but they are already trying their best. Yet their leader says that they are careless and perfunctory—this is not in line with the facts. This is an indiscriminate use of terminology and indiscriminate labeling. Why do people use terminology and label others indiscriminately? Isn’t it because they do not understand the truth? Some people will definitely say yes, some people will say that it is because they have poor caliber and are too muddled, and some other people will say that it is because their humanity is too evil and they have the wrong intentions. Which explanation is correct? In fact, all three of these states exist, and a judgment must be made according to the specific case. If it is caused by them not understanding the truth, but someone says that it is because they have poor caliber and are too muddled, then these words are not accurate. If it is clearly caused by their evil humanity and ulterior motives, but someone says that it is because they have poor caliber and are too muddled, this is distorting the facts, and it is likely to enable wicked people to slip through the cracks. There are other cases that are caused by people not understanding the truth, but others say that they’re caused by those people’s evil humanity. This way of looking at things is not accurate, and it is likely that they’ll treat good people as evil people, which will have bad consequences. There are many people who can’t discern these things and can’t thoroughly understand the essence of the problem. They blindly apply rules and draw conclusions based on their own ideas, and then feel that they have discernment and that they can see things clearly. Isn’t this arrogance and self-righteousness? If someone has bad humanity, and labels and condemns people indiscriminately based on their own ulterior motives, this is the nature of a wicked person. Such people are a minority; most people do this kind of thing because they do not understand the truth. Those who do not understand the truth indiscriminately apply rules and indiscriminately use spiritual terms. For example, some people clearly have a problem with their humanity, they always look for ways to slack off and do not put in effort while performing their duties, but those without discernment say this is poor caliber. Some people clearly have a sense of justice, and when they see something that violates the principles, they will bring it up and safeguard the interests of the church, but they are often labeled as arrogant and self-righteous by people who do not understand the truth, and are even treated as evil people, which is truly being unjust to good people. Some people are clearly small in stature, and they momentarily become weak while constrained by their feelings, and people who do not understand the truth will characterize them as having too strong feelings and lacking a sincere heart for God. This is how people who lack the truth are—without considering the background or the actual situation, they keep indiscriminately applying rules, saying one thing at one moment, and another thing the next. Can such people use the truth to solve problems? (They cannot.) When people who don’t understand the truth try to solve problems, they can’t prescribe the right medicine. It’s like they’re trying to treat a person with stomach pain by treating their head; they can’t find the root of the problem. They don’t understand where the root of the problem is or what God’s words say and refer to. This is not understanding the truth. Do you understand a lot or a little of the truth now? (A little.) For example, say that someone asks, “Why can’t you obey when this matter befalls you?” People often say, “Because I don’t know God!” Is this explanation right? Sometimes it’s right and sometimes it’s not. Most of the time it is not right, and this is just indiscriminate labeling. People grasp a bit of spiritual terminology and then apply it and use it indiscriminately, and as a result, many problems arise. Some are misinterpretations and some are judgments, and this creates harmful results, and even causes chaos. When those who do not understand spiritual matters learn something, they apply it and use it indiscriminately. They are the most likely to make mistakes and prone to make mistakes of principle. Whereas, people who have comprehension ability may make a few mistakes, but these mistakes are not issues of principle and they can learn lessons from those mistakes. If people have absurd comprehension, if they misinterpret God’s words when they read them, if they have deviations in their understanding when they listen to sermons, and if they’re liable to find fault and nitpick, this is very troublesome. Not only is it impossible for them to enter into the truth reality, but over time they will start to act recklessly and cause disturbances to the work of the church. This is a serious outcome.

Now, you should ponder: Are the words, doctrines, and spiritual theories you often talk about the truth? Do you understand the truth, or do you only understand doctrines? How many truth realities are there within your understanding? Once you understand these things you will truly have self-knowledge and you will know your own measure. For example, you have fellowshiped a lot on the truths of how to be an honest person, but have you truly understood them? Maybe you can fellowship some words and talk about some understanding, but how many of these realities have you entered into? Are you truly an honest person now? Can you speak clearly about this? Some people say, “Being an honest person means not telling lies, saying whatever is in your heart, not hiding anything, and not evading anything. This is the standard of being an honest person.” What do you think of this statement? Does it conform to the truth? (No.) You can speak about words and doctrines, but when it comes to details of practice or specific problems, you are at a loss for words. This is not understanding the truth. People don’t understand the truth, but they always think, “I already understand a lot, but God doesn’t use me. If God were to use me, and I became a church leader, I could ensure that every brother and sister came to understand the truth.” Isn’t this very big talk? Do you really have that ability? Are people who can boast and brag honest people? These people don’t understand the truth, yet they boast and brag—aren’t they pitiful? (Yes, they’re pitiful.) You are listening to many sermons now but if you never understand the truth, sooner or later you will walk the same path as the Pharisees, and then you will be a modern-day Pharisee. Isn’t this a possibility? (Yes.) It is all too likely. People’s satanic natures are deeply ingrained. If they acquire some knowledge or education, and can preach some correct theories and lofty sermons, it is very likely that they will become Pharisees. If you do not want to become a Pharisee or walk the path of a Pharisee, the only way to avoid this is to endeavor to understand the truth and enter into reality, and to turn the doctrines you understand into the reality of the truth. So what is considered as truly understanding the truth of being an honest person? You should contemplate this on your own and fellowship on this when you have some free time. What exactly is an honest person? What are the standards required in God’s words for the honest people that He speaks of? Which of these standards that God requires can people practice? What is the honest person that God speaks of like? Which aspect of people’s corrupt dispositions does being an honest person target? Aren’t these questions worth delving deeply into? The words and truths that God requires people to practice are not aimed at people’s ways of doing things or behavior. They are aimed at people’s satanic natures and dispositions. That is why these words are said to be the truth. If their only purpose was to change people’s behavior and teach people how to think, then they wouldn’t be the truth, they would just be a kind of theory. It may be said that any educator can have a bit of influence on people and change their behavior a little, and by putting these teachings into practice and summarizing them, people’s behavior can gradually be regulated. There’s a lot of this kind of knowledge, but these things are not the truth because they cannot resolve people’s corrupt dispositions, nor can they solve the problem of the root of their sins. Only God’s words can purify and solve people’s corruption, only God’s words can thoroughly solve people’s satanic natures, and therefore, only God’s words are the truth. What is the true significance of the truth of God’s words? This is worth contemplating, thinking about, and fellowshiping on often together. Never forget this: Things that can only change people’s behavior are not the truth; they are merely knowledge and laws. The truth can not only change people’s behavior but also change their corrupt dispositions. Moreover, it can change their ideas and notions, and become a person’s life. That is the truth. Now, there are too few people who can see this matter clearly. Many people never realize that those things which regulate behavior and enable people to live outwardly decent lives are not the truth, and that they are all knowledge, doctrines, and satanic philosophies. When people accept those things, although their outward behavior becomes increasingly noble, dignified, and refined, their hearts are filled with insidiousness and wickedness, and become darker and darker. These things are the poisons and theories of Satan, things that Satan uses to deceive and corrupt people. They are not the truth at all, and they do not come from God. Only things that enable people to become honest, liberated, and free, that enable them to know the Creator, have God-fearing hearts, and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, are the truth. No matter what point of view you accept and no matter what path you follow, if your behavior improves and you gain popularity, but you have too little of a God-fearing heart, and too little true faith in God, and your relationship with God is very poor, and your heart drifts further from God, then the things you cling to are not positive things and they are definitely not the truth. If you choose a path or a way of life, and you accept some things, and these things make you become real and honest, and make you love positive things and hate evil and negative things, and make you have a God-fearing heart and willingly accept the sovereignty and arrangements of the Creator, then these things are the truth, and they truly come from God. You can measure things according to these standards. There are some doctrines that many people are able to say and have said for many years. However, after saying these things many times, people’s inner dispositions have not changed, their states have not transformed in the slightest, and people’s viewpoints, ways of thinking, and the starting point and intentions behind their actions haven’t changed in any way. So you should hurry to give those things up and stop clinging to them; they are definitely not the truth. When people first start practicing some words, doing so seems arduous and difficult, and they cannot grasp the principles. However, after they experience and practice them for a period of time, they feel that their inner states have improved, that their hearts have drawn closer to God, that they have God-fearing and God-dreading hearts, that they aren’t so intransigent or rebellious when things befall them, that their personal intentions and desires aren’t as strong, and that they can obey God. This state is positive; these words are the truth, and they are the right path. You can discern things based on these principles. It won’t be easy to define the truth in a single sentence. If I defined it in a sentence, and you could understand the truth after hearing it, then that would be good. But if you treated it as a rule and a doctrine to follow, then that would be troublesome—that is not having spiritual understanding. So, I have given you these principles, and you should go draw comparisons, experience, practice, and gain experiential knowledge according to these principles. Do not just act and comport yourself according to these principles, you should also view people and things, and evaluate people according to these principles. By experiencing and practicing in this way, you will know what the truth is. If people don’t understand what the truth is, and if they don’t know that God’s words are the truth, then can they gain life? Can they obtain a change in life disposition? Though the requirements that God puts forward for people in His words are not such high standards, and they are quite simple, if you don’t understand what the implied meaning of the truth is, or how much practical content the truth includes, and you only understand the truth in terms of words and doctrines, you will never be able to enter into the truth realities that God requires people to enter into.

May 26, 2017

Footnotes:

a. Jianghu is a Chinese term that refers to the fantastical world of martial artists and criminals in ancient China.

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