What It Means to Pursue the Truth (10)

In our last gathering, we fellowshipped and dissected the saying on moral conduct, “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” Now do you have a real understanding of the various sayings about moral conduct in traditional culture? How do these sayings on moral conduct differ from the truth? Now can you confirm that these sayings on moral conduct are fundamentally not the truth, and that they certainly cannot take the place of the truth? (Yes.) What does it show that you can confirm this? (That I have some ability to discern these sayings in traditional culture for what they really are. In the past, I didn’t realize that I had these things in my heart. Only after these few fellowships and dissections by God have I come to realize that I was under the influence of these things all along, and that I have always viewed people and things based on traditional culture. I also see that these sayings of traditional culture really are at odds with the truth, and that they are all things that corrupt people.) Having confirmed this, first of all you have some discernment of these traditional cultural things. Not only do you have perceptual knowledge, but you can also discern the essence of these things from a theoretical perspective. Secondly, you are no longer affected by things in traditional culture, and can eliminate the effects, control and bondage of these things from your heart and mind. Especially when viewing various things or dealing with various problems, you are no longer influenced and constrained by these ideas and views. In general, through fellowshipping, you have gained some discernment about these ideas and views of traditional culture. This is the outcome achieved from understanding the truth. These things from traditional culture are hollow, pleasant-sounding sayings full of satanic philosophies, especially the sayings on moral conduct “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,” and “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” They constantly influence, control, and bind humans through their thoughts, and do not play a proactive and positive role in people’s moral conduct. Although you now have a little discernment, it is difficult to completely eradicate the influence of these things from the depths of your heart. You must equip yourself with the truth and experience according to God’s words for a period of time. Only then can you clearly see once and for all how deeply harmful, wrong and preposterous these hypocritical things are, and only then can the problem be resolved at its root. If you wanted to renounce these mistaken thoughts and ideas and rid yourselves of their influence, control, and bondage just by understanding some doctrines, this would be very difficult to achieve. Now that you are somewhat able to discern these sayings about moral conduct for what they really are, at least you have some understanding and have made some progress in your thinking. The rest depends on how one seeks the truth and how one views people and things according to God’s words, and on how one experiences in the future.

Following these fellowships and dissections of these sayings about moral conduct in traditional culture, can you clearly see the essence of these sayings? If you really can see clearly, then you can determine that these sayings from traditional culture are not the truth, nor can they stand in for the truth. This much is certain, and most people have already verified this in their hearts through fellowshipping. So how should one understand the essence of all the various sayings about moral conduct? If one does not face this issue according to God’s words and the truth, then there is no way to discern and understand it. No matter how noble and positive these sayings about moral conduct in traditional culture are on paper, are they really criteria for people’s actions and behavior, or principles of comportment? (No.) They are not principles or criteria of comportment. So what exactly are they? By dissecting the essence of each saying on moral conduct, can you draw a conclusion as to what exactly are the truth and essence of these sayings about moral conduct that have emerged among people? Have you never thought about this question? Leaving aside the aims of those so-called thinkers and moralists who flatter and curry favor with the ruling classes and are only too glad to serve them, let us analyze this from the perspective of normal humanity. Since these sayings on moral conduct are not the truth, let alone can they stand in for the truth, they must be specious. They are definitely not positive things—this much is certain. If, in this way, you can recognize them for what they are, it proves that you have gained some degree of understanding of the truth in your heart, and already have a little discernment. These sayings on moral conduct are not positive things, nor are they criteria for people’s actions and behavior, and less still are they principles for people’s comportment that should be abided by, so there is something wrong with them. Is this worth getting to the bottom of? (Yes.) If you only consider “moral conduct” and think that these sayings are correct views and positive things, then you are wrong and you will be taken in by them and deceived. That which is hypocritical can never be a positive thing. As for the various displays and acts of moral conduct, one should distinguish whether or not they are done sincerely and from the heart. If they are done out of reluctance, pretense, or to achieve a certain aim, then there is a problem with such acts and displays. Can you discern these sayings on moral conduct for what they really are? Who can tell Me? (Satan uses sayings on moral conduct to mislead and corrupt people, and makes them abide by these sayings and put them into practice in order to achieve the aims of getting them to worship and follow Satan, and of keeping them away from God. This is one of Satan’s techniques and methods for corrupting people.) This is not the essence of sayings on moral conduct. This is the aim that Satan achieves by using such sayings to mislead people. First of all, you must know clearly that any sort of saying about moral conduct is not the truth, much less can it stand in for the truth. They are not even positive things. So what exactly are they? It may be said with certainty that these sayings on moral conduct are heretical fallacies with which Satan misleads people. They are not in themselves the truth reality that people should possess, nor are they positive things that normal humanity ought to live out. These sayings on moral conduct constitute counterfeits, pretenses, falsifications, and tricks—they are factitious behaviors, and do not at all originate in man’s conscience and reason or in their normal thinking. Therefore, all of traditional culture’s sayings regarding moral conduct are preposterous, absurd heresies and fallacies. With these few fellowships, the sayings Satan puts forth about moral conduct have on this day been condemned, in their entirety, to death. If they are not even positive things, how is it that people can accept them? How can people live by these ideas and views? The reason is that these sayings on moral conduct align so well with people’s notions and imaginings. They evoke admiration and approval, so people accept these sayings on moral conduct into their hearts, and though they cannot put them into practice, inwardly, they embrace and worship them with gusto. And thus, Satan uses various sayings on moral conduct to mislead people, to control their hearts and their behavior, for in their hearts, people worship and have a blind belief in all sorts of sayings on moral conduct, and they would all like to use these claims to affect greater dignity, nobility, and kindness, thereby achieving their goal of being highly regarded and praised. All the various sayings on moral conduct, in brief, ask that when people do a certain kind of thing, they should demonstrate some sort of behavior or human quality in the realm of moral conduct. These behaviors and human qualities seem quite noble, and they are revered, so all people, in their hearts, very much aspire toward them. But what they have not considered is that these sayings about moral conduct are not at all the principles of comportment that a normal person should follow; instead, they are a variety of hypocritical behaviors that one may affect. They are deviations from the standards of conscience and reason, departures from the will of normal humanity. Satan uses false and pretended sayings on moral conduct to mislead people, to make them worship it and those hypocritical so-called sages, thereby causing people to see normal humanity and the criteria for human comportment as ordinary, simple, and even lowly things. People despise those things and think them beneath contempt. This is because the sayings on moral conduct espoused by Satan are so pleasing to the eye and so aligned with man’s notions and imaginings. The fact is, though, that no saying on moral conduct, whatever it may be, is a principle that people should follow in their comportment or their dealings in the world. Mull it over—is this not so? In essence, sayings on moral conduct are just demands that people superficially live more dignified, noble lives, enabling them to have others worship or praise them, rather than look down on them. The essence of these sayings shows that they are just demands that people demonstrate good moral conduct through good behavior, thus covering and restraining the ambitions and extravagant desires of corrupt humanity, covering up man’s evil and hideous nature essence, as well as the manifestations of various corrupt dispositions. They are meant to enhance a person’s personality through superficially good behavior and practices, to enhance the image others have of them and the wider world’s estimation of them. These points show that sayings on moral conduct are about covering up man’s inner thoughts, views, aims and intentions, their hideous countenance, and their nature essence with superficial behavior and practices. Can these things be covered up successfully? Does trying to cover them up not make them all the more apparent? But Satan does not care about that. Its purpose is to cover up the hideous countenance of corrupt humanity, to cover up the truth of man’s corruption. So, Satan has people adopt the behavioral manifestations of moral conduct to disguise themselves, which means that it uses the rules and behaviors of moral conduct to make a neat package of man’s appearance, enhancing a person’s human qualities and personality so that they can have others esteem and praise them. Basically, these sayings on moral conduct determine whether a person is noble or lowly on the basis of their behavioral manifestations and moral standards. For example, measuring whether someone is altruistic depends on them demonstrating that they sacrifice their own interests for the sake of others. If they demonstrate it well, disguise themselves well, and make themselves look particularly admirable, then this person will be regarded as someone with integrity and dignity, someone with particularly high moral standards in the eyes of others, and the state will award them a plaque for being a paragon of morality for others to learn from, worship, and emulate. So, how should people evaluate whether a woman is good or wicked? It is by looking at whether the woman’s various demonstrated behaviors within her community conform to the saying “A woman must be virtuous, kind, gentle, and moral.” If she conforms to it in every respect by being virtuous, kind and meek, showing the utmost respect for the elderly, readily compromising out of consideration for the general interest, being extremely patient and able to endure hardships, without holding things against people or arguing with others, and by respecting her parents-in-law and taking good care of her husband and children, never thinking about herself, never seeking anything in return, nor enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, and so on, then she is indeed a virtuous, kind, gentle, and moral woman. People use these outward behaviors to evaluate women’s moral conduct. It is inaccurate and unrealistic to measure a person’s worth, goodness and evil by means of their superficial practices and behavior. Making assertions like this is also false, deceptive, and preposterous. This is the essential problem with sayings on moral conduct that is exposed in people.

In light of the several aspects mentioned above, are these sayings on moral conduct in traditional culture really principles of comportment? (No.) They do not meet the needs of normal humanity at all, being completely contrary to it. What they provide to humankind is not principles of comportment, nor principles for people’s actions and behavior. On the contrary, they require people to disguise themselves, cover themselves up, comport themselves and act in a certain way in front of others so that they will be highly regarded and praised, not with the aim of making people understand how to comport themselves correctly, or the right way to conduct themselves, but in order to make people live more in step with others’ notions and imaginings, and to gain others’ praise and recognition. This is not at all what God requires, which is for people to conduct themselves and act according to the truth principles, without caring what people think and instead only focusing on gaining God’s approval. Sayings on moral conduct are more about requiring people to be decent and noble in their behavior, practices and in the appearance that they project—even if it is a disguise—rather than about resolving problems to do with people’s thoughts and views, or to do with their nature essence. In other words, the requirements that sayings about moral conduct in traditional culture place on people are not based on people’s essence, and less still do they consider the achievable scope of conscience and reason. At the same time, they go against the objective fact that people have corrupt dispositions and are all selfish and despicable, and force people to do this-and-that in terms of their behavior and practices. Therefore, no matter from which perspective they place requirements on people, they cannot fundamentally release people from the bondage and control of corrupt dispositions, nor can they resolve the problem of people’s essence, in other words, they cannot resolve problems to do with people’s corrupt dispositions. Because of this, they cannot change the principles and direction of people’s comportment, nor can they make people understand how to comport themselves, how to treat others, or how to deal with interpersonal relationships from a positive aspect. Speaking from another perspective, sayings about moral conduct are just a kind of rule and behavioral constraint that are given to people. Although to all appearances they seem pretty good, these things unconsciously affect people’s thinking and views, constraining and binding them, with the result that people cannot find the correct principles and path of comportment and action. In this context, all people can do is reluctantly accept the influence of traditional cultural ideas and views, and under the influence of these fallacious ideas and views, they unconsciously lose the principles, goals, and direction of comportment. This causes corrupt human beings to fall into darkness and lose the light, so that all they can do is chase after fame and personal gain by relying on falsification, pretense, and trickery. For example, when you see a person in need of help, you immediately think, “Proper comportment means deriving pleasure from helping others. This is a basic principle and moral standard for people’s comportment,” and so you will help that person unconsciously. After helping them, you feel that by comporting yourself like this you are noble and possess a little humanity, and you even unconsciously praise yourself as a noble person, a person with noble character, a person with dignity and character, and of course a person worthy of respect. If you don’t help them, you think, “Alas, I am not a good person. Whenever I come across someone who needs help and think about lending a hand, I always consider my own interests. I’m such a selfish person!” You will unconsciously use the ideological view “Derive pleasure from helping others” to measure yourself, constrain yourself, and evaluate what is right and wrong. When you cannot put this saying into practice, you will despise yourself or look down on yourself, and feel somewhat uneasy. You will cast admiring and appreciative glances at those who can derive pleasure from helping others, feeling that they are nobler than you, more dignified than you, and have more character than you. However, when it comes to such issues, God’s requirements are different. God’s requirements are for you to abide by His words and the truth principles. With regard to moral conduct, how should people practice? By adhering to traditional moral and cultural views, or by adhering to God’s words? Everyone faces this choice. Are you now clear about the truth principles that God teaches people? Do you understand them? How well do you abide by them? When abiding by them, what thoughts and views are you influenced and hindered by, and what corrupt dispositions are revealed? You should reflect on yourself like this. Exactly how much of the essence of sayings about moral conduct in traditional culture can you see clearly in your heart? Does traditional culture still have a place in your heart? These are all problems that people must resolve. When your corrupt dispositions are resolved, and you are able to submit to the truth and abide by God’s words absolutely and without compromise, then what you practice accords completely with the truth principles. You will no longer be constrained by corrupt dispositions, or bound by moral ideas and views in traditional culture, and will be able to accurately put God’s words into practice and act according to the truth principles. These are the principles that should inform the comportment and actions of believers. When you are able to practice according to God’s words, abide by God’s words and practice according to the truth principles, you will not only be a person with good moral conduct, but also a person who can follow God’s way. When you practice the principles and the truth of comportment, you not only possess standards of moral conduct, but there are also truth principles in your comportment. Is there a difference between abiding by the truth principles and abiding by the criteria of moral conduct? (Yes.) How are they different? Abiding by requirements on moral conduct is only a behavioral practice and manifestation, whereas practicing according to the truth principles also seems from the outside to be a practice, but this practice adheres to the truth principles. From this perspective, adhering to the truth principles relates to comportment and to the path that people walk. This means that, if you practice the truth and abide by the truth principles in God’s words, that is walking the correct path, whereas following the requirements of moral conduct in traditional culture is merely a display of behavior, just like obeying rules. It does not involve the truth principles, nor does it relate to the path that people walk. Do you understand what I am saying? (Yes.) Here is an example. For example, the saying on moral conduct “Sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others” requires people to “discard the lesser self and realize the greater self,” at any time and in any situation. Among unbelievers, this is a style that is called being noble of character and firm of integrity. “Discard the lesser self and realize the greater self”—what grandiose rhetoric! It’s a pity that it only sounds like a style that is noble of character and firm of integrity, but it is not a truth principle that people should abide by. The fact is that the ultimate aim of this saying “Discard the lesser self and realize the greater self” and of making people sacrifice their own interests for the sake of others, is actually to ensure that others serve them. From the point of view of people’s aims and intentions, this saying smacks of satanic philosophies and has a transactional quality to it. From this, can you determine whether there are truth principles in the saying “Discard the lesser self and realize the greater self”? There absolutely are not! It is not a principle of comportment at all, it is purely a satanic philosophy, because the aim of people discarding their lesser self is to realize their greater self. Regardless of whether such a practice is noble or vulgar, it is just a rule that binds people. It seems reasonable, but in essence it is preposterous and absurd. No matter what befalls you, it only requires people to sacrifice their own interests for the sake of others. No matter whether you are willing to or not, or whether you can do it or not, and whatever the environment, it only requires you to sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others. If you are not able to “discard the lesser self,” then the phrase “realize the greater self” is there to tempt you, so that even if you cannot sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others, but still don’t want to let it go. People are seduced by the thought of “realizing the greater self.” Under such circumstances, it is difficult to make a choice. So is sacrificing one’s own interests for the sake of others a principle of comportment? Can it achieve positive outcomes? Every person covers themselves up really well, and displays the utmost nobility, dignity, and character, but what is the outcome in the end? It can only be said that naught will come of it, because doing this can only win the appreciation of other people, but not the approval of the Creator. How did this come about? Is this the result of everyone abiding by sayings on moral conduct in traditional culture and following satanic philosophies? If everyone accepts God’s words, accepts correct ideas and views, sticks to the truth principles, and pursues the direction in life that is guided by God, then it will be easy for people to walk the right path in life. Is it better to practice this way than to sacrifice one’s own interests for the sake of others? Practicing this way is adhering to the truth principles and living in the light according to God’s words, rather than following Satan on the path of hypocrisy. Only by abandoning satanic philosophies, as well as all the various ideas conveyed by sayings on moral conduct in traditional culture, and by accepting the truth and living in accordance with God’s words, can one live out real human likeness and gain God’s approval.

Based on what we have fellowshipped above, have you come to any conclusions about the essence of sayings on moral conduct? All these various sayings about moral conduct are just regulations and conventions that restrict people’s thoughts, views and outward behavior. They are not principles or criteria of comportment at all, and they are not principles that people should abide by when encountering all kinds of people, matters, and things. So, what principles should people abide by? Shouldn’t we fellowship on this? Some people say: “What difference is there between the truth principles that people should abide by and the regulations and conventions of those sayings on moral conduct?” Tell Me, is there any difference? (Yes.) In what respect is there a difference? Sayings about moral conduct are just regulations and conventions that constrain people’s thoughts, views, and behaviors. In regard to all the various matters that befall people, they have placed requirements on people that restrict their behavior and bind their hands and feet, making them do this and do that, rather than letting them seek the correct principles and right ways to deal with the various people, matters, and things. Whereas, the truth principles are different. The multifaceted requirements that God’s words place on people are not rules, regulations or conventions, much less are they various sayings that restrict people’s thinking and behavior. Instead, they tell people the truth principles that people should understand and abide by in all kinds of environments and whenever something befalls them. So, what exactly are these principles? Why do I say that only God’s words are the truth, or the truth principles? Because the various requirements that God’s words place on people are all attainable by normal humanity, insofar as they require people not to be influenced and controlled by their feelings, desires, ambitions, and corrupt dispositions whenever something befalls them, but rather to practice according to God’s words and the truth principles, which is a principle that people are capable of abiding by. The truth principles of God’s words point out the correct direction and goal that people should follow, and they are also the path that people should walk. Not only do the principles of God’s words keep people’s conscience and reason functioning normally, but they naturally also add the principles of the truth onto the foundation that is people’s conscience and reason. These are the standards of truth that people with conscience and reason can rise to and meet. When people abide by these principles of God’s words, what they gain is not the enhancement of their morality and integrity, nor the protection of their human dignity. Instead, they have embarked on the right path in life. When a person obeys these truth principles of God’s words, they not only possess the conscience and reason of a normal person, but upon the foundation of possessing conscience and reason, they come to understand more truth principles with regard to how they should comport themselves. To put it simply, they come to understand the principles of comportment, to know which truth principles to use when viewing people and things and when comporting themselves and acting, and are no longer controlled and influenced by their own feelings, desires, ambitions, and corrupt dispositions. This way, they completely live out the likeness of a normal person. These truth principles put forward by God fundamentally solve the problem of corrupt dispositions controlling people and preventing them from extricating themselves from sin, so that people no longer live in their old life, controlled by feelings, desires, ambitions, and corrupt dispositions. And what replaces all this? It is the criteria of God’s words and the truth principles, which become a person’s life. Generally speaking, once people start abiding by the truth principles that humankind should abide by, they no longer live in the various troubles of the flesh. Putting it more precisely, people no longer live under the misleading, dupery, and control of Satan. More specifically, they no longer live under the bondage and control of the myriad ideas and views and philosophies for worldly dealings that Satan instills in people. Instead, they live not only with dignity and integrity, but also freely and with the semblance of people, which is the true likeness of created beings under the dominion of the Creator. This is the essential difference between the words and truth of God, and sayings on moral conduct in traditional culture.

The topic of today’s fellowship is somewhat profound. After listening to it, you should ponder on it for a while, let it sink in, and see if you grasp what has been said. Based on this fellowshipping, have you completely understood the difference between sayings on moral conduct and the truth? Tell Me in the simplest of terms: What is the essence of sayings on moral conduct? (Sayings on moral conduct are just regulations and conventions that constrain people’s thoughts and behaviors, they are not principles and criteria of comportment.) Well said. There is a story in traditional culture of Kong Rong giving up larger pears. What do you think: Is anyone who cannot be like Kong Rong not a good person? People used to think that whoever could be like Kong Rong was noble of character and firm of integrity, sacrificing their own interests for the sake of others—a good person. Is Kong Rong of this historic story a role model whom everyone has followed? Does the character have a certain place in people’s hearts? (Yes.) It is not his name, but his thoughts and practices, his morality and behavior, that occupy a place in people’s hearts. People esteem such practices and approve of them, and they inwardly admire Kong Rong’s moral conduct. Therefore, if you see someone who cannot sacrifice their own interests for the sake of others, someone who is not the kind of person to give up the larger pears like Kong Rong did, you will inwardly be annoyed at them and have a low opinion of them. So are your annoyance and low opinion justified? They must be based on something. First and foremost, you think: “Kong Rong was so young and yet he was able to give up the larger pears, whereas you are all grown up and you’re still as selfish as this,” and inwardly you hold a low opinion of them. So, are your low opinion and annoyance based on the story of Kong Rong giving up the larger pears? (Yes.) Is it right to view people on this basis? (No.) Why is it not right? Because the origin of your basis for viewing people and things is incorrect, and because your starting point is all wrong. Your starting point is to take Kong Rong giving up the larger pears as the standard for measuring people and things, but this approach and method of measuring are wrong. In what way are they wrong? They are wrong inasmuch as you believe that the idea behind the story of Kong Rong is correct, and you take it as a positive ideological viewpoint from which to measure people and things. When you measure in this way, the result you end up with is that the vast majority of people aren’t good people. Are the results of this measuring accurate? (No, they aren’t accurate.) Why aren’t they accurate? Because your standard of measurement is wrong. If one uses the methods and principles that God has given, how should one measure such a person? By considering whether the person upholds the interests of God’s house, whether they are on God’s side, whether they have a God-fearing heart, and whether they seek the truth principle in what they do: only a measurement based on these aspects is most accurate. If, whenever something befalls this person, they pray, seek, and discuss it with everyone, and—even though sometimes they aren’t able to be altruistic and are a little selfish in small ways—if what they do is basically adequate when measured against the aspects required by God, then this is someone who can accept the truth, a person who is in the right. So what is this conclusion based on? (It is based on God’s words and requirements.) Is this conclusion accurate, therefore? It is much more accurate than if you were to measure using the ideological perspective of Kong Rong giving up the larger pears. The ideological viewpoint of the story of Kong Rong measures people’s temporary behavior and practices, but what God requires people to measure is the essence of this person, as well as what exactly the person’s attitude is toward the truth and toward God’s requirements. What you use sayings on moral conduct for is to measure a person’s fleeting behavior, or their actions or fleeting revelations during one incident. If you use them to measure a person’s intrinsic qualities, it will not be accurate, because measuring a person’s intrinsic qualities using sayings on moral conduct is measuring them using the wrong principles, and the result you arrive at will be inaccurate. The difference lies not in their outward behaviors, but rather in their nature essence. Therefore, it is fundamentally wrong to measure people using sayings on moral conduct. It is only accurate to measure people using the truth principles. Do you understand what I am saying?

The essence of sayings about moral conduct is that they are regulations and conventions that constrain people’s behavior and thoughts. To a certain extent, they restrict and control people’s thinking, and constrain some of the correct expressions of thought and normal requirements of normal humanity. Of course, it can also be said that to a certain extent, they violate some of the laws of survival of normal humanity, and also deprive normal people of their human needs and rights. For example, the classic saying “A woman must be virtuous, kind, gentle, and moral” forcibly interferes with and destroys women’s human rights. What role does it make women play in the whole of human society? They play the role of being enslaved. Is this not the case? (Yes.) From this point of view, the regulations and conventions of these sayings about moral conduct have destroyed human thoughts, stripped away the various needs of normal humanity, and at the same time confined human beings’ expression of the various thoughts of normal humanity. These sayings on moral conduct are fundamentally not created based on the needs of normal people, nor based on the standards that normal people can meet, but are all created based on people’s imaginings, ambitions and desires. These sayings on moral conduct not only constrain and confine people’s thoughts, and constrain people’s behavior, but they also make people worship and chase after those things that are false and imaginary. But people can’t attain them, so all they can do is use pretense to whitewash and cover themselves up, so that they can live a decent, noble life, a life that seems very dignified. But the fact is that living under these ideas and views of moral conduct means that humanity’s thoughts are distorted and confined, and that people live abnormally and pervertedly under the governance of these fallacious ideas and viewpoints, does it not? (Yes.) People don’t want to live like this, and they don’t want to do this, but they can’t break free from the constraints of these ideological shackles. All they can do is live reluctantly and involuntarily under the influence and confinement of these ideas and views. At the same time, due to the pressure of public opinion and these ideas and views in their heart, they have no choice but to drag out an ignoble existence in this world wearing one mask of hypocrisy after another. This is the consequence of sayings on moral conduct for humankind. Have you understood this? (Yes.) The more we fellowship and dissect these sayings about moral conduct, the more people can see them clearly, and the more they feel that these various sayings in traditional culture are not positive things. They have misled and harmed human beings for thousands of years, to the extent that even after people have listened to God’s words and come to understand the truth, they still cannot rid themselves of the influence of these ideas and views from traditional culture, and even aspire to them as if they were positive things. Many people even use them as a substitute for the truth, and practice them as the truth. Through today’s fellowship, have you gained a better and more accurate understanding of these sayings on moral conduct in traditional culture? (Yes.) Now that you have some understanding of them, let us continue fellowshipping on other sayings about moral conduct.

Next we will fellowship about the saying on moral conduct “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring.” As you can tell, each of these sayings about moral conduct is so overblown and earth-shaking, as if each one is imbued with a kind of heroic spirit and the qualities of great people, and is unachievable by an unremarkable or ordinary person. “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring”—what immense broad-mindedness that would require! How kind, benevolent and great a personality you would need to be in order to do that! “A drop of water” corresponds to “a gushing spring,” but at the same time, this correspondence gives the impression that there is an immeasurable gulf and vast difference between the two. It means that you must repay even the kindness of a drop of water, but with what? It should be repaid with a gushing spring, with such a vast number of actions or behaviors or with such sincerity and such great willingness, rather than being forgotten about. This is how much it takes to repay the kindness of a drop of water, and if you repay it with anything less, you have no conscience. According to this logic, is not the person who showed kindness also the one who unfairly benefits in the end? This benefactor sure profits handsomely from their kindness! They show kindness by giving a drop of water and get a gushing spring in return. This is a very lucrative deal, and a way to benefit handsomely at the expense of others. Is this not the case? In this life, every person will accept the kindness of a drop of water. If they must all repay it with a gushing spring, it would take them their whole life to repay, leaving them unable to fulfill any of their family and social responsibilities, let alone consider their path in life. If you enjoy the kindness of a drop of water but fail to repay it with a gushing spring, you will be condemned by your conscience and by society, and regard yourself as a rebel, a villain, an ingrate, and not human. But what if someone could repay that kindness with a gushing spring? He’d say, “There is no one more conscientious than I, because I can repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring. This way, the person who once helped me and showed me kindness can see what sort of person I am, and whether or not they lost out by helping me, and whether or not it was worth their while to help me out. This way, they’ll never forget it, and they’ll even feel embarrassed. What’s more, I’ll keep on paying them back. Since I can repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring, am I not a person of noble moral conduct and character? Am I not a gentleman? Am I not a great person? Am I not worthy of admiration?” Everyone praises him and applauds him, and this greatly stirs his emotions, so he says, “Since you praise me as a kind person, a person of noble character, an example among men, and a paragon of humanity’s morality, then after my death, you should erect a monument to me and write me an epitaph that says ‘This person was a paragon of the maxim “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring,” and can be called an example of humanity’s morality.’” But even after the monument is in place, he thinks that they should also make a clay statue in his image and put it in the temple, then write on it his distinguished name: “Shrine of the God So-and-So,” and set up an incense altar underneath it, where everyone must give him offerings of incense, so that it burns constantly for his benefit. In addition, people must have statuettes of him in their homes, and burn incense, and kowtow to him three times a day, and educate their children and grandchildren and the younger generations to be just like him, telling their sons and daughters that they must marry a person like him, someone who can repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring—a paragon and a model of humanity’s morality. The traditional educational approach of Chinese people is to teach their children to be good people, and places emphasis on acknowledging kindness and seeking to repay it. If you receive the kindness of a drop of water, you must repay it with a life of hard work, that is to say, with a gushing spring. When children grow up, they also teach the later generations in the same way, and so it continues, passed down from one generation to the next. When such a person is able to repay the kindness of a drop of water with a gushing spring, then he has also achieved his ultimate aim. What aim has he achieved? Being recognized and acknowledged by worldly people and by society. Of course, this is secondary. The most important thing is that people hang his portrait on their walls and make offerings to his statue, and that he can enjoy the burning incense of this world from generation to generation, and that his spirit and ideas can be passed down in the world and win praise from generations of people to come. In the end, after gorging himself on the burning incense of this world, what does he become? He becomes a devil king, and his aim is finally achieved. This is the ultimate consequence of Satan’s corruption of humankind. At the outset, people merely accept one idea in traditional culture about moral conduct, such as benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Later, they comply with the requirement of this idea, setting an example to others by rigorously putting this idea and this requirement into practice and abiding by them, and achieve the aim of becoming a model and paragon of morality for the rest of humanity. Then after they die, they leave behind a good reputation, which is passed on through the generations. Finally, they get what they wanted, which is to inhale the burning incense of this world for many years and become a king of demons. Is this a good thing? (No.) Why do you say that it’s not a good thing? This is the ultimate goal that an unbeliever aspires to in life. They approve ideas about a certain moral conduct, then lead by example, setting about implementing the requirements about this moral conduct until finally they reach the point where everyone praises them as a good person, a kind person, a distinguished person, and a person of noble character. Word of their behavior and deeds spreads to all of humanity, and their behavior and deeds are studied and revered by generations of people, until finally that person becomes the role model for a whole generation, and of course the king of demons for a whole generation. Is this not the path that worldly people walk? Is this not the result that worldly people aspire to? Does this have a connection with the truth? Is there a connection with God’s salvation? There is no connection whatsoever. Such is the final outcome that sayings on moral conduct have in store for people. If a person wholly accepts all the various ideas in traditional culture and abides by them fully, then the path they walk is undoubtedly the way of demons. If you have embarked upon the way of demons once and for all, then you have no connection with God’s work of saving people, and absolutely nothing to do with salvation. Therefore, if upon the foundation of understanding the truth, you are still confined and influenced by the ideas of traditional culture, and at the same time, under the influence of these ideas, abiding by their laws, and abiding by these requirements and sayings, you are unable to rebel against them or let them go, and cannot accept requirements from God, then you will end up following the way of demons and becoming a king of demons. You understand that, don’t you? No theory or saying in the world can replace the path of salvation that God has given to humankind, not even the highest moral standards in the world. If people want to embark on the right path, which is the path of salvation, then only by coming before God, by meekly and steadfastly accepting God’s words, by accepting all the various claims and requirements from Him, and by comporting themselves and acting with God’s words as the criterion, can they gain God’s approval. Otherwise, people have no way to embark on the right path in life, and can only follow Satan’s philosophies on the road to perdition. Some people say, “Is there a middle way?” No, you follow either God’s way or Satan’s devilish way. There are only two ways. If you don’t follow God’s way, then you undoubtedly abide by the various ideas brought to you by Satan and the various devilish ways engendered by such ideas. If you want to compromise by taking the middle way or some third way, that is impossible. Is this point clear? (Yes.) I won’t elaborate further on the saying “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring,” because it is more or less similar to the saying “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” which we fellowshipped on previously. The essence of these two sayings is much the same, so there is no need to discuss it in greater detail.

Now let’s talk about the next saying on moral conduct—do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire. This one should be very easy to discern, should it not? Comparing it against the requirements of the sayings about moral conduct that we talked about before, this saying is clearly also an inflexible rule that binds people. Although on paper it looks grandiose and impressive, and there seems to be nothing wrong with it, and it appears to be a simple principle for dealing with people, this simple principle doesn’t make any sense when it comes to how to comport oneself or how to treat people, and is of no help to a person’s comportment or pursuit of life. It is not a principle that people should abide by in their conduct and behavior, nor is it a principle for people to pursue the correct direction and goal in life. Even if you abide by this requirement, all it does is deter you from doing anything unreasonable when dealing with people, but it doesn’t mean that you have real love for people or really help them, much less does it prove that you are on the right path in life. In a literal sense, “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” means that if you do not like something, or do not like to do something, then you shouldn’t force it onto other people either. This seems smart and reasonable, but if you use this satanic philosophy to handle every situation, then you will make many mistakes. It is likely that you will hurt, mislead, or even harm people. Just like how some parents are not fond of studying, but like to make their children study, and always try to reason with them, urging them to study hard. If you were to apply the requirement here to “not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” then these parents shouldn’t make their children study, because they themselves do not enjoy it. There are other people who believe in God, but do not pursue the truth; yet in their hearts they know that believing in God is the right path in life. If they see that their children do not believe in God and are not on the right path, they urge them to believe in God. Even though they themselves do not pursue the truth, they still want their children to pursue it and be blessed. In this situation, if they adhered to the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” then these parents should not make their children believe in God. That would be in line with this satanic philosophy, but it also would have destroyed their children’s chance at salvation. Who is responsible for this outcome? Does the traditional saying on moral conduct of not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire not harm people? Here is another example. Some parents aren’t content with leading a dutiful, law-abiding life. They aren’t willing to toil on the land or go to work to support their family. Instead they like to cheat, swindle or gamble, using unrighteous means to make a dishonest fortune, so that they can then live the high life, have fun and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh. They don’t like engaging in honest work, or following the right path. This is what they do not desire, is it not? They know in their heart that this is not good. In this situation how should they educate their own children? Normal people would teach their children to study hard and master a skill so that they can find a good job in future, and make their children follow the right path. This is fulfilling one’s responsibility as a parent, is it not? (Yes, it is.) This is correct. But if they adhere to the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” then they would say, “Son, look at me. I can do all sorts of things in life, such as wining and dining, frequenting prostitutes and gambling. I get by in life even without having studied or learned a skill. You learn with me in the future. You don’t need to go to school and study hard. Learn to steal, cheat, and gamble. You can still lead a comfortable life for the rest of your days!” Is it right to do that? Has anyone taught their children this way? (No.) This is “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” is it not? Haven’t these examples thoroughly refuted this saying? There is nothing correct about it. For example, some people do not love the truth; they covet the comforts of the flesh, and find ways to slack off when performing their duty. They are not willing to suffer or pay a price. They think that the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” puts it well, and tell people, “You should learn how to enjoy yourselves. You don’t need to properly perform your duty or suffer hardship or pay a price. If you can slack off, then slack off; if you can muddle through something, then muddle through it. Don’t make things so hard on yourselves. Look, I live this way—isn’t it great? My life is just perfect! You’re exhausting yourselves living that way! You should learn from me.” Does this not meet the requirement of “not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire”? If you act this way, are you a person with conscience and reason? (No.) If a person loses their conscience and reason, are they not lacking virtue? This is called lacking virtue. Why do we call it this? Because they crave comfort, they muddle through their duty, and incite and influence others to join them in being perfunctory and craving comfort. What is the problem with this? Being perfunctory and irresponsible in your duty is an act of trickery and resistance to God. If you continue to be perfunctory and do not repent, you will be exposed and cast out. Many people in the church are cleared out in this way. Is this not a fact? (Yes, it is.) So in adhering to this saying and inciting everyone to be like them, so that people don’t perform their duties diligently, but instead fool and deceive God, is this not bringing harm upon people and sending them to their ruin? They themselves are lazy and slippery, and yet they also impede others from performing their duties. Is this not disrupting and disturbing the church’s work? Is this not antagonizing God? Can God’s house keep such people? Supposing someone who works in a company of unbelievers incites the other employees to not do their jobs properly. Won’t the boss fire him if she finds out? She will definitely kick him out. So if he can still do this while performing his duty in God’s house, is this a person who believes in God? This is an evil person and nonbeliever who has infiltrated God’s house. He must be removed and cast out! After listening to these examples, are you somewhat able to recognize the essence of the saying on moral conduct “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire”? (Yes we are.) What is the final conclusion you have drawn? Is this requirement a truth principle? (No.) Quite obviously not. So what is it? It’s just a muddled saying, one that sounds nice superficially, but which actually has no practical meaning.

Are you proponents of the saying on moral conduct, “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire”? If someone were a proponent of this phrase, would you think they were great and noble? There are some who would say, “Look, they don’t impose, they don’t make things hard for others, or put them in difficult positions. Aren’t they wonderful? They are always strict with themselves yet tolerant of others; they never tell anyone to do something that they wouldn’t do themselves. They give others a lot of freedom, and make them feel an abundance of warmth and acceptance. What a great person!” Is that really the case? The implication of the saying “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” is that you should only give or supply to others things that you yourself like and take pleasure in. But what things do corrupted people like and take pleasure in? Corrupted things, preposterous things, and extravagant desires. If you give and supply to people these negative things, will all of humanity not become more and more corrupted? There will be fewer and fewer positive things. Is this not a fact? It is a fact that humanity is deeply corrupted. Corrupted humans like to pursue fame, gain, status, and pleasures of the flesh; they want to be celebrities, to be mighty and superhuman. They want a comfortable life and are averse to hard work; they want everything to be handed to them. Very few of them love the truth or positive things. If people give and supply to others their corruption and predilections, what will happen? It is just as you would imagine: Humanity will only become more and more corrupt. Those who are proponents of the idea “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” ask that people give and supply to others their corruption, predilections, and extravagant desires, making other people seek evil, comfort, money, and advancement. Is this the right path in life? It is plain to see that “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” is a very problematic saying. The holes and flaws in it are glaringly obvious; it is not even worth dissecting and discerning it. With the slightest examination, its errors and ridiculousness are plain to see. However, there are many among you who are easily persuaded and influenced by this saying and accept it without discernment. When interacting with others, you often use this saying to admonish yourself and exhort others. By doing this, you think that your character is particularly noble, and that your comportment is very reasonable. But without realizing it, these words have revealed the principle you live by and your stance on issues. At the same time, you have misled and misguided others into approaching people and circumstances with the same view and stance as you. You have acted like a veritable fence-straddler, and completely taken the middle road. You say, “No matter what the issue is, there is no need to take it seriously. Don’t make things difficult for yourself or others. If you make things difficult for other people, then you’re making them difficult for yourself. Being kind to others is being kind to yourself. If you’re hard on other people, then you’re being hard on yourself. Why put yourself in a difficult position? Not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire is the best thing you could do for yourself, and the most considerate.” This attitude is obviously one of not being meticulous in anything. You have no correct stance or perspective on any issue; you have a muddled view of everything. You are not meticulous and just turn a blind eye to things. When you finally stand before God and account for yourself, it will be a big muddle. Why is that? Because you always say you should not impose on others that which you yourself don’t desire. This gives you great comfort and enjoyment, but at the same time it will cause you great trouble, making it so that you can’t have a clear view or stance on many matters. Of course, it also makes you unable to understand clearly what God’s requirements and standards for you are when you encounter these situations, or what outcome you should achieve. These things happen because you are not meticulous in anything; they are caused by your muddled attitude and view. Is not imposing on others that which you yourself don’t desire the tolerant attitude you should have toward people and things? No, it is not. It is just a theory which appears right, noble, and kind from the outside, but is actually a thoroughly negative thing. Clearly, even less is it a truth principle that people should be adhering to. God does not demand that people not impose on others that which they themselves do not desire, instead He asks people to be clear on the principles they should observe when handling different situations. If it is correct and in line with the truth in God’s words, then you must cling to it. And not only must you cling to it, you must admonish, persuade, and fellowship with others, so that they understand exactly what God’s will is, and what the truth principles are. This is your responsibility and obligation. God does not ask you to take the middle road, and even less does He ask you to show off how big your heart is. You should cling to the things God has admonished you for and taught to you, and what God talks about in His words: the requirements, the criteria, and the truth principles that people should be observing. Not only must you cling to them, and hold on to them forever, but you must also practice these truth principles by leading by example, as well as persuading, supervising, helping, and guiding others to cling to, observe, and practice them in the same way you do. God demands that you do this—this is what He entrusts to you. You cannot just make requirements of yourself while ignoring others. God demands that you take the correct stance on issues, cling to the correct criteria, and know precisely what the criteria in God’s words are, and that you figure out precisely what the truth principles are. Even if you cannot accomplish this, even if you are unwilling, if you don’t like it, if you have notions, or if you resist it, you must treat it as your responsibility, as your obligation. You must fellowship with people on the positive things that come from God, on things which are right and correct, and use them to help, impact, and guide others, so that people can benefit from and be edified by them, and walk the correct path in life. This is your responsibility, and you should not stubbornly cling to the idea “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” which Satan has put into your mind. In God’s eyes, that saying is just a philosophy for worldly dealings; it is a way of thinking that contains Satan’s trickery; it is not at all the correct path, nor is it a positive thing. All God requires of you, is for you to be an upright person who understands clearly what they should and should not do. He does not call you to be a people-pleaser or a fence-straddler; He has not called you to take the middle road. When a matter concerns the truth principles, you must say what needs to be said, and understand what needs to be understood. If someone does not understand something but you do, and you can give pointers and help them out, then you absolutely must fulfill this responsibility and obligation. You must not just stand by the wayside and watch, and even less should you cling to the philosophies that Satan has put into your mind such as not imposing on others that which you yourself do not desire. Do you understand? (Yes.) That which is right and positive is so even if you don’t like it, aren’t willing to do it, aren’t capable of doing and achieving it, are resistant to it, or develop notions against it. The essence of God’s words and the truth won’t change just because mankind has corrupt dispositions and has certain emotions, feelings, desires and notions. The essence of God’s words and the truth will never, ever change. As soon as you know, understand, experience and attain God’s words and the truth, it is your obligation to fellowship your experiential testimonies to others. This will allow even more people to understand God’s will, comprehend and attain the truth, understand God’s demands and standards and have a grasp of the truth principles. By doing this, these people will gain a path of practice when they encounter issues in their daily life and won’t become muddled or be fettered by Satan’s various ideas and views. The saying on moral conduct “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire” is really and truly Satan’s cunning scheme to control the minds of people. If you always uphold this, then you are someone who lives according to satanic philosophies; a person who completely lives in a satanic disposition. If you do not follow God’s way, then you do not love or pursue the truth. No matter what happens, the principle you should follow and the most important thing you must do is help people as much as you can. You should not practice what Satan says, which is to “not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire,” and be a “smart” people-pleaser. What does it mean to help people as much as you can? It means fulfilling your responsibilities and obligations. As soon as you see that something is part of your responsibilities and obligations, you should fellowship on God’s words and the truth. This is what it means to fulfill your responsibilities and obligations. Has this fellowship basically clarified the saying on moral conduct “Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire”? Have you understood it? (Yes.) This saying is relatively easy to discern, and you can identify what’s wrong with it without too much deliberation. It is simply too absurd, so there is no need to fellowship on it in further detail.

Now let’s fellowship about the next saying on moral conduct—I’d take a bullet for a friend. This is a seemingly grandiose statement, which is extremely widespread among humankind. In particular, people who value sentiment and attach importance to brotherhood adopt this saying as a maxim to make lots of friends. In whichever era or ethnic group in which it is used, this saying on moral conduct, “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” holds up quite well. That is to say, it accords relatively well with the conscience and reason of humanity. More precisely, this saying accords with the concept of “brotherhood” that people adhere to in their conscience. People who value brotherhood would be willing to take a bullet for a friend. No matter how difficult and dangerous a situation their friend is in, they would step forward and take a bullet for them. This is the spirit of sacrificing one’s own interests for the sake of others. What the saying on moral conduct “I’d take a bullet for a friend” instills in people is basically to value brotherhood. The standard that it requires humanity to uphold is that one must value brotherhood: That is the essence of this saying. What does this word “brotherhood” mean? What is the standard for brotherhood? It is being able to sacrifice one’s own interests for a friend and do everything to satisfy them. Whatever your friend needs, you are honor-bound to offer whatever help is needed, and if that means risking your life, then so be it. This is what it takes to be a true friend, and only this can be considered true brotherhood. Another interpretation of brotherhood is being able to risk your life, lay down your life, or put your life on the line for a friend, without regard to life or death. This is a friendship that endures through life-threatening ordeals, a life-and-death friendship, and this is true brotherhood. This is the definition of a friend in requirements for moral behavior. You must be willing to take a bullet for your friends in order to be considered a true friend, this is the criterion of moral conduct that a person should adhere to when dealing with their friends, and this is the requirement for people’s moral conduct when it comes to making friends. The saying on moral conduct “I’d take a bullet for a friend” comes across as particularly heroic and just, and especially great and noble, and inspires people’s admiration and approval, and makes people feel that those who can do such a thing are like otherworldly non-mortals who jump out of cracks in the rocks, and makes them think that these people are especially just, like knights or swordfighters. That is why such unsophisticated and forthright ideas and views are readily accepted by human beings, and easily penetrate deep into their hearts. Do you have similar feelings about the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend”? (Yes.) Although in this day and age, there aren’t many people who would take a bullet for a friend, most people hope that their friends would be willing to take a bullet for them, and that they are loyal people, good buddies, and that in times of trouble, their friends would stretch out a helping hand without a second thought and without laying down any conditions, and that their friends would do anything for them, defying all difficulties and undaunted by danger. If you have similar requirements for your friends, might this show that you are still influenced and bound by this idea of taking a bullet for a friend? Would you say that you still live by this old, traditional way of thinking? (Yes.) These days, people often lament that “public morality is in decline nowadays, people don’t have the same mentality as their ancestors, times have changed, friends are not what they used to be, people don’t value brotherhood anymore, people have lost their human warmth, and interpersonal relationships are becoming more and more distant.” Although very few people value brotherhood in friends nowadays, people still fondly remember those chivalrous and warm-hearted folk in olden times who would lay down their life for a friend, and revere the style they exude. For example, take some of the stories handed down through history about people in olden times laying down their life for a friend, especially stories set in the world of martial arts about people upholding brotherhood. To this day, when people watch these stories in films and television dramas, they still feel a surge of emotion in their hearts, and harbor hopes of returning to an age full of human warmth, when people valued brotherhood. What do these things show? Do they show that this idea of taking a bullet for a friend is revered as a positive thing in people’s minds, and that it is held up as a high moral standard for those who want to be or become a good person? (Yes.) Although people don’t dare demand such a thing of themselves nowadays, and can’t achieve it themselves, they still hope to meet such people in their community, associate with them and become friends with them, so that when they themselves encounter difficulty, their friend can take a bullet for them. Looking at people’s attitudes and views about this saying on moral conduct, it is clear to see that people are deeply influenced by such ideas and views that value brotherhood. Given that people are influenced by such ideas and views that encourage them to aspire and adhere to the spirit of brotherhood, of course they are highly likely to live by them. As a result, people tend to become controlled and dominated by such ideas and views, and are likely to view people and things and comport themselves and act according to such ideas and views, and at the same time, they tend to use such ideas and views to judge people, by asking themselves, “Does this person value brotherhood? If they value brotherhood then they are a nice person; whereas if they don’t, they aren’t worthy of associating with, and they aren’t a good person.” Of course, you also tend to be influenced by these ideas on brotherhood in terms of governing your own behavior, and in terms of constraining and passing judgment on your own behavior, and take them as the criteria and direction for your interactions with others. For example, under the deep-seated influence of such ideas and views, when you associate with brothers and sisters, you use your conscience to measure everything you do. What does this word “conscience” mean? The fact is that, deep within people’s hearts, it means none other than brotherhood. Sometimes helping out one’s brothers and sisters is done out of brotherhood, sometimes sympathizing with them is also done out of brotherhood. Sometimes, performing one’s duty and making some token effort in God’s family, or expending, or having some momentary resolve, all actually comes about under the governance of such ideas that value brotherhood. Don’t these phenomena clearly and unequivocally show that people are deeply influenced by such ideas and views, and have already become fettered and assimilated by them? What do I mean by “fettered” and “assimilated”? Can it be said that such ideas and views that value brotherhood are not only able to control people’s behavior, but in addition, they have already become people’s philosophy of existence and their life, and that people latch onto them and treat them as positive things? Why do I say they treat them as positive things? It means that when people listen to God’s words, put His words into practice and submit to Him, perform their duty without being perfunctory, pay more of a price, and are faithful to God, all this behavior is to a large extent governed by the idea of brotherhood, and adulterated with this element of brotherhood. For example, some people say: “We must be conscientious in how we comport ourselves, we cannot muddle through our duty! God has bestowed so much grace on us. In such a dangerous environment, with all this rampant suppression and persecution by the great red dragon, God protects us and saves us from the influence of Satan. We must not lose our conscience, we must perform our duty properly to repay God’s love! Our lives are given to us by God, so we must be faithful to Him in order to repay His love. We cannot be ungrateful!” There are other people who are confronted with a duty that requires taking risks and paying a price, and who say: “If others won’t step forward, I will. I’m not afraid of danger!” People ask them, “Why are you not afraid of danger?” And they reply, “Have you not even the slightest moral integrity in your comportment? God’s family treats me well, and God is good to me. Since I have resolved to follow Him, I should do my bit and take on these risks. I must have this spirit of brotherhood and value it.” And so on and so forth. Are these phenomena and these revelations of people dominated to a certain extent by such ideas and views that value brotherhood? Dominated by such ideas and views, the judgments and choices that people make and some of the behaviors that people reveal most of the time have nothing whatsoever to do with practicing the truth. They are just a momentary impulse, a momentary state of mind or a momentary desire. Because this is not abiding by the truth principles, and does not stem from a person’s subjective will to perform their duty, and is not done out of love for the truth and for positive things, this brotherhood between people often cannot endure, it cannot last more than a few times, nor can it last too long. After a while people run out of energy, like a deflated ball. Some people say, “Why was I so energized before? Why was I so willing to take on these dangerous jobs for God’s house? Why is that energy all gone now?” At the time it was just a momentary impulse, desire or resolve on your part, and inevitably this was adulterated with an element of brotherhood. Speaking of which, what exactly does “brotherhood” mean? Put simply, it is a momentary mood or frame of mind, that is to say, a mood that people develop in special environments and situations. Such a mood is very buoyant, very upbeat, and very positive, which causes you to make positive judgments and choices, or makes you produce some grandiose statements, and creates some willingness to work hard, but this kind of willingness is not a true state of loving the truth, understanding the truth, or practicing the truth. It is just a mood produced under the governance of such ideas and views that value brotherhood. This is how it is in simple terms. On a deeper level, from My point of view, brotherhood is actually an outpouring of impetuousness. What do I mean by “an outpouring of impetuousness”? For example, when people are momentarily happy, they can go all day and night without eating or sleeping, and yet do not feel hungry or tired. Is this normal? Under normal circumstances, people will be hungry if they do not eat a meal, and listless and lethargic if they do not sleep well all night. But if, on the spur of the moment, they are in a buoyant mood, and don’t feel hungry, sleepy, or fatigued, isn’t this abnormal? (Yes, it is.) Is this a natural revelation of life disposition? (No.) If this is not a normal revelation, what is it then? It is impetuousness. What else does impetuousness mean? It means that because of abnormal emotions such as momentary happiness or anger, people exhibit some extreme behaviors while in an irrational state. What are these extreme behaviors? Sometimes when they are happy, they give away the most precious things in their home to others, or sometimes in a fit of anger they kill someone with a knife. Is this not impetuousness? These are behaviors bordering on extreme, that occur when people are in an irrational state: This is impetuousness. Some people are especially happy when they first start performing their duty. They don’t feel hungry when it’s time to eat, and don’t feel sleepy when it’s time to rest. Instead they cry out, “Expend for God, pay the price for God, and endure any hardship!” Whenever they are unhappy they don’t want to do anything, they take a dislike to everyone they see, and they even think about not believing anymore. All of this is impetuousness. How did this impetuousness come about? Did it come about from people’s corrupt dispositions? At its root, it is caused by people not understanding the truth and being unable to practice the truth. When people do not understand the truth, they are influenced by various distorted thoughts. Under the influence of various distorted and negative thoughts, they develop various irrational and abnormal moods. While in these moods, they come up with all kinds of hot-headed judgments and behaviors. This is how it goes, is it not? What is the essence of this ideological viewpoint, “I’d take a bullet for a friend”? (It is impetuousness.) That’s right, it is impetuousness. So does the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend” have any rationality? Does it accord with the principles? Is it a positive thing that people should abide by? Quite obviously not. This matter of taking a bullet for a friend is irrational, it is impulsive and it is impetuous. This matter must be treated rationally. Is it okay if you don’t value brotherhood so much that you would take a bullet for a friend? Is it okay to just help your friends within the limits of your capability? How to do things right? Why are ideas and views such as I’d take a bullet for a friend, which seem to particularly value brotherhood, all wrong? What’s wrong with them? This matter needs to be made clear. Once this matter is clarified, people will completely let go of such ideas and views. The fact is that this matter is very simple. Can you explain it clearly? You have no views on this matter, nothing to say. This confirms one thing, which is that before I dissected the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” you were all people who had adhered to or particularly worshiped this saying, and you all envied people who would take a bullet for a friend, and you were also envious of those who could make friends with someone like that, and feel that having such friends is a joy and an honor. Is that not the case? How do you view this matter? (I think that dealing with people according to the saying “I’d take a bullet for a friend” is without principles and does not accord with the truth.) What do you think of this reply? Can it release the bonds and fetters that such ideas and views place on you? Can it change the methods and principles by which you deal with such matters? Can it correct your fallacious views on such matters? If it cannot, then what is this reply? (Doctrine.) What’s the use of speaking doctrine? Do not speak about doctrine. How does doctrine come about? It is that you do not clearly see the essence of such ideas and views, and that you do not completely understand the negative impact and harm of such ideas and views with regard to how you view people and things, and how you comport yourself and act. You don’t know what is wrong with them, so all you can do is answer and resolve this problem using shallow doctrines. The final outcome is that doctrines cannot solve your problem, and you still live under the governance and influence of such ideas and views.

What is wrong with ideas and views such as “taking a bullet for a friend”? This question is actually quite simple and not difficult. No one who lives in the world jumps out of cracks in the rocks. Everyone has parents and children, everyone has relatives, no one exists independently in this human world. What do I mean by this? I mean that you live in this human world, and you have your own obligations to fulfill. Firstly, you must support your parents, and secondly, you must raise your children. These are your responsibilities within the family. In society, you also have social responsibilities and obligations to fulfill. You must play a role in society, such as being a worker, farmer, businessperson, student or intellectual. From the family to society, there are many responsibilities and obligations that you should fulfill. That is, in addition to your food, clothing, housing and transportation, you have many things that you must do, and also many things that you should do and many obligations that you should fulfill. Leaving aside this right path of belief in God that people walk, as an individual you have many family responsibilities and social obligations to fulfill. You do not exist independently. The responsibility on your shoulders is not just to make friends and have a good time, or to find someone you can talk to and who can help you out. The majority of your responsibilities—and the most important ones—are to do with your family and society. Only if you fulfill your family responsibilities and social obligations well, will your life as a person be considered complete and perfect. So, what do the responsibilities that you should fulfill in the family include? As a child, you should be filial to your parents and support them. Whenever your parents are sick or in difficulty, you should do all that is in your power to do. As a parent, you have to sweat and exert yourself, work hard and endure hardship to provide for the whole family, and take on the heavy responsibility of being a parent, raising your children, educating them to follow the right path, and making them understand the principles of comportment. Thus, you have numerous responsibilities in your family. You must support your parents and take on the responsibility of raising your children. There are many such things that should be done. And what are your responsibilities in society? You must abide by the laws and regulations, you must have principles for dealing with others, you must do your best at work, and manage your career well. Eighty or ninety percent of your time and energy must be expended on these things. That is to say, no matter what role you play in your family or in society, no matter what path you walk, no matter what your ambitions and aspirations are, each person has responsibilities to bear that are very important to them personally, and which occupy almost all of their time and energy. From the perspective of family and social responsibilities, what is the value of you as a person and your life in coming into this human world? It is to fulfill the responsibilities and missions given to you by Heaven. Your life does not belong to you alone, and of course it does not belong to others. Your life exists for your missions and responsibilities, and for the responsibilities, obligations and missions that you should fulfill in this human world. Your life does not belong to your parents, nor to your wife (husband), and of course it does not belong to your children. Less still does it belong to your descendants. So who does your life belong to? Speaking from the perspective of a person of the world, your life belongs to the responsibilities and missions given to you by God. But from the perspective of a believer, your life should belong to God, as it is He who arranges and has sovereignty over everything about you. Therefore, as a person, living in the world, you should not promise your life to others arbitrarily, and you should not arbitrarily sacrifice your life for anyone for the sake of brotherhood. That is to say, you should not belittle your own life. Your life is worthless to anyone else, especially to Satan, to this society, and to this corrupt human race, but to your parents and relatives, your life is of the utmost importance, because there is an inseparable relationship between your responsibilities and their survival. Of course, what is even more important is that there is an inseparable relationship between your life and the fact that God holds sovereignty over all things and over the entire human race. Your life is indispensable among the many lives that God holds sovereignty over. Perhaps you don’t value your life that highly, and perhaps you shouldn’t value your life that highly, but the fact is that your life is very important to your parents and relatives, with whom you have close ties and an inseparable relationship. Why do I say that? Because you have responsibilities toward them, they also have responsibilities toward you, you have responsibilities toward this society, and your responsibilities toward society relate to your role in this society. Every person’s role and every living entity are indispensable to God, and are all indispensable elements of God’s sovereignty over humankind, this world, this earth, and this universe. In God’s eyes, every life is even more insignificant than a grain of sand, and even more contemptible than an ant; nevertheless, because each person is a life, a living and breathing life, therefore, within the sovereignty of God, even though the role that person plays is not pivotal, they are also indispensable. So, looking at it from these aspects, if a person would readily take a bullet for a friend and not only thinks about doing so, but is prepared to do so at any moment, giving their own life with no regard to their family responsibilities, their social responsibilities, and even the God-given missions and duties on their shoulders, is that not wrong? (Yes.) This is treasonous! The most precious thing God bestows on man is this breath that is called life. If you casually promise your life to a friend who you think you can entrust it to, is this not being treasonous to God? Is this not disrespecting life? Is this not an act of rebellion against God? Is it an act of betrayal of God? (Yes.) This is clearly giving up the responsibilities that you should fulfill in your family and in society, and shirking the missions that God has given you. This is treasonous. The most important things in a person’s life are nothing more than the responsibilities that one should take on in this life—family responsibilities, social responsibilities, and the missions that God has given you. The most important things are these responsibilities and missions. If you lose your life by casually giving it up for another due to a momentary sense of brotherhood and a moment’s impetuousness, do your responsibilities still exist? How can you talk of missions then? You clearly do not cherish the life God bestowed on you as the most precious thing, but instead casually promise it to others, give up your life for others, completely disregarding or abandoning your responsibilities to your family and society, which is immoral and unfair. So, what am I trying to tell you? Don’t casually give up your life or promise it to others. Some people say, “Can I promise it to my parents? How about promising it to my lover, is that okay?” It’s not okay. Why is it not okay? God bestows life on you and allows your life to continue so that you can fulfill your responsibilities to your family and society and fulfill the missions entrusted to you by God. It is not for you to treat your own life as a joke by casually promising it to others, delivering it to others, expending it for others, and dedicating it to others. If a person loses their life, can they still fulfill their family and social responsibilities and their missions? Can it still be done? (No.) And when a person’s family and social responsibilities are no more, do the social roles they performed still exist? (No.) When the social roles that a person performed are no more, do that person’s missions still exist? No, they don’t. When a person’s missions and social roles are no more, does that over which God rules sovereign then still exist? What God rules sovereign over is living things, human beings with life, and when their social responsibilities and lives are no more, and their social roles all return to nothing, is this trying to make humankind, over which God rules sovereign, and God’s management plan, return to nothing? If you do this, is it not treasonous? (Yes.) This is indeed treasonous. Your life exists only for your responsibilities and missions, and the value of your life can only be reflected in your responsibilities and missions. Besides, taking a bullet for a friend is not your responsibility and mission. As a person endowed with life by God, fulfilling the responsibilities and missions entrusted to you by God is what you should do. Whereas, taking a bullet for a friend is not a responsibility or mission that God has bestowed on you. Rather, it is your acting on a sense of brotherhood, your own wishful thinking, your irresponsible thinking about life, and of course, it is also a kind of thinking that Satan instills in people to heap scorn upon and trample on their lives. So, no matter when the time comes, no matter what kind of bosom friend you have made, even if your friendship with them has endured through life-threatening situations, don’t arbitrarily promise to take a bullet for them, and don’t even entertain such thoughts lightly, don’t think about dedicating your whole life, your being, to them. You have no responsibility or obligation to them whatsoever. If you have similar interests, similar personalities, and walk the same path, you can help each other, you can talk about whatever you like to each other, and you can be close friends, but this close friendship is not built on the foundation of taking a bullet for each other, nor based on valuing brotherhood. You don’t need to take a bullet for them, and you don’t need to give up your life or even shed a single drop of blood for them. Some people say: “So what use is my sense of brotherhood? In my humanity and in my heart, I always want to show brotherhood, so what should I do?” If you really want to show brotherhood, then you should tell the other person the truths that you have come to understand. When you see that the other person is weak, support them. Don’t stand by the wayside and watch; when they go the wrong way, remind them, counsel them, and give them a hand. When you see the other person’s problems, you have the obligation to help them, but you don’t need to take a bullet for them, you don’t need to promise your life to them. Your responsibility to them is only to help, support, remind, advise, or sometimes to have a little forgiveness and tolerance, but it is not to give up your life for them, let alone show them some so-called sense of brotherhood. To Me, brotherhood is just impetuousness, and it does not belong to the truth. Compared with the life that God bestows on people, brotherhood between people is garbage. It is a kind of impetuousness instilled in people by Satan, a cunning scheme that makes people impulsively do many things for the sake of brotherhood, things that they will struggle to put behind them and that they will regret for the rest of their days. This is inadvisable. Therefore, you had better let go of this idea of brotherhood. Don’t live in accordance with brotherhood, but instead live in accordance with the truth and God’s words. At the very least, you should live in accordance with your humanity, conscience, and reason, deal with everyone and everything rationally, and do everything properly in accordance with your conscience and reason.

Having fellowshipped on so many sayings and opinions regarding responsibility and life, do you now have discernment of this moral requirement about taking a bullet for a friend? Now that you have discernment, do you have the correct principles for dealing with such a thing? (Yes.) What would you do if someone really asked you to take a bullet for them? How would you answer? You would say, “If you demand that I take a bullet for you, then you are the one who wants to take my life. If you want to take my life, if you demand such a thing from me, then you are depriving me of the right to fulfill my family responsibilities and the right to fulfill my responsibilities in society. This is also depriving me of my human rights, and more importantly, depriving me of the opportunity to submit to God’s sovereignty and to perform my duty well. You depriving me of my human rights like this will be the end of me! You are depriving me of so many rights and are making me die for you. How selfish and despicable could you be? And yet you are still my friend? Clearly, you are not my friend, but my enemy.” Is it right to say that? (Yes.) That is indeed the right thing to say. Do you dare to say that? Do you truly understand this? If any friend of yours keeps asking you to take a bullet for them and demanding your life, then you should steer clear of them at the first opportunity, for they are not a good person. Don’t think that they should be your friend just because they can take a bullet for you. You say: “I didn’t ask you to take a bullet for me, it’s you who has volunteered to do that. Even if you were able to take a bullet for me, don’t even think about asking me to take a bullet for you. You are not rational, but I understand the truth, I am rational, and I will treat this matter rationally. No matter how many times you’ve taken a bullet for me, I will not impulsively take a bullet for you. If you’re in difficulty, I will do my best to help you, but I absolutely will not forgo the responsibilities and missions entrusted to me by God in this life in order to live solely for your sake. In my world, there is nothing other than responsibilities, obligations, and missions. If you want to make friends with me, then I ask you to help me, assist me to fulfill my responsibilities and complete my missions together. Only then are you my real friend. If you keep on asking me to take a bullet for you, and keep on making me make this kind of promise, to give up my life for you, to promise my life to you, then you should get away from me immediately, you are not my friend, I don’t want to make friends with someone like you, and I don’t want to be a friend to a person like you.” What do you think about saying that? (Good.) How is it good? By not having such a friend as this, you are relieved of pressure, free from worry, without any burden of thought, and not bound by ideas such as valuing brotherhood. If someone actually did say, “People like you who don’t take a bullet for a friend are not worthy of associating with, and cannot be anyone’s friend,” would you feel sad upon hearing this? Would you be affected by these words? Would you feel sad and negative, abandoned by people, with no sense of existence, and no hope in life? This is possible, but when you understand the truth, you will be able to gain a thorough understanding of this matter, and you will not be constrained by these words. Starting from today, you must learn to let go of these things of traditional culture, without needing to carry these burdens. Only this way can you walk the right path in life. Will you put this into practice? (Yes.) Of course, this is not something that can be let go of so quickly. People must first prepare their minds, contemplate little by little, seek the truth little by little, understand little by little, and then put it into practice little by little, according to the truth principles. This is using the truth principles to deal with and handle relationships with people and associations with people. In summary, I would like to give you a few last words: Cherish life and your responsibilities; cherish the opportunity that God has given you to perform your duty, and cherish the missions God has given you. You understand, don’t you? (Yes.) Is it not joyful that you have gained a thorough understanding of this matter? (Yes.) If you are not restricted and bound by these fallacious ideas and views, you will feel at ease. But you are not really at ease now. Only once you embark on the path of pursuing the truth in the future, and are no longer troubled by these things, are you truly at ease. It is only those that truly view people and things, conduct themselves and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as their criterion, who are truly relaxed and at ease, who have peace and joy, who live and comport themselves according to the truth, and who will never have regrets. Let us end today’s fellowship here.

May 7, 2022

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