What It Means to Pursue the Truth (4)
Let us start by recalling what we fellowshiped on at our last gathering. (At our last gathering, we fellowshiped on the topic of “what it means to pursue the truth.” We first focused on this question: “Given that the things people hold to be good and right are not the truth, why do people still cling to those things as if they were the truth and think that in doing so, they are pursuing the truth?” You laid out three reasons for this. You mainly talked about the first of those, which was what those things are, exactly, that people hold to be good and right in their notions.) At our last gathering, we mainly fellowshiped about the first reason. We spoke of things that people hold to be good and right in their notions, and we split those things into two broad categories: the first being “good behaviors,” the second being “good moral conduct.” In total, I gave six examples for the first category of “good behaviors”: being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, being courteous, respecting the old and caring for the young, being amiable, and being approachable. We have not yet fellowshiped about the second category, “good moral conduct.” There are some issues that we must review a little after fellowshiping on them, smoothing out and clarifying the truths and principles of that fellowship, making everything crisp and clear. Doing this will make it easier for you to understand the truth. Our fellowship last time was constituted of some broad sections, as well as some specific examples. It seems like a lot, but really, we just fellowshiped about some specific things within those broad sections, and we broke those specifics down further, so that the fellowship would be a bit clearer and more distinct. We gave six examples of good behaviors, but we did not fellowship in detail about each of them, one by one. Among those examples, being well-educated and sensible is a classic representation of what people hold to be right and good in their notions. We gave a bit more fellowship on this example. The rest are similar to it; you can use a similar method to analyze and discern them.
Today, before we get to the proper content of our fellowship, I will tell you two short stories. Do you like listening to stories? (Yes.) It is not so tiring, listening to a story, and it does not require too much concentration. It is not very strenuous, relatively speaking, and it can be quite interesting. So, listen attentively, and while you listen to the content of the stories, consider also why I am telling them—what specific, central ideas are contained within them, or in other words, what practical things people can gain by listening to them. Alright—let us begin our stories. These are the stories of Xiaoxiao and Xiaoji.
The Stories of Xiaoxiao and Xiaoji
For some time, Xiaoxiao had felt a pain in his eyes, along with blurred vision, sensitivity to light, tears brought about by the wind, the feeling that there was something in his eyes, and other such symptoms. He would rub them, but it did not help much. Xiaoxiao did not know what was wrong with him. He thought, “I’ve never had a problem with my eyes before, and my vision’s fine. What’s happening?” When he looked in the mirror, his eyes looked much the same as before—just a bit redder, and sometimes a little bloodshot. This was baffling to Xiaoxiao, and a bit unsettling. He did not pay the issue too much mind when it first began, but when his symptoms started to come on with increasing frequency, he eventually could not take it any longer. He gave it some thought: “Should I go to the doctor, or try to look it up myself? Finding information on this would be a pain, and I may misdiagnose what the actual problem is. I’d better go straight to the doctor; he’ll be sure to give an accurate diagnosis.” So, Xiaoxiao went to the doctor. The doctor examined him and found no major problems. He prescribed some regular eye-drops and advised Xiaoxiao to take care of his eyes and not to overwork them. Xiaoxiao was very relieved to know there was not a major problem with his eyes. After he got back home, Xiaoxiao used the eye-drops every day, at the times and in the dosage the doctor had ordered him to, and within a few days, his symptoms improved. A great weight was lifted from Xiaoxiao’s heart: He felt that if medicine could cure it, the problem could not be serious. But that feeling did not last for long, and a while later, his symptoms came back. Xiaoxiao upped his eye-drop dosage, and his eyes felt a bit better, and his symptoms were somewhat relieved. But a few days later, his eyes went back to the way they were before, and the symptoms got worse and more frequent. Xiaoxiao could not make sense of it, and he felt another wave of unhappiness rush over him: “What should I do? The medicine the doctor gave me isn’t working. Does this mean there’s something seriously wrong with my eyes? I can’t ignore this.” He decided not to see the doctor again or to consult him about his eye troubles this time. Instead, he chose to solve the problem on his own. He went online and found all sorts of videos and information relating to his symptoms. Most of them said that these problems were caused by the improper use of one’s eyes, that he needed to take care of his eyes, and that it was even more important for him to use them properly. Xiaoxiao felt that this advice was not helpful, and that it could not solve his problem. So, he continued looking for information. One day, he came upon a resource that said his symptoms may be caused by a retinal hemorrhage, which could be a precursor to glaucoma. It was also possible that his symptoms could develop into cataracts as they progressed. When Xiaoxiao read the words “glaucoma” and “cataracts,” it set his head abuzz. Everything went black and he nearly fainted, his heart was thumping in his chest. “Oh, God, what is happening? Am I really going to have glaucoma and cataracts? I’ve heard that cataracts require surgery, and that if you have glaucoma, you’re likely to go blind! That would be the end of me, wouldn’t it? I’m still young—if I do go blind, how will I, as a blind person, get through the rest of my life? What would I have to look forward to from there? Wouldn’t I have to spend my life in darkness?” When Xiaoxiao looked at the words “glaucoma” and “cataracts” on the page, he found that he could not sit still anymore. He was distraught, and he was plunging deeper into depression and despondency. He did not know what to do, or how he would face the days to come. He was filled with sadness and everything that lay before him was lost in a haze. In the face of this problem, Xiaoxiao fell completely into despair. He lost interest in living, and he could not muster the energy to perform his duty. He did not want to go back to the doctor or mention his eye problems to other people. Of course, he was afraid of people learning that he was going to develop glaucoma or cataracts. And just like that, Xiaoxiao passed day after day, in depression, negativity, and confusion. He did not dare to make predictions or plans for his future, because to him, the future was a terrible, heartbreaking thing. He lived his days in depression and despair, in a dreadful mood. He did not want to pray or read God’s words, and he certainly did not want to speak with other people. It was as if he had become a completely different person. After a few days of this, Xiaoxiao had a sudden thought: “This is a sorry condition that I seem to be in. Since my future is bleak and God, instead of protecting me, allowed me to get this disease, why should I keep performing my duty properly? Life is short; why don’t I take the opportunity, while my eyesight is still good, to do some of the things that I like and treat myself? Why should my life be so exhausting? Why should I hurt myself and treat myself so badly?” And so, when Xiaoxiao was not sleeping, eating, or working, he spent most of his time on the internet, playing games, watching videos, binge-watching shows, and when he went out, he even took his phone with him and played games on it incessantly. He spent his days engrossed in the world of the internet. Naturally, as he did so, the pain in his eyes got worse and worse, and his symptoms became more severe, too. When he could not stand it anymore, he used some of his eye-drops to relieve his symptoms, and when they got a bit better, he would re-immerse himself in the internet, watching the things that he liked. This was his way to alleviate the fear and terror deep in his heart, and this was his way to pass the time, to get through his days. Whenever his eyes hurt and his symptoms got worse, Xiaoxiao would subconsciously look at the people around him and think, “Other people use their eyes like I do. Why don’t their eyes get red, and tear up all the time, and feel like there’s something stuck in them? Why am I the one with this disease? Isn’t this God playing favorites? I have expended myself so much for God; why won’t He protect me? God is so unfair! Why is everyone else lucky enough to gain God’s protection, yet I can’t? Why does all the rotten luck always fall to me?” The more Xiaoxiao thought, the angrier and more annoyed he became, and the angrier he got, the more he wanted to use online entertainment and pastimes to dispel his bitterness and anger. He wanted to be rid of his eye disease as soon as possible, but the more he wanted to get rid of his bitterness and anger, the less joy and peace he had, and the more unlucky he felt, no matter how engrossed he became in the internet. And in his heart, he complained about God being unfair. Days went by like this, one after another. Xiaoxiao’s eye problem did not get any better, and his mood got worse and worse. Against that backdrop, Xiaoxiao felt all the more powerless and unlucky. Xiaoxiao’s life went on like this. No one could help him, and he sought no help. He just went through every day in a haze, depressed, and powerless.
That was Xiaoxiao’s story. We will finish it there. Next is Xiaoji’s story.
While performing his duty, Xiaoji encountered the same problem as Xiaoxiao. His vision got blurry, and his eyes often felt swollen and sore. This was frequently accompanied by the sensation that there was something stuck in his eyes, and his eyes did not feel any better after he rubbed them. He thought, “What’s going on here? My eyes used to be great; I’ve never been to an eye doctor before. What has been happening to them recently? Could there be a problem with my eyes?” When he looked in the mirror, his eyes did not look any different from before. He just felt a burning sensation in his eyes, and when he blinked hard, they felt even sorer and swollen, and they began to water. Xiaoji felt that there was something wrong with his eyes, and he thought, “Eye problems are a big deal. I shouldn’t ignore this. Even so, I don’t feel that bad, and it hasn’t affected my life or my duty. Things have been so busy with the church’s work recently, and going to the doctor would have repercussions on my duty. I’ll just look for information about it when I have free time.” After making this decision, Xiaoji sought out relevant information when he had some time away from his duty, and he learned that there was no major problem with his eyes—his discomfort came from long-term, over-use of his eyes. With proper eye use, appropriate care, and some suitable exercises, his eyes would go back to normal. Xiaoji was very happy when he read that. “It’s not a major problem, so there’s no need to be too worried about it. This source says that I’ve got to use my eyes properly and exercise them correctly—so, I’ll just look into how to use my eyes properly and what exercises I should do to get them back to normal.” He then sought out more relevant information and from it, he picked a few methods and approaches that suited his situation. From then on, in addition to his normal life and performing his duty, Xiaoji had a new job: the work of caring for his eyes. He practiced the eye-care techniques that he had learned every day. As he tried them out, he felt out whether they were alleviating the symptoms that his eyes had exhibited. After a period of testing them out and trying them, Xiaoji felt that some of the methods were workable, while others were good only in theory, not in practice—they could not fix his problem, at least. And so, based on his findings from that initial period, Xiaoji picked a few methods and techniques for maintaining eye-health that worked for him. He practiced proper eye-use and eye care every day, whenever it would not delay his duty to do so. After a while, Xiaoji’s eyes really did feel better and better; his previous symptoms—redness, soreness, the burning sensation, and so on—slowly began to fade, and they occurred less and less frequently. Xiaoji felt very fortunate. “Thanks be to God for His leadership. This is His grace and His guidance.” Though his eyes exhibited fewer problems and his symptoms were getting less severe, Xiaoji continued to practice those eye-care methods and using his eyes correctly, without slacking off. And after a while, his eyes returned entirely back to normal. From this experience, Xiaoji learned some ways to keep his eyes healthy, and he also learned how to use his eyes and live correctly. He added some positive, commonsense knowledge to his repertoire in life. Xiaoji was very happy. He felt that though he had experienced some ups and downs and had some unusual experiences, he had ultimately gained some precious life experience from it. Whenever someone around him said that their eyes hurt, that they were puffy and sore, Xiaoji would tell them candidly about his experience and the approaches and techniques that he had used. With Xiaoji’s help, those experiencing symptoms of eye problems also learned ways and methods to use their eyes correctly and to keep their eyes healthy. Xiaoji was happy, and he was of great help to the people around him. And so, over that time, Xiaoji and the others gained some commonsense knowledge that people ought to have in their lives as humans. Everyone worked and performed their duties together, happily and joyfully. Xiaoji did not succumb to negativity or powerlessness because of his eye problem, nor did he ever complain about his bad luck. Though he saw some of the alarming claims when looking for information that Xiaoxiao did, he did not pay them too much mind. Instead, he actively and properly resolved his problem. When the same thing happened to Xiaoxiao, he fell repeatedly into depression, into powerlessness and confusion. Xiaoji, on the other hand, not only avoided falling into depression and confusion, he also did not get caught up in resentment against God—and he even gained from these events a more beneficial, active, and positive attitude toward life. He helped himself, and he helped others.
Those were the stories of Xiaoxiao and Xiaoji. You have now heard both of their stories. Have you understood them? Which of them do you like: Xiaoxiao or Xiaoji? (Xiaoji.) So, what is bad about Xiaoxiao? (When things befell him, he wasn’t able to face them properly. He was negative and resistant.) To be negative and resistant is to bring about one’s own destruction. When things befall other people, they can seek the truth to resolve them, but when something befell Xiaoxiao, he was not able to seek the truth, he opted for negativity and resistance. He was courting his own ruin. Information may be advanced nowadays, but in this satanic world, lies and trickery abound. The world is full of lies and trickery. When facing any issue or any kind of information in this chaotic world, people must have wisdom, they must be intelligent and perceptive, and they must be discerning. They must filter different kinds of information stringently, from a proper standpoint. People must not readily believe any claim, and they certainly must not readily accept any kind of information. In Satan’s world, people all lie, and liars are never held accountable. They tell their lies and that is it. No one in this world denounces lies; no one denounces trickery. Man’s heart is difficult to fathom, and behind every liar, there is an intent and a goal. For instance, you see the doctor, and he says, “Your disease needs to be treated quickly. If we don’t, it may develop into cancer!” If you are timid, you will be afraid: “Oh no! It may develop into cancer! Let’s treat it right away!” And as a result, the more you try to cure it, the worse it grows, and you wind up in the hospital. What the doctor actually said was that your disease may develop into cancer, which means that it is not yet cancer, yet you misunderstood this to mean that it must be treated urgently as if it were cancer. Are you not courting death by doing this? If you treat it as cancer, then the more you try to cure it, the quicker you will die. Would you be able to survive much longer, then? (No.) What you are sick with is not, in fact, cancer, so why would the doctor tell you that if you do not treat it, it will develop into cancer? He says this in order to cheat you out of money, to get you to treat your disease as if it were a serious one. If you knew it was a minor ailment, you would not try to cure it, and he would not be able to get your money. When many doctors see their patients, they grab hold of them, like a demon grabs hold of a person, and they hold on tightly and they do not let go. This is a common approach that most doctors use with their patients. They begin by telling you how renowned they are, how good they are at medicine, how many people they have cured, what diseases they have cured, and how long they have been practicing medicine. They get you to trust them, to sit straight down and accept their treatment. Then, they tell you that you are going to contract a major illness, and that if you do not undergo treatment, you may die. Everybody dies, but will it really be this disease that kills you? Not necessarily. The life and death of every person are in God’s hands. It is He who decides them, not doctors. Doctors often use this ploy to trick people. Those who are timid and death-fearing seek medical advice everywhere and let doctors make pronouncements about their health. If their doctor says that they have a chance of developing cancer, they believe them, and they rush to let the doctor treat it, to dispel the risk of them dying from cancer. Are they not just scaring themselves? (They are.) We will stop talking about doctors now and continue speaking about Xiaoxiao and Xiaoji. Their perspectives, viewpoints, and stances regarding everything that happens around them could not be more different. Xiaoxiao is nothing but a bundle of negativity, whereas Xiaoji is able to approach things that befall him properly. He has the reason and judgment of normal humanity and he faces things in an active way. He also keeps on performing his duty. The two of them could not be more different. When something befalls Xiaoxiao, he writes the situation off as hopeless, and acts recklessly. He does not seek the proper method and means to address it, and he is also undiscerning, muddled, foolish, pig-headed, and intransigent—and quite malicious, too. When he gets sick, or when he encounters some difficulty, or something bad happens to him, he hopes that it will happen to everyone else, too. He hates God for not protecting him, and he wishes to vent his anger. But he does not dare to vent and take out his anger on others, so he vents his rage and takes out his anger on himself. Is this not a vicious disposition? (It is.) To be resentful, hateful, and envious when some small thing does not go your way—that is viciousness. When something befalls Xiaoji, he has the reason and judgment of normal humanity. He has the wisdom and He makes the choices that someone with normal humanity ought to. Though Xiaoji had the same ailment as Xiaoxiao, his problem was resolved in the end, whereas Xiaoxiao was never able to resolve his problem, and it deteriorated steadily and grew ever more intense. Xiaoxiao’s problem is a serious one, and it is not merely one of fleshly sickness—he exposed the disposition that lay in the depths of his heart; he exposed his own stubbornness, intransigence, foolishness, and maliciousness. That is the difference between the two of them. If you have more detailed knowledge and understanding of how these two people live, as well as their attitudes and methods for dealing with things, you can continue fellowshiping about it later, holding yourself up against it for comparison, and derive a lesson from it. Of course, you should enter into things in an active way, like Xiaoji. You should approach life properly, and strive to view people and things, and to comport yourself and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion, such that you become one who pursues the truth. You must not be like Xiaoxiao. Is that not so? (It is.) That is how you should pursue and practice.
Now, we will take a look back at what we fellowshiped on at our last gathering. We talked about the first aspect of things that people hold in their notions to be right and good—good behaviors—and we listed six examples of good behaviors. All of them were things promoted by traditional culture, and good behaviors that people like in their real lives. Can you tell Me what they were? (Being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, being courteous, respecting the old and caring for the young, being amiable, and being approachable.) We did not give any other examples. It may be that there are some differences from the six representative good behaviors put forward by traditional Chinese culture within the traditional cultures of other countries, but we will not list these. Last time we fellowshiped on and analyzed some of the specific content of these six good behaviors. Overall, these external good behaviors do not represent the positive things within humanity, and much less do they represent that a person’s disposition has changed—they certainly do not prove that someone understands the truth and lives out the truth reality. They are merely external behaviors that can be seen by man. Simply put, they are man’s external manifestations. These external manifestations and outpourings are merely formalities that happen when people interact, get along with each other, and live with each other. What does “formalities” refer to? It refers to the most superficial things that put people at ease when they see them. They represent nothing of people’s essence, nor their thoughts and views, nor their attitude toward positive things, and less still do they represent people’s attitude toward the truth. The requirements and standards of evaluation that mankind has regarding external behaviors are just formalities that people can comprehend and achieve. They have nothing whatsoever to do with man’s essence. However amiable or approachable people may seem on the surface, and no matter how much others like, respect, revere, and worship the external behaviors that they live out, it does not mean that they have humanity, nor does it mean that their nature essence is good, or loving of positive things, or possessed of a sense of righteousness, and, of course, less still does it mean that they are people who can pursue the truth. All of the good behaviors that have been summarized by mankind are no more than some external manifestations and lived out things that mankind promotes in order to differentiate itself from other forms of life. For example, being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, and being courteous—these good behaviors only show that a person is externally quite well-behaved, polite, educated, and cultured, unlike animals, which follow no rules. People wipe their mouths with their hands or napkins after they eat or drink, cleaning themselves up a little. If you tried to wipe a dog’s mouth after it ate or drank, it would not be happy about it. Animals do not understand such things. Why do people, then? Because people are “higher animals,” so they ought to understand these things. So, these good behaviors are just what man uses to regulate the behavior of the biological group that is mankind, and they do no more than differentiate mankind from lower forms of life. They have nothing at all to do with comportment, or the pursuit of the truth, or worshiping God. This means that though you may outwardly live up to the standards and requirements of being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, and so on, though you may have these good behaviors, it does not mean that you are someone who has humanity, or someone who possesses the truth, or someone who fears God and shuns evil. It does not mean any of those things at all. On the contrary, it only means that after going through the system of behavioral education, and of the norms of etiquette, your speech, facial expressions, bearing, and so forth have become a bit more disciplined. It shows that you are better than animals and have a bit of human likeness—but it does not show you to be someone who pursues the truth. It may even be said that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the pursuit of the truth. That you are possessed of these good behaviors does not at all mean that you possess the right conditions for pursuing the truth, and less still does it mean that you have already entered into the truth reality and gained the truth. It is completely undemonstrative of those things.
Anyone who has kept a cat or a dog as a pet will feel that there is something lovable about them. A few cats and dogs actually have some manners. When some cats want to go into their master’s room, they will meow a few times at the door before entering. They will not go in if their master says nothing, they will only enter once their owner says: “Come in.” Even cats can practice this kind of etiquette, they know to ask permission before entering their master’s room. Is that not a sort of good behavior? If even animals can possess this kind of good behavior, how much higher can the good behaviors that people possess make them than animals? This is the minimum level of common sense that people ought to possess—it does not need to be taught, it is a very normal thing. People may feel that this kind of good behavior is relatively appropriate, and it may make them feel somewhat more comfortable, but does living out these good behaviors represent the quality or essence of their humanity? (No.) It does not. They are merely rules and methods that one should have in their actions—they have nothing at all to do with the quality and essence of one’s humanity. Take cats and dogs, for instance—what do they have in common? When people give them something to eat, they express intimacy and gratitude. They possess this kind of conduct, and they can exhibit this kind of behavior. What is different about them is that one of them specializes in catching mice, while the other specializes in guarding the house. A cat may leave its master at any time and any place; when there is fun to be had, a cat will forget its master and pay them no mind. A dog will never leave its master; if it identifies you as its master, then even if it changes owners, it will still recognize you and treat you as its master. That is the difference between cats and dogs, in terms of the moral quality of their behavior and their essence. Now, let us talk about people. Among the behaviors that man believes to be good, like being well-educated and sensible, being courteous, being approachable, and so on, though there are some that surpass the behavior of other species—meaning that what man is able to do exceeds the capabilities of other species—these are no more than external behaviors and rules, they are simply approaches that are meant to regulate people’s behavior and differentiate them from other forms of life. Possessing these good behaviors may make people feel that they are different from or better than other forms of life, but the fact is that in some respects, people behave worse than animals. Take respecting the old and caring for the young, for instance. In the animal kingdom, wolves do this better than people. In a wolfpack, adult wolves will care for a pup, no matter who it belongs to. They will not bully it or harm it. This, man fails to do, and in this way, mankind is worse than a pack of wolves. What sort of respect for the old and care for the young does mankind possess? Are people truly capable of achieving this? Most people are not capable of “caring for the young,” people are not possessed of that sort of good behavior, which means that they do not possess that kind of humanity. For example: When a child is with their parents, people will be quite amiable and approachable when speaking to that child—but when their parents are not there, people’s demonic side pours forth. If the child speaks to them, they will ignore them, or even find the child disagreeable and abuse them. How wicked they are! In many countries in the world, child trafficking is not uncommon—it is a global problem. If people do not even possess the good behavior of respecting the old and caring for the young, and they feel no pang of conscience when they bully children, tell Me, what kind of humanity is that? They still pretend to respect the old and care for the young, but this is just a facade. Why do I give this example? Because even though mankind has put forward these good behaviors and proposed these requirements and standards for people’s behavior, man’s corrupt essence can never be changed, regardless of whether people are capable of achieving them, or how many good behaviors they possess. The criteria for man’s views on people and things, and for his comportment and actions, arise entirely from corrupt mankind’s thoughts and views, and they are determined by corrupt dispositions. Though the requirements and standards that mankind has put forward are recognized as good and high standards, are people capable of achieving them? (No.) That is a problem. Even if a person acts a bit better outwardly, and is rewarded and recognized for it, that, too, is adulterated with pretense and trickery, because, as everyone acknowledges, doing a bit of good is easy—what is hard is doing good for a lifetime. If they are truly a good person, why is it so hard for them to do good things? So, no person can live up to mankind’s so-called “good” and recognized standards. It is all bragging, fraud, and fiction. Even if people can outwardly fulfill a few of these standards and possess a bit of good behavior—like being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, being courteous, respecting the old and caring for the young, being amiable, and being approachable—though people can do and possess a few of these things, it is only for a short time, temporarily, or in some passing environment. They only possess these manifestations when they need to. As soon as something touches on their status, pride, wealth, interests, or even their fate and their prospects, their nature and ferocious inner self will burst forth. They will no longer appear well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, respectful toward older people and caring toward the young, amiable, or approachable. Instead, they will fight and scheme against one another, each trying to outwit the other, framing and killing each other. Such things happen all too often—for the sake of their interests, their status, or their authority, friends, relatives, and even fathers and sons will try to massacre each other until only one of them is left standing. The miserable situation that exists between people is clear to see. That is why being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, being courteous, respecting the old and caring for the young, being amiable, and being approachable can only be called the products of passing circumstances. No person can truly live them out—not even the sages and great men worshiped by the Chinese were capable of these things. So, these teachings and theories are all absurd. They are all pure nonsense. People who pursue the truth are able to resolve matters that touch on their personal interests according to God’s words, and with the truth as their criterion, and they are able to practice the truth and submit to God. In this way, the truth reality that they possess surpasses the standards for good behavior acknowledged by mankind. Those who do not pursue the truth cannot break through the barrier of their own interests, and as such, they cannot put the truth into practice. They cannot even uphold rules like good behaviors. What, then, are the basis and criteria for their views on people and things, and for their comportment and actions? Certainly, they are just rules and doctrines, they are Satan’s philosophies and laws, and not the truth in God’s words. This is because those people do not accept the truth, and they are only looking out for their own interests, so naturally, they cannot put the truth into practice. They cannot even uphold good behaviors—they try to fake it, but they cannot keep up their disguises. In this, they expose their true colors. For the sake of their own interests, they will struggle, snatch, and rob, they will plot, scheme, and engage in trickery, they will punish others, and even kill someone. They can do all these vicious things—is their nature not exposed in that? And when their nature is exposed, others can easily see the intents and bases for their words and actions; others can tell that those people are living entirely by Satan’s philosophies, that the basis for their views on people and things, and for their comportment and actions, is Satan’s philosophies. For example: “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Money makes the world go round,” “Where there is life there is hope,” “A small mind makes no gentleman, a real man is not without venom,” “If you’re unkind, I won’t be fair,” “Here’s a taste of your own medicine,” and so on—these satanic lines of logic and laws take charge within people. When people live by these things, good behaviors like being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, being courteous, respecting the old and caring for the young, and so forth become masks that people use to disguise themselves, they become facades. Why do they become facades? Because the foundation and laws that people truly live by are things inculcated in man by Satan, and not the truth. And thus, man’s most rudimentary conscience and morality have no effect on a person who does not love the truth. When something happens that is connected to their interests, their true self will burst forth, and at that time people will see their real face. People will say with shock, “But aren’t they usually so gentle, courteous, and gentlemanly? Why is it that when something befalls them, they seem to turn into an entirely different person?” In fact, that person did not change; it is just that their true self had not been revealed and exposed until then. When things do not touch on their interests and before the gloves come off, everything they do is trickery and a disguise. The laws and basis of their existence that they reveal when their interests are affected or threatened, and when they stop disguising themselves, are their nature, their essence, and who they really are. So, whatever sort of good behaviors a person has—no matter how impeccable their external behavior seems to other people—it does not mean that they are someone who pursues the truth and loves positive things. At the very least, it does not mean that they have normal humanity, and less still does it mean that they are trustworthy or worth interacting with.
Within good behaviors, we have raised the examples of being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, being courteous, respecting the old and caring for the young, being amiable, and being approachable. We will now take respecting the old and caring for the young as an example, and fellowship on it in detail. Respecting the old and caring for the young is a very normal occurrence in human life. It can even appear within some animal populations, so, naturally, it should appear even more among humans, who possess conscience and reason. Humans should observe this behavior better, more concretely, and more practically than other species, rather than merely scratching at the surface of it. Humans should be better than other species at adhering to this good behavior of respecting the old and caring for the young, because humans possess conscience and reason, which other species do not. Humans should be able to demonstrate, in their observance of this good behavior, that their humanity is greater than the essence of other species, that it is different. But do humans really do this? (No.) Do educated, knowledgeable people do this? (They don’t, either.) Let us put the common folk aside and talk about the affairs of the elite, and the affairs of the court. At present, several countries are producing a number of palace dramas, exposing many of the tumultuous stories of the royal households. Members of the palace and common folk are alike in that they both place great emphasis on hierarchies of seniority. Those within royal households have had a deeper, more specific education about the good behavior of respecting the old and caring for the young than the common folk, and the younger generations in royal households are better at being deferential and respectful toward their elders than the common folk—there is a great deal of etiquette involved. When it comes to respecting the old and caring for the young, those within royal households have especially high requirements for this aspect of good behavior, which they must follow to the letter. On the surface, they appear to be adhering to traditional culture’s requirement of respecting the old and caring for the young, just as the common people do—and yet, however well or fittingly they do so, however decent and irreproachable they appear to be, behind the facade of this irreproachable behavior are hidden all sorts of transferences of power and jockeying among various forces. Between sons and fathers, grandsons and grandfathers, servants and masters, ministers and monarchs—on the surface, they all seem to be observing that most fundamental criterion for behavior: respecting the old and caring for the young. But because monarchical authority and various other forces are all in the mix, this external behavior serves no function at all. It is completely incapable of affecting what ultimately comes from transference of monarchical power and the jockeying of various forces. Naturally, this kind of good behavior is fundamentally incapable of restraining anyone who covets the throne or has ambitions for power. The common folk uphold the rule of respecting the old and caring for the young, which was passed down to them by their ancestors. They, too, live amid the constraints of this rule. No matter how many interests intersect, or whatever struggles arise when those interests clash, the common folk are still able to live together afterward. But things are different within royal households, because their interests and power disputes are more significant. They fight and fight, and the ultimate outcome is that the winners become kings and the losers become criminals—either one party dies, or the other does. The winners and losers alike all uphold this rule of respecting the old and caring for the young, but because each wields a different amount of power and has different desires and ambitions, or because of the disparities between the strength of each party, some survive in the end, while others are destroyed. What determines this? Is it determined by the rule of respecting the old and caring for the young? (No.) So, what determines it? (Man’s satanic nature.) What do I mean by all this? I mean that these rules, mankind’s novel, so-called good behaviors, can determine nothing at all. The path a person walks is not in the least decided by whether they are well-educated and sensible, amiable, or respectful of the old and caring for the young in terms of their external behavior, it is determined by man’s nature. In brief, God’s house does not promote these statements about good behavior that have arisen among mankind. These behaviors that man sees as good are no more than a kind of good behavior and manifestation; they do not represent the truth, and if someone possesses these good behaviors and manifestations, it does not mean that they are practicing the truth, less still does it mean that they are pursuing the truth.
Since these behaviors, which man holds to be good, do not come from God, nor are they promoted by His house, and even less are they in accordance with His will, and since they are at odds with God’s words and the requirements that He puts forward, does God also have some requirements for mankind’s behavior? (He does.) God, too, has put forward some statements about the behavior of believers who follow Him. They are different from the requirements that God has made of man regarding the truth, and they are somewhat simpler, but they do contain some specifics. What requirements does God have for those who follow Him? Possessing saintly decency, for instance—is that not a requirement for man’s behavior? (It is.) There is also not being dissolute, being restrained, not wearing unusual clothes, not smoking or drinking, not hitting or verbally abusing others, as well as not worshiping idols, honoring one’s parents, and so on. These are all behavioral requirements that God has put forward for His followers. They are the most basic requirements and they must not be ignored. God has specific requirements for the behavior of those who follow Him, and they are different from the good behaviors put forward by unbelievers. The good behaviors proposed by unbelievers do no more than make people into higher animals, distinguishing them from other lower animals. Whereas, the requirements that God makes of His followers, differentiate them from unbelievers, from people who do not believe in God. They are not about being different from animals. In the past, there was also talk of “sanctification.” This is a somewhat exaggerated, inaccurate way of putting it, but God has put forward some requirements for His followers regarding their behavior. Tell Me, what are they? (To possess saintly decency, to not be dissolute, to be restrained, to not wear unusual clothes, to not smoke or drink, to not hit or verbally abuse others, to not worship idols, and to honor one’s parents.) What else, besides those? (To not misappropriate others’ possessions, to not steal, to not give false witness, to not commit adultery.) There are those, too. They are parts of the law, they are some requirements that God put forward regarding mankind’s behavior in the very beginning, and they remain real and practical today. God uses these requirements to regulate the behavior of His followers, meaning that these external behaviors are the sign of those who follow God. If you possess these behaviors and manifestations, such that when others look at you, they know that you are a believer in God, then they will at least approve of you and admire you. They will say that you possess saintly decency, that you look like a believer in God, and not like an unbeliever. Some people who come to believe in God remain the same as unbelievers, often smoking, drinking, fighting, and brawling. There are even some who commit adultery and steal. Even their behavior is unrestrained, and does not comply with God’s words, and when an unbeliever sees them, they say, “Are they really a believer in God? Why are they just like people who don’t believe in God, then?” Others do not admire that person or trust them, so when that person tries to spread the gospel, people do not accept it. If someone can do what God requires of man, then they are a lover of positive things, they are kind-hearted, and they possess normal humanity. Such a person can put God’s words into practice right after hearing them, and there is no pretense to what they practice, because they have, at the very least, acted in that way based on their conscience and reason. In what way do God’s specific requirements of man differ from the good behaviors that mankind promotes? (God’s requirements of man are distinctly practical, they can enable people to live out normal humanity, whereas traditional culture only demands some behaviors that are for show, which have no tangible function.) That is right. The good behaviors that traditional culture requires of man are all counterfeit and they are all disguises. They are a sham. Those who abide by them may speak pleasant words, but on the inside, things are completely different. These good behaviors are a mask, an illusion. They are not things that pour forth from the essence of one’s humanity, they are disguises that man dons for the sake of his pride, for his reputation and status. They are a show, a kind of hypocritical approach, something that a person deliberately acts out for others to see. Sometimes people cannot discern whether a person’s behavior is real or fake, but in time, everyone will see that person’s true colors. It is just as it was with the hypocritical Pharisees, who had so many external good behaviors and so many manifestations of their so-called piety, yet when the Lord Jesus came to express the truth and do the work of redemption, they condemned Him and crucified Him, because they were sick of the truth and hated it. This shows that people’s good behaviors and external approaches do not represent their nature essence. They are unrelated to people’s nature essence. Whereas, the rules that God demands man to fulfill can be put into practice and really lived out, so long as one truly believes in God and possesses a conscience and reason. You should do these things, no matter whether you are doing so in front of others or behind their backs; no matter what your humanity essence is like, you must fulfill these requirements that God has put forward. Since you follow God, you must restrain yourself and practice according to His words, no matter how severe your corrupt disposition is. After a period of such experience, you will have true entry, and you will have truly changed. That true change is real.
Let us do a quick summary: What kind of requirements does God have for people’s behavior? People must remain principled and restrained, and they must live with dignity, such that others respect them, without any pretense. These are God’s behavioral requirements of man. This means that one must practice in this way and possess this kind of reality, regardless of whether they are in the presence of others or not, or what environment they are in, or whomever they are faced with. Normal humans should possess these realities; it is the least one should do in terms of their comportment. Say, for example, that somebody speaks very loudly, but they do not verbally abuse others or use foul language, and what they say is truthful and accurate, and it does not attack other people. Even if that person calls someone bad or says that someone is no good, it is factual. Though their external words and actions do not accord with the requirements of being amiable or being gentle and refined that unbelievers have put forward, the content of what they say, and the principles and basis for their speech allow them to live with dignity and integrity. That’s what it means to be principled. They do not speak blithely about things they do not know, nor do they arbitrarily evaluate people who they cannot perceive clearly. Though they do not seem very gentle on the surface, and they do not meet the behavioral standard of being cultured and rule-abiding that unbelievers speak of, because they fear God at heart, and they are restrained in word and deed, what they live out far surpasses the behaviors of being well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, and courteous, that mankind speaks of. Is this not a manifestation of being restrained and principled? (It is.) In any case, if you look closely at the requirements of good behavior that God puts forward for His believers, which of them is not a concrete rule about what people should practically live out? Which of them asks people to disguise themselves? None of them, right? If you have any doubts, you may raise them. For example, some may say, “When God says not to hit or verbally abuse other people, it feels a little false, because there are people right now who sometimes verbally abuse others, and God doesn’t condemn them.” When God says not to verbally abuse other people, what does “verbal abuse” refer to? (When a person vents their emotions due to their corrupt disposition.) Venting one’s emotions, speaking in obscenities—that is what verbal abuse is. If what is said about a person is unpleasant, but it is consistent with their corrupt essence, then that is not verbal abuse. For example, someone might have disrupted and disturbed the work of the church and done a lot of evil, and you say to them, “You’ve done so much evil. You’re a scoundrel—you’re not human!” Does that count as verbal abuse? Or as an outpouring of a corrupt disposition? Or as venting one’s emotions? Or as not possessing saintly decency? (It is in line with the facts, so it does not count as verbal abuse.) That is right, it does not count. It is in accordance with the facts—these are true words, spoken truly, and nothing is concealed or hidden. It may not line up with being well-educated and sensible or gentle and refined, but it does line up with the facts. The scolded person will compare themselves to those words and examine themselves, and they will see they were scolded because they did something wrong and committed so much evil. They will hate themselves, thinking, “I really am a good-for-nothing! Only a jerk would have done what I did—I’m not a human being! It was right and good of them to scold me like that!” After accepting it, they will gain a bit of knowledge about their nature essence, and after a period of experience and exposure, they will truly repent. In the future, they will then know to seek the principles while performing their duty. Did being scolded not wake them up? Is there not then a difference between such scolding and the “verbal abuse” in God’s requirement that people do not verbally abuse others? (There is.) What is the difference? What does the “verbal abuse” in God’s requirement that people do not verbally abuse others mean? One aspect of this is that if the content and words are obscene, that is not good. God does not wish to hear any foul language from the mouths of His followers. He does not like to hear those words. But if some unpleasant words are used while revealing the facts, exceptions are made for such cases. That is not verbal abuse. Another aspect is: what is the essence of the behavior of verbal abuse? Is it not an outpouring of hot-headedness? If a problem can be explained clearly and transparently through normal fellowship, exhortation, and communication, why verbally abuse the person instead? Doing so is not good, it is inappropriate. If compared to those positive approaches, verbal abuse is not a normal course to take. It is venting one’s emotions and exposing one’s hot-headedness, and God does not wish for people to use venting their emotions or pouring forth hot-headedness as a way of handling any kind of matter. When humans pour forth hot-headedness and vent their emotions, the behavior they often display is that of using language to verbally abuse and attack. They will say whatever is most unpleasant, and they will say whatever will hurt the other party and relieve their own anger. And when they are through, not only will they have sullied and hurt the other party—they will have sullied and hurt themselves, too. This is not the attitude or method that followers of God should adopt in handling things. Moreover, corrupted humans always have a mentality of revenge, of venting their emotions and dissatisfaction, of pouring forth their hot-headedness. They want to verbally abuse others at every turn, and when things come up, both big and small, the behavior that they immediately demonstrate is that of verbal abuse. Even when they know that such behavior will not resolve an issue, they do it anyway. Is that not a satanic behavior? They will even do it when they are alone in their homes, when no one can hear them. Is that not venting one’s emotions? Is that not revealing one’s hot-headedness? (It is.) Revealing one’s hot-headedness and venting one’s emotions, generally speaking, means using one’s hot-headedness as a way to approach and handle something; it means facing all matters with a hot-headed attitude, and one behavior and manifestation of that is verbal abuse. Since that is the essence of verbal abuse, is it not a good thing that God requires man not to do that? (It is.) Is it not reasonable of God to require man not to verbally abuse others? Does it not benefit man? (It does.) Ultimately, the goal of God’s requirement that man should not hit or verbally abuse others is to have people exercise restraint, and keep them from always living amid their emotions and hot-headedness. No matter what they say when they verbally abuse someone, the thing that pours forth from those who live amid their emotions and hot-headedness is a corrupt disposition. What corrupt disposition is that? At the very least, a disposition of viciousness and arrogance. Is it God’s will for any problem to be resolved by pouring forth a corrupt disposition? (No.) God does not wish for His followers to use such methods to approach any of the things that happen around them, the implication being that God does not like it when people approach everything that happens around them by means of hitting others and verbally abusing them. You cannot resolve any problems by verbally abusing people, and doing so impacts your ability to act according to the principles. At the very least, it is not a positive behavior, nor is it a behavior that those with normal humanity ought to possess. That is why God put forward a requirement of those who follow Him that they do not hit or verbally abuse others. Within “verbal abuse,” there are emotions and hot-headedness. “Emotions”—what does that refer to, in particular? It includes hatred and curses, wishing others ill, hoping that others will get their just deserts according to one’s wishes, and that others will come to a bad end. Emotions specifically encompass negative things like these. What, then, does “hot-headedness” mean? It means venting one’s emotions using extreme, passive, negative, and evil methods, and wishing for the things and people that one does not like to disappear, or to meet with disaster, so that one may rejoice in their misfortune, as they wished to. That is hot-headedness. What does hot-headedness encompass? Hatred, animosity, and curses, as well as some ill will—all these are things encompassed by hot-headedness. Are any of them positive? (No.) What condition is someone in when they live amid these emotions and hot-headedness? Are they not about to turn into a mad demon? The more you verbally abuse people, the angrier you get, and the crueler you become, and the more you wish to verbally abuse others, and in the end, you will want to reach out and hit someone. And when you hit someone, you will want to mortally wound them, to take their life, which means: “I’ll destroy you! I’ll kill you!” One little emotion—a negative emotion—leads to the inflation and eruption of one’s hot-headedness, and, in the end, it causes people to wish for the loss and destruction of a life. Is that something those with normal humanity ought to have and possess? (No, it is not.) What is this the face of? (It is the face of the devil.) It is the devil betraying its true appearance. It is the same face that a demon has, when it is about to devour a person. Its demonic nature rises to the surface, and it cannot be controlled. That is what it means to be a mad demon. And how mad do these people become? They turn into a demon that wishes to devour man’s flesh and his soul. The most severe consequence of verbal abuse is that it may flip a simple matter one hundred and eighty degrees, and lead to someone’s death. Many issues begin with a bit of friction between two people, which leads to them shouting at and verbally abusing each other, then to striking at one another, which is followed by the urge to kill, which then becomes a matter of fact—one of them is killed, and the other is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Both parties lose in the end. This is the ultimate result. They are done with their verbal abuse, they are done venting their emotions, they have revealed all of their hot-headedness, and they have both gone to hell. That is the result. Such are the consequences that come to man from the venting of his emotions and the inflation and eruption of his hot-headedness. This is not a good result, it is an evil one. You see, this is the sort of outcome that man faces as a result of the behavior caused by a simple, negative emotion. People do not want to see such an outcome, nor are they willing to face it themselves, but because people live amid all manner of bad emotions, and because they are entangled and controlled by hot-headedness, which often expands and bursts forth, such consequences are what ultimately arise. Tell Me, is verbal abuse a simple behavior? The verbal abuse that people engage in during their daily lives may not yield such an evil result—that is, such an evil result will not necessarily ensue from all incidents of verbal abuse. Yet this is the essence of verbal abuse. It is the venting of one’s emotions and the inflation and eruption of one’s hot-headedness. Therefore, God’s requirement of mankind to not verbally abuse others is assuredly of benefit to man—it benefits him in a hundred ways and harms him in none—and at the same time, this is part of the significance of God putting forward this requirement for mankind. The requirement of not verbally abusing others may not rise to the level of practicing or pursuing the truth, but this kind of requirement should still be observed by man.
Can people fulfill God’s requirement that they must not verbally abuse one another by relying on self-restraint alone? When people get angry, a lot of the time they are unable to restrain themselves. So, how can people fulfill this requirement of not verbally abusing each other? When you are about to verbally abuse someone, particularly when you are unable to restrain yourself, you should hurry to pray. If you pray for a while and earnestly supplicate to God, your anger will likely wane. At that time, you will be able to effectively restrain yourself, and control your emotions and hot-headedness. For example, sometimes people may say something that makes you feel insulted, or they may judge you behind your back, or they might knowingly or unknowingly hurt you, or they may take advantage of you a little, steal something from you, or even hurt your vital interests. When these things befall you, you will think: “He hurt me, so I hate him, I want to shout abuse at him, I want to get my revenge on him, I even want to hit him. I want to play a dirty trick behind his back to teach him a lesson.” Is this not all brought about by bad emotions? The consequence brought about by bad emotions is that you will wish to do these things. The more you think about it, the more enraged you will become, and the more you will think that this person is bullying you, and that your dignity and character have been insulted. You will feel uncomfortable inside, and you will want to get revenge. Is this not the hot-headed impulsiveness that these negative emotions have brought about in you? (It is.) What kind of behavior is this desire of yours to take revenge? Are you not about to pour forth hot-headedness? At times like these, you must quiet yourself; first of all, you must pray to God, restrain yourself, ponder and seek the truth, and act wisely. That is the only way to avoid a situation where you become agitated, and where hatred, emotions, and hot-headedness arise within you. Some may say: “If two people work together all day, then there’s no way to avoid this kind of situation.” Even if you cannot avoid this situation, you must not retaliate, you must be restrained. How can you restrain yourself? First of all, you must think to yourself: “If I were to retaliate, it would definitely not please God, so I can’t do that. Hatred, revenge, and loathing are all things that God dislikes.” God dislikes these things, but you still want to do them, and you cannot control yourself. How should you resolve this? Naturally, you must rely on God; if you do not pray to God, you will not be able to resolve this. Moreover, if your stature is too small, and you are too hot-headed, and you really cannot restrain your emotions and hot-headedness, and you wish to get revenge, you still absolutely must not open your mouth to verbally abuse that person. You can leave wherever it is that you are, and allow someone else to intervene and resolve the situation. You should pray to God quietly and recite a few relevant phrases of God’s words. Pray to God in this way, and your hot-headedness will slowly disappear. You will realize that verbally abusing people cannot resolve problems, and that it would be a revelation of corruption, and that it could only bring shame to God. Will praying in this way not resolve your problem? What do you think of this solution? (It’s good.) That is all for My fellowship on the behavioral regulation put forward by God: “Do not hit or verbally abuse others.”
I just fellowshiped on the good behaviors that God asks people to uphold, what were they? (To possess saintly decency, to not be dissolute, to be restrained, to not wear unusual clothes, to not hit or verbally abuse others, to not smoke or drink, to not worship idols, to honor one’s parents, to not steal, to not misappropriate others’ possessions, to not commit adultery, and to not give false witness.) Yes, these are all correct. Tell Me, are the requirements put forward in the law, like those about not stealing and not taking advantage of others, still tenable now? Are they still effective? (They are still tenable and effective.) Then, what about the commandments from the Age of Grace? (They are still tenable, too.) So, why did God put forward these specific requirements? What aspect of man’s practice do these specific requirements touch on? If God did not put forward these requirements, would people understand these things? (They would not.) People would not understand them. These specific requirements that God put forward to regulate man’s behavior are, in fact, all related to the living out of normal humanity. The point of putting forward these specific requirements was to enable people to accurately discern and identify positive and negative things, as well as what is right and what is wrong; it was to teach people that adultery is a negative thing, that it is shameful, loathed by God, disdained by man, and that people should restrain themselves in this matter, that they should not commit this act, or make mistakes in this regard; it was also to teach people that behaviors like taking advantage of others, stealing, and so on are all negative things, and that people should not do them. If you like doing these things, and you have done these things, then you are not a good person. How can one differentiate between a person with good humanity and a person with bad humanity, or between a positive figure and a negative figure? First of all, you must confirm this—people can only be accurately discerned, and positive and negative figures can only be differentiated based on God’s words. People can only be discerned and perceived clearly based on the requirements and standards that God has put forward to regulate man’s behavior. I will give an example: If a person has sticky fingers, and likes to steal from other people, how is their humanity? (Bad.) Stealing is a serious evil deed, so those who steal are evil people. Other people all guard against them, and distance themselves from them, and regard them as thieves. In people’s minds, thieves are negative characters, stealing is a negative thing, and it is a sinful behavior. Is this not then confirmed? Here is another example: Say that there is an adulterer, and some people do not know whether that is a positive or negative thing—the only way for them to measure this accurately is according to God’s words, as only God’s words are the truth. Regardless of what new claims legal systems and morality now make about the act of adultery, they are not the truth. The words spoken by God, “do not commit adultery,” are the truth, and the truth will never pass away. From the moment that God put forward the requirement, “do not commit adultery,” everyone should have begun spurning and distancing themselves from adulterers. People like that do not have humanity, and, at the very least, if you measure them from the perspective of humanity, they are not good people. Any person who engages in this kind of behavior, and possesses this kind of humanity is shameful, they are loathed by man, they are looked down upon and spurned within groups, and they are rejected by the masses. Based on God’s words, we can confirm that committing adultery is a negative thing, and that people who do so are negative figures. No matter how evil the trends of society become, adultery and fornication are negative things, and people who engage in them are negative figures. This is absolutely certain, and you must see through to this; you must not be misled or seduced by society’s evil trends. In addition to these, there are some more specific requirements: God tells people to not worship idols, to honor one’s parents, to not hit or verbally abuse others, to possess saintly decency, and so on. These specific requirements are all standards by which God regulates man’s behavior. In other words, before God supplied people with the truth, He taught them which acts are right and positive, and which are wrong and negative, He told them how to be a good person and which good behaviors they must possess in order to be a person of normal humanity, as well as what things they must and must not do as a person with normal humanity, so that they can make the right choices. All of these demands that regulate man’s behavior are things that every normal person should truly live out, and the basis upon which every person actually faces and handles everything that they encounter. For example, say you see that another person has something nice, and you want to take it for yourself, but then you think: “God says that it’s wrong to steal from other people, He said that we must not steal or take advantage of others, so I won’t steal from them.” Has the behavior of stealing not then been restrained? And at the same time as being restrained, has your behavior not been regulated? Before God put forward these requirements, when people saw something nice in another person’s possession, they would want to take it for themselves. They did not think that doing so was wrong or shameful, or that God loathed it, or that it was a negative thing, or that it was even a sin; they did not know these things, they did not possess these concepts. After God put forward the requirement, “do not steal,” people were endowed with a mental boundary when it came to doing these kinds of things, and through this boundary they learned that there is a difference between stealing and not stealing. Stealing is equivalent to doing something negative, to doing something bad or evil, and it is shameful. Not stealing is adhering to the morality of humanity, and there is humanity in it. God’s demands regarding man’s behavior not only resolve people’s negative behaviors and approaches, at the same time, they regulate man’s behavior, and enable people to live with normal humanity, to possess normal behaviors and manifestations, and to at least look like people, like normal people. Tell Me, are these requirements that God has put forward to regulate man’s behavior not very meaningful? (They are.) They are meaningful. However, these specific requirements that regulate man’s behavior are still quite far removed from the truths that God is expressing now, and they cannot be elevated to the level of the truth. This is because, long ago, during the Age of Law, these requirements were just laws that regulated man’s behavior, they were God using the most simple and straightforward language to tell people what things they should and should not do, and creating some rules for them. In the Age of Grace, these requirements were just commandments, and in the present day, it may only be said that they are criteria for measuring one’s own behavior, and for evaluating things. Though these criteria cannot be elevated to the level of the truth, and there is a certain distance between them and the truth, they are an essential precondition for man’s pursuit and practice of the truth. When a person holds to these rules, to these laws and commandments, to these requirements and behavioral criteria that God has established to regulate man’s behavior, it can be said that they possess the basic preconditions for practicing and pursuing the truth. If a person smokes and drinks alcohol, if their behavior is dissolute, and they commit adultery, and take advantage of other people, and often steal, and you were to say, “This person loves the truth, and they can certainly practice it and attain salvation,” would that statement hold water? (It would not.) Why would it not hold water? (That person is not capable of fulfilling even the most basic of God’s requirements, they could not possibly practice the truth, and if one were to say that they loved the truth, that would be a lie.) That is right. This person does not even have the most basic level of self-restraint. The implication of this is that they do not have even the most basic degree of conscience and reason that a person ought to possess. In other words, this person does not possess the conscience and reason of normal humanity. What does not possessing conscience and reason mean? It means that this person has heard the words that God has spoken, and the requirements that God has put forward for man, and the rules that God has established, and they have not taken them seriously at all. God says that stealing from other people is bad, and that people should not steal, and this person wonders: “Why are people not allowed to steal? I’m so poor, how could I live if I didn’t steal? Could I get rich if I didn’t steal things or take advantage of other people?” Do they not lack the conscience and reason of normal humanity? (They do.) They are unable to hold to the demands that God created to restrain man’s behavior, so they are not a person who possesses normal humanity. If one were to say that a person who does not possess normal humanity loves the truth, would that be possible? (It would not.) They do not love positive things, and though God says that people must not steal or commit adultery, they are unable to meet these requirements, and they are fed up with these words of God—so are they capable of loving the truth? The truth is much higher than these behavioral criteria—can they attain it? (No.) The truth is not a simple behavioral criterion, it is not merely a matter of people thinking of the truth when they are sinning or being arbitrary and reckless, and then being restrained, and no longer sinning or acting arbitrarily and recklessly. The truth does not merely restrain people’s behavior in this simple way—the truth can become a person’s life, and it can dominate everything about a person. When people accept the truth as their life, this is achieved by them experiencing God’s work, coming to know the truth, and practicing the truth. When people accept the truth, a struggle will arise within them, and it is likely that their corrupt dispositions will pour forth. When people are able to use the truth to resolve their corrupt dispositions, the truth can become their life, and the principle by which they comport themselves and live. This is something that only people who love the truth and possess humanity can achieve. Can those who do not love the truth and who lack humanity rise to this level? (No.) That is right, even if they may wish to, they cannot.
If we look at these requirements that God has created to regulate man’s behavior, of all of the words that God has spoken, and of all of the specific stipulations that He has put forward, are any of them redundant? (No.) Are they meaningful? Do they have value? (Yes.) Should people abide by them? (Yes.) That is right, people should abide by them. And at the same time as abiding by them, people should discard the statements that traditional culture has indoctrinated them with, like being well-educated and sensible, being gentle and refined, and so on. They should comply with each of the requirements that God has put forward to regulate man’s behavior, and comport themselves in strict accordance with God’s words. They should live out normal humanity by closely following all of the requirements that God has put forward, and naturally, they should also evaluate people and things, comport themselves and act in strict accordance with these requirements. Though these requirements do fall short of the standards of the truth, they are all God’s words, and because they are God’s words, they can have a positive and active guiding effect on people. How did I define the pursuit of the truth? To view people and things, and to comport oneself and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion. God’s words encompass a great range of things. Sometimes one phrase of His words represents an element of the truth. Sometimes it takes several phrases, or a passage to lay out one element of the truth. Sometimes a whole chapter is needed to express an element of the truth. The truth seems simple, but in actuality, it is not simple at all. To describe the truth in broader terms, God is the truth. All of God’s words are the truth, God’s words are voluminous and they cover a lot of content, and they are all expressions of the truth. For example, the laws and commandments that God has laid out, as well as the behavioral requirements that God has put forward in this new era, are all God’s words. Though some of these words do not rise to the level of the truth, and though they do not qualify as the truth, they are positive things. Though they are only words that restrain man’s behavior, people must still hold to them. People must, at the very least, possess these kinds of behaviors, and they must not fall short of these standards. Therefore, a person’s views on people and things, and their comportment and actions must be based on these words of God. People should abide by them because they are God’s words; everyone should view people and things, and comport themselves and act according to God’s words, because they are God’s words. Is that not right? (It is.) I have said something like this before: God means what He has spoken, and His words will be accomplished, and that which His words accomplish lasts forever, which means that God’s words will never pass away. Why do they not pass away? Because no matter how many words God speaks, and no matter when it is that God speaks them, they are all the truth, and they never pass away. Even when the world enters a new age, God’s words will not change, and they will not pass away. Why do I say that God’s words do not pass away? Because God’s words are the truth, and whatever is the truth will never change. So, all of the laws and commandments that God has put forward and spoken, and all of the specific requirements that He has put forward regarding man’s behavior will never pass away. Every requirement in God’s words is beneficial to created mankind, they all regulate man’s behavior, and they are edifying and valuable with regard to the living out of normal humanity and to how people should comport themselves. All of these words can change people, and make them live out true human likeness. By contrast, if people deny these words of God, and deny the requirements that God has made of mankind, and instead, they abide by those statements about good behavior that man has put forward, then they are in great danger. Not only will they not become increasingly possessed of humanity and reason, they will become increasingly deceitful and false, and they will become more and more capable of trickery, and the humanity that they live out will contain more and more trickery. Not only will they trick other people, they will try to trick God, too.
Among the demands that God has put forward regarding man’s behavior, there is the requirement: “honor one’s parents.” People usually do not have any thoughts or notions about the other demands, so what are your thoughts about the requirement: “honor one’s parents”? Is there a contradiction between your views and the truth principle spoken by God? If you are able to see this clearly, that is good. Those who do not understand the truth, who only know how to follow rules and spout the words and phrases of doctrine lack discernment; when they read God’s words, they always harbor human notions, they always feel that there are some contradictions, and they cannot see His words clearly. Whereas those who understand the truth do not find any contradictions in God’s words, they think that His words are incredibly clear, because they understand spiritual matters and they are able to comprehend the truth. Sometimes, you cannot see God’s words clearly, and you cannot ask any questions—if you do not ask any questions, it seems as though you do not have any problems, but in actuality, you have many problems and many difficulties, you just are not aware of this. This shows that your stature is too small. First, let us look at God’s requirement that people must honor their parents—is this requirement right or wrong? Should people abide by it or not? (They should.) This is certain, and it cannot be denied; there is no need to hesitate or ponder on this, this requirement is right. What is right about it? Why did God put forward this requirement? What does the “honoring one’s parents” that God speaks of refer to? Do you know? You do not. Why do you always not know? So long as something involves the truth, you do not know it, and yet you can speak endlessly about the words and phrases of doctrine—what is the problem here? How do you practice these words of God, then? Does this not involve the truth? (It does.) When you see that there is a phrase of God’s words that says, “You must honor your parents,” you think to yourself, “God is asking me to honor my parents, so I’ll have to honor them, then,” and you begin to do this. You do whatever your parents ask you to—when your parents are sick you serve them by their bedside, pouring them something to drink, cooking them something nice to eat, and at holidays, you buy your parents things they like as gifts. When you see that they are tired, you rub their shoulders and massage their backs, and whenever they have a problem, you are able to think of a solution to resolve it. Because of all this, your parents feel very satisfied with you. You are honoring your parents, practicing according to God’s words, and living out normal humanity, so you feel steady at heart, and think: “Look—my parents say that I’ve changed since I began believing in God. They say that I’m able to honor them now and that I’m more sensible. They’re really pleased, and they think that believing in God is great, because not only do sons and daughters who believe in God honor their parents, they also walk the right path in life and live out human likeness—they’re much better than unbelievers. After coming to believe in God, I have begun practicing according to God’s words and acting according to His requirements, and my parents are really happy to see this change in me. I feel so proud of myself. I’m bringing glory to God—God surely must be satisfied with me, and He will say that I am a person who honors their parents and possesses saintly decency.” One day, the church arranges for you to go elsewhere to spread the gospel, and it is possible that you will not be able to return home for a long time. You agree to go, feeling that you cannot set aside God’s commission, and believing that you must both honor your parents at home and uphold God’s commission outside of it. But when you discuss the matter with your parents, they become enraged, and say: “You disobedient child! We have worked so hard to raise you, and now you’re just up and leaving. When you’re gone, who’s going to take care of an old couple like us? If we get sick or if there’s some kind of disaster, who is going to take us to the hospital?” They do not agree to your departure, and you worry: “God tells us to honor our parents, but my parents won’t let me go and do my duty. If I obey them, I have to set God’s commission aside, and God will not like that. But if I obey God and go and do my duty, my parents will be unhappy. What am I supposed to do?” You ponder and ponder: “Since God put forward the requirement that people must honor their parents first, I’ll uphold that demand. I don’t need to go away and do my duty.” You set aside your duty and choose to honor your parents at home, but you do not feel steady at heart. You feel that though you have honored your parents, you have not fulfilled your duty, and you think that you have let God down. How can this problem be resolved? You should pray to God and seek the truth, until one day you understand the truth and realize that doing your duty is the most important thing. Then, you will naturally be able to leave home and fulfill your duty. Some people say: “God wants me to do my duty, and He also wants me to honor my parents. Is there not a contradiction and a conflict here? How on earth am I supposed to practice?” “Honoring one’s parents” is a requirement that God put forward regarding man’s behavior, but is renouncing everything to follow God and completing God’s commission not God’s requirement? Is it not even more what God demands? Is it not even more the practice of the truth? (It is.) What should you do if these two requirements clash? Some people say: “So, I have to honor my parents and complete God’s commission, and I have to abide by God’s words and practice the truth—well, that’s easy. I’ll get everything settled at home, prepare all of my parents’ living necessities, hire a nurse, and then go out to perform my duty. I’ll be sure to return once a week, I’ll check that my parents are alright, and then I’ll leave; if something is wrong, I’ll just stay for two days. I can’t always be away from them and never come back, and I can’t stay at home forever and never go out to do my duty. Is this not the best of both worlds?” What do you think of this solution? (It will not work.) It is an imagining; it is not realistic. So, when you encounter this kind of situation, how exactly should you act in line with the truth? (It’s impossible to get the best of both worlds when it comes to loyalty and filial piety—I must put my duty first.) God told people to honor their parents first, and afterward, God put forward higher requirements for people with regard to them practicing the truth, performing their duties, and following the way of God—which of these should you adhere to? (The higher requirements.) Is it right to practice according to the higher requirements? Can the truth be divided into higher and lower truths, or older and newer truths? (No.) So when you practice the truth, what should you practice according to? What does it mean to practice the truth? (Handling matters according to the principles.) Handling matters according to the principles is the most important thing. Practicing the truth means practicing God’s words in different times, places, environments, and contexts; it is not about obstinately applying rules to things, it is about upholding the truth principles. That is what it means to practice the truth. So, there is simply no conflict between practicing God’s words and abiding by the requirements put forward by God. To put it more concretely, there is no conflict at all between honoring your parents and completing the commission and duty that God has given you. Which of these are God’s current words and requirements? You should consider this question first. God demands different things of different people; He has distinct requirements for them. Those who serve as leaders and workers have been called by God, so they must renounce, and they cannot stay with their parents, honoring them. They should accept God’s commission and renounce everything to follow Him. That is one kind of situation. Regular followers have not been called upon by God, so they can stay with their parents and honor them. There are no rewards for doing this, and they will not gain any blessings as a result of it, but if they do not show filial piety, then they lack humanity. In fact, honoring one’s parents is just a kind of responsibility, and it falls short of the practice of the truth. It is obeying God that is the practice of the truth, it is accepting God’s commission that is a manifestation of obedience to God, and it is those who renounce everything to do their duties who are followers of God. In sum, the most important task that lies before you is to perform your duty well. That is the practice of the truth, and it is a manifestation of obedience to God. So, what is the truth that people should primarily practice now? (Performing one’s duty.) That is right, loyally performing one’s duty is practicing the truth. If a person does not perform their duty sincerely, then they are just rendering service.
What question were we just discussing? (God first required people to honor their parents, and then He put forward higher requirements with regard to them practicing the truth, performing their duties, and following the way of God, so which one should people abide by first?) You just said that people should practice according to the higher requirements. On a theoretical level, this statement is right—why do I say that it is right on a theoretical level? This means that if you were to apply rules and formulas to this matter, then this answer would be right. But when people are faced with real life, this statement is often unworkable, and hard to carry out. So, how should this question be responded to? First, you should look at the situation and living environment that you are faced with, and the context that you are in. If, based on your living environment and the context you find yourself in, honoring your parents does not conflict with you completing God’s commission and performing your duty—or, in other words, if honoring your parents does not impact your loyal performance of your duty—then you can practice them both at the same time. You do not need to formally separate from your parents, and you do not need to formally renounce or reject them. In what situation does this apply? (When honoring one’s parents does not conflict with the performance of one’s duty.) That is right. In other words, if your parents do not try to hinder your belief in God, and they are also believers, and they really support and encourage you to perform your duty loyally and complete God’s commission, then your relationship with your parents is not a fleshly relationship between relatives, in the regular sense of the word, and it is a relationship between brothers and sisters of the church. In that case, aside from interacting with them as fellow brothers and sisters of the church, you must also fulfill a few of your filial responsibilities to them. You must show them a bit of extra concern. As long as it does not affect the performance of your duty, that is, so long as your heart is not constrained by them, you can call your parents to ask them how they are doing and to show a bit of concern for them, you can help them to resolve a few difficulties and handle some of their life problems, and you can even help them to resolve some of the difficulties they have in terms of their life entry—you can do all of these things. In other words, if your parents do not obstruct your belief in God, you should maintain this relationship with them, and you should fulfill your responsibilities to them. And why should you show concern for them, take care of them, and ask them how they are doing? Because you are their child and you have this relationship with them, you have another kind of responsibility, and because of this responsibility, you must ask after them a little more and provide them with more substantive assistance. So long as it does not affect the performance of your duty, and so long as your parents do not hinder or disturb your faith in God and your performance of your duty, and they do not hold you back either, then it is natural and fitting for you to fulfill your responsibilities to them, and you must do this to the extent where your conscience does not reproach you—this is the lowest standard that you must meet. If you cannot honor your parents at home due to the impact and hindrance of your circumstances, then you do not have to hold to this rule. You should put yourself at the mercy of God’s orchestrations and submit to His arrangements, and you do not need to insist on honoring your parents. Does God condemn this? God does not condemn this; He does not force people to do this. What are we fellowshiping on now? We are fellowshiping about how people should practice when honoring their parents conflicts with the performance of their duty; we are fellowshiping on principles of practice and the truth. You have a responsibility to honor your parents, and if circumstances allow, you can fulfill this responsibility, but you should not be constrained by your emotions. For example, if one of your parents falls ill and has to go to the hospital, and there is no one to take care of them, and you are too busy with your duty to return home, what should you do? At times like these, you cannot be constrained by your emotions. You should give the matter over to prayer, entrust it to God, and put it at the mercy of God’s orchestrations. That is the kind of attitude that you should have. If God wants to take the life of your parent, and take them away from you, you should still submit. Some people say: “Although I have submitted, I still feel miserable and I’ve been crying about it for days—is this not an emotion?” This is not an emotion, it is human kindness, it is possessing humanity, and God does not condemn it. You can cry, but if you cry for several days and are not able to sleep or eat, and you are not in the mood to do your duty, and even wish to go home and visit your parents, then you cannot do your duty well, and you have not put the truth into practice, which means that you are not fulfilling your responsibilities by honoring your parents, you are living amid your emotions. If you honor your parents while living amid your emotions, then you are not fulfilling your responsibilities, and you are not abiding by God’s words, because you have abandoned God’s commission, and you are not someone who follows the way of God. When you encounter this kind of situation, if it does not cause delays to your duty or impact your loyal performance of your duty, you may do some things that you are able to in order to show filial piety to your parents, and you can fulfill the responsibilities that you are capable of fulfilling. In sum, this is what people ought to do and are capable of doing within the scope of humanity. If you get trapped by your emotions, and this holds up the performance of your duty, then that completely contravenes God’s intentions. God never required you to do that, God only demands that you fulfill your responsibilities to your parents, that is all. That is what it means to have filial piety. When God speaks of “honoring one’s parents” there is a context to it. You just need to fulfill a few responsibilities that can be achieved under all kinds of conditions, that is all. As for whether your parents fall gravely ill or die, are these things up to you to decide? How their lives are, when they die, what disease kills them, or how they die—do these things have anything to do with you? (No.) They have nothing to do with you. Some people say: “I must fulfill my responsibilities so that I may honor my parents. I must ensure that they do not fall ill, especially not with cancer or some kind of fatal disease. I must make sure that they live until 100 years old. Only then will I have truly fulfilled my responsibilities to them.” Are these people not absurd types? This is clearly man’s imagining, and it absolutely is not God’s demand. You do not even know whether you will be able to live to 100 years old, and yet you demand that your parents live to that age—that is a fool’s dream! When God speaks of “honoring one’s parents,” He is just asking you to fulfill your responsibilities that fall within the scope of normal humanity. As long as you do not mistreat your parents or do anything that contravenes your conscience and morality, that is enough. Is this not in line with God’s words? (It is.) Of course, we also mentioned just now the case where your parents hinder your belief in God, their nature essence is that of nonbelievers and unbelievers, or even of evil people and devils, and they are not on the same path as you. In other words, they are not the same kind of person as you at all, and though you lived in the same household as them for many years, they simply do not have the same pursuits or character as you do, and they certainly do not have the same preferences or aspirations as you. You believe in God, and they do not believe in God at all, and they even resist God. What should be done in these circumstances? (Reject them.) God has not told you to reject them or curse them in these circumstances. God did not say that. God’s requirement of “honoring one’s parents” still stands. This means that while you are living with your parents, you should still uphold this requirement of honoring your parents. There is no contradiction in this matter, is there? (No.) There is no contradiction in this at all. In other words, when you do manage to return home for a visit, you can cook them a meal or make them some dumplings, and if possible, you can buy them some health products, and they will be very satisfied with you. If you speak about your faith, and they do not accept it or believe, and they even verbally abuse you, then you do not have to preach the gospel to them. If it is possible for you to see them, practice in this way; if it is not, that is just the way it should be, and it is God’s orchestration, and you must hurry to distance yourself from them and avoid them. What is the principle for this? If your parents do not believe in God, and they do not share a common language or common pursuits and goals with you, and they are not walking the same path as you, and they even hinder and persecute your belief in God, then you can discern them, see through to their essence, and reject them. Of course, if they verbally abuse God or curse you, you can curse them in your heart. So, what does the “honoring one’s parents” that God speaks of refer to? How should you practice it? That is, if you can fulfill your responsibilities, then fulfill them a bit, and if you do not have that chance, or if the friction in your interactions with them has already become too great, and there is conflict between you, and you have already reached the point where you can no longer see each other, then you should hurry to separate yourself from them. When God speaks of honoring these kinds of parents, He means that you should fulfill your filial responsibilities from the perspective of your position as their child, and do the things that a child ought to do. You should not mistreat your parents, or argue with them, you should not hit or shout at them, you should not abuse them, and you should fulfill your responsibilities to them to the best of your ability. These are things that ought to be carried out within the scope of humanity; these are the principles that one should practice with regard to “honoring one’s parents.” Are they not easy to carry out? You do not need to deal with your parents hot-headedly, saying: “You devils and nonbelievers, God curses you to the lake of fire and brimstone and the bottomless pit, He will send you to the eighteenth level of hell!” That is not necessary, you do not need to go to this extreme. If circumstances allow, and if the situation requires it, you can fulfill your filial responsibilities to your parents. If this is not necessary, or if circumstances do not allow it and it is not possible, you can dispense with this obligation. All you need to do is fulfill your filial responsibilities when you meet with your parents and interact with them. When you have done that, you have completed your task. What do you think of this principle? (It’s good.) There must be principles to how you treat all people, including your parents. You cannot act impetuously, and you cannot verbally abuse your parents just because they persecute your belief in God. There are so many people in the world who do not believe in God, there are so many unbelievers, and there are so many people who insult God—are you going to go curse and shout at all of them? If not, then you should not shout at your parents either. If you shout at your parents but not at those other people, then you are living amid hot-headedness, and God does not like this. Do not think that God will be satisfied with you if you verbally abuse and curse your parents without good cause, saying that they are devils, a living Satan, and Satan’s lackeys, and cursing them to hell—that is just not the case. God will not find you acceptable or say that you have humanity because of this false display of proactivity. Instead, God will say that your actions carry with them emotions and hot-headedness. God will not like you acting in this way, it is too extreme, and it does not accord with His will. There must be principles to how you treat all people, including your parents; regardless of whether they believe in God or not, and regardless of whether or not they are evil people, you must treat them with principles. God has told man this principle: It is about treating others fairly—it is just that people have an extra degree of responsibility toward their parents. All you need to do is fulfill this responsibility. Regardless of whether your parents are believers or not, regardless of whether they pursue their belief or not, regardless of whether their outlook on life and their humanity line up with yours or not, you just need to fulfill your responsibility to them. You do not need to avoid them—just let everything take its natural course, according to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. If they hinder your belief in God, then you should still fulfill your filial responsibilities to the best of your ability, so that your conscience at least does not feel indebted to them. If they do not hinder you, and they support your belief in God, then you should also practice according to the principles, treating them well when it is fitting to do so. In sum, no matter what, God’s requirements of man do not change, and the truth principles that people should practice cannot change. In these matters, you simply need to uphold the principles, and fulfill the responsibilities that you are able to.
I will now talk about why God put forward a requirement regarding man’s behavior like “honor one’s parents.” God’s other requirements are all behavioral regulations that concern the individual comportment of each person, so why did God lay out a different kind of demand regarding the matter of filial piety? Tell Me: If a person cannot honor even their own parents, what is their nature essence like? (Bad.) Their parents suffered a lot to give birth to them and raise them, and bringing them up would certainly not have been easy—and actually, they do not expect that their child will bring them great happiness or contentment, they just hope that after their child grows up, they will live a happy life, and that they will not have to worry about them too much. But their child does not strive or work hard, and they do not live well—they still rely on their parents to take care of them, and they have become a leech, who not only does not honor their parents, but also wishes to bully and blackmail their parents out of their property. If they are capable of carrying out this kind of vile behavior, what sort of person are they? (A person with poor humanity.) They do not fulfill any of their responsibilities to the people who birthed and raised them, and they do not feel guilty about it at all—if you look at them from this perspective, do they have a conscience? (They do not.) They will hit and verbally abuse anyone, their parents included. They treat their parents just like anybody else—hitting them and verbally abusing them at whim. When they feel unhappy, they take out their anger on their parents, smashing bowls and plates, and terrifying them. Does a person like this possess reason? (No.) If someone does not possess conscience or reason, and is capable of casually abusing even their own parents, then are they a person? (No.) What are they, then? (A beast.) They are a beast. Is this statement accurate? (It is.) In fact, if a person fulfills some of their responsibilities to their parents, and cares for them, and loves them dearly—are these not things that people with normal humanity ought to possess as a matter of course? (They are.) If a person were to mistreat and abuse their parents, could their conscience accept it? Could a normal person do something like that? People who possess conscience and reason could not do this—if they were to anger their parents, they would feel miserable for several days. Some people have fiery tempers, and they may get mad at their parents in a moment of desperation, but after they do, their conscience will reproach them, and even if they do not apologize, they will not do it again. This is something that people with normal humanity ought to possess, and it is an outpouring of normal humanity. Those who do not possess humanity can abuse their parents in any way without feeling anything, and that is what they do. If their parents hit them once when they were a child, they will remember it for the rest of their life, and after they grow up, they will still wish to strike their parents and hit them back. Most people will not strike back when their parents hit them as a child; some people in their 30s will not strike back when their parents hit them, and they will not utter a word about it, even if it hurts. This is what people with normal humanity ought to possess. Why will they not utter a word about it? If someone else were to hit them, would they allow that and let the person hit them? (No.) If it were someone else, no matter who it was, they would not allow that person to hit them—they would not even allow them to speak a word of verbal abuse to them. So why do they not strike back or get angry no matter how their parents hit them? Why do they tolerate it? Is it not because there is conscience and reason within their humanity? They think to themselves: “My parents raised me. Even though it’s not right for them to hit me, I must bear it. Besides, it was me who made them angry, so I deserve to be hit. They’re only doing it because I disobeyed them and made them angry. I deserve to be hit! I won’t ever do this again.” Is this not the reason that people with normal humanity ought to possess? (It is.) It is this reason of normal humanity that allows them to endure their parents treating them in this way. This is normal humanity. So, do the people who cannot endure this kind of treatment, who strike back at their parents, possess this humanity? (They do not.) That is right, they do not possess it. People who do not possess the conscience and reason of normal humanity are even capable of hitting and verbally abusing their own parents, so how will they be capable of treating God and their brothers and sisters in the church? They are capable of treating the people who birthed and raised them in this way, so will they not care even less about other people who are not related to them by blood? (Yes.) How will they treat God, who they cannot see or touch? Will they be able to treat God, who they cannot see, with conscience and reason? Will they be able to submit to all of the environments that God has orchestrated? (No.) If God were to deal with and prune them, or judge and chastise them, would they resist Him? (Yes.) Consider this: What function do a person’s conscience and reason serve? To a certain extent, a person’s conscience and reason can restrain and regulate their behavior—it enables them to have the correct attitude and to make the correct choices when things happen to them, and to approach everything that befalls them with their conscience and reason. Most of the time, acting based on conscience and reason will allow people to avoid a great deal of misfortune. Of course, people who pursue the truth are able to choose to walk the path of pursuing the truth upon this foundation, entering into the truth reality, and submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Those who do not pursue the truth lack humanity, and they do not possess this kind of conscience and reason—the consequences of this are dire. They are capable of doing anything to God—just like how the Pharisees treated the Lord Jesus, they are capable of insulting God, taking revenge on God, blaspheming God, or even accusing and betraying God. This problem is very serious—does this not spell trouble? People who lack the reason of humanity often take revenge on others by means of their hot-headedness; they are not restrained by the reason of humanity, so it is easy for them to develop some extreme thoughts and views, and to then engage in some extreme behavior, and to act in many ways that are devoid of conscience and reason, and ultimately, the consequences of this get completely out of hand. I have more or less finished fellowshiping on “honoring one’s parents” and the practice of the truth—in the end it comes down to humanity. Why did God put forward a demand like “honor one’s parents”? Because it relates to man’s comportment. In one respect, God uses this demand to regulate man’s behavior, and at the same time, He tests and defines people’s humanity with it. If a person does not treat their own parents with conscience and reason, then they certainly do not have humanity. Some people say: “What if their parents don’t have good humanity, and haven’t completely fulfilled their responsibilities to their child—should that person still show filial piety to them?” If they possess a conscience and reason, then as a daughter or a son, they will not abuse their parents. People who abuse their parents absolutely do not possess conscience and reason. So, no matter what requirement God puts forward, whether it relates to the attitude with which people treat their parents, or to the humanity that people usually live out and reveal, in any case, since God has laid out these approaches concerning external behaviors, He must have His own reasons and objectives for doing so. Although these behavioral requirements put forward by God are still somewhat removed from the truth, they are nevertheless standards that God has set out to regulate man’s behavior. They are all significant and they are still valid today.
I just fellowshiped on the various connections and differences between the behavioral criteria that God has put forward for man and the truths that He demands. At this point, have we not more or less finished fellowshiping on the good behaviors which are part of things that people believe to be right and good in their notions? After concluding our fellowship on this, we communed on some standards and sayings that God has put forward to regulate man’s behavior and what man lives out, and we listed some examples, for example: do not hit or verbally abuse others, honor one’s parents, do not smoke or drink, do not steal, do not take advantage of others, do not give false witness, do not worship idols, and so on. Of course, these are just the major ones, and there are a lot more details that we will not get into. So, after fellowshiping about these things, what truths should you have gained? What principles should you practice? What should you do? Do you need to respect the old and care for the young? Do you need to be a courteous person? Do you need to be amiable and approachable? Do women need to be gentle and refined or well-educated and sensible? Do men need to be great, ambitious, and accomplished men? They do not. Of course, we have carried out a great deal of fellowship. These things that traditional culture advocates for are clearly used by Satan to mislead people. They are very misleading things, and they are things that trick people. You should examine yourself and see whether you still harbor any of these thoughts and views or behaviors and manifestations. If you do, then you should hurry to seek the truth to resolve them, and you should then accept the truth, and live by God’s words. That way, you will be able to gain God’s approval. You should reflect on what your inner state was like when you lived by traditional culture, and how you felt in the depths of your heart, what you gained, and what the outcome was, and then see how it feels to comport yourself according to the standards that God has demanded of man, like being restrained, possessing saintly decency, not hitting or verbally abusing others, and so on. See which of these ways of life allows you to live more easily, freely, steadily, and peacefully, and enables you to live with more humanity, and which makes it feel as though you are living under a false mask, and makes your life very false and miserable. See which of these ways of life allows you to live closer and closer to God’s requirements, and makes your relationship with God more and more normal. When you actually experience this, you will know. Only practicing God’s words and the truth can bring you release and freedom, and allow you to gain God’s approval. Say, for instance, that in order to make other people say that you respect the old and care for the young, that you abide by the rules, and that you are a good person, whenever you meet an older brother or sister, you call them “elder brother” or “elder sister,” never daring to call them by their name, and feeling too embarrassed to call them by their name, and thinking that to do so would be very disrespectful. This traditional notion of respecting the old and caring for the young is hidden in your heart, so when you see an old person, you act very gentle and kind, and as if you are very rule-abiding and cultured, and you cannot help but bend at the waist, from a 15-degree angle to a 90-degree angle. You treat older people respectfully—the older the person in front of you is, the more well-behaved you pretend to be. Is being well-behaved like this a good thing? It is living without a backbone and without dignity. When people like this see a young child, they act cute and playful, just like a child. When they see one of their peers, they stand up quite straight, and act like an adult, so that others do not dare to disrespect them. What kind of person are they? Are they not a person with many faces? They change so quickly, do they not? When they see an old person, they call them “elder grandpa” or “elder grandma.” When they see someone a bit older than them, they call them “uncle,” “auntie,” “older brother,” or “older sister.” When they meet someone younger than them, they call them “little brother” or “little sister.” They give people different titles and nicknames according to their ages, and they use these forms of address very precisely and accurately. These things have taken root in their bones, and they are able to employ them with great ease. Especially after they come to believe in God, they feel even more convinced that: “Now I’m a believer in God, I must be rule-abiding and cultured; I must be well-educated and sensible. I can’t break the rules or be rebellious like those unbelieving, problem youths—people will not like that. If I want everyone to like me, I have to respect the old and care for the young.” So, they regulate their behavior even more strictly, dividing people of different age groups into different levels, giving them all titles and nicknames, and then constantly putting this into practice in their daily lives, and then they think more and more that: “Look at me, I’ve really changed after coming to believe in God. I’m well-educated, sensible, and courteous, I respect the old and care for the young, and I’m amiable. I’m really living with human likeness. I know how to call every person I meet by their proper title, no matter how old they are. I didn’t need my parents to teach me this, and I didn’t need the people around me to tell me to do it, I just knew how to do it.” After practicing these good behaviors, they think that they really have humanity, that they are really rule-abiding, and that God must like this—are they not deluding themselves and others? From now on, you must abandon these things. Before, I told the story of Daming and Xiaoming—that story was related to respecting the old and caring for the young, was it not? (It was.) When some people see an old person, they think that calling them “elder brother” or “elder sister” is not gracious enough, and that it will not make people think that they are cultured enough, so they call them “elder grandpa” or “elder auntie.” It seems that you have given them enough respect, and where does your respect for them come from? You do not have the face of a person who respects others. You have a frightening and ferocious, brash, and arrogant look to you, and you are more arrogant in your actions than any other person. Not only do you not seek the truth principles, you also do not consult anyone else; you are a law unto yourself, and you do not have the slightest bit of humanity. You look to see who has status, and then you call them “elder uncle” or “elder auntie,” hoping to receive people’s praise for this—is pretending like this useful? Will you have humanity and morals if you pretend like this? On the contrary, when other people see you do this, they will feel even more disgusted by you. When matters arise that involve the interests of God’s house, you are capable of veritably selling out the interests of God’s house. You only live to satisfy yourself, and while possessing this kind of humanity, you still call people “elder auntie”—is this not pretense? (It is.) You really are good at pretending! Tell Me, are people like this not disgusting? (They are.) People like this are always selling out the interests of God’s house—they do not protect them at all. They bite the hand that feeds them, and they do not deserve to live in God’s house. Examine yourself, and see what thoughts, views, attitudes, approaches, and ways of treating people you still harbor that are things which humanity commonly recognizes as good behaviors, that are, in fact, precisely the things that God loathes. You should hurry to let go of these worthless things, and you absolutely must not cling to them. Some people say: “What’s wrong with acting like that?” If you act like that, I will be disgusted by you and I will loathe you, you absolutely must not act like that. Some people say: “It doesn’t matter if You’re disgusted by us, we don’t live with You, after all.” You still must not act like that, even though we do not live together. I will feel disgusted by you because you are not able to accept or practice the truth, which means that you cannot be saved. Therefore, it would be better if you abandoned those things as soon as possible. Do not pretend and do not live behind a false mask. I think that Western people are very normal in this regard. For example, in America, you just need to call people by their names. You do not need to awkwardly call this person “grandpa” and that person “grandma,” and you do not have to worry about people judging you—you can just call people by their names, in a dignified way, and when people hear you do so, they will feel very happy, both adults and children alike, and they will think that you are being respectful. By contrast, if you know their name, and you still call them “sir” or “auntie,” they will not be happy, and they will give you the cold shoulder, and you will find this very strange. Western culture is different from Chinese traditional culture. Chinese people have been indoctrinated and influenced by traditional culture, and they always want to stand on up high, to be the elder in the group, and to make other people respect them. It is not enough for them to be called “grandpa” or “grandma,” they want people to add an “elder” in front of that, and call them “elder grandpa,” “elder grandma,” or “elder uncle.” Then there is also “big auntie” or “big uncle”—if they are not called “elder,” then they want to be called “big.” Are people like this not disgusting? What kind of disposition is this? Is it not wretched? It is so disgusting! Not only are these kinds of people incapable of gaining others’ respect, other people loathe and disdain them, and they distance themselves from them and reject them. So, there is a reason why God exposes these aspects of traditional culture and hates these things. It is because these things contain Satan’s tricks and its disposition, and they can impact the methods and direction of a person’s comportment. Of course, they can also impact the perspective from which a person views people and things, and at the same time, they also blind people, and affect their ability to choose the right path. So, should people not abandon these things? (They should.)
Chinese people have been very deeply influenced by traditional culture. Of course, every country in the world has its own traditional culture, and these traditional cultures only differ in small respects. Although some of their sayings are different from those of Chinese traditional culture, they are of the same nature. These sayings all exist because people have corrupt dispositions and lack normal humanity, so they use some very deceptive behaviors, that appear on the surface to be good, that accord with man’s notions and imaginings, that are easy for people to carry out, to package themselves, so that they appear very gentlemanly, noble, and respectable, and so that they seem to have dignity and integrity. But it is precisely these aspects of traditional culture that cloud people’s eyes and trick them, and it is precisely these things that hinder people from living out true human likeness. Worse still, Satan uses these things to corrupt people’s humanity, and to lead them away from the right path. Is that not the case? (It is.) God tells people not to steal, not to commit adultery, and so on, whereas Satan tells people that they must be well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, and so on—are these not precisely the opposite of the demands that God has put forward? Are they not deliberate contradictions of God’s demands? Satan teaches people how to use external methods, behaviors, and what they live out to trick other people. What does God teach people? That they should not use external behaviors to falsely obtain the trust of other people, and that they should instead comport themselves based on His words and the truth. That way they will become deserving of other people’s trust and confidence—only people such as these have humanity. Is there not a difference here? There is a vast difference. God tells you how to comport yourself, whereas Satan tells you how to pretend and how to trick other people—is that not a big difference? So, do you understand now what people should choose, in the end? Which of these is the right path? (God’s words.) That is right, God’s words are the right path in life. No matter what kind of requirement God’s words put forward regarding man’s behavior, even if it is a rule, a commandment, or a law that God has spoken to man about, they are all undoubtedly correct, and people must abide by them. This is because God’s words will always be the right path and positive things, whereas Satan’s words trick and corrupt people, they contain Satan’s schemes, and they are not the right path, no matter how much they accord with people’s tastes or notions and imaginings. Do you understand this? (Yes.) How do you feel after hearing the content of today’s fellowship? Does it relate to the truth? (It does.) Did you understand this aspect of the truth before? (Not clearly.) Do you understand it clearly now? (More so than before.) In sum, understanding these truths will be of benefit to people later on. It will be advantageous for their future pursuit of the truth, their living out of humanity, and the goal and direction of what they pursue in life.
February 26, 2022