Chapter 5. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (5)
What did we fellowship on at our last gathering? (God first fellowshiped on the stories of Xiaoxiao and Xiaoji. After that, You fellowshiped on what the behaviors that man regards as good represent, You also talked about some of the requirements that God has for man, and there was a particular emphasis on the principles of the truth that we should understand regarding filial piety.) Last time, we fellowshiped on a topic related to the pursuit of the truth which was most fitting for man’s notions. It was also a negative topic, namely the behaviors that are considered right and good according to man’s notions. We gave some examples that addressed this topic, and then we gave another few examples of the demands that God has put forward to regulate man’s behavior. These were more or less the specific things that we fellowshiped on. There were not a lot of big sections to this fellowship, but we discussed many details regarding people’s knowledge, practice, and their understanding of the truth. Today, we will take a brief look back at these things. Generally speaking, what does man regard as good behaviors? Should we not have a conclusion or a broad definition of this? Have you come up with a conclusion? Have you fellowshiped on these things at gatherings? (We have. After God fellowshiped with us several times, we were able to see that the good behaviors which man perceives as right are merely a sort of behavior. They do not represent the truth, they are just ways for people to disguise themselves.) Based on some of the statements that mankind has summarized regarding external behaviors—what, exactly, is the essence of these behaviors? Is there a relationship between man’s essence and the external good behaviors of mankind? These external good behaviors make people appear very decent and dignified; those who possess them are respected and praised by others, they are highly regarded and give off a good impression. Is this good impression consistent with the essence of man’s corrupt disposition? (No, it is not.) Then, from this perspective, what is the nature of man’s good behaviors? Are they not simply surface-level approaches and packaging? (Yes, they are.) Are these surface-level approaches and packaging the proper manifestations of normal humanity? (No, they are not.) That is why the behaviors that people regard as right and good within their notions are really just mankind’s surface-level approaches and packaging. That is the nature of those behaviors. They do not constitute living out normal humanity, nor are they outpourings of normal humanity; they are merely external approaches. These approaches cover up man’s corrupt dispositions, they cover up man’s satanic nature and essence, and they deceive the eyes of other people. People practice these good behaviors in order to win the favor, esteem, and respect of others—such behaviors cannot help people to treat one another with honesty, or to interact with each other with sincerity, let alone to live out human likeness. These good behaviors are not approaches that originate in heartfelt honesty, nor are they natural outpourings of normal humanity. They do not, in any way, represent man’s essence; they are purely a guise and a false front which man puts on—they are the adornments of corrupt mankind. They cover up mankind’s evil essence. That is the essence of man’s good behaviors, that is the truth behind them. So, what is the essence of the behaviors that God demands from man? The last two times we fellowshiped, we mentioned some of the approaches that God demands and what He requires people to live out, with regard to their behavior. What did they include? (People shall not smoke, or drink alcohol, and they shall not hit or insult others. They shall honor their parents, and have saintly decency. They shall not worship idols, commit adultery, steal, misappropriate others’ possessions, or give false witness, and so on.) What is the essence of these demands? In other words, upon what premise does God make these demands? What fundamental condition are they based on? Were these demands not put forward within the context and upon the premise that mankind has been corrupted by Satan and that man has a sinful nature? And are these demands not within the scope of normal humanity? Are they not things that those with normal humanity can achieve? (Yes, they are.) These demands are put forward entirely based on the fundamental condition that a person with normal humanity can achieve them. In this regard then, what is the essence of the behaviors that God demands from man? Can we say that it is the true likeness lived out by normal humanity, as well as the bare minimum that normal humanity ought to possess? The examples that we have given: that people shall have saintly decency, and restrain themselves, and not be dissolute, that they shall not hit or insult others, or smoke, drink alcohol, commit adultery, steal, or worship idols, and that they shall honor their parents, and in the Age of Grace, people were also told to be patient, tolerant, and so on—are these demands that God has put forward merely limited to a kind of approach? No, God has laid out criteria for how people should live out normal humanity. What do I mean by “criteria”? I mean the standards of God’s requirements. As a person, what do you need to live out in order to possess normal humanity? You must fulfill the requirements that God has put forward. We only listed a portion of the demands that God has made of man. Demands such as not hitting or insulting others, not smoking, drinking alcohol, committing adultery, or stealing, and so on, are things that those with normal humanity can achieve. Although these things are inferior to the truth and fall short of the truth, they are some basic standards for evaluating whether or not a person has humanity.
What was the essence of the behaviors that God demands of man that we have just summarized? Living out normal humanity. If a person can live out or behave in the ways that God demands, then this person possesses normal humanity in the eyes of God. What does it mean to possess normal humanity? It means that a person already possesses the behavioral criteria that God demands, and meets the standard of normal humanity, in terms of their behavior, approaches, and what they live out, because they pour forth and live out normal humanity in the way that God demands. Can it be put like that? (Yes.) Regardless of whether a person believes in God or not, regardless of whether they have true faith or not, if they steal from, trick, or take advantage of other people; or if they frequently use filthy language; or if they hit and hurt other people when their own reputation, status, image, or other interests are at stake, without any scruples at all; or if they even go so far as to commit the sin of adultery—if they still have these problems in the way that they live out humanity, especially after they start believing in God, then is their humanity normal? (No, it is not.) No matter whether you are evaluating unbelievers or believers, these behavioral standards which God has laid out are merely the lowest and minimum standards for evaluating a person’s humanity. There are some people who, after becoming believers, renounce and expend themselves a little, and are able to pay a bit of a price, but never meet the behavioral standards that God has laid out. It is clear that people of this sort do not live out normal humanity—they do not even live out the most basic human likeness. What does it mean when a person does not live out normal humanity? It means that they do not possess normal humanity. Because they cannot even meet the standards of requirements that God has for mankind’s behavior in terms of living out humanity, their humanity is very poor, and they can only be given a poor evaluation. The minimum standard for evaluating a person’s humanity is to look at whether their behavior meets the standards of requirements that God has set for mankind’s behavior. Look at whether, after coming to believe in God, they restrain themselves; whether they have saintly decency in what they say and do; whether or not they take advantage of others when interacting with them; whether they treat their family members and brothers and sisters in the church with love, tolerance, and patience; whether they fulfill their responsibilities toward their parents to the best of their ability; whether they still worship idols when no one is looking, and the like. We can use these things to evaluate a person’s humanity. Putting aside whether the person loves and pursues the truth, first evaluate whether they have normal humanity—whether their words and behavior meet the behavioral standards that God has set. If they do not meet those behavioral standards, then you can evaluate their humanity according to the degree of what they live out, whether it be: average, poor, very poor, or terrible, in that order—this is accurate. If a believer shoplifts and pickpockets when they go to supermarkets or public places, if they are sticky-fingered, what kind of humanity do they have? (Bad humanity.) There are some people who shout abuse and even hit others when something makes them angry. Their insults are not fair assessments of another person’s essence, rather, they are arbitrary accusations and they are full of foul language. Such people say whatever allows them to vent their hatred, holding nothing back. Some people, in particular, say things to their parents, to their brothers and sisters, to their relatives who are unbelievers, and even to their friends who are unbelievers, which you would not want to hear, lest it sully your ears. What kind of humanity does this sort of person have? (Bad humanity.) You could also say that they have no humanity. Then there are others whose eyes are always fixed on money. When these people see someone who has money, who eats well and wears nice clothes, and who has an affluent life, they always want to take advantage of them. They are always asking for things from them in a roundabout way, or eating their food and using their things, or borrowing items from them and not returning them. Although they have not taken advantage of others in any major way, and their actions do not amount to embezzlement or bribery, these sticky-fingered behaviors of theirs are truly lowly and despicable, and they incur the disdain of others. More seriously, there are those who are fixated on the beauty of the opposite sex. They frequently make eyes at the opposite sex, and even commit adultery, committing a sin between the sexes. Some of these people are single, while others have families—there are even some who engage in adultery despite being of very advanced age. Even more seriously, some people try to seduce members of the same sex, and get physical with them. It is truly disgusting. What is even more unbelievable, are those people who have believed in God for years, but do not believe that the truth is superior to all else or that God’s words accomplish everything. These people often visit fortunetellers in secret to have their fortunes told, they burn incense to worship Buddha or other idols, and some even use voodoo dolls to curse other people, or hold séances, and the like. Performing these kinds of evil magic is an even more serious issue; people such as these are nonbelievers, and they are no different from unbelievers. Regardless of whether the circumstances are minor or severe, once a person has these manifestations, we can say that they are living out humanity in a way that is abnormal and tainted, and that some of their behaviors are even erroneous or absurd—that they are truly sinful behaviors. After coming to believe in God, some people dress very provocatively, they place as much importance on looking sexy as unbelievers, and they follow worldly trends. They do not resemble saints at all. Some people dress more tastefully when they go to gatherings, but change into the trendy clothes of unbelievers when they get home. From what they are wearing, they do not look like believers; there is no difference between them and unbelievers. They giggle and make a joke out of things; they are extremely self-indulgent and show no restraint. Are people such as this living out normal humanity? (No, they are not.) They pursue worldly trends, and to be sexy, and to attract others, and to make heads turn. They spend all day dressing themselves up nicely, and slapping on makeup, trying to attract the opposite sex. What these people live out is relatively poor. They cannot even restrain themselves in terms of how they dress, speak, and behave, and they do not have saintly decency, so when we evaluate them according to the behavioral criteria that God demands, it is obvious that the humanity they live out is very poor. From these concrete examples, we can see that God’s demands regarding people’s behavior and what they live out are completely in line with the demands of normal humanity—so, naturally, those with normal humanity are capable of achieving them. What does this statement mean? It means that you only possess human likeness, resemble a normal person, and have the minimum level of normal humanity if this is what you live out. By looking at the specific details of God’s demands, we can see that living out humanity in this way is not fake, or putting on an act, nor is it tricking others. Rather, it is the way that normal humanity should manifest, and the reality that it ought to possess. Only those who live out these outpourings of normal humanity possess human likeness, without the slightest bit of trickery. People can only gain the respect of others, and live with dignity by living out normal humanity in this way. And it is only by living out normal humanity in this way and possessing saintly decency, that people’s normal outpourings bring glory to God. Because then, everything you live out will be positive, and the reality of positive things, and it will not be an act. You will be living out human likeness in accordance with God’s demands.
The essence of man’s good behavior and the essence of the behavior that God demands have both been explained clearly and comprehensibly. Therefore, how people should practice, and how they should live out normal humanity should also be clear, should it not? People will not go overboard or split hairs on questions about living out normal humanity. Does living out normal humanity relate to trivial things in people’s lives that have nothing to do with humanity? There are some ridiculous people who cannot see this matter clearly. They say, “Since God’s fellowship is so detailed, we must also be meticulous when it comes to every little aspect of our lives. For example, are sweet potatoes more nutritious when they are steamed or roasted?” Does this relate to living out normal humanity? Not at all. What people should eat and how they should eat is common sense that all people now possess. So long as there is no problem with eating something, you can eat it however you want. If someone thinks that they need to seek the truth in such simple matters of common sense, and that they need to practice such things as though they were the truth, is that person not ridiculous and absurd? There are some people now who are very meticulous in matters like this, which have nothing to do with the truth. These people think that they are pursuing the truth, and they investigate and examine minuscule matters as if they were the truth. Some even get red in the face arguing about these things. What kind of problem is this? Is it not a case of a severe lack of spiritual understanding? The fact that some people seek on the matter of eating sweet potatoes, as though it were the truth, is truly laughable and annoying. People like this are hopeless cases, because they do not understand God’s words, and they do not know what it means to pursue the truth. They cannot see through to the simplest matters of common sense in life, and they cannot resolve these issues—so what is the point of them living for all these years? How can these people bring such inconsequential matters into gatherings and discuss and fellowship on them as though they were topics in which one could seek the truth? The reason is mainly that these people have warped comprehensions and lack spiritual understanding. In what context are they being meticulous? Why did these thoughts and ideas arise in them? How could they discuss and fellowship on how to eat sweet potatoes in gatherings? Is it because the issues I have been fellowshiping on are too concrete, and this has led to some misconceptions arising among people who like to split words and split hairs? When these problems and situations come up, I feel like talking to these people is a bit like treating monkeys as though they were human. Monkeys are creatures that live in mountains and jungles. Although they resemble humans, and many of their behaviors and habits are similar to those of humans, and although there was a time when humans saw monkeys as their ancestors, no matter what, monkeys are still monkeys. They should live in forests and mountains. Would it not be a mistake to put them in a house to live with humans? Should we treat monkeys as if they were human? (No, we should not.) So, are you monkeys, or are you human? If you are human, then no matter how much I have to talk or how hard I have to work, it is appropriate and worthwhile for Me to say these things to you. If you are monkeys, is it appropriate for Me to treat you like humans, and to waste My breath discussing the truth and God’s will with you? Is it worthwhile? (No, it is not.) Then are you human, or are you monkeys? (We are human.) Hopefully, you are. How do you view fellowshiping on how to eat sweet potatoes at gatherings? Would you be meticulous in matters such as this, too? For example, some people ask: “Should I wear blue clothes or white? If I wear white clothes, what kind of white? What kind of white represents holiness, and is befitting of a saint? If blue is appropriate for me, then which blue? Which blue most befits the demands and criteria that God has toward man, and can bring the most glory to God?” Have you ever been meticulous in these matters? Has anyone ever considered which hairstyle, or which manner of speaking and tone of voice befits a saint? Have you ever been meticulous about these things? Some people have been meticulous and put effort into these things. There are some people who used to like bleaching their hair blonde, or dyeing it red or other strange colors, but after they came to believe in God, they saw that the other brothers and sisters in the church did not dye their hair, so they stopped. Only after several years did they fully understand that whatever color or style of hair one has is not crucial. What is crucial is whether one is living out normal humanity, and whether one loves the truth. People who have been meticulous in such matters that have nothing to do with living out normal humanity are gradually coming to understand that it is pointless to put effort into these things, because these matters do not relate to the truth at all. They are just some issues within the scope of normal humanity, and they fall short of the truth. If the humanity that you live out meets God’s demands and standards, that is enough. Have you not all felt somewhat perplexed by these issues in the past, and been confused by them? (Yes, we have.) Even if it was not as extreme as debating about how to eat sweet potatoes during gatherings, you too have been perplexed by some small, insignificant matters of life. These are facts. So, should there not be a definitive conclusion on these matters? Are you clear on which principles people should follow when living out normal humanity according to God’s demands and standards? Do you know how to seek the truth when you next encounter some particular circumstances? Some people say, “Although I don’t go to the extremes, like asking how to eat sweet potatoes, if certain issues were to arise in my daily life, I would still feel confused for a while.” So, give Me an example—what issue would make you feel confused for a while? Would you say that it is wrong for women to wear makeup? Is it in line with God’s demands for living out normal humanity? (It is not wrong.) What does “it is not wrong” refer to here? (So long as one’s makeup is befitting of a saint, and it is not too heavy, then it is fine.) So long as it is not heavy makeup, it is appropriate. There are some who ask, “If it is appropriate to wear makeup that is not too heavy, does that mean You want us to wear makeup?” Did I say that? (No, You did not.) Wearing makeup is not a problem, it is in line with living out normal humanity. The determining principle for this is that so long as the makeup is not too heavy, it is fine. That is the standard. So, what scope must women keep their makeup within in order for it to comply with living out normal humanity? Where is the line? What does “heavy makeup” mean? What kind of makeup is considered heavy? If the boundary is drawn clearly, people will know what to do. Is this not a detail? Give Me an example explaining what heavy makeup means. (It is when one’s face is painted very white, their lips very red, and their eyes very black, so that it is extremely unnatural and uncomfortable to look at.) It makes people jump when they see it, like a ghost, and others cannot see the person’s natural form or face. People in some countries and ethnicities, as well as certain professions, wear particularly heavy makeup. For example, is the makeup worn by people in bars and nightclubs not one representation of this? These people all wear heavy makeup, and it is not edifying—the point of their makeup is to seduce others. This kind of makeup is heavy makeup. Then, what sort of makeup is in line with living out normal humanity? Light makeup, like that worn by women in the workplace, which looks very dignified and elegant. So long as your makeup does not stray outside of this boundary, then it is fine. In China, it is not fashionable among older generations to wear makeup. If a regular, older person who does not have any particular status or standing in society always dresses up and wears makeup when leaving the house, people will say they are not acting respectably for their age. However, it is different in the West. If you are meeting someone or going to work and you do not put on a bit of makeup and groom yourself a little, people will say that you do not respect your job, that you are unprofessional, and that you are being disrespectful toward other people. This is a kind of culture. Naturally, in this sort of situation, wearing makeup should be restricted to a level where you appear dignified and upright, and like a respectable person to other people. To sum it up in one sentence: If you wear makeup, it should make you look like a respectable person, and not stir up lust in people’s hearts—this kind of makeup is appropriate. That is the principle, and it is as simple as that. Some people ask, “Is it alright if I don’t wear makeup when I leave the house? I’m not used to wearing makeup.” You should seek within God’s words. Did God say it is wrong not to wear makeup? God did not say this. The house of God has never required people to wear makeup. If you like to wear makeup, I have given you this criterion and limit, and told you what you should do so that your makeup is appropriate. If you do not like to wear makeup, the house of God does not require it. However, you must remember one thing: Although you are not required to wear makeup, you cannot leave the house looking messy and unkempt, like a beggar. For example, when you go out to share the gospel, if you do not make yourself look presentable or wash your face before leaving the house, and dress in a sloppy manner, saying, “It’s fine. So long as we understand the truth, it doesn’t matter how we dress!” is that constructive? As someone who believes in God, you should have principles for your clothing and appearance as well. The minimum standard of this principle is that you must live out normal humanity, and you must not do anything to humiliate God, or to humiliate your own character and dignity. At the very least, you should make others respect you. Even if you fall short of piety, you should at least be able to restrain yourself, and be dignified and upright, and have saintly decency. If you can give people this impression, then that is enough. This is the most basic requirement for living out normal humanity.
For those who believe in God, these questions about people’s external behaviors and living out normal humanity should not be burdens or difficulties, because they are the most basic things that a normal person should, at the very least, possess. These issues should be easy to understand; they are not abstract. Therefore, these questions about people’s external behaviors and living out normal humanity should not become important issues that are discussed frequently in church life. Talking about them on occasion is fine, but if you treat them as topics to seek the truth on, and bring them up often, discussing them earnestly and seriously, then you are somewhat neglecting your proper duties. Which people are usually the ones who neglect their proper duties? Bringing up questions like how to eat sweet potatoes, and treating these questions as though they are topics to seek the truth on, investigating and fellowshiping on them at gatherings, sometimes at multiple gatherings, while the church leaders do nothing to stop it—are these not all manifestations of warped people who lack spiritual understanding? (Yes, they are.) What questions should be discussed the most in gatherings? Those pertaining to the truth and people’s corrupt dispositions. The truth and God’s words are the unchanging topics of church life; matters pertaining to the most basic and ordinary topic of external behaviors of normal humanity should not be the main subject of fellowship in church life and gatherings. If the brothers and sisters advise, remind, and fellowship with each other about these things outside of gatherings, that is enough to solve these problems. It is not necessary to spend vast amounts of time fellowshiping and discussing them. That would impact people’s normal gathering and eating and drinking of God’s words, and it would have an effect on their life entry. Church life is a life of eating and drinking God’s words. Its emphasis should be on fellowshiping about the truth and resolving practical problems, that way, one’s life progress will not be delayed. If you possess the sense of normal humanity, it should be clear to you how to practice these matters in accordance with the principles. If you are always nitpicking about trivial matters and things which have nothing to do with the principles of the truth, if you are always splitting hairs, yet feel that you are knowledgeable and learned, should this issue not be dissected? For example, some people put a lot of emphasis on the way they dress, and always ask whether believers can wear unusual clothes; some people who have recently come to believe in God always ask whether believers should drink alcohol; some people enjoy doing business, and always ask whether believers should earn a lot of money; and some people always ask when God’s day will come. These people are not willing to seek the truth in these matters to find the correct answers. Although there are no precise words on these subjects, God has explained the principles for approaching these issues very clearly. If a person does not put effort into reading God’s words, they will not find the answers. In fact, everyone knows the purpose of believing in God, and what is to be gained from it. It is just that there are some people who do not love the truth, but still wish to gain blessings. That is where their difficulty lies. Therefore, the most crucial thing is whether a person can accept the truth. There are some people who have never put importance on eating and drinking God’s words or on fellowshiping about the truth. They just get hung up on questions of no importance, and they always want to fellowship on these questions at gatherings and get definitive answers to them, and the leaders and workers cannot restrain them. What sort of problem is this? Are these people not neglecting their proper duties? If you do not practice the truth and always want to walk the wrong path, why do you not reflect on, come to know, and analyze yourself? You are always a people-pleaser, you are not responsible in your duty, you are willful, a law unto yourself, arbitrary, and reckless. How can you not be conscientious about this matter? How can you not investigate and dissect it to find out what, exactly, is going on? Why do you blame and misunderstand God whenever anything befalls you? Why do you always reach a verdict on yourself, and grumble that God is not righteous and that the church is unfair? Are these not problems? Should you not fellowship and dissect these issues in church life? When the house of God divides the church and cleanses people away, you never submit and you are never satisfied, you always have notions and spread negativity. Is this not a problem? Should you not investigate and dissect this issue? You always pursue status, and play politics, and manage your status. Is this not a problem? Should you not fellowship and dissect these issues? The church is currently carrying out the work of cleansing, and some say, “As long as people are somewhat effective in their duties, they won’t be removed, so if I just continue to be somewhat effective in my duty and don’t get removed, that’s enough.” What is the problem here? Are these people not in passive opposition? If one can pour forth this kind of deceitful disposition, does this not need to be resolved? Are problems to do with corrupt dispositions and man’s essence and nature not much more serious than how to eat sweet potatoes? Are they not worth bringing up, fellowshiping on, and dissecting at gatherings and in church life, so that God’s chosen people can gain discernment? Are these not good, typical examples of negative behaviors? Problems concerning corrupt dispositions directly relate to man’s dispositional change, and they touch on man’s salvation. These are not small matters, so why do you not fellowship on and dissect these issues in gatherings? If you never seek the truth to resolve crucial matters such as these in gatherings, and instead, you fellowship endlessly on trivial and boring things, spending an entire gathering fellowshiping on one small issue, unable to resolve any substantive problems, wasting time as well—are you not neglecting your proper duties? If you continue in this way, all of you will become useless individuals of poor caliber, who are muddle-headed, and do not perform their duties well, and fall short of the truth. You do not fellowship on the things that you should fellowship on in gatherings, and you fellowship endlessly on things that you should not fellowship on in gatherings. You always fellowship on things in gatherings that have nothing to do with the truth, that belong to your own skewed understandings and trivial personal issues, making everyone investigate them along with you, pointlessly wasting time. Not only does this impact the life entry of God’s chosen people, it also delays the normal progression of the church’s work. Is this not disturbing and disrupting the church’s work? Behavior such as this should be labeled as a disturbance. It is an intentional disturbance, and people who act in this way should be restricted. In the future, gatherings should be limited to eating and drinking the words of God, fellowshiping on the truth, solving issues to do with corrupt dispositions, and resolving difficulties and problems in people’s duties. Any trivial and inconsequential matters or those concerning issues of everyday common sense should not be fellowshiped on in gatherings. Brothers and sisters can resolve these issues by fellowshiping among themselves; they do not need to be fellowshiped about in gatherings.
There are always people with warped understandings about God’s words in the church who split hairs. When I fellowship about man’s good behaviors, these people truly put effort into their behavior. They do not know why we must fellowship on these things. Tell Me, why do we need to fellowship on this issue? What do we want to achieve by fellowshiping on this issue? Let us talk first about why we must fellowship on this issue. In what context was the topic of man’s good behaviors and the criteria for the behaviors that God demands raised? It was raised while we were fellowshiping on the topic of “What It Means to Pursue the Truth.” This issue directly relates to how man should pursue the truth. The good behaviors that people exhibit as a result of practicing the truth concern the truth and are related to the truth. No matter how good a behavior may appear to man, if it does not involve practicing the truth, then it is something unrelated to the truth. Some people will say, “That’s wrong! Didn’t You say that good behaviors fall short of the truth? I don’t understand.” Can you explain this issue? In the context of fellowshiping on “What It Means to Pursue the Truth,” I dissected the behaviors that people believe to be good according to their notions, and I critiqued and condemned them. At the same time, I informed people what criteria God has put forward regarding man’s behavior, and I gave them a correct path by which to live out normal humanity, thus enabling them to possess criteria by which to evaluate the living out of normal humanity. Upon this foundation, the effect that I ultimately achieved was informing people that the behaviors they think are good according to their notions are not the criteria of the truth, nor do they involve the truth, and nor are they related to the truth, thus stopping people from mistakenly believing that observing these good behaviors is the pursuit of the truth. At the same time, I informed people that they have only fulfilled the standards for living out normal humanity when they have met the criteria for behavior that God demands. Since I have told people that all of the good behaviors advocated for by man are guises and false, that they are all an act and for show, and that they are all incorrect, that they are all adulterated with Satan’s schemes, now that these things have been taken away and people have been deprived of them, do they not know how to practice? They think to themselves, “Then what should I be living by? What are the actual criteria of the behavior that God demands?” The demands, criteria, and concrete statements that God has about man’s behavior—it is as simple as that. So long as people live out the realities that God demands, they will have met the standards for living out normal humanity. They will not split hairs, or be perplexed, or confused about this matter. When a person meets the standards that should be lived out by normal humanity, have they not resolved a practical problem on the road to pursuing the truth? Have they not removed an obstacle, and resolved a hindrance to living out normal humanity? At least, by now, external approaches that are praised by humanity, such as being well-educated and sensible, amiable, and approachable, are no longer the goals of man’s pursuit. Or to put it in more precise terms, it is no longer a goal that people who are pursuing the truth strive to live out externally, nor is it a standard which normal humanity ought to live out. It has been replaced with the need to be restrained, to possess saintly decency, and so on. These demands of God’s are the criteria for man to live out normal humanity; they are the likeness which normal humanity should live out. In this way, has the most basic condition, goal, and direction for pursuing the truth not been confirmed? The most fundamental, basic thing has been confirmed, which is that the goal of living out normal humanity is not for people to be well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, amiable, courteous, to respect the old and care for the young, and so on. Rather, it is for them to live out normal humanity as God demands. There are no guises and none of Satan’s schemes in this; instead, it is the actual living out, outpourings, and behavior of normal humanity. Is this not how it is? (Yes, it is.) From this perspective, when we fellowship on man’s good behaviors which fall under the topic of things that people think are right and good according to their notions, as well as fellowship on the criteria for the behavior that God demands—are these things related to pursuing the truth? (Yes, they are.) Yes, they are related. To a certain degree, this confirms the basic direction and goal for man’s pursuit of the truth. This means that, at the very least, your goal for living out normal humanity will be correct before you begin to pursue the truth. This goal is not a man-made approach, it is not packaging, or a disguise. Rather, it is the normal living out of the humanity that God demands. Although this topic is still somewhat removed from the real pursuit of the truth, it is essential to the overarching direction of the pursuit of the truth. It is the simplest and most basic criterion for behavior that man should understand. No matter how far removed this fellowship topic is from pursuing the truth, and how far removed it is from the criteria of the truth, because it pertains to God’s demands and to the behavioral criteria that God has given humanity, naturally, it also pertains to the criteria of the truth, to a certain degree. Therefore, people should understand these issues. These demands that God has for man’s behavior are criteria that people should adhere to, and they must not be ignored. After understanding these issues, people will, at least, not seek to be a well-educated and sensible, gentle and refined, courteous, approachable, or amiable sort of person in living out normal humanity, and in their external approaches—like how western people, in particular, expect men to be gentlemen, to open doors for women, to pull out a woman’s chair for her when she is sitting down, and to give women priority in public places—once people gain discernment over these good behaviors, they will, at the very least, not take them as their standards when they strive to live out normal humanity, or when they pursue the behaviors of normal humanity. Instead, they will abandon these things in their hearts and minds; they will no longer be influenced and bound by them. This is something that you ought to do. If there is someone who still says, “Well, that person isn’t very well-educated and sensible,” what will your reaction be? You will glance at them, and indicate to them, “You misspoke. This is God’s house. What do you mean, ‘well-educated and sensible’? That isn’t the truth, and it isn’t the human likeness that we’re meant to live out.” Some people say, “Our leader doesn’t respect the old and care for the young. I’m already advanced in age, yet she doesn’t call me Auntie, she just calls me by my first name. She shouldn’t be doing that. My grandchildren are older than her! By doing this isn’t she looking down on me? She isn’t friendly or good with people either. Judging from her behavior, she doesn’t seem fit to be a leader.” What do you think of this view? Respecting the old and caring for the young is not the truth. You should not evaluate people based on their external behaviors and manifestations, but according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. Only these are the principles for evaluating people. Then, how should we evaluate leaders and workers? You should look at whether they do practical work, at whether they can lead God’s chosen people to eat and drink the words of God and understand the truth, at whether they can use the truth to resolve problems in the church and complete some crucial jobs. For example, how is the gospel work going? How is the church life? Are God’s chosen people performing their duties well? How are all the different specialist tasks progressing? Have nonbelievers, evil people, and antichrists been cleared out? These are the church’s crucial jobs. Evaluating leaders and workers is mainly done by looking at how well they perform these jobs. If they are effective in all these areas, then they are a competent leader. Even if their behavior is slightly lacking, it is not a big issue. Just looking at external behaviors is not the standard for evaluating whether a leader or worker is suitable. If a person looked at this through man’s perspective, it would seem like the leader was rude because she never called an older woman Auntie or Grandma. But if they used God’s words to evaluate her, this leader is satisfactory, and God’s chosen people elected the right person because she can shoulder every aspect of the church’s work, she is helpful and beneficial to the life entry of every one of God’s chosen people, and she does the gospel work well. Everyone should accept her leadership and cooperate with her work. If someone does not cooperate with this leader’s work, or makes things difficult for her, or if they look for leverage so that they can criticize her just because this leader does not possess good external behaviors like respecting the old and caring for the young, this is not beneficial to the church’s work. This is acting in an unprincipled way toward a leader and worker, and it is a manifestation of disrupting and disturbing the church’s work. People like this are not in the right; they are doing evil. If you see a leader or worker who does not respect their elders, and as a result, you think that they are not such a good person, and you do not accept their leadership, and you even condemn them, what mistake are you making? This is the evil result of evaluating people using the standards of man, according to the views of traditional culture. If everyone can evaluate people and elect leaders and workers in accordance with God’s words and the truth, it will be accurate and in line with God’s will. People will be able to both treat others fairly, and to maintain the normal progression of the church’s work. God will be satisfied, and man will be satisfied. Is this not the case?
Since I dissected man’s so-called “good behaviors,” and fellowshiped on the standards of demands that God has for man’s behavior, the perspective from which people view others, and the standards which they use to evaluate them have changed; since the field of vision in which people see others is different, the results of people’s evaluations are different, too. If people use God’s words as the basis of their evaluations, then the result will definitely be correct, just, objective, and in everybody’s interests. If the perspective, method, and basis for people’s evaluations are the things that man thinks are right and good, then what will the result be? Someone may end up wrongly accusing or condemning good people, or they may be misled by hypocrites, and be unable to assess and treat a person justly. As man’s basis is erroneous, the final result will certainly be wrong, unjust, and not in line with God’s will. So, is it necessary to dissect and fellowship about the essence of people’s notions of good behavior? Does this have any relation to the pursuit of the truth? They are very closely related! Even though this topic only touches on people living out normal humanity, and man’s external approaches and outpourings, when people have the correct criteria that God demands for living out normal humanity, they will have correct and standardized bases and criteria for evaluating others, for viewing people and things, and for comporting themselves and acting. So, in this regard, will the direction, path, and goal of their pursuit of the truth not be more accurate? (Yes, it will be.) It will be more accurate, and more standardized. Although these topics are somewhat simple, they are related to man’s views on people and things, and to man’s comportment and actions in the most practical, real, and closest way—they are not empty at all.
I have spoken a lot already on the topic of what people believe to be right and good according to their notions—I have repeated Myself over and over in order to make you understand that although these topics are, to an extent, removed from the truth, and they do not reach as high as the truth, they are related to man’s views on people and things, and to man’s comportment and actions. Therefore, do not regard these topics as non-truths, or as a type of knowledge or theory. They are not empty. The things that people regard as right and good in their notions are always in the depths of their hearts, controlling their thoughts, controlling the perspective and standpoint from which they view people and things, and how they comport themselves and act. Therefore, these things must be clearly explained, so that people can understand and gain discernment over them, and thereby let go of man’s notions of good behavior and things of this sort, and never again treat these things as positive, or as the behavioral criteria for their views on people and things, and for their comportment and actions. Those things are absolutely not God’s words, let alone the truth. What you need to do is constantly correct the viewpoint and stance from which you view people and things, and comport yourselves and act, while also constantly examining whether each notion and viewpoint that arises in your mind is in line with the truth. You must promptly reverse your fallacious notions and viewpoints, and then hold to the correct stance, and view people and things, and comport yourselves and act according to God’s words, using the behavioral criteria that God requires. This is the most basic practice of the pursuit of the truth. It is also a sort of direction and goal of pursuit which you should possess when striving to attain salvation and to live out normal humanity. As you have just finished listening to these words, your understanding of them may not be that deep or concrete, but do not worry. After your experience of God’s words continuously deepens, and after you continuously dissect and discern the things that are believed to be right within the notions of traditional culture, you will ultimately be able to abandon the various claims of traditional culture. Never again will you evaluate people’s behavior according to traditional culture; instead, you will evaluate people according to God’s words and the truth. In this way, you will have completely cleared out and abandoned the notions of traditional culture. If you do not understand the truth, and just understand simple doctrines, and you know that the behaviors demanded by traditional culture are invalid, you may think, “I am a modern person, set apart from the worldly masses. I’m not very traditional and I’m really fed up with traditional culture, I don’t like to observe tedious customs and rites.” But when you view people and things, you will still very naturally use your past notions to view and evaluate them. At that time, you will realize that all your claims about being a modern person, who is not old-fashioned or very traditional, and who can accept the truth, were actually false and wrong, and that you were tricked by your own feelings. Only then will you realize that old thoughts, views, and notions had rooted themselves deep within your heart long ago, and that they do not immediately disappear when you change your notions or abandon certain thoughts. Saying that you are a person of the new age, a modern person, is just a surface-level label; it is only because you are born in a different generation and age, but all of those things which are old-fashioned and antagonistic toward God, that are common to all mankind are present in you too, without exception. So long as you are human, you will have these things in you. If you do not believe this, then gain more experience. There will come a day when you say “Amen” to these words of Mine. Those people who do not understand spiritual matters, and those who are haughty and egotistical, think, “I have a master’s and a doctorate. I have lived many years in this society, and I have been exposed to the culture and education of the new age, especially western education. How could I still harbor those old-fashioned things? Traditions are the worst. I loathe those pointless rules. When my family gets together and talks about traditional things and rules, I don’t want to listen at all.” Do not rush to deny it. There will eventually come a day when you let go of these ideas of yours. You will admit that there could not be a more ordinary member of the Satan-corrupted human race than you. Although you did not willingly accept or pour forth the old-fashioned notions inside of you, traditional culture and the ancestors of the human race infected and conditioned you with them long ago. These things exist, without exception, in your inner landscape, and in your thoughts and notions. Why is this? Because these aspects of traditional culture are not simple statements, nor are they simple sayings or approaches. Rather, they are a type of thinking and theory. They have the effect of misleading and corrupting man. These sayings and approaches do not come from corrupt humanity, they come from Satan. So long as you are living under Satan’s power, you cannot avoid being conditioned, misled, and corrupted by these things. Now that you have heard My words, you will feel that they are all facts and the truth. When you have experienced these words of Mine, you will discover that, although you do not like traditional culture, or tedious customs and rites, or pointless rules, the bases for your views on people and things, and for your comportment and actions inevitably come from man. They belong to the core of traditional culture, they are things within traditional culture. Your views on people and things, and your comportment and actions are not based in God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. At that time, you will know, you will be able to clearly see that before people have gained the truth, if they do not pursue or understand the truth, then they carry Satan’s poison, a piece of Satan, and Satan’s schemes with them as they live out the most basic normal humanity. Everything they live out is negative, and despised and rejected by God. It is all of the flesh, and has nothing to do with the positive things that God puts forward, and likes, and that conform with His will. There is no overlap at all, there is not even any similarity between them. It is very important to see these problems clearly, otherwise, people will not know what it means to practice the truth. They will forever cling to the good behaviors that man believes to be positive things, so their behavior and manifestations will never meet with God’s approval. If a person loves the truth, they will be able to accept and pursue it. They will view people and things, and comport themselves and act according to God’s words, with the truth as their criterion. In this way, they will be able to embark on the life path that God has indicated to man. Viewing people and things, and comporting oneself and acting according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion—this principle of the truth is extremely important and imperative for man. It is a principle of the truth which one must possess when pursuing salvation and striving to live out a meaningful life. You must accept this. There is no room for choice in this matter, and there are no exceptions for anyone. If you do not pursue the truth, and do not accept this principle of the truth, no matter whether you are old or young, knowledgeable or not, no matter if you are a person of faith or a person of little faith, and regardless of what social class you belong to, or what ethnicity you are, without exception, you will have nothing to do with the standards that God demands. What you must do is strive to view people and things, and to comport yourself and act according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. This is the one and only road that you should pursue. You should not pick and choose, saying, “I will accept something as the truth if it fits with my notions, but if it doesn’t, I will refuse to accept it. I will do things my own way, there’s no need for me to pursue the truth. I don’t need to look at people, matters, and things from the standpoint of God’s words; I have my own views, and they are quite noble, objective, and positive. They aren’t that different from God’s words, so, of course, they can replace God’s words and the truth. I don’t need to practice God’s words in this regard, or act according to them.” This kind of view and method of pursuit are wrong. No matter how good or right a person’s views are, they are still wrong. They can in no way replace the truth. If you cannot accept the truth, whatever you pursue will be wrong. That is why I say that you have no choice in the matter of “viewing people and things, and comporting oneself and acting according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion.” All you can do is dutifully act according to this phrase, and carry out and personally experience it, gradually gaining knowledge of it, recognizing your own corrupt disposition, and entering into the reality of this phrase. Only then will the goal you ultimately achieve be the goal one ought to achieve by pursuing the truth. Otherwise, your hard work, everything you have renounced, and all the prices that you have paid will evaporate, they will all be in vain. Do you understand?
What does it mean to pursue the truth? (To view people and things, and to comport oneself and act according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion.) That is right. Practice these words conscientiously, absolutely, and comprehensively. Make this phrase the goal of your pursuit, and the reality of your life, then you will be a person who pursues the truth. Do not be contaminated in any way, do not be contaminated with any will of man, and do not hold onto any mentality of luck. That is the right way to act, and you will then have hope of gaining the truth. So, is it necessary to fellowship and dissect man’s notions of good behavior? (Yes, it is.) What positive guidance and assistance can it provide you? Can these words become the basis and criterion for how you view people and things, and comport yourself and act? (Yes, they can.) If they can, then pray-read these two fellowships well during your gatherings and devotionals. Once you have a thorough grasp of these words, you will be able to accurately view people and things, and comport yourself and act according to God’s words. That way, you will have a basis and criterion for what you say and do. You will see people accurately, and the perspective and stance from which you view things will be correct too. You will no longer view people and things based on your emotions or feelings, nor based on traditional culture or satanic philosophies. When you have the right basis, the results of your views on people and things will be relatively accurate. Is this not how it is? (Yes.) Therefore, you cannot just take or leave these words. I am not gathering with you and fellowshiping on these topics just to pass the time or just to amuse Myself because I am bored. I do it because these problems are common to all people, and they are problems that people must understand on their path of pursuing the truth and achieving salvation. Yet, people are still not clear on these issues. They often become bound and entangled in these issues. These problems obstruct and bother them. Of course, people do not understand the path to achieving salvation, either. No matter whether it is from a passive or active perspective, or whether it is from a positive or negative perspective, people should make sure that they are clear on and understand these problems. This way, when you encounter problems like this in real life and are faced with a choice, you will be able to seek the truth; the perspective and stance from which you view the problem will be correct, and you will be able to adhere to the principles. That way, your decisions and choices will have a basis, and be in line with God’s words. Never again will you be misled by satanic philosophies and fallacies; never again will you be troubled by Satan’s poisons and absurd claims. Then, when it comes to viewing people and things, which is the most basic of levels, you will be capable of being objective and just in how you see a thing or person; you will not be influenced or controlled by your feelings or by satanic philosophies. Therefore, although recognizing and discerning the behaviors that people believe to be good according to their notions is not a major matter in the process of pursuing the truth, it is closely linked to people’s daily lives. In other words, people frequently encounter these things in their daily lives. For example, say something happens, and you want to act in one way, but another person puts forward a different view, and you are not comfortable with the way that person typically behaves—how should you treat their view? How should you handle this matter? It would be wrong for you to just ignore them. Because you harbor a particular view or assessment of them, or a conclusion that you have drawn about them, these things will sway your thinking and judgment, and they are likely to influence your verdict on this matter. That is why you must approach their differing view calmly, discerning it and seeing it clearly according to the truth. If what they said is in line with the principles of the truth, then you should accept it. If you cannot see the matter clearly, when you encounter a situation or a person like this again, you will always feel confused, unprepared, agitated, and flustered. Some people may even adopt extreme measures to approach and deal with the situation, the ultimate results of which surely no one wants to see. If you use the standards of measurement that God demands to view a person, the ultimate result is likely to be good and positive—there will be no conflict between the two of you, and you will get along. However, if you use Satan’s logic and the standards of man’s notions of good behavior to view the person, it is likely that the two of you will end up fighting and arguing. The result will be that you are unable to get along, and many things will follow from that: You may undermine each other, belittle each other, and judge one another, in serious cases you may even get into a physical fight, and in the end, both sides will be hurt and lose. No one wants to see that. Therefore, the things that Satan instills in people can never help them to view a person or thing objectively, justly, or reasonably. Whereas, when people view and evaluate a thing or person according to the behavioral criteria that God demands and has informed man of, and according to God’s words and the truth, the end result will certainly be objective, because it is not contaminated with impetuousness, or man’s emotions and feelings. Only good things can come from this. In light of this, what do people need to accept: man’s notions of good things, or the behavioral criteria that God demands? (The behavioral criteria that God demands.) All of you know the answer to that question, and can respond to it correctly. Alright, we will leave our fellowship on this topic here. What you need to do next is continue to ponder and fellowship on these things, organize these issues in a systematic fashion, come up with several principles of practice and paths of practice, and then continually undergo and experience them in your daily lives, and enter into the reality of these words. Naturally, entering into the reality of these words is the first reality of the truth that people pursue and enter into. In this way, through the course of experience, people gradually come to varying degrees of understanding and knowledge of each facet of the content of this fellowship, and they progressively make gains from different perspectives. The more you gain, the deeper your experiential knowledge and entry into these words will become. The deeper you enter and experience them, the deeper your entry into and experiential knowledge of your views on people and things, and your comportment and actions will become. By contrast, if you do not enter into these words at all, and just look at and understand the literal meaning of these words, and leave it at that, living as you always have, not seeking the truth when problems arise, and not holding those problems up against God’s words for comparison, or resolving them according to God’s words, then you will never be able to enter into the reality of God’s words. What does it mean to say that you will never be able to enter into the reality of the truth? It means that you are not someone who loves the truth, and you will never practice the truth, because you will never view people and things, or comport yourself and act according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. You say, “I still live well even though I don’t take God’s words as my basis, or the truth as my criterion.” What do you mean “live well”? Are things going well so long as you are not dead? The goal of your pursuit is not to achieve salvation, and you do not accept or understand the truth, yet you say that you are living well. If that is the case, your quality of life is very subpar, and the quality of the humanity that you live out is very low. To borrow from a colloquial saying, you are more like a fiend than a person, because you do not eat and drink God’s words and you do not understand the truth, you still live by a satanic disposition and satanic philosophies—you are merely a non-human cloaked in human skin. What quality or value does the life of a person like that have? It has no benefit to you or to others. The quality of this sort of life is so poor—it has no value.
Do you know why I am fellowshiping and dissecting these traditional notions and traditional culture today? Is it just because I do not like them? (No, that is not the reason.) Then what is the significance of fellowshiping on these topics? What is the ultimate goal of it? (It helps us to examine which behaviors and manifestations we still harbor that are dictated by traditional culture, and living by satanic philosophies. After we come to understand the truth and gain discernment, we will be able to live out normal humanity according to the demands and criteria that God has given us, and walk the path of pursuing the truth.) This is correct, but a bit wordy. What is the simplest and most direct answer? There is only one ultimate goal of fellowshiping these topics, and that is to make people understand what the truth is, and what the practice of the truth is. Once people are clear on these two things, they will have discernment over the good behaviors that traditional culture promotes. They will no longer treat those good behaviors as standards for practicing the truth or for living out human likeness. Only by understanding the truth can people cast off the shackles of traditional culture, and cast off their erroneous understandings and views about practicing the truth and the good behaviors that people ought to possess. Only in this way can people practice and pursue the truth correctly. If people do not know what the truth is and they take traditional culture to be the truth, then the direction, goals, and path of their pursuit will all be wrong. They will have parted from God’s words, contravened the truth, and strayed from the true way. As such, they are walking their own path and going astray. If people who do not understand the truth are incapable of seeking it and practicing it, what will the end result be? They will not gain the truth. And if they do not gain the truth, then no matter how hard those people believe, it will amount to nothing. Therefore, today’s fellowship and dissection of these traditional notions and these claims of traditional culture is a very important and highly significant topic for all believers. You believe in God, but do you actually understand what the truth is? Do you really know how to pursue the truth? Are you sure of your goals? Are you sure of your path? If you are not sure of anything, how can you pursue the truth? Could you be pursuing the wrong thing? Could you be straying from the path? This is extremely likely. So, although the words that I am fellowshiping on today seem very simple on the surface, words that people immediately understand as soon as they hear them, and from your perspective, they do not even seem worth mentioning, this topic and this content directly relates to the truth, and concerns God’s demands. This is what the majority of you are not aware of. Although, in terms of doctrine, you understand that traditional culture and mankind’s social sciences are not the truth, and that ethnic customs and practices are certainly not the truth, do you actually see the essence of these things clearly? Have you really cast off the shackles of these things? Not necessarily. God’s house has never required people to put effort into studying ethnic culture, customs, and practices, and God’s house certainly has not made people accept anything from traditional culture. God’s house has never mentioned these things. However, the topic that I am fellowshiping on today is very important. It is necessary for Me to say this clearly so that you understand. The goal of Me saying these things is none other than to make people understand the truth and God’s will, but can you all understand what I am saying? If you put in some effort, pay a bit of a price, and put some energy into it, you will ultimately be able to make gains in this area and succeed in understanding these truths. And by coming to understand these truths, and then seeking to enter into the reality of these truths, it will be easy for you to get results.
One aspect of the things that people believe to be right and good according to their notions that we fellowshiped on before was man’s good behavior. What was the other aspect? (Morality and the quality of man’s humanity.) In simple terms, it is man’s moral conduct. Although corrupted humans all live according to their satanic dispositions, they are exceptionally good at disguising themselves. In addition to sayings related specifically to surface-level approaches and behaviors, they have also produced many sayings and requirements concerning man’s moral conduct. What sayings about moral conduct are circulated among people? List ones that you know and are familiar with, then we will pick a few common sayings to dissect and fellowship on. (Don’t pocket the money you pick up. Derive pleasure from helping others.) (A kindness received should be gratefully repaid.) (Sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others.) (Requite evil with good.) (A woman must be virtuous, kind, and meek.) (Be strict with yourself and tolerant of others.) Yes, all of those are good examples. In addition, there is, “When drinking the water of a well, one should never forget who dug it,” “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,” and “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” These are all requirements put forward regarding man’s moral conduct. Are there any others? (The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring.) This is also a requirement that mankind’s traditional culture has put forward concerning man’s moral conduct, and a standard for evaluating people’s moral conduct. What else is there? (What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.) This one is a bit simpler, it also counts. There is also, “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” “One should never be corrupted by wealth, changed by poverty, or bent by force,” and “Bend to a task and strive to do your utmost until your dying day.” Are these not some other examples? (Yes, they are.) As is this one, “The silkworms of spring will weave until they die, and the candles will weep their wicks away.” Look at how high their expectations are for man’s conduct and comportment! They want people to burn through their entire lives like a candle and become ash. A person is only deemed to possess high moral character when they comport themselves in this way. Is this not a high expectation? (Yes, it is.) People have been influenced and bound by these aspects of traditional culture for thousands of years, and what is the result? Are they living out human likeness? Are they living out meaningful lives? People live for these things that traditional culture demands, sacrificing their youths, or even their whole lives for them, all the while believing that their lives are very proud and glorious. In the end, when they die, they do not know what they died for, or whether their deaths had any value and meaning, or whether they met the demands of their Creator. People are completely ignorant of these things. What other sayings and requirements does traditional culture have concerning people’s moral conduct? “Every person shares responsibility for the fate of their country,” and “Do your best to handle well whatever other people have entrusted to you,” these fit the bill. There is also, “A gentleman’s word is his bond,” this is a requirement that concerns man’s trustworthiness. Is there anything else? (Grow like a lily from the mud unsullied.) This phrase has some overlap with this topic. I think we have listed enough examples. The sayings that we have just covered include requirements that have been put forward regarding man’s dedication, patriotism, trustworthiness, chastity, as well as principles for interacting with others, and how people should treat someone who has helped them, or how to repay kindness, and so on. Some of these sayings are simpler, while others are a bit deeper. The simplest are: “Derive pleasure from helping others,” “Don’t pocket the money you pick up,” and, “One should never be corrupted by wealth, changed by poverty, or bent by force.” These are demands that concern man’s comportment. “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” is a demand relating to people’s moral integrity and chastity. These more or less fall within the scope of the concepts of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness of traditional Chinese culture. How many sayings did we list just now? (Twenty-one.) Read them out for Me. (“Don’t pocket the money you pick up,” “Derive pleasure from helping others,” “Be strict with yourself and tolerant of others,” “Requite evil with good,” “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” “Sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others,” “A woman must be virtuous, kind, and meek,” “When drinking the water of a well, one should never forget who dug it,” “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,” “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring,” “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others,” “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” “One should never be corrupted by wealth, changed by poverty, or bent by force,” “Bend to a task and strive to do your utmost until your dying day,” “The silkworms of spring will weave until they die, and the candles will weep their wicks away,” “Every person shares responsibility for the fate of their country,” “Do your best to handle well whatever other people have entrusted to you,” “A gentleman’s word is his bond,” and “Grow like a lily from the mud unsullied.”) Today, we will do an advance study of all the sorts of “good” qualities that mankind has summarized regarding moral conduct. Traditional culture’s various claims about moral conduct put forward different requirements for man’s humanity and moral conduct. Some require people to repay kindnesses that they receive, some demand that people take joy in helping others, some are methods for dealing with people that one dislikes, while others are methods for dealing with other people’s flaws and shortcomings, or with people who have problems. In these areas, they provide people with limits, and put forward some demands and standards. All of these are demands and standards that traditional culture has regarding man’s moral conduct, and they are all things that are circulated among people. Anyone who grew up in China will have heard these sayings frequently, and know them by heart. These claims about moral conduct from traditional culture more or less all fall within the scope of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Of course, there are some sayings that fall outside of this scope, but the major ones more or less all fall within it. You should be clear on this.
Today, we will not fellowship in a concrete way about what a particular statement on moral conduct is all about, nor will we analyze in a concrete way what the essence of any particular saying is. I will get you to do a bit of preparatory study first. Look at what differences there are between traditional culture’s claims about moral conduct, and the standards that God demands of man for living out normal humanity. Which sayings from traditional culture clearly conflict with God’s words and the truth? If interpreted literally, which sayings resemble God’s words and the truth, or are somewhat connected to them? Which of these sayings do you believe to be positive things, and which of these sayings did you once strictly hold yourself to after you came to believe in God, practicing and complying with it as though it were the criterion for your pursuit of the truth? For example, “Sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others.” Are you all familiar with this saying? After coming to believe in God, did you not think that you ought to be a good person like this? And when you sacrificed your own interests for the sake of others, did you not think that you had pretty good humanity, and that God would surely like you? Or, before you believed in God, maybe you believed that people who possess the quality of “requiting evil with good” were good people—you were just not willing to do it, you were unable to do it, and could not hold to it, but after you came to believe in God, you held yourself to that standard, and you were able to practice “forgiving and forgetting” toward those people who hurt you in the past, or whom you used to resent or dislike. You may think that this saying about moral conduct aligns with when the Lord Jesus said to forgive people seventy times seven times, and thus be very willing to restrain yourself according to it. You may even practice and adhere to it as though it were the truth, and think that people who practice requiting evil with good are people who practice the truth and follow the way of God. Do you possess thoughts or manifestations like these? Which saying do you still think is similar to the truth and God’s words in its essence, to the extent that it could even replace the truth, that it would not be too much to say that it is the truth? Of course, it should be easy to discern the saying: “Every person shares responsibility for the fate of their country.” Most people can see that this saying is not the truth, and that it is just a misleading, high-sounding slogan. “Every person shares responsibility for the fate of their country,” is something said to unbelievers who do not have faith in God; it is a requirement that a country’s government makes toward its people, to teach people to love their country. This saying is inconsistent with the truth, and it has no basis at all in God’s words. It can be said that this saying is fundamentally not the truth, and that it cannot replace the truth. This saying is a viewpoint that comes entirely from Satan and originates in Satan, and it serves the ruling class. It has nothing at all to do with God’s words or the truth. That is why the saying “Every person shares responsibility for the fate of their country,” is absolutely not the truth, nor is it something that a person with normal humanity ought to uphold. So, what kind of people are capable of mistaking this saying for the truth? People who are always devising ways to acquire reputation, status, and personal profit, and those who want to be officials. They practice this saying as though it were the truth in order to curry favor with the ruling classes and achieve their own aims. There are some sayings that are not easy for people to discern. Although people know that these sayings are not the truth, they still feel in their hearts that the sayings are correct and in line with doctrine. They want to live according to these sayings and comport themselves in that way in order to raise the level of their morality, and heighten their personal charisma, and at the same time, make it so that others think that they have humanity and that they are not non-human. Which sayings were hard for you to discern? (I think that “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” was very hard to discern. I treated it as though it were a positive thing, and thought that those who gratefully repaid kindnesses were people who possessed conscience. “Do your best to handle well whatever other people have entrusted to you” is another one. It means that since one has accepted a task from someone else, they should do everything they can to make sure that it is done well. I felt that this was a positive thing, and something that a person with conscience and reason ought to do.) Who else? (There is also, “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring.” I thought that a person who could do this was someone of relative humanity and morality.) Anything else? (“A gentleman’s word is his bond.” I thought that if someone did what they said and was trustworthy, that was good moral conduct.) Before, you thought that this was good moral conduct. How do you see it now? (We have to look at what the nature of that “word” is—is it right or is it wrong? Is it positive or is it negative? If somebody says to evil people and antichrists, “I will protect you. A gentleman’s word is his bond,” and then, when the house of God investigates and looks into the situation, this person protects those evil people and antichrists, then they are doing evil and resisting God.) This discernment is correct. You must look at the nature of this “word”—whether it is positive or negative. If someone is doing something bad or evil while practicing “A gentleman’s word is his bond,” then the footsteps of their evildoing are like the mad rush of fast horses, running straight into hell and dropping into the bottomless pit. But if their “word” is in line with the truth, and it has a sense of righteousness, and it protects the work of God’s house, and pleases God, then it is correct to practice “A gentleman’s word is his bond.” From these examples, you can see that you must be discerning toward the words of traditional culture. You must discern between different situations and backgrounds, and you cannot use these words indiscriminately. There are some words that obviously do not correspond with reality, and are clearly wrong. You must be particularly cautious when dealing with these words. You must handle them like heresies and fallacies. There are some words that are only right within certain contexts and scopes. In a different context or environment, the words no longer hold up; they are wrong and harmful to people. If you cannot discern them, you are likely to be poisoned and harmed by them. No matter whether the words of traditional culture are right or wrong, or whether or not they hold water in the eyes of man, none of them are the truth and none of them are in line with God’s words. This is certain. The things that man views as right are not necessarily the things that God views as right. The words that man views as good are not necessarily beneficial toward people when they are put into practice. In any case, regardless of whether people practice them or not, or whether they have use for them, things that are not in line with the truth, that are not the truth, are all harmful to man, they should not be accepted and must not be used. There are many people who are unable to discern these things. They treat things which man views as right, or which corrupted mankind commonly agrees are right, as the truth, and adhere to them and practice them as though they were the truth. Is this appropriate? Can one gain God’s approval by practicing false truths and pseudo-truths? Anything that mankind commonly agrees is right and the truth is false, an imitation, and should be rejected forever. Now, are the things that you think are right and positive actually the truth? In thousands of years, no person has ever denied these words; people all believe that these words are correct and positive, but can these words actually become the truth? (No, they cannot.) If these words cannot become the truth, then are they themselves the truth? (No, they are not.) They are not the truth. If people treat these words as the truth, and mix them in with God’s words and practice them together, can those words and sayings rise to the level of the truth? They absolutely cannot. No matter how people pursue or cling to these things, God will never approve of them, because God is holy. He absolutely does not permit corrupted humans to mix satanic things in with the truth, or with His words. All of the things that arise from man’s thoughts and views come from Satan—no matter how good they are, they still are not the truth, and cannot become a person’s life.
Traditional culture’s sayings about moral conduct come from Satan. They have arisen among corrupted humans, and they are only suitable for unbelievers and those who do not love the truth. People who believe in God and pursue the truth should first be able to discern these things, and reject them, because these sayings will have some negative effects on people, they will disorientate them and make them take the wrong path. For example, among the examples we just gave, there is the saying: “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands.” Let us first talk about, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings.” If this king is a wise, capable, and positive figure, then you supporting him, following him, and defending him shows that you have humanity, morals, and noble character. But if the king is despotic and fatuous, is a devil, and you still follow him, defend him, and do not turn against him, what is this “loyalty” that you possess? It is a foolish, blind loyalty; it is blind and foolish. In that case, your loyalty is wrong and it has become a negative thing. When it comes to this kind of demon king and devil, you should no longer adhere to the saying: “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings.” You should abandon, reject, and distance yourself from this king—you should abandon the darkness and choose the light. If you still choose to remain loyal to this demon king, then you are his lackey and accomplice. So, in certain circumstances and contexts, the idea, or positive meaning and values that this saying is extolling do not exist. From this you can see that although this saying sounds very righteous and positive, its application is limited to a few particular circumstances and contexts; it is not applicable in every circumstance or context. If people blindly and foolishly adhere to this saying, they will only lose their way and fall onto the wrong path. The consequences of this are unthinkable. The next clause in this saying is: “a good woman cannot marry two husbands.” What does a “good woman” refer to here? It refers to a woman who is pure, who is faithful to just one husband. She must be faithful to him until the end, and never have a change of heart, regardless of whether he is a good person or not. Even if her husband dies, she must remain a widow until the end of her days. That is a so-called pure and faithful wife. Traditional culture requires all women to be pure and faithful wives. Was this a fair way of treating women? Why could men have more than one wife, but women could not remarry even if their husbands died? Men and women did not have equal status. If a woman was constrained by the words, “a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” and chose to be a pure and faithful wife, what could she gain? At most, a monument commemorating her purity would be erected after she died. Is this meaningful? Would you agree that women had a hard lot in life? Why did they not have the right to remarry after their husbands died? This is the view that traditional culture extols, and it is a notion that mankind has always clung to. If a woman’s husband died leaving behind several children and she could not afford to take care of them, what could she do? She had to beg for food. If she did not want her children to suffer and she wished to find a way to survive, she had to remarry and live with her name being sullied, and the condemnation of public opinion, and being shunned and looked down upon by society and the masses. She had to eat dirt and put up with society’s insults so that her children could have a normal upbringing. From this perspective, although she did not live up to the standard of “a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” were her behaviors, approaches, and sacrifices not worthy of respect? At least when her children grew up and understood their mother’s love for them, they would respect her, and they would certainly not look down on or shun her for her behavior. Instead, they would be grateful, and think that a mother like theirs was exceptional. However, popular opinion would not agree with them. From the perspective of society’s opinion, which is the same as the perspective of “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” which man advocates for, no matter how you look at it, this mother was not a good person, because she contravened this traditional notion of morality. As a result, they would label her as having problematic moral conduct. So, why would her children’s thoughts and views toward her differ from traditional culture’s view of her? Because her children would view this issue from the perspective of survival. If this woman had not remarried, she and her children would have no means of survival. If she had held to this traditional notion, then there would have been no way for her to live—she would have starved to death. She chose to remarry to save her children’s lives and her own. In light of this context, is traditional culture’s and popular opinion’s condemnation of her not completely wrong? They care nothing for whether people live or die! So, what is the meaning and value of holding to this traditional notion of morality? It may be said that there is no value in it at all. It is something that hurts and harms people. As victims of this notion, this woman and her children had firsthand experience of this fact, but nobody heeded them or sympathized with them. They could do nothing but swallow their pain. What do you think, is this society fair? Why is this kind of society and country so evil and dark? It is because the traditional culture that Satan has implanted in man still controls people’s thinking and dominates public opinion. To this day, no person has been able to see this issue clearly. The unbelievers still cling to the notions and views of traditional culture, and think that they are correct. To date, they have not abandoned these things.
Now, when we look at the saying, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” you can see that no matter what perspective we view it from, it is not a positive thing, it is purely man’s notion and imagining. Why do I say that it is not a positive thing? (Because it is not the truth, it is man’s notion and imagining.) In fact, very few people can do what this phrase asks. It is just an empty theory and man’s notion and imagining, but because it took root in people’s hearts, it became a sort of popular opinion, and many people judged matters of this sort according to it. So, what is the essence of the perspective and stance from which popular opinion judged matters of this sort? Why did popular opinion judge a woman who remarried so harshly? Why did people criticize this kind of person, and shun and look down on her? What was the reason? You do not understand, do you? You are unclear when it comes to facts; you just know that it is not the truth and that it is not in line with God’s words. Well, I will tell you, and when I am done you will be able to see this sort of thing clearly. It is because popular opinion judged this woman based solely on one thing and one action—her remarrying—and narrowly defined the quality of her humanity based upon that one thing, rather than looking at the real quality of her humanity. Is that not unfair and unjust? Popular opinion did not look at how the woman’s humanity was usually—whether she was an evil person or a kind person, whether she loved positive things, whether she had hurt or harmed other people, or whether she was a loose woman before remarrying. Did people in society and popular opinion evaluate this woman comprehensively based on these things? (No, they didn’t.) Then what did people at the time base their evaluation on? They based it on the saying, “a good woman cannot marry two husbands.” Everyone thought, “Women should only marry once. Even if your husband dies, you should remain a widow for the rest of your life. You are a woman, after all. If you remain faithful to your husband’s memory and do not remarry, we will erect a monument commemorating your purity—we can even erect ten! No one cares how much you suffer, or how difficult it is for you to raise your children. No one will care even if you have to beg on the streets for food. You must still adhere to the saying: ‘a good woman cannot marry two husbands.’ Only by doing this will you be a good woman, and possess humanity and morals. If you remarry, then you are a bad woman and a slut.” What this implies is that only by not remarrying can a woman become a good, pure, and faithful person with noble moral conduct and character. Within traditional culture’s concepts of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, the saying, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” became the basis for appraising people. People treated this saying as though it were the truth, and used it as a standard for evaluating others. That is the essence of this matter. Because someone possessed one kind of behavior that did not conform with the requirements and standards put forward by traditional culture, they were labeled as having low-quality humanity and low moral conduct, as having poor and terrible humanity. Is that fair at all? (No, it’s not.) Then, in order to be a good woman, what must the circumstances be, and what price must you pay? If you want to be a good woman, you must be faithful to only one husband, and if your husband dies, you must remain a widow. You and your children must go down the streets begging, and endure being mocked, hit, yelled at, bullied, and insulted by others. Is that an appropriate way to treat women? (No, it is not.) Yet that is what humans do, they would rather see you begging along the streets, living with no roof over your head, not knowing where your next meal is coming from, and no one will care, sympathize, or pay any attention to you. No matter how many children you have or how hard your life is, even if your children starve to death, no one will care. But if you remarry, you are not a good woman. You will be inundated with words of scorn and loathing, and you will meet with more than a few words of abuse and condemnation. You will have all sorts of things said to you, and only your children and a small number of your relatives and friends will lend you words of sympathy and support. How did this come to be? It is directly connected to the education and conditioning of traditional culture. It is the result of the saying, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” that traditional culture advocates for. What can one see from these things? What is hidden within the saying: “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands”? Man’s falseness, hypocrisy, and brutality. A woman may have nothing to eat, she may be unable to survive, and be on the verge of dying from starvation, and no one will sympathize with her; instead, everyone will require that she preserve her purity. People would rather see her starve to death and erect a monument in her honor than let her choose to survive. In one respect, this issue exposes mankind’s obstinance. In another respect, it exposes mankind’s falseness and viciousness. Mankind does not offer any sympathy, understanding, or help to vulnerable groups or to those deserving of pity. On top of that, mankind adds insult to injury by using the ridiculous theory and rule that, “a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” to condemn people and push them to death. That is not fair to people. Not only does this go against God’s words, and the demands that the Lord of creation makes of mankind, at the same time, it contradicts the standards of man’s conscience and reason. Is the perspective from which the woman’s children viewed this issue fair, then? Did they not benefit tangibly from their mother’s second marriage and the price that she paid? With regard to the act itself, the children respected and supported their mother, but where did that support come from? It is simply because their mother chose to remarry for the sake of their survival, allowing them to go on living, and saving their lives. That is all. If their mother had not done it to save their lives, they would not approve of or support her decision to remarry. Therefore, as her children, their view of their mother’s remarriage was not truly fair. Either way, whether it was from the perspective of popular opinion or from the perspective of her children, the way that people treated this mother and the standards they used to evaluate her were not based upon the true nature of her humanity. That was the mistake that humans made in how they treated a woman who remarried. From this, it is plain to see that the saying put forward by traditional culture, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” does not come from God, but from Satan, and it has nothing at all to do with the truth. The perspectives from which people view all things, and the ways that they regard the morality or immorality of any given person are not based in the truth or in God’s words, they are based in the views of traditional culture, and in the demands made of man by traditional culture’s concepts of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. What are benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness? Where do these concepts come from? On the surface, it seems as though they come from sages of old and famous people, but in reality, they come from Satan. They are various sayings that Satan has put forward in order to control and restrict people’s behavior, and to establish a benchmark, model, and template for people’s moral conduct. In truth, these sages of old and famous people all had satanic natures and they all rendered service for Satan. They were devils who misled people. So, it is completely factual to say that these concepts came from Satan.
When people evaluate others’ moral character and whether their humanity is good or bad, they only do so based on a famous saying from traditional culture; they reach a verdict and conclusion on the quality of other people’s humanity based merely upon how they approach a single matter. This is obviously wrong and incorrect. So, how can a person evaluate whether someone’s humanity is good or bad in an accurate, objective, and fair way? What are the principles and standards for evaluating them? In accurate terms, the principles and standards for this evaluation must be the truth. Only the Creator’s words are the truth, and only they have authority and power. The words of corrupted humans are not the truth, they have no authority, and they should not be used as the basis or principles for evaluating someone. Therefore, the only accurate, objective, and fair way of evaluating people’s moral character and whether their humanity is good or bad, is by using the Creator’s words and the truth as one’s basis. “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” is a famous saying among corrupted humans. Its source is not right, it comes from Satan. If people measure the quality of others’ humanity based on Satan’s words, then their conclusions will definitely be wrong and unfair. So, how can one fairly and accurately evaluate the quality of a person’s morals and whether their humanity is good or bad? One must base it on the intent, goal, and results of that person’s actions, as well as the meaning and value of what they do, while also basing it on their views and the choices they make in terms of how they treat positive things. That will be completely accurate. The person does not necessarily need to be a believer in God—you can see that there are some unbelievers who, though they were not chosen by God, objectively have decent humanity, to the extent that their humanity is even of higher quality than some who believe in God. Just like how some religious people, who have accepted God’s work of the last days, and have believed in God for many years, always think about asking for money from the church when they host the brothers and sisters, and always lament to the brothers and sisters that they are poor, while harboring greed for money and things. When the brothers and sisters give them some meat, vegetables, grains, and so on to use while they are hosting, they secretly keep them for their own family to eat. What kind of people are these? Is their humanity good or bad? (It is bad.) People like this are greedy, they like to take advantage of people, and they have low character. Some unbelievers, who accepted God’s work of the last days directly, are very willing to host the brothers and sisters. They insist on using their own money to host them, and refuse the church’s money. No matter how much money the church gives them, they do not use one cent of it, and they do not lust after any of it—they save it all and give it back to the church later. When brothers and sisters buy things for them to use while hosting, they save all of them for the brothers and sisters that they host to use and eat. Once those brothers and sisters have left, they put these things into storage, and only bring them out again the next time that some brothers and sisters come to stay. There is a very clear distinction in their minds, and they have never misappropriated any of the church’s things. Who taught them this? No one told them, so how did they know what to do? How were they able to do it? The majority of people are unable to do this, but they can. What is the problem here? Is it not a difference in humanity? It is a difference in the quality of their humanity, and a difference in their morals. Since there is a difference between the morals of these two types of people, is there a difference between their attitudes toward the truth and positive things? (Yes, there is.) Of these two types of people, which type will find it easier to enter into the truth? Which type is more likely to pursue the truth? People with good morals are more likely to pursue the truth. Is this how you see it? You do not see it this way, all you do is blindly apply the rules, thinking that religious people who know how to recite the words and phrases of doctrine should be capable of doing this, and that unbelievers who have just begun believing in God, who are not yet able to recite the words and phrases of doctrine, are incapable of doing it. However, reality is just the opposite. Is it not wrong and ridiculous for you to view people and things in this way? I do not view things in this way. When I interact with people, I look comprehensively at the attitude they have toward different things, especially at how two different types of people behave when approaching the same situation, and what choices they make. This is a better illustration of what their humanity is like. Which of these two approaches is fairer and more objective? It is fairer to evaluate a person based on their nature and essence, rather than their external actions. If one bases their evaluation on the views of traditional culture, taking a person’s actions in one situation and holding it over them in order to pass a verdict and conclusion on them, that is wrong and it is unfair to that person. One must make an accurate evaluation based on the quality of their humanity, their behavior as a whole, and the path that they walk. Only this is just and reasonable, and it is also fair to the person.
None of the claims about moral conduct that we have listed here today have anything to do with God’s words, and none of them are in line with the truth. No matter how traditional or positive a saying is, it cannot become the truth. Sayings about moral conduct originate from things extolled by traditional culture, and they have nothing to do with the truths that God requires man to pursue. No matter how well people speak of these different sayings about man’s moral conduct, or how well people live up to them, or how firmly people cling to them, it does not mean that these sayings are the truth. Even if the majority of people on earth cling to and believe in these things, they will not become the truth—just like how a lie is still a lie, even if you tell it a thousand times. Lies can never become the truth. Lies are false constructs that contain Satan’s schemes, therefore, they cannot replace the truth, let alone become it. In the same way, the different requirements that people put forward regarding moral conduct cannot become the truth. No matter how much you cling to them or how well you cling to them, all that says about you is that you have good moral conduct in the eyes of man—but do you have humanity in the eyes of God? Not necessarily. On the contrary, if you held very well and closely to every aspect and rule of traditional culture’s concepts of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, you would have strayed too far from the truth. Why is that? Because you would be viewing people and things, and comporting yourself and acting according to these claims about moral conduct, and using them as your criteria. That is just like tilting your head to look at a clock—your perspective would be incorrect. The final result of this would be that your views on people and things, and your comportment and actions would have nothing to do with the truth, or with God’s demands, and you would be far from the way of God which you ought to be following—you may even be running in the opposite direction, and acting in a way that defeats your own goals. The more that you cling to and cherish these sayings about moral conduct, the more God will become sick of you, the farther you will move from God and the truth, and the more you will be in opposition to God. No matter how correct you think one of these sayings about moral conduct is, or how long you cling to it, it does not mean that you are practicing the truth. No matter which of traditional culture’s behavioral standards you think to be correct and reasonable, it is not the reality of positive things; it is absolutely not the truth, nor is it in line with the truth. I urge you to hurry and reflect on yourself: Where does this thing that you cling to come from? Does using it as the principle and standard for evaluating and making demands of people have a basis in God’s words? Does it have a basis in the truth? Are you clear on what the consequences of you practicing this demand of traditional culture are? Does it have anything to do with the truth? You should discern and dissect whether, by using this demand of traditional culture as the basis for your actions, and as your criterion, and by seeing it as a positive thing, you are contradicting the truth, resisting God, and violating the truth. If you blindly cling to the views and sayings extolled by traditional culture, what will the consequence of that be? If you are misled or tricked by these sayings, you can imagine what your outcome and end will be. If you view people and things from the perspective of traditional culture, it will be hard for you to accept the truth. You will never be able to view people and things according to God’s words and the truth. A person who understands the truth should analyze the various claims and demands of traditional culture regarding moral conduct. You should dissect which of them you cherish the most, and always cling to, that always serves as the basis and criterion for how you view people and things, and how you comport yourself and act. Then, you should hold the things that you cling to against God’s words and requirements for comparison, and look at whether these aspects of traditional culture oppose or conflict with the truths that God expresses. If you truly do find a problem, you must analyze at once where it is, exactly, that these aspects of traditional culture are wrong and absurd. When you are clear on these issues, you will know what is the truth and what is fallacy; you will have a path of practice, and you will be able to choose the path you should walk. Seek the truth in this way, and you will be able to mend your ways. No matter how standardized mankind’s so-called requirements and sayings about people’s moral character are, or how much they suit the tastes, outlooks, wishes, and even interests of the masses, they are not the truth. This is something you must understand. And since they are not the truth, you should make haste to deny and abandon them. You must also dissect their essence, as well as the consequences that come from people living by them. Can they really bring about true repentance in you? Can they really help you to know yourself? Can they really make you live out human likeness? They can do none of these things. They will only make you hypocritical and self-righteous. They will make you more cunning and evil. There are some who say, “In the past, when we held to these aspects of traditional culture, we felt like good people. When other people saw how we behaved, they thought we were good people, too. But actually, we know in our hearts what sort of evil we are capable of. Doing a bit of good only disguises that. But if we abandon the good behaviors that traditional culture demands of us, what should we do instead? What behaviors and manifestations will bring glory to God?” What do you think of this question? Do they still not know what truths believers in God should practice? God has expressed so many truths, and there are so many truths that people should be practicing. So why do you refuse to practice the truth, and insist on being false good people and hypocrites? Why are you pretending? There are some who say, “There are many good aspects of traditional culture! Like, ‘The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring’—this is a wonderful saying! This is what people should practice. How can You just toss it aside? And ‘I’d take a bullet for a friend’—how loyal and heroic! It’s ennobling in life, to have a friend like that. There is also, ‘The silkworms of spring will weave until they die, and the candles will weep their wicks away.’ This saying is so profound and rich in culture! If You don’t let us live by these sayings, then what should we live by?” If this is what you think, then the years you have spent listening to sermons have all been wasted. You do not even understand that one must, at the very least, comport themselves by living according to the standards of conscience and reason. You have not gained an ounce of the truth, and you have lived these years in vain.
In short, though we have listed these sayings about moral conduct from traditional culture, the goal of this is not merely to inform you that they are the notions and imaginings of people, and that they come from Satan, and nothing more. It is to make you understand clearly that the essence of these things is false, disguised, and deceptive. Even if people possess these behaviors, it does not in any way mean that they are living out normal humanity. Rather, they are using these false behaviors to cover up their intents and goals, and to conceal their corrupt dispositions, and their nature and essence. As a result, people are getting better and better at pretending and tricking others, which in turn causes them to become even more corrupt and evil. The moral standards of traditional culture that corrupt humanity clings to are incompatible with the truths that God expresses, nor are they consistent with any of the words that God teaches people, they have no connection whatsoever. If you still cling to aspects of traditional culture, then you have been thoroughly misled and poisoned. If there is any matter in which you cling to traditional culture and abide by its principles and views, then you are rebelling against God and violating the truth, and running counter to God in that matter. If you cling to and commit yourself to any of these claims about moral conduct, and treat it as a criterion or basis for how you view people or things, then that is where you have erred, and if you judge or harm people to a certain degree, you will have committed a sin. If you always insist on measuring everyone by the moral standards of traditional culture, then the number of people that you have condemned and wronged will keep multiplying and you will certainly condemn and resist God, and then you will be an arch-sinner. Do you not see that all of mankind is becoming increasingly evil under the education and conditioning of traditional culture? Is the world not getting darker? The more that someone is of Satan and devils, the more they are worshiped; the more that someone practices the truth, bears witness for God, and pleases God, the more they will be suppressed, excluded, condemned, or even put to death by crucifixion. Is this not a fact? Going forward, you should fellowship often on what we have fellowshiped about here today. If there are things you do not understand after fellowshiping on them, then set them aside for the moment and fellowship on the parts that you can handle until you understand them. Fellowship on these words until they are perfectly clear and you completely understand them, then you will be able to accurately practice the truth and enter into reality. When you are able to clearly discern whether any saying or thing is the truth, or whether it is traditional culture and not the truth, then you will have more of a path by which to enter into the reality of the truth. Finally, when you are able to understand every truth that you ought to practice through fellowship, and you have reached a consensus, when you are consistent in your views and understandings, when you know which things are positive and which are negative, which things come from God and which come from Satan, and you have fellowshiped on the subject until these things are clear and transparent to you, only then will you have understood the truth. Then, pick out the principles of the truth which you should practice. This way, you will meet the behavioral standards that God has laid out, and at the very least, you will have some human likeness. If you are able to understand the truth and enter into reality, then you will be able to completely live out human likeness. Only then will you be completely in line with God’s will.
March 5, 2022