What It Means to Pursue the Truth (8)
Last time, we fellowshiped on four statements of traditional culture about moral conduct. Tell Me what they were. (“A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” “Sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others,” “A woman must be virtuous, kind, gentle, and moral,” and “When drinking the water of a well, one should never forget who dug it.”) Do you have a clear understanding of what in each statement should be dissected and understood? Every statement in traditional culture is closely related to people’s real lives and how they conduct themselves. There is no question that these statements of traditional culture have a certain influence over people’s real lives and the way they conduct themselves. The principles of people’s words, actions and self-conduct in real life are basically derived from these statements and viewpoints of traditional culture. Clearly, traditional culture’s influence and inculcation of people runs fairly deep. After I finished fellowshiping in the last gathering, did you engage in further contemplation and fellowship with each other? (We fellowshiped and understood a bit of these statements on moral conduct, and we were able slightly to alter our views and perspectives on these kinds of things, but we still don’t have a thorough understanding of them.) One part of achieving a thorough understanding is that you must base your understanding on what I fellowshiped about; the other part is that you must understand in light of the viewpoints that you hold in real life, as well as the thoughts and actions that occur when something happens to you. Listening to sermons alone is not nearly enough. The purpose of listening to sermons is to be able to recognize negative things in real life, to be able to distinguish negative things more accurately, and then to be able to apprehend positive things and have a pure understanding of them, so that God’s words become the criteria for how to behave and comport oneself in real life. In one respect, exercising discernment on these negative things has a corrective effect on people’s behavior and comportment, insofar as it can correct people’s mistaken ideas, viewpoints, and attitudes toward events and things; moreover, in its positive role, it can make people adopt correct ways and methods as well as accurate principles of practice when it comes to their views on people and things, and in their comportment and actions. This is the purpose and the intended effect of fellowshiping on and dissecting these statements regarding moral conduct.
Twice now, we have fellowshiped on statements regarding moral conduct in traditional Chinese culture, which are basically requirements for people’s moral conduct that arose within a large social context. On an individual level, these statements can restrict and regulate people’s behavior to a certain extent; from a larger perspective, they were intended to create good social ethos, and, of course, to enable the rulers to rule the people better. If the people have their own ideas, can think freely, and seek out their own moral standards of comportment, or if they can express their own opinions, live by their own ideas, comport themselves as they see fit, and adopt their own way of regarding things, people, their society, and the country they live in, it is undoubtedly not a good thing or a good sign for the rulers, because it directly threatens their position of dominance. In brief, these statements on moral conduct were basically put forward by so-called moralists, thinkers, and educators as a way to please and pander to the rulers, with the aim of showing that they could use these thoughts and theories, as well as their own reputation and prestige, to serve the rulers. This is basically the nature of all these statements on moral conduct that we fellowshiped about; their purpose was nothing more than to restrict people’s thoughts, moral conduct, and views on things to within a moral range that people thought was a bit better, more positive, and nobler, in order to reduce conflict between people, bring harmony to their interactions, and engender tranquility, thereby benefiting the rulers’ dominion over the people, and further, consolidating the status of the ruling class, and maintaining social harmony and stability. Thus, these people who advanced standards of moral conducts got all they wished for, which was to be appreciated and assigned to important posts by the ruling class. This was very much the career path they aspired to and hoped for, and even if they couldn’t be high-ranking officials, at the very least, they would be remembered for generations to come and go down in history. Think about it—which of the people who put forward these statements on moral conduct is not revered by this society? Which one is not admired by the human race? Even today, among Chinese people, these so-called thinkers, educators, and moralists, such as Confucius, Mencius, Laozi, Han Feizi and the like, are enduringly popular, highly regarded, and revered. Of course, we have listed a limited few of the statements on moral conduct, and the examples given are just some of the more representative ones. Although these statements on moral conduct come from many people, the ideas and viewpoints advocated by these so-called luminaries accord completely with the wish of rulers and the ruling class, and all their concepts of governance and central ideas are the same: To formulate some moral norms of comportment and actions for human beings to follow so that they behave themselves, meekly contribute to society and to their country, and live meekly among their fellows—that is basically all. Their ideas and viewpoints have the same aim, regardless of which dynasty or person these statements of moral conduct originated from: to serve the ruling class, and to mislead and control humankind.
We have already fellowshiped about eight statements on moral conduct. The nature of these eight statements is basically the requirement that people forgo their selfish desires and their own will, instead serving society, the human race, and their own country, and achieving selflessness. For example, no matter to which group such statements about moral conduct as “Sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others,” “A woman must be virtuous, kind, gentle, and moral,” and “Be strict with yourself and tolerant of others” are put forth, all require people to exercise self-restraint—restraint over their own desires and immoral conduct—and to hold favorable ideological and moral viewpoints. No matter how much these statements influence humankind, and no matter whether that influence is positive or negative, the aim of these so-called moralists was, put succinctly, to restrict and regulate people’s moral conduct by putting forward such statements, so that people would have a basic code for how they should comport themselves and act, how they should view people and things, and how they should perceive their society and country. To look at the positive, the invention of these statements on moral conduct has, to a certain extent, played a role in restricting and regulating the moral conduct of humanity. But to look at the objective facts, it has led people into embracing some false and pretentious thoughts and viewpoints, making people who are influenced and inculcated by traditional culture more insidious, more treacherous, better at pretending, and more confined in their thinking. Because of the influence and inculcation of traditional culture, people have gradually adopted those mistaken views and statements of traditional culture as positive things, and worship as saints these luminaries and great figures who mislead people. When people have been misled, their minds become muddled, numb, and dulled. They don’t know what normal humanity is, or what people with normal humanity should pursue and adhere to. They don’t know how people should live in this world or what kind of mode or rules of existence they should adopt, much less what the proper aim of human existence is. Due to the influence, inculcation, and even confinement of traditional culture, the positive things, requirements and rules from God, have been suppressed. In this sense, the various statements on moral conduct in traditional culture have, to a large extent, deeply misled and influenced people’s thinking, confining their thoughts and leading them astray, away from the correct path in life, and further and further away from God’s requirements. This means that the deeper you are influenced by the various ideas and viewpoints on moral conduct in traditional culture, and the longer you are inculcated by them, the further you stray from the thoughts, aspirations, goal to be pursued, and rules of existence that people with normal humanity should have, and the further you stray from the standard that God requires of people. Having been infected, indoctrinated, and inculcated by these ideas from traditional culture, people adopt them as codes, even regarding them as truths, and as criteria by which to view people and things, and to comport themselves and act. People no longer think about or doubt whether these things are correct or not, nor do they go beyond traditional culture’s various statements regarding benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness to think about how they should live. People don’t know that, nor do they think about it. Why don’t they think about it? Because people’s thoughts have been filled and occupied by these moral scriptures that preach benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Even though many people believe in the true God and read the Bible, they still confuse God’s words and the truth with the many statements on moral conduct that stem from benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Some people even regard many of these statements in traditional culture as scriptures on positive things and pass them off as the truth, preaching them and promoting them as such, and going so far as to quote them as a way of instructing others. This is a very serious problem; it is something that God does not want to see, something that disgusts Him. So, can all who accept God’s work of the last days see through the things of traditional culture and discern them clearly? Not necessarily. There must be some people who remain quite worshipful and approving of the things of traditional culture. If these satanic poisons are not thoroughly cleared out, it will be difficult for people to understand and gain the truth. God’s chosen people must see through one fact: God’s word is God’s word, the truth is the truth, and human words are human words. Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness are human words, and traditional culture is human words. Human words are never the truth, nor will they ever become the truth. This is a fact. No matter how much people identify with benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness in their thoughts and views, those things cannot replace God’s words; no matter how correct such values have been verified and confirmed to be, over thousands of years of human existence, they cannot become God’s words or replace them, much less be confused with God’s words. Even if statements regarding benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness accord with people’s conscience and reason, they are not God’s words, nor can they replace His words, much less be called the truth. Statements and requirements concerning benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness in traditional culture only serve society and the ruling class. These statements and requirements are only intended to restrict and regulate people’s behavior in order to achieve better social ethos, one that is conducive to stabilizing the power of the ruling class. Naturally, no matter how well you abide by the values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, you will not be able to understand the truth, and you will not be able to obey God, nor will you ultimately become a passable created being. No matter how well you abide by these things, if you do not understand the truth, you cannot perform your duty to an acceptable standard. What would you then be in the eyes of God? You would still be an unbeliever and belong to Satan. Does someone of supposedly exceptional moral quality and noble ethics have the conscience and sense of normal humanity? Can they genuinely accept the truth? Can they believe in God and follow Him? Absolutely not! Because what they worship is Satan, devils, pretend saints, and false holy men. Deep down in their heart and bones, they are sick of the truth and hate it. Therefore, they must be people who resist God and who are His enemies. People who worship the devil Satan are the most arrogant and conceited and senseless people—they are the degenerates of the human race, whose bones are full of satanic poison, full of satanic heresies and fallacies. As soon as they see God’s words and the truth, their eyes turn red and they bristle with anger, revealing the hideous face of a devil. Therefore, anyone who reveres traditional culture and blindly believes in such traditional fallacies as benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness is sick of the truth and hates it. They do not possess the sense of normal humanity at all, and they will never accept the truth. The stuff of traditional culture and statements on moral conduct regarding benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness do not accord with the truth or God’s words at all. No matter how scrupulously people put these values into practice or how well they uphold them, it is not the same as living out normal humanity. This is because people have corrupt dispositions. That is the fact of the matter. They are filled with all kinds of satanic teachings, and “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” has become people’s nature essence. Regardless of how nice you make them sound, how lofty your language, or how grand your theories, these statements of traditional culture regarding moral conduct cannot be put into practice. Even if you adhere to each of the rules imposed based on the values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness in traditional culture, you are no more than superficially well-behaved. But when it comes to believing in God, following Him and performing your duty, and obeying God, as well as your attitude and views toward Him and the truth, these values of traditional culture serve no purpose at all. They cannot rein in your rebelliousness, nor reverse your notions of God, nor fix people’s corrupt dispositions, let alone resolve the issue of people being careless and perfunctory in the performance of their duty. These values are of no help at all in restricting people’s corrupt behavior in any way, and they are fundamentally unable to make people live out normal humanity.
Most people, when they have just begun believing in God, think that faith is very simple. They think that believing in God and following God means learning to be patient and tolerant, readily giving to charity, being willing to help others, being measured in one’s words and actions, not being too arrogant, or too harsh on others. They feel that if they conduct themselves in this way, God will be satisfied, and that they will not be pruned and dealt with while performing their duty. If they serve as a leader or worker, they believe that they will not be replaced or cast out. They believe that they are guaranteed to attain salvation. Is believing in God really such a simple matter? (No.) No small number of people hold this point of view, but ultimately, their ideas, viewpoints, and the way they conduct themselves in life all end in failure. In the end, some people who don’t know their place in the universe sum everything up in a single sentence: “I’ve been a failure as a human!” They think that comporting themselves as a human means adhering to the values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. But can that be called comporting oneself as a human? That’s not comporting oneself as a human; it’s the comportment of a demon. To those people who say, “I’ve been a failure as a human,” I would ask, have you comported yourself as a human? You haven’t even tried to comport yourself as a human, so how can you say, “I’ve been a failure as a human”? This is a failure of traditional cultural values, such as benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, to perform their function on people, not a failure to comport yourself as a human. When people perform their duty in the house of God, such things as benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness are of absolutely no service and are no longer of use. Before they know it, people end up concluding, “Oh, benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness—they don’t work! I used to think that comporting myself was simple, and that believing in God was also very simple and not that complicated. Only now do I realize that I’ve been oversimplifying belief in God.” After listening to sermons for a long time, they finally realize that it won’t do for people not to understand the truth. If people don’t understand some area of the truth, they are liable to make mistakes in that area and get dealt with, fail, and be judged and chastised. Those things that they previously believed were right, good, positive, and noble pale into insignificance and become worthless in the face of the truth. All the various statements about benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness have had some influence on people’s thoughts and viewpoints, as well as on the ways and means by which they conduct their affairs. If God’s management work of saving mankind were not involved, and mankind continued living as they are, under the power of Satan, then benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, being relatively positive things, would play a minor positive role in people’s thinking and in the social ethos and environment. At the very least, those things do not incite people to commit evil, murder, and arson, or to go about raping and looting. However, when it comes to God’s work of saving people, not one of these things—benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, or trustworthiness—is relevant to the truth, the way, or the life that God wants to bestow on humankind. And that’s not all: To look at the various ideas advocated by the values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, the requirements they place on people’s moral conduct, and their influences and constraints on people’s moral conduct, none of them has played a role in guiding people back to God or leading them onto the correct path in life. Instead, they have become major obstacles that keep people from pursuing and accepting the truth. The statements about moral conduct that we fellowshiped on and dissected before—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, gentle, and moral; when drinking the water of a well, one should never forget who dug it—we have basically made them clear in fellowship, and everyone at least understands their general meaning. The fact is that whatever aspect of moral conduct such statements concern, they confine people’s thinking. If you can’t distinguish such things, and can’t clearly understand the essence of these statements, and don’t turn these erroneous views around, then you cannot let go of these statements on moral conduct, nor rid yourself of their influence on you. If you cannot let go of these things, it will be difficult for you to accept the truth from God, the criteria of God’s words, and the Creator’s specific requirements for people’s moral conduct, and it will be difficult to observe and practice God’s words as the principles and criteria of the truth. Is this not a serious problem?
Today, let us continue by fellowshiping on and dissecting the next statement about moral conduct: “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” This describes a method for interacting with others that Satan has inculcated in people. It means that when you interact with others, you must give them some leeway. You should not be too harsh with others, you cannot bring up their past faults, you have to maintain their dignity, you cannot damage good relationships with them, you must be forgiving toward them, and so on. This saying about morality mainly describes a kind of philosophy for living that dictates interactions among human beings. There is a tenet in philosophies for living that says, “Keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes for a long and good friendship.” It means that in order to preserve a friendly relationship, one must keep silent about their friend’s problems, even if they see them clearly—that they should abide by the principles of not striking people in the face or calling out their shortcomings. They are to deceive each other, hide from each other, engage in intrigue with each other; and though they know with crystal clarity what sort of person the other is, they do not say it outright, but employ cunning methods to preserve their friendly relationship. Why would one want to preserve such relationships? It is about not wanting to make enemies in this society, within one’s group, which would mean subjecting oneself often to dangerous situations. Knowing someone will become your enemy and harm you after you have called out their shortcomings or hurt them, and not wishing to put yourself in such a situation, you employ the tenet of philosophies for living that runs, “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” In light of this, if two people are in such a relationship, do they count as true friends? (No.) They are not true friends, much less each other’s confidant. So, what sort of relationship is this, exactly? Is it not a fundamental social relationship? (It is.) In such social relationships, people cannot offer their feelings, nor have deep exchanges, nor speak about whatever they wish. They cannot say out loud what is in their heart, or the problems they see in the other, or words that would benefit the other. Instead, they pick nice things to say, to keep the other’s favor. They dare not speak the truth or uphold the principles, lest it give rise to animosity toward them in others. When no one is threatening to someone, does that person not live in relative ease and peace? Is this not people’s goal in promoting the saying, “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings”? (It is.) Clearly, this is a cunning, deceptive way of existence with an element of defensiveness, whose goal is self-preservation. People who live like this have no confidants, no close friends with whom they can say whatever they like. They are defensive with each other, and calculating, and strategic, each taking what they need from the relationship. Is this not so? At its root, the goal of “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” is to keep from offending others and making enemies, to protect oneself by not causing hurt to anyone. It is a technique and method one adopts to keep themselves from being hurt. Looking at these several facets of its essence, is the demand of people’s moral conduct “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” a noble one? Is it a positive one? (No.) Then, what does it teach people? That you must not upset or hurt anyone, otherwise, you are the one who will end up getting hurt; and also, that you should not trust anyone. If you hurt any one of your good friends, the friendship will quietly start to change: They will go from being your good, close friend to a stranger or an enemy. What problems can it resolve, teaching people to act so? Even if, by acting in this way, you do not make enemies and even lose a few, will this make people admire and approve of you, and always keep you as a friend? Does this fully achieve the standard for moral conduct? At the very best, this is no more than a philosophy for living. Can abiding by this statement and practice be considered good moral conduct? Not at all. This is how some parents educate their children. If their child gets beaten up while out somewhere, they tell the child, “You’re a wimp. Why didn’t you fight back? If he punches you, just kick him!” Is this the correct way? (No.) What is this called? It is called incitement. What is the purpose of incitement? To avoid losses and to take advantage of others. If someone punches you, it will hurt for a couple days, at the most; if you then kick them, won’t there be more serious consequences? And who will have caused this? (The parents, with their incitement.) So is the character of the statement “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” not somewhat similar to this? Is it right to interact with other people according to this statement? (No.) No, it is not. To look at it from this angle, is this not a way of inciting people? (Yes, it is.) Does it teach people to be wise when interacting with others, to be able to differentiate people, to see people and things in the right way, and to interact with people in a wise way? Does it teach you that if you meet good people, people with humanity, you should treat them with sincerity, provide them help if you are able to, and if you cannot, you should then be tolerant and treat them properly, learn to tolerate their shortcomings, put up with their misunderstandings and judgments of you, and learn from their strengths and good qualities? Is that what it teaches people? (No.) So, what comes in the end of what this saying teaches people? Does it make people more honest, or more deceitful? It results in people becoming more deceitful; people’s hearts grow further apart, the distance between people widens, and people’s relationships become complicated; it is equivalent to a complication in people’s social relationships. Heart-to-heart communication between people is lost, and a mutually guarded mindset arises. Can people’s relationships still be normal this way? Will the social climate improve? (No.) So, that’s why the saying “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” is obviously wrong. Teaching people to do this cannot make them live out normal humanity; moreover, it cannot make people aboveboard, upright, or candid. It absolutely cannot achieve anything positive.
The saying “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” refers to two actions: one being that of striking, and the other that of calling out. In people’s normal interactions with others, is striking someone right or wrong? (Wrong.) Is striking someone a demonstration and behavior of normal humanity in one’s interactions with others? (No.) Striking people is definitely wrong, whether you strike them in the face or elsewhere. So, the statement “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face” is inherently wrong. According to this saying, it is apparently not right to strike someone in the face, but it is right to strike elsewhere, because after the face is struck it becomes red, swollen, and injured. This makes the person look bad and unpresentable, and it also shows you to treat people in a very rude, unsophisticated, and ignoble way. So, is it noble to strike people elsewhere? No—that is not noble, either. In fact, the focus of this saying is not where to strike someone, but the word “strike” itself. When interacting with others, if you are always striking others as a way of confronting and dealing with problems, your method itself is wrong. It is done out of impetuousness and is not based on the conscience and reason of one’s humanity, and of course, less still is it the practice of the truth or adherence to the truth principles. Some people don’t attack others’ dignity in their presence—they are careful in what they say and refrain from striking the other in the face, but are always playing dirty tricks behind their back, shaking their hand over the desk but kicking them under it, saying good things to their face but conspiring against them behind their back, working an angle on them, waiting for opportunities to take vengeance, framing and scheming, spreading rumors, or engineering conflicts and using other people to get at them. How much better are these insidious methods than striking someone in the face? Are they not even more severe than striking someone in the face? Are they not even more insidious, vicious, and devoid of humanity? (Yes, they are.) So then, the statement “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face” is inherently meaningless. This viewpoint is itself a mistake, with a hint of false pretenses. It is a hypocritical method, which makes it all the more abhorrent, disgusting, and loathsome. Now we are clear that striking people is itself done out of impetuousness. On what basis do you strike someone? Is it authorized by law, or is it your God-given right? It is none of these things. So, why strike people? If you can get along with someone normally, you can use correct ways to get along with them and interact. If you cannot get along with them, you can go your separate ways without needing to act impetuously or come to blows. Within the scope of the conscience and reason of humanity, this should be something that people do. As soon as you act impetuously, even if you don’t strike the person in the face but somewhere else, it is a serious problem. This is not a normal way of interacting. This is how enemies interact, not the normal way that people interact. It is beyond the pale of the sense of humanity. Is the phrase “call out” in the saying “if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” good or bad? Does the phrase “call out” have a level on which it refers to people’s being revealed or exposed within the words of God? (It does not.) From My understanding of the phrase “call out” as it exists in human language, it does not mean that. Its essence is one of a somewhat malicious form of exposure; it means to reveal people’s problems and deficiencies, or some things and behaviors unknown to others, or some intrigue, ideas, or views operating in the background. This is the meaning of the phrase “call out” in the saying “if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” If two people get along well and are confidants, with no barriers between them, and they each hope to be of benefit and assistance to the other, then it would be best for them to sit together and lay out each other’s problems in openness and sincerity. This is proper, and it is not calling out others’ shortcomings. If you discover another person’s problems but see that they are not yet able to accept your advice, then simply do not say anything, so as to avoid quarrel or conflict. If you want to help them, you can seek their opinion and first ask them, “I see that you have a bit of a problem, and I hope to give you some advice. I don’t know if you’ll be able to accept it. If you will, I’ll tell you. If you won’t, I’ll keep it to myself for now and not say anything.” If they say, “I trust you. Whatever you have to say won’t be out of bounds; I can accept it,” that means that you have been granted permission, and you can then communicate their problems to them, one by one. Not only will they completely accept what you say, but also benefit from it, and the two of you will still be able to maintain a normal relationship. Is that not treating each other with sincerity? (It is.) This is the correct method for interacting with others; it is not calling out others’ shortcomings. What does it mean not to “call out others’ shortcomings,” as the saying in question goes? It means not to speak of others’ deficiencies, not to speak of their most taboo problems, not to expose the essence of their problems, and not to be so blatant in calling it out. It means just to make some surface-level remarks, to say things that are commonly said by all, to say things that the person themselves is already able to perceive, and not to reveal mistakes the person has made previously or sensitive issues. What does it benefit the person if you act in this way? Perhaps you will not have offended them or made an enemy of them, but what you have done in no way helps or benefits them. Therefore, the phrase “don’t call out others’ shortcomings” itself is evasive and a form of trickery that does not allow sincerity in people’s treatment of each other. One could say that to act in this way is to harbor evil intentions; it is not the correct way of interacting with others. Unbelievers even see “if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” as something a person of noble morals should do. It is clearly a deceitful manner of interacting with others, which people adopt to protect themselves; it is not at all a proper mode of interaction. Not calling out others’ shortcomings itself is insincere, and in calling out others’ shortcomings, there may be an ulterior intent. Under what circumstances can you generally see people call out each other’s shortcomings? Here’s an example: In society, if two candidates are running for a certain office, they will call out each other’s shortcomings. One will say, “You’ve done some bad thing, and you’ve embezzled however much money,” and the other will say, “You’ve harmed however many people.” They expose such things about each other. Is this not calling out others’ shortcomings? (Yes, it is.) Those who call out each other’s shortcomings on the political stage are political opponents, whereas when ordinary people do it, they are enemies. In lay terms, one would say that these two people don’t get along. Whenever they meet, they start arguing, calling out each other’s shortcomings, judging and condemning each other, and even creating things out of nothing and making false accusations. As long as there is anything dubious about the other person’s affairs, they will expose it and condemn the other person for it. If people call out many things about each other but not others’ shortcomings, is that a noble thing to do? (No.) It is not, but people still regard this tenet as noble moral conduct and praise it, which really is disgusting! The saying “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” fails in itself at advocating anything positive. It is unlike the sayings “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid,” “Requite evil with good,” and “A woman must be virtuous, kind, gentle, and moral,” which at least advocate praiseworthy moral conduct. The expression “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” is a statement on moral conduct that incites negative behavior and has no positive function on people at all. It doesn’t tell people what the correct ways or principles are for conducting themselves in life in this world. It provides no such information. All it does is tell people not to strike others in the face, as if it were fine to strike them anywhere but the face. Strike them all you like; leave them black and blue, maimed, or even half-dead, as long as they’re still breathing. And when people are in conflict with each other, when enemies or political opponents meet, they can call out whatever they want about each other, as long as they don’t call out each other’s shortcomings. What kind of mode is that? Were you previously not quite approving of this saying? (Yes.) Say two people get into a dispute and start arguing. One of them says, “I know that your husband isn’t the father of your child,” and the other says, “I know what tricks your family business uses to make money.” Some people comment on the content of their quarrel, saying, “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings. Look at them raking up each other’s few shortcomings and guilty secrets and making a big thing out of them. What petty behavior! And such a lack of integrity, too. You could at least show people a little respect, otherwise how will they be able to conduct themselves in the future?” Is it right or wrong to make comments like this? (It’s wrong.) Does it have even the slightest positive effect? Does any of it even slightly accord with the truth? (No.) What kind of ideas and viewpoints must someone have to make such comments? Do such comments come from someone with a sense of righteousness who has understood the truth? (No.) From what basis do such comments arise? Were they made because they are wholly influenced by traditional culture’s idea of “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings”? (Yes.) These comments are based entirely on this idea and viewpoint in traditional culture.
Regarding the dispute between the two people that we just talked about, if you look at this matter from the perspective of someone who believes in God, how should it be treated, according to God’s words and with the truth as the criterion? Is this not an issue that people should reflect on? (Yes, it is.) This is something you should reflect on. What principles should believers abide by? They must view people and things, and comport themselves and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as their criterion. If a dispute occurs between brothers and sisters, they must be tolerant and patient with each other, and treat each other with love. They must first reflect and gain self-awareness, then resolve the issue according to the truth in God’s words, such that they recognize their own mistakes and can forsake the flesh, and treat others according to the truth principles. In this way, they will resolve the problem at its root. You should gain a thorough understanding of this problem. The saying “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” is not a standard for measuring humanity, but only a baseline philosophy for living, one that cannot restrict people’s corrupt behavior at all. This saying is quite meaningless, and there is no need for believers to abide by such a rule. People should interact with each other according to God’s words and the truth principles. Those are what believers must abide by. If people believe in God yet still believe in traditional cultural views and satanic philosophies, and use ideas of traditional culture like “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” to measure people and restrict others, or to put demands on themselves, then that is absurd and preposterous of them, and they are nonbelievers. The saying “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” is a satanic philosophy for interacting with one’s friends, which cannot resolve the essential, root problems of interpersonal relationships. Therefore, this saying is a most shallow rule, a most shallow philosophy for living. It falls far short of the standards of the truth principles, and abiding by such a superficial rule cannot achieve anything and it is quite meaningless. Is that a fair way to put it? (Yes, it is.) When a dispute occurs between brothers and sisters, what should be the principle for regarding this matter and sorting it out? Is it to abide by the rules of traditional culture, or to take the truth in God’s words as the principle? Tell Me your view. (First of all, we should analyze and come to know the nature of their dispute and their impetuous accusations against each other according to God’s words, recognizing that these are outpourings of corrupt dispositions. Then, we should fellowship with them on the relevant path of practice. They should treat each other with love, they should have conscience and reason, and what they say and do must build the other up rather than hurt them. If the other has deficiencies or has made mistakes, they should deal with it correctly by helping if they can, rather than attacking, judging, or condemning them.) This is a form of helping people. So, what can be said to help them and resolve their dispute? (They are arguing in the church, and this in itself is unworthy of the saints and out of line with God’s requirements. So we can fellowship with them by saying, “When you discover that someone has issues, help if you can. If you cannot help, there is no need to argue, otherwise it will disturb the life of the church, and if you persist despite repeated admonition, the church will handle it according to its administrative decrees.”) It seems that you all know to handle people who disturb the life of the church according to the principles, but you still don’t quite know how to handle disputes between people, or which of God’s words should be used to handle them—you still don’t know how to employ God’s words and the truth principles to resolve problems. In this matter, what issues does each party themselves have? Do they both have corrupt dispositions? (Yes.) Given that they both have corrupt dispositions, look at what corrupt dispositions poured forth from each person when the dispute occurred, and what their origins were. Locate the corrupt dispositions that poured forth, and then use God’s words to expose and analyze them, so that they both come back before God and gain self-awareness according to God’s words. So, what are the main things you should fellowship with them about? You might say something like this: “If you two acknowledge that you are followers of God, then don’t argue, because arguments can’t resolve problems. Don’t treat people who believe in and follow God in that way, and don’t treat brothers and sisters in the same way that unbelievers treat people. Doing so does not accord with God’s will. How does God require people to treat others? God’s words are very clear: Be forgiving, tolerant, and patient, and love one another. If you see that the other person has serious issues and you are dissatisfied with what they have done, you should fellowship about this in a reasonable and effective way, with a forgiving, tolerant, and patient attitude. It is better if the person can accept it and receive it from God. If they cannot, then you will still have fulfilled your responsibility, and don’t need to launch impetuous attacks against them. When brothers and sisters argue and call out each other’s shortcomings, that is behavior that is unworthy of the saints, and it does not accord with God’s will. It’s not the way believers should behave. And as for the person being accused, even if you think that you have acted reasonably and should not be criticized by the other person, then still, you should let go of your personal prejudices, and face the issue and the other party’s accusations calmly and openly. You should never fight back in an impetuous manner. If both of you are worked up into impetuous states and cannot control yourselves, you should start by removing yourselves from the situation. Calm down and don’t keep pursuing the issue, so as not to get caught in Satan’s snare and fall into Satan’s temptation. You can pray in private, coming before God to seek His help, and endeavoring to use God’s words to resolve your issues. When you are both able to calm down and treat each other calmly and rationally, without acting or speaking impetuously, you can then come together to fellowship on the disputed issues, until you reach a consensus, unite in God’s words, and achieve a solution to the problem.” Would that not be an appropriate thing to say? (Yes.) The fact is that when two people argue, they both pour forth their corrupt dispositions, and they both pour forth their impetuousness. It’s all satanic behavior. No one is right or wrong, and neither person’s behavior is in accordance with the truth. If you could have regarded and handled the issue according to God’s words and the truth, your dispute would not have happened. If only one party could have viewed people and things, comported themselves and acted according to God’s words, the dispute would not have happened. Therefore, if two people call out each other’s shortcomings and strike each other in the face, then these people are both impetuous tough guys. There’s nothing good about them; neither of them are right, and neither of them are wrong. What is the basis for measuring right and wrong? It depends on the perspective and stance that you adopt with regard to this matter, what your motives are, whether you have the basis of God’s words, and whether what you do is in accord with the truth. Obviously, the motive behind your dispute is to subdue and overwhelm the other person. You expose and hurt each other with nasty words. It doesn’t matter whether what you expose is right, nor whether the point of your dispute is right or not—because you do not handle this matter according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion, and what you pour forth is your impetuousness, and the method and principles of your actions are entirely based on impetuousness, having been compelled to do so by corrupt satanic dispositions, therefore, no matter who is in the right, nor who is at an advantage and who at a disadvantage, the fact is that both of you are wrong and bear responsibility. The way you are handling the matter is not based on God’s words. You should both settle down and carefully consider your own issues. Only when both of you can be silent before God and address the problem with a cool head can you sit down and fellowship on it in a calm and composed manner. As long as both people’s views on people and things, and their comportment and actions, are based on God’s words and the truth principles, then no matter how different their ideas and viewpoints on a particular matter may be, there is actually no true difference to speak of, and there is no problem. As long as they handle their differences with God’s words and the truth as their principle, then ultimately, they will certainly be able to get along and resolve their differences. Is this how you handle problems? (No.) You simply don’t know how to use the truth to resolve problems, except for your method of resorting to administrative sanctions. So, what is the main takeaway for handling the matter in its entirety? It is not about requiring people to let go of their differences, but about resolving them in the correct way and achieving unity. What is the basis for resolving differences? (God’s words.) That’s right: Look for the basis in God’s words. It is not about analyzing who is right and who is wrong, who is superior and who is inferior, or who is justified and who isn’t. Rather, it is about solving the problem of people’s ideas and viewpoints, which means resolving people’s mistaken ideas and viewpoints and mistaken ways of dealing with a particular matter. Only by searching for a basis in God’s words, and only by understanding the truth principles, can problems be truly resolved and people truly live in harmony with each other, achieving unity. Otherwise, if you use statements of traditional culture and methods such as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” to handle things, problems will never be resolved, or at least, the differences between people’s ideas and viewpoints will not be resolved. Therefore, everyone must learn to search for a basis in God’s words. God’s words are all truth, and there is nothing contradictory in them. They are the only criterion for measuring all people, matters and things. If everyone finds a basis in God’s words, and their outlooks on things achieve unity in God’s words, then is it not easy for people to reach a consensus? If everyone can accept the truth, will there still be differences between people? Will there still be disputes? Will there still be a need to use ideas and viewpoints and statements like “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” as restrictions among people? There will not, because God’s words can resolve all problems. Whatever disagreements people have, or however many different viewpoints, they should all be brought before God, and discerned and dissected according to God’s words. It will then be possible to determine whether they are in accordance with the truth. When people have understood the truth, they can see that most of the ideas and viewpoints of corrupt mankind come from traditional culture, from the luminaries and great figures whom people worship—yet at their root, they come from satanic philosophies. Therefore, these errant ideas and viewpoints are actually easy to resolve. Why do I say they are easy to resolve? Because, if you measure these human ideas and viewpoints with God’s words, you will find that they are all absurd, untenable, and unviable. If people can accept the truth, it is easy to let go of these things, and all problems can be resolved accordingly. What is achieved after the problems are resolved? Everyone can let go of their own opinions and personal, subjective ideas and viewpoints. No matter how noble and correct you think they are, no matter how long they have been circulating among people, so long as they do not accord with the truth, you should deny them and give them up. In the end, once all people have taken God’s words as their basis and denied everything that comes from people, will their ideas and viewpoints not become unified? (Yes.) When the ideas and viewpoints that determine people’s views on people and things, as well as their comportment and actions, are all unified, what differences will there then be between people? At the very most, there will be some differences in diet and living habits. But when it comes to issues that truly concern people’s corrupt dispositions, the path they walk, and the essence of humankind, if people all take God’s words as their basis and the truth as their criterion, they will become one with each other. It doesn’t matter whether you are an Easterner or a Westerner, old or young, male or female, or whether you are an intellectual, a worker, or a farmer: As long as you can interact with others according to the truth in God’s words, will there still be fights and conflicts between people? There will not. So, can infantile requirements such as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” still be brought out as a solution to people’s disputes? Can they still be the maxims that people abide by in their interactions with each other? Such superficial rules have no value to mankind, and they cannot affect people’s views on people and things, as well as their comportment and actions, in their everyday life. Think about it: Is that not so? (Yes, it is.) As they are too far removed from the truth, and have no effect at all on people’s views on people and things, or on their comportment and actions, they should be renounced, once and for all.
Looking at what we fellowshiped about above, can it not be said with certainty that God’s words and the truth are the criteria by which all people, events, and things are to be measured, and that the traditional culture and moral scriptures of humanity are untenable and not worthy of mention in the face of God’s words and the truth? (Yes.) As for that “noble” moral requirement of “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,” which mankind reveres, with what kind of viewpoint and perspective should people now regard it? Should people continue worshiping and obeying such words? (No.) How are they to be renounced, then? Begin by not being impetuous or impulsive when things befall you. Treat everyone and everything correctly, calm down, come before God, seek the truth principles in God’s words, and find a path of practice, so that you can treat people and events exactly based on God’s words, rather than being fettered or restrained by the saying on moral conduct that goes, “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Would living in that way not be easier and more joyful for you? If people do not accept the truth, they have no way to break free from the restraint of corrupt dispositions, and it is difficult for them to interact with others in the group in which they live. There may be someone whom you do not bully, but they want to bully you. You want to get along well with someone, but they are always making trouble for you. You put up your guard against certain people and avoid them, but they go on hounding you and pestering you, regardless. If you don’t understand the truth and don’t have a basis in God’s words, all you can do is keep on struggling with them until the end. If it happens that you encounter a formidable bully, you’ll feel you have no choice but to follow the saying, “It is never too late for a gentleman to take his revenge.” You’ll wait for the right opportunity to take revenge on him, using clever methods to bring him down. Not only will you be able to give vent to your grievance, but you will also get everyone to applaud you for your sense of righteousness, and make them think that you are the gentleman and he is the villain. What do you think about this approach? Is this the right way to carry oneself in the world? (No.) Now you understand. So, who is the good guy: the gentleman or the villain? (Neither is good.) Those gentlemen who are venerated by unbelievers are missing a descriptor: “fake.” They are “fake gentlemen.” So, whatever you do, don’t be a gentleman, because all gentlemen are faking it. So, how must one conduct oneself in order to stay on the correct path? Is it fine to act like a “true gentleman” who, “if he strikes others, doesn’t strike them in the face; and if he calls others out, he doesn’t call out their shortcomings”? (No.) All those gentlemen and famous people are phony and deceitful, and they are fake gentlemen. They can all go to hell! How, then, should one comport themselves? By being someone who pursues the truth, who views people and things, and comports themselves and acts, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as their criterion. Only with such comportment is one a true person. Is this the correct way or not? (Yes.) What should you do if someone keeps calling out your shortcomings? You might say, “If you call me out, I’ll call you out, too!” Is it good to target each other like that? Is that the way that people should comport themselves, act, and treat others? (No.) People may know that they should not do this as a matter of doctrine, yet many people still cannot overcome such temptations and snares. It may be that you haven’t heard anyone calling out your shortcomings, or targeting you, or judging you behind your back—but when you do hear someone saying such things, you won’t be able to bear it. Your heart will beat faster and your hot-headedness will come forth; you will say, “How dare you call me out? If you are unkind to me, I’ll do wrong to you! If you call out my shortcomings, don’t think I won’t call out your sore spots!” Others say, “There’s a saying that goes, ‘If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,’ so I won’t call out your shortcomings, but I’ll find other ways to take care of you and take you down a peg. We’ll see who’s tough!” Are these methods good or not? (No.) For almost anyone, if they find out that someone has called them out, judged them, or said something bad about them behind their back, their first reaction will be one of anger. They will bristle with rage, unable to eat or sleep—and if they do manage to sleep, they will even be swearing in their dreams! Their impetuousness knows no bounds! It’s such a trifling matter, yet they cannot get over it. This is the impact that impetuousness has on people, the evil results that come of corrupt dispositions. When a corrupt disposition becomes someone’s life, where does it primarily show? It shows in that when the person encounters something they find disagreeable, that thing first affects their feelings, and then that person’s impetuousness will burst forth. And as it does, the person will live in their impetuousness and regard the matter by dint of their corrupt disposition. The philosophical views of Satan will arise in their heart, and they will start considering which ways and means they will use to take their revenge, thereby laying bare their corrupt disposition. People’s ideas and viewpoints on dealing with problems such as this, and the ways and means that come to them, and even their feelings and impetuousness all come from corrupt dispositions. So, what are the corrupt dispositions that come up in this case? The first is certainly malice, followed by arrogance, deceit, evil, intransigence, aversion to the truth, and hatred of the truth. Of these corrupt dispositions, arrogance may be the least influential. What, then, are the corrupt dispositions that are most able to dominate a person’s feelings and thoughts, and determine how they will ultimately deal with this matter? They are malice, intransigence, aversion to the truth, and hatred of the truth. These corrupt dispositions bind a person in a death grip, and it is obvious that they are living in Satan’s net. How does Satan’s net arise? Is it not corrupt dispositions that give rise to it? Your corrupt dispositions have woven all kinds of satanic nets for you. For instance, when you hear that someone is doing something like judging you, cursing you, or calling out your shortcomings behind your back, you let satanic philosophies and corrupt dispositions be your life and dominate your thoughts, your views, and your feelings, thus engendering a sequence of actions. These corrupt actions are mainly the result of your having a satanic nature and disposition. Whatever your circumstances may be, as long as you are bound, controlled, and dominated by Satan’s corrupt disposition, everything you live out, everything you reveal, and everything you display—or your feelings, your thoughts and views, and your ways and means of doing things—are all satanic. All of these things violate the truth and are hostile to the words of God and the truth. The further removed you are from the word of God and the truth, the more controlled and ensnared you are by Satan’s net. If instead, you can break free from the fetters and control of your corrupt dispositions, and forsake them, come before God, and act and resolve problems with the methods and principles of which God’s words tell you, then you will gradually break free from Satan’s net. After breaking free, what you then live out is no longer the same old likeness of a satanic person who is controlled by their corrupt dispositions, but that of a new person who takes God’s words as their life. Your whole way of living changes. But if you give in to the feelings, thoughts, views, and practices that satanic dispositions give rise to, then you will adhere to a litany of satanic philosophies and various techniques, such as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,” “It is never too late for a gentleman to take his revenge,” “Better to be a true villain than a fake gentleman,” “He who does not seek revenge is not a man.” These will be in your heart, dictating your actions. If you take these satanic philosophies as the basis for your actions, the character of your actions will change, and you will be doing evil, and resisting God. If you take these negative thoughts and viewpoints as the basis for your actions, it is obvious that you have strayed far from God’s teachings and words, and that you have fallen into Satan’s net and cannot extricate yourself. You live practically all of your daily lives amid satanic dispositions—you live in Satan’s net. The root of people’s torment is that they are controlled by their satanic dispositions such that they cannot extricate themselves. They live in sin, and suffer no matter what they do. You feel tormented even when you have defeated your opponent, because you don’t know who the next enemy you face will be, nor whether you will be able to defeat them in the same way. You are afraid and tormented. And what about the one who is defeated? Of course, they are likewise tormented. Having been bullied, they feel that they have no dignity or integrity in life. Being bullied is hard to take, so they constantly wait for an opportune moment to strike and seek a chance to retaliate—an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth—to show their opponent what for. Such a mindset is torment, too. In short, the one who retaliates and the one who is retaliated against alike both live in Satan’s net, constantly doing evil, constantly looking for ways to get out of their precarious situation, and wishing as they do to find peace, happiness, and security. On the one hand, people are controlled by corrupt dispositions and live in Satan’s net, adopting the various methods, thoughts, and viewpoints given to them by Satan to resolve issues happening around them. On the other hand, people still hope to attain peace and happiness from God. However, because they are always bound by Satan’s corrupt disposition and trapped in its net, unable consciously to forsake it and emerge from it, and because they grow removed from the word of God and the truth principles, people are never able to attain the comfort, joy, peace, and happiness that come from God. In what state do people live, in the end? They cannot rise to the task of pursuing the truth, though they would like to, and they cannot live up to God’s requirements, though they wish to perform their duties properly. They are stuck right where they are. This is an agonizing torment. People live within Satan’s corrupt disposition, in spite of themselves. They are more like fiends than people, often living in dark corners, searching for shameful and evil methods by which to resolve the many difficulties they face. The fact is that deep in their souls, people are willing to be good and to aspire toward the light. They hope to live as human beings, with dignity. They also hope that they can pursue the truth and rely on the word of God to live, and make the word of God their life and reality, but they never can put the truth into practice, and despite the many doctrines they understand, they cannot resolve their problems. People are buffeted front and back in this dilemma, unable to go forward and unwilling to go back. They are stuck where they are. And the feeling of being “stuck” is one of agony—tremendous agony. People have a will to aspire toward the light, and they are unwilling to leave the word of God and the right path. However, they do not accept the truth, and cannot put God’s words into practice, and remain unable to cast off the bondage and control of their corrupt satanic disposition. Ultimately, they can only live in agony, without any real happiness. Is this not how things are? (It is.) In any event, if people want to practice the truth and obtain the truth, they must experience God’s words a bit at a time, starting with the small things, to dispel the influence that these sayings about moral conduct have on their ideas and viewpoints, and on their pursuit of the truth. This is key; these issues must be resolved.
If people want to change their dispositions and attain salvation, they must have not only determination, but also an indomitable mindset. They must draw experience from their failures, and gain a path of practice from their experience. Don’t be negative and discouraged when you fail, and certainly don’t give up. But neither should you become complacent when you make some modest gain. Regardless of what you fail or grow weak in doing, it doesn’t dictate that you will be unable to be saved in the future. You must understand God’s will, get back on your feet, abide by God’s words, and continue battling your corrupt satanic dispositions. One must begin by seeing clearly the harm and impediment that the various requirements and sayings on moral conduct that come from Satan inflict on people’s pursuit of the truth. It is that these sayings on moral conduct constantly bind and constrain people’s minds, while also fostering people’s corrupt dispositions. Of course, they also detract from people’s acceptance of the truth and God’s words to varying degrees, causing people to doubt and resist the truth. One such saying is “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” This philosophy for living has taken root in people’s juvenile souls, and people are subconsciously influenced by these kinds of ideas and views in their regard of others and their manners of handling what occurs around them. These ideas and views effectively whitewash and cover up the dispositions of evil, deceit, and malice among people’s corrupt dispositions. Not only do they fail to resolve the problem of corrupt dispositions, but they also make people more cunning and deceitful, further exacerbating people’s corrupt dispositions. In brief, these sayings about moral conduct and philosophies for living in traditional culture not only influence people’s thoughts and views, but also have a profound impact on people’s corrupt dispositions. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the influence that such ideas and views of traditional culture as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” exert on people. It is not to be ignored.
Just now, we mainly fellowshiped on whether, when disputes arise between people, to approach them by way of the sayings and viewpoints of traditional culture, or to approach them according to God’s words and the truth principles; on whether it is the views of traditional culture that can resolve problems, or God’s words and the truth that can resolve man’s problems. When people have seen these things clearly, they will make the right choices, and it will be easier to resolve disputes with others according to the truth in God’s words. When such problems are resolved, the issue of people’s thoughts being influenced and fettered by the saying on moral conduct that runs “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” will also basically be resolved. People’s behavior will not be affected by these kinds of ideas and views, at least; they will be able to break free from Satan’s net of deception, obtain the truth from God’s words, find the truth principles for interacting with people, and make God’s words their lives. Just dissecting and discerning, according to God’s words, the erroneous views of traditional culture and the fetters and bondage of satanic philosophies can enable one to understand the truth and develop discernment. It enables one to cast off the influence of Satan and be liberated from the bondage of sin. In this way, God’s words and the truth become your life, replacing that old life of yours, whose essence was satanic philosophies and dispositions. You will then have become a different person. Although this person is still you, it is a new person who has emerged, one who takes God’s words and the truth as their life. Are you willing to be such a person? (Yes.) It is better to be such a person—you will at least be happy. When you first start practicing the truth, there will be difficulties, obstacles, and pain, but if you can seek the truth to resolve your difficulties until you have established a foundation in God’s words, then the pain will cease, and as your life goes on, you will grow happier and more at ease. Why do I say that? Because the influence and control of those negative things within you will gradually subside, and as they do, more and more of God’s words and the truth will enter into you, and the impression of God’s words and truths in your heart will become more and more profound. Your awareness in seeking the truth will become stronger and keener, and when things befall you, your inner path, direction and goal of practice will grow clearer and clearer, and when you battle internally, positive things will gain ever more of the upper hand. Will the happiness of your life not then increase? Will the peace and joy that you receive from God not then increase? (They will.) There will be fewer things in your life that cause you to be troubled, anguished, depressed, and resentful, among other negative feelings. In place of these things, God’s words will become your life, bringing you hope, happiness, joy, freedom, liberation, and honor. When these positive things increase, people will change completely. When that time comes, check how you feel and compare things to before: Are they not completely different from your previous way of life? It is only when you have cast off Satan’s net and its corrupt dispositions, its thoughts and viewpoints, as well as its various methods, viewpoints, and philosophical tenets for viewing people and things, and for comporting yourself and acting—only when you have cast these things off in their entirety, and are able to practice the truth and view people and things, treat others, and interact with them according to God’s words, and experience in His words how truly good it is to treat people according to the truth principles, and live a life of ease and joy—that is when you will have attained true happiness.
Today, we fellowshiped on and dissected the saying about moral conduct, “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Do you understand the problems with this expression itself? (Yes.) Do you then also understand what God’s requirements of people are? (Yes.) Having understood that, how will you ultimately actualize it in yourselves? By not being impulsive when something befalls you, or looking for a basis in traditional culture, or looking for a basis in social trends, or looking for a basis in public opinion, or, of course, looking for a basis in legal provisions. Instead, look for a basis in God’s words. It doesn’t matter how profound or superficial your understanding of the truth is; it’s enough that it can resolve the problem. You must see clearly that you live in an evil and dangerous world. If you don’t understand the truth, you can only follow the trends of society and be swept into the vortex of evil. So, when something befalls you, what should you do first, whatever it may be? You must first settle down, quiet yourself before God, and read His words often. This will enable you to have clarity of sight and thought, and to see clearly that Satan is deluding and corrupting this human race, and that God has come to rescue this human race from the influence of Satan. This, of course, is the most basic lesson you should learn. You must pray to God and seek the truth from Him, and ask Him to guide you—to guide you toward reading His relevant words, to guide you toward receiving relevant enlightenment and illumination, so that you understand the essence of the thing that is happening before you and how you should look upon it and deal with it. Then, use the method that God has taught and told you to face and handle the matter. You should rely wholly and entirely on God. Let God rule; let God be the Master. Once you are settled down, it’s not a question of using your own mind to consider what technique or method to use, nor is it a question of acting by your own experience, or by satanic philosophies and tricks. Rather, it’s about waiting for God’s enlightenment and the guidance of His words. What you must do is let go of your own will, put aside your thoughts and views, come reverently before God, listen to the words He tells you and the truths He tells you, and the teachings He shows you. Then, you must quiet yourself and contemplate in detail and pray-read over and over the words that God has taught you, so as to understand exactly what God wants you to do and what you should do. If you can clearly comprehend what God really means and what His teachings are, then you should first thank God for arranging the environment and giving you the opportunity to verify His words, make them a reality, and live them out, so that they become the life in your heart, and so that what you live out can testify that God’s words are the truth. Naturally, as you handle these problems, there may be many ups and downs, difficulties and hardships, as well as some battles, and some claims and remarks from different people. But as long as you are sure that God’s words are very clear on such problems, and that what you understand and obey are God’s teachings, then you should put them into practice without hesitation. You should not be hampered by your environment, or by any person, event, or thing. You should remain firm in your stance. Adhering to the truth principles is not arrogance or self-righteousness. Once you have understood God’s words and view people and things, and comport yourself and act, according to His words, and are able to adhere to the principles without ever changing, you are practicing the truth. This is the kind of attitude and determination that those who practice and pursue the truth should possess.
We have fellowshiped enough on the problems regarding the expression “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Do you still have difficulty in understanding such problems? Have you gained a wholly new understanding of this saying about moral conduct in traditional culture through today’s fellowship and analysis? (Yes.) Based on this wholly new understanding you have, would you still hold this saying to be the truth and a positive thing? (No.) It may be that this saying’s influence on people still exists deep in their mind, and in their subconsciousness, but through today’s fellowship, people have abandoned from their thoughts and consciousness this saying about moral conduct. So, will you still abide by it in your interactions with others? When you are confronted with a dispute, what is it you should do? (First, we should abandon this satanic philosophy of “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” We should quietly come before God to pray and seek the truth, and search in God’s words for the truth principles that should be put into practice.) If we did not fellowship on these things, you would feel that you have never viewed people and things, or comported yourselves or acted, in accordance with the moral criterion of “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Now that this problem has been exposed, see for yourself whether you are influenced by such ideas and views when something similar next befalls you, that is, whether these things exist in your ideas and views. At that time, you will naturally discover that there are many matters in which you are influenced by such ideas and views, meaning that in many environments and when many things happen, you are still influenced by such ideas and views, and they have taken root deep in your soul, and they continue to dictate your words and deeds and dictate your thoughts. If you haven’t had this realization, and you don’t pay attention to or pursue this issue, you definitely won’t be aware of it, and you won’t know whether you are influenced by such ideas and views. When you truly pursue the issue and are meticulous with it, you will find that the poisons of traditional culture often pour forth in your mind. It’s not that you don’t have them, it’s just that you didn’t take them seriously before, or that you quite failed to realize exactly what the essence of these sayings of traditional culture is. So, what must you do to become aware of such problems in the depths of your mind? You must learn to contemplate and to consider. How should one contemplate and consider? These two terms sound very simple; so, how should one comprehend them? For instance, let’s say you are spreading the gospel and testifying about God with some people who are exploring the true way. Initially, they may be willing to listen, but after you have been fellowshiping for a while, some of them don’t want to listen anymore. At that point, you must think, “What’s going on here? Is my fellowship not quite tailored to their notions and problems? Or is it that I haven’t fellowshiped on the truth clearly and comprehensibly? Or have they been disturbed by some rumor or fallacy that they have heard? Why won’t some of them continue exploring? What exactly is the problem?” This is contemplation, is it not? Thinking about the matter by taking every aspect into consideration, without leaving out a single detail. What is your goal in considering these things? It is to find the root and essence of the problem, and then to resolve it. If you cannot find the answers to these problems no matter how much you think on them, you should find someone who understands the truth and seek from them. Look to how they spread the gospel and testify about God, and how they get an accurate feel for the main notions of people who are exploring, and how they then resolve them by fellowshiping on the truth according to God’s words. Doesn’t that get the action started? Consideration is the first step; action is the second step. The reason for acting is to verify whether the problem you are considering is the correct one, whether you have gone off course. When you find out where the problem originates, you will start to verify whether the problem you are considering is the right one or the wrong one. Then, set about resolving the problem you have verified to be the right one. For instance, when people who are exploring the true way hear rumors and fallacies and develop notions, then read God’s words to them in a way that targets their notions. Fellowshiping clearly on the truth, thoroughly dissect and resolve their notions, and eliminate the obstacles in their hearts. They will then be willing to continue their exploration. This is starting to resolve the problem, is it not? The first step in resolving the problem is to consider it, contemplate it, and thoroughly work out its essence and root cause in your mind. Once you have verified what it is, start resolving the problem according to God’s words. In the end, when the problem is resolved, the goal will be achieved. So, do statements on moral conduct such as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” still exist in your thoughts and views, or do they not? (Yes, they do.) How are such problems to be resolved? You must consider everything that ordinarily befalls you. This is a crucial step. Firstly, think back to how you behaved when such things befell you previously. Were you dominated by sayings such as “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings”? And if you were, what intents did you have? What did you say? What did you do? How did you act? How did you behave? Once you settle down and consider these things, you will discover some problems without even realizing it. At that point, you should seek the truth and fellowship with others, and resolve these problems according to the relevant words of God. Strive in your real life to abandon completely those mistaken views that are advocated by traditional culture, and then adopt God’s words and the truth as principles for interacting with people, and treat people, events, and things according to the truth principles. This is the way to resolve problems, by dissecting the various ideas, views, and sayings of traditional culture according to God’s words, then seeing with utter clarity whether traditional culture really is positive and correct, based on the consequences of humanity’s adherence to these mistaken views. You will then see clearly that “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings” is just an evasive behavioral technique that people adopt in order to maintain their interpersonal relationships. But if people’s nature essence does not change, can people get on together long-term? Sooner or later, things will fall apart. Therefore, there are no true friends in the human world—just being able simply to maintain a physical relationship is pretty good in itself. If people have a little conscience and sense, and are kindhearted, they can maintain a superficial relationship with others, without it falling apart; if they are evil, insidious, and vicious in their humanity, they will then have no way to associate with others, and can only take advantage of each other. Having seen these things clearly—that is, having seen people’s nature essence clearly—the method that people should adopt in their interactions with each other can basically be determined, and it can be correct, inerrant, and in accordance with the truth. With their experience of God’s judgment and chastisement, God’s chosen people can now see a bit of the essence of humanity. So, in interactions between people—that is, in normal interpersonal relationships—they can see the importance of being an honest person, and that treating people according to God’s words and the truth is the highest principle and the wisest method. It will never inflict distress or anguish on people. However, people will inevitably have some strife in their soul when they experience God’s words and practice the truth, in the sense that corrupt dispositions will often emerge to disturb them and prevent them from practicing the truth. Those multifaceted ideas, feelings, and views produced by human corrupt dispositions will always obstruct you from putting the truth and God’s words into practice, to varying degrees, and when they do, you will face many things that are effectively interferences and obstacles to practicing the truth. When these obstacles appear, you will no longer say, as you do now, that practicing the truth is easy. You won’t say that so readily. By then, you will be suffering and sad, off your food and unable to sleep well. Some people may even find believing in God to be too hard and want to give up. I am convinced that many people have suffered greatly in order to practice the truth and enter reality, and have been pruned and dealt with countless times, and fought countless battles in their hearts, and shed countless tears. Is that not so? (Yes.) Undergoing these torments is a necessary process, and everyone, without exception, must go through it. In the Age of Law, David made a mistake, and later repented and confessed to God. How much did he cry? How was it described in the original text? (“All the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears” (Psalm 6:6).) How many tears must he have shed, to make his bed swim! This demonstrates the immensity and profundity of the remorse and torment he felt then. Have you shed that many tears? The number of tears you have shed is not even a hundredth of his, which shows that the degree to which you hate your corrupt dispositions, flesh, and transgressions is far from sufficient, and that your determination and perseverance in practicing the truth are far from sufficient. You are not yet up to standard; you are far from reaching the level of Peter and David. Well, let us end today’s fellowship here.
April 16, 2022