What It Means to Pursue the Truth (9)
For a while now, we have been fellowshiping on the topic of moral conduct. Last time we fellowshiped about one saying—“If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings.” Today we are fellowshiping about the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” which is another of traditional culture’s requirements for human moral conduct. What aspects of people’s moral conduct does this saying touch on? Does it require people to be magnanimous and tolerant? (Yes.) This is a requirement that relates to the generosity of humanity. What is the criterion for this requirement? Where is the key point? (Be lenient wherever possible.) That’s right, it is that you should be lenient wherever possible, and not be so aggressive that you leave people no way out. This saying on moral conduct requires people to be magnanimous and not hold petty grievances. When associating with people or going about your business, if a dispute or conflict or grudge arises, don’t be too demanding, excessive or harsh in dealing with the offending party. Be lenient when necessary, be generous when necessary, and be mindful of the world and mindful of humankind. Do people have such great generosity? (No.) People don’t have such great generosity. People aren’t sure how great the human instinct’s ability to withstand this kind of thing is, and to what extent it is normal. What is the basic attitude of normal people toward someone who has hurt you, regarded you with hostility, or infringed upon your interests? It is hatred. When hatred arises in people’s hearts, are they capable of “being lenient wherever possible”? It isn’t easy to achieve, and most people cannot achieve it. When it comes to most people, can they rely on the conscience and sense that they possess in their humanity to be lenient with the other person and wipe the slate clean? (No.) But it’s not entirely accurate to say that it cannot be achieved. Why is it not entirely accurate? It all depends on what the issue is, and how trivial or important it is. Also, problems have differing degrees of severity, so it depends on how serious it is. If someone hurts you with their words only occasionally, then if you are someone with a conscience and sense you will think, “It’s not that he’s being spiteful. He doesn’t mean what he says, he just shoots straight from the hip. For the sake of all the years we’ve got along together, for the sake of so-and-so, or for the sake of something-or-other, I won’t hold it against him. As the saying goes, ‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.’ It was just one remark, it didn’t hurt my pride or harm my interests whatsoever, let alone affect my status or future prospects, so I’ll overlook it.” When facing these trivial matters, people can abide by the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” But if someone really does harm your vital interests, or your family, or the harm they do to you impacts on your whole life, can you still abide by the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? For example, if someone killed your parents and wants to slaughter the rest of your family, could you apply the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” to someone like that? (No, I couldn’t.) Any normal person of flesh and blood would not be able to do it. This saying cannot restrain people’s deep-seated hatred at all, and of course, less still can it influence people’s attitudes and opinions on this matter. If someone harms your interests or affects your future prospects, whether deliberately or not, or does you physical harm, whether intentionally or otherwise, leaving you disabled or scarred, or casts a shadow on your psyche and deep in your heart, can you abide by the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? (No.) You cannot do it. So, traditional culture requires people to be tolerant and magnanimous in their moral conduct, but can people do it? It’s not an easy thing to do. It depends on how much the matter has harmed and affected the person involved, and whether or not their conscience and sense can withstand it. If no great harm has been done, and the person can bear it, and it doesn’t go beyond what their humanity can withstand, meaning that as a normal adult they can put up with these things, and the resentment and hatred can be dispelled, and it’s relatively easy to let go, then they can be tolerant and lenient with the other person. You can do this without any sayings on moral conduct from traditional culture to restrain you, teach you, or guide you on what to do, because this is something that normal humanity possesses and it is achievable. If this matter hasn’t hurt you too deeply or had a big impact on you physically, mentally and spiritually, then you can easily do this. However, if it has had a big impact on you physically, mentally and spiritually, so that it troubles you throughout your whole life, and often makes you depressed and indignant, and you often feel gloomy and despondent because of it, and it makes you regard this human race and this world with hostility, and you have no peace or happiness in your heart, and you live practically all your life in hatred, that is to say, if this matter has gone beyond what normal humanity can withstand, then as someone with a conscience and sense it is very difficult to be lenient wherever possible. If some people can do it, they are exceptional cases, but what must this be based on? What kind of conditions must be fulfilled? Some people say: “Then they should accept Buddhism and let go of hatred to attain Buddhahood.” This may be a path to liberation among common people, but it is merely liberation. What does this term “liberation” mean, anyway? It means steering clear of earthly disputes, hatred, and killing, and equates to the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” If you steer clear of such matters and can’t see them, then they will have little impact on your innermost feelings, and will gradually fade from your memory with the passage of time. But that is not abiding by the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” People are unable to be lenient, or forgiving and tolerant of this matter, and to let go of it once and for all. These matters have only faded from the innermost depths of people’s hearts, and they no longer care about them. Or it is merely due to some Buddhist teachings that people reluctantly stop living in hatred and getting hung up in these worldly sentiments of love and hate. This is just passively forcing oneself to stay away from these places of conflict and strife full of love and hate, but this does not mean that one can apply the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” Why is that? As far as normal humanity is concerned, if something happens to a person that causes serious harm to their body, mind, and soul, such as unbearable pressure or injury, then no matter what capacities they possess, they cannot bear it. What do I mean by “cannot bear it”? I mean that people’s normal humanity, ideas and views are unable to resist or dispel these things. In the language of humankind, it can be said that they can’t bear it, that it goes beyond the bottom line of human tolerance. In the language of believers, it can be said that they just can’t understand this matter, see through it, or accept it. So, as there is no possible way to resist or dispel these feelings of hatred, is it possible to abide by the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? (No.) What is the implication of not being able to achieve this? Namely, that normal humanity does not possess this kind of generosity. For example, say someone killed your parents and wiped out your whole family, could you let something like that go? Is it possible to dispel that hatred? Could you look upon your enemy as you would look upon ordinary people, or think of your enemy as you would think of ordinary people, with no feeling in your body, mind or spirit? (No.) No one can do it, unless they believe in Buddhism and witness karma with their own eyes, so that they can give up the idea of killing in revenge. Some people say: “I am good-natured, so if someone killed my parents, I could be lenient with him and wouldn’t seek revenge on him, because I’m a big believer in karma. The saying ‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible’ sums it up to a tee: If revenge breeds revenge, will there ever be an end to it? Besides, he has already admitted his mistake and even got down on his hands and knees and begged me for forgiveness. This score is settled now, I’ll be lenient on him!” Can people be this magnanimous? (No.) They cannot do this. Leaving aside what you might do once you catch him, even before you catch him, all you can think about constantly every day is getting your revenge. Because this matter has hurt you greatly and affected you greatly, as a normal person, you will certainly never forget it for as long as you live. Even in your dreams you will see images of your family being killed and of yourself exacting revenge. This matter could affect you for the rest of your life, until your last dying breath. Such hatred simply can’t be let go of. Of course, there are slightly less serious cases than this one. For example, supposing someone slapped you in the face in public, embarrassing and humiliating you in front of everyone, and insulting you for no reason. Since then, many people look at you with discriminatory glances and even mock you, so you feel ashamed to be around people. This is much less serious than killing your parents and family members. Even so, it is difficult to abide by the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” because these things that have happened to you are already beyond the tolerance range of normal humanity. They have caused you great physical and mental harm, and greatly injured your dignity and character. There is no way you can forget them or let them go, so it is very difficult for you to abide by the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”—which is normal.
Looking at these aspects that we fellowshiped on just now, the saying on moral conduct “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” which is referred to in traditional Chinese culture, is a doctrine that restrains and enlightens people. It can only resolve minor disputes and trivial conflicts, but has no effect whatsoever when it comes to people who harbor deep hatred. Do the people who put forward this requirement really understand man’s humanity? One could say that the people who put forward this requirement are by no means ignorant of how great the tolerance range of human conscience and sense is. It’s just that putting forward this theory can make them appear sophisticated and noble, and earn people’s approval and flattery. The fact is, they know very well that if someone hurts a person’s dignity or character, harms their interests, or even impacts on their future prospects and their whole life, then from the perspective of humanity, the offended party must retaliate. No matter how much conscience and sense he has, he will not take it lying down. At most, only the degree and method of his vengeance will differ. In this real society, in this extremely dark and evil social environment and social context that people live in, where human rights don’t exist, people have never stopped fighting and killing each other, just because they can take revenge whenever they get hurt. The more seriously they are hurt, the stronger their desire for vengeance and the crueler the methods by which they exact their revenge. So what will the prevailing tendencies in this society be like? What will happen to relationships between people? Will not this society be awash with killing and retaliation? Therefore, the person who put forward this requirement is telling people in a very veiled way not to retaliate, using this saying on moral conduct—“Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”—to restrain their behavior. Whenever people suffer unfair treatment, or their character is insulted or their dignity hurt, this saying on moral conduct influences those people by making them think twice before acting, and stops them from being impulsive and overreacting. If people in this society wanted to take revenge whenever they suffered unfair treatment, no matter whether the treatment was meted out by the state, by society, or by people whom they come into contact with, then would not this human race and this society be difficult to manage? Wherever there are crowds, fights would then be unavoidable, and vendettas would be a common occurrence. So would not this human race and this society then be in chaos? (Yes.) Is a society in chaos easy for rulers to manage, or not? (No, it’s not easy to manage.) For this reason, these so-called social educators and thinkers put forward the saying on moral conduct “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” in order to exhort and enlighten people, so that whenever they are subjected to any unfair treatment or discrimination, insults, or even are abused or trampled down, and no matter how great their spiritual or physical suffering, they first think not of retaliation, but rather of this classic maxim on morality, “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” making them unconsciously accept the restraints of these sayings on moral conduct in traditional culture, thereby effectively restraining their thoughts and behavior, and dispelling the hatred that they harbor toward others, toward the state, and toward society. When this hostility and rage that humanity necessarily possesses and these instinctive thoughts of defending one’s dignity are dispelled, will the struggles and vendettas between people in this society be reduced to a significant degree? (Yes.) For example, some people say: “Let’s call it quits, compromise will make a conflict much easier to resolve. It is said that ‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.’ He had his reasons for killing my family. It takes two to make a quarrel, and both sides cling to their own rationale. Besides, my family have been dead for years, what’s the point of raking the matter up again? Be lenient wherever possible—people must learn to be magnanimous before they can let go of their hatred, and only when they let go of their hatred can they be happy in life.” There are other people who say: “Let bygones be bygones. If he doesn’t hold petty grievances against me or regard me with hostility like before, then I won’t quarrel with him either, and we’ll just turn over a new leaf. As the saying goes, ‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.’” If such people, whoever they are, suddenly rein themselves in just as they are about to exact retaliation, then do not their words, their actions, and their theoretical basis essentially all stem from the influence of ideas and views such as “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? (Yes.) There are still others who say: “Why all the arguments? A fine example of a man you are, you can’t even let go of such a trivial matter! Some great men have hearts big enough to sail a boat in. At the very least, make room for a little generosity! Shouldn’t people be a bit magnanimous in life? Take a step back and see the bigger picture, rather than holding petty grievances. All this arguing back and forth is laughable to watch.” These sayings and ideas encapsulate a kind of human attitude toward worldly matters, an attitude that merely comes from “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” and other such sayings from classic maxims on morality. People are inculcated and influenced by these sayings, and feel that they play some role in exhorting and enlightening people, so they regard these words as correct and proper things.
Why is it that people can let go of hatred? What are the main reasons? On the one hand, they are influenced by this saying about moral conduct—“Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” On the other hand, they are worried by the thought that if they hold petty grievances, constantly hate people, and are intolerant of others, they will be unable to gain a footing in society and will be condemned by public opinion and laughed at by people, so they must reluctantly and unwillingly swallow their anger. On the one hand, looking at human instinct, people living in this world cannot bear all this oppression, senseless hurt and unfair treatment. That is to say, it is not in people’s humanity to be able to bear these things. Therefore, it is unfair and inhumane to put forward the requirement “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” on anyone. On the other hand, it is obvious that such ideas and views also affect or distort people’s views and perspectives on these matters, so they are unable to treat such matters properly and instead regard sayings such as “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” as correct and positive things. When people are subjected to unfair treatment, in order to avoid the condemnation of public opinion, they have no choice but to bottle up the insults and unequal treatment they have suffered, and wait for an opportunity to retaliate. Even though out loud they say nice-sounding things like “‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.’ Never mind, there’s no point retaliating, it’s water under the bridge,” human instinct prevents them from ever forgetting the harm this incident has done to them, that is to say, the harm that it has done to their body and mind can never be erased or fade away. When people say, “Forget the hatred, this matter is over and done with, it’s water under the bridge,” that is just a facade formed solely by the constraint and influence of ideas and views such as “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” Of course, people are also confined by such ideas and views, insofar as they think that if they don’t manage to put them into practice, if they don’t have the heart or the generosity to be lenient wherever possible, then they will be looked down upon and condemned by everyone, and discriminated even more in society or within their community. What is the consequence of being discriminated against? It is that, when you come into contact with people and go about your business, people will say, “This guy is small-minded and vindictive. Be careful when dealing with him!” It effectively becomes an extra hurdle when you go about your business within the community. Why is there this extra hurdle? Because society as a whole is influenced by ideas and views such as “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” The mores of society as a whole revere such thinking, and the whole of society is confined, influenced and controlled by it, so if you cannot put it into practice, it will be difficult to gain a footing in society, and survive within your community. Therefore, some people have no alternative but to submit to such social mores and follow sayings and views such as “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” living pathetic lives. In the light of these phenomena, didn’t those so-called moralists have certain aims and intentions in putting forward these sayings about moral ideas and views? Did they do it so that humans could live more freely, and their body, mind and spirit be more liberated? Or was it so that people could live happier lives? Quite obviously not. These sayings about moral conduct do not serve the needs of people’s normal humanity at all, and least of all were they put forward to make people live out normal humanity. Rather, they entirely serve the ruling class’s ambition to control the people and stabilize its own power. They do service to the ruling class, and were put forward so that the ruling class could keep social order and social mores in check, using these things to constrain every person, every family, every individual, every community, every group, and the society formed by all the various groups. It is in such societies, under the indoctrination, influence, and inculcation of such moral ideas and views, that the mainstream moral ideas and views of society emerge and take shape. This taking shape of social morality and social mores is no more conducive to the survival of the human race, nor is it more conducive to the progress and purification of human thought, neither is it more conducive to the enhancement of humanity. On the contrary, because of the emergence of these moral ideas and views, human thinking is confined to within a controllable range. So, who benefits in the end? Is it the human race? Or the ruling class? (The ruling class.) That’s right, it is the ruling class that benefits in the end. With these moral scriptures as the basis of their thinking and moral conduct, humans are easier to rule, more likely to be obedient citizens, easier to manipulate, more easily governed by the various sayings of the moral scriptures in everything they do, and more easily governed by social systems, social morality, social mores, and public opinion. In this way, to a certain extent, people who are subordinate to the same social systems, moral environment, and social mores have basically unanimous ideas and views, and a unanimous bottom line for how they should comport themselves, because their ideas and views have undergone processing and standardization by these so-called moralists, thinkers, and educators. What does this word “unanimous” mean? It means that all those who are ruled—including their thoughts and normal humanity—have been assimilated and confined by these sayings from the moral scriptures. People’s thoughts are restricted, and their mouths and brains are also restricted at the same time. Everyone is forced to accept these moral ideas and views of traditional culture, using them to judge and constrain their own behavior on the one hand, and to judge others and this society on the other hand. Of course, at the same time, they are also controlled by public opinion, which is centered on these sayings from moral scriptures. If you think that your way of doing things contravenes the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” you feel very upset and uneasy, and it soon occurs to you that “if I don’t manage to be lenient wherever possible, if I’m so petty and small-minded like some blinkered Lilliputian, and I can’t let go of even the slightest hatred, but carry it round with me all the time, will I be laughed at? Will I be discriminated against by colleagues and friends?” So, you must pretend to be especially magnanimous. If people have these behaviors, does it mean that they are controlled by public opinion? (Yes.) Objectively speaking, deep within your heart there are invisible shackles, that is to say, public opinion and the condemnation of the whole of society are like invisible shackles to you. For example, some people know that it is good to believe in God, and that by believing in God they can attain salvation, and that believing in God means walking the correct path and not doing bad things, but when they first come to believe in God, they do not dare to be open about it, or to admit their faith, even to the point of not daring to spread the gospel. Why do they not dare to be open about it and let people know? Is it that they are affected by the overall environment? (Yes.) So what are the effects and constraints that this overall environment has on you? Why do you not dare to admit that you believe in God? Why do you not dare even to spread the gospel? Besides special cases such as authoritarian countries, where people of faith are persecuted, another reason is that the various sayings that come from public opinion are too much for you to bear. For example, some people say that once you start believing in religion, you don’t care about your family; some people demonize you, saying that believers in religion want to become immortal, and that they seclude themselves from society; others say that believers can go without eating, and not sleep for days on end without feeling tired; and still others say even worse things. At the outset did you not dare to admit that you believed in God because you were affected by these opinions? Do these opinions within the overall social environment have an effect on you? (Yes.) To a certain extent, they affect your mood and hurt your pride, so you dare not openly admit that you believe in God. Because this society is unfriendly and hostile toward people of faith and those who believe in God, and some people even utter vile insults and slanderous remarks that are too much for you to bear, you dare not openly admit that you believe in God, and have to sneak out to gatherings in secret, like a thief. You are afraid that others will say slanderous things if they find out, so all you can do is suppress your indignation. In this way, you have endured a great deal of anguish in silence, but suffering all this anguish is greatly edifying and you have gained a clear insight into many things, and understood some truths.
Just now we have fellowshipped extensively on this saying about moral conduct, “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” From the perspective of humanity, this saying specifies the minimum moral conduct that one should possess in terms of generosity and broad-mindedness. The fact is that, in light of the damage and effect on people’s human rights, dignity, integrity, and humanity, using only this saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” which is like the jargon of underworld robbers and bandits, to comfort and constrain people is a great insult to people with conscience and sense, and is inhumane and immoral. Normal humanity inherently possesses joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness. I will say no more about joy, sorrow, and happiness. Anger is also an emotion that normal humanity possesses. Under what circumstances does anger arise, and manifest itself normally? When the rage of normal humanity manifests itself—that is, when people’s integrity, dignity, interests, and their spirit and mind are hurt, trampled underfoot, and insulted, they will naturally and instinctively get angry, giving rise to indignation or even hatred—this is the reason why anger arises, and this is its specific manifestation. Some people get angry for no reason. A trivial matter can incite their wrath, or someone accidentally says something that hurts them and it can cause a red mist of anger to descend before their eyes. They are too hot-tempered, are they not? None of these things relate to their spirit, integrity, dignity, human rights or spiritual world, yet they can fly into a rage at the drop of a hat, which may be because they are so hot-tempered. It is not normal to display feelings of wrath at anything and everything. What we are talking about here is the indignation, anger, rage, and hatred manifested by normal humanity. These are some of people’s instinctive reactions. When a person’s integrity, dignity, human rights, and spirit are trampled on, insulted, or hurt, that person becomes indignant. This indignation is not a momentary fit of pique, nor is it a momentary feeling, but rather, it is a normal human reaction whenever a person’s integrity, dignity and spirit are traumatized. Since it is a normal human reaction, it can be said that this reaction is justified and rational, so it is not a crime, and does not need to be constrained. As for problems that hurt people to this extent, they should be resolved and dealt with fairly. If the matter cannot be resolved reasonably or dealt with fairly, and people are unreasonably expected to put into practice the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” this is immoral and inhumane to the victim, and is something that people should be aware of.
What points have we discussed regarding the saying about moral conduct “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? Let us sum up. The essence of this saying is the same as that of other sayings about moral conduct. They all serve the ruling class and social mores—they are not put forward starting from the perspective of humanity. To say that these moral scriptures serve the ruling class and social mores may be somewhat far beyond the range of what you should understand and be able to attain through your faith in God, though it is somewhat attainable for those who know something about politics, social science, and human thought. From the perspective of humanity, that is to say, from your own perspective, how should you deal with such things? For example, supposing you were previously arrested, imprisoned, and tortured because of your faith. For several days and nights the great red dragon did not let you sleep, and tormented you half to death. Irrespective of whether you are a man or a woman, your body and mind suffered all kinds of abuses and torments, and you were also insulted, derided, and attacked by those devils using all manner of filthy and blasphemous language. After suffering this torment, what do you feel toward this country and this government? (Hatred.) It engenders hatred, hatred toward this social system, hatred toward this ruling party, and hatred toward this country. You used to feel an immense sense of respect whenever you saw the state police, but after having been subjected to their persecution, torment, and defilement, that erstwhile sense of respect has vanished, and your heart is filled with one word—hate. Hate for their lack of humanity, hate for their sheer unscrupulousness, and hate that they act like animals and the devil Satan. Though you have suffered greatly through being tortured, defiled, and insulted by the state police, you have seen their true colors, and have seen that they are all beasts in human skin, and devils who hate the truth and hate God, so you are full of hatred toward them. This is not personal hatred or a personal grievance, it is the result of clearly seeing their evil essence. It is not something you have imagined, deduced, or determined, it is all those memories of them insulting you, defiling you, and persecuting you—including their every mannerism, action and word—that fill your heart with hatred. Is this normal? (Yes.) Once you are filled with hatred, if someone says to you, “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible. Don’t live in hatred. Dispelling hatred is the best way to deal with it,” how would you feel on hearing this? (Disgusted.) What else could you be but disgusted? So tell Me, is it possible to dispel this hatred? (No.) It cannot be dispelled. How can irreconcilable hatred be dispelled? If anyone uses the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” to persuade you to let go of your hatred, could you let go of it? How would you react? Your first reaction would be, “All this ‘execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible’ is spurious nonsense, it is irresponsible remarks from idle onlookers! These people who spread the ideas and views of traditional culture persecute Christians and good people every day—are they constrained and affected by these words? They will not stop until they drive away or exterminate every last one! They are the devil Satan in disguise. They brutalize people while they are still alive, then once they’re dead they say a few words of sympathy to delude others. Is that not awfully wicked?” Wouldn’t you react and feel this way? (Yes.) You would certainly feel like this, hating whoever tries to persuade you, to the point of even wanting to curse them. But some people don’t understand. They say, “Why are you doing this? Is this not hateful? Is this not spiteful?” These are irresponsible remarks from idle onlookers. You would retort: “I am a human being, I have dignity and integrity, but they didn’t treat me like a human being. Instead they treated me like an animal or a beast, greatly offending my integrity and dignity. Is it not they who are spiteful? You tacitly accept their spitefulness, yet when we resist and hate them, you condemn us for it. So what does that make you? Is it not you who is wicked? They don’t treat us like human beings, they torture us, but you still tell us to uphold human moral conduct and requite evil with good. Aren’t you just talking nonsense? Is your humanity normal? You are a faker and a hypocrite. Not only are you extremely spiteful, but you are also wicked and shameless!” So, when someone consoles you by saying “Forget about it, it’s over and done with, don’t hold grievances. If you are always this petty, you will be the one who gets hurt in the end. People have to learn to let go of hatred, and practice being lenient whenever possible,” what would you think about that? Would you not think, “All this traditional Chinese culture is just a tool used by the ruling class to delude and control people. They themselves are never constrained by these ideas and views, but delude and cruelly hurt people every day. I am a person with dignity and integrity who was wantonly toyed with and abused like an animal or a beast. I suffered so many insults and degradations in their presence, and was tormented and deprived of my dignity and integrity, so that I did not even appear human. And yet you talk about morality? Who are you to say such high-sounding things? Is it not enough for me to be humiliated once, you want them to humiliate me again? There is no way I’m letting go of this hatred!” Is this a manifestation of normal humanity? (Yes.) This is a manifestation of normal humanity. Some people say: “This is not a manifestation of normal humanity, this is inciting hatred.” In that case, who caused this person’s behavior and this hatred? Do you know? If they hadn’t been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon, would they behave like this? They were persecuted and are just speaking their mind—how is that inciting hatred? Satanic regimes persecute people like this, and yet they do not allow people to speak their mind? Satan persecutes people and yet wants to keep their mouths shut. It doesn’t allow them to hate or resist. What manner of reasoning is that? Shouldn’t people with normal humanity oppose oppression and exploitation? Should they just meekly submit? Satan has corrupted and harmed mankind for thousands of years. Once believers understand the truth, they should wake up, resist Satan, expose it, hate it, and forsake it. This is normal humanity, and it is perfectly natural and justified. This is the good and righteous deed that normal humanity should be capable of, and it is praised by God.
Whichever angle you look at it, the saying about moral conduct, “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” is very inhumane and disgusting. It tells the people of the ruled class not to resist any unfair treatment—regardless of any attacks, degradation, or injuries they suffer to their integrity, dignity, and human rights—but rather to meekly submit to it. They should not take revenge, or think about hateful things, let alone about retaliation, but must make sure to be lenient wherever possible. Is this not inhumane? Quite obviously this is inhumane. Given that it requires the ruled class—ordinary people—to do all this and to conduct themselves with this kind of moral conduct, shouldn’t the moral conduct of the ruling class exceed this requirement? Is this something they should be even more obligated to do? Have they done it? Could they do it? Did they use this saying to constrain themselves and measure themselves? Did they apply this saying in their treatment of their people, the people they rule over? (No.) They have never done this. They only tell their people not to regard this society, this country, or the ruling class with hostility, and that no matter what unfair treatment they suffer in society or within their community, and no matter how much they suffer physically, mentally and spiritually, they must learn to be lenient wherever possible. Conversely, if ordinary people—commoners in their eyes—tell them “no,” or hold any dissenting opinions and voices about the status, rule, and authority of the ruling class, they will be strictly administered to, and even severely punished. Is this the moral conduct that the ruling class, who advocate “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” to the people, should possess? If, among the ordinary people of the ruled class, there is the slightest trouble or the slightest shift, or if there is even the slightest opposition to them in people’s thoughts, then it will be nipped in the bud. They control people’s hearts and minds, and force people to submit to them without compromise. It’s just like in the sayings “When the emperor commands his officials to die, they have no choice but to die,” and “All the lands under the sky belong to the king, all the people of the world are the king’s vassals.” What it boils down to is that whatever the ruler does is right, and the people should be duped by him, controlled by him, insulted by him, toyed with by him, trampled on by him, and finally devoured by him; and that no matter what the ruling class do, they are right, and as long as people are alive, they must be obedient citizens, and must not be disloyal to the king. No matter how bad the king is, no matter how bad his rule is, ordinary people must not say “no,” and must not harbor thoughts of resistance, and must absolutely obey. Since “all the people of the world are the king’s vassals,” meaning that the common people ruled by the king are his vassals, then shouldn’t the king exemplify the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” to the common people? Because the common people are foolish, ignorant, uninformed, and do not understand the law, they often do some illegal and criminal things. So, shouldn’t the king be the first one of all to apply the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? Being as lenient with ordinary people as he is with his own children—isn’t that what a king should do? Shouldn’t a king also have such magnanimity? (Yes.) So does he make this requirement of himself? (No.) When kings ordered the suppression of religious beliefs, did they require themselves to adhere to the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? When their army and police force brutally persecuted and tortured Christians, did they ask their government to adhere to the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”? They never asked their government or their police force to do that. Instead, they urged and forced the government and the police force to strictly suppress religious beliefs, and even issued orders along the lines of “beat them to death with impunity” and “destroy them without making a sound,” which goes to show that the kings of this evil world are devils, they are devil kings, they are Satan. They only allow officials to light fires, but do not allow the people even to light lamps. They use these traditional sayings about moral conduct to constrain and restrict the people, out of fear that the people will rise up against them. Hence, the ruling class use all kinds of sayings about moral conduct to dupe people. They have only one purpose, which is to restrict and bind people’s hands and feet, so that people will submit to their rule, and they brook no resistance. They use these theories about moral conduct to stupefy and deceive people, hoodwinking them so that they may bow down and be obedient citizens. No matter how much the ruling class get away with and trample people underfoot, no matter how much they oppress and exploit people, the people can only meekly submit to it, and cannot resist at all. Even when faced with death, the people can only choose to flee. They cannot resist, nor even dare to harbor thoughts of resisting. They cannot even look at hoes and sickles or keep them by their side, nor even carry pocketknives and nail clippers about their person, with the aim to show that they are obedient citizens, and that they will always submit to the rule of the king and be loyal to the king forever. How far should their loyalty extend? No one dares to say, “As the people, we must use the ideas and views of traditional culture to supervise and constrain our king,” and no one dares to put forward even slightly divergent opinions when they find out that the king is committing evil, otherwise it would get them killed. Quite obviously, the ruler regards himself not only as the king of the people, but also as the sovereign and controller of the people. In Chinese history, these emperors called themselves “Tianzi.” What is the meaning of “Tianzi”? It means the son of the celestial heaven, or “the Son of Heaven” for short. Why didn’t they call themselves “the Son of Earth”? If they were born on earth they should be sons of earth, and as they were obviously born on earth, why call themselves “the Son of Heaven”? What was the purpose of calling themselves the Son of Heaven? Is it that they wanted to look down on all living beings and on these commoners? Their way of ruling was to control the people with power and status above all else. That is to say, when they assumed power and became the emperor, they thought nothing of riding roughshod on the necks of the people, and the people risked being executed for showing the slightest reticence. That is how this title “the Son of Heaven” came about. If the emperor said that he was the Son of Earth, he would appear to be of lowly status, and would not have the majesty that he claims a king should have, nor would he be able to intimidate the ruled class. So, he upped the ante, claiming that he was the Son of Heaven, and wanted to represent Heaven. Could he represent Heaven? Did he have that essence? If one insists on representing Heaven without having the essence to do so, that is putting up a pretense. On the one hand, these rulers regard Heaven and God with hostility, but on the other hand, they pretend that they are the Son of Heaven, and that they have been mandated by Heaven, so as to facilitate their rule. Is this not shameless? Looking at these facts, the purpose of these various sayings about moral conduct that are spread among mankind is to restrict people’s normal thinking, bind their hands and feet, restrict their behavior, and even restrict their various thoughts, views and manifestations within the scope of normal humanity. Looking at the root of it, their purpose is to form good social mores and social morality. Of course, by achieving this effect they also serve the ruling class’s ambition to rule for a long time. But no matter how they rule, ultimately the victim is mankind. Mankind is confined and influenced by these various ideas and views of traditional culture. Not only have people lost the opportunity to hear the gospel and receive God’s salvation, but they have also lost the opportunity to seek the truth and walk the right path in life. Moreover, under the control of rulers, the people have no choice but to accept many kinds of poisons, heresies and fallacies, and other negative things that come from Satan. For the last few thousand years of mankind’s long history, Satan has educated, inculcated, and duped mankind by spreading knowledge and disseminating various ideological theories, with the result that generations of people have been profoundly influenced and confined by these ideas and views. Of course, under the influence of these ideas and views from Satan, people’s corrupt dispositions intensify and become more serious. That is to say, people’s corrupt dispositions have been fostered and “sublimated” on this basis, and have become deeply rooted in people’s hearts, causing them to deny God, resist God, and sink deep into sin from which they are unable to extricate themselves. As regards the formation of this saying about moral conduct—“Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible”—as well as the aims in putting forward this requirement, the harm done to people since this saying about moral conduct was formed, and all the various other aspects, we will not fellowship on these things now, and you can take time later to further contemplate them for yourselves.
Chinese people are no strangers to sayings about moral conduct in traditional culture, but these things do not influence people overnight. You live in this kind of social environment, you have received this kind of ideological education on aspects of traditional culture and morality, and you are familiar with these things, but it has never occurred to you that these things could have a tremendously negative effect. How much will these things obstruct you from believing in God, pursuing the truth, and entering into the truth realities, or how much of an influence or obstruction will they be on the path you walk in future? Are you aware of these issues? You should further contemplate and discern the topic that we have fellowshiped about today, to gain a thorough understanding of the role that traditional culture plays in educating mankind, what exactly it is, and how people should treat it correctly. These words that we fellowshiped above are helpful and beneficial for you to understand the things in traditional culture. Of course, this understanding is not only an understanding of traditional culture, but also an understanding of Satan’s corruption of mankind, and the various ways and means through which Satan corrupts mankind, and even specifically the various views it instills in people, as well as the various ways and means, views, perspectives, standpoints and so on, with which it treats the world and mankind. After gaining a thorough understanding of the things of traditional culture, what you should do is not to just avoid and reject the various sayings and views of traditional culture. Instead, you should more specifically understand and dissect what harm, restraints and bonds the sayings about moral conduct that you abide by and uphold have inflicted on you, and what roles they have played in affecting, disturbing, and obstructing your thoughts and views on comporting yourself, as well as your acceptance of God’s words and your pursuit of the truth, and thereby delaying you from accepting the truth, understanding it, practicing it, and obeying God completely and absolutely. These things are precisely what people should reflect on and be aware of. You cannot just evade or reject them, you must be able to discern them and understand them thoroughly, so that you can completely free your mind of these specious and misleading things in traditional culture. Even if some sayings about moral conduct are not deeply rooted in you, but manifest themselves from time to time in your thinking and notions, they can still disturb you for a short period or during a single incident. If you cannot discern them clearly, you may still regard some sayings and views as things that are quite positive or close to the truth, and this is something very troublesome. There are certain sayings about moral conduct that you inwardly quite like. Not only do you agree with them in your heart, but you also feel that they can be aired in public, that people will be interested in hearing them, and that they will accept them as positive things. These sayings are undoubtedly the hardest ones for you to let go of. Even though you have not admitted them as the truth, you inwardly recognize them as positive things in your heart, and they unconsciously take root in your heart and become your life. Once you come to believe in God and accept the truth expressed by God, these things will naturally emerge to disturb you and obstruct you from accepting the truth. These are all things that obstruct people from pursuing the truth. If you cannot discern them clearly, it is easy to confuse these things with the truth and accord them the same status, which can have some negative effects on people. It may be that you haven’t treated these sayings—such as “Don’t pocket the money you pick up,” “Derive pleasure from helping others,” and “Be strict with yourself and tolerant of others”—as the truth, and that you don’t regard them as the standard for measuring your own moral conduct, and that you don’t pursue them as goals for comporting yourself, but this does not mean that you have not been influenced and corrupted by traditional culture. It may also be that you are someone who is indifferent to trivial details, insofar as you don’t care whether or not you pocket the money you pick up, or whether you derive pleasure from helping others. But you have to understand and be clear about one thing: You live in this kind of social environment and under the influence of a traditional cultural and ideological education, so you will inevitably follow these sayings that mankind advocates, and will adopt at least some of them as your standard for measuring moral conduct. This is what you should thoughtfully reflect on. It may also be that you do not adopt sayings such as “Don’t pocket the money you pick up” or “Derive pleasure from helping others” as your standard for measuring moral conduct, but that deep in your heart you think that other sayings, such as “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” are particularly noble, and they have become tenets that influence your life, or have become the highest criterion by which you view people and things, and comport yourself and act. What does this show? Although deep in your heart you do not intentionally revere or follow traditional culture, your tenets of comportment, the ways in which you comport yourself, and your life goals, as well as the principles, bottom line, and tenets for the life goals that you pursue are not free from traditional culture at all. They have not escaped the values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness that mankind upholds, or some tenet of moral conduct that mankind advocates—you haven’t escaped these confines at all. To put it plainly, as long as you are a corrupt human, a living human, and you eat the food of the human world, then the principles of comportment and life that you follow are nothing more than these principles and tenets for moral conduct from traditional culture. You should understand these words I say and these problems I expose. And yet, perhaps you think that you don’t have these problems, so you don’t care about what I say. The fact is that people all have these problems to varying degrees, whether you realize it or not, and this is something that those who believe in God and pursue the truth should thoughtfully reflect on and understand.
We said just now that the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” is a requirement placed on humankind’s moral conduct. We have also dissected some of the problems with this saying and some of the effects it has had on humankind. It has introduced some unhealthy ideas and views to humankind, and has had some negative effects on people’s pursuits and survival, which people should be aware of. So, how should believers understand problems to do with magnanimity and broad-mindedness in humanity? How can one understand them from the viewpoint of God in a correct and positive way? Shouldn’t this also be understood? (Yes.) It’s actually not difficult to understand these things. You don’t need to guess, nor to research any information. Simply by learning from the things God has said and the work He has done among people, and from God’s disposition as shown in the different ways that He treats all kinds of people, we can know exactly what God’s opinion is on these sayings and views of traditional culture, and what exactly His intentions are. By looking at God’s intentions and views, people should have a path upon which to pursue the truth. The saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll” which people adhere to means that when a person’s head is chopped off and falls to the ground, that is the end of the matter and it should not be pursued further. Is this not a viewpoint of sorts? Is this not a viewpoint commonly held among people? It means that once a person comes to the end of their physical life, that life is over and finished with. All the bad things that person has done in their life, and all the love, hatred, passion and enmity they have experienced, are declared finished right then, and that life is considered over. People believe this, but from looking at God’s words and all the various signs of God’s actions, is this the principle of God’s actions? (No.) So, what is the principle of God’s actions? On what basis does God do such things? Some people say that God does such things based on His administrative decrees, which is correct, but it is not the complete picture. On the one hand, it is according to His administrative decrees, but on the other hand, He treats people of all kinds based on His disposition and essence—this is the complete picture. In God’s eyes, if a person is killed and their head falls to the ground, does this person’s life come to an end? (No.) So, in what way does God end a person’s life? Is this the way that God deals with a person? (No.) God’s way of dealing with any person is not just to kill them by chopping off their head and have done with it. There is a beginning and an end, a coherency and a steadfastness to how God deals with humankind. From the time when a soul is reincarnated as a human being, to when the soul returns to the spiritual world after the end of the person’s physical life, whatever course it follows, whether in the spiritual world or in the material world, it must be subject to God’s handling. In the end, whether it is rewarded or punished depends on God’s administrative decrees, and there are heavenly rules. This means that how God treats a person depends on the whole life’s destiny that He has ordained for each person. After a person’s destiny ends, they are subject to handling based on God’s ordained law and heavenly rules of punishing evil and rewarding good. If this person has done substantial evil in the world, then they must undergo substantial punishment; if this person has not done much evil and has even done some good deeds, then they should be rewarded. Whether they can continue being reincarnated and whether they are reborn as a human or an animal depends on their performance in this life. Why am I fellowshiping about these things? Because appended to the saying “Execution does nothing but make heads roll,” there is another phrase, “be lenient wherever possible.” God has no such ways of speaking or doing things that make an unprincipled attempt to smooth things over. God’s actions are revealed in the way He deals with any created being from beginning to end, all of which enables people to plainly see that it is God who holds sovereignty over the destiny of humans, orchestrating and arranging it, and then punishing evil and rewarding good according to a person’s behavior, inflicting punishment where it is due. According to what God has stipulated, a person should be punished for however many years and however many reincarnations, depending on however many evils they have committed, and the spiritual world implements this according to established rules, without the slightest deviation. No one can change it, and anyone who does so violates the heavenly rules ordained by God, and will be punished without exception. In God’s eyes, these heavenly rules cannot be violated. What does this mean? It means that any person, no matter what evil they have done or which heavenly rules and regulations they have violated, will ultimately be handled without compromise. Unlike the laws of the world—where there are suspended sentences, or someone can intercede, or the judge can follow their own inclinations and exercise kindness by being lenient where possible, so that the person will not be convicted of the crime and will not be punished accordingly—this is not the way things work in the spiritual world. God will treat the past and present lives of every created being strictly according to the laws He established, that is to say, the rules of heaven. It doesn’t matter how serious or insignificant a person’s transgressions are, or how great or insignificant their good deeds are, nor does it matter how long the person’s transgressions or good deeds have been going on for, or how long ago they happened. None of this changes the way that the Lord of creation treats the humans He has created. That is to say, the heavenly rules made by God will never change. This is the principle behind God’s actions and the way that He does things. Ever since human beings came into existence and God began to work among them, the administrative decrees made by Him, that is, the rules of heaven, have not changed. Therefore, God will ultimately have ways of dealing with humankind’s transgressions, good deeds, and all kinds of evil deeds. Any and all created beings must pay the due price for their actions and behavior. However, each created being is punished by God because of their disobedience to God, the evil deeds they have done, and the transgressions they have left behind, rather than because God has become hateful toward people. God is not a member of the human race. God is God, the Lord of creation. Any and all created beings are punished not because the Lord of creation hates people, but because they have violated the heavenly rules, regulations, laws, and commandments established by God, and this fact cannot be changed by anyone. From this point of view, in God’s eyes there is never any such thing as “being lenient wherever possible.” You may not quite fully understand what I am saying, but in any case, the ultimate aim is to let you know that God has no hatred, but only the rules of heaven, administrative decrees, laws, His disposition, and His wrath and majesty which tolerate no offense. Therefore, in God’s eyes there is no such thing as “being lenient wherever possible.” You should not measure God by the requirement to be lenient wherever possible, nor hold God up for scrutiny against this requirement. What does “hold God up for scrutiny” mean? It means that sometimes when God shows people mercy and tolerance, some will say, “Look, God is good, God loves people, He is lenient wherever possible, He is truly tolerant of human beings, God has the broadest mind, it is much broader than the minds of human beings, and even bigger than that of prime ministers!” Is it right to say that? (No.) If you praise God in this way, is it an appropriate thing to say? (No, it’s inappropriate.) This manner of speaking is wrong and cannot be applied to God. Humans endeavor to be lenient wherever possible in order to show their generosity and tolerance, and to flaunt that they are a tolerant and magnanimous person, and a person of noble virtue. As for God, there is mercy and tolerance in God’s essence. Mercy and tolerance are God’s essence. But God’s essence is not the same as the magnanimity and tolerance that human beings show by being lenient wherever possible. These are two different things. In being lenient wherever possible, the aim of humans is to get people to say nice things about them, that they have generosity and grace, and that they are a good person. In addition, it is also due to social pressures, for survival. People only show a little generosity and a little broad-mindedness toward others in order to achieve an aim, not to adhere to or abide by criteria of conscience, but to make people look up to and worship them, or because it is part of some ulterior motive or trickery. There is no purity in their actions. So, does God do things such as being lenient wherever possible? God doesn’t do such things. Some people say, “Doesn’t God also show leniency to people? So when He does that, is He not being lenient wherever possible?” No, there is a difference here that people should understand. What is it that people should understand? It is that when people apply the saying “be lenient wherever possible,” they do it without principles. They do it because they are succumbing to social pressures and public opinion, and to pretend that they are good people. With these impure aims and while wearing a mask of hypocrisy to flaunt themselves as good people, people do this reluctantly. Or perhaps they are compelled by circumstances, and want to take revenge but cannot, and in this situation where there is no other choice, they reluctantly abide by this tenet. It does not come from outpouring of their inner essence. The people who can do this are not truly good people, or people who truly love positive things. So what is the difference between God being tolerant and merciful to people, and people who put the saying “be lenient wherever possible” into practice? Tell Me what differences there are. (There are principles to what God does. For example, the people of Nineveh received God’s tolerance after they truly repented. From this, we can see that there are principles to God’s actions, and we can also see that in God’s essence there are mercy and tolerance toward people.) Well said. There are two main differences here. The point you mentioned just now is crucial, which is that there are principles to what God does. There is a clear boundary and scope for everything that God does, and this boundary and scope are things that people can understand. The fact is that there are certain principles to everything God does. For example, God showed leniency to the people of Nineveh for their transgressions. When the people of Nineveh let go of their evil and truly repented, God forgave them and promised not to further destroy the city. This was the principle behind God’s actions. What can this principle be understood as here? It was the bottom line. According to humans’ understanding and way of speaking, it can be said that this was God’s bottom line. As long as the people of Nineveh relinquished the evil in their hands and stopped living in sin and renouncing God as they once did, and were able to truly repent to God, this true repentance was the bottom line that God gave to them. If they could achieve true repentance, then God would be lenient with them. If, on the contrary, they failed to achieve true repentance, would God have reconsidered? Would God’s previous decision and plan to destroy this city have changed? (No.) God gave them two choices: The first was to continue with their evil ways and face destruction, in which case the whole city would be obliterated; the second was to let go of their evil, truly repent to Him in sackcloth and ashes, and confess their sins to Him from the bottom of their hearts, in which case He would be lenient with them, and regardless of what evil they had done before, or how severe the extent of their evildoing, He would make up His mind not to destroy the city because of their repentance. God gave them two choices, and instead of going with the first, they chose the second—to truly repent to God in sackcloth and ashes. What was the final result? They managed to get God to change His mind, that is, to reconsider, change His plans, show them leniency, and refrain from destroying the city. Isn’t this the principle by which God works? (Yes.) This is the principle by which God works. In addition, there is another crucial point, which is that in God’s essence there is love and mercy, but of course there is also intolerance of man’s offenses, and wrath. In the case of the destruction of Nineveh, both these aspects of God’s essence were revealed. When God saw the evil deeds of these people, the essence of God’s wrath manifested itself and was revealed. Is there a principle to God’s anger? (Yes.) Put simply, this principle is that there is a basis for God’s anger. It is not getting angry or enraged indiscriminately, much less is it a kind of feeling. Rather, it is a disposition that arises and is naturally revealed within a certain context. God’s wrath and majesty tolerate no offense. In human language, this means that God became angry and enraged when He saw the evil deeds of the Ninevites. To be precise, God was angry because He has a side that is intolerant of people’s offenses, so having seen people’s evil deeds and the occurrence and emergence of negative things, God will naturally reveal His wrath. So, if God’s wrath was revealed, would He immediately destroy the city? (No.) This is how you can see that there are principles to what God does. It is not the case that once God is angry, He will say, “I have the authority, I will destroy you! No matter what your predicament, I won’t give you a chance!” That’s not how it is. What things did God do? God did a series of things. How should people interpret them? The series of things that God did are all based on God’s disposition. They did not arise purely on the basis of His wrath. That is to say, God’s wrath is not impetuousness. It is not like the impetuousness of humans, who impulsively say, “I have the power, I will kill you, I will fix you,” or as the great red dragon says, “If I catch you, I will do you in, and beat you to death without consequence.” This is the way that Satan and devils do things. Impetuousness comes from Satan and devils. There is no impetuousness in the wrath of God. In what way does His lack of impetuousness manifest itself? When God saw how corrupted the Ninevites were, He became angry and enraged. But after getting angry, He did not destroy them without saying a word due to the existence of the essence of His wrath. Instead, He sent Jonah to inform the people of Nineveh what He was about to do next, telling them what He was going to do and why, so that they would be clear and to give them a glimmer of hope. This fact tells humankind that God’s wrath is revealed due to the appearance of negative and evil things, but that God’s wrath is different from the impetuousness of humankind, and different from human feelings. Some people say, “God’s wrath is different from human impetuousness and feelings. Is God’s wrath controllable?” No, controllable isn’t the right word to use here, it’s not appropriate to say this. To be precise, there are principles to God’s wrath. In His wrath, God did a series of things which further proves that there are truths and principles to His actions, and at the same time also informs humankind that besides His wrath, God also has mercy and love. When God’s mercy and love are invested in humankind, what benefits does humankind receive? That is to say, if people confess their sins and repent in the manner taught by God, they can gain a chance of life from God, and the hope and possibility of survival. This means that people can continue to live with God’s permission, on the proviso that they have truly confessed and truly repented, then they will be able to receive the promise that God gives them. Are there not principles to this whole series of statements? You see, behind everything and every kind of work that God does there is, using human language, a rationale and a fastidiousness, or, using God’s words, there are truths and principles. It is different from humankind’s way of doing things, and less still is it adulterated with the impetuousness of humankind. Some people say, “God’s disposition is calm and not impulsive!” Is this the case? No, it cannot be said that God’s disposition is calm, composed, and not impulsive—this is humankind’s way of measuring and describing it. There are truths and principles to what God does. No matter what He does, there is a basis to it, and this basis is the truth and is God’s disposition.
In dealing with the people of Nineveh, God did a series of things. First, He sent Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). Is forty days a long time? It is exactly one month and ten days, which is a pretty long time, enough for people to think and reflect for a while and achieve true repentance. If it had been four hours, or four days, that wouldn’t have been enough time to repent. But God gave forty days, which was a mighty long time and more than enough. How big can a city be? Jonah circulated through the city from one end to the other and informed everyone within just a few days, so that every citizen and every household got the message. Those forty days were more than ample to prepare sackcloth or ashes, and make any other preparations that were necessary. What do you see from these things? God gave the people of Nineveh sufficient time to let them know that He was about to destroy their city, and to let them prepare, reflect, and examine themselves. In human language, God did all that He could and ought to have done. That forty-day period was enough, insofar as it gave everyone—from the king down to the ordinary people—enough time to reflect and prepare. On the one hand, from this it can be seen that what God does for people is to show tolerance, and on the other hand, it can be seen that God cares about people in His heart and has true love for them. God’s mercy and love do indeed exist, without any pretense, and His heart is faithful, without any pretense. In order to give people the opportunity to repent, He gave them forty days. Those forty days encapsulated God’s tolerance and love. Those forty days were long enough to prove and fully enable people to see that God has genuine concern and love for people, and that God’s mercy and love do indeed exist, without any pretense. Some will say, “Didn’t You previously say that God doesn’t love people, that He hates people? Isn’t that a contradiction with what You said just now?” Is it a contradiction? (No, it isn’t.) God cares about people in His heart, He has the essence of love. Is this different to saying that God loves people? (Yes.) How is it different? Does God actually love people or hate people? (He loves people.) Why then does God still curse and chastise and judge people? If something so important is not clear to you, you must have misunderstood it. Is this a contradiction between you and God? If this is something you are not clear about, isn’t a gulf likely to arise between you and God? Tell Me, if God loves people, does God also hate people? Does God’s love for people have a bearing on His hatred for people? Does God’s hatred of people have a bearing on His love for people? (No, it doesn’t.) So why is it that God loves people? God became flesh to save people—is this not His greatest love? How pitiful it is if you do not know that! If you don’t even know why it is that God loves people, then that is ridiculous. Tell Me, where does a mother’s love for her child come from? (Instinct.) That’s right. Maternal love comes from instinct. So is this love based on whether the child is good or wicked? (No, it isn’t.) For example, even if the child is very naughty and sometimes drives his mother up the wall, she still loves him at the end of the day. Why is that? This way in which she treats her child comes from the instinct of her role as a mother. Because of this instinctive maternal love that she has, her love for the child is not based on whether the child is good or wicked. Some people say, “Since a mother instinctively loves her child, why does she still smack him? Why does she still hate him? Why does she still sometimes get angry and scold him? And why does she sometimes get so mad that she wants to have nothing more to do with him? Did You not say that a mother has love, and that she loves her child? So how could she be so heartless?” Is this a contradiction? No, it is not a contradiction. How a mother treats her child depends on the child’s attitude toward the mother and on the child’s behavior. But no matter how she treats her child, even if she smacks him and hates him, this has no bearing on the existence of her maternal love. Likewise, what does God’s love for people come from? (God has the essence of love.) That’s right. You’ve finally made it clear. The crux here is that God has the essence of love. The reason why God loves and cares about people is that on the one hand, God has the essence of love. Within this love there is mercy, lovingkindness, tolerance, and patience. Of course, there are also manifestations of concern, and sometimes worry and sadness, and so on. All this is determined by the essence of God. This is looking at it from a subjective point of view. From an objective point of view, human beings are created by God, just like a child is born of his mother, and the mother naturally cares about him and there are inseverable blood ties between them. Although human beings and God do not have these blood ties, as humans put it, human beings are nevertheless created by God, and He cares about them and feels affection for them. God wants human beings to be good and to walk the right path, but seeing them corrupted by Satan, walking the path of evil, and suffering makes God sad and anguished. This is normal, is it not? God has these reactions, feelings, and manifestations, all of which arise because of God’s essence, and which are inseparable from the relationship formed by God’s creation of man. These are all objective facts. Some people say: “Since God’s essence has love, why does God still hate people? Doesn’t God care about people? How come He still hates them?” There is also an objective fact here, which is that people’s disposition, essence, and other aspects are incompatible with God and the truth, so that what people manifest and reveal before God disgusts Him and is detestable to Him. As time goes on, people’s corrupt dispositions become more and more serious, their sins become more and more serious, and they are also extremely intransigent, steadfastly unrepentant, and do not accept the slightest bit of truth. They are entirely at odds with God, hence His hatred is stirred. So, where does God’s hatred come from? Why does it come about? It comes about because God’s disposition is righteous and holy, and God’s loathing is stirred by His essence. God abhors evil, detests negative things, and loathes evil forces and evil things. Therefore, God loathes this corrupt human race. So, the love and hatred that God reveals for created beings are normal and determined by His essence. There is no contradiction at all. Some people ask, “So does God actually love or hate people?” How would you answer that? (It depends on people’s attitude toward God, or whether people have truly repented.) This is basically true, but not quite accurate. Why isn’t it accurate? Do you think that God must necessarily love people? (No.) God’s words to humankind and all the work He does in people are the natural manifestations of God’s disposition and essence. God has His principles, He doesn’t necessarily have to love people, but He doesn’t necessarily have to hate people either. What God asks of people is to pursue the truth, follow His way, and comport themselves and act according to His words. God doesn’t necessarily have to love people, but He doesn’t necessarily have to hate people either. This is a fact, and people have to understand it. Just now you said that God loves or hates people based on their behavior. Why is it inaccurate to say this? God doesn’t necessarily have to love you, nor does He absolutely have to hate you. God may even ignore you. Whether you pursue the truth and comport yourself and act according to God’s words, or whether you do not accept the truth and even disobey and resist God, in the end He will recompense every person according to what they have done. Those who do good will be rewarded, whereas those who do evil will be punished. This is called dealing with matters fairly and equitably. That is to say, as a created being, you have no grounds to demand how God should treat you. When you treat God and the truth with longing, and pursue the truth, you think that He must love you, but if God ignores you and does not love you, you feel that He is not God. Or when you disobey God, you think that He must hate you and punish you, but if He ignores you, you feel that He is not God. Is it right to think this way? (No, it is not right.) Relationships between people, such as the relationship between parents and their children, can be evaluated this way—that is to say, the love or hatred of parents for their children is sometimes based on the children’s behavior—but the relationship between human beings and God cannot be evaluated this way. The relationship between human beings and God is that between creature and Creator, and there are no blood ties whatsoever. It is solely a relationship between creature and Creator. Therefore, human beings cannot demand that God loves them, or declares where He stands with them. These are unreasonable demands. This kind of view is wrong and incorrect; people cannot make such demands. So looking at it now, do humans actually have an accurate understanding of God’s love? Their previous understanding was inaccurate, was it not? (Yes.) There are principles to whether God loves or hates people. If humans’ behavior or pursuit accords with the truth and is to God’s liking, then He approves of it. However, people have corrupt essences and can reveal corrupt dispositions and pursue ideals and desires that they think are right or that they like. That is something that God hates and does not approve of. But contrary to what people think—which is that God will shower people with rewards whenever He approves of them, or discipline and punish people whenever He doesn’t approve—this is not the case. There are principles to God’s actions. This speaks of the essence of God, and people must understand it in this way.
I raised a question just now and fellowshiped on the principles of God’s actions and on God’s essence. What was the question I just asked? (God just asked about the difference between His tolerance and mercy for people and the human practice of being lenient wherever possible. Afterward, You fellowshiped that God does not act according to this philosophy for living. God deals with people’s transgressions mainly based on two aspects: On the one hand, there are principles to what God does, and on the other hand, in God’s essence there is both mercy and wrath.) That is indeed the correct way to understand it. God’s principles for doing things this way are based on His essence and His disposition, and have nothing whatsoever to do with being lenient wherever possible, which is a philosophy for living that humankind follows. People’s actions are based on satanic philosophies, and are governed by satanic dispositions. God’s actions are the manifestation of His disposition and essence. In God’s essence, there is love, mercy, and of course hatred. So now do you understand what God’s attitude is toward humans’ evil deeds and their various forms of disobedience and betrayal? What is the basis of God’s attitude? Is it produced by His essence? (Yes.) In God’s essence there is mercy, love, and wrath. God’s essence is righteousness, and it’s from this essence that the principles of God’s actions come about. So what exactly are the principles of God’s actions? Bestow mercy abundantly and vent wrath deeply. This has absolutely nothing to do with being lenient wherever possible, which is practiced among human beings and has the appearance of being a very noble tenet, but in God’s eyes it is not worth mentioning. As a believer, on the one hand, you cannot judge God’s essence, deeds, and the principles of His actions based on this tenet. In addition, from their own perspective, people should not adhere to this philosophy for living; they should have a principle for how to make choices when things befall them and how to deal with these things. What is this principle? People do not possess the essence of God, and of course they cannot do everything with clear principles like God does, or stand on high and dole out opportunities and be lenient with all and sundry. People cannot do this. What then should you do when you encounter things that disturb you, hurt you, or insult your dignity, character, or even hurt your heart and soul? If you adhere to the saying about moral conduct, “be lenient wherever possible,” then you try to smooth things over without regard to principles, and be a people-pleaser, and you feel that it’s not easy to get by in this world, and that you can’t make enemies and must try to offend people less or not at all, and be lenient wherever possible, sit on the fence at every opportunity, take the middle road, not put yourself in any dangerous situations, and learn to protect yourself. Is this not a philosophy for living? (Yes.) This is a philosophy for living, rather than a principle that God teaches to humankind. So, what is the principle that God teaches people? How is the pursuit of truth defined? Viewing people and things, and comporting oneself and acting, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as the criterion. If something happened that aroused your hatred, how would you view it? On what basis would you view it? (Based on God’s words.) That’s right. If you don’t know how to view these things according to God’s words, then you can only be lenient wherever possible, suppress your indignation, make concessions and bide your time while seeking opportunities to retaliate—this is the path you would take. If you want to pursue the truth, you must view people and things according to God’s words, asking yourself: “Why is this person treating me like this? How can this happen to me? Why can there be such an outcome?” Such things should be viewed according to God’s words. The first thing to do is to be able to accept this matter from God, and actively accept that it comes from God, and that it is something helpful and beneficial to you. To accept this matter from God, you must first regard it as being orchestrated and governed by God. Everything that happens under the sun, all that you can feel, all that you can see, all that you can hear—everything happens with God’s permission. After you accept this matter from God, measure it against God’s words, and find out what kind of person whoever did this thing is and what the essence of this matter is, irrespective of whether what they said or did hurt you, whether your feelings have been dealt a blow or whether your character has been trampled on. First look at whether the person is a wicked person or an ordinary corrupt person, first discerning them for what they are according to God’s words, and then discerning and treating this matter according to God’s words. Are these not the right steps to take? (Yes.) First accept this matter from God, and view the people involved in this matter according to His words, to determine whether they are ordinary brothers and sisters, wicked people, antichrists, nonbelievers, evil spirits, filthy demons, or spies from the great red dragon, and whether what they did was a general display of corruption, or an evil deed that was deliberately intended to disturb and disrupt. All of this should be determined by comparing it against God’s words. Measuring things by God’s words is the most accurate and objective way. People should be differentiated and matters dealt with according to God’s words. You should ponder: “This incident has greatly hurt my feelings and left a shadow over me. But what has the occurrence of this incident done to edify me for entering into life? What is God’s will?” This leads you to the crux of the matter, which you should figure out and understand—this is following the right path. You must seek God’s will, by thinking: “This incident has traumatized my heart and soul. I feel anguish and pain, but I cannot be negative and reproachful. The most important thing is to discern, differentiate, and decide whether this incident is actually beneficial to me or not, according to God’s words. If it comes from God’s disciplining, and is beneficial for my entry into life and my self-understanding, then I should accept and submit to it; if it is temptation from Satan, then I should pray to God and treat it wisely.” Is seeking and thinking like this positive entry? Is this viewing people and things according to God’s words? (Yes.) Next, whatever matter you are dealing with, or whatever problems arise in your associations with people, you should look for the relevant words of God in order to solve them. What is the purpose of this whole series of actions? The purpose is to view people and things according to God’s words, so that your perspective and standpoint with regard to people and things will be completely different. The purpose is not to gain a good reputation and save face to be highly regarded, or to bring about harmony in the country and society and thereby satisfy the ruling class, but to live by God’s words and the truth, so as to satisfy God and glorify the Creator. Only by practicing in this way can you be entirely in accordance with God’s will. Therefore, you don’t need to follow the sayings about moral conduct in traditional culture. You don’t need to ponder, “When such a matter befalls me, shouldn’t I be putting into practice the saying, ‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible’? If I can’t do that, what will public opinion think of me?” You don’t need to use these moral tenets to constrain and control yourself. Instead, you should adopt the perspective of someone who pursues the truth, and treat people and things according to the way that God tells you to pursue the truth. Is this not an entirely new mode of existence? Is this not a wholly new life view and life goal? (Yes.) When you adopt this way of viewing people and things, you don’t need to deliberately tell yourself, “I must do this-or-that if I want to be magnanimous and gain a footing among people,” you needn’t be so hard on yourself, you needn’t live contrary to your own will, and your humanity needn’t be so distorted. Instead, you will accept these environments, people, matters and things that come from God naturally and willingly. Not only that, but you can also reap unforeseen gains from them. In dealing with such things that arouse your hate, you will have learned to discern people for what they really are according to God’s words, and to discern and deal with such things according to God’s words. After undergoing a period of experience, encounters, and struggle, you will have found the truth principles for dealing with such things, and learned what kind of truth principles to use when dealing with such people, matters and things. Is this not following the right path? In this way, your humanity will have been improved because you follow the path of pursuing the truth, that is, you no longer simply live by your human conscience and reason, and when things happen, you don’t view them solely with thinking and viewpoints based on conscience and reason, but rather, because you have read many of God’s words and actually experienced God’s work, you have understood some truths, and gained some real understanding of God—the Creator. This is certainly a bountiful harvest, from which you will have gained both truth and life. Based on your conscience and reason, you will have learned to use God’s words and the truth to confront and resolve all the problems you encounter, and gradually come to live by God’s words. What are such human beings like? Are they in accordance with God’s will? Such human beings are increasingly closer to becoming the qualified created beings required by God, and in doing so are gradually able to achieve the expected results of God’s work of salvation. When people can accept the truth and live by God’s words, how easy it is to live like this, without the slightest anguish whatsoever. But as for people who have received a traditional cultural education, everything they do is so contrary to their will, so hypocritical, and the things revealed by their humanity are so distorted and abnormal. Why is this? Because they don’t say what they are thinking. Their lips say, “Be lenient wherever possible,” but their heart says, “I’m not done with you. It is never too late for a gentleman to take his revenge”—is this not contrary to their own will? (Yes.) What does “distorted” mean? It means that outwardly they talk of nothing but benevolence and morality, but behind others’ backs they do all manner of bad things, such as fornication and looting. All this outward talk of benevolence and morality is just a mask and their heart is full of all kinds of evil, all manner of odious ideas and viewpoints; it is incomparably filthy, exceedingly despicable, low-minded, and shameful. This is what distorted means. In modern language, distortion is called perversion. They are all so perverted, but still pretend to be utterly decent, sophisticated, gentlemanly, and honorable in front of others. They really have no shame, they are so evil! The path that God has pointed out to people is not to make you live like this, but to enable you to follow the correct principles and path of practice that God has pointed out to people in whatever you do, whether before God or other people. Even if you encounter things that harm your interests or that are not to your liking, or that even have a lifelong impact on you, you must have principles in dealing with these matters. For example, you must treat real brothers and sisters with love, and learn to be tolerant, helpful, and supportive toward them. So, what should you do with enemies of God, antichrists, wicked people and nonbelievers, or agents and spies who infiltrate the church? You should reject them once and for all. The process is one of identifying and exposing, feeling hatred, and finally rejecting. God’s house has administrative decrees and regulations. When it comes to antichrists, wicked people, nonbelievers and those who are of the same ilk as devils, Satan, and evil spirits, they are not willing to render service, so cut them off from God’s house forever. How then should God’s chosen people treat them? (Reject them.) That’s right, you should reject them, reject them forever. Some people say: “Rejection is just a word. Assuming you theoretically reject them, how do you then actually go about doing it in real life?” Is it okay to be irreconcilably opposed to them? There is no need to tire yourself unnecessarily like that. You don’t need to be irreconcilably opposed to them, you don’t need to fight them to the death, and you don’t need to curse them behind their back. You don’t need to do any of these things. Just disassociate yourself from them deep in your heart, and don’t have dealings with them under normal circumstances. In special circumstances and when you have no alternative, you can talk normally with them, but then steer clear of them at the first opportunity, and don’t get involved in any of their affairs. It means rejecting them from the bottom of your heart, not treating them as brothers and sisters or God’s family members, and not treating them as believers. For those who hate God and the truth, who intentionally disturb and disrupt God’s work, or who try to destroy God’s work, you must not only pray to God to curse them, but also bind and restrain them forever, and reject them once and for all. Is doing this in accordance with God’s will? It is completely in accordance with God’s will. To deal with these people, it is necessary to take a stand and have principles. What does taking a stand and having principles mean? It means seeing their essence clearly, never regarding them as believers, and absolutely not regarding them as brothers or sisters. They are devils, they are Satan. It is not a question of forgiving them or not forgiving them, but of disassociating yourself and rejecting them once and for all. This is completely justified and in accordance with the truth. Some people say, “Isn’t it so ruthless for people who believe in God to do things like this?” (No.) This is what taking a stand and having principles means. We do whatever God tells us to do. We are lenient with whomever God tells us to be lenient with, and we despise whatever God tells us to despise. In the Age of Law, those who violated the laws and commandments were stoned to death by God’s chosen people, but today, in the Age of Kingdom, God has administrative decrees, and He only clears out and expels people who are of the same ilk as devils and Satan. God’s chosen people must put into practice and obey God’s words and the administrative decrees He issues, without violating them, without being governed or influenced by human notions, and without being afraid of being judged and condemned by religious people. Acting according to God’s words is something that is perfectly natural and justified. At all times, only believe that God’s words are the truth, and that the words of man are not the truth, no matter how nice they sound. People must have this faith. People should have this faith in God, and they should also have this attitude of obedience. This is a question of attitude.
We have said more or less enough on the saying about moral conduct “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible” and on the principles of God’s actions. When it comes to matters such as those that harm people, do you now understand the principle for handling them, which God teaches to people? (Yes.) It is that God does not permit people to be impetuous in dealing with the matters that befall them, let alone to use human moral codes to deal with any matter. What is the principle that God tells people about? What principle should people follow? (View people and things and comport oneself and act according to God’s words.) That’s right, view people and things and comport oneself and act according to God’s words and the truth. Whatever happens, it must be dealt with according to God’s words, because in all matters and all things there is a root cause behind everything that happens and any person or matter that emerges, all of which God arranges and has sovereignty over. Everything that happens may have a positive or a negative final outcome, and the difference between them depends on people’s pursuits and the path they walk. If you choose to treat matters according to God’s words, then the final outcome will be positive; if you choose to treat them by the ways of the flesh and impetuousness, and all the various sayings, ideas and views that come from people, then the final result will definitely be one of impetuousness and negativity. Those things of impetuousness and negativity, if they involve harming people’s dignity, body, soul, interests, and so on, will ultimately leave only hatred and a shadow on people that they can never get rid of. Only by following God’s words is it possible to find the causes of the various people, matters and things that one encounters, and only by following God’s words is it possible to see clearly the essence of such people, matters and things. Of course, only by following God’s words can people correctly handle and resolve problems to do with all the various people, matters and things that they encounter in reality. In the end, this will enable people to benefit from all the environments that God creates, their lives will gradually grow, their corrupt dispositions will be changed, and at the same time, they will find therein the correct direction in life, the correct outlook on life, the correct mode of existence, and the correct goal and path to pursue. We have basically completed our fellowshiping on the saying about moral conduct, “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible.” This saying is somewhat superficial, but when dissected according to the truth, its essence is not so simple. As for what people should do in this regard and how to deal with such situations, it is even less simple. This relates to whether people can seek and pursue the truth, and of course it also relates even more to the change in people’s disposition and to people’s salvation. Therefore, no matter whether these problems are simple or complex, superficial or profound, they should be treated correctly and seriously. Nothing that relates to changes in people’s disposition or that involves people’s salvation is a trivial matter, everything is critical and important. I hope that henceforth, in your daily life, you will dig out all the various sayings and views on morality in traditional culture from your own thoughts and consciousness, and dissect them and discern them for what they really are according to God’s words, so that you can gradually understand and resolve them, adopt a totally new direction and goal in life, and completely change your mode of existence. Okay, let us end today’s fellowship here. Goodbye!
April 23, 2022