9. How should one practice and enter into being an honest person?
Relevant Words of God:
You must be honest, and must pray in order to rid yourself of the craftiness in your heart. As you use prayer to purify yourself whenever needed, and use it to be touched by the Spirit of God, your disposition will gradually change.
from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The lowest standard that God requires of people is that they be able to open their hearts to Him. If man gives his true heart to God and says what is really within his heart to God, then God is willing to work in man; God does not want the twisted heart of man, but his pure and honest heart. If man does not truly speak his heart to God, then God does not touch man’s heart, or work within him. Thus, the most crucial thing about praying is to speak the words of your true heart to God, telling God of your flaws or rebellious disposition and completely opening yourself up to God. Only then will God be interested in your prayers; if not, then God will hide His face from you.
from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Behaving like a normal human being is to speak with coherence. Yes means yes, no means no. Be true to the facts and speak appropriately. Don’t cheat, don’t lie.
from “Improving Caliber Is for Receiving God’s Salvation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The greatest obstacles to being honest are people’s insidiousness, their deceitfulness, their maliciousness, and their ignoble motivations. Have you ever trained yourselves to be honest? And what was your state while you were training yourselves? … For example, you did something to someone, you cheated them, or you spoke words that were either tainted or which contained your own motivations, and so you should go and find that person and dissect yourself and say: “The words I said at that time contained my personal motivations. If you can accept my apology, please forgive me.” Thus you dissect yourself, and lay yourself bare. It takes courage to dissect yourself and lay yourself bare. When no one else is around, whether you pray before God, or you admit your mistakes, repent, or dissect your corrupt disposition to God, you can say whatever you want, for with your eyes closed you can’t see anything, it’s like speaking to air, and so you are able to lay yourself bare; you can then speak about whatever you thought, or whatever you said at the time, as well as your motivations and your deceitfulness. Yet if you have to lay yourself bare to another person, you may lose your courage, and you may lose your resolve to do so, because you want to save face, and so it is very difficult to put these things into practice. If you are asked to speak in generalities, you are able to say that sometimes there are personal motivations in the things you do or say, that your words and actions contain treachery, impurities, lies, and deceit, as well as your own aims. But when something happens to you, if you have to dissect yourself and reveal how what happened to you played out from beginning to end, which of the words you said were deceitful, what kind of motivations they contained, what you thought in your heart, how you were malicious and insidious, then you could well lose your nerve, and so you will be unwilling to reveal yourself to that level of detail or be so specific in what you say. There will even be people who gloss over it and say, “It was just one of those things. Suffice to say, man is pretty deceitful, insidious and unreliable.” This is the inability to correctly face your corrupt substance, deceitfulness, and insidiousness; your state is always one of evasiveness, your condition is always evasive, you always forgive yourself, and are incapable of suffering or paying a price in this matter. …
… If you do not lay yourself bare, how can you prove that you admit you are truly deceitful? If you do not lay yourself bare, and if someone else does not, either, if you all remain hidden, harboring your own individual plans within your hearts, and if everyone keeps maintaining a private space within their hearts, then how can you talk of real experience? How could any of you have true experiences to commune to each other? “Sharing and communing experiences” means speaking of every thought in your heart, your state, your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, as well as the corrupt disposition within you. And after that, others discern these things, and accept the positive and recognize that which is negative. Only this is sharing, and only this is truly communing. It does not simply mean having insights into the words of God or a part of a hymn, and communing as you please and then not taking it any further, and not saying anything related to your own actual life. Everyone talks about doctrinal and theoretical knowledge and says nothing of knowledge drawn from actual experiences. You all avoid talking about such things, about your personal lives, about your life in the church with your brothers and sisters, and about your own inner world. By doing this, how can there be true communication between people? How can there be real trust? There cannot be any! … Without this kind of communication and exchange among the brothers and sisters in the church, there would never be harmony among brothers and sisters. This is one of the requisites of being honest.
Some people say: “It’s hard being honest. Do I have to tell everything I think in my heart to others? Isn’t it enough to commune the positive things? I don’t need to tell others of my dark or corrupt side, do I?” If you do not speak these things, and do not dissect yourself, then you will never know yourself, will never know what kind of thing you are, and there will be no chance of others trusting you. This is fact. If you wish for others to trust you, first you must be honest. To be honest, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can see your heart, see all that you are thinking, and see your true face; you must not pretend or try to cover yourself up. Only then will people trust you and consider you honest. This is the most fundamental practice, and the prerequisite, of being honest. You are always pretending, always feigning holiness, virtuousness, greatness, and feigning high moral qualities. You do not let people see your corruption and your failings. You present a false image to people, so that they believe you are upstanding, great, self-sacrificing, impartial, and selfless. This is deceitfulness. Don’t pretend and don’t package yourself; instead, lay yourself bare and lay your heart bare for others to see. If you can lay your heart bare for others to see, that is, if you can lay bare all that you think and plan to do in your heart—regardless of whether it is positive or negative—then are you not being honest? If you are able to lay yourself bare for others to see, God will also see you, and say: “You have laid yourself bare for others to see, and so before Me you are surely honest, too.” If you only lay yourself bare to God out of view of others, and always pretend to be great and virtuous or just and selfless before them, then what will God think and what will God say? God will say: “You are genuinely deceitful, you are purely hypocritical and petty, and you are not honest.” God will condemn you thus. If you wish to be honest, then regardless of what you do before God or people, you should be able to open up and lay yourself bare. Is this easy to achieve? It requires time, for there to be battles within our hearts, and for us to continually practice. Little by little, our hearts will be opened, and we will be able to lay ourselves bare.
from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Today, most people are too afraid to bring their actions before God, and while you may deceive His flesh, you cannot deceive His Spirit. Any matter that cannot withstand God’s observation is not in accord with the truth and should be cast aside; otherwise it is a sin against God. So, no matter whether it’s when you pray, when you speak and fellowship with your brothers and sisters, or when you perform your duty and handle your business, you must lay your heart before God. When you fulfill your function, God is with you, and so long as your intent is correct and is for the work of God’s house, He will accept all you do, so you should earnestly devote yourself to fulfilling your function. …
… All that you do, every action, every intent, and every reaction must be brought before God. Even your daily spiritual life—your prayers, your closeness with God, eating and drinking of God’s words, fellowship with your brothers and sisters, living the life of the church, and your service in partnership—must be brought before God and observed by Him. It is such practice that will help you mature in life. The process of accepting God’s observation is the process of purification. The more you accept God’s observation, the more you are purified, and the more you are in accord with God’s will, so that you will not hear the call of debauchery and dissipation, and your heart will live in His presence. The more you accept His observation, the more ashamed Satan is and the more you are able to forsake the flesh. So, the acceptance of God’s observation is a path people must practice. No matter what you do, even during fellowship with your brothers and sisters, if you bring your acts before God and seek His observation, and if your intent is to obey God Himself, what you practice will be much more correct. Only if you bring all you do before God and accept God’s observation can you be someone who lives in the presence of God.
from “God Perfects Those After His Own Heart” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Honesty means to give your heart to God; never to play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never hiding the truth; never to do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and never to do that which merely ingratiates yourself with God. In short, to be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. … Some behave in a prim and proper fashion and seem particularly “well-mannered” in the presence of God, yet they turn defiant and lose all restraint in the presence of the Spirit. Would you number such a man among the ranks of the honest? If you are a hypocrite and one who is adept at socializing, then I say that you are definitely one who trifles with God. If your words are riddled with excuses and valueless justifications, then I say that you are one who is extremely loath to put the truth into practice. If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, and if you are very unwilling to lay bare your secrets—that is to say, your difficulties—before others so as to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are one who will not receive salvation easily and who will not easily emerge from the darkness. If seeking the way of the truth pleases you well, then you are one who dwells always in the light. If you are very glad to be a service-doer in the house of God, working diligently and conscientiously in obscurity, always giving and never taking, then I say that you are a loyal saint, because you seek no reward and are simply being an honest man. If you are willing to be candid, if you are willing to expend your all, if you are able to sacrifice your life for God and stand witness, if you are honest to the point where you know only to satisfy God and not to consider yourself or take for yourself, then I say that these people are those who are nourished in the light and who shall live forever in the kingdom.
from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
If you want to fulfill your duty without being slipshod and deceiving God, then you must settle the issue of being an honest person. While fulfilling your duty, you must accept pruning and dealing, you must accept the scrutiny of God’s Spirit, and you must practice strictly according to God’s requirements. If you discover that you are being slipshod in your duty, then pray to God. If you discover yourself trying to deceive God, then you must acknowledge this transgression. You cannot cover this up, and you cannot pretend, still less distort the facts to shift blame onto others. You need to be this serious about the things you do, and treat your every word and action in earnest. Be straight-talking and matter-of-fact, seek truth from facts, and do not taint your words with make-believe. If you discover a transgression, besides praying to God, you must also openly admit it to others. Do not shrink back out of concern for your own reputation. You should boldly face the facts. Practice such as this is meaningful, and it is guaranteed to be beneficial to you. First, it can increase your confidence in being an honest person. Second, it can teach you to be unafraid of humiliation, and give up your vanity and self-regard. Third, it can give you courage to face facts and to respect facts. Fourth, it can foster in you the will to be serious with the things you do. After practicing this way for a time, people will be far more honest in fulfilling their duty, more real in the things they do, and less false. In less than a few years they will become honest people who take what they do sincerely and seriously and are responsible when handling affairs. Such people are comparatively reliable in fulfilling their duty and doing their work. Only when the house of God makes use of such people can it be guaranteed that nothing will go wrong.
from “Only Being an Honest Person Is True Repentance” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life
Right now, you are in the process of training to become honest people. In the process of training, what should you pay more attention to? You should pay attention to knowing God, pay attention to understanding the truth, and you must achieve a real entry from the positive side. If you enter from the positive side, the corruption from the negative side will naturally diminish, and this is crucial. For example, to be an honest person, you first need to equip yourself with the reality and truth of being an honest person. After you have done this, the honest part of you will increase and the lies and craftiness will naturally decrease, right? Just like a cup filled with dirty water. You cannot pour it out, so what would you do? You must pour some clean, good water in the cup, and the good water will naturally wash out the dirty water. Now you must equip yourselves with the truth, and once the truth enters inside you, the negative things inside you will naturally disappear.
from “How to Resolve the Problem of Lying From Its Root” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life I