9. How should one practice and enter into being an honest person?
Relevant Words of God:
Pursuing the truth is what is most important, and practicing it is actually very simple. You should begin with being an honest person and speaking truthfully, and opening up your heart. If there is something about which you are too embarrassed to speak with your brothers and sisters, then you should kneel down and tell it to God through prayer. What should you say to God? Tell God what is in your heart; do not give empty pleasantries or attempt to deceive Him. Start with being honest. If you have been weak, then say you have been weak; if you have been evil, then say you have been evil; if you have been deceitful, then say you have been deceitful; if you have had vicious and insidious thoughts, tell God about them. If you are always competing for position, tell Him this, too. Let God discipline you; let Him arrange an environment for you. Allow God to help you get through all of your difficulties and resolve all of your problems. You should open up your heart; do not keep it shut. Even if you shut Him out, He can still see into you. However, if you open up to Him, you can gain the truth. Which path would you say you should choose? Start with being honest, and by all means not put on an act. … Your heart can only open up if you practice honesty, and only once your heart has opened up can the truth enter into you and, in turn, you can understand and gain it. If your heart is always shut, and you never speak truthfully to anyone, and you are always evasive and elusive, then what will come of all that evasion of yours? You will eventually ruin yourself, and you will be incapable of comprehending or gaining any truths.
from “Six Indicators of Progress in Life” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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, and 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.
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. When you pray, if you have love for God in your heart and seek God’s care, protection, and observation, if these are your intent, your prayers will be effective. For example, when you pray at meetings, if you open your heart and pray to God and tell Him what is in your heart without speaking falsehoods—then your prayers will be effective.
from “God Perfects Those After His Own Heart” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today, any who cannot accept God’s observation cannot receive His approval, and any who do not know God incarnate cannot be perfected. Look at all that you do and see if it can be brought before God. If you cannot bring all that you do before God, this shows that you are an evildoer. Can evildoers be perfected? 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 giving your heart to God, being genuine with God in all things, being open with Him in all things, never hiding the facts, not trying to deceive those above and below you, and not doing things only to curry favor with God. In short, to be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. … In the presence of God, some people are all prim and proper, they take pains to be “well-behaved,” yet they bare their fangs and brandish their claws in the presence of the Spirit. Would you number such people among the ranks of the honest? If you are a hypocrite, someone who is skilled in “interpersonal relations,” then I say that you are definitely someone who tries to trifle with God. If your words are riddled with excuses and valueless justifications, then I say that you are someone who is loath to put the truth into practice. If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, if you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily, and who will not easily emerge from the darkness. If seeking the way of the truth pleases you well, then you are someone 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 person. 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 firm in your testimony, 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 such 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 Sermons and Fellowship From the Man Used by God (Selections)
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 Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life