There Is Great Happiness in Being Honest
By Gan’en, Anhui Province
Since I was small, my parents have always taught me that, “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed.” What’s more, I’ve myself seen many people get cheated, and some have even been cheated to financial ruin, so I felt even more that this phrase my parents taught me was very fitting with modern society. Unknowingly, I began to base my conduct and my association with others on this life axiom, and I never granted my trust to others lightly. I’ve always felt that in situations where you don’t know someone’s true intentions, you should always watch out no matter who you’re dealing with and you shouldn’t show your hand too soon, otherwise you’ll open yourself up to being fooled and suffering a loss. Thus, it’s enough to have no heart to harm others—in this way you will protect yourself, and will win the praise of the people around you.
Even after I had accepted God’s work in the last days, I kept to this life axiom in my dealings with others. When I saw that God asks that we be innocent, candid and honest, I was only candid about little things that were of no personal interest to me. I would almost never share those aspects of my disposition that I found severely corrupt, for fear that my brothers and sisters would belittle or look down on me if I opened myself up to them. When my leader singled me out for going through the motions in my work, I became full of resentment and suspicion and thought to myself, “Why is my leader always singling me out and going through the particulars of my state in front of all my brothers and sisters? Is it not obvious that this will make me lose face and embarrass me in front of everyone? Perhaps my leader isn’t so keen on me, so he’s decided to pick on me.” It was especially painful and unbearable to see other brothers and sisters being promoted while I remained in the same position. I suspected that I wasn’t being promoted because I was not worth training. My heart was filled with misunderstandings and complaints; I felt I had no future, and that there was no use in pursuing too hard. Because I was always on guard and suspicious of others whenever I encountered any issue, and I was unable to be open and seek the truth to resolve it, I misunderstood God more and more and felt less and less connected to Him. My condition was becoming more and more abnormal; I had no words to say when praying to God, I couldn’t quieten my heart before God when reading His words, and I wasn’t being responsible in my duties, and finally I lostand fell into darkness. I was completely unable to understand any issues that arose in my duties and I didn’t know how to solve them, and the results from my work took even more of a nosedive.
In the depths of suffering, lost and without direction, I came upon this passage of God’s words: “If you are very deceitful, then you will have a guarded heart and thoughts of suspicion regarding all matters and all men. For this reason, your faith in Me is built upon a foundation of suspicion. This manner of faith is one I shall never acknowledge. Lacking genuine faith, you will be even further from real love. And if you are able to doubt God and speculate about Him at will, then you are beyond doubt the most deceitful of men” (“How to Know the God on Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). As I mulled over God’s words, I suddenly reflected upon my own actions in everyday life. With a start, I thought: “Am I not living with ‘a guarded heart and thoughts of suspicion regarding all matters and all men’ as it says in God’s words? As such, am I not a deceitful man in the eyes of God?” At that moment, the words “deceitful man” pierced my heart like a knife, causing me unbearable suffering. I had always thought that as long as I kept to the principle “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed” in my dealings with other people, then I would be a good person. So, in all my years, I had lived by those words in my dealings with other people and in handling matters. Never did I expect that the consequences of living by this axiom would actually turn me into a man of deceitfulness. This meant that “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed,” the axiom I so long upheld, did not conform to the truth and was in direct contradiction to God’s words. It was an awful feeling to find that this principle of conduct, which I had upheld for as long as I could remember, was knocked down and negated by God’s words seemingly overnight, but I had no choice but to accept the facts.
I calmed myself down to contemplate and seek, and reexamined this axiom. In the light of God’s enlightenment, I gradually came to have some understanding and discernment. On the surface, “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed” seems to be a sensible enough idea and in line with people’s conception of right and wrong. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the idea at first, because it just states that we should guard against others, but not set out to do harm to others. Further, living by this axiom prevents us from falling into traps while at the same time allowing us to learn how to become “good people.” However, when we subject this phrase to close scrutiny, it becomes clear that this is actually a particularly sinister and cunning method by which Satan corrupts mankind. This phrase is secretly telling us that you can’t trust anyone, that anyone is capable of doing you harm, so in your dealings with others, never go all in. In this way, I guard against you, you become suspicious of me and neither of us really trust each other. This leads us down a road to scheming and enmity, which causes humanity to become more and more corrupt, disingenuous, cunning and deceitful. Even worse, under the domination of this satanic life axiom, when we are faced with God, who is lovely and good, we are suspicious and on our guard, believing that God, too, is deceitful and malicious—that God is not working in our best interest. As a result, no matter how much God loves us and is considerate toward us, we are reluctant to accept Him or place our faith in Him, and even less likely to appreciate what lengths He goes to for us. Instead, we question everything He does with a heart filled with doubt and deceit, and foist our misunderstandings, complaints, disobedience and resistance upon Him. In this way, Satan accomplishes its goal of corrupting and poisoning humanity and making us turn away from or betray God. However, I lacked discernment and was unable to see through these sinister intentions of Satan. I took its fallacy for a principle of conduct to be respected and upheld and subsequently became more and more deceitful. For example, when I encountered, chastisement, pruning and dealing: God’s will was to make me reflect on myself and know myself by means of various real situations, and for me to seek the truth so that my corrupt disposition could be cleansed and changed. And yet I refused to take this from God, and neither did I pursue entry from a positive standpoint; instead, I suspected that it was my brothers and sisters who had it in for me, and that God did not value me. Finally, as my misunderstanding of God became more and more pronounced, I lost the work of the Holy Spirit and fell into darkness. As is now clear, the phrase, “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed” is nothing more than a fallacy devised by Satan to entrap and corrupt humanity. Living by this so-called axiom will only lead people to become more and more sly and deceitful, and unjustly suspect and guard against others all while misunderstanding and turning away from God. In the end, a life so led will only earn the disgust of God and lead one to lose the work of the Holy Spirit and fall into darkness. Apart from being in pain, even more serious is that one could also lose the chance to be saved. At this point, I finally realized that the phrase, “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed” was simply not a principle that people should conduct themselves by, but rather a cunning plot by Satan to hoodwink and torment people. Moreover, it was a fallacious heresy used by Satan to corrupt people, and to make them lose their normal humanity and shun and betray God. Living by this phrase could only lead one to defy God and thus be detested, rejected and sifted out by God.
Later, I saw the following passage of God’s words: “God has the substance of faithfulness, and so His word can always be trusted. Furthermore, His actions are faultless and unquestionable. This is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him. 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. … 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 receiveeasily 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” (“Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words I came to realize that the substance of God is faithful, and so God loves and blesses the honest. Only honest people meet the standards of human conduct, and only honest people can be after God’s heart, attain God’s salvation and be gained by God. I also came to understand how to act as an honest person: Honest people speak simply, openly and without deceit—they call a spade a spade. The honest never cheat others, they do not act perfunctorily and they deceive neither God nor man. The heart of an honest person is without crookedness or deceit. In speaking and acting they do not harbor wrong intentions or ulterior motives; they don’t speak or act for their own profit or to satisfy their flesh, but rather for the sake of being a true person. The honest person is open and upright, their heart is honest, and they are willing to give their heart and life to God. They ask for nothing in return, but only strive to satisfy God. Only those who possess these traits can be called honest people, people living in the light.
Once I had understood the principles associated with being an honest person, I began to try to put them to practice in real life. In my dealings with others, I consciously tried to treat them honestly, and not to be deceitful, or to second-guess and put my guard up. When I practiced in this way, my relationship with my brothers and sisters became more and more normal, and I felt so free and liberated; it seemed much more relaxing to live this way. When I demonstrated corruption while fulfilling my duties with my sister, I would proactively go find her to lay bare my understanding of myself in fellowship and the sister would do likewise. During this process, not only did we not develop prejudices toward each other, but we actually became even more harmonious in our coordination. When I cited God’s words in laying bare my corruption during meetings, my brothers and sisters didn’t disparage me or look down on me as I had imagined, but on the contrary, they fellowshiped their own experiences and knowledge to help me, so that I saw God’s love and salvation for man. When, in fulfilling my duties, I worked not for my own reputation and status but to satisfy God, I felt the Holy Spirit working on me, enlightening and guiding me, so that I could gradually come to understand God’s will. As a result, I was very effective in fulfilling my duties. In prayer, I consciously tried to share my innermost thoughts with God and have genuine spiritual communion with God. I found that when I did that, I grew closer and closer to God and I came to appreciate that every environment God arranges for me is what is needed in my life. From the bottom of my heart, I felt how lovely God is, and all of the misunderstandings I had about God disappeared. Through this practical exercise and experience, I experienced how being honest allows one to live in the light and receive God’s blessing. Being an honest person is truly meaningful and valuable!
In experiencing the benefits of being an honest person, I became even clearer that Satan’s axiom, “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed” corrupts and torments humankind. If one upholds this axiom, they will always live in darkness, corruption and torment. Only by being an honest person can we live in the light, be nourished and receive God’s praise. From now on, I vow to start anew and thoroughly abandon this axiom of Satan, “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed.” I will take being honest as the principle and standard of my conduct, and I will seek to be an honest person who delights God.
A Haughty Spirit Before a Fall
In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Just as I was diving head-first into my work with very high hopes, I felt that, in my heart, I was losing touch with God. Not only did my work fail to fall into place, but also the effectiveness of our gospel work went from soaring to taking a nosedive. I fell into an extremely painful position, but wasn’t sure what I did wrong.
I will never be able to forget God’s love and salvation for me. If it hadn’t been for God designing my environment and dealing with my ambitious desires in the early stages of my life, how would I have been willing to let go of the faith that I had been living by for many years and that had become my life?
Breaking Free From the Shackles
Thank You, Almighty God! It is You who cared for me and enlightened and guided me to get rid of the shackles that had controlled me for so many years, allowing me to walk out of the haze. In the past, I did not know You and often lived in misunderstanding…But You did not treat me in accordance with my transgressions. You tolerated me, were patient toward me, and gave me the opportunity to repent.
I See the Path to Knowing God
Just when I was sad and disappointed over this and losing my confidence in God, His words enlightened me: “Knowing God must be done through reading God’s word and understanding God’s word. Some people say: ‘I haven’t seen God incarnate, so how can I know God?’ God’s word is actually an expression of God’s disposition. From God’s word you can see God’s love for mankind, His salvation of mankind, and the way He saves them … because God’s word is expressed by God as opposed to God using man to write it out” (“Knowledge of the Incarnation” in Records of Christ’s Talks).