40. There Is Great Happiness in Honesty
Gan’en Hefei City, Anhui Province
In my life, I’ve always gone by the phrase, “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed” in social interaction. I never grant my trust to others lightly. I’ve always felt that in situations where you don’t know someone’s true intentions, you shouldn’t show your hand too soon. Thus, it’s enough to keep a peaceful attitude—in this way you protect yourself and will be thought of by your peers as a “good person.”
Even after I had accepted God’s work in the last days, I kept to this maxim 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 truly corrupt, for fear that my brothers and sisters would look down on me. When my leader singled me out for going through the motions in my work, I was full of misgiving and suspicion and thought to myself, “Why is my leader always singling me out and going through the particulars of my situation 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 assumed that I wasn’t being promoted because I was not worth training. My heart was filled with misunderstandings and misgivings; I felt I had no future, that there was no use in continuing down this road. Because I was always on guard and suspicious of others, I misunderstood God more and more and felt less and less connected to Him. My condition was becoming more and more abnormal and finally I lost touch with the work of the Holy Spirit and fell into darkness.
In the depths of suffering, lost and without direction, I came upon this passage of God’s word: “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 word, I suddenly reflected upon my own actions in everyday life. With a start, I thought: “Was I not living with ‘a guarded heart and thoughts of doubt regarding all matters and all men’?” As such, was I not a cunning man in the eyes of God? At that moment, the words “cunning man” cut through my heart like a sharpened blade, causing me unbearable suffering. I had always thought that as long as I kept to the maxim “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed,” I would be considered a good person by my peers, so I had lived by those words in my dealings with other people and in conducting business. Never, in all my years, did I suspect that living by this maxim would turn me into a man of cunning. This meant that “One shouldn’t have the heart to harm others, but must be vigilant so as not to be harmed,” the maxim I so long upheld, did not conform to the truth and was in direct contradiction to God’s word. I was shocked to find this philosophy of life which I had upheld for as long as I could remember was knocked down and negated by God’s words seemingly overnight. However, things being as they were, I had no choice but to accept the facts. I calmed myself down, did some thinking and reevaluated this maxim I had held for so long. Over time, thanks to God’s enlightenment, I finally gained a new understanding and insight into the phrase. 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 most 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 maxim 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 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 misunderstanding, enmity, and scheming, which causes humanity to become more and more corrupt, treacherous, cunning and disingenuous. Even worse, this axiom of Satan causes us to be on guard, suspicious and distrustful in encounters with our loving and kind God. We begin to think that God, too, is treacherous, cunning and full of tricks—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 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 treacherous heart, and foist our misunderstandings, misgivings, disloyalty 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 insight and was unable to see through Satan’s evil plot. I took its fallacy for a solid life philosophy to be respected and upheld and subsequently became more and more cunning, questioning and on guard. Instead of standing on God’s side, and approaching things from a positive viewpoint, whatever situation I met, I always used my own treacherous thinking. I misunderstood God and questioned His intent. Finally, as my misunderstanding of God became more and more pronounced, I lost touch with 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 corrupt and entrap humanity. Living by this so-called maxim will only lead people to become more cunning and sly, and unjustly question and guard against others all while misunderstanding and turning away from God. A life so led will only earn the disgust of God and lead one to lose touch with the work of the Holy Spirit and fall into darkness. In the end, adherents of this maxim will become victims of their own treachery—their bright futures extinguished. 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 not a legitimate life philosophy, but rather a dastardly plot by Satan to hoodwink and torment humanity. This phrase was like a deadly venom capable of corrupting men, making them lose their humanity and stray from or betray God.
Later, I saw the following passage of God’s word: “God has the substance of faithfulness, and so His word can always be trusted. Furthermore, His action is faultless and unquestionable. This is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him. Honesty means to give your heart to God; to never play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never cover the truth; to never do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and to never do that which is done merely to ingratiate 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 unspeakable confidences and are very unwilling to lay bare your secrets—your difficulties—to others so as to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are one for whom salvation will not be easily received and who will not easily emerge from the darkness. If seeking the way of truth pleases you well, then you are one who lives often in the light. If you are 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, for you seek no reward and are simply being an honest man. If you are willing to be candid, if you are willing to give your all, if you are able to sacrifice your life for God and stand witness, if you are honest and think only to please God, and never consider yourself or take for yourself, then I say that such people are those who are nourished by the light and shall live forever in the kingdom” (“Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s word I came to realize, God loves and blesses the honest. Only by being honest does one live in the right way, in harmony with God’s intent. Thus, only the honest qualify to receive God’s salvation. 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 never cheat or lie to God. The honest person’s heart is honest and without treachery or perversion. In speaking and acting they do not harbor intentions or ulterior motives; they don’t act for their own profit or to satisfy their flesh, but rather for the sake of being a true person. The honest person’s heart is magnanimous, their soul is honest, and they are willing to give their heart and life to God. They ask for nothing in return, but only strive to fulfill God’s wishes. 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 those principles to practice. In my dealings with others, I consciously tried not to be cunning, or to second-guess and put my guard up. When I succeeded, I felt particularly free and liberated; it seemed much more relaxing to live this way. When I demonstrated corruptness while fulfilling my duties, I would proactively seek out my partner sister to lay bare my new understanding of myself in communion 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 word in laying bare my corruption during meetings, my brothers and sisters didn’t think less of me as I had originally imagined, but rather took my account as an example of God’s loving salvation. When, in fulfilling my duties, I worked not for my own reputation and status but to fulfill God’s wishes, I felt the Holy Spirit working through me and granting me guidance, so that I may see God’s intent in fulfilling my duties. As a result, I was very effective in fulfilling my duties. In prayer, I consciously tried to share my innermost thoughts with God and speak from the soul. I found that when I did that, I grew closer and closer to God and felt that God is so lovely. Naturally, all of the old misunderstandings I had with God dissolved in the process. Through this process of practicing honesty, 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, he 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.” From now on, honesty will be the standard by which I live and I will strive to delight God with my honesty.