77. I No Longer Use Poor Caliber as an Excuse
By Lin Ran, Henan Province
In the past, every time I was faced with some difficulties when performing my duty, or did my work badly, I thought it was because my caliber was too poor. As a result, I often lived in a negative, passive state. I would frequently use my poor caliber as an excuse to offload duties I felt hard onto other people, and felt there was nothing wrong with this, that I was thinking of the church work when I asked other people to do something because my caliber was poor, and I couldn’t do it well. It was only thanks to reading the words of God that I turned this erroneous view around, realizing that I was looking at things through my own conceptions and imaginings. I also learned something about my own corrupt disposition.
One day, a leader sent a document that required urgent processing. The sister I was teamed up with was busy with something else, so she asked me to handle it. I quickly started making excuses: “My caliber is too poor. I’m bad at writing and editing text. It would be better if you handle it.” Thus did I automatically push anything tricky onto my partner. Later, she said to me, “Right from when we met, you’ve been saying your caliber is bad. But after being with you a few days I’ve noticed you’re capable of finding some problems in the work. I don’t think your caliber is that bad, but whenever you’re faced with any difficulty in performing your duty, you always say your caliber’s poor, and sometimes you even push your duty onto someone else. I don’t know what your motivation in always going on about how your caliber is bad is—it feels to me like you’re being really fake!” Hearing her say this, I was speechless, but my heart was filled with antipathy: “When I say my caliber’s bad, I’m telling the truth. You don’t know the facts, and you’ve misunderstood me.” Afterward, I mulled over why the sister had said that. I wasn’t lying when I said my caliber was poor—how could she say I had motivations? In my heart, I just couldn’t figure it out.
Once, during assembly with my co-workers, I opened up about my confusion to the other brothers and sisters. I went through the reasons why I thought my caliber was poor, one by one: For example, I typed really slowly, my writing style wasn’t very good. When working on texts with my partner, she did most of the typing and editing, and when she read a document, she found problems really quickly, whereas I was slower, and so on. After hearing me fellowship, our leader Brother Liu said, “Sister, is it upon these things that we measure whether someone’s caliber is good or bad? Is it in line with the truth? Is it in line with God’s will? We all know that people in the world value gift and brain very much. Whoever are quick-witted, articulate, and proficient at handling matters of the outside world are people of good caliber, while those who are clumsy of speech, ignorant and ill-educated are seen as having no caliber; that’s how the unbelievers see it. We who believe in God should look at things based on the words of God. Have we sought God’s will in this matter? Upon what basis does God measure whether people’s caliber is good or bad? And just what is good and bad caliber?” I was shaking my head, and Brother Liu continued fellowshiping: “Let us read a passage of sermon: ‘Whether someone’s caliber is good or bad chiefly refers to how well they are able to understand the words of God. If their powers of understanding are good, this means that when they read God’s words, they can penetrate through the literal meaning and grasp God’s will, can gain the truth through God’s words, and know how to act to ensure they are after God’s will. To possess such powers of understanding means they are of good caliber. Caliber is not the same as being gifted, it is not the same as being quick-witted and capable. Some people seem pretty smart on the outside but utterly inept when it comes to understanding the words of God. That is what the unbelievers mean when they speak of good caliber, but such words do not stand up in the house of God. Some people are university students or very clever, but in the house of God they’re up the creek without a paddle, and are completely incapable of entering into the truth. Can you say they are of good caliber? There are some poorly educated people who only graduated from primary school and don’t have an important career in the outside world, yet they have been successful in pursuing the truth and become those who are praised by God. Only these are people of truly good caliber. Level of education is not the be-all and end-all. What’s key is whether people understand the spirit’ (The Fellowship From the Above). From this fellowship we see that whether someone’s caliber is good or bad depends on their ability to understand God’s words. This is not what the unbelievers mean when they say someone has caliber or is gifted and smart. People who are of good caliber can understand God’s will when they finish reading His words, they can find a path to practice and enter into the truth, and are able to practice according to what God asks. On the other hand, there are those who seem very smart and are great at handling matters of the outside world—but they’re confounded as soon as they’re faced with the truths of God’s words. Such people cannot be said to be of good caliber. It’s like how some knowledgeable, educated people seem gifted and brainy on the outside, yet are incapable of understanding the truths of God’s words. Some of them even have a ridiculous perspective on things. And so, being highly educated, quick-witted, and capable is not representative of good caliber, nor are these the standards by which someone’s caliber is measured. What’s key is whether people understand the spirit, whether they are capable of understanding the truth. We cannot rely on our own conceptions and imaginings to measure whether someone’s caliber is good or bad!” Hearing this, I suddenly saw the light: It turned out my beliefs were nothing but my own conceptions and imaginings—they did not conform to the truth.
Next, a sister found two passages of God’s words and asked me to read them. God’s words say：“When one is serious, responsible, dedicated, and hard-working, the work will be done properly. … People’s cooperation is very important, their hearts are very important, and where they direct their thoughts and ideas is very important. As for what people’s intentions are and how much effort they put into performing their duties, God scrutinizes and can see. It is crucial that people put all their heart and strength into what they do. Their cooperation is crucial, too. To strive to have no regrets over the duties one has completed and over one’s past actions, and to get to where one does not owe God anything—this is what is meant by giving all one’s heart and strength” (“How to Solve the Problem of Being Careless and Perfunctory When Performing Your Duty” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “If you have a correct attitude of facing the truth, have an attitude of accepting the truth, and adopt a humble attitude, then even if you are of poor caliber, God will still enlighten you and allow you to gain something. If you are of good caliber but are always arrogant, constantly thinking that you are right and forever unwilling to accept anything that others say, and are always resisting, then God will not work in you. God will say that your disposition is bad and you are unworthy to receive anything, and God will even take away what you once had. This is what is known as being exposed” (“Only If One Practices the Truth Can They Possess Normal Humanity” in Records of Christ’s Talks). The sister said, “God’s words show that our attitude when performing our duty is very important—it’s crucial. If we have the right mentality, if we can give all our heart and energy to performing our duty, God will see, and will treat us according to our attitude toward our duty. Even if we are of poor caliber, God will still enlighten and guide us. If we do not have the right mentality, if we are not willing to pay a price and cooperate with God, then not only will we not perform our duty properly, but will also be rejected by God. If we look at the brothers and sisters around us through the words of God, we see that some are of ordinary caliber but have the right motivation in performing their duty; faced with difficulty, they take it upon themselves to seek the truth, and focus on entry into principles, and they become increasingly effective in performing their duty. Whereas there are some brothers and sisters who seem to us to be of especially good caliber, and who have a pure understanding of God’s words, but because they are conceited, self-satisfied, don’t listen to other people’s advice, and take God’s glory for themselves whenever they have some small success in performing their duty, they ultimately lose the work of the Holy Spirit. Some even disrupt the work of the church and are stripped of their eligibility to perform their duty; in serious cases, they are even expelled from the church. These facts show us that whether a person’s caliber is good or bad doesn’t determine whether they are praised by God; what’s key is whether or not they pursue the truth.” Next, the brothers and sisters drew upon their own experiences to talk about the dangers and consequences of defining themselves according to their own conceptions and imaginings. Only then did I realize how stupid not understanding the truth was; I had not sought the truth, and had instead defined myself to be of poor caliber by living in my conceptions and imaginings, to the point that I often pushed difficult duties onto other people. I didn’t try to improve, nor did I rely on God or actually pay a price to break through these barriers, which even made me incapable of performing the duties I was capable of. I was not only incapable of actual training, or growing in the truth and the life, but this directly influenced my effectiveness in performing my duty. I thought about how quickly the sister I worked with was able to find problems. Though this was connected to her inherent caliber, more important was that, because of her conscientious and responsible attitude toward her duty, she was able to rely on God and face difficulties head on when she came across them. Only then was she enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. I, on the other hand, tried to avoid problems when I encountered them, and used poor caliber as an excuse to let myself off the hook. I didn’t rely on God and take it upon myself to try and solve the problem by seeking the relevant truth, which meant I was not able to gain the Holy Spirit’s work. From this, I saw that God is fair and righteous to all. Through fellowship, I also recognized that God asks of us based on what we are capable of. It is not a case of Him “herding ducks onto a perch.” I should do right by myself; instead of paying attention to my caliber, I should focus only on putting all my energy into performing my duty. I should seek and contemplate the principles of the truth, learn from the strengths of others, listen to other people’s advice, and incorporate it into what I actually practiced—and over time, I would be sure to benefit and grow.
Afterward, the sister’s criticism of me echoed in my ears: “I don’t know what your motivation in always going on about how your caliber is bad is.” She was right—I was always quick to say my caliber was bad. What motivations and corrupt disposition were secretly controlling me?
One day, I read these words from a fellowship: “Those who always say to others that they are corrupt, that they are ignorant and stupid, callous and dull-witted, of poor caliber—they speak not of the real motivations and deceitfulness within their hearts; they hide these evil motivations, and use their own corruption and stupidity and ignorance as a buffer, a shield. No one is craftier than such people, no one is better at pretending, at putting on an act to make people think that they’re good, that they know themselves, that they’re humble, that they’re guileless and open. This is a show for others; in truth, such people are treacherous and crafty hypocrites …” (The Fellowship From the Above). Only when I read this fellowship did I realize that my always going on about my poor caliber was actually directed by my deceitful nature, and that bad motivations were hidden within me. For example, when faced with a duty I had never done before, the first thing I would do was tell the other brothers and sisters that my caliber was poor, because I was afraid they would think little of me if I did the duty badly. I did this for the sake of my own pride and status. The implication was, it’s not my fault if I do it badly; it’s not that I haven’t put all my energy into it, but that it’s beyond my caliber. Whenever I encountered any difficulty in performing my duty, I was unwilling to suffer and pay a price to face it head on. I was afraid of responsibility, too. So I just used my poor caliber as an excuse to push my duties onto someone else, to make them think I was rational and self-aware. Almost every time I suffered hardship and had to pay a price or had to shoulder some responsibility, I’d step back. Actually, I was living by the satanic interpersonal philosophy of “Stay quiet for self-protection and seek only to escape blame.” It seemed pretty smart—using my own devious means to avoid responsibility—but in actuality I had missed out on many opportunities to seek and understand the truth. In fact, the caliber that God gives each one of us is fit for purpose; yet I had not put all my heart and energy into cooperating with God based on what I was capable of achieving, in order to gain the work of the Holy Spirit and improve my caliber; instead, I always used my poor caliber as an excuse for not practicing the truth, to try to trick and deceive God. Is this not so crafty, so evil? And how could I be guided by God thus?
God’s words say, “I take pleasure in those who are not suspicious of others, and I like those who readily accept the truth; toward these two kinds of people I show great care, for in My eyes they are honest people” (“How to Know the God on Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “On to the next line, ‘Though my caliber is low, I have an honest heart.’ When most people hear this line, they feel good, don’t they? This matter involves God’s requirements of people. What requirements? If people are lacking in caliber, it is not the end of the world, but they must possess an honest heart and, as such, will be able to receive God’s praise. No matter what your situation, you must be an honest person, speak honestly, act honestly, be able to perform your duty with all your heart and mind, and be faithful, and you must not shirk your work, be sly or deceitful, be crafty, try to outwit others, or talk in circles; you must be a person who loves the truth and pursues the truth. … You say, ‘My caliber is low, but I have an honest heart.’ When a duty falls to you, however, you are afraid that it might be exhausting or you cannot fulfill it well, and so you make excuses to evade it. Is this an expression of an honest person? It clearly isn’t. How should an honest person behave? They should accept and obey, and then be utterly devoted in doing their duty to the best of their ability, striving to meet God’s will. Why do this? There are several aspects of the expression here. One aspect is that you should accept your duty with an honest, sincere heart, to not think of anything else and to not be in two minds, conspiring for your own sake—this is an expression of honesty. Another aspect is that you should use all your strength and all your heart, and say, ‘I will reveal my all to God. This is everything I can do; I will apply all of it, and I will dedicate it completely to God.’ You dedicate all you have and all you can do—this is an expression of honesty” (“Only by Being an Honest Person Can One Be Truly Happy” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words offered me a path to practice: God does not care whether people’s caliber is good or bad; what’s key is whether they have a heart that is honest, whether they can accept the truth, and put it into practice. Although my caliber is poor, and I’m a little slower in understanding the truth, and sometimes follow doctrine, if my heart is honest, and I constantly pursue the truth to resolve my corrupt disposition as I perform my duty, if I do all I can to carry out what God asks, then I shall receive God’s guidance and blessings, and will gradually be able to understand the truth. As I enter the truth I will be able to make up for my shortcomings with regard to my poor caliber, and I will get better and better at understanding and seeing things. After understanding God’s will, I began to rely on God to get better when I performed my duty. No longer did I offload the things that were not evident to me, that I didn’t understand, onto other people, but tried hard to seek and work them out for myself. Thanks be to God! When I practiced as God asks, I too was able to see problems in text—and although there were times when relatively complex issues remained unclear to me, by searching for the principles of the truth with the brothers and sisters, they gradually became apparent to me, and I felt lighter and more liberated when I performed my duty.
Thanks to experiencing the environment set out for me by God, I gained some knowledge of my corruption and shortcomings, and became aware of how to face issues to do with my caliber. When I was performing my duty in the past, I did not focus on seeking the truth, nor did I try to address my corrupt disposition. I always saw things through my own conceptions and imaginings, which led me to often delineate myself, and to try to get out of things by saying my caliber was poor. My performance of duty was full of perfunctoriness, I held up the work of the church, and suffered loss in my own life. Now I understand that everyone’s caliber is preordained by God and is part of God’s glorious intentions. I should not be constrained by whether my caliber is good or bad. In the future, I will try to seek the truth in all things, act with principle, and be someone honest to satisfy God.