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79. Correct Yourself Before Correcting Others

Testimonies of Experience of Christ’s Judgment

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79. Correct Yourself Before Correcting Others

Chongxin Shanxi Province

It is said in one fellowship: “Leaders and workers must have a loving heart, patience, understanding, and must treat people in the proper way. They must conduct their affairs in accordance with the principles of truth and treat people fairly” (“12 Problems All Churches Need to Resolve Urgently” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God). In the past, I never paid much care to communion passages regarding how leaders and workers should conduct themselves in a humane manner, work in accordance with the principles of truth, and treat people fairly because I always believed myself to be quite humane. I wasn’t like most of the double-crossing, insincere people of the secular world. Also, since becoming a leader, I hadn’t suppressed the views of others or excluded anyone from dialogue. This being the case, I praised myself as being honest, just and fair. Whenever I heard of false leaders and workers not treating people fairly or playing and promoting favorites while suppressing and excluding others, I would always turn up my nose at them. I thought that such leaders and workers must be truly inhumane and, thereby, unqualified to serve as leaders or workers. Only after some recent experiences that exposed my true nature and allowed me to gain insight into myself did I realize I’m not the honest and upright person I thought I was. Rather, I found I was treating people based on emotion and preferences. In quest of my own personal benefit, I was just as crafty, cunning, selfish and malicious as anyone else. Only through the judgment and chastisement of God’s word did I realize that the most beneficial way, the most fair and just way to treat people is by acting in accordance with the principles of truth. Additionally, I realized the crucial importance, as a leader, of treating people fairly.

Christian life, Christian story, Christian testimony

In June of 2013 I traveled to another province to collaborate on some church work. At this district, one of the two leaders was a sister from my hometown, “sister A.” In the past, we had collaborated with each other on various work and we had a very good relationship. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed to see her again so far from home and after so long. The other leader, “sister B,” had just been elected as a leader and was more introverted and steady-minded. She had been promoted just as we leaders were going into retreat for spiritual cultivation. As it so happened, the two sisters and I ended up doing our retreat at the same host family. Given our past, sister A and I were naturally a bit more intimate with each other from the start. She and I have similar personalities—we are both total extroverts—so I was naturally very fond of her and very willing to cooperate if we met with any issues. Later, I began to realize that this close relationship we had was not ideal for our work and would not allow for mutual benefit, so I began to intentionally hold back, to rebel against my flesh. At that time, I was quite worried because the two sisters were not working well together; both had their prejudices. Whenever sister B felt constrained, I made sure to commune with her and give her encouragement and guidance. I would also intentionally spend less time with sister A for fear that sister B would feel left out or unhappy. Whenever I noticed that sister A had exposed her arrogant and egotistical disposition, I would deal with and correct her without the least hesitation. I wouldn’t favor or protect her just because the two of us were close friends. … I thought that, in so doing, I was treating my sisters fairly and in line with God’s intent. I didn’t understand myself, but God saw right through me. In the following days, He would unveil my true satanic nature, casting my inner darkness in the light of judgment.

In the beginning of our retreat, to make sure that we finished our work expeditiously and devote ourselves to spiritual cultivation, we distributed the work evenly among the three of us: Sister A would be responsible for arranging and executing all external affairs, while sister B and I would be responsible for taking care of any issues that arose within the churches. On one project, I was derelict in my duties, neglecting to communicate the particulars of the project to my sister and leaving her to fend for herself. After she had completed the project, I also neglected to go over and examine her work and, as a result, there were some problems with the project. In the aftermath, our leader wrote us a letter pointing out our mistakes and intentions. I was extremely aggrieved, and thought: After only just arriving here, I already made such a basic mistake; I’m such a good-for-nothing and have made a complete idiot of myself! How will the leader think of me now? Will the leader say I lack truth and am incapable of executing work? When I thought about all of this, I suddenly felt a deep resentment toward my sister. I resented that she had caused me to make a fool of myself. In this new environment, I neglected to learn from my mistakes and didn’t take stock of my errors to correct my mistakes. What’s more, I was unwilling to shoulder responsibility and, to preserve my status and reputation, I went against my own good conscience and did something despicable—I placed all the responsibility on my sister. I couldn’t believe that I had committed such vile acts—what kind of person was I? At this point, I could feel the reproach of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation placed on my conscience. However, my heart would harden up when I thought about how my sister had damaged my reputation and status. Not only did I fail to lay myself bare to my sister, I even secretly disdained her and pursued my own agenda in our communion of God’s word. If I wasn’t outright blaming my sister, I was weaseling my way out of any responsibility and shifting the blame to my sister to try to make everyone think that the issue was the result of her wrongdoing. I even judged the sister behind her back: questioning whether the Holy Spirit was working on her and if she was capable of doing this work. In the end, I got what I had coming: God disciplined me and I suffered from mouth ulcers. Yet, I did not mend my ways, stalwart in my rebellion against God and disdain for my sister. I didn’t practice the truth and became a wrongful person, completely unable to treat my sister fairly. I cast a disapproving eye on all her work—it seemed to me she could do no right. I had long ago lost my initial spirit of loving support and treated her with a cold, business-like affect. I knew there was something wrong with my attitude, but my satanic nature caused me to be unable to face the facts and take responsibility for my errors. Instead, I used my status to manipulate and discipline my inferiors, living by the code that “What the boss says goes”; this, a poisonous maxim certainly spewed from the mouth of the great red dragon itself. The way I treated sister was no different than the tyrannical authoritarianism of the great red dragon. In my actions, one could see the ghastly ugly face of Satan revealed in full. At first, sister didn’t react negatively. Despite being dealt with, she tried to see God’s intent and enter in a proactive way. However, I just couldn’t let it go: Whenever something reminded me of “the incident” in our current work, I always had to bring it up to deal with her. Gradually, sister became less proactive in her work. She was hesitant to do anything on her own and was unable to cooperate fully. When I saw how she was acting, I became extremely angry. Then, when it became clear that the two sisters were having trouble collaborating, I totally lost it. I thought to myself: I’ve come here to support the two sisters in their work, but in all this time I’ve been unable to resolve their issues—doesn’t this make me a total waste of a person? I kept dealing with the two of them and felt that I was full of responsibilities, but it had all been completely ineffectual. No matter how much I communed with the two of them, I couldn’t seem to set things straight. I had been unable to resolve their issues, and, even worse, the two of them both had prejudices against me and complained about how I was playing favorites. Faced with this situation, I was at a complete loss. I had exhausted my own capability and there was nothing I could do. Further, I had become fed up with the two of them and thought that it was all their problem, because they weren’t willing to practice the truth and make positive changes.

Feeling utterly hopeless, I prayed to God, seeking direction. During prayer, I remembered a passage in a fellowship from the above that says, “In the past there were two sayings, ‘Correct yourself before correcting others’ and ‘How can he who is in the wrong correct others?’ Speak of your own experience. By speaking of your experience, you are helping others and correcting yourself. You are helping others by correcting yourself, and, in the process, you may also correct others. This is the best way to do your work. … The more upright you are, the more you hold a sense of righteousness and speak fairly and justly, the more people will love you, love to listen to you commune and confirm your words. Just as you say, so will they do. You’ll need only say one word, and they will do according to your wishes. No matter what you say, no one will complain, even if you speak harshly. … If you maintain uprightness, if you treat all people fairly and always help people with a loving heart, you will eventually be capable of bringing people into the truth. You will be completely capable of bringing people into the reality of God’s word and His salvation” (“How Leaders and Workers Ought to Lead and Work” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (I)). I then thought of the following passage of God’s word: “Without God, relationships between people are merely relationships of the flesh. They are not proper, but are indulgent of lust—they are relationships that God detests, that He loathes. … you do not have a proper relationship with God at all. You are attempting to deceive God and cover up your own ugliness. Even if you can share some understanding but you carry wrong intentions, everything you do is good only by human standards. God will not praise you—you are acting according to the flesh, not according to God’s burden. If you are able to quiet your heart in front of God and have proper interactions with all those who love God, only then are you fit for God’s use. This way, no matter how you associate with others, it will not be according to a life philosophy, but it will be living in front of God, considerate of His burden” (“Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through God’s word and the man’s fellowship, I suddenly came to realize that if you want to succeed in your work as a leader or worker, you must first be in the right, capable of treating others equally, and have a normal relationship with God. In communion with others, you should share your personal experiences without any ulterior motives to help others. This way of acting fulfills God’s intent and will win the agreement of others. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I quieted my heart and reflected on my attitude toward the two sisters: At first I was able to give the newly promoted sister loving support, but that was only because our situation had no direct bearing on my personal profit. When the sister made a mistake that damaged my reputation and status, my true nature revealed itself. Like the “vile hag” of the 75th sermon, who, wielding a club or dagger, suppresses all that stand in her way. On the surface, it would appear that I was simply addressing issues with the sister’s work, but in truth I was venting my own personal frustrations. As a result, I spoke in a rude and caustic manner that made the sister feel I was looking down on and insulting her. When I saw how negatively the sister took to being dealt with, not only did I not feel sympathy for her, I held her in disdain and disgust. When I was first promoted to fulfill my duty, there were many things that I didn’t understand right away as well. Constrained by my own reputation and status, I was also very tentative to act and my performance was affected. It got so bad that I would often steal away to cry in private; at one point I got to where the Holy Spirit ceased to work inside me. However, my leader and co-workers never disdained me, working tirelessly to support and encourage me until eventually I broke free from my predicament and felt myself emerged anew. However, when my sister was going through the same kind of situation, I turned a blind eye to my own past. Not only did I fail to share my own experiences in communion to support my sister, I also shifted the blame to her, hitting her when she was down and wallowing in schadenfreude. Only then did I realize the vile nature of my humanity and that my supposed “support” of my sister in the past had all been hypocritical and illusory. Because I held biases in my heart, no matter how warmly I treated her, or how large my burden, I did not act with a truly loving heart and did not treat her fairly. Having treated her in this way, how did I expect sister to place her trust in me? As for the sister I was closer with, despite the fact that I held her to strict standards, there was still an emotional component to our relationship. I played the role of big sister to her. Sometimes I scolded her as a parent scolds her child: I would be worried when she exposed her corruption, but this worry arose out of an emotional connection. I was acting in accordance with my flesh and exposing my corruption, not out of a sense of burden to God. The more I acted in this way toward my sister, the more profound was the emotional bind of our flesh. This was in no way helpful or beneficial to my sister. It was then that I identified the root cause of my failure to succeed in work: I didn’t have a normal relationship with God. Despite the fact that I communed God’s word when I helped the sisters resolve their problems, I still harbored my own biases and worked to protect my own fleshly interests instead of pointing my heart toward God and working to fulfill God’s wishes. From the outside, it may have looked as though I were carrying my burden, but in truth I was hoodwinking God and covering over my own grotesque nature. God does not approve of those without right intention, so I failed to succeed and was even counterproductive. Through reflecting, I realized I’m not such a humane, righteous or just person. Indeed, I’m a selfish, conniving and vile wretch. At this point, I thought to another fellowship from the above, “In the later epistles, Paul was quick to belittle Peter. Once, he even criticized Peter before a crowd. He would not back down. This is well known to have happened. … Now, how did Peter characterize Paul? He said, ‘Brother Paul has received God’s revelation, listen to his gospel testimony to God. He has received God’s revelation.’ Not only did Peter not insult Paul, he even called him brother. Was Peter’s treatment of Paul fair and just? He treated him fairly. His appraisal of Paul was just and fair. Why did Peter mention Paul’s strengths? Peter was a man who had improved his life disposition, was acquainted with God and could treat people fairly. Paul, by contrast, was arrogant and egotistical, bowing to no one in his megalomania” (“What Kind of Person Will Be Perfected by God” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VII)). When I compared my own actions with those of Peter and Paul, it seemed to me that I was even worse than Paul in every way. As a leader faced with handling issues that had arisen in our work, not only did I fail to actively take responsibility for the issues, lead the way in practicing truth, seek the truth with my sisters, resolve the problems at hand and protect the interests of God’s family, but also insulted and hurt my sister in quest of my own personal benefit. I truly hadn’t improved my disposition in the slightest. Looking at my sister: From start to finish she remained in quiet acceptance, never once trying to raise an issue with me. Her behavior was a judgment unto me—an exposition of my rat-like ugliness. My actions were less than human—there was nothing humane about what I had done. Certainly, my behavior was not befitting of a leader.

Reflecting on all of this, I felt particularly low. Before, I had always thought that I was quite humane and treated people very fairly. Having done such shameful things, I became more and more afraid. If someone were to paint a picture of my ugly soul, it would certainly resemble a vile, sharp-fanged beast with blood dripping from its mouth. One day I read the following passage from “How to Write a Good Sermon” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life IX: “Those who do not love truth are inhumane, those who hate the truth are evil.” I felt pricked in the heart, as if this line were God’s judgment of me. Christ and the Holy Spirit rule over God’s family in justice and fairness: How could They tolerate the existence of anything that didn’t adhere to the truth? All satanic acts of injustice must meet with God’s righteous judgment. When I thought of my own evil and inhumanity, my conscience lay heavy with accusation. Living in darkness and pain without any outlet, I was unsure as to how to face my sisters. All I could do was go before God and seek His guidance through prayer: “Dear God, I am so confused and agonized, I’ve lost my way. I don’t know how to face my sisters, and I’m even more clueless as to how to fulfill my duties. I beseech You to enlighten me with regard to this aspect of the truth.” Having completed my prayer, I opened to the 42nd of the 162 principles, “The Principle of Treating People With Fairness” and read the following of God’s word, “What does God’s word require as the principle for treating others? Love what God loves, hate what God hates. That is, the people loved by God who truly pursue the truth and who carry out God’s will, are the people you should love. Those who don’t carry out God’s will, hate God, disobey God, and are despised by God, are people we should despise and reject. That’s what God’s word requires” (“Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “With regard to people’s conditions, some ever resisted, some rebelled, others spoke words of complaint, engaged in misconduct, committed acts against the church or did things that damaged the family of God. Their outcomes will be determined with reference to their nature and the full breadth of their behavior. … Every person’s behavior is different, so each person should be viewed comprehensively according to their personal nature and behavior” (“What Kind of People Will Be Punished” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “…these relationships aren’t established on the flesh, but on the foundation of God’s love. There are almost no interactions based on the flesh, but in the spirit there is fellowship as well as love, comfort, and provision for one another. This is all done on the foundation of a heart that satisfies God. These relationships aren’t maintained by relying on a human philosophy of life, but they are formed very naturally through the burden for God. They don’t require human effort—they are practiced through the principles of the word of God. … A proper relationship between people is established on the foundation of giving their heart to God; it is not achieved through human effort” (“Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In the man’s fellowship, it says, “We should treat our brothers and sisters as members of the family of God. We should display acceptance, patience and love. We should not deceive and hold prejudices, but treat everyone equally and fairly” (“How to Serve in Accordance With God’s Will and the Prerequisites That Those Who Serve God Must Meet” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (II)). Through God’s word and the man’s fellowship I realized that the real way to treat others fairly is by loving what God loves and hating what God hates. Those who seek the truth, and love the truth and can carry out God’s will are my brothers and sisters and the ones that I should love. Even if they should be corrupt, resistant or have done ill toward the family of God, one should still treat them correctly. They should be weighed with regard to their nature, the full scope of their actions and the situation in which they acted. They should not be judged based on one isolated incident. This is the principle by which we must fairly treat others. Additionally, sisters and brothers should be treated equally and without discrimination. Regardless of whether or not we are fond of the sister or brother, we must abide by this principle. Only in this way will we act according to the truth and God’s will. Through this experience, I realized that treating people fairly is not as simple as I thought. In the past, I thought that unfair treatment meant being strict and displaying a harsh attitude toward others. I thought that treating people with a warm and loving heart constituted fair treatment. Today, through God’s word, I realized that only by evaluating situations according to the truth and treating people based on the principles of truth do we treat people fairly and in accordance with their actual selves. No matter if we adopt a strict or a warm attitude, as long as we act in accordance with the truth, we will be following God’s intent. Otherwise we will earn God’s detestation and our actions will have no benefit for anyone. In this way, I realized that I hadn’t been treating others fairly while doing all those “good deeds” in accord with my natural character. Rather, I had acted in line with my own opinions, preferences and secular philosophies. I was merely protecting my status among men and cultivating my own image. I also realized that in order to treat people fairly, one must first have a normal relationship with God. In this way, no matter whether one is lovingly supporting a brother or sister, or dealing with them, one’s action toward them will have God’s love as a foundation. One’s heart is aimed toward God and set with the task of practicing the truth, following God’s intent and fulfilling God’s wishes. The heart is willing to accept God’s inspection. When the heart’s love is not employed to maintain relationships between people, it is free from hypocrisy, false charm, motive or the emotions of the flesh. Such love represents a true spiritual connection, a loving mutual acquiescence. Only by treating people in this way do we align with the principle of truth and benefit all people.

Later, I read the following from another fellowship, “The fair treatment of others is a principle that every leader should possess. Should you betray this principle, this proves you are inhumane. … You are ill-intentioned and of a low moral character—these speak to the root of the issue. I am not willing to employ such people” (“Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word ‘You Ought to Consider Your Deeds’ (II)” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VII)). “How do you determine whether a leader is qualified? First, does he speak in a just manner? Second, does he treat people fairly? These two standards are the absolute key. If he can meet these two standards, he is certainly a man of integrity and in line with God’s intent. If he also has an understanding of truth and knows how to practice the truth, you can be sure he will succeed in his work” (“A Summary About Being an Honest Person: Ten Issues Every Person Must Resolve to Become Honest and the Importance of Being Honest” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)). Through my reading of these passages I came to understand that fair treatment of others is a principle that every leader must uphold. Only those who are humane and love the truth will have correct intentions, keep God in their hearts, love God’s chosen people and treat people fairly and justly. Only this kind of person is capable of serving justice, conforming to the truth in their every deed, and winning the admiration of others. This type of person naturally succeeds in their work. As for the inhumane and the mal-intentioned leaders, they often act like the backstabbing court official: They are not at all concerned with protecting the interests of God’s family or treating God’s chosen people with a loving heart. All they do is bring calamity to God’s family. Just as these evil-doers, these inciters of the people’s wrath, the false leaders and antichrists not only fail to do any real work, they also treat their brothers and sisters like lowly servants to be cursed and abused. At the drop of a hat, they suppress, discipline, and even isolate, and expel their brothers and sisters. They promote lowly sycophants while suppressing real talent. They stir the whole church into tumult. Under the rigors of these dark powers, brothers and sisters toil in suffering and despair. Not only do they not receive cultivation and nurturing, their lives are devastated and their hearts deeply hurt. The more I thought, the more horrified I became. I realized that if leaders don’t treat others fairly, the damage is enormous. If a normal member of God’s chosen people is incapable of treating others fairly, it may cause mutual bias and alienation. It will only affect a few individuals’ condition and entry into the truth. By contrast, if leaders are unable to treat people fairly, it harms and ruins people, interferes directly with the work of God’s family and is harmful to the interests of God’s family. In a fellowship it is said, “To live up to one’s role as a leader of or worker for God’s chosen people, you should place importance on resolving the real issues of God’s chosen in accordance with the truth of God’s word. You should be able to justly resolve all kinds of actual issues that the church faces, treat people fairly, and refrain from suppressing and holding dominion over the chosen people. This is the minimum that must be achieved by leaders and workers at every level of the church. If a person is truly pursuing the truth, his actions will certainly gain the approval and support of God’s chosen. If a person truly possesses the reality of some truth, he will certainly not expose his own arrogance at every chance or adopt a high-and-mighty stance. He certainly will not speak in wild phrases, holding dominion over, binding, shackling, or randomly accusing others. Instead, he will help God’s chosen with a calm and loving heart. He will advise, encourage and guide others in their understanding and practice of truth. In loving kindness, he will commune the truth to resolve issues and achieve results. This is what is meant by a good leader or worker. These days, there are some leaders and workers who don’t seem to have the slightest reality of the truth. Yet they bask in their arrogance, speak in absurdities and have no regard for God and no space for God’s chosen people in their heart. They don’t serve God’s chosen or fulfill their duties to return God’s love. They tread in dangerous waters and have already set foot on the path of the antichrist. If they do not change their ways, they will be cast off and eliminated by God.” “Only those who truly love God will treat God’s chosen with a loving heart. This is fact. Those who do not love God’s chosen and are incapable of treating them fairly and in accordance with the principles of truth certainly do not love God. Only those that truly love God can love others as they love themselves. Those who have no love for God are definitely incapable of loving others. Those who love God’s chosen are certainly capable of loving God—there is no question” (“You Must Experience and Enter the Reality of Truth of God’s Word in Order to Obtain God’s Perfection” in Sermons for Life Supply). Seeing these fellowships, my heart felt chastised. I realized I was already in dangerous territory, walking the way of the antichrist. I also realized that I was incapable of treating my brothers and sisters fairly and with a loving heart. This wasn’t a one-off display of corruption, but rather a sign of my evil and treacherous nature. At root, my problem was that I didn’t love God in my heart. In all my years of faith, I still hadn’t attained the slightest reality of the truth and had yet to step onto the path of God’s perfection. Only those who love God can be considerate of His intent and know with what He is most concerned and worried. Only those who love God worry His worries and think His thoughts, endeavoring with full force to bring God’s chosen onto faith’s right path. Only lovers of God can follow the example of Christ in cultivating a compassionate and pitying heart, in tolerating others with a patient and loving heart. Only those who love God can carry out the mission with which God has entrusted them; they feel uneasy unless they have served God’s family and that they are unable to face God until they’ve resolved the issues of God’s chosen. As such, they are aware of what their brothers and sisters lack and what they need. They can empathize with their brothers’ and sisters’ suffering and they put everything into setting all things right. As for me, I didn’t have the love of God in my heart and, thus, I was incapable of loving my brothers and sisters. All I loved was my own personal benefit. All I cared about was my own reputation and status. As a result, I treated my brothers and sisters coldly. When my own interests were at stake, I even went so far as to discipline, suppress, punish and seek revenge on others to vent my own anger. I saw that I was a dyed-in-the-wool evil-doer. In the past, the above related through communion that the higher one’s position as a leader or worker, the more one ought to be willing to be the most unassuming person. The greater one’s task, the more one ought to offer themselves as a servant to God’s chosen. However, not only did I not offer myself as a servant, but, like a cadre of the great red dragon, I accepted and approved of those who served my interests and shared my opinions while suppressing and excluding any who I perceived to be dangerous. Like an evil monster, I went around rooting out any non-conformists. Looking back on my condition at that time, I felt a deep sense of shame. Only then did I realize how despicable my nature was. If I were to continue fulfilling my duties in this satanic disposition, in the end I would ultimately be exposed and cast out for all my evil-doing.

Thank God for His gracious gift. If not for God’s revelation, I would never have reflected on my own actions and perhaps would have even perpetrated more acts of evil. I also experienced God’s immense love and compassion. God did not punish me for what I had done—this signifies that God is still saving me. I vow to seek the truth with fervor, reflect on my past transgressions and put renewed effort into understanding my own nature to unearth those aspects which are not compatible with God. Through the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit and driven by the guilt in my conscience, I had finally put aside my vanity, and unbound the shackles of Satan’s dark influence. My sisters and I innocently laid ourselves bare, pointed out the satanic elements in each other, and coming to a deeper understanding of each other. I felt as if I had suddenly burst from the darkness and into the light. I had experienced the happiness that came with practicing the truth and shaming Satan. I felt much more at ease, my heart was lighter, and I felt no more guilt in my conscience. In communion with my sisters, no one felt constrained anymore. Everyone could lay themselves bare without inhibition. I suddenly burst into a hymn of life experience: “Right Here, Right Now, We Get Together”: “Right here, right now, we get together; a gathering of people loving God. Without bias, closely attached, happiness and sweetness filling our hearts. Yesterday we left regret and guilt; today we understand each other, live in God’s love. … Right here, right now, we get together; but very soon we will be apart. Burdened with commission and will of God, we will leave each other for the sake of God’s work. While we gather, we laugh and talk merrily; when we leave, we encourage each other. God’s love, our source of being faithful to the end. For a beautiful future, we will do whatever we can.” As I sang the hymn, I was choked with tears. Having fallen prey to Satan’s corrupt nature within myself, I was once beset by deep regret. The fact that my sisters and I could come to mutual understanding today in the presence of God’s love and love each other like family is a testament to the work of God within us. His judgment and chastisement conquered and saved us from our profound corruption. When I got to the part that goes, “but very soon we will be apart. Burdened with commission and will of God, we’ll leave each other for the sake of God’s work,” my heart grieved and I could sing no more. I felt even deeper remorse for having been corrupted by Satan, and, with evil intent, insulting and avoiding my sister, causing her irreparable harm. I had also interrupted the work of God’s family…. I only hoped that this diatribe of remorse planted itself in my heart, and that grief would transform into the power and determination to right past wrongs through the fulfillment of my duties. Once I had reversed my condition, I saw that there was much I could learn from my sister. She is very humane and takes the burden of all her duties. These are her strengths, the areas in which she excels beyond me. I thought of a passage from a fellowship: When people are unified, they can turn dirt into gold. I vow to make a fresh start with my sisters, drawing on their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses. I will enter into the truth with them, and shoulder the burden of our duties to complete God’s mission. I believe that if we are of one heart and one mind and combine our efforts, not even the worst setbacks and calamities will deter us and we will gain God’s blessing in all the work that we do.

Through this experience, not only did I come to truly understand my humanity and nature, I also saw how my behaviors indicated that I was walking down the wrong path. I realized the grave importance for leaders of fearing God and shunning evil, seeking the truth and recognizing the work of God, living humanely, and treating people fairly. These actions determine the road one takes in service to God. From now on, I vow only to seek the truth and conduct myself in accordance with truth and principle so that I may soon be compatible with God.

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