About the truth “God is righteous,” I had always held an erroneous understanding. I thought that, once a person displayed corruptions in his working or committed some transgressions that caused a loss to the work of God’s family, he should receive deserved retribution, either losing his duty or suffering punishment; this was God’s righteousness. Because of this wrong knowledge and also because I feared that once I made mistakes in my work I would lose my duty, I thought up a “clever” way: When I have done something wrongly, I’ll first try to keep it from the leader, and then hasten to remedy the mistake by myself and try to do it properly. By this, won’t my duty be kept? So, every time I gave a report on my work, I reported by “minimizing the problems.” Sometimes I became passive, but before the leader I tried to cover it up and behaved actively and positively, for fear that she would think me incompetent and thus disuse me. So I cautiously guarded against God’s family in whatever I did.
However, God searches hearts and minds, and my superb tricks could never escape God’s eyes. I found that the more I tried to cover up something, the more it was exposed to the light by God. For example, when I tried to show off my “talent” before the leader, I always erred and made a fool of myself. When I tried to conceal my passive state, “dark clouds” always appeared on my face in spite of myself and exposed it to the brothers and sisters. When I tried to cover up my perfunctoriness and deceitfulness about my work, the results were a mirror and revealed everything…. The repeated embarrassments and the torment of my conscience because of my dishonesty caused me to fall down. Nevertheless, I did not understand God’s intention and purpose in doing such work on me, nor did I understand how God saved man. I only waited passively for “God’s righteous judgment” to come upon me—for God’s family to deal with me.
But things did not develop as I had anticipated: In my work, though I was pruned and dealt with because I did not perform my duty properly, yet I received patient instructions from the brothers and sisters, so that I came to know what was being perfunctory and deceitful and what was performing duty faithfully, and understand that one could not perform his duty properly unless he did it according to God’s requirements. In my life entering, many times I was entangled in evil thoughts and had no strength to extricate myself, unbearably distressed. I wanted to open my heart and seek fellowship, but I felt them too ugly and could hardly speak them out; as a result, I fell into darkness and lost the working of the Holy Spirit. But after I resolvedly bared them, I found that the brothers and sisters did not laugh at me or look down on me because of them, but instead they gave me help and exhortation so that I lived in the light and had ways of practice and had strength to overcome sins. Later, I saw that when some of the brothers and sisters around me did something wrong or displayed their corruptions, God’s family did not immediately dismiss them home because of that, but tried to fellowship with them and sustain them, giving them opportunities time and time again. Even though a few of them were finally dismissed home, that was because they had offended God’s nature many times and, after God’s family had pruned and dealt with and fellowshipped with them many times, they still remained unrepentant. But as for such people, God’s family was still waiting for them to repent and wake up. If some time later they really had reflection and had transformation, God’s family still gave them the opportunity to exercise themselves and prepare good deeds. These facts caused me to see that God treats man in the same way a parent did to a prodigal son, with incomparable love and kindness, and that the work God does is a work of saving man, transforming man, and perfecting man. Only then did I realize that my understanding about “God’s righteousness” was too erroneous and was too far from the fact. God’s nature is righteousness, but even more it is great patience, tolerance, and mercy. It can be said that the love God expresses surpasses his righteousness.
At that moment, I could not help but call to mind a passage of God’s word, and then I opened Christ’s Talks with Some Church Workers to this passage. God says: “What is the substance of Christ? The substance of Christ is love to man, an infinite love to those who follow him. If he had no love and no mercy, then people could not have followed until today. Some say, ‘But God also has righteousness, doesn’t he?’ Yes! It is true that he also has righteousness. But as far as his nature is concerned, his righteousness is to hate mankind being corrupt and evil. What if he had only righteousness but no love? What if his love could not surpass his righteousness? Then it could be said that all people would be finished. So, I tell you the truth, in the work God does to mankind during the period of his incarnation, the most obvious and salient of his substance is love and is infinite tolerance. If it were not love and, as you imagine, God struck men down when he said he struck men down, and punished, cursed, judged, and chastised men when he said he hated men, how severe that would be! If God got angry with men, they would all tremble with fear and could not stand before God’s eyes…. This is only a way of expressing God’s nature. His ultimate purpose is to save. His love runs through all the expressions of his nature. You may do some recollection; during the time of God’s incarnation, what he expresses to man most in his work is love. What is patience? Patience is that because he has love within, he has mercy. It is also for saving man. God has love, so he can have mercy on man. For example, if a husband and wife really have love for each other, even if the other has defects or faults, one does not take notice of them; and when being angered by the other, one can be patient. Everything is built on the basis of love. What if he hated man? Then he would not have such an attitude or have such an expression, nor would there be such a result. If God had only hatred and wrath, and only judgment and chastisement, without love in them, then it would not be the situation as you see now, and you would have a rough time. Could he still supply you with the truth?”
Before, when I read these words, though I acknowledged them with my lips, I did not understand them and was still full of disbelief in and guard against God. Today I gained a little practical knowledge of these words. I felt that they are so real and every word is imbued with God’s deep love and God’s patient supply, support, and teaching to man.
Then, I could not help feeling deep indebtedness to God. O God! In such a long time of my following you, I believed in you but did not know you. Blind and absurd, I misunderstood your motherly heart and repaid you with too much grief. I am really not worthy to come before you, even less worthy to be saved by you. I only deserve to be cursed. However, you have not treated me according to my disobedience. On the contrary, you have greatly uplifted and compassioned and tolerated me, and given me the opportunity to be regenerated, so that I have enjoyed so much of your love and grace, seen your beauty and kindness, and tasted the reality of your words—God is righteousness and even more love. From now on, I will try to know more of your loveliness from your word and in my real life, pursue to be an honest person and a lover of you, and perform my duty faithfully to repay your great love.
Zhengzhou City, Henan Province