41. I Learned to Coordinate With Others
By Liu Heng, Jiangxi Province
In a recent vote, I was elected to be a church leader. In order to repay God’s love, I made a resolution before God: No matter what I encounter, I will not abandon my responsibilities and betray God. I will coordinate with my brothers and sisters to perform my duty well and will be someone who pursues the truth.
Sister Wang and I were responsible for the church work, and when at first we had differing opinions about how to organize some church matters, I would consciously pray to God asking Him to protect my heart, and to make me able to relinquish myself and not to argue with my sister. I would also often remind myself that I must work harmoniously with this sister. However, because I only paid attention to controlling my actions in order that I wouldn’t have conflicts with her, and because I had not entered into truth, over time, I had more and more disagreements with her. One time I wanted to promote a sister to the duty of watering new believers, Sister Wang said the sister I’d chosen was no good. After I switched my candidate, she still said it was unsuitable. I immediately became upset. Later I never brought up the matter again. When she asked about it, I said in a rage: “Select whoever you want!” After this, in order to avoid conflict, regardless of what she said, if there was any dissent, I wouldn’t say anything. Sometimes holding it in became unbearable, so I would hide somewhere and cry. Therefore, I always felt that I had been wronged. Another time, the upper-level leader handed a task over to me to deal with, and when it was all done, I felt quite pleased. I thought Sister Wang would praise me. Unexpectedly, she rained on my parade, saying: “This really is not the right way to do this.” This really irritated me. I thought: “You didn’t even have a look and you flat out reject it. You’re really self-righteous!” We each held to our opinions and neither of us was willing to submit to the other. Finally, I wouldn’t even listen to the communications of the word of God. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that she intentionally made things difficult for me. I had tolerated her again and again, yet she still treated me this way. The more I thought about it the more I felt wronged. As a result, I was completely left in darkness and had lost the work of the Holy Spirit. From that time on, I wasn’t willing to work with her. I thought: “I dare not provoke this sister, but I can avoid her.” Because I was unwilling to perform my duty with this sister, I used my small stature and incompetence as an excuse to write my resignation letter. Not long after, when I met my upper-level leader, I told her about my resignation. She then communicated to me the principles of taking responsibility and resigning as well as the great care and effort God has put into saving people. My stubborn heart would not yield, however, and I was determined to resign from my post.
The next morning after I got out of bed, my head was completely blank. Even when I prayed, I could not feel God, and I felt drowsy when I read God’s words. I was afraid and panicked and thought it was certainly my conduct that had made God detest me. So, I began to examine myself. After I had thought about everything that had happened over the time I’d spent coordinating and performing my duty together with this sister, I was able to see that my disposition had made God detest me. The word of God was not present in my conduct and I had no reverence toward God. I was simply not a person who accepted the truth. As a result, I had been tricked by Satan and I had given up on my responsibilities and betrayed God unawares. After becoming aware of this, I immediately prostrated myself before God and repented: “Oh Almighty God, I am wrong. I have believed in You, but I have not been willing to experience Your work. You arranged my environment and I have not been willing to accept it; I wanted to avoid Your chastisement and judgment. My conduct has really hurt You. Oh God, I thank You for exposing me in Your work and allowing me to understand more of my satanic disposition. Now I see that my stature is truly so small. I can’t handle even the smallest setbacks. When any tiny thing I don’t like happens, I want to betray You. I have discarded the oaths I have made to You. Oh God, I am willing to repent, put myself aside and coordinate in earnest together with the sister. Oh God, I am no longer willing to live under the control of Satan’s influence or be constrained by my corrupt disposition. I have made up my mind to retract my resignation letter. I am no longer willing to live for my own face, this time I am willing to satisfy You!” After praying, I became tearful, and soon afterward I retracted my resignation letter and tore it to shreds on the spot. When we gathered that day, a few of us were reading the word of God together. God’s word says: “Your reputation has been destroyed, your bearing is degrading, your way of speaking is lowly, your life is despicable, and even all of your humanity is lowly. You are narrow-minded toward people and you haggle over every little thing. You quarrel over your own reputation and status, even to the point that you’re willing to descend into hell, into the lake of fire” (“Your Character Is So Lowly!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “People do not demand much of themselves, but they demand much of God. They ask God to especially grace them, and to be patient and forbearing of them, cherish them, provide for them, smile at them, take care of them in many ways, and that He cannot be strict with them whatsoever or do anything that upsets them even slightly, but can just coax them along every single day. Man’s reason is so lacking!” (“People Who Always Have Requirements for God Are the Least Reasonable” in Records of Christ’s Talks). The word of God had completely exposed all my inner ugliness. Only then was I able to see that my satanic disposition was so severe. I had such an arrogant and conceited nature that I always felt I was better than other people. I didn’t have the slightest amount of self-awareness; I didn’t know myself inside and outside. Therefore, when I was coordinating with the sister, I always wanted to be in charge, and be the leader. I was eager for the sister to follow me in everything and listen to me. I always wanted to be the head. When the sister’s opinions failed to agree with my own, I didn’t seek the truth to resolve the conflict and reach a common understanding with her. Rather, I would lose my temper and cop an attitude because I had lost face, and I would become biased against the sister, to the point that I would let my anger get in the way of my work. Furthermore, I never thought to take the initiative to improve our relationship or thought to change my attitude toward performing my duty. When we were working together, I would always put on airs. I didn’t demand any change in myself, I disdained to speak heart-to-heart with the sister. I fixated on her faults, and I demanded that she change herself. I considered myself to be the master of truth and saw other people as corrupt. Throughout our work coordinating together, I did not know myself. When the sister had a bad attitude, or when there was a difference of opinion between us, I didn’t reflect on or know myself, but instead I would lump all the blame on her. I believed that she was wrong, so I belittled her in my heart and discriminated against her to the point that I treated her just like an enemy. I saw my corrupt satanic dispositions—haughtiness and conceitedness, arrogance and cruelty—and I saw that I conducted myself extremely pettily, and I saw my narrow-minded behavior, and I realized that I possessed not a shred of the humanity or reason a normal person should possess. I was truly unreasonable! God exalted me and gave me the opportunity to perform my duty, but I didn’t think about coordinating harmoniously with the sister and doing our duties well to satisfy God. All day, I wouldn’t engage in honest work, I would scheme against her, and would have jealous disputes with her. I only knew to bicker about my own grievances and incessantly fight over my own face and vanity. Did I have any conscience or reason? Was I a person who pursued the truth? God requires us to put His word into practice in our lives, yet I was divorced from it in the fulfilling of my duties; I didn’t seek the truth at all, and I’d never accepted or obeyed my sister’s suggestions which accorded with the truth in our work together performing our duty. Whenever anything occurred, I took the lead and made her submit to me and listen to me. Was I not on the path of the antichrist? Was I not heading for self-destruction by carrying on this way? Only then was I able to see that my conduct was all about the flesh and about selfish desires, and my nature was too selfish and deplorable. My many years of believing in God did not bring me anything real and there was not a shred of change in my disposition. I couldn’t go on like this, and I became willing to seek the truth and transform myself.
Afterward, I read God’s word saying: “If you people who coordinate to work in the churches do not learn from each other, and communicate, making up for each other’s shortcomings, from where can you learn lessons? When you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other, so that your life can benefit. … You must achieve harmonious cooperation for the purpose of the work of God, for the benefit of the church, and for spurring the brothers and sisters onward. You coordinate with him and he coordinates with you, each amending the other, arriving at a better work outcome, so as to care for God’s will. Only this is a true cooperation, and only such people have true entry. … Each of you, as people who serve, must be able to defend the interests of the church in all things you do, rather than looking out for your own interests. It is unacceptable to go it alone, where you undermine him and he undermines you. People acting this way are not fit to serve God!” (“Serve as the Israelites Did” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). And it was said in a sermon: “There is no main role and deputy in serving in coordination. Everyone stands on an equal footing, and the principle is to achieve a consensus through fellowshiping about the truth. This requires people to obey one another. That is, whoever speaks correctly and speaks in conformity with the truth should be obeyed. The principle is to obey the truth. The truth is authority, and whoever can fellowship about something in line with the truth and see things accurately should be obeyed. No matter what people do or what duty they fulfill, obeying the truth is always the principle” (“The Meaning and Explanation of the Ten Principles of the Church Life Established by God’s Family” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God). From the sermon and God’s word, I saw the way to practice and enter into serving in coordination with each other. That is, being considerate of God’s will and protecting the interests of God’s family while coordinating and performing our duties together. Regardless of what people do or what work they are doing, it should all be done by taking submission to the truth and by communicating truth to reach a common understanding as the principles. You cannot be so arrogant and conceited as to maintain your own opinions and make others listen to you, and you cannot sell out the principles of the truth to protect your interpersonal relationships. Moreover you cannot just follow your own character to create independence, you must let go of yourself and take the initiative to deny yourself, learn from others, and make up for your own weaknesses in order to obtain a harmonious partnership. Only then can you have God’s blessings and guidance in your duty, can you achieve better results in church work, and can your own life be benefited. On the contrary, if you are arrogant while working together, if you don’t seek after the principles of the truth but make a dictatorship to control others, or if you operate alone and do things by your own desire, then you will suffer God’s loathing and cause losses for the church work. Yet I was arrogant and always wanted to have the final say. How did I not know that the work in God’s family was not something that a single person could accomplish? All people have no truth and have far too many shortcomings. Acting unilaterally makes mistakes very likely to happen. Only through cooperative work can more work of the Holy Spirit be obtained to make up for our shortfalls and prevent mistakes. At the time, I couldn’t help but feel guilt and self-blame for my satanic disposition that was exposed in my arrogance and selfishness, and in not having the slightest bit of consideration for God’s will, as well as for only focusing on not losing face and acting on impulse to the point of displaying shocking and rude behavior. I believe that I was too blind and foolish, and I didn’t understand the meaning of God’s intent to arrange an environment for me to practice serving in coordination—even to the point that I didn’t try to learn from my partner’s strengths to compensate for my shortcomings while performing my duties, or to learn what I needed through working together. As a result, it caused losses for the work of the church and delayed my own growth in life. Today, were it not for God’s pity and the enlightenment of God’s word, I would have been unable to let go of myself and would still want others to listen to me. In the end, who knows what catastrophe I would cause? Coming to this realization, I made a resolution: I am willing to act according to the word of God, I am willing to work harmoniously with the sister for the work of the church and for my growth in life and I won’t think about my own interests anymore.
Afterward, I opened up to my partner sister about how I had come to know myself, and she also opened up to me about how she had come to know herself. Through having a real heart-to-heart, the prejudices I had of her and the distance between us vanished, and we both became willing to enter together into the principles of serving in coordination with each other. After that, our duty coordinating with each other was much more harmonious. When we had differing opinions, we sought the truth and grasped God’s will by praying to Him. When we saw each other’s shortcomings, we were understanding and forgiving; we treated each other with love. Unwittingly, God’s blessings fell upon us and the gospel work bore significantly more fruit than in the past. At this time I hated having lived by my corrupt disposition in the past, and that I hadn’t learned practically the lessons in the environment God had arranged for me; even more I hated that I did not pursue the truth and had owed God too much. I finally experienced the sweet taste of putting truth into practice, I had more faith to fulfill my duties and satisfy God, and my heart became full of gratitude to God. From now on I am willing to make efforts in even more aspects of the truth, to seek to enter into the reality of God’s word, to act with principle, and to perform my duties properly and repay God’s love.