At one co-workers’ meeting, the leader asked me: “About the work fellowshipped by the above ‘the duty-neglecting and reckless leaders must be replaced,’ how have you carried it out? How many evil leaders are there in your area?” I replied, “I carried out the fellowship right after hearing it. But no such evil leaders are found.” The leader continued, “The above says such evil leaders are many, but you said there was none. How did you check in carrying out the work? Did you check the leaders one by one? What opinions do the brothers and sisters in the churches actually have of them?” The leader’s series of questions made me realize that I didn’t do this work seriously and carefully; I just conveyed the arrangement to my subordinates perfunctorily and did not do my best to implement it. At the moment, I felt my face burning and I only wished the leader would stop questioning me. However, the leader went on, “What attitude did we take toward this work? Did we carry it with a burden? Have we ever thought that how great a loss will be brought to the life of the brothers and sisters if there are the evil leaders who are not found out? God has saved the people from the hand of the evil one with great difficulty, but just because we have no burden and promote the evildoers to be the leaders, we unconsciously send the brothers and sisters back to be under the power of the evil one, making them unable to come out of the abyss of darkness or see God’s righteousness and faithfulness. In that case, how grieved God will be! Aren’t we doing evil?” At these words, disobedience and resistance in my heart welled up all together: I’ve realized the loopholes in my work and I’ll make up for them. Isn’t this enough? You criticize me in this way before my co-workers; where can I put my face? Even though I have failed to do the work well, you should show some consideration for my face! At the moment, I really seemed to be sitting on pins and needles and wanted to find an excuse to flee the scene at once.
During my spiritual devotions that evening, I read these words in the man’s fellowship: “As people have disobedient nature, it is most difficult for them to accept pruning and dealing. If such a matter really comes upon one, it seems to him that he had suffered a great disgrace, because everyone likes to enjoy being respected and regards saving his face as more important than anything else. The suffering of being pruned and dealt with is hard for him to bear; even if in fact he is to blame, he is still unwilling to accept it. Everyone is arrogant and conceited, self-right and self-important, and to have him humbled himself is really difficult. No wonder people say that one has to bow his head under the low eaves. This is just the expression of man’s arrogant nature.”
Having read these words, and recalling what I manifested in the daytime, I felt deeply ashamed all at once. Wasn’t I such a person who only wants to enjoy being respected but is unwilling to be pruned and dealt with? I clearly knew what the leader pointed out was my true state and what she talked about was God’s intention, but to save my face and preserve my place in the heart of my co-workers, I was not willing to accept the pruning and dealing. Wasn’t I exactly a person who lives for fame? Facing the leader’s critical questions, I resisted and disobeyed in my heart and even wanted to make an excuse to escape. Wasn’t my nature too arrogant? I regarded my face as more important than the truth, and to save my face, I even unsparingly gave up the chance of gaining the truth. Didn’t this show that I did not love the truth and was unwilling to accept the truth? In retrospect, many times confronted with the truths and principles that I did not understand, I thought back and forth to myself and was unwilling to open my mouth to seek, for fear that once I spoke out my thoughts others would look down upon me. Many times it was clear that my irresponsibility brought losses to the work, yet I always tried to find excuses to fob the leader off and would rather die than admit my error. Still, many times the facts were laid bare before me and I could have no words to deny, yet I still would rather “be beheaded” than accept them…. I saw that because of caring for my face, I had lost many opportunities to gain the truth, and because of caring for my face, I had done many things to resist God. If I go on like this, I will only gain nothing in the end; moreover, I will suffer God’s punishment because my nature becomes increasingly arrogant and I commit more and more transgressions. I am really in great danger!
O God, thank you for your exposure and inspiration, which caused me to know more deeply my ugly image of fearing to be humiliated and disgraced and refusing the truth for the sake of my face. O God! I am willing to make this resolution: From now on, I will no longer live for my worthless face. I am willing to accept your chastisement and judgment as well as your dealing and pruning, and pursue the transformation of my nature, so as to live out the likeness of a real man.
Linyi City, Shandong Province