I cared much about my vanity and face. I always feared that others would have prejudices against me or ill opinions of me, and even more I feared that I would be dismissed because of others’ ill opinions of me. Therefore, I racked my brains to study the skills and manners of speaking. And I contacted everyone with great care, lest I offend them and cause them to form prejudices against me. I never expected that…
One day, a church leader suddenly said to me, “Your speaking tone is too heavy and I feel dominated by you. And you also look down upon me. You don’t often go to my place to direct my work, and don’t know to care for my difficulties.” At her words, my heart skipped a beat. I thought: How come you say so about me? If the one in charge of my work learns this, what will she think of me? Will she give me a scolding? Or look on me with disfavor? … My heart got anxious and afraid. In my flurry, I remembered the so-called “wisdom of working and ways of speaking” that I had just learned. Then I put them into practice. When I was to speak to that sister, I first had a look at her countenance. If she was happy, I talked much with her in a straight way; if she was unhappy, I talked a little and spoke with selected words and in a roundabout way. In order to keep her from saying again that my tone was heavy, I, who usually spoke loudly, forced myself to lower my voice and lighten my tone, speaking to her slowly and gently. I never thought my efforts would be repaid with these words: “How come you are so long-winded? If you have anything to say, say it straight. Why beat about the bush? So troublesome!” On hearing this, I was even sadder and complained of her continuously in my heart, “Why are you so difficult to deal with? When I spoke in a heavy tone, you said my tone was heavy; when I lightened my tone and paid some attention to the manners of my speaking, you said I was too long-winded. What do you actually want me to do so that you will have no prejudices against me?” But despite my anger, I treated her even more “carefully” in order to retrieve her opinion of me.
Once, I found she was short of clothes, and I remembered her saying once that I didn’t know to care for her difficulties. So, I hurried to give my clothes to her. Although I told her that the clothes were donated by other brothers and sisters, I thought to myself: In the past, you said that I didn’t know to care for your difficulties. This time I have solved your actual difficulty; you should drop your prejudices against me. Unexpectedly, she didn’t even have a look at me, and she said: “I give thanks to God. I am not worthy of enjoying these things.” My heart was greatly upset, and I became worried again: Why is it that I have done so much but still can’t dissolve her prejudices? O God! Where am I wrong actually? Just at that time, I discovered some holes in her work: She did not implement the precautions against persecution properly and there were many hidden dangers. I deeply knew this was not a trifling matter and it involved the interests of the church and the work of God’s family. In the face of this, I became even more worried: If I don’t speak to her, the work will suffer loss and it is not after God’s heart. If I speak to her seriously, I am afraid that she will be hurt and thus have deeper prejudices about me. If I speak lightly, I am afraid she will not take it seriously. I was in a dilemma and did not know what to do, feeling very much oppressed in my heart. I had no choice but to come before God and tell God my actual state and difficulties. After praying, under the guidance of God, I opened the book of God’s word, and these words came into my eyes: “If you do not have a normal relationship with God, regardless of how you maintain your relationship with people, however hard you try and however much effort you make, it is practicing human philosophies of life, and you are maintaining your position among people according to human viewpoints and by human philosophies so that they will compliment you, but not building a normal relationship with them according to God’s word. If you do not pay attention to your relationship with people but maintain a normal relationship with God, … naturally your relationship with all people will be normal. … You will have almost no fleshly association with each other but have fellowship with each other in spirit, love each other, comfort each other, and supply each other, doing all these on the basis of satisfying God in your heart. It won’t be maintained by human philosophies of life but naturally built through your burden for God. You won’t need to exert human effort but act according to the principles in God’s word … People’s normal relationship with others is built on the basis that their heart is turned to God, and it is not built through their effort. Without God, people only have a fleshly relationship with each other, which is abnormal, indulgent in lust, hated by God, and loathed by God.” God’s words are the light. They dispelled the fog in my heart, lighted up my way ahead, and made me suddenly enlightened. Only then did I realize how ridiculous my previous practices were. I actually regarded the philosophy of life “weigh others’ words and watch their expressions carefully, and trim your sails to the wind” as my work wisdom and took “preserving position” as my true burden. I really confused black and white and reversed right and wrong, and I was extremely ignorant and muddleheaded. From God’s words I knew that my association with others was not built on the basis of my heart being turned to God. I only used my philosophy of life to develop a fleshly relationship, and did not have a normal relationship with God at all. I racked my brains to learn the “techniques” in order to gain appreciation and favorable comments from others. I could “stoop to compromise” and talk with others “subserviently,” and that was for my position not to be lost and not for God’s sake or for fostering a normal relationship with others. How could such an intent of mine not be hated and loathed by God? Thank God for his inspiration. I will not lose heart or be discouraged, because from God’s words I have not only known myself, but even more, I have seen the light and found the way I should practice. Whatever I do, I will do it on the basis of turning my heart to God and not do it by human efforts. For I have understood that without God between people, they are all developing fleshly relationships with each other and are all indulging their flesh and lusts, which is what God hates and loathes.
Puyang City, Henan Province