Du Fan Jiangsu Province
Recently, a church was holding a vote to select a new leader, but the presiding leader went against the principles of the church, using her own way to carry out the vote. When some other brothers and sisters voiced their opinions, not only did she not acknowledge them, but insisted on upholding her own way. The church was subsequently thrown into confusion by the leader’s actions. When I found out, I totally lost my temper: How could someone be so arrogant and self-righteous? Carrying out the duties of a church leader without God in one’s heart, looking down upon the work arrangements, refuting and rejecting brother’s and sister’s suggestions—who else is there to blame for the church’s confusion but you! I immediately sent someone to commune with the church leader and, in the meantime, read through God’s word looking for related truths that I could raise with the leader to convince her of the error of her ways. Later that night, I went and met the leader. During communion, I spoke to her with an accusatory tone, unable to suppress my own anger. To my surprise, ten minutes into our meeting, the leader suddenly got up and rushed out with tears in her eyes. A brother who had gone chasing off after her came back a bit later and said, “She’s gone and she knows she’s done wrong.” I was unrelenting, angrily exclaiming: “With regard to such an important matter of principle, you’re prepared to just leave things unresolved? How arrogant and self-righteous you are! You go against the principles of the church and don’t let anyone else have a say. How are you supposed to get anything done in the future? What a dangerous prospect! This just won’t do, if you’re going to storm out unannounced, I’ll just have to write you a letter.” Right then and there, I sat down and wrote her a letter in which I symbolically acknowledged that my attitude in communion hadn’t been ideal and asked for her forgiveness. In the letter, I also addressed her issues, citing principles to elucidate the problem. I thought that I had handled things quite well. On the one hand, I demonstrated that I was able to let go of my own ego and gain a deeper understanding of myself, while at the same time using truth to resolve issues. Seeing how I handled things, this leader would definitely be convinced and gain new understanding, I thought.
Once, when I was communing on this matter with my leader, the leader asked me how I had entered into the truth when resolving this issue. “How did I enter into the truth? Did I do a bad job? Were my actions inappropriate?” I felt slightly confused. The leader continued: “It’s not a question of how well you resolved the issue, but rather, in resolving the issue, did you use your status and power to convince others or did you employ the truth to exalt and testify to God, and allow others to gain deeper understanding of themselves? On the surface, it looks as though you were communing in God’s word, but in actuality you were just trying to get her to succumb to your point of view. Why did she end up leaving? It’s clear she left because she couldn’t accept your argument, she wasn’t convinced. If we’re only concerned with communing the truth with others and neglect to pay attention to our own corruption, neglect to know ourselves, and work just for the sake of work, we are bound to learn nothing new and have no change in our own disposition. In this sense, are we not like Paul, who gave guidance to others but, who, in the service of God, became ever more set in his corrupt ways? In his arrogance, he became a man who believed in God and yet resisted God, meeting his end in perdition.” This communion was like a call stirring me from a long slumber. Indeed, when God presented this situation to me, I didn’t seek the truth or search for God’s intent, didn’t consider how to enter into the truth myself or reflect upon my own emotional response to the situation. All I could do was think about how to solve other people’s problems. In this sense, was I considering God’s desire to bring others before Him? Or was I rather using my status to force others to accept my point of view? I was corrupted by Satan, without truth, humanity or reason. I too was a victim. How was I any better than anyone else? I had no self-knowledge, no grasp of the truth. Without realizing, I had adopted a harsh tone and lost my temper, playing up my status in lecturing others. My satanic arrogance and conceit had been exposed! When my sister rushed off crying, I didn’t reflect on my actions, instead resenting her and flying into a rage. Did my behavior not resemble the tyrannical actions of the great red dragon?
Thank God for His guidance. This experience enlightened me to the importance of entering into the reality of the truth. Only by entering into the reality of the truth can we receive God’s protection and not resist God. In man’s fellowship it was said: “Many people become false leaders and antichrists because they are unable to really seek the truth and, as a result, they don’t have slightest reality of the truth. As soon as they gain status and have some authority they begin defying principle, thinking themselves superior and, with lust for the boons of status, proclaiming themselves king. In the end, such people are abhorred and rejected by God’s chosen, succumbing ultimately to utter failure. Could this possibly be a rare occurrence? Why can’t people come to their senses? What use is there in believing in God just to gain authority, wield power and revel in the spoils of status? This is the behavior of selfish, lowly and evil people, it is the lowly desire of those who walk the path in opposition of Christ” (“You Must Experience Entering the Reality of Truth of God’s Word in Order to Obtain God’s Perfection” in Sermons for Life Supply). Through this passage I realized that those who do not enter into the truth, will, upon gaining status, proclaim themselves king and haughtily use their status to suppress, frame, and control others. They will ultimately become false leaders and antichrists. It’s not power that ruined these people, but the inevitable outcome of failing to seek truth! Though it may seem like this experience was not so dire, my mental state and true nature in resisting God undeniably reflect that I was walking the way of opposition to Christ. If I did not have the direction of God, I certainly would not have realized my folly and would still be living in self-righteousness. Continuing down that path, I would ultimately be exposed and phased out! When I think how things could have panned out, it gives me the chills. What dangerous waters I treaded in, believing in God for so many years and still unable to know how to enter into the reality like Paul, who lived within an imagined conception of truth, but continued to believe in and serve God according to his natural character and corrupted nature. If I don’t reverse the current state of affairs, I may find myself condemned to eternal damnation. In the future, I need to place more importance on personal entry and pursuit of the truth.
Not long after all this transpired, I received a letter from a sister from the first-line gospel team which started by saying that she was having trouble grasping the truth and asked for my guidance. After reading the letter, I again lost my temper: What an arrogant person you are! You can’t cooperate well with those church leaders and workers. Every time they give you suggestions you just make excuses, continuing to act arbitrarily. The gospel work you are responsible for has been unsuccessful and the churches are always reporting on your situation. Today you’re writing me to ask for guidance: Are you sure you can accept my guidance? You think that everything that you’ve done has been appropriate and right and all your failures are the results of other people being unable to practice the truth: How well do you really know yourself? … The more I thought, the angrier I became, I could feel the flames of fury raging in my heart: Did you not ask me to give you guidance? I’ve been wanting to chat with you for a while now, today I finally have the chance. I set down my current assignments and went to work looking for words of God related to her situation that I could cite to convince her. As it turned out, the more I looked for appropriate passages, the less I found—I was puzzled as to where all the passages of which I had some understanding had disappeared to. Just as I was getting agitated, a blaming voice spoke from heart: Where is it that you look for God’s word? Here this person is before you, how do you enter into the truth? Why are you always trying to solve other people’s problems? What have you exposed in yourself? God’s revelation and guidance extinguished the flames raging in my heart and gave me some insight: Have you already forgotten what happened last time? Don’t work just for the sake of work—resolve your own issues before you try to help others. At this point, I thought back to this passage of God’s word: “You must first resolve all the difficulties within yourself by relying on God. Make an end to your degenerate dispositions and be able to really understand your own situations and know how you should do things; keep fellowshiping anything you don’t understand. It is unacceptable for you not to know yourself. First heal your own sickness, and by means of eating and drinking My words more, contemplating My words, live life and do things according to My words; whether you are at home or in some other place, you should allow God to wield power within you. … Can the life of someone who cannot live by God’s words mature? No, it cannot. You must live by My words at all times. In life, My words must be your code of conduct. They will cause you to feel that doing things in a certain way is what God takes joy in, and doing things in another way is what God hates; slowly, you will come to walk the right track” (“The Twenty-second Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “You must have an understanding of the people with whom you fellowship and fellowship about spiritual matters in life, only then can you supply life to others and make up for their inadequacies. You should not take a lecturing tone with them, which is fundamentally the wrong position to have. In fellowship you must have an understanding of spiritual matters. You must have wisdom and be able to understand what is in the hearts of other people. You must be a correct person if you are to serve others and you must fellowship with what you have” (“The Thirteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words were clear as a mountain lake and helped me realize my own inadequacies: When I come upon any situation, I’m never conscious of myself and place no importance on what I’m exposing in myself. Fundamentally, I don’t have God in my heart and don’t know how to rely upon Him. Additionally, I don’t understand far too many of God’s words and am incapable of viewing things or acting according to God’s words. God asks that we live according to His word in every moment of every day and that we take God’s word as a guideline by which to conduct ourselves. He asks that we do what He loves and abandon that which is not in line with His intent. Does God not hate that which I revealed of myself today? In what way were my actions today fulfilling my duties? No, I was clearly doing evil. At this point, I found a passage from the 44th Principle “The Principle of Helping Others With a Loving Heart,” which said: “1. You must distinguish different kinds of people according to God’s word. For those who truly believe in God and accept the truth, you must help them with a loving and honest heart.” I also found these words of God, “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). Because God loves us, He becomes flesh and conceals Himself humbly, stopping at nothing to save all of humanity. He hates the corrupt aspects of men, but sympathizes with their weakness, never addressing people in terms of their corruptness, but always encouraging people with earnest admonition, tireless teaching and love to realize the error of their ways and find a new way forward. God grants me His grace, raises me up and allows me to fulfill this duty so that I may love what God loves, help and support my brothers and sisters with a loving heart when they meet trouble and treat all people with an honest heart. I, however, went against His principles: Just because I had a little status and saw that others had exposed some of their corruptness, I neglected to sympathize with their weakness, but instead wielded God’s word like a weapon to suppress them and force them to agree with me. Is this not an act of hate? I suddenly felt so embarrassed and ashamed of my arrogance and ignorance. Afterward, I read a passage of God’s word from the 43rd Principle, “The Principle of Sharing From the Heart”: “In ‘sharing and communing experiences,’ sharing means speaking of every thought in your heart, your state, your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, as well as the corrupt disposition within you—and after that, others differentiate, and accept the positive and recognize that which is negative. Only this is sharing, and only this is truly communing” (“To Be Honest, You Should Lay Yourself Open to Others” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Through eating and drinking the word of God, I learned how to commune with my sister in a way that would be beneficial for her. This time, when I took up the pen, I felt a surge of love welling up from within me. I felt a strong desire to lay bare my heart in discussion with my sister. This time, I didn’t use God’s word to solve her issues, but rather discussed my insights into my own arrogant and conceited nature and inhumane behavior—I hadn’t treated brothers and sisters correctly, neglecting to display love and compassion to them. In the letter I wrote the following: I truly thank God for placing you before me, allowing me to see the malice inside my heart. As a leader, I have no truth or reality. I don’t deserve to be a leader, because I failed to take responsibility for the duty God bestowed upon me—I failed to act as a servant before God. Instead, I took my duty as a position of authority, status, thinking myself to be above others. When I saw your letter, I was filled with disdain and judgment, and even believed that I had the authority to prune and deal with you. How arrogant and conceited I had been! In truth, your inadequacies were also my inadequacies and flaws. When I and my brothers and sisters cannot work together harmoniously, this is God exposing the fact that this whole debacle was the result of my inability to enter into the truth in harmonious cooperation. Thank God for this revelation, which helped me to realize that despite believing in God for many years, I have yet to gain insight into God’s salvation of humankind. I have also yet to understand God’s intent in saving humankind. I don’t know by what means man must be saved and perfected. As a result, in whatever situation I may meet, I am as yet unable to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, dealing and pruning. Instead, I am always more concerned with protecting the interests of the flesh and wallowing in superficial matters. If you hadn’t sent me this letter exposing me, I wouldn’t have seen the nature of my issue. Let us both practice entering into the reality of the truth in the future.
When I actually let go of my ego, came to know and dissect myself, and used actual condition that I have experienced in communing and entering into the truth with my sister, I felt extremely grounded and peaceful and felt that there was no distance and estrangement between us. I truly saw the mark of God’s blessing in situations in which I practiced the truth. Only through God’s continual guidance and enlightenment did I, who could only speak about truth but not apply it, who went through experiences passively without entering into the reality of the truth, slowly began to improve. I saw the holy and righteous disposition of God in my past experiences. Just as the communion of the above said, “Wherever there is corruption, there will be judgment, wherever there is evil, there will be chastisement.” I also came to be more and more aware that God’s judgment and chastisement is just what we need. Experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement is a gift of profound salvation and grace. Only through receiving this judgment and chastisement can we be wrested from the dark influence of Satan, cast off the darkness, seek the light and the truth, enter into the truth, and practice the truth. I pray that God’s judgment and chastisement follow me wherever I go, so that I may attain purity and live as a true human being.