Emotion Clouded My Heart
By Ling Li, China
In May of 2017, I accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. When my husband saw how I’d recovered from illness and enjoyed God’s grace after believing in God, he also accepted God’s work and began fulfilling his duty. Later on, the severe pain he was experiencing in his back gradually diminished and he was able to invest a lot of energy in his duty. Whatever the church asked of him, he’d put in his all to get it done, and he often enthusiastically helped out our brothers and sisters. I thought my husband was a real seeker, and I dreamed of how great it would be to practice our faith, follow God to the very end and enter the kingdom together.
But things weren’t as ideal as I believed them to be. In March of 2021, because I lacked life experience and was unable to do practical work, I was dismissed from my position as a preacher. To my surprise, my husband had very pointed opinions about my being dismissed. He said: “These two years, you’ve poured yourself into your duty and I’ve been left to look after the affairs of our home on my own. If you sacrificed so much and were still dismissed, then I certainly won’t make it as a believer. I renounce my faith!” I fellowshiped with him, explaining how the church had dismissed me according to principle and how we should have the correct attitude toward this and not misunderstand God. I also let him know that being dismissed didn’t mean that I had lost my chance to be saved, and as long as I sought the truth there was still hope. But no matter what I said, he wouldn’t listen and just ignored me. For the next month, he didn’t attend gatherings or do his duty. He wouldn’t even read God’s words or pray to God. During that time, the leader came to fellowship with him many times, but he just ignored her. Later, he heard the leader fellowship on how God’s work was nearly finished, all manner of disasters were intensifying, and if we didn’t cherish the opportunity to practice faith and do our duty, it would be too late to repent when the disasters were already upon us. Only then did he turn himself around and start attending gatherings and doing his duty. I felt greatly relieved—I thought that as long as he attended gatherings, did his duty and sought the truth, there was still hope for him to be saved.
At first, he still had some enthusiasm and was fairly proactive in his duty. He was a watering deacon at the time and would punctually attend gatherings with the others. Occasionally, when the church needed help handling general affairs, he could suffer hardships and make sacrifices in the work. But this didn’t last long: A few months later, my husband’s nephew suddenly came down with a rare illness, but when he went to his brother’s house to help out, he shirked his duties and missed several gatherings, which meant that brothers and sisters from several groups had no one to water them. I fellowshiped with him about how we must prioritize our duties and not spend too much time on matters of the flesh as this would influence our duties and delay our life entry. Brothers and sisters fellowshiped with him, but he just wouldn’t listen. That is, until one day, he came home all worked up and told me that while walking along the road he had almost been hit by a car and killed, and that it was God that had protected him. After that, he started attending gatherings again. But that was just temporary. As soon as his brother asked him to help out again, he stopped attending gatherings and doing his duty. Seeing that he wasn’t being responsible in his duty and didn’t rectify his behavior after multiple fellowships, the upper leadership dismissed him from his position based on his overall performance. After being dismissed, he just stopped attending gatherings and went to help out at his brother’s every day. The brothers and sisters gave him fellowship on multiple occasions, but though he verbally agreed, he would ultimately not attend the gatherings. When I saw him like this, I got all upset. I worried that if he didn’t practice faith, he would be caught up in the disasters and would be punished. I asked him why he didn’t attend gatherings and to my surprise, he said: “Several members of our family believe in God, but God didn’t protect my nephew from this grave illness….” It was only then that I suddenly realized he blamed God for not protecting his nephew’s health. Seeing that my husband had this misguided notion in his faith and just wanted to attain grace, I fellowshiped with him: “We shouldn’t believe in God only for receiving blessings and grace. We should seek the truth and submit to God’s arrangements.” I fellowshiped with him several times, but he was always very resistant and agitated. I thought to myself: “He’s not accepting the truth and he talks like a nonbeliever.” But then I thought: “Maybe it’s because he’s new to the faith and doesn’t understand the truth. I should try to help him out more.” But no matter how I fellowshiped with him, he just wouldn’t listen. A few days later, an upper leader came to carry out the cleansing work. We needed to identify nonbelievers, antichrists and evil people, collect their assessments, and then clear out or expel them. Among those identified was my husband. With regard to his overall behavior, he was found to only seek blessing in his belief in God, and to develop notions against God, decline to attend gatherings and do his duty whenever things didn’t go his way or he didn’t receive God’s grace. He was judged to be a nonbeliever that sought to “eat loaves and be filled.” I started to panic: “Doesn’t this mean they’re going to cast out my husband? Won’t he lose the chance to be saved then?” I couldn’t accept the facts and thought up counterarguments: “Haven’t you gotten it wrong? He’s new to the faith and doesn’t understand the truth. He fulfilled his duties before, it’s just that something has happened in our family and he’s temporarily become weak. We should support and help him. Maybe once his state improves, he’ll start gathering normally.” But I knew that the cleansing work was very important to God’s house. I was a church leader then, and it was my duty to implement it, so I agreed to provide information. But, I still planned to help him. I would fellowship with him often, urging him to read God’s words and gather, but he wouldn’t listen to me. Sometimes he’d even lose his temper with me and tell me to be quiet. Sometimes, if I was busy with church work and couldn’t attend to the affairs of our house, he would reproach me and yell at me. I felt so disappointed in him, it seemed that there was really no saving him. As much as I tried to help, he still didn’t improve.
One day, I found a passage of God’s words that exposes the behaviors of nonbelievers. It said: “What are the hallmarks of nonbelievers? Their belief in God is a sort of opportunity-seeking, a way to profit from the church, to avoid disaster, to find support and a steady meal ticket. Some of them even have political aspirations, wishing to join up with the government and land an official appointment. Such people, down to the last, are nonbelievers. Their belief in God carries with it these motives and intents, and in their hearts, they do not believe with one-hundred-percent certainty that there is a God. Though they acknowledge Him, they do so doubtfully, for the viewpoint they uphold is atheistic. They only believe in things they can see in the material world. … It is precisely because these people do not believe that God reigns over all that they are able, audaciously and quite without scruple, to infiltrate the church with their own intentions and aims. They wish to express their talents in the church, or make their dreams come true, or some such thing—that is, they wish to infiltrate the church and gain prestige and status there, to fulfill their intention and desire to gain blessings, and thereby get their meal ticket. One can see from their behavior as well as their nature and essence that their goals, motives, and intentions in believing in God are improper. None of them are people who accept the truth, and even if they make their way into the church, they are not people whom the church should accept. The implicit meaning of this is that they may be able to infiltrate the church, but they are not God’s chosen people. ‘Not God’s chosen people’—how is this phrase to be interpreted? It means that God did not predestine and choose them; He does not view them as recipients of His work and salvation; nor did He predestine them to be human beings whom He will save. Once they have gotten into the church, we naturally cannot treat them as our brothers and sisters, for they are not people who genuinely accept the truth or submit to God’s work. Some may ask, ‘Given that they aren’t brothers and sisters who truly believe in God, why doesn’t the church clear them out and expel them?’ God’s will is that His chosen people may learn discernment from these people and thereby see through Satan’s schemes and reject Satan. Once God’s chosen people are discerning, it will be time to cleanse these nonbelievers away. The goal of discernment is to expose those nonbelievers who have infiltrated God’s house with their ambitions and desires and to clear them out of the church, because they are not true believers in God, much less people who accept and pursue the truth. Nothing good comes of their remaining in the church—but many ills do. Firstly, having infiltrated the church, they do not eat or drink of God’s words and do not accept the truth in the least; all they do is disrupt and disturb the work of the church, to the detriment of the life entry of God’s chosen people. Secondly, if they remain in the church, they will run riot, just like unbelievers do. This will disrupt and disturb the work of the church, and subject the church to many hidden dangers. Thirdly, if they remain in the church, they will not willingly act as service-doers, and though they may do a bit of service, it will only be in order to gain blessings. Should the day come when they learn they cannot gain blessings, they will fly into a rage, disturbing and harming the work of the church. It would be better to clear them out of the church in advance of that happening. Fourthly, nonbelievers are also liable to form gangs and cliques in the church. They are likely to embrace and follow antichrists, forming an evil force within the church that poses a great threat to its work. In light of these four considerations, it is necessary to discern and expose nonbelievers who infiltrate the church, and then to clear them out. This is the only way to maintain the normal operations of the church’s work, the only effective way to defend God’s chosen people as they eat and drink normally of God’s words and as they live normal church lives, such that they may embark on the right track of belief in God. This is because these nonbelievers’ infiltration of the church is of great detriment to the life entry of God’s chosen people. There are many people who cannot identify them, but treat them as their brothers and sisters. Some people, seeing that they have a few gifts or strengths, choose them to serve as leaders and workers. This is how false leaders and antichrists arise in the church. To look at their essence, one sees that they do not believe that there is a God, nor that His words are the truth, nor that He rules over all. They are unbelievers in the sight of God. He pays them no heed at all, and the Holy Spirit will not work on them. So, based on their essence, they are not those whom God will save, and they are certainly not predestined or chosen by Him. God could not possibly save them. No matter how one looks at it, these people should not remain in the church. They should be identified, promptly and accurately, then handled accordingly. Do not let them stay in the church and disturb others” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). Through God’s words I realized the essence of nonbelievers is they don’t believe there is a God. Their intentions, goals and motivations for believing in God are all impure. They enter the church just to accomplish their personal ambitions, they don’t have real faith in God. They don’t believe in God’s words and don’t accept the truth. When it’s beneficial to them, they might show some enthusiasm, but as soon as they don’t stand to gain anything or they meet with disaster, they immediately betray God. These people have a negative effect on the church, they are not the objects of God’s salvation and should be cleared out and expelled. I quieted my thoughts and reflected on my husband’s behaviors. At first, when he saw how I recovered from illness after believing in God, he thought that by practicing faith one could gain God’s grace and blessings, and so he became a believer. After believing in God, his chronic back pain was healed and so he was willing to fulfill his duty, enthusiastically helping the brothers and sisters. I saw that my husband’s intentions for practicing faith were wrong from the beginning. He just wanted to gain blessings and grace. After I was dismissed, he felt that since I was even more enthusiastic than him and I was still dismissed, then no matter how much he sought, he would never gain blessings, and so he didn’t want to practice faith anymore. Later on, it was only due to worries that when disasters came he wouldn’t attain blessings that he attended gatherings and did his duty. Then, when his nephew fell ill, he blamed God for not protecting him and stopped gathering and doing his duty again. Finally, when he was dismissed from his position as watering deacon, he completely stopped practicing faith. Only then did I realize that my husband was a nonbeliever that had only entered the church to attain blessings. Despite having done some good things in the past, he only did so with the intention of gaining blessings and benefits. As soon as he didn’t get what he wanted, he changed his tune. In the past, I’d always thought that he didn’t gather and do his duty because he didn’t understand the truth and was just experiencing temporary weakness. But discerning him in the light of God’s words, I clearly saw that it wasn’t that he didn’t comprehend the truth, but that he was weary of the truth by nature. So, no matter how I fellowshiped with him, he would never accept the truth. He really was a nonbeliever. Realizing all this, I gained some discernment of my husband’s unbelieving essence and accepted deep down that it was right for the church to clear him out.
At the time, despite having some discernment of my husband, I still worried that he’d hate me and say I had no regard for our marriage if I exposed him and detailed his unbelieving behavior. Would he say I was an unfaithful traitor? Especially when I saw how deeply fatigued he looked after a long day of work, I’d feel particularly anxious: If my husband were cleared out, he certainly wouldn’t have God’s protection when the disasters arrived. I felt awful when I realized this and wished there was some way I could prevent him from being cleared out. Later on, I found that he had read God’s words on his phone, and so, when my leader asked me to provide details on his unbelieving behavior, I immediately defended him by saying that he often read God’s words, and then I showed the leader the evidence from his phone. The leader could see that I was protecting my husband due to my feelings for him, so he read me God’s words: “What are emotions, in essence? They are a kind of corrupt disposition. The manifestations of emotions can be described using several words: favoritism, over-protectiveness, maintenance of physical relationships, partiality; these are what emotions are. What are the likely consequences of people’s having emotions and living by them? Why does God most loathe people’s emotions? Some people, always governed by their emotions, cannot put the truth into practice, and though they wish to obey God, they cannot. So, they suffer emotionally. And there are many people who understand the truth but cannot put it into practice. This, too, is because they are governed by emotions” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Reality of the Truth?). “What issues relate to emotions? Number one is how you evaluate your own family, how you react to the things they do. ‘The things they do’ includes when they disturb and interrupt the church’s work, when they are judgmental about people behind their backs, when they do the things of the nonbelievers, and so on. Could you be impartial toward these things your family does? If you were asked to evaluate your family in writing, would you do so objectively and fairly, putting your own emotions aside? This relates to how you should face family members. And are you sentimental toward those you get on with or who previously helped you? Would you be objective, impartial, and precise about their actions and behavior? Would you immediately report or expose them if you discovered them disturbing and interrupting the work of the church? What’s more, are you sentimental toward those who are close to you, or who share similar interests? Would your evaluation, definition, and response to their actions and behavior be impartial and objective? And how would you react if principle dictated that the church take measures against someone who you have an emotional connection with, and these measures were at odds with your own notions? Would you obey? Would you secretly continue to liaise with them, would you still be inveigled by them, would you even be prompted by them to make excuses for them, to rationalize and defend them?” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). After reading God’s words, the leader fellowshiped, saying: “The reason the church is removing all kinds of antichrists, evil people and nonbelievers is to cleanse the church and allow God’s chosen to live a better church life, gather and do their duties without disruption. As a church leader, you must uphold the principles of the truth and shouldn’t let your feelings dictate how you speak and act. If today we were clearing out someone not related to you, would you still argue on their behalf? Wouldn’t you provide details of their behavior right away? Can you be objective and fair if you let feelings dictate your actions and words? It is your husband’s nature to be fed up with and reject the truth. He only believes in God as a means to attain blessings and, in reality, he’s a nonbeliever. Even if he were allowed to stay in the church, he wouldn’t seek the truth and be saved by God. If we act based on our feelings and don’t uphold principles to maintain the church’s work, we are standing in opposition to God. If that behavior isn’t rectified, God detests us and we lose the work of the Holy Spirit. We can’t let feelings dictate our words, we must stand on the side of truth and objectively and fairly evaluate people. God is righteous and God’s house is ruled by the truth. Good people won’t be wronged and nonbelievers and evildoers will certainly not be allowed to remain in the church.”
When the leader shared this fellowship with me, I knew in my heart that what he had exposed were the facts and my actual state. If I was asked to provide details about someone with no relation to me, I would offer it up without the slightest hesitation so that everyone could gain discernment. But due to my feelings, despite clearly knowing that my husband had been exposed as a nonbeliever, I still defended him and found ways to argue on his behalf, hoping that the leader would make an exception and let him stay in the church. Wasn’t I acting in opposition to God and interrupting the work of the church? My emotional ties were just too strong. After that, I read another passage of God’s words and gained understanding of the root cause of my letting feelings dictate my actions. Almighty God says, “If a person is someone who denies and opposes God, who is cursed by God, but they are a parent or relative of yours, are not an evildoer as far as you can tell, and treat you well, then you might find yourself unable to hate that person, and might even remain in close contact with them, your relationship unchanged. Hearing that God despises such people will trouble you, and you are unable to stand on the side of God and ruthlessly reject them. You’re always bound by emotion, and you cannot let go of them. What is the reason for this? This happens because you value emotion too much, and it hinders you from practicing the truth. That person is good to you, so you can’t bring yourself to hate them. You could only hate them if they did hurt you. Would that hatred be in line with the principles of the truth? Also, you’re bound by traditional notions, thinking that they are a parent or relative, so if you hate them, you would be scorned by society and reviled by public opinion, condemned as unfilial, without a conscience, and not even human. You think you would suffer divine condemnation and punishment. Even if you want to hate them, your conscience won’t let you. Why does your conscience function this way? It’s a way of thinking that has been imparted to you by your family since childhood, by what your parents taught you with and what traditional culture steeped you in. It’s rooted very deeply in your heart, making you mistakenly believe that filial piety is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, that it is inherited from your ancestors and is always a good thing. You learned it first and it remains dominant, creating a great stumbling block and disruption in your faith and acceptance of the truth, leaving you unable to put God’s words into practice, and to love what God loves, hate what God hates. … Satan uses this kind of traditional culture and notions of morality to bind your thoughts, your mind, and your heart, leaving you unable to accept God’s words; you have been possessed by these things of Satan, and rendered incapable of accepting God’s words. When you want to practice God’s words, these things cause turmoil within you, and cause you to oppose the truth and God’s requirements, and make you powerless to rid yourself of the yoke of traditional culture. After struggling for a while, you resort to compromise: You prefer to believe traditional notions of morality are correct and in line with the truth, and so you reject or forsake God’s words. You do not accept God’s words as the truth and you think nothing of being saved, feeling that you still live in this world, you can only survive by relying on these people. Unable to endure society’s recrimination, you would rather choose to give up the truth and God’s words, abandoning yourself to traditional notions of morality and the influence of Satan, preferring to offend God and not practice the truth. Is man not pitiful? Do they not have need of God’s salvation?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Recognizing One’s Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform). After thinking over God’s words, I realized that the reason I harbored and protected my husband out of emotional attachment was because I was bound by traditional notions. I held to ideas like “Marriage is a deep and profound bond” and “Man is not inanimate; how can he be free from emotions?” I thought that people without emotional bonds and loyalty lacked conscience. Brainwashed by these satanic ideas, I thought that I’d be betraying our marital bond if I provided details on my husband’s unbelieving behavior when the church asked me to. I couldn’t violate my conscience, thinking that, as his wife, I should be loyal to him, protect him and speak on his behalf. So, I tried to defend him before the leader. I had been deeply bound by these traditional notions and satanic poisons. This traditional culture and satanic philosophy of life controlled my thinking, muddling my thoughts, preventing me from seeing right from wrong, good from evil, causing me to lose my sense of principle and be willing to resist God in order to protect and harbor my husband. My heart had been clouded over with emotions. God demands that we love whom He loves and hate whom He hates. God loves and saves those that seek and practice the truth. As for people like my husband who are fed up with the truth, God judges them to be nonbelievers. He doesn’t accept such people and will never save them. Even if I caved to my emotions and allowed my husband to remain in the church, he wouldn’t seek the truth and his disposition wouldn’t transform. When things didn’t go his way, he would blame and betray God. If he wasn’t removed from the church in a timely manner, he would disrupt church life. Having realized this, I prayed to God, ready to forsake my flesh, practice the truth, and provide all the details of my husband’s unbelieving behavior.
After that, I wrote down all my husband’s unbelieving behaviors. I was a bit hesitant as I wrote, and wanted to hold back out of worry that he’d be cleared out even faster if I exposed everything, but thinking back on God’s words and knowing that God was watching, I knew that I could fool people, but I couldn’t fool God. So I forsook myself and wrote down everything that I was aware of. After practicing in line with God’s words, I felt peaceful and at ease. After collecting assessments of my husband’s behaviors, I read them to everyone at the next gathering, asking everyone to weigh in on whether he should be cleared out. To my surprise, some of the brothers and sisters didn’t agree. They said he would often help them in the past and he didn’t seem like a nonbeliever. Hearing the brothers and sisters say this, I recalled that my husband really had expended himself enthusiastically and had helped brothers and sisters before. I thought: “Should he be given another chance? Maybe I could fellowship with him and not clear him out so quickly.” Just then, I realized that I was once again trying to harbor my husband. It wasn’t that the church hadn’t given him a chance, it was that he didn’t want God in his life and had voluntarily given up his faith. No amount of fellowship would be of any use. His essence was that of a nonbeliever and nonbelievers never repent. God does not save nonbelievers. If I still showed him pity and love God would detest and hate me. I thought of God’s words, which say: “If a church contains no one who is willing to practice the truth and no one who can stand witness for God, then that church should be completely isolated, and its connections with other churches must be severed. This is called ‘burying death’; this is what it means to spurn Satan” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth). God’s words impressed upon me how His righteous disposition can’t be offended. I knew that my brothers and sisters were defending my husband because they didn’t have discernment toward him. If I harbored him and didn’t practice the truth, I’d be knowingly sinning and rebelling against and resisting God. Especially given that I was a church leader, if I didn’t lead the way in practicing the truth to uphold the church’s work, and stood with Satan in allowing a nonbeliever to remain in the church, God would likely detest me and I’d lose the work of the Holy Spirit. I’d not only be harming myself, but also my brothers and sisters. I couldn’t fall for Satan’s sinister plot, I had to fellowship with my brothers and sisters to help them gain discernment. This was my responsibility. So, I fellowshiped on my husband’s unbelieving behavior with reference to God’s words. After fellowshiping, they had gained some discernment of my husband, and were willing to sign their names in agreement of having him cleared out. I felt so at ease after practicing in this way.
After going through this experience, I gained discernment as to the root cause of my letting feelings dictate my behavior. I realized that acting according to my emotions was standing in opposition to God and resisting Him. Going forward, I won’t let my feelings dictate how I act. When faced with problems, I’ll seek the truth, practice according to the truth, and walk on the path of seeking the truth. Thank God!
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