The Transformation of a Fallen Man
Tong Xin Fujian Province
I was born in the countryside. I came from a line of humble farmers and on top of that our family was few in number, so we were often bullied. When I was 13 years old, there was a child beaten by someone from outside of our village. The villagers falsely accused my father of instigating it and they said they were going to search our house and confiscate our property, take away our pigs and even beat my father. There was also a time when another villager took our fishing net and kept it as his own. When my father went to get it back, the villager actually hit my father, relying on his own power and influence. My father had to just eat humble pie as he knew that he had neither money nor power. My mother told my brothers and me that we must fight for ourselves in the future, and never live a life of oppression like this. Being young and detesting the injustice in society, I was determined that in the future I would stand out from the crowd and earn their respect, and never be oppressed. So I studied very hard, but I wasn’t smart enough and I couldn’t get into any universities, so I chose to pursue development in the army and joined easily by going through connections.
When I first joined, I scrambled to take on all the difficult and dirty work and to show my proactiveness to impress my leaders and be promoted in the future. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could not even get a position of squad leader. I was also constantly made fun of and bullied by my comrades because of my shabby clothes and thriftiness, which just intensified my desire to stand out. Later, based on advice from my fellow villager, I learned that evaluations and promotion in the army did not depend on hard work, but rather gift-giving. Even though I found this kind of thing was disgusting, I had to take the only path to promotion. Therefore, I determined to take all my savings to give gifts to my leaders and make connections, just like everyone else around me; after that I was finally able to enroll in the military academy. But after I graduated, I was assigned to cook in the canteen because I didn’t have enough money for gift-giving, and later I became a quartermaster, but in name only. After several years of army life, I understood that bureaucrats never discipline gift-givers and you can’t accomplish anything without licking their boots. If you want to keep a foothold, you have to try every means to make money and give gifts, otherwise you won’t achieve anything no matter how great your abilities are. In order to achieve my aspiration, I started to make money and raise funds everywhere: I over quoted and exaggerated the quantity on purpose when buying food, getting a little bit of extra dirty money; seeing other quartermasters selling rice, I secretly sold a truck of rice from the army and made several thousand yuan, and so on. Though I had believed insince childhood and clearly knew that these things I was doing were crimes, I was also constantly worried about being found out and convicted someday, the desire to be promoted drove me to do those things against my conscience. Once I had saved up some money, I started to flatter my leaders and give them gifts catering to their likes. Every time a leader came to see me I would busy myself going to drink with them, sing, get in touch with prostitutes…. I did every possible thing to curry favor with them. I tried to flatter them with any means possible. Whenever the leaders needed some help, I was happy to offer my services. Whoever had a good relationship with the leaders, I would try to get close to him in order to get a positive recommendation. During those years, I rose quickly to the position of battalion commander by resorting to this kind of worldly philosophy. I finally stood out and I could return home gloriously! After that, every time I went back home, the villagers would crowd around me, flattering and complimenting me, which greatly satisfied my vanity. My ambitions and my desires grew then. As people say, “Some officials are just looking out for number one, not the public,” “Use power when you have it, because after it’s gone, you can’t use it,” and “There’s no such thing as an official who’s not corrupt.” So, I started to enjoy the privileges of an official. I would get things for free wherever I went, and if someone sought help from me, I would ask them for gifts and I wouldn’t help them if the gifts were inadequate. I started to go after fancy food and clothing, and began to put on airs. Relying on the fact that I was like a “golden child” with important leaders such as the commander and political commissar, I even became so arrogant that I would bully people by flaunting my powerful connections, requesting gifts from my subordinates in the names of these leaders. This was how I degenerated from a simple Christian country boy into a greedy, deceitful person of the devil.
Being corrupt and fallen, I even projected my own terrible nature onto others. I often suspected for no good reason that my beautiful wife who worked for a foreign company was having affairs; this led to more conflict between us and growing estrangement. In 2006, my wife was pushed to her limit and initiated divorce; this felt like a great disgrace to me, so I would not agree to it. Late at night I would often think about my life. I thought to myself: I have been determined to stand out since childhood and my wife and I are both successful in our careers. Conditions in our home are good in every way and other people envy us, so why am I living in such pain, and why has it gotten to the point that my wife wants to divorce me? Even our son is suffering along with us. Is my life the way I want it to be? What exactly am I living for? Just as I was feeling lost and confused, my wife accepted’s in . Through frequent meetings and fellowship with sisters and brothers, she became more and more optimistic, stopped arguing with me, and never mentioned divorce again. Instead, she was busy preaching the and fulfilling her duty. Later, driven by my wife and mother, I also started to believe in Almighty God.
Because of the life in, I understood that God is holy and righteous, and that He most hates the filth and corruption of humans. I thought of the filthy ways I developed in the army and that I could not possibly be saved by God if I didn’t change my old disposition, so I started to hungrily read God’s words, hoping that I could find a solution in them. One day, I read these words from God: “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words exposed the secrets in the bottom of my heart; I was badly shaken. Over those years of serving in the army, I had followed the “unspoken rules” of the world for the sake of standing out. I had done many things which burdened my conscience. I had become wealthy from ill-gotten gains and lived a dark and corrupted life—I constantly indulged myself in sin but felt no shame. Then, God’s words not only allowed me to distinguish good from evil, but also made me see clearly the origin of my fall and my corruption. It turned out that these scourges came from Satan. It was Satan that turned this country into a morass of evil and viciousness where powerless, honest people were oppressed and struggled to get by while the powerful, influential and tyrannical prospered. In this society was full of heresies and fallacies like “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Officials do not make things difficult for those who bear gifts,” “You can’t accomplish anything without licking their boots,” “Some officials are just looking out for number one, not the public,” “Use power when you have it, because after it’s gone, you can’t use it,” and so on. I was taken in by these terrible sayings, and because of the oppression around me I lost my way, abandoned human principles, sought high positions unscrupulously, and became entrenched in a mire of sin. I eventually became a filthy demon who sought nothing but wealth, abused power for personal gain, and embezzled public funds. From the judgment in God’s words, I saw the intense rage and holiness of God, and understood that offending His righteous disposition was not permitted. I regretted my evil actions and my heart was filled with fear. I felt that if it had not been for God saving me in time and pulling me from the evil mire, I would have been cursed and punished by God for what I had done. Thank God for letting me see light again, and understand human principles. From then on, I never again did those things that brought shame to God’s name.
As I understood more and more of, I experienced more and deeper salvation from God. In 2009, I had served in the army for 20 years. According to national regulations, I was permitted to go out and look for work on my own. I determined to shun evil and do good, so I left the army and chose to be transferred to civilian work, and put my heart and soul into working for God. However, my leader tried to persuade me to stay and asked me to think it over thoroughly, and another older leader in a high position made me a promise that I would be promoted to deputy regimental commander if I continued to work hard. I hesitated a bit—this was the opportunity that I had longed for day and night! I couldn’t let go of the idea of that position, so I sought help from God and prayed, “Oh, God, being in a high position has always been my dream. Now I have that opportunity and I don’t know how to choose. May You enlighten and lead me!” The following words of God brought me enlightenment, “If you are of high station, of honorable reputation, possessed of abundant knowledge, the owner of plentiful assets, and supported by many people, yet these things do not prevent you from coming before God to accept His calling and His commission, to do what God asks of you, then all that you do shall be the most significant on earth and the most righteous of mankind. If you reject the call of God for the sake of status and your own goals, all that you do shall be cursed and even despised by God” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “People come to the earth and it is rare to encounter Me, and it is also rare to have the opportunity to seek and to gain the truth. Why would you not prize this beautiful time as the right path of pursuit in this life?” (“Words to the Young and Old” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Every word of God struck my conscience, and I was awoken from my hesitation. I had the privilege of encountering the work on the earth of God and the precious opportunity to seek the truth and work for God. What an exaltation and grace from God! What career in the world could be more meaningful than working for the Creator? Even if you were in the highest position and were the highest official, if you did not know God and had not made any changes in your disposition, you would eventually be punished by God. So many people in prestigious positions had fallen into disaster and died a premature death, and so many high-ranking officials had had an ignominious fall and a terrible end. As for me, I had fought and tried desperately to stand out as an official, resulting in me ruining myself to such an extent that I was tarnished and filthy, and lived the life of someone who was barely human. God had then led me back from the wrong path and clearly showed me the path for a human life. How could I still choose to take those risks and return to my old ways? The first half of my life had been subject to Satan’s affliction and trickery and brought me great pain. I could not be enslaved, exploited, and corrupted by Satan for the latter half. I had to change my way of living, follow God steadily, walk the path of pursuing the truth, and live a meaningful life. So I resolutely determined to find a job on my own and leave the army completely. However, because my corruption from Satan was so profound, its poisonous idea of standing out and being an important person had been deeply rooted in my heart and often hindered me from taking the right path. God had performed even more work of judgment and purifying in me to lead me down the true path in life, and I received even greater salvation from God.