82. The Heart’s Deliverance
By Zheng Xin, USA
In October 2016, my husband and I accepted Almighty God’s salvation in the last days while we were abroad. After that, I started frequently attending gatherings with brothers and sisters to read God’s words, share our experiences and understanding of His words, and sing hymns in praise of God. I felt that that kind of life of the church was full of joy, and I really enjoyed it.
A few months went by in the blink of an eye, and the brothers and sisters had all grown in life, to varying degrees. Especially Sister Wang, who had believed in God for the shortest period of time, experienced the fastest growth. Whether it was in prayer, or sharing her experiences and understanding of God’s words, she was more practical, and possessed more of the light than the rest of us. Her fellowship was also clear and methodical. All the brothers and sisters said that she was of good caliber and that she progressed quickly. At first, I really admired her, and I would frequently say to my brothers and sisters after a gathering: “Not only is Sister Wang’s fellowship clear and methodical, but she also has a really good understanding. She’s also usually able to seek God’s will when she encounters an issue.” But after a period of time, I started to feel disgruntled. I thought: “Why does everyone praise her, and not me? Could it be that I haven’t grown at all? Is there something wrong with my fellowship?” I gradually developed a feeling of dissatisfaction with Sister Wang, and I started to secretly set myself against her. I thought: “You can fellowship on God’s words, and I can too. The day will come when I’ll surpass you.” I even contrived schemes: “I should save the understanding and the light that I generally gain from God’s words and only share it when in a gathering with everyone. That way they’ll all see that I can also experience His work, and the understanding I share is also very practical.” From then on, I would read God’s words at every chance I had and I wrote every single thing I had gained, that I had understood from His words in a notebook. When it was time for a gathering, I would carefully sift through these enlightenments within me to see how I could share them in fellowship that would be just as clear and organized, and as methodical as Sister Wang. I had no idea why, but the more I wanted to show myself off in front of my brothers and sisters, the more I made a fool of myself. As soon as it was time for my fellowship, I couldn’t clear my head. Instead, my words came out in a jumble. I couldn’t clearly state the perspectives I wanted to articulate, and every gathering was very embarrassing for me. Those few days I was agitated and my mind was in a whirl. I didn’t feel as close to the sister as I had before. I gradually began to feel that the gatherings had become a kind of stress for me, and I could not free my heart.
Then one day, I told my husband what was going on with me when we were chatting: “I’ve recently seen that in gatherings, Sister Wang’s fellowship is better than mine. I’ve felt really uneasy. …” But before I finished speaking, my husband opened his eyes wide and said to me very earnestly: “Sister Wang’s fellowship is good, and this is edifying for us. We should thank God for this. Isn’t your discomfort just jealousy?” His words were like a slap in the face. I quickly shook my head and denied it: “No, that’s not it. I’m not like that.” Then he said: “Our brothers and sisters have all reaped something from Sister Wang’s fellowship. If you’re uneasy from hearing it, isn’t it jealousy that she’s more capable than you?” My husband’s words pierced my heart once again. I felt very upset. Could I really be so awful? I felt incredibly wronged and was on the verge of tears. I said to him: “Don’t say anything more. Let me calm down, and I’ll think it over myself!” After that, surprisingly, my husband told Sister Liu, a leader in the church, about what was going on with me. He wanted Sister Liu to help me out. I reproached him for speaking to her without checking with me first. I felt, “How could I show my face to our brothers and sisters after that? If they know that I am jealous of Sister Wang, won’t they look down on me?” The more I thought about it, the more upset I became, but avoiding reality wouldn’t resolve anything. I prayed: “Oh God! What should I do?”
The next day, I was examining what I had revealed over that period of time. Brothers and sisters would usually share the enlightenment and understanding that they gained from reading God’s words with everyone at any time, but I reserved the light that I gained to trot out during our gatherings. I wanted to talk about things that other people didn’t know so that my brothers and sisters would look up to me. When I saw that other brothers and sisters fellowshiped better than I did, I was uneasy and wanted to surpass them. I used to think that I was really easygoing with others and never fussed over every little thing, that I was a good, simple person at heart. But I didn’t dare believe that I could be jealous of someone, and that I could even secretly set myself against someone and compete with them. How could I be that kind of person? Around midday, I called a sister to ask her if she ever felt jealous during gatherings when she heard other brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship was better than her. She said she didn’t. She also said: “If our brothers and sisters fellowship well, this is edifying and beneficial for us. I really enjoy it, and it makes me happy!” Hearing her say that made me feel even worse, and only then did I see how strong that jealousy was within me. I wept and prayed to God: “Oh God! I don’t want to be a jealous person, but every time I hear this sister’s wonderful fellowship, I can’t help but be jealous of her. I’ve felt disturbed and bound by this all day. I really don’t know what I should do. God! May You help me cast off the binds of my heart of jealousy. …” Later, the church leader, Sister Liu, came to see me. She read a couple of passages of God’s words that were relevant to my condition. “Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? Despite the hundreds of thousands of words God has spoken, no one has come to their senses. … How many do not oppress or ostracize others in order to protect their own position?” (“The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Some people are always afraid that others will steal their limelight and surpass them, obtaining recognition while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only of oneself, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others, and thinking only about one’s own interests and not the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them” (“You Can Obtain Truth After Turning Your True Heart Over to God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). She also read a passage from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry into Life: “So are those who are jealous of others narrow-minded people? … Are there any benefits to being narrow-minded and jealous? There isn’t a single benefit. They are petty, narrow-minded, and vicious, and people see them as a joke. They’re not worthy of living. Narrow-mindedness is not good, and that is definite. Some people say: ‘Sometimes we can’t overcome it. As soon as we encounter someone better than us, we feel jealous and angry. As soon as I see that person, I even feel like I can’t go on living. What can I do when I encounter this?’ Can’t you pray to God, and curse yourself? And how should you pray? You say: ‘I can’t stand to see someone else be better. What kind of a person am I? Someone like me doesn’t deserve to live. I’m jealous every time I see someone better than me. What kind of heart is this? This is not normal humanity. May God discipline and prune me.’ After that, make the following prayer: ‘God, I beg You to save me to escape from my narrow-mindedness, to make me more generous in spirit, more magnanimous, to live like humans so that You are not ashamed of me.’ This is how you should pray. Once you’ve prayed that way for a while, before you know it perhaps you will become just a little more generous in spirit. The next time you encounter someone who is more capable than you, you won’t feel so much jealousy. You’ll be able to accept it and interact with them normally. Over time, this will become proper. As soon as you have normal humanity, you will be able to live with happiness, carefree and easy. A narrow-minded person lives awkwardly, in pain and exhausted” (“Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word ‘God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II’ (III)” in Sermons and Fellowship X). I was cut to the heart when I heard this fellowship. That was my own state! Sister Wang’s fellowship was enlightening, but I didn’t find a path of practice from it. On the contrary, in order to protect my own vanity, I continued to live within that state of competing with Sister Wang. I secretly set myself against her and racked my brains trying to think of ways to share fellowship that was better than hers. I even earnestly hoped that no one would say anything good about her or applaud her fellowship. When my own fellowship was no good, when I couldn’t show off myself and disgraced myself, my mind was in a whirl, and I was in pain and upset. I spent all day living within my anxieties, my worries, deeply afraid that others would look down on me. I was so narrow-minded. All I thought of was being able to stand out, but I absolutely could not stand someone else being better than me. Isn’t that jealousy, envy of those who do well? There’s no normal humanity in that! Thinking back, I was also like that before I believed in God. When I was interacting with friends and relatives, neighbors, and colleagues, I was constantly thinking of having others speak well of me. Sometimes, when a colleague would praise someone else’s work in front of me, I would feel uneasy and in order to have others praise me, I’d throw myself into doing my work well, and I was happy to do it no matter how difficult, how exhausting it was. Only now have I realized that those manifestations were always satanic corrupt dispositions. Once I realized that, Sister Liu once again linked this to that passage of fellowship and pointed out a path of practice for me. That was to come in front of God and pray to Him, to open up to God my own difficulties and the corruption that I reveal so that He could help me be someone who is generous in spirit. After that, I came in front of God frequently and prayed to Him about my difficulties. I also began to consciously read more of God’s words of Him judging and exposing mankind’s corrupt disposition. When I gained enlightenment, and light from God’s words, I would share it with my brothers and sisters at any time. They also spoke about what they had gained and understood. I never would have imagined, but this kind of practice allowed me to reap even more than just reading God’s words on my own. In gatherings, I shared in fellowship based on how much I understood, and focused on quieting my heart and listening to others’ fellowship. It was only through this kind of practice that I found, when my brothers and sisters were able to talk about their experiences and testimonies of putting God’s words into practice, I also gained great edification. After a period of this kind of practice, my jealousy became less strong than it had been, but in every gathering, when I saw that the other brothers and sisters really commended Sister Wang’s fellowship, I still couldn’t help but feel some jealousy. I always felt some distance between me and her, and I couldn’t interact with her normally. Living within that state, I didn’t dare open up to my brothers and sisters. I was afraid that if I did, they would look down on me. So, during several gatherings, I couldn’t gain release in my heart. I could only pray to God on my difficulties: “Oh God! I am once again in an improper state today. May You lead me. …”
One evening, Sister Liu gave me a call. She inquired with concern whether I had been experiencing difficulties lately. I responded vaguely: “My corruption is so deep. Could it be that God doesn’t save someone like me?” I was afraid she would look down on me, so I didn’t say anything further. Sister Liu read a passage of God’s words for me: “Some people say: ‘It’s hard being honest. Do I have to tell everything I think in my heart to others? Isn’t it enough to commune the positive things? I don’t need to tell others of my dark or corrupt side, do I?’ If you do not speak these things, and do not dissect yourself, then you will never know yourself, will never know what kind of thing you are, and there will be no chance of others trusting you. This is fact. If you wish for others to trust you, first you must be honest. To be honest, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can see your heart, see all that you are thinking, and see your true face; you must not pretend or try to cover yourself up. Only then will people trust you and consider you honest. This is the most fundamental practice, and the prerequisite, of being honest” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After reading those words from God, she shared in fellowship: “Opening up and sharing in fellowship is one way to free your heart. If we keep difficulty hidden in our hearts, we are more easily toyed with by Satan, and our life will suffer loss. Opening up and bringing it into the light is putting the truth into practice, and being an honest person. Then we can also gain help from our brothers and sisters. This allows our difficulties to be resolved more quickly. We will experience growth in our lives and our hearts will experience release. Isn’t that a good thing?” After listening to Sister Liu’s fellowship, I plucked up my courage and told her what I was going through. I never could have imagined that after she heard me out, not only was there no hint of belittling me or looking down on me, but she patiently shared her own experience with me. She told me about how she used to be a jealous person, and how she came out from that. I was so surprised after hearing her fellowship. I thought: “So you have also had this kind of expression of corruption!” Sister Liu read another passage of God’s words related to my state: “The people God saves are those who have corrupt dispositions by way of Satan’s corruption; they are not perfect people without the slightest blemish, nor are they people who live in a vacuum. For some, as soon as their corruption is revealed, they think, ‘Yet again, I’ve resisted God; I’ve believed in Him for many years, but I still haven’t changed. God surely doesn’t want me anymore!’ How is this attitude? They have given up on themselves, and think God does not want them anymore. Is this not a case of misunderstanding God? Being so negative makes it easiest for Satan to find chinks in your armor, and once it has succeeded, the consequences are unimaginable. Therefore, no matter how much difficulty you are in or how negative you are feeling, you must never give up! In the process of life growth and while being saved, people sometimes take the wrong path or go astray. They exhibit some immaturity in their life for a while, or sometimes grow weak and negative, say the wrong things, slip and fall, or suffer a failure. From God’s point of view, such things are all normal, and He would not make a fuss over them” (“Life Entry Is Most Important to Believing in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Then, she shared in fellowship: “We are all people who have been deeply corrupted by Satan. Arrogance, deceitfulness, selfishness, jealousy of others—all of these corrupt dispositions are very deeply entrenched in people. God has now come to do the work of judgment and chastisement in order to purify and transform us. We must deal with ourselves correctly, and not live within negativity and misunderstandings. As long as we pursue the truth with intention, accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, reflect on and understand our own corrupt essences according to God’s words, and are able to forsake the flesh and put the truth into practice, the day will come when our life disposition will undergo a transformation, and we will be able to live out the likeness of a true human being.” My heart felt so freed after listening to Sister Liu’s fellowship, and I also understood God’s will. Not only should I properly face my own corruption, and focus on knowing myself and seeking the truth to resolve my own corrupt disposition, but I also should put being an honest person into practice, and open up to my brothers and sisters about the corruption I had revealed over that period of time. This would deprive Satan of an opportunity to do its work, and it would also be shaming Satan through practicing the truth. Sister Liu came to my home again the next day, and we read a passage from God’s words together: “… as soon as it touches upon position, face, or reputation, everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and each of you always wants to stand out, be famous, and be recognized. Everyone is unwilling to yield, always instead wishing to contend—even though contending is embarrassing and not allowed in God’s house. However, without contention, you still are not content. When you see someone stand out, you feel jealous, hatred, and that it is unfair. ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why is it always that person who gets to stand out, and it’s never my turn?’ You then feel some resentment. You try to repress it, but you cannot, so you pray. After you are finished praying, you feel better for a little while, but later on, when you encounter this matter again, you cannot overcome it. Is this not a case of immature stature? Is not a person’s falling into such states a trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans. … You must learn to let go and set aside these things, to yield, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle furiously or rush to take advantage the moment you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain glory. You must learn to back off, but must not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity, and who does not show off to others while performing your duty. The more you let go and set aside, the more peaceful you will become, and the more space will open up within your heart and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will be. If you do not believe it, try it and see! If you want to turn this sort of state around, and not be controlled by these things, then you must first set them aside and give them up. Otherwise, the more you struggle, the more darkness will surround you, and the more jealousy and hatred you will feel, and your desire to obtain will only grow stronger. The stronger your desire to obtain, the less capable you will be to do so, and as you obtain less, your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases, you will grow darker inside. The darker you are inside, the more poorly you will perform your duty; the more poorly you perform your duty, the less useful you will be. This is an interlinked, vicious cycle. You cannot perform your duty well in such a state, so, gradually, you will be eliminated” (“You Can Obtain Truth After Turning Your True Heart Over to God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After reading God’s words, she then linked this to her own experience and fellowshiped on the root of people’s jealousy. Only then did I realize that all of this was caused because my own desire for a name and status was too strong, and my disposition was too arrogant. Dominated by these corrupt dispositions, my ambition and aggressiveness were too great, and no matter what I did, I just wanted to be above others. I was that way when I was a part of society, and I was that way in the church as well. Even during gatherings, fellowship, and prayer, I was still thinking of being better than other people, and I was only happy if others praised me. As soon as someone else was better than me, I couldn’t accept it and I became jealous. I was resistant and worked against it. When I really couldn’t get surpass it, I just lived within negativity and could not face myself properly. I even misunderstood God and believed that I couldn’t be a target for God’s salvation. I saw that Satan’s corruption had made me arrogant and fragile, selfish and despicable, and my life became unspeakably miserable. I found a path of practice from within God’s words. I must learn to give up, to set things aside, to forsake my own flesh according to God’s requirements, and learn more from my sister’s strong points, and compensate for my weaknesses. Only this is God’s will. This is the only way to understand and gain more truths. After that, Sister Liu read another passage from God’s words: “The functions are not the same. There is one body. Each does his duty, each in his place and doing his very best—for each spark there is one flash of light—and seeking maturity in life. Thus will I be satisfied” (“Chapter 21” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Once I had read these words from God, I understood that the caliber and the gifts that God bestows are different for each person. But no matter what these are, they should carry out the duty of a creature of God, and bear witness to and glorify God. It was ordained by God that Sister Wang is of good caliber, and that she understands the truth quickly. I should handle this properly, and I should also properly handle my own strengths and shortcomings because what God has given to each and every one of us is best. No matter what kind of caliber He has ordained for me to have, I must obey His rule, and His arrangements, and rectify my motives, and pursue the truth with all my heart. I will fellowship on what I am clear on—no more, and no less. I will practice what I understand—no more, and no less. I must do my utmost in front of God so that He can gain comfort, and be fulfilled—only this can be meaningful. It is also what I should most pursue. To this end, I set the following resolve in front of God: From now on, I am willing to put effort into pursuit of the truth, quickly cast off my satanic disposition of arrogance and selfishness, and live out the likeness of a true human being to satisfy God.
The next church gathering came around very quickly. I wanted to open up and illuminate to Sister Wang what kind of corruption I had revealed regarding my jealousy toward her over that period of time, but as soon as I thought of how she would see me after knowing I had revealed so much corruption, I didn’t really dare to face it. Within myself, I quietly prayed to God: “Oh God! May You give me faith and courage. I am willing to put aside my vanity and share in fellowship openly with my sister, to dissolve the barrier between us.” After praying, I felt much more at peace in my heart, and then I told everything about my state and experiences over that period of time. As a result, not only did my brothers and sisters not look down on me, but they all admired my courage in the practice of being an honest person. They also said that from my experience, they realized that only by practicing according to God’s words could they cast off their satanic corrupt dispositions, and gain release and freedom, and they then knew how to experience that kind of thing if they encountered it. In future gatherings, I earnestly listened to my sister’s fellowship and I discovered many of her strengths. I saw that when she encountered issues she was able to focus on coming before God and seeking the truth, and finding a path for practice from within God’s words. These were all aspects that I needed to learn from. It was only then that I really understood that being able to hear the experiences and testimonies of putting God’s words into practice shared by brothers and sisters in each gathering was a wonderful opportunity for growth in life. God arranged for this sister to be near me. She shared fellowship on the things I wasn’t clear on, and she perfectly made up for what I myself lack. This is a blessing from God! When I thought of it that way, I felt a complete release in my heart. Through being exposed by the facts, and the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, my corrupt disposition of jealousy of others underwent some change, and I began to have a bit of a superficial understanding of God’s righteous disposition. I also personally experienced that God’s words truly can purify, transform, and save mankind. God’s words can be man’s life, and they can resolve all of our difficulties and pain as humans. I am willing to put God’s words into practice more, and to obey His judgment and chastisement. May I soon be purified by God, live out the likeness of a true human being, and gain His praise.