13. There Is a Way to Resolve Arrogance
By Xiaochen, Henan Province
I was a person with an arrogant nature—I had often revealed my arrogant, corrupt disposition, always thinking that I was better than others. Particularly when revising articles or communicating on our work with the brothers and sisters that I was partnered with, I was always opinionated and would not listen to other opinions with an open mind. My inability to coordinate harmoniously with my partners often led to problems in our work. Brothers and sisters raised this issue with me many times, and I also regularly read about God’s words exposing people’s arrogant natures, but since I had not achieved a true understanding of my own nature and essence and could not truly hate it, whenever I encountered an environment conducive to that, I would lose control. After the fact I would feel quite disgusted, but since what’s done is done, all I could do was to keep trying to gain an understanding of it. And so this happened again and again, and I never experienced any transformation in my life disposition. I felt really embarrassed, really helpless over this.
During my devotionals one time, I saw the following words of God: “How should you resolve your human nature? Firstly, you must know this nature, and you must understand both the word and the will of God. How, then, can you ensure, to the greatest extent, that you avoid committing wrongful acts and only do that which conforms to the truth? If you wish to make a change, then you must deliberate on this. With regard to your flawed nature, what sorts of corrupt dispositions you possess and which manner of acts you are capable of, what approach can then be adopted and how it may be practiced in order to control it—these are crucial questions. … Lin Zexu was quick to anger. Based on his own weakness, he wrote down a motto in his room: Bridle Your Temper. This is a human approach, but it truly does work. Each individual has his or her own principles to follow, so you, too, should set principles with respect to your own nature. These principles are necessary, and not having them is out of the question. This should also be your motto for your code of conduct in your belief in God” (“Practicing Truth and Resolving Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words provided me with a path I could take right away. I understood that to change a rebellious disposition, you must often eat and drink God’s words about Him exposing man’s corrupt essence. You also need to establish mottos based on your particular nature so that you can consciously control how your nature is exposed in order to forsake yourself and put the truth into practice. Hence, based on aspects of my corruption such as my arrogant nature, self-righteousness, and unwillingness to listen to the opinions of the brothers and sisters that I was partnered with, I came up with the following motto: “How can a pile of dung be proud of its stench?” After that, whenever I was having fellowship on an issue with the brothers and sisters that I was partnered with, I would first warn myself with this motto so that I could keep firmly in mind that my essence is that of dung and that my entire self emits a terrible stench. I would also think of the fact that I had caused so many problems for the church’s work due to my arrogance and ego, and that I had nothing to be arrogant about. That way I wouldn’t insist that my own opinions were correct and could have a bit of a heart of seeking, making me willing to humble myself and listen to the opinions of others. I sometimes still wanted to refute others’ views, but as soon as I thought of my motto, I would make a conscious effort to forsake myself and practice the truth of harmonious coordination.
After a while, I was pleased to discover that when I humbled myself, I would receive some of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination from my brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship, and I would see some of the absurd aspects in my understanding of the truth. At the same time, I also discovered some of the strengths of others and I was willing to draw on them to make up for my own deficiencies. I did not think that I was better at everything than others and I lowered my nose from up in the air. Forsaking myself did not feel as painful as it did before, and I felt from the heart that humbling myself and modestly listening to the opinions of the brothers and sisters that I was partnered with was really beneficial. This not only benefited my own growth in life, but through mutual help and making up for each other’s shortcomings as well as cooperating with one heart and mind, my effectiveness in work also improved.
Through this experience, I tasted the sweetness of practicing the truth and saw that through creating a motto, I could make myself consciously rein in revelations of my corrupt disposition, not only reducing my transgressions but also gaining more opportunities to understand the truth. At the same time, I also realized how ugly, how disgusting the past revelations of my arrogant nature had been. I give thanks to God for guiding me to understand these things. From this day forward, I will come up with mottos corresponding to the aspects of my corruption and I will constrain my nature and forsake my flesh so that I can practice the truth. I will also read more of God’s words, accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, know more of the truth in order to know the essence of my own nature so that I can truly hate myself and cast off my corrupt disposition as soon as possible to meet God’s will.