80. Truly Knowing Yourself Only by Understanding the Truth
Wenwen Changchun City, Jilin Province
In my opinion, I always thought that as long as outward practices appeared suitable in which people could not see any corruption, then it was considered change. Therefore, I paid special attention to the outward practices in everything I did. I only cared about whether my practices were right or not, and as long as my outward behaviors and practices were reasonable, I was fine. When faced with being pruned, I only cared if there was something wrong with my practice. I would only be convinced if I was refuted in my practices. I would not accept further communications about recognizing my corrupt nature. Later, the sisters and brothers told me that one could only change his disposition by knowing his nature, and that I had not known my nature. After listening to the words of the sisters and brothers, I started learning to recognize my nature. When someone said, “This display of showing off is dominated by the nature of your arrogance,” then I said, “Oh, I am arrogant, my nature is arrogant!” Someone else said, “This unconventional and unrestrained behavior is dominated by your evil human nature.” I then continued, “Oh, my evil nature.” I didn’t think it was difficult to know my nature as long as I repeated which kinds of nature dominated these behaviors respectively. If someone asked me, “By which nature is this behavior dominated?” Then I said, “It is arrogance, evilness, viciousness, craftiness….” This kind of questioning and answering was like filling in the blanks, which seemed so easy. It turned out that the sisters and brothers told me that I knew my nature on a superficial level. Hence, in later talking about recognizing myself, I said, “I am too arrogant, and without limits. I’m too evil, and too vicious.” I thought that adding “too” to my previous recognition would deepen my understanding. I was not clear about the meaning of God’s requirements for people recognizing their natures, therefore, when I revealed corruption or when I saw God’s revealed words about human nature, I only understood it from the perspective of following the rules; I was much like a parrot, repeating words about recognizing myself instead of really understanding and knowing from my heart. I did not hate myself, nor did I feel how dangerous it was. Even in hearing the harsh words from God, I did not feel shocked. Rather, it didn’t bother me, which resulted in little change in my disposition. Even though I am stupid, numb, and poor in quality, God does not abandon me, but instead, He always guides and enlightens me, leading me to know myself. Especially in recent times, God has guided and enlightened me much, which allows me to understand the meaning of knowing my nature, and allows me to find a way to change my disposition.
A few days ago, I moved with a brother to a new host family. When we communicated after moving there, the old sister in the host family mentioned how the sisters and brothers she used to host revealed corruption; she also talked about her views of them. After listening, I did not respond or take it into heart, and I didn’t communicate the truth with the old sister. This is how the time passed. After several days, another two brothers who performed duties with us came to us for accommodations for several days. After they had left, the old sister talked with us about her opinions of these two brothers, and at that moment, my mind reacted: The majority of what you said does not fit the facts; this is all your suspicion. God requires that sisters and brothers love and help each other. I should practice the truth and communicate the truth of being honest with you. Two days after our communication, the old sister came to me and told me which sentences of mine had restrained her, and which things I had done that had restrained her. She spoke out all of her thoughts and cried. Seeing this, I thought: You are quite suspicious about everyone. This time you are suspicious of me. This is not OK. I need to clearly communicate with you so you won’t have prejudices against me. Therefore, I had a frank talk with her, and pinpointed the nature she displayed as well as her behaviors of suspicion and judgment. The old sister seemed to accept it, but she was not inwardly convinced. In the days that followed, she claimed to have this kind and that kind of illness. Seeing this, I thought: You are not convinced inside, but rather pretend to accept it; isn’t this pretense and deception? There are lessons to learn when one is sick. You should do some introspection, for you have been in continuous illness. In thinking of this, I received another “burden,” which led me to communicate with the old sister again. I told her that the illness was due to rebellion and corruption, and I asked her to do some introspection and know herself. However, in this communication, the old sister did not look well. She didn’t even pretend to accept it. I was dumbfounded, and thought: I have been so caring in helping you and have communicated with you over and over again, but you won’t accept it and are even suspicious of me. You are such a dishonest person! If you do not accept the truth, who else could possibly help you? Forget it, I can’t do anything, it is up to you. I pushed all the blame and responsibility onto the old sister thinking that she was too cunning; I believed that I was a good brother who practiced the truth, who was willing to help my sisters and brothers and who cared about God’s will. Like this, I was full of opinions of the old sister, and she would not listen to me anymore.
In facing this dilemma, I had to do some self-introspection: Am I wrong? I was not wrong for helping the old sister out with compassion when seeing her shortcomings. Is it because I did not rely on God? Not really, I prayed every time before communicating with the old sister. I have done nothing wrong in my practices, and I have not been in serious situations like this while helping others in the past. The problem must lie in the old sister and it is because she is not innocent. However, when thinking this way, I felt troubled. I felt guilty especially when seeing the old sister suffering from her illness. I wanted to help her from the bottom of my heart, however, I did not know how to cooperate with her. Having no choice, I came to God and sought for His help. I read God’s words, “Your lips are more kind than doves, but your heart is more vicious than the old serpent. Even your lips are as beautiful as those of the Lebanese women, but your heart is no better than theirs, nor is it more beautiful than those of the Canaanites. Your heart is full of craftiness” (“Your Characters Are Too Base!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The words from God immediately touched my heart. I could not help introspecting what I had done those days and the thoughts that were behind it. When hearing the old sister talk about her judgments of other sisters and brothers, I did not respond because I thought it was none of my business and wouldn’t hinder me; when hearing the old sister speak out her prejudices of the two brothers who I knew, I couldn’t wait to communicate with her in case she misunderstood them; when I heard that the old sister had opinions about what I had said and done, I paid more attention to communicating with her in case she had any other opinions about me. I claimed that I was helping my sisters and brothers out of compassion for them. The fact was that I wanted to convince and defeat others with the truth, shut their mouths, and prevent others from judging me and infringing on my interests. My heart was full of viciousness. It was not caring. How could there be any essence of love? Looking back, I did not show any compassion to the old sister from the very beginning, nor did I show any consideration. The old sister started hosting when she came to the family of God. She even took money from her home to buy the house and host others in order to better fulfill her duty; she didn’t even complain at all about it. Because she usually lacked attending meetings and fellowshiping, she had not deepened her experience in life. However, she was willing to pursue and read God’s words as long as she was free. As she was not crystal clear about the truth, she regarded judging the sisters and brothers behind their backs and speaking of their shortcomings as burdens for them; she simply mistook her suspicions of the sisters and brothers as frank speaking. She had no idea which of them was suspicion and which of them was exaggeration, and I did not show any consideration for her. Regardless of her stature, I indiscriminately fought back as long as they involved my interests, and I forced others to confess. Am not I a living great red dragon? For what reason should I not let others judge me? Even if others do not speak out, isn’t my essence evil and vicious? Isn’t the way that I lived the same as Satan’s? God said, “All the thoughts and ideas that fill people are the poisons of Satan, the manner they bear is a thing of Satan, and sometimes a wink or gesture carries a whiff of testing and temptation” (“Those Who Have Lost the Work of the Holy Spirit Are Most at Risk” in Records of Christ’s Talks). In God’s word, I found the reason why my communications were not effective. It is because everything I had done was all for myself, and was to defend myself. As long as my interests were not infringed upon, I did not care about others. I did not show my consideration for others’ weakness, nor did I consider whether others could withstand my communications or whether my communications brought any negative effects. I was full of the viciousness of Satan inside. It was Satan’s nature that dominated me inside. The way I lived was influenced by the vicious and corrupt disposition of Satan. What I had brought to people was harm and attack. How could others stand with this? What I said and did made God feel disgusted, and made the Holy Spirit not work on me. How could my communications be effective?
God said, “Anyone can use their own words and actions to represent their true face. This true face is of course their nature. If you are someone who speaks in a very roundabout manner, then you have a crooked nature. If your nature is very cunning, then the way you do things is very slick and sly, and you make it very easy for people to be tricked by you. If your nature is very sinister, your words might be pleasant to listen to, but your actions cannot cover up your sinister means. If your nature is very lazy, then everything you say is all aimed at shirking blame and responsibility for your perfunctoriness and laziness, and your actions will be very slow and perfunctory, and very good at covering up the truth. If your nature is very empathetic, then your words will be reasonable and your actions will also very much conform with the truth. If your nature is very loyal, then your words must be sincere and the way you do things must be down to earth, without much to make your master distrust you. If your nature is very lustful or greedy for money, then your heart will often be filled by these things and you will unwittingly do some deviant, immoral things that will make it hard for people to forget and moreover will disgust them” (“A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In God’s words, I realized that the way people reveal themselves and live their lives are dominated by their natures. The kind of nature inside will inevitably determine what disposition is revealed outside. If there is something evil inside, then the behavior will be dominated by the evil nature, and will never show benevolence. When my motivation for communicating with the old sister was wrong, what dominated me inside was not God, truth or positive things, but rather it was Satan. The way that I lived was the image of Satan. Hence, my communication could not benefit others. If I encountered this kind of thing in the past, I would have focused on the outward practices; I would have thought that I had not led the church, that I was not good at communicating with others, and would have looked for a myriad of reasons to exonerate myself. Not until today did I realize that outward practices do not play a decisive role, but rather it is whether the heart is right or not. It is important to see the essence inside. For example, if someone really loves another person, he will observe and pay attention to what she likes with his heart, and finally will express his love for her and make her feel it. If I loved my sisters and brothers inside, I would have paid more attention and shown more empathy for their difficulties and consideration for their feelings, and then would have taken appropriate action and used proper language and tones to communicate with them. Even if I did not solve others’ problems, I would not have brought harm to them. Because there is no love inside me, what I reveal is evilness, even if my outward practices are good and right. Because God loves mankind, no matter what He does, it is a revelation and manifestation of love. God said, “The purpose for God saying these things is to change and save people. Only by speaking this way is He able to achieve the most valuable results. You should see that the kind intentions of God are completely designed to save people and everything it embodies is the love of God. Regardless of whether you look at it from the perspective of the wisdom in God’s work, from the perspective of the steps and patterns in God’s work, or from the perspective of the duration of the work or His precise arrangements and plans—it all embodies His love. For example, people all have love for their sons and daughters and in order to allow their children to walk the correct path, they all put forth a great amount of effort. When they discover their children’s weaknesses, they worry that if they speak softly, their children will not listen and will not be able to change, and they worry that if they speak too sternly, they will hurt their children’s self-esteem and their children won’t be able to bear it. Therefore, this is all done under the influence of love and a great amount of effort is spent. You who are sons and daughters might have experienced your parent’s love. Not only are gentleness and consideration love, but even more so, strict chastening is love. God is especially under the influence of love for mankind and under the precondition of love. Therefore, He does His utmost to save corrupt people. He does not deal with them perfunctorily, but rather He makes precise plans, based on the step. With regard to the time, location, tone of voice, method of speaking, and the amount of effort put forth…, you can say that it all reveals His love, and sufficiently explains that His love for mankind is limitless and immeasurable. And many people say rebellious words when they are in the midst of the trial of service-doers and they issue complaints. But God does not bicker about these things, and He certainly does not punish people for this. Because He loves people, He forgives everything. If He merely had hatred instead of love, then He would have condemned people early on. Since God has love, He does not bicker, but He tolerates, and He is able to observe people’s difficulties. This is completely doing everything under the influence of love” (“Do You Understand God’s Love for Mankind?” in Records of Christ’s Talks). The essence of God is love, so the manifestation of God is also love. God’s love for humans is not reflected orally, but embodied practically in His work, in every step of His work, and in the ways of His work. How and when God works on each person, what people, things or occurrences He arranges for him and how long He will refine him, all reflect God’s precise planning and painstaking effort. All God’s practical work permeates His pure love for humans without exception. God loves humans to such an extent that no matter how humans resist, rebel, complain and misunderstand Him, He will bear with it in silence. All these make me see the greatness and nobility of God. In comparison, I am an ugly and contemptible scum belonging to Satan. In recognizing all of this, I frankly shared these vicious things in my heart with the old sister. The estrangement between us was unwittingly removed. I thank God from the bottom of my heart. To God be the glory.
I did not understand the meaning of God’s requirements of knowing my essence in the past. I understand it today due to my experience. Once a person is corrupted by Satan, his nature becomes Satan’s nature. Regardless of speech, action, or thoughts, they are all dominated by human nature. One can deal with his corrupt disposition and gradually change it, only if he recognizes his nature. If one has no knowledge of his nature, he can only unwittingly suffer the dominance of Satan’s nature and rebel and resist God—not to mention that he cannot change his disposition. From now on, I will change the wrong methods I used in the past of paying too much attention to outward practices. I will try to not make a fuss about outward practices, and will not base knowing my nature on following the rules. I will honestly and sincerely take God’s judgment and chastisement, I will know my nature, and truly recognize my nature through the revelations of God’s words in order to change my disposition as early as possible, and be saved by God.