39. Using God’s Word as a Mirror
Wu Xia Linyi City, Shandong Province
After accepting this stage of God’s work and reading the word of God, it became obvious to me that it is very important that I know myself. Consequently, while reading the word of God, I made sure to cross-check myself against the word by which God exposes man. Whatever happened to me, I was able to recognize my deficiencies and inadequacies. I felt that I would really come to understand myself. Yet, it was only through a revelation from God that I was able to see that I did not truly understand myself according to God’s word.
One day, I went somewhere with a district leader to withdraw some of the church’s money. When the amount of money was confirmed and the receipt was written, I thought of several brothers and sisters in the church who had recently been arrested by the CCP police for spreading the gospel, and how the police had been keeping a much closer eye on the church. So to be on the safe side, I suggested that all previous money receipts be destroyed. Unexpectedly, the district leader said: “If we destroyed the last receipts, then there would be no evidence. What if you happened to steal the money and spend it yourself?” I didn’t know what to feel after hearing this, but it certainly felt like a big insult to my integrity; it was very difficult for me to swallow. I thought: “What kind of person do you think I am? I have followed God all these years and am a good person. How could I do something like that? Besides, I have done the church’s work for so many years and have never made a mistake with the church finances, so why would I steal the church’s money? In what way do I resemble Judas?” The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that she looked down on me and wronged me. I was so hurt that it nearly brought me to tears.
In my pain, I suddenly remembered God’s words, “The environment around us as well as the people, matters and objects, all are permitted by His throne” (“The Sixth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I then thought: Why would God create an environment where this sister would say such a thing? What is God teaching me? While pondering this, my heart began to feel peace. My mind started to question the painful reactions I just had toward the sister’s comment: Was she wrong when she said “What if you happened to steal the money and spend it yourself?” God said that man is capable of forsaking justice and shunning God at any time and in any place. No one is truly trustworthy. Could I really be the exception to the rule? Besides, how much has my disposition changed? How much truth have I obtained? If I have not obtained truth nor changed much in disposition, why shouldn’t I allow others to see me that way, and on what basis should I see myself as noble and pure? And why should I be so confident that I would never steal the offering? God once said: “Man’s nature brims with the nature of Satan, they’re entirely self-centered, selfish, greedy, and extravagant” (“People Make Too Many Demands of God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Is God really only exposing others and not myself with these words? Everyone is greedy by nature—was I the exception? Was what the sister said inconsistent with the facts? When I usually read God’s word, I seem to be able to consciously examine myself in the light of the revelations of God’s words. However, when the sister, without being emotional, pointed out my corruption according to the revelations of God’s words on the nature and essence of man, I had become so angry. Didn’t that reveal that I don’t know myself according to God’s word? Did this not signify that I don’t have a true understanding of the nature of Satan within me? Not until then did I realize that my knowing myself by reading the word of God was nothing more than theoretical acknowledgment and spoken understanding. I was not basing my understanding of my nature and essence on the revelation of God’s word. Therefore, this kind of situation had to happen to me: In fellowship, I talk about knowing myself in a clear and well-argued way, and I nod my head and agree when faced with the word by which God exposes man; but when faced with the facts, I would die before admitting to being the kind of person that God exposes. As I reflected, I realized that this also described my past behavior: So many times I’ve declared that I lack humanity and reason, but when other people said I lacked humanity and reason, I immediately denied it vehemently and stubbornly defended myself; so many times my lips have uttered that I performed my duty perfunctorily, yet when other people pointed this out, I always thought of every possible way to vindicate myself and to justify myself so as to be exonerated; so many times I’ve acknowledged in front of others that I am nothing, worse than a maggot, yet when others said I never did anything right, I would feel like I’d fallen into a deep freeze, and I would become so downhearted and negative that I couldn’t cheer up; so many times I’ve declared to others that I have a poor caliber and that I lack the capacity to work, yet when I heard others say that I was of poor caliber and that I wasn’t worth training, I would throw in the towel and slack off. It was fine for me to say anything about my own corruption, but when others said something about me, I couldn’t accept it, to the point where I even revolted against it. All these behaviors made me realize that I was a hypocrite who didn’t know myself and who didn’t accept the truth, and that all the knowledge I thought I had of myself was just me fooling both myself and others. Since I had never been able to really dissect and understand my own nature and essence through the revelation of God’s words, I had not yet truly entered into any understanding of myself, and my disposition had not changed.
At that time, I reflected on my own narcissistic mindset and found it to be really shameful. Being exposed by God truly convinced me and allowed me to clearly see that I do not truly know myself. From now on, I wish to recognize my corrupt essence through the word by which God exposes man, and courageously face the facts and accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and pruning and dealing, so that my disposition may soon be changed.