Qingxin Zhengzhou City, Henan Province
Regarding the “God is righteous” aspect of the truth, I used to always have a somewhat absurd understanding. I thought that as long as someone reveals corruption in their work or commits transgressions that damage the church’s work, that person shall face retribution, or lose their duty or be subjected to punishment. That is God’s righteousness. Given this incorrect understanding, plus the fear of losing my duty from committing mistakes in my work, I thought of a “clever” method: Whenever I do something wrong, I try my best to not let the leaders know first, and quickly try to make up for it myself and do my utmost to make it right. Won’t that then help me keep my duty? Hence, whenever I gave reports on my work, I would reduce big issues into small ones and small issues into nothing. If I was sometimes passive I would do my best to cover it up in front of the leaders and pretend to be very active and positive, terrified that the leaders would think I was incompetent and stop using me. So just like that, I would be very carefully guarded against the leaders in everything I did.
However, God inspects people’s hearts, and my “superb trick” could never escape God’s eyes. I discovered that the more I tried to cover things up, the more God exposed me in the light. For instance: Whenever I tried to show off my “talent” in front of leaders, I would always stuff up and make a fool of myself; whenever I tried to cover up my passive situation, “dark clouds” would always inadvertently surface on my face and be figured out by brothers and sisters; whenever I tried to cover up the perfunctory way I dealt with my job, the result would be like a mirror that revealed everything. … Time after time of embarrassment and torment of my conscience from being dishonest made me fall down, yet I did not understand from this the intentions and purpose behind why God worked in this way, nor did I understand how God saved people. I merely waited passively for the arrival of “God’s righteous judgment”—to be dealt with by the church.
But reality did not progress as I had envisioned: In my work, even though I was pruned and dealt with for not fulfilling my duty properly, I was able to receive the devoted guidance of brothers and sisters, who let me know what was perfunctory and what was loyally fulfilling my duty. I understood that only by acting in accordance with God’s requirements can one fulfill their duty properly. In terms of entry into life, I got caught up many times in evil thoughts I could not get rid of, leaving my heart in agony. I wanted to open up my heart and seek communication, but I felt too embarrassed to speak. In the end, I fell into darkness and lost the work of the Holy Spirit. But after I went all out and spoke up, I saw that brothers and sisters not only did not laugh at or look down on me because of it, they instead gave me help and exhortation, enabling me to live in the light and giving me a path to practice and the power to defeat sin. Later on, I saw that when brothers and sisters around me did something wrong or revealed corruption, the church did not send them home because of it. Rather, the church did its utmost to communicate to and support them, giving them chance after chance. Even if a particular person is sent home in the end, it’s only because they repeatedly offended God’s disposition and still refused to repent even after being pruned, dealt with, and communicated to many times. But even for such people, the church is still waiting for them to repent and wake up. If they really do self-reflect and change after a period of time, the church will still give them opportunities to practice and prepare good deeds. These facts made me see that God’s attitude is like how parents treat the return of their prodigal son—with unparalleled love and affection. They also made me see that the work God performs is the work of saving people, changing people, and perfecting people. It was only then that I realized that my idea of “God’s righteousness” was too preposterous and too far off from reality. Although God’s disposition is righteous, what He reveals most to the people who follow Him is extreme patience, tolerance, and mercy—and it is unlimited and immeasurable. It can be said that the love God expresses is even greater than His righteousness.
In that moment, I couldn’t help but think of a passage of God’s word. So I opened up Records of Christ’s Talks and found the following passage. God said: “What is the substance of Christ? The substance of Christ is love for mankind; with regard to those who follow Him, it is unlimited love. If He has no love or mercy, then people would not be able to follow Him to the present time. Some people say: ‘Then is God not still righteous?’ Yes! It is correct that He is still righteous, but from the perspective of His disposition, His righteousness is hatred toward the corruption and wickedness of mankind. What if He merely had righteousness without love? What if love could not overcome righteousness? Then it could be said that mankind is done for. Therefore, I am speaking frankly with you, that is, in the work God does for mankind during the time of His incarnation, His most apparent and prominent substance is love; it is unlimited tolerance. If it was not love but God destroying people as you imagine; by speaking destruction, people were destroyed, and by speaking hatred for people, people were punished, cursed, judged, and chastised, then that would be very severe! If He was angry at people, people would fear and tremble and would not be able to stand in God’s sight…. This is only one method for expressing God’s disposition, and in the end, His purpose is still salvation. His love runs through all revelations of His disposition. Reflect on this, during the work at the time of the incarnation, the thing that is revealed the most for people is love. What is patience? Patience is having pity because there is love within, and its purpose is still to save people. God is able to have pity on people because He has love. Just like if there is true love between a husband and wife, they don’t look at each other’s shortcomings and faults. If they were provoked to anger, they would still be able to be patient. Everything is established on the foundation of love. What if He was hateful? Then His attitude would not be the way it is, His expression would not be the way it is, and the outcome would not be the way it is. If God only had hate and anger, and there were only judgment and chastisement, and there was no love in it, then the situation would not be what you see now and you people would not be in good situations. Would He provide you with truth?” (“God’s True Love for Mankind” in Records of Christ’s Talks). When I saw this passage in the past, even though I would say I acknowledge it, I never really comprehended it and was still full of distrust and guardedness toward God. It is only now that I have a bit of actual understanding of these words and can appreciate that they have too much substance. The spaces between the lines are filled with God’s deep affection for mankind and His well-intentioned supply, support and teaching of them.
At this point, I could not help but develop deep feelings of guilt toward God in my heart: Oh God! For all the time I have followed You, even though I believed in You I did not know You. I not only blindly and falsely misunderstood Your motherly heart, I also caused You too much pain. I really am too unworthy to come before You, and even more unworthy of Your salvation. I am only worthy of Your curse! Yet the way You treat me is not based on my disobedience. Rather, You strongly exalt, pity and tolerate me, giving me the opportunity to achieve rebirth, allowing me to enjoy all Your love and grace, letting me see Your beauty and kindness, and experience the practicality of Your word—God is righteous and moreover is love! From now on, I want to get to know more of Your adorableness through Your word and through real life, and strive to be a person who is honest, who loves You, and loyally fulfill my duty to repay Your great love!