By Jiayi, Anhui Province
My nature is arrogant; no matter what I’m doing, I always use ingenuity and originality to show my brilliance and therefore when I carry out the church work, I frequently violate the work arrangements and do things my own way. Especially when selecting and using people, I would never consider it carefully according to the principles of the truth, and I wouldn’t earnestly probe to understand all the circumstances of the person I wanted to select. The result of this was that I ended up choosing some deceitful people and those who only spoke of letters and doctrines to take upon themselves important responsibilities in the church. This created a big loss for the church work as well as for the lives of my brothers and sisters. So I was removed from duty.
When I obtained word that I was to be replaced, I was stupefied. How could something like this happen to me? After a period of time, the church did not give me any duties. Then I thought: It looks like my problem is quite serious. It is likely that I will be expelled. Some people had been expelled in the past because they had always performed their duties perfunctorily and cheated God and greatly interrupted and disturbed the church work. And some others had become antichrists and were expelled because they often exalted themselves, testified of themselves, and competed with God for His chosen people. Would I not even more so be expelled today because I have worked perfunctorily and recklessly, exalted myself, testified of myself, and greatly interrupted and disturbed the church work? In seeing this disaster I had created, I trembled with fear. My heart incessantly said: “I’m finished. This time I am completely finished. I have resisted God and offended God’s disposition. God would certainly not save me. Even though God has said He is doing everything He can to save mankind, it applies to those who are slightly corrupt and those who have committed small transgressions. An arrogant and conceited person such as myself who is blind to God and has committed all kinds of transgressions certainly will suffer God’s punishment. Even if I strive to pursue the truth and make a fresh start, God will not forgive me, because my actions have caused God to lose hope in me and have grieved Him too much.” Unwittingly, I sank into pain and despair.
In my extreme pain, I thought a lot. But even more I wished that God would give me another chance to fulfill a duty. But every time this idea came into my mind, the words “grievous sin” would negate and smother out any gleam of hope in my heart. Pain and self-blame tormented me and caused me so much pain that I didn’t want to live. I nearly fell apart. Just at this moment, I read God’s word saying, “God does not like cowards; He likes people with determination. Even if you have revealed a great deal of corruption, even if you’ve taken many winding roads, or even if along the way you’ve had many transgressions or have resisted God—or there are some people who hold in their hearts some blasphemy against God or blame Him, have conflict with Him—God doesn’t look at this. God only looks at whether or not a person will someday be able to change. … It is that God’s will to save mankind is sincere. He gives people opportunities to repent and opportunities to change, and during this process, He understands people and has a profound knowledge of their weaknesses and the extent of their corruption. He knows that they will stumble. … He understands every person’s difficulties, weaknesses, as well as their needs. Even more, He understands which difficulties each person will encounter in the process of entering into a change in disposition, and what kinds of weaknesses and failures will occur. This is something that God understands most. That is why it is said God sees into the depths of people’s hearts. No matter how weak you are, as long as you do not forsake the name of God, as long as you do not leave God or this way, you will always have an opportunity to achieve a change in disposition. And if we have the opportunity to achieve a change in disposition then we have hope for our survival. If we have hope for our survival, we have hope of being saved by God” (“What a Change in Disposition Is and the Path to a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). I also listened to these words from a sermon, “God is doing all He can to save mankind. Especially for the transgressors, people think that they are beyond saving, but God is not willing to give up on them and still wants to save them. Some people have serious transgressions. God said to them, ‘You just need to return to the devotion you had before and pursue the truth. I still want to save you.’ Regardless of what transgressions you have, as long as you have the will to never leave God and the desire to seek salvation, then God will not give up on you” (“How to Know Christ Is the Truth, the Way, and the Life” in Sermons and Fellowship II). These words moved my heart. I burst into tears and sobbed. I didn’t realize how many times the “impossible” had unexpectedly turned for the better. God said that He still wants to save me if I don’t give up my pursuit, seek to repent, and don’t leave or forsake Him regardless of my situation. I couldn’t help but prostrate myself before God: “Oh God! I believe in You and follow You, and yet I rebel against You and defy You at every turn. I often go by my own wishes when performing my duty and I interrupt and disrupt the church work; but You have forborne with and forgiven me. You have given me another opportunity to repent and be saved. Oh God! Your love has eliminated my misunderstandings and suspicions of You. It has caused my dying heart to recover and rise out of extreme pain and despair. It has once again ignited my desire for life—to seek after salvation. Oh God! You are so great, so good! Your love for me is so deep, so big! I am speechless when faced with Your love, I am ashamed and unable to show my face. I feel deeply that I would be ashamed to live in Your presence. At this moment, I can only give You my deepest thanks and praise. I can only offer You the song of my heart: ‘Your love makes me unable to choose anything else, I should not make You worry about me again. Unbearably corrupted, I enjoy Your love so much and so greatly. You are the only One in my heart worth loving, the only One worth being passionate about, worth looking up to and worth relying on. If I lost Your love, I would have only pain and would not be able to go on. Knowing You, my whole life is so happy and joyful. No matter what happens, I will always follow Your footsteps, right there with You, comforting You. Even in great pain, I will stand witness for You and satisfy You. Tribulations and refinement bring my heart closer to You. With You in my heart I am eternally happy.’”
At this moment, I began to calm down and examine my behavior. While I was performing church work, I was being dominated by my arrogant and conceited nature; I always thought myself better than everyone else, that there was no work in the church I couldn’t do, and no work I couldn’t do well. So, in performing my duty, I never relied on God nor looked up to Him. I didn’t seek God’s will and I didn’t act on the work arrangements or the principles of the truth. I completely relied on my own mind, inner qualities, and experience to do things my own way. When handling matters, I frequently did things on my own, and I never consulted with others. Even if I did consult with others, it was only so I would appear humble. In reality, I already had a plan in my mind and because of this, I rarely incorporated other people’s ideas. My approach to work arrangements from the above was such that I would implement any that I thought were right or which passed my own approval, and if they did not conform to my notions, I would refrain from doing them or procrastinate over them and would not implement them proactively. If brothers or sisters tried to deal with and prune me, I was even more so unwilling to accept it. I relied on my satanic nature to run amok in my work for many years. I basically did not pursue truth and I didn’t emphasize knowing myself. In consequence, I completely didn’t understand the disposition of God nor the substance of God. I didn’t have the slightest degree of reverence or fear toward God. I acted recklessly in front of God. I would dare to say anything and do anything. I selected deceitful people and those who preach letters and doctrine to shoulder the responsibility of church work, which damaged the lives of brothers and sisters and interrupted and disrupted the work of the church. I didn’t realize that I was being a false shepherd; I was taking up the path of serving God while resisting Him. Although the brothers and sisters reminded me many times, I didn’t accept their advice because of my arrogance and continued in my ways. Because of the many times I resisted God and went contrary to Him, I provoked God’s anger and was removed from duty, which brought me into self-reflection.
Upon examining this, I gradually began to awaken out of my stupor. All along, God had put a lot of thought into all the things that befell me with the intent of saving me. I couldn’t help but prostrate myself again before God: “Oh Almighty God, I thank You! Even though being replaced this time felt just like the trial of death and my pain was incomparable, it enabled me to experience Your great love and salvation for me. If I had not been replaced this time, I would still be living inside my own conception and imagination, continuing to do things the wrong way. I would still believe that forsaking my family and job for working in the church was faithfully serving You. I wouldn’t have reflected on my conduct, and wouldn’t have realized that my service was resisting You, and that it was offending Your disposition. If things went on like this, I would only become more and more arrogant and conceited. Ultimately, I would be resisting You as an antichrist and would have to face Your punishment. Oh God, Your love for me is so great and so real! Today’s replacement is truly how You are saving me. Your chastising love has conquered my heart. I thank You from my heart for saving me and protecting me. I thank You more so for causing me to truly experience through Your revelation that Your righteous disposition cannot tolerate offense; I thank You for letting me see the profound fatherly love You have in the heartless smiting and painful trials of man. At the same time, You have also allowed me to know my own corrupt substance and to see that I have been corrupted very deeply by Satan. The disposition of the archangel is deeply rooted within me and I greatly need Your chastisement, judgment, trials, refinement, and even Your punishment and cursing to cleanse and save me. It is only through this work that I am able to emerge with reverence toward You and to be protected and cleansed. Oh God, from this day on, I am willing to diligently pursue truth and truly submit to Your work. I will accept Your judgment and chastisement. Regardless of how You treat me, I will give in to Your arrangements and I will not complain. I ask only to become a genuine person, that I may satisfy You.”