By Zhou Li, Shandong Province
Recently, some new people joined our church, so we split into two churches so it would be easier to manage. New church leaders were also needed to be elected. Based on the principles for the selection of leaders, there was one brother who I felt was relatively suited to performing this duty. So I prepared to select him as a leader. One day when I was chatting with this brother, he mentioned that I was really nitpicky in how I handled and inquired after work, and that there wasn’t much enjoyment in gatherings with me. Hearing this, I felt he had belittled me. I felt terrible. I immediately developed a certain opinion of this brother, and no longer planned to select him as a leader.
When I returned to my home, I was still stewing and I could not calm down. At that time, I thought of something from a fellowship: “How those who serve as leaders treat brothers and sisters who they find disagreeable, who oppose them, and who hold completely different views than them, is a very serious issue and should be handled with caution. If they do not enter into the truth of this issue, they will certainly discriminate and censure people like this when met with this kind of issue. This type of action is precisely an expression of the nature of the great red dragon that resists and betrays God. If those who serve as leaders pursue the truth, and possess conscience and reason, they will seek the truth and handle this matter correctly. … As people, we need to be just and fair. As leaders, we must handle things according to God’s words in order to stand witness. If we do things according to our own will, giving free rein to our own corrupt disposition, then that will be a terrible failure” (The Fellowship From the Above). Mulling over that fellowship, I couldn’t help but reflect on my two entirely different attitudes before and after my chat with that brother. I was originally prepared to select him as a church leader, but when he said some things that caused me to lose face, I immediately changed my opinion of him and no longer planned to select him for this position. Wasn’t this exploiting my power for personal revenge? What’s the difference between this and the devilish CCP discriminating against and striking out at those who dissent? Isn’t doing that kind of thing despicable? The church is not the same as society. The church needs every level of its leaders to be people who have a sense of justice, who possess humanity, who love the truth, and can accept the truth. Only with that kind of person at the helm can positive things and good people gain protection, while all negative things and evil people will be restricted and sanctioned. That’s the only way God’s will can be carried out within the church. But what I was doing was entirely contrary to God’s will. When selecting a leader I only thought of my own interest and whether that person would support me and listen to me, instead of upholding the work of the church; as soon as that person didn’t support me, when he said something disagreeable to me, I discriminated against and resented him. Wasn’t my acting like this precisely the revealing of a satanic disposition, “Those who submit will prosper; those who resist shall perish”? The church was about to select someone for a position. That brother didn’t tremble in the face of authority, but upheld the principles of the truth, simply and openly bringing up my deficiencies. That was a manifestation of putting the truth into practice and having a sense of justice and being a suitable candidate for taking on a leadership position in the church. I should have been considerate of God’s will; I should have upheld the church’s work and selected him as a leader in accordance with the principles. I was not pleased with his assessment of me; it made me lose face, but he had no ill intent. If I were someone who accepts the truth, I should have sought out the truth on this matter, examined myself and known myself, and made up for the deficiencies in my work. However, I did not look for the reason within myself, and even wanted to give free rein to the satanic nature within me to discriminate against him and take revenge on him. I am so arrogant, so lacking in humanity! If I continued giving free rein to this kind of corrupt nature, I would eventually bring about my own destruction as an arrogant servant of evil who has no regard for God. I truly was in peril.
At that time I couldn’t help but shudder at my thoughts and actions, seeing myself full of the poisons of Satan, that what was exposed was all resistance against God. God truly hates this, and is disgusted by it. Reflecting on all of this, I could not help but offer a prayer of gratitude to God: “Oh God, thank You for Your quick enlightenment, for preventing my discriminatory behavior, for allowing me to see my satanic face. From this day forward, I am willing to pursue a change in disposition, and when I encounter people or things that are disagreeable to me, I will learn to put myself aside, to forsake the flesh, and in all things safeguard the interests of the church, to do my utmost to fulfill my duties.”