40. A Cure for Jealousy
By Xunqiu, China
Almighty God says, “Man’s flesh is of Satan, it is full of rebellious dispositions, it is deplorably filthy, and it is something unclean. People covet the enjoyment of the flesh too much and there are too many manifestations of the flesh; this is why God despises man’s flesh to a certain extent. When people cast off the filthy, corrupt things of Satan, they gain God’s salvation. But if they still do not divest themselves of filth and corruption, then they are still living under the domain of Satan. People’s conniving, deceitfulness, and crookedness are all things of Satan. God’s salvation of you is to extricate you from these things of Satan. God’s work cannot be wrong; it is all done in order to save people from darkness. When you have believed to a certain point and can divest yourself of the corruption of the flesh, and are no longer shackled by this corruption, will you not have been saved? When you live under Satan’s domain you are incapable of manifesting God, you are something filthy, and cannot receive God’s inheritance. Once you have been cleansed and made perfect, you will be holy, you will be a normal person, and you will be blessed by God and delightful to God” (“Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I came to understand through God’s words that we have jealous struggles and interpersonal disputes because we’ve been corrupted by Satan, and we all live by our deceitful and evil satanic dispositions and are very selfish. There was a time when I lived in a state of jealousy, constantly scheming against people and striving for name and gain. It was a painful way to live, but I just couldn’t free myself. I owe it all to God’s judgment and chastisement that I could change a little and escape that pain.
It was June of 2017 when I was given the duty of a group leader in the church, responsible for the church life for a few gathering places. I was really happy to have that duty and felt God was elevating me, that I had to do it well to repay God’s love. I was very active in fellowship in the gatherings after that, and when I saw brothers and sisters facing difficulties, or in a poor state, I’d find words of God to fellowship and address the problems. The others regarded me positively after a while and said that I could solve practical issues through fellowship in gatherings, that I took responsibility in my duty and was loving toward brothers and sisters. I felt really pleased with myself when I heard this.
Not long after, I heard there would be an election for a church leader and thought, “Everyone thinks highly of me, so I might have a good shot at it. If I were elected, the brothers and sisters would definitely look up to me even more.” Sister Yang and I were both nominated after a vote. I felt a little threatened when I saw that she’d received slightly more votes than me. I thought, “I’m responsible in my duty and I can do practical work. How could she have more votes than me?” But then I thought, “These are just nominations, not the final vote. I still have a chance. I need to equip myself with the truth now and help others resolve their difficulties in life entry more so they can all see she doesn’t have anything on me, then I’ll be sure to be elected!” I thought of an issue Sister Wang had brought up in the last gathering that hadn’t been resolved, so I hurried to prepare some relevant words of God to fellowship with her next time. When the gathering day came around, I went to our meeting place, but as soon as I walked in I saw Sister Yang fellowshiping with Sister Wang. I felt really displeased. I thought, “I came today to fellowship with her to resolve her issue and you pounced on it first! If you’ve already taken care of it, how will I show what I can do?” Sure enough, a smile appeared on Sister Wang’s face after Sister Yang’s fellowship and the other brothers and sisters all nodded approvingly. I really wasn’t happy to see this. I was jealous of Sister Yang, thinking that she’d robbed me of my glory. I thought, “Before you joined this gathering, the others all wanted to hear my fellowship. But now everyone looks up to you and couldn’t care less about me.” Everyone was happily engaged in fellowship right then, but I couldn’t take any of it in and couldn’t wait to leave.
When I got home I sat down on my bed, dejected, feeling more out of sorts the more I brooded over it. I thought, “If this goes on, my chances at being a leader will be really slim. No way, I have to be more proactive in fellowship. I absolutely cannot lose out to her anymore.” I later noticed Sister Xiang was having anxiety over the CCP’s harsh persecution and was feeling constrained in her duty, so I quickly found some words of God to fellowship with her before the gathering. I got to the gathering place early the next day, but to my surprise, Sister Yang had gotten there even earlier and was already fellowshiping with Sister Xiang. My heart sank and I thought, “How could you have done this again? I need to see what kind of light you have in your fellowship. I simply don’t believe it can cover everything.” Unconvinced, I sat next to them to hear what she had to say. As I listened, I discovered that Sister Yang fellowshiped on some paths of practice in light of God’s words, but she hadn’t mentioned the root of Sister Xiang’s weakness and negativity. I thought, “I need to make the most of this chance to share my own understanding and cut Sister Yang down to size.” At this, I rushed to share my fellowship, saying, “Sister, just having a path of practice isn’t enough to resolve a negative state. We also need to have understanding of the truth that concerns how God uses the great red dragon as a foil to perfect His chosen people. Only with understanding of God’s work, almightiness and wisdom can we come out from a negative state. Let’s read some of God’s words together.” As Sister Xiang nodded her head, I shot a sidelong glance at Sister Yang and saw her sitting off to the side awkwardly. I felt as if I’d just won a battle, and thought, “Everyone can see whose fellowship is actually effective when they compare. I can hold my head up again, and it proves I’m not that bad.” I became more active in my duty after that. The moment I heard of someone in a bad state or facing difficulties, I lost no time finding God’s words, making notes, and then fellowshiping with them. When I saw someone nod their head I was thrilled, while if there wasn’t any reaction I became unbearably anxious, then the more distressed I was, the less I could understand others’ states or resolve problems. I was also feeling more and more tired, and thought, “If things go on like this brothers and sisters will definitely say I lack the reality of the truth and they won’t elect me as a leader.” Especially when I saw Sister Yang share practical fellowship on the truth that brothers and sisters agreed with, I became even more agitated. My jealousy and my inability to accept it came to the fore. I started to resent her and didn’t even want to talk to her. I was living in that state of fighting for name and gain. It was really painful for me. I wasn’t getting any enlightenment from God’s words, and in prayer I was just going through the motions. I felt I was growing farther and farther apart from God.
I later prayed to God and asked for His enlightenment so I could understand my corrupt disposition and come out from that awful state. It was only through God’s words that I gained some understanding of my corrupt state. This is what they say: “Some people are always afraid that others will steal their limelight and surpass them, obtaining recognition while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only of oneself, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others, and thinking only about one’s own interests and not the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them. If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you give someone your recommendation, and that person is cultivated into someone of talent, thereby bringing one more talented person into God’s house, will you not then have done your work well? Will you not then have been loyal in performing your duty? This is a good deed before God, and it is the sort of conscience and reason people should possess” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks). I felt ashamed after reading God’s words and I thought of all the jealous things, all the struggling for name and gain I’d done. I’d been burning with desire for it since I heard the church was electing a leader, and then when I saw Sister Yang got more votes than me in the nominations, I started seeing her as my opponent, quietly fighting against her and vying with her. Seeing her resolve brothers’ and sisters’ problems through fellowship on the truth made me jealous. I thought she’d stolen my glory, that she threatened my chance at leadership. I secretly pitted myself against her, finding fault and nitpicking at her fellowship. I covertly belittled her while exalting myself, and I dampened her positivity in her duty. When I saw I couldn’t win I became resentful of her and didn’t even want to acknowledge her. I strove for name and gain and I was jealous in my duty. I lashed out at her and excluded her. I had revealed nothing but a satanic disposition. I was so selfish, despicable, and malicious! I was basing my life on satanic dispositions, not only hurting others, but living in resentment and pain. It reminded me of Zhou Yu in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He was so petty, always jealous of Zhuge Liang, and right before his death he said, “Since Yu was born, what need is there for Liang?” He ended up dying in anger. Aren’t those the terrible consequences of jealousy? I realized I was the same, that I was jealous in my efforts to gain status, not only hindering my own life entry, but also doing harm to others. I was totally lacking humanity. It was disgusting and hateful to God. In fact, God arranged for me to be around someone of higher caliber, hoping that I could learn from her strengths to improve on my weak points. But I just fought and made comparisons. I gained nothing in the end and was terribly pained. I was so foolish. Also, the truth rules in God’s house, and there are principles for the selection of leaders. At the very least, they are people of good humanity who can accept and practice the truth, but I was always jealous, vying for name and gain, and not living out any humanity. That made me unworthy of leadership. I knew I had to stop fighting, to focus on practicing the truth and live according to God’s words. That was the only proper path. I felt really relieved after recognizing all of that.
I said this prayer on the day of the election: “Oh God! No matter what the results are, I’m willing to obey You, and I will cast a fair vote.” But I still wavered when it really came time to vote. I thought, “If I vote for Sister Yang and she ends up being chosen, what will the others think of me? They’ll definitely say I’m not her equal.” These words of God came to mind just then: “You must learn to let go and set aside these things, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage the moment you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain glory. You must learn to back off, but must not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity, and who does not show off to others while you loyally perform your duty. The more you let go your prestige and status, and the more you let go of your own interests, the more peaceful you will become, and the more space will open up within your heart and the more your state will improve” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks). At that I thought, “I have to practice God’s words. I can’t keep living for my prestige and status.” I thought about how Sister Yang was of good caliber and her fellowship was practical, so having her as a leader would benefit the church as well as brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I had to practice the truth and uphold the church’s interests. And so, I voted for her. She was voted in as a leader and I was very calm and at peace with it. I felt that I’d finally managed to practice the truth. Thanks be to God!
Later on, in April 2018, I was chosen for the duty of a church leader, working alongside a few other brothers and sisters responsible for the church’s work. At first, we discussed all of the church’s work and collaborated really smoothly. But after a while, I noticed that Sister Li, who was in charge of our writing work, was of good caliber and learned things quickly. Her fellowship was enlightening and edifying for others. I really admired her but I did feel some jealousy. I started looking to get involved in work within her purview, wanting to learn more skills and principles so I didn’t fall behind her. One day I got a letter from our leader saying they needed someone to take on a task at a church in another area and asking if Sister Li would be well-suited. She asked if I could collect some assessments of her. My jealousy flared up right away, and I thought, “They want to cultivate Sister Li. Her caliber is good and she picks things up quickly, but she hasn’t been a believer for long and her life entry is shallow. In what way do I not match up to her? Why not have me go? If Sister Li does go take on that role, what will the others think of me? They’d definitely say she’s better than me.” These thoughts made me more and more uncomfortable, and I hardly even acknowledged her when I saw her after that. Seeing me behave like that was constraining for her and she stopped discussing things with me as she had before. I got brothers’ and sisters’ assessments of Sister Li a few days later, and I felt really jealous when I saw they were all positive, even better than their assessments of me. I was a leader, but I didn’t even match up to a co-worker. How embarrassing for me! I became more and more uncomfortable as I thought about it. I made a point to say to another sister, “What’s up with your assessment? You don’t have any discernment. Sister Li has progressed, but her life entry is shallow. You made her sound so good, but if she goes to another church and delays their work because she can’t do practical work, that would be doing evil on your part!” Hearing this from me scared the sister a bit. She said she’d written it based on the actual circumstances, but hadn’t considered the full picture, and that she’d take another look at it. Even though I’d done what I set out to do, I just couldn’t feel happy. Especially when I saw Sister Li, I had pangs of conscience and I felt really guilty. I’d done something bad, something shameful, and I didn’t dare look her in the eye. Seeing I seemed a bit off, she came over and said out of concern, “Is there something wrong?” I felt even guiltier when I heard her say that, so I just stuttered out “Y-yeah,” then rushed into another room and kneeled down in prayer to God. I said, “Oh God, I’m so unreasonable. I got jealous of Sister Li when I saw everyone’s evaluations and even undermined her behind her back. God, I know You detest this sort of thing, but I’m bound by my corrupt disposition. I can’t stop myself. God, please enlighten me so I can truly know myself and stop living by my corrupt disposition.” Feeling a little calmer after my prayer, I turned on my computer and read a couple passages of God’s words.
God says: “If they see someone better than they are, they suppress them, start a rumor about them, or employ some unscrupulous means so that other people don’t look highly upon them, and that no one is any better than anyone else, then this is the corrupt disposition of arrogance and self-rightness, as well as crookedness, deceitfulness and insidiousness, and these people stop at nothing to achieve their aims. They live like this and yet still think they’re great and that they’re good people. However, do they have God-fearing hearts? First of all, to speak from the perspective of the natures of these matters, are not people who act this way simply doing as they please? Do they consider the interests of God’s family? They think only of their own feelings and they want only to achieve their own aims, regardless of the loss suffered by the work of God’s family. Not only are people like this arrogant and self-right, they are also selfish and contemptible; they are utterly inconsiderate of God’s intention, and people like this, without a shadow of a doubt, do not possess God-fearing hearts. This is why they do whatever they want and act wantonly, without any sense of blame, without any trepidation, without any apprehension or worry, and without considering the consequences. This is what they often do, and how they have always behaved. What are the consequences such people face? They will be in trouble, right? To put it lightly, such people are far too jealous and have too strong a desire for personal fame and status; they are too deceitful and treacherous. To put it more harshly, the essential problem is that such people’s hearts are not even the slightest bit God-fearing. They do not fear God, they believe themselves to be of utmost importance, and they regard every aspect of themselves as being higher than God and higher than the truth. In their hearts, God is the least worthy of mention and the most insignificant, and God does not have any status in their hearts at all. Have those who have no place for God in their hearts, and who do not revere God, attained entry into the truth? (No.) So, when they typically go around merrily keeping themselves busy and exerting quite a lot of energy, what are they doing? Such people even claim to have abandoned everything to expend for God and suffered a great deal, but actually, the motive, principle, and objective of all their actions are to benefit themselves; they are only trying to protect all of their own interests. Would you or would you not say that this sort of person is terrible? What sort of person is one who does not revere God? Are they not arrogant? Are they not Satan? What kinds of things do not revere God? Leaving aside the animals, all those that do not revere God include demons, Satan, the archangel, and those who contend with God” (“The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense. It is precisely because the fundamental things of man have been corrupted by Satan, and are utterly unlike how God originally created them, that man opposes God and does not understand the truth” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
I was so upset and dismayed by God’s words. Hadn’t He revealed my state precisely? I became jealous and prejudiced when the leader wanted to cultivate Sister Li and I even undermined and judged her in despicable ways. I thought of everything to keep her from getting that duty without considering the church’s interests at all. I did whatever I felt like to get what I wanted. I was arrogant, arbitrary, and had no reverence for God. God hopes that more people can be considerate of His will and perform their duties. I knew well that Sister Li had good caliber and focused on pursuing the truth, so with more training opportunities, her life entry and skills would progress, and that would benefit the church’s work. But I held her back trying to protect my own prestige and status, even using underhanded means to keep her from getting assigned to that duty. Before I knew it, I’d become Satan’s minion and was disrupting the church’s work. I really kicked myself. I had known that jealousy is at odds with God’s will, but I’d never imagined that it would drive me to do something so inhumane, that I would disrupt the church’s work, do evil, and resist God. I remembered God’s words: “Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan.” I thought about how I was always jealous and couldn’t stand to see anyone better than me because my thinking and perspectives had been twisted by Satan’s poisons, just like “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “I am my own lord throughout heaven and earth,” and “There can only be one alpha male.” Living by these poisons, I wanted to fight my way to the front in any group, thinking I should be above others, and I couldn’t treat anyone fairly if I thought they were more capable than me. I was jealous and discriminatory, seeing them as a thorn in my side. I was jealous, excluding, and hostile toward people around me who pursued the truth, even undermining them behind their backs. I was totally lacking humanity! I always wanted to build myself up and tear others down, to fight, to win, and I wouldn’t give in to anyone. I just wanted to show off. Wasn’t I a living Satan? Only then did I see that those satanic poisons and rules for survival had become my very nature. I based my life around them, becoming more and more selfish, arrogant, and malicious. If I kept refusing to repent to God, I knew I’d be loathed and eliminated by Him. I really felt afraid when I realized all of this. I rushed to pray to God, telling Him I wanted to repent, that I would try to practice the truth from then on and stop living by those satanic poisons.
A few days later I received a letter from the leader saying that overall, Sister Li looked like a good fit for the work at the other church. I did feel something stir within me when I read it, but I immediately realized that it was my jealousy manipulating me again. I immediately prayed to God and became willing to forsake myself. I read two more passages of God’s words after my prayer. God says: “When you reveal yourself to be selfish and ignoble, and have become conscious of this, you should seek the truth: What should I do to be in line with God’s will? How should I act so that it benefits everyone? That is, you must begin by setting your own interests aside, gradually giving them up according to your stature, a little at a time. After you have experienced this a few times, you will have set them aside completely, and as you do so, you will feel more and more steadfast. The more you set your interests aside, the more you will feel that as a human being, you should have conscience and reason. You will feel that without selfish motives, you are being a straightforward, upright person, and you are doing things entirely in order to satisfy God. You will feel that such behavior makes you worthy of being called ‘human,’ and that in living this way on earth, you are being open and honest, you are being a genuine person, you have a clear conscience, and are worthy of all the things bestowed upon you by God. The more you live like this, the more steadfast and the brighter you will feel. As such, will you not have set foot upon the right track?” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you give someone your recommendation, and that person is cultivated into someone of talent, thereby bringing one more talented person into God’s house, will you not then have done your work well? Will you not then have been loyal in performing your duty? This is a good deed before God, and it is the sort of conscience and reason people should possess” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words clearly outlined a path of practice. I should let go of my own interests and think of the interests of God’s house. I should recommend anyone who’s stronger than me in a certain area so that every talented person can put their strengths into play in God’s house and play their small part in spreading the kingdom gospel. Only that kind of person has humanity, and is someone who is considerate of God’s will and can uphold the interests of God’s house. They gain God’s approval and that’s a good deed. I went to see Sister Li that same evening and asked her if she wanted to leave to go take on that duty. She said she was willing to do it, but was worried she wouldn’t do well since she was new to the faith and her stature was small. After hearing her concern, I fellowshiped with her on God’s will, encouraging her to lean on and look to God and focus on seeking the principles of the truth in her duty. She left for her new duty a few days later. I was really happy, and felt that being able to practice the truth and not live for my prestige and status was the only way to live with integrity and dignity. I was totally at peace within my heart.
When I look back to when I was living by my corrupt disposition, always jealous and fighting for name and status, corrupted and toyed with by Satan, I see it was such a painful way to live. God set up all sorts of people, things, events, and environments to expose me, to save me. He also used His words to expose and judge me, and to water and sustain me until I finally had some knowledge of my satanic nature, and saw the nature and consequences of being jealous and fighting for name and gain. Only then could I practice a bit of truth and gain a little conscience and reason.