Breaking Free From the Shackles of Bondage

By Danchun, China

Almighty God says, “Now is the time when I determine the ending for each person, not the stage in which I began to work man. I write down in My record book, one by one, the words and actions of each person, the path by which they have followed Me, their inherent characteristics, and how they have ultimately comported themselves. In this way, no matter what kind of person they are, no one shall escape My hand, and all shall be with their own kind as I assign.” (“Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Everyone’s outcome is determined according to the essence that comes from their conduct, and it is always determined appropriately. No one can bear the sins of another; even more so, no one can receive punishment in another’s stead. This is absolute. A parent’s doting care for their children does not indicate that they can perform righteous deeds in their children’s stead, nor does the dutiful affection of a child to their parents mean that they can perform righteous deeds in their parents’ stead. This is what is truly meant by the words, ‘Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.’ People cannot take their evildoing children into rest on the basis of their deep love for them, nor can anyone take their wife (or husband) into rest on the basis of their own righteous conduct. This is an administrative rule; there can be no exceptions for anyone. In the end, doers of righteousness are doers of righteousness, and evildoers are evildoers. The righteous will eventually be allowed to survive, while the evildoers will be destroyed. The holy are holy; they are not filthy. The filthy are filthy, and not one part of them is holy. The people who will be destroyed are all the wicked ones, and the ones who will survive are all the righteous—even if the children of the wicked ones perform righteous deeds, and even if the parents of the righteous ones commit evil deeds. There is no relationship between a believing husband and an unbelieving wife, and there is no relationship between believing children and unbelieving parents; these two types of people are completely incompatible. Prior to entering into rest, one has physical relatives, but once one has entered into rest, one will no longer have any physical relatives to speak of” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words tell us that His work in the last days is to sort people according to their kind. He determines every person’s outcome and destination based on their behavior, and their nature and essence. It’s something no one can change, and it’s determined by God’s righteous disposition. God requires us to treat others in line with His words and the principles of the truth. We can’t protect or favor anyone based on emotion, not even our loved ones. That would be contrary to the truth and an offense to God’s disposition.

Once, about three years ago, as a gathering was wrapping up, a leader told me: “Your dad is always creating conflict among brothers and sisters, disrupting church life. We’ve fellowshiped with him, dissected this, and warned him, but he’s unrepentant. Brothers and sisters have reported that he’s done the same thing in his duty in other places before. We’re going to gather facts about his evil deeds.” My heart skipped a beat when I heard this and I wondered, “Is it really that bad?” But then I thought about how, in gatherings with my dad, he really was disruptive to church life and wouldn’t accept the truth. In gatherings he wouldn’t fellowship on God’s words, but always talked about things unrelated to the truth, stirring people up so they couldn’t calmly ponder God’s words. I mentioned this to him but he wouldn’t listen at all. He just had a mountain of excuses to throw back at me. I told the church leader about the situation, who then fellowshiped with my dad, helped him a number of times, and explained the essence and consequences of his behavior. But my dad refused to accept it. He just kept on making excuses and arguing. He wasn’t repentant at all. It must have gotten worse since the brothers and sisters were reporting this now. I remembered there had been a couple of people in the church who were deemed to be evil and were expelled because they wouldn’t practice the truth, but always disrupted church life and wouldn’t repent. If my dad really was that way, wouldn’t he be kicked out too? If that really did happen, his path of faith would be at an end. Would he still have a chance at salvation? My panic grew as I thought about it, and I felt like my heart was tied up in knots.

That night I tossed and turned, unable to sleep, thinking about what the others had said about my dad. I knew they were just trying to protect church life from disruptions, out of consideration for brothers’ and sisters’ life entry, and it was in line with God’s will. I knew about my dad’s behavior and wondered whether I should tell the leader about it. I thought about how loving my dad had been when I was little. Whenever my brother and I fought, he’d protect me whether or not I was in the wrong; when it was cold and my school didn’t have warm bedding, he’d ride his bike more than 60 miles to bring me a quilt. My mom was away from home doing her duty a lot, so my dad was usually the one to cook for me and take care of me. As I kept thinking about it, I couldn’t hold my tears back. I thought, “My dad was the one who raised me. If I expose him and he finds out about it, wouldn’t he say I have no conscience, that I’m heartless? How could I face him at home after that?” I reluctantly began to write some things about my dad’s behavior, but I couldn’t go on. I was thinking, “What if I write everything I know and he gets kicked out? Forget it. I shouldn’t write this.” I wanted to have a nice, deep sleep to take me away from reality, but I couldn’t sleep a wink. I felt uneasy and guilty. His behavior really hadn’t been great recently, and I knew a bit about his past actions. If I kept it to myself, wouldn’t I be hiding the truth? It was a real internal conflict for me. I had to come before God in prayer. I prayed, “Oh God, I know about some of the evil my dad has done, and I know I have to uphold the church’s work and be truthful about what I know, but I don’t want to do that as I’m afraid he’ll be expelled. God, please guide me so that I can practice the truth, be an honest person, and uphold the church’s work.” I felt a little calmer after this prayer. I then read these words of God: “All of you say you are considerate of God’s burden and will defend the testimony of the church, but who among you has really been considerate of God’s burden? Ask yourself: Are you someone who has shown consideration for His burden? Can you practice righteousness for Him? Can you stand up and speak for Me? Can you steadfastly put the truth into practice? Are you bold enough to fight against all of Satan’s deeds? Would you be able to set your emotions aside and expose Satan for the sake of My truth? Can you allow My intentions to be fulfilled in you? Have you offered up your heart in the most crucial of moments? Are you someone who does My will? Ask yourself these questions, and think about them often” (“Chapter 13” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “They all live in emotion—and so God does not avoid a single one of them, and exposes the secrets hidden in the hearts of all mankind. Why is it so hard for people to separate themselves from emotion? Does doing so surpass the standards of conscience? Can conscience accomplish God’s will? Can emotion help people through adversity? In God’s eyes, emotion is His enemy—has this not been clearly stated in God’s words?” (“Chapter 28” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I had no answers to these questions in God’s words. I well knew that my dad didn’t pursue the truth, and that he disrupted gatherings and others’ eating and drinking of God’s words. He didn’t listen to anyone’s fellowship, he was prejudiced against others, judged people behind their backs, and sowed discord. But constrained by emotion, I failed to heed how my brothers’ and sisters’ life entry was being disrupted. I just didn’t want to be up front with the leader to protect and shield him. I wasn’t putting the truth into practice or being considerate of God’s will. I thought about the two evil people the church had expelled before. Seeing them refusing to practice the truth and disrupting church life had filled me with anger, and I exposed them justly and severely. So why couldn’t I be truthful when it came time to write about my father’s behavior? I saw that I wasn’t an honest person, that I was lacking a sense of justice. I wasn’t practicing the truth or upholding the church’s work at this critical moment. Instead I was shielding my dad out of emotion, covering up his evils and going against the principles of the truth. Wasn’t that standing on Satan’s side and being an enemy to God? Realizing this, I prayed and repented to God. “I don’t want to act on my emotions anymore. I want to be honest about my dad.”

After my prayer, I thought back over some of his expressions of evil and listed them all out, one by one. While serving as a gospel deacon, he became prejudiced against his work partner, Brother Zhang. He judged and discriminated against him in front of other brothers and sisters, leaving Brother Zhang stressed and in a negative state. The leader pruned and dealt with my dad, but he wouldn’t listen. When brothers and sisters pointed out his issues, he wouldn’t accept any of it. He always focused on others’ failings and exploited their weaknesses and he always said, “I’ve been a believer all these years. I understand it all!” When he saw me actively engaging in my duty, he urged me to seek money and worldly things, and always said negative things to dampen my enthusiasm for my duty. One time after he was involved in a car accident, Brother Lin from the church went to check on him and fellowship on the truth, saying he had to reflect on himself and learn his lesson, but he was having none of it. He distorted the facts, and spread a rumor that Brother Lin had come to mock him. That made some brothers and sisters prejudiced against Brother Lin. Thinking through all of this really took me aback and angered me. I wondered, “Is this really my dad? Isn’t this an evil person?” I’d always thought through all his years of faith he’d been doing his duty of gospel work, that he could suffer and pay a price. I’d been taken in by how he seemed on the outside, thinking he was a true believer. I never tried to discern his behavior. I was so foolish and blind. I now felt self-reproach for having been ruled by emotion, coddling and shielding him. I then read this in God’s words: “Those who give vent to their poisonous, malicious talk within the church, who spread rumors, foment disharmony, and form cliques among the brothers and sisters—they should have been expelled from the church. Yet because now is a different era of God’s work, these people are restricted, for they face certain elimination. All who have been corrupted by Satan have corrupt dispositions. Some have nothing more than corrupt dispositions, while others are different: Not only have their dispositions been corrupted by Satan, but their natures are also extremely malicious. Not only do their words and actions reveal their corrupt, satanic disposition; these people are, moreover, the genuine devil Satan. Their behavior interrupts and disturbs God’s work, it impairs the brothers and sisters’ entry into life, and it damages the normal life of the church. Sooner or later, these wolves in sheep’s clothing must be cleared out; an unsparing attitude, an attitude of rejection, should be adopted toward these lackeys of Satan. Only this is standing on the side of God, and those who fail to do so are wallowing in the mire with Satan” (“A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Holding my dad’s behavior up against God’s words, I saw this wasn’t just an ordinary corrupt disposition he was showing, but a malicious nature. He was enthusiastic on the surface and could suffer for his duty, and he could carry on spreading the gospel in the face of CCP persecution, but he couldn’t accept the truth. He even hated the truth. His actions revealed his cunning, malicious nature. He was in essence an evil man who was of Satan, and he should be expelled. Although I was his daughter, I couldn’t go by my own feelings. I had to stand on God’s side in my faith, and expose and forsake Satan. I thought of the brothers and sisters in the group I managed who had no discernment about him. I had to fellowship with them and expose my dad’s wickedness so they wouldn’t be fooled by him anymore. But then I became worried: “Some of them were brought into the faith by him and are on good terms with him. If I expose him, won’t they say I don’t have a conscience, that I’m heartless? And if he’s kicked out and he loses his chance at salvation, that will be so painful for him.” This thought was really upsetting, and I lost my desire to share that fellowship. I lay in bed sleepless that night, thinking that if I didn’t expose my dad’s wickedness and brothers and sisters were deceived and stood on his side, then they would be sharing in his evil. If I saw them being misled but didn’t fellowship with them, wouldn’t I be harming them? At that thought I felt some self-reproach, so I said a prayer to God: “Oh God, I have so many worries now. Please give me faith and strength, guide me and lead me to practice the truth and expose this evil person.”

After I’d prayed, I read this passage of God’s words: “In God’s words, what principle is mentioned with regard to how people should treat each other? Love what God loves, and hate what God hates. That is, the people God loves, who truly pursue the truth and do God’s will, are the very ones you should love. Those who do not do God’s will, who hate God, who disobey Him, and whom He despises are ones we, too, should despise and reject. This is what God’s word requires. If our parents don’t believe in God, then they hate God. If they hate God, God will of course despise them. If we are asked to despise them, can we despise them? If they can resist God and can curse God, then they are surely loathed by God and cursed by God. Under these circumstances, if your parents don’t obstruct you from believing in God, or if your parents go to the extent of obstructing you from believing in God, how will you treat them? During the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus said, ‘Who is My mother? and who are My brothers? … For whoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.’ This saying already existed back in the Age of Grace, and now God’s words are even more apt: ‘Love what God loves, and hate what God hates.’ These words cut straight to the point, yet people are often unable to appreciate their true meaning. If a person is cursed by God, but from all outward appearances seems to be quite good, or is a parent or relative of yours, then you might find yourself unable to hate that person, and there might even be a good deal of intimacy and a close relationship between you two. When you hear such words from God, you get upset and are unable to harden your heart toward or abandon such a person. This is because there is a traditional notion here that is binding you. You think that if you do this, you will incur the wrath of Heaven, be punished by Heaven, and even be cast aside by society and condemned in the court of public opinion. Furthermore, an even more pragmatic problem is that it will be on your conscience. This conscience comes from what your parents taught you from childhood, or from the influence and infection of social culture, either of which has planted such a root and way of thinking inside you so that you cannot practice God’s word and love what He loves and hate what He hates. However, deep down, you know that you should hate them and reject them, for your life came from God, and was not given by your parents. Man ought to worship God and return himself to Him. Even though you both say and think that, you simply cannot come around and are simply unable to put it into practice. Do you know what is going on here? It is that these things have bound you, both tightly and profoundly. Satan uses these things to bind your thoughts, your mind, and your heart so that you cannot accept God’s words. Such things have filled you up completely, to the point that you have no room for God’s words. Moreover, if you try to put His words into practice, then those things will take effect inside you and make you conflict with His words and requirements, thus making you unable to extricate yourself from these knots and unable to break free from this bondage. You can’t do anything about it. After a period of useless struggle you will compromise” (“Only by Knowing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks). I then understood that the principle God requires us to have in dealing with others must be to love what He loves and hate what He hates. People who love the truth and can do God’s will are those we should treat with love, while evil people who hate the truth and resist God are the ones we should hate. Only this practice is in line with God’s will. But I was always constrained by emotion when it came to my dad. I protected and covered for him. I wasn’t able to love what God loves and hate what God hates. It was because Satan’s old notions of “Blood is thicker than water” and “Man is not inanimate; how can he be free from emotions?” had a hold over my heart. I couldn’t distinguish good from evil, thinking that exposing my dad’s evil behavior would be outrageous, unconscionable. I was afraid of being criticized and condemned by others. To protect a family relationship of the flesh, I failed to uphold the truth and expose an evil person heedless of the work of God’s house and brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. That’s what was truly unconscionable and lacking in humanity. I saw these old satanic notions were stopping me from practicing the truth, making me stand on Satan’s side and resist God, in spite of myself. In fact, God has never said that we should be conscionable in our dealings with demons and evil people, nor has He said that rejecting loved ones who belong to Satan is immoral. In the Age of Law, Job’s unbelieving children died in a calamity, but Job didn’t speak for or complain to God about his children out of emotion. On the contrary, he praised God’s name. In the Age of Grace, Peter’s parents stifled and stood in the way of his faith, so he forsook them and left home, giving up everything to follow God, thereby gaining God’s praise. Thinking over Job’s and Peter’s experiences, I gained some understanding about God’s requirement to love what He loves and hate what He hates.

I then read more of God’s words: “Who is Satan, who are demons, and who are God’s enemies if not resisters who do not believe in God? Are they not those people who are disobedient to God? Are they not those who claim to have faith, yet who lack truth? Are they not those who merely seek to obtain blessings while being unable to bear witness for God? You still mingle with those demons today and bear conscience and love toward them, but in this case are you not extending good intentions toward Satan? Are you not associating with demons? If people these days are still unable to distinguish between good and evil, and continue to blindly be loving and merciful without any intention of seeking God’s will or being able in any way to harbor God’s intentions as their own, then their endings will be all the more wretched. … If you are compatible with those which I detest and with which I disagree, and still bear love or personal feelings toward them, then are you not disobedient? Are you not intentionally resisting God? Does such a person possess truth? If people bear conscience toward enemies, love for demons, and mercy for Satan, then are they not intentionally disrupting God’s work?” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this left me feeling so distressed and guilty. I knew that my dad hated the truth and had always been disruptive to church life, and that his nature and essence were evil, but I kept being conscionable and loving toward him, even covering up for him and shielding him. Wasn’t that exactly what God meant by “extending good intentions toward Satan” and “associating with demons”? Wasn’t I brazenly opposing God and disrupting the church’s work? In God’s house, the truth and righteousness rule. All the evil forces of Satan, including all evil people and antichrists, cannot remain. They must be exposed and eliminated by God, and purged from the church. This is determined by God’s righteous disposition. But I had been covering up for an evil person, trying to let him stay in God’s house. Wasn’t I tolerating an evil person’s disruptions of church life? Wasn’t I aiding an evil enemy and opposing God? Going on like that would mean being punished by God alongside the evil man. This realization scared me a bit. I saw that God’s righteous disposition tolerates no offense and covering for an evildoer out of personal feelings is so dangerous! I could no longer speak and act based on my feelings. Even though he was my dad, I had to practice the truth, love what God loves, hate what God hates, and uphold the interests of God’s house.

I later went to a gathering with my group and revealed the whole truth of my dad’s behavior and evil deeds. The brothers and sisters who had been misled by him began to discern his essence. The church later issued a notice of my dad’s expulsion. I went home, read it to him, and talked about his evil behavior. I was shocked when he said disdainfully, “I’ve known for a while now that I’d be kicked out. I’ve believed in God all these years just for blessings, otherwise I would’ve stopped believing a long time ago.” Seeing he had no intention of repenting, I knew very clearly in my heart that his evil nature had been fully revealed. After my dad was kicked out there weren’t evildoers disrupting things in the church. In gatherings, brothers and sisters could all read God’s words and fellowship on the truth without disruption. They did their duties as they should, and the church life bore fruit. I saw that in God’s house, truth and righteousness rule, and when we practice the truth according to God’s words, we witness His guidance and blessings. Regarding my dad, I gradually freed myself from my personal feelings and ultimately became able to practice a bit of the truth and support the church’s work. This was all achieved through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words!

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