21. I’ve Learned How to Treat People Properly
By Siyuan, France
A couple of years ago, I was doing the duty of a church leader. There was a brother surnamed Chen in the church who was of good caliber. But his disposition was so arrogant, and he tended to stifle others. He loved showing off, so I started developing biases against him and forming opinions of him. One day, Brother Chen came up to me and said he wanted to water new believers. He hadn’t believed in God for long and had a superficial understanding of the truth, so I said no. Seeing I wouldn’t give my consent, he said, “I have such a good caliber, why shouldn’t I be on watering duty? If I don’t go do it, it would be a waste of my talents.” I didn’t take kindly to this, and I thought, “You think watering duty is so easy? Can you do this duty well using only your gifts and caliber, without understanding the truth? Don’t flatter yourself!” I refused Brother Chen’s request and told other brothers and sisters how arrogant he was, giving examples of lots of ways he showed corruption. Some of the others agreed with me.
Two weeks later, the church made arrangements that in future gatherings, we could watch church movies as well as read Almighty God’s words. These movies all fellowshiped on the truth and testified to God, so watching them could help us understand the truth. At the next gathering, Brother Chen said, “This is a great plan. Some leaders and co-workers just share platitudes in gatherings, so it’s better to watch movies. I found my duty really hard at first because I didn’t understand the truth. But then I prayed, leaned on God, and read God’s words more, and these church movies have helped me a lot, too. I’ve understood some truths from them. Now I’m pretty skilled in my duty and have a basic grasp on the principles. I achieve a lot in my duty.” I found his fellowship repugnant and beyond the pale, and I thought, “You really grab every little chance to show off, don’t you? You’re so arrogant!” We later lined up a few issues to be dealt with at our next gathering and Brother Chen jumped in to hog three of them. He also assigned the remaining issues to others to give fellowship on. Just as I was assigning a group leader to host the gathering, Brother Chen asked him in a doubtful tone, “Are you sure you can do it?” Hearing him say this as if only he could possibly host the gathering, I became angry, and thought, “You’re so unreasonable. You’re just showing off to get others to look up to you. If that’s what you’re after, then you can forget it.” So I rearranged everything and didn’t allow him to host the gathering. Over that period of time, I felt such distaste for Brother Chen whenever I thought about his behavior, especially how I’d mentioned his arrogant behavior to him a couple of times and he still hadn’t changed. I felt he was way too arrogant, that it knew no bounds. So I pegged him as a person who couldn’t change and decided that someone as arrogant as him was simply not suited to do his duty. I thought I had to just replace him and that would be that.
When the gathering ended, I thought of my own state and behavior, and felt a little bad. I felt I was being too harsh with Brother Chen, so I prayed to God, saying, “Oh God, I know my state is wrong, but I don’t know what my problem is or which principles of the truth to enter into. Please enlighten and guide me.” The next day during devotionals, I read these words of God: “According to which principle should you treat the members of God’s family? (Treat each and every brother and sister fairly.) How do you treat them fairly? Everyone has minor faults and shortcomings, as well as certain idiosyncrasies; people all possess self-righteousness, weakness, and areas in which they are lacking. You should help them with a loving heart, be tolerant and forbearing, and not be too harsh or make a fuss over every tiny detail. With people who are young or who have not believed in God for very long, or have only recently started to perform their duties, these people who have certain special requests, if you just grab hold of these things and use them against them, then you are being harsh. You ignore the evil done by those false leaders and antichrists, and yet upon spotting minor shortcomings and faults in your brothers and sisters, you refuse to help them, instead choosing to make a fuss over those things and judge them behind their backs, thereby causing even more people to oppose, exclude, and ostracize them. What sort of behavior is this? This is just you doing things based on your personal preferences, and not being able to treat people fairly. This shows a corrupt satanic disposition and it is a transgression! When people do things, God is watching; whatever you do and however you think, He sees!” (“To Gain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words showed me my state and I felt ashamed. I saw that I was dealing with Brother Chen through my corrupt disposition. Thinking back over the time since I met him, I saw that he often revealed his arrogance in his words and deeds, and so I felt he was young and brash, and didn’t know himself. At the slightest mention of him, I thought of nothing but his faults. I clung to his expressions of corruption, deciding that he was arrogant beyond all reason, and that people like that could never change. So I was never able to treat him fairly. I felt resistant and averse to any views he expressed. I judged and belittled him in front of others, spread my biases about him, and got others to exclude and ostracize him along with me. I even wanted to dismiss him from his duty. Wasn’t I using my position as a leader to suppress and beat him down? I took my views and beliefs to be the truth, as criteria to judge people, as though I could know everything about someone at a glance and see their very essence. I was so arrogant and conceited. I was deeply corrupted by Satan, without the principles of the truth, and had absurd views much of the time, but I still arbitrarily judged and condemned others. I had no sense whatsoever! I didn’t have any reverence for God. I treated brothers and sisters however I liked and lived out a demonic nature. It was so repugnant for God, so disgusting to others. I was filled with guilt at that thought.
Afterward, I looked in God’s words for the principles on how to treat people fairly. I found two passages of God’s words: “How you are to treat others is clearly shown or hinted at in God’s words; the attitude with which God treats humanity is the attitude people should adopt in their treatment of one another. How does God treat each and every person? Some people are of immature stature, or are young, or have believed in God for only a short time. God might see these people as being neither bad nor malicious by nature essence; it is simply that they are somewhat ignorant or lacking in caliber, or that they have been polluted too much by society. They have not entered truth reality, so it is difficult for them to keep from doing some foolish things or committing some ignorant acts. However, from God’s perspective, such matters are not important; He looks only at these people’s hearts. If they are resolved to enter truth reality, if they are headed in the right direction, and this is their objective, then God is watching them, waiting for them, and giving them time and opportunities that allow them to enter. It is not the case that God knocks them down with one blow, nor is it that He grabs hold of a transgression they once committed and refuses to let go; He has never treated people like this. That being said, if people treat each other in such a manner, then does this not show their corrupt disposition? This is precisely their corrupt disposition. You have to look at how God treats ignorant and foolish people, how He treats those with immature stature, how He treats the normal manifestations of humanity’s corrupt disposition, and how He treats those who are malicious. God treats different people in different ways, and He also has various ways of managing different people’s myriad conditions. You must understand these truths. Once you have understood these truths, you will then know how to experience them” (“To Gain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). “You might be incompatible with someone’s personality, and you may not like him, but when you work together with him, you remain impartial and will not vent your frustrations in doing your duty, sacrifice your duty, or take out your frustrations on the interests of God’s family. You can do things according to principle; as such, you have a basic reverence for God. If you have a bit more than that, then when you see that someone has some faults or weaknesses—even if he has offended you or harmed your own interests—you still have it in you to help him. Doing so would be even better; it would mean that you are a person who possesses humanity, truth reality, and reverence for God” (“The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days).
God’s words are very clear on the principles and path to treating people fairly, as well as His attitude toward people. His attitude toward antichrists and wicked people is one of hate, curse, and punishment. As for those who are of small stature, poor caliber, and who have various corrupt dispositions and faults, as long as they truly believe in God, wish to pursue the truth, and can accept the truth, God’s attitude is one of love, mercy, and salvation. We see that God is principled in His treatment of every single person, and He asks that we treat others according to the principles of the truth. For example, we must be tolerant and forgiving to those who truly believe in God. We must help them out of love and give them chances to repent and change. We can’t beat people down just because they express some corruption. That is not God’s will. Take Brother Chen—he was of good caliber and was responsible in his duty. He was also willing to put effort into pursuing the truth. It was just that he was a new believer, his experience was shallow, and he was a little more arrogant than others. I should have been treating him fairly according to the principles of the truth and lovingly fellowshiping on the truth to help him. However, not only was I not helping him, refusing to see his strengths and good points, but I even judged and excluded him, and wanted him gone when seeing his shortcomings. I had such a malicious nature! I thought about how I’d been as a leader. At the time, I always thought I was better than others, I wanted to have the final say, do whatever I wanted, and I didn’t listen to others’ opinions. As a result, I did some things that disrupted the church’s work. And yet God didn’t eliminate me, but instead used His words to judge, discipline and deal with me, to have me reflect on myself, giving me a chance to repent and change. I saw that God never gives up on us or eliminates us just for expressing some corruption, but does all He can to save us. God has such a good heart! Then, considering my own behavior and how I was treating Brother Chen made me so ashamed that I wanted the ground to swallow me up.
I then read these words of God: “As for whether someone is good or bad, and how he or she should be treated, people should have their own principles of behavior; however, as for what the outcome of that person will be—whether he or she ends up getting punished by God, or whether he or she ends up getting judged and chastised—that is God’s business. People should not interfere; God would not allow you to take the initiative on His behalf. How to treat that person is God’s business. As long as God has not decided what sort of outcome such people will have, has not expelled them, and has not punished them, and they are being saved, then you should help them patiently, out of love; you should not hope to determine the outcome of such people, nor should you use human means to crack down on them or punish them. You may deal with and prune such people, or you may open your heart and engage in heartfelt fellowship to help them. However, if you contemplate punishing, ostracizing, and framing these people, then you will be in trouble. Would doing so be in line with the truth? Having such thoughts would result from being hot-blooded; those thoughts come from Satan and originate from human resentment, as well as from human jealousy and loathing. Such conduct does not conform to the truth. This is something that would bring down retribution upon you, and is not in line with God’s will” (“The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words showed me that I should be principled in how I treated others. I couldn’t randomly pigeonhole others using my notions and imaginings or focus on their transgressions, then condemn them. Instead, I should treat them based on their nature and essence, and help them in practical ways based on their different states and faults. Depending on other people’s states, someone with the reality of the truth knows when to be patient and helpful, when to prune and deal with them harshly, and when to reproach them. They always act properly and with principle. They never randomly delimit someone or treat a brother or sister who expresses corruption as an enemy. But how had I been treating Brother Chen? When I saw him reveal an arrogant disposition, I just mentioned it briefly to him and when that didn’t work, I excluded, judged and condemned him, and talked about him behind his back. I had no tolerance or patience. In no way is that helping him with a loving heart. I then prayed and repented to God, wanting to practice the principles of the truth and help Brother Chen with a loving heart.
So I went to Brother Chen and fellowshiped with him on some passages of God’s words and pointed out his faults. He began to understand his own arrogant disposition and he recognized the danger of leaving it unresolved. He said my fellowship and warning was really helpful, and he wanted to reflect on himself and seek the truth to resolve his corrupt disposition. I was so moved to hear him say this, but I also felt bad. He wasn’t incapable of change like I’d imagined. It was me who hadn’t done my duty well. I hadn’t really tried to help him with a loving heart. I was so arrogant and devoid of humanity!
Later, at a gathering, I heard the brother from the Above give this sermon: “All of corrupt mankind possesses an arrogant disposition. Even those who love the truth and who pursue being perfected all have an arrogant and self-righteous disposition, though this does not affect their ability to attain salvation and be perfected. As long as people are able to accept the truth and accept pruning and dealing, and are able to absolutely submit to the truth no matter what the circumstances, then they are entirely capable of achieving salvation and being perfected. In fact, among those who are truly of good caliber and really have resolutions, there are none who are not arrogant. This is a fact. God’s chosen people must treat others in the proper manner. They must not delimit someone as not a good person and as someone who cannot be saved and perfected simply because that person is extremely arrogant and self-righteous. … On this point, one needs to understand God’s will. There is no such person as one whose caliber is good and who has resolution, and who is not at all arrogant or self-righteous; if there was, then that would most certainly be someone putting on a guise or a false outward appearance. One must know that all of corrupt mankind has an arrogant and conceited nature. This is an undeniable fact” (The Fellowship From the Above). This helped me better understand how to treat people with an arrogant disposition. It’s not that they’re unable to change. The key is to see whether they can pursue and accept the truth. If they can accept the truth, and accept God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning and dealing, then there’s no reason why they can’t change and be perfected by God. Brother Chen hadn’t been a believer very long, so he hadn’t experienced much judgment and chastisement. It was normal for his arrogance to be a little worse. But when I saw him reveal this disposition, I judged and excluded him, and even wanted to dismiss him from his duty. I was more arrogant than he was! I thought that as long as I pursued the truth, then my arrogant disposition would change, so why had I decided that Brother Chen couldn’t change? I didn’t demand much of myself, so why did I expect so much from Brother Chen? It was so unfair to treat someone that way. In reality, people who have gifts, strengths and caliber are all pretty arrogant. But because their caliber is good, they understand the truth quickly and are productive in their duties. When people like this understand the truth and act with principle, it really benefits the work of God’s house. Brother Chen had good caliber, so I should help him out of love more, and fellowship more to support him. Only that would be considerate to God’s will. This experience made me appreciate that treating people by our satanic corrupt dispositions without the truth can only harm brothers and sisters, and delay both their life entry and the church’s work. That is a transgression; it’s doing evil. I saw how important it is to treat others according to the principles of the truth. I’ve gained this small understanding thanks to the guidance of God’s words.