15. How I Was Freed From Arrogance
In June of 2019, I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days. A year later, I was elected as a church leader. I was grateful to God for showing me grace and giving me this opportunity to practice, so I happily threw myself into my duty, followed up on and learned about the work, and solved the problems and difficulties my brothers and sisters had through fellowship in gatherings. After a while, most of the newcomers who didn’t often attend gatherings began to do so on a regular basis, and they actively spread the gospel and performed their duties. The other work also produced some results, and I couldn’t help but feel a little pride. I thought, “After just a little while of serving as a leader, I’ve been able to solve some practical problems, and my brothers and sisters respect me. I must be much better than the last leader.” Gradually, I started to become arrogant. When I inspected others’ work, I noticed some team leaders didn’t understand the situation in their teams and procrastinated in their duties, and I’d become very impatient and scold them. When I saw that some of them felt constrained by me, I realized I was being impetuous, and I felt a little guilty, but then I thought, “I am doing the church’s work, and I can’t achieve results if I’m not strict.” After that, I didn’t reflect on myself, and the matters passed.
Before one gathering, I met with several watering group members to discuss what would be fellowshiped with the newcomers at the gathering. I asked them to share their views first, but after a long time, no one had said a word, and only one sister offered a little fellowship. At the time, I was very angry. I thought they were so useless that they couldn’t even talk about the gathering’s content, and I wanted to lose my temper at them, but I was afraid this would upset them and it would affect the gathering that evening, so I prayed to God to cool my temper. I thought, “None of them have opinions, so I’ll decide what will be fellowshiped at the gathering based on my own ideas.” But at the gathering, I saw that some sisters didn’t fellowship as I’d instructed, and others didn’t actively fellowship at all. I was furious and wanted to lose temper, but I thought about how we were still at a gathering, and I feared the newcomers would feel constrained, so I kept myself under control. The whole gathering didn’t achieve the results I’d expected. When the gathering finished, I said, “How do you feel about the results of tonight’s gathering? Tell me what problems or errors you noticed.” One sister said she couldn’t calm herself enough to fellowship, another sister said the gathering was too short, and other brothers and sisters followed suit, saying there wasn’t enough time. After I heard that, my anger resurfaced. I thought, “Not only are you not aware of your problems, but you are also looking for excuses. I really ought to teach you a lesson.” So, I used a passage of God’s word to lecture them and tell them that they were very passive when discussing the gathering’s content and that they made excuses and didn’t reflect on themselves when the gathering didn’t go well. None of the brothers and sisters dared to say a word, and I realized that my words had been too harsh. It wasn’t appropriate to scold them. But then I thought that I did this to help them know themselves, and so I didn’t reflect on my own problems. After that, I reported to my leader that the watering group had low caliber and no sense of responsibility in performing their duties. I wanted her to send me some good waterers and I even wanted to have one sister dismissed. But my leader fellowshiped with me, saying, “They’re not all of the same stature and caliber. We can’t ask too much, we need to fellowship with them more and help them.” She also said that every church had a lot of newcomers accepting God’s work of the last days right now, so they couldn’t spare any waterers for me. Once I heard this, I reluctantly accepted it.
Later, I found out that Sister Eva, my partner, didn’t talk to me very much about work. She was unwilling to tell me about any problems at work at all, and at co-worker meetings, several deacons didn’t actively fellowship. Just a few days later, my leader said to me, “Eva reported that you tend to scold people at gatherings. This makes people feel constrained, so you need to properly reflect on this matter….” I thought, “I was pointing out their problems. They don’t know themselves, and now they say they feel constrained, but that was never my intention. If they do, it’s their problem.” Later, I felt guilty, and reflected simply on how I had shown corruption when I was working with my brothers and sisters, which made them feel constrained. I went to Eva to open up and fellowship, and I said, “I am quite a blunt person, and easily angered. Sometimes, when we work together performing our duties, I don’t deal with your corruptions and shortcomings properly, and I speak very harshly, which makes you feel constrained.” I was surprised when Eva said, “I think you are arrogant, self-righteous and have a terrible temper, you love to talk down to and scold others!” I was stunned when I heard that. I thought, “I admit I’m arrogant, but I certainly haven’t spoken down to any of you! I opened up and told you so much just now, why don’t you try to know yourself rather than picking at my flaws?” I couldn’t swallow that, so I pointed out some of her problems she had in performing her duties, but I was taken aback when Eva immediately accepted what I’d said. Seeing how well she accepted criticism, I thought to myself that I shouldn’t argue back, and I should just accept what she’d said. So, I reflected on myself based on what she had said, that I was arrogant, self-righteous, and talked down to people, but after thinking about it for three days, I still didn’t understand. I went to Eva and asked her to clarify it for me. She said, “When we were summarizing our issues that day, you didn’t ask us what specific problems we were having, you just exploded at us. It’s not appropriate to scold people like this and is likely to make them feel constrained.” I thought, “Just because of this one incident, you say I’m arrogant and like to speak down to others? Isn’t that a little unfair?” I hastily explained, “I had a reason for criticizing you. At first, I wanted to summarize the mistakes that had been made, I only lost my temper when I saw none of you knew yourselves.” I thought Eva would understand, but she immediately said, “I think you are too arrogant. You demand that everyone listen to you, and you regard your own ideas as the truth.” When I heard her say this, I felt confused. I thought I had misheard her, so I asked her to confirm, and she told me very clearly, “That’s right!” I began to feel very afraid and I thought, “How dare I regard my own ideas as the truth? I’ve never thought that way.” But I knew God’s good intentions were behind me being dealt with like this, so I quickly prayed to God and asked Him to enlighten me so I could know myself. During one devotional, I read some of God’s words: “Some people say they don’t have a corrupt disposition, that they are not arrogant. What people are these? These are people without sense, and they are also the most stupid and arrogant of all. In fact, they’re more arrogant and rebellious than anyone; the more someone says they have no corrupt dispositions, the more arrogant and self-righteous they are. Why are others able to know themselves, and accept God’s judgment, yet you are not? Are you the exception? Are you a saint? Do you live in a vacuum? You do not acknowledge that humankind has been deeply corrupted by Satan, that everyone has a corrupt disposition. This means you do not understand the truth at all, and you are the most rebellious, ignorant, and arrogant of all” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. An Arrogant Nature Is at the Root of Man’s Resistance to God). “I have found that many leaders are only capable of lecturing people, they are only able to preach to people from on high, and cannot communicate with them on the same level; they are not able to interact with people normally. When some people talk, it’s always like they are giving a speech or making a report; their words are only ever directed at other people’s states, and they never open up about themselves, they never dissect their own corrupt dispositions, but only dissect other people’s issues for others to know. And why do they do this? Why are they liable to preach such sermons, to say such things? This is proof that they have no knowledge of themselves, that they are too lacking in sense, too arrogant and conceited. They think that their ability to recognize other people’s corrupt dispositions proves that they are above other people, that they are more discerning than others, that they are less corrupt than other people. Being able to dissect and lecture others, but being incapable of laying themselves bare, not exposing or dissecting their own corrupt dispositions, not showing their true face, saying nothing about their own motivations, only lecturing other people for doing the wrong thing—this is self-magnification and self-exaltation” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. On God’s Administrative Decrees in the Age of Kingdom). God’s words revealed my true state. All humankind has been corrupted by Satan and is full of satanic dispositions. I don’t live in a vacuum. I’ve also been corrupted by Satan. How could I not have an arrogant disposition? God permitted that my sister dealt with me for being arrogant and talking down to people, and yet I thought that she was exaggerating when she dealt with me. I was so numb that I didn’t know myself at all. God’s word says that if leaders can’t fellowship on the truth and supply others, can’t analyze or know themselves, and only scold, speak down to others while giving sermons, and always think they are better than others, then they are the most arrogant and disobedient of people. I realized this was how I behaved while performing my duty. When the work I was responsible for was effective, or when I got approval from my brothers and sisters, I started to admire myself and felt I was better than others. When I saw them doing their duties slowly, I disdained them for not pulling their own weight, and instead of fellowshiping on the truth to help them, I scolded them, blamed them, thinking they were useless. I even wanted to dismiss a sister who I thought had poor caliber without even looking at if she was effective in her duties. When we discussed the content of the gathering, my brothers and sisters were silent, but instead of asking about their difficulties, I just held it against them. During the gathering, when they didn’t fellowship according to my plan, I wanted to lose my temper with them. When I pointed out their problems and they didn’t recognize them, I dismissed and belittled them in my head, and even scolded them harshly. I didn’t consider at all their stature or difficulties. My leader told me Eva felt constrained by me and asked me to reflect on myself, but I didn’t take it seriously, and thought I criticized Eva to help her better know herself. At that point, I remembered Eva had once told me there was a brother who had just started his duty and who didn’t dare fellowship when I was present at gatherings. I thought nothing of it at the time. Only now did I see that it was because I was always scolding people that my brothers and sisters all felt constrained by me and didn’t dare fellowship. But I wasn’t aware of my own issues, and I despised them for not pulling their weight. I really was so arrogant! I didn’t treat my brothers and sisters as equals, nor did I try to understand or consider their difficulties or try to fellowship on the truth to help them. Instead, I scolded and criticized them condescendingly. When Eva pruned and dealt with me, I didn’t know myself at all and kept trying to defend and explain myself. I thought I merely spoke directly and curtly. I couldn’t admit I was being condescending and scolding people, and it was even harder to admit that I was treating my ideas as the truth. I thought that Eva had just been exaggerating. I always asked others to know themselves, but I didn’t reflect at all on the revelations of my own corruption. I always thought I was right and everyone else was at fault. I was so arrogant and unreasonable.
Soon after, I read another passage of God’s word: “If, in your heart, you truly understand the truth, then you will know how to practice the truth and obey God, and will naturally embark on the path of pursuing the truth. If the path you walk is the right one, and in line with God’s will, then the work of the Holy Spirit will not leave you—in which case there will be less and less chance of you betraying God. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if you have an arrogant and conceited disposition, then being told not to oppose God makes no difference, you can’t help yourself, it is beyond your control. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display; they would make you scorn others, they would leave no one in your heart but yourself; they would rob you of God’s place in your heart, and ultimately cause you to sit in the place of God and demand that people submit to you, and make you venerate your own thoughts, ideas, and notions as the truth. So much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature!” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition). From God’s word, I understood that people with arrogant and self-righteous natures will exalt themselves, belittle others, think they are always right, and think highly of themselves. They even treat their own ideas as the truth and can do evil or resist God at any time. I thought back on my previous contact with the other brothers and sisters: I never discussed my own experiences or exposed and analyzed my own corruption to guide them in knowing themselves. Instead, I condescendingly exposed their problems. When they didn’t understand, I got angry, belittled them, and scolded them, making them feel constrained. They didn’t dare tell me if they had problems, which hindered the work and impacted the effectiveness of church life. All of this was caused by my arrogant nature. I thought of how God expresses the truth to supply people and exposes our corruption and disobedience, but never forces us to accept His word or practice it. Instead, He patiently guides people and arranges situations for them to experience His words and work, allowing people to gradually come to know themselves through experience, practice the truth, and grow in life. Moreover, God is very principled in how He deals with people. God treats every person fairly based on their stature and caliber. He does not demand more of us than we are capable of. He does not think highly of or belittle us. But when I achieved some results in my duties, I demanded people listen to me. I didn’t account for people’s different situations or treat people correctly according to principles, and I always asked too much of others. When they couldn’t reach my standards, I despised, belittled, and even tried to have them dismissed and replaced as I pleased. When I reflected on the essence of what I had done, I saw that I had indeed arrogantly treated my own ideas like the truth, insisted my point of view was right no matter what the time or place, and that my brothers and sisters should listen to me. I wasn’t fulfilling my duties at all. Wasn’t I just resisting God? I didn’t expect my arrogant nature would lead me to do wicked things such as resisting God and harming my brothers and sisters. I was terrible and deserved to be punished by God! Once I realized this, I was very grateful to God for protecting me by allowing me to reflect on myself in time and not go astray through my sister’s advice. Only now did I see I lacked the realities of truth, that I even considered my own views and understanding as the truth, and made my brothers and sisters listen to me. I really was too arrogant and I didn’t know a thing about myself.
After, I read a passage from the word of God: “Can you make people understand the truth and enter its reality if you only repeat words of doctrine, and lecture people, and deal with them? If the truth you fellowship is not real, if it is nothing but words of doctrine, then no matter how much you deal with and lecture them, it will be to no avail. Do you think people being afraid of you, and doing what you tell them to, and not daring to object, is the same as them understanding the truth and being obedient? This is a major mistake; entry into life is not so simple. Some leaders are like a new manager trying to make a strong impression, they try to impose their new-found authority on God’s chosen ones so that everyone submits to them, thinking that this will make their job easier. If you lack the reality of the truth, then before long your true stature will be exposed, your true colors will be revealed, and you could well be cast out. In some administrative work, a little dealing, pruning, and discipline is acceptable. But if you are incapable of fellowshiping the truth, in the end, you will still be unable to solve the problem, and will affect the results of the work. If, no matter what issues appear in the church, you keep lecturing people and casting blame—if all you ever do is lose your temper—then this is your corrupt disposition revealing itself, and you have shown the ugly face of your corruption. If you always stand on a pedestal and lecture people like this, then as time goes on, people will be unable to receive the provision of life from you, they will not gain anything real, and instead will be repulsed and disgusted by you. In addition, there will be some people who, having been influenced by you due to a lack of discernment, will likewise lecture others, and deal with them and prune them. They will likewise get angry and lose their tempers. You will not only be unable to solve people’s problems—you will also be fostering their corrupt dispositions. And is that not leading them onto the path toward perdition? Is that not an act of evil? A leader should lead, in the main, by fellowshiping about the truth and provisioning with life. If you always stand on a pedestal and lecture others, will they be able to understand the truth? If you work in this way for a while, when people come to see you clearly for what you are, they are going to desert you. Can you bring people before God by working in this way? You certainly cannot; all you can do is foul up the work of the church and cause all God’s chosen people to loathe you and desert you” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). As leaders, God instructs us to learn to fellowship on the truth to solve problems and guide people in understanding the truth, not to scold others too easily, flaunt our authority, and make others fear us. These are the actions of a false leader and an antichrist. Since I’d become a leader, not only had I not done any practical work, but I had not helped with the life entry of my brothers and sisters in any substantial way. I always just blindly scolded and dealt with my brothers and sisters because of my anger, causing them to feel constrained by me, fear me, and avoid me. I thought of a false leader who was dismissed the previous month because he did no practical work, couldn’t solve the difficulties his brothers and sisters faced in their duties, and only blindly dealt with them and accused them of doing a bad job, to the point of causing one sister to cry, saying she felt constrained by him. She lived in a weak and negative state and thought that she wasn’t capable of performing her duties. This false leader’s actions caused serious harm to the work of the church and the life entry of his brothers and sisters. Wasn’t I the same as this false leader? I didn’t have the realities of truth and didn’t focus on pursuing the truth or dispositional change. I could only blindly scold and deal with people from my arrogant disposition. I was walking the path of false leaders and antichrists. Continuing like this was dangerous!
Later, I saw a passage of God’s word: “Leaders and workers must be able to fellowship God’s words, must be able to find a path to practice from God’s words, and must lead people in understanding God’s words, in experiencing and entering God’s words in their daily lives, in being able to incorporate God’s words into their daily lives, in solving the problems they come across using God’s words; so, too, must they lead people in using God’s words to address the various difficulties they encounter while performing their duty” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). From God’s words I understood that leaders and workers must be able to fellowship on God’s word, to guide others in understanding the truth and entering into its reality. Leaders and workers must also understand and resolve the troubles and difficulties others encounter in their duties, so that as brothers and sisters perform their duties and in their real lives, they can learn to practice the truth and make progress in life. This is the most fundamental work of leaders and workers. However, I did not understand people’s difficulties, nor did I fellowship on the truth with them to resolve their problems, and I always criticized and made demands of them with an attitude of disdain. Although sometimes we have to prune and deal with others, it must be based in principle and we should distinguish between people’s different situations and backgrounds. If someone does something that disrupts or disturbs the church’s work, hurts the life entry of their brothers and sisters, and doesn’t change after repeated fellowship, they should be pruned and dealt with. Some people always muddle through in their duties and don’t repent despite fellowship, and they should be pruned and dealt with. When people knowingly sin or know the truth but don’t practice it, they must also be pruned and dealt with. When we deal with others, we cannot just repeat the words of doctrine, nor can we do that willfully or in a blind temper, and even more so cannot scold them in a condescending manner. We need to see the essence of the problem clearly and fellowship on the truth, so that they know what their mistake is, what corrupt disposition controls them, and the essence of their actions. When dealing with brothers and sisters and exposing their corruption, we need to stand on equal footing with them. We can’t exclude ourselves, as if we aren’t corrupt. But I didn’t understand the principles of pruning and dealing with people. When I saw my brothers and sisters muddling through and procrastinating in their duties, instead of offering fellowship on the truth to help them, I scolded and dealt with them condescendingly and blindly. As a result, instead of gaining knowledge of themselves, they felt constrained by me and became passive and weak. Actually, my leaders had told me that some brothers and sisters had just started their duties, didn’t understand some principles, so there would inevitably be some mistakes and errors in their duties, and I shouldn’t always deal with them in such situations. Instead, I should understand their shortcomings and trouble, lovingly support and help them, and guide them in understanding the principles of the truth. If I had helped and guided them many times, and if they knew how to practice, but didn’t repent or change, then I should have pointed out the essence of their problems, helped them know themselves according to the principles of God’s word. Only pruning and dealing like this is in accordance with God’s will, helps the work of the church and the life entry of our brothers and sisters.
One day, my leader sent a message to the group to investigate the state of an item of work, but my partner and the team leaders didn’t respond in time. I thought, “Why didn’t my brothers and sisters take the initiative to respond? They are far too passive about their duties.” When it was time for our gathering, I brought up this problem, and when everyone was silent, I couldn’t help but lose my temper again and accused them of being too slow and passive in their duties. When I finished, they were still silent, and I thought, “Did I expose my arrogant disposition again and make my brothers and sisters feel constrained?” At that moment, I looked at my computer and realized that my microphone had been muted as I fellowshiped. This was when I realized God was protecting me and preventing me from harming my brothers and sisters. I felt a deep sense of remorse and hated myself for showing arrogance again. Then I turned on my microphone and calmly asked them why they did not reply to the message in time. That was when I learned my partner didn’t have internet then, and the others didn’t have a grasp of the principles or understand the situation, and didn’t know how to respond. So, I patiently fellowshiped with everyone about how to carry out this work according to principles. When I practiced in this way, I felt a little more at ease.
Later, I read another passage of God’s word: “After humans are conquered by God, the basic attribute of the sense of reason they should be equipped with is to be sure not to speak arrogantly. They should assume a lowly status, ‘as dung upon the ground,’ and say some things that are true; this would be best. Especially when bearing testimony for God, if you can say something of substance from the heart, with no empty or tall talk and no fictitious lies, then your disposition will have truly changed, and this is the change that should occur once you have been conquered by God. If you cannot possess even this amount of reason, then you are truly without any semblance of a human being. In the future, when God’s chosen people from all nations and regions have been conquered by God, if at a huge gathering in praise of God you begin to act arrogantly again, then you will be scrapped and cast out. From now on, man must always behave properly, recognize their status and position, and not relapse into their old ways” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition). From God’s word, I understood that I am a tiny being of His creation, someone who is deeply corrupted, and that I should stand on an equal footing with my brothers and sisters and perform my duty well. This is the kind of rationality I needed. Now, when I follow up on church work, I no longer willfully get angry and scold my brothers and sisters. I make a conscious effort to understand their difficulties, and I seek the truth to resolve them along with everyone. Slowly, my brothers and sisters and I become able to cooperate harmoniously. These changes I have been able to make are the result of reading God’s words, and I am grateful to God for saving me!