3. God’s Words Eliminated My Misunderstandings
In September 2019, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Later, I was selected as group leader of gatherings in the church, and the brothers and sisters said I understood things quickly and had good caliber. Not long after that, I was selected as gospel deacon, and I performed my duties more actively than before. Every day I was busy preaching the gospel and hosting gatherings. My brothers and sisters enjoyed my fellowship, and the church leader said I did a good job. This made me very happy, and I felt my caliber truly was particularly good. To gain more people’s admiration, I read more of God’s word, and watched many films from God’s house and video readings of God’s word. But I was merely content with understanding letters and doctrines, so as to show myself off, and I wasn’t focused on understanding God’s will or practicing the truth. At gatherings, I fellowshiped as comprehensively as I could so others would think I understood more. I even fellowshiped on things I didn’t understand well to make others think I knew everything. To create a good image in my leader’s heart, I pretended to be very strong. For example, at first, I had notions about God’s work, but I thought that if I spoke out, my leader would think I didn’t understand the truth. So I deliberately hid my notions from my leader. It was as if I was wearing a mask. What appeared in front of others was an illusion.
A few months later, I was selected as a church leader, principally in charge of gospel work. This work required caliber, discernment, and work ability. I felt that no one in the church but me had those qualifications, so I had been ordained by God to perform this duty. Being promoted repeatedly made me feel I was different from others, the most avid in seeking the truth, someone loved and favored by God. I also felt like I was a special person in the church, and that I was indispensable to it. I even thought being responsible for gospel work was like being a guard at the entrance to the church, that I could decide who could enter and who couldn’t. Slowly, I became more and more arrogant, and I felt that I was above the others, that I could issue orders, and that my brothers and sisters were my “enforcers” who had to listen to me. In church work, I always wanted to decide by myself and have the final say. I felt like it was I who had the ability to work, I who had mastered the principles, so I didn’t need to accept the views or advice of others. I always looked down on my brothers and sisters. There was a group leader of average caliber who I turned my nose up at. Without regard to whether she was effective in her duty, I wanted to arbitrarily replace her. On top of that, I regarded my brothers and sisters as my subordinates, and felt like I could criticize them however I liked. One sister had her own method of practice in her duties, but I didn’t think she was doing it right, so without fellowshiping on principles, I severely criticized her. This made her so negative that she didn’t want to partner with me. Later, during a gathering, our leader asked everyone if there were any difficulties, and this sister said directly: “Brother Flavien has a problem. He doesn’t fellowship on the truth, he is always criticizing people, and every time he criticizes me it is always very harsh.” Following that, several more brothers and sisters reported that I criticized people arbitrarily, and exposed my arrogant behavior using God’s words.
Actually, some people had already mentioned the problem of my arrogant behavior to me. Some brothers and sisters saw me being overly strict when I asked about others’ work and sent me messages to say, “Brother, it wasn’t good to speak that way. You’ll make your brothers and sisters feel negative.” My brothers and sisters had also mentioned that I spoke down to others, that I didn’t put myself on an equal footing with my brothers and sisters, that some of them didn’t want to talk to me, and that others felt so attacked that they didn’t want their duty anymore. After being repeatedly rebuked and dealt with by my brothers and sisters, my sense of pride was dealt a blow. I used to think I was someone God loved and favored, but seeing how my brothers and sisters exposed and rejected me made me feel highly dejected and negative. I lost the drive to pursue, and in my duties I just went through the motions, didn’t follow up on my brothers’ and sisters’ work, and didn’t focus on resolving the difficulties or problems they faced. I didn’t care at all about what they needed most.
Later, a sister sent me a passage of God’s word. It was highly relevant to my state. God says, “Since mankind’s corruption by Satan, people’s nature has begun to deteriorate, and they have gradually lost the sense of reason possessed by normal people. They now no longer act as human beings in the position of man, but are filled with wild aspirations; they have surpassed the station of man—yet yearn, still, to go even higher. What does this ‘higher’ refer to? They wish to surpass God, to surpass the heavens, and to surpass all else. What is at the root of why people betray such dispositions? When all is said and done, man’s nature is overly arrogant. Most people understand the meaning of the word ‘arrogance.’ It is a pejorative term. If someone displays arrogance, others think they aren’t a good person. Whenever someone is arrogant, others always assume they are an evildoer. No one wants to have this term pinned to them. In fact, however, everyone is arrogant, and all corrupt humans have this essence. Some people say, ‘I’m not the least bit arrogant. I’ve never wanted to be the archangel, nor have I ever wanted to surpass God, or to surpass all else. I’ve always been someone who’s especially well-behaved and dutiful.’ Not necessarily; these words are incorrect. Once people have grown arrogant in nature and essence, they can often disobey and resist God, not heed His words, generate notions about Him, do things that betray Him, and things that exalt and bear testimony to themselves. You say you are not arrogant, but suppose you were given a church and allowed to lead it; suppose that I did not deal with you, and that no one in God’s family criticized or helped you: After leading it a while, you would bring people to your feet and make them submit before you, even to the point of admiring and revering you. And why would you do that? This would be determined by your nature; it would be none other than a natural revelation. You do not have any need to learn this from others, nor is there any need for them to teach it to you. You do not need others to instruct you or compel you to do this; this kind of situation comes about naturally. Everything you do is about making people exalt you, praise you, worship you, submit to you, and listen to you in all things. Allowing you to be leader naturally brings about this situation, and it cannot be changed. And how does this situation come about? It is determined by man’s arrogant nature. The manifestation of arrogance is rebellion and resistance against God. When people are arrogant, self-important, and self-righteous, they tend to set up their own independent kingdoms and do things however they want. They also bring others into their own hands and draw them into their embraces. For people to be capable of doing such arrogant things, it just proves that the essence of their arrogant nature is that of Satan; it is that of the archangel. When their arrogance and self-importance reach a certain level, they no longer have a place for God in their hearts, and God is put aside. They then wish to be God, make people obey them, and they become the archangel. If you possess such a satanic arrogant nature, God will have no place in your heart. Even if you believe in God, God will no longer recognize you, will view you as an evildoer, and will cast you out” (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). After reading God’s words, I thought of my behavior up to this point. When I had started believing, everyone had admired and encouraged me. They said I had good caliber and that I fellowshiped well. I was promoted several times too, so I felt I was special and better than the other brothers and sisters, and that I was qualified to be in charge of them. My arrogant and self-righteous nature and my ambition for pursuing status made me think I was someone who God took joy in and favored. I felt like I was outstanding and superior to others, so I started to use my position to scold and constrain others. I even tried to control my brothers and sisters and make them listen to me. I had been behaving just like the archangel! I thought too highly of myself. After being dealt with and rejected by my brothers and sisters, I realized I wasn’t as perfect as I imagined. I had assumed that I was so high above others and that God favored me, but those were purely my imagination.
Several days later, I read two passages of God’s word that exposed and dissected antichrists. God says, “Antichrists will pay any price for the sake of their status and the satisfaction of their ambition, for their goal of controlling the church and being God. They often work late into the night and wake at the crack of dawn, rehearsing their sermons in the wee hours, all in order to equip themselves with the doctrine they need to give lofty sermons. Every day, they ponder which of God’s words to use in preaching their lofty sermons, which words will inspire admiration and praise among the chosen ones, and then they learn those words by heart. Then, they consider how to interpret those words in a way that demonstrates their brilliance and insight, with all the labor of students vying for a spot in college. When someone gives a good sermon, or one that provides some illumination, or one that provides some theory, an antichrist will collect and compile it and make it into their own sermon. No amount of labor is too great for an antichrist. What, then, is the motive and intention behind this labor of theirs? It is to be able to preach God’s words, to say them clearly and with ease, to have fluent command of them, so that others may see the antichrist is more spiritual than they, more treasuring of God’s words, more loving of God. In this way, an antichrist can gain the admiration and worship of some of the people around them. An antichrist feels this is a worthwhile thing to do and worth any effort, price, or hardship” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Ten (Part Seven)). “The essence of the behavior of antichrists is to constantly use various means and methods to achieve their goal of having status, of winning people over and making them follow and venerate them. It is possible that in the depths of their hearts they are not deliberately vying over humanity with God, but one thing is certain: Even when they do not vie with God for humans, they still wish to have status and power among them. Even if the day comes when they realize that they are vying with God for status, and they rein themselves in a bit, they still employ various methods to pursue status and prestige; it is clear to them in their hearts that they will secure legitimate status, by winning the approval and admiration of others. In short, though everything antichrists do appears to comprise a performance of their duties, its consequence is to dupe people, to make them worship and follow them—in which case, performing their duty in this way is exalting and testifying to themselves. Their ambition to control people—and to gain status and power in the church—will never change. This is an out-and-out antichrist” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Five). God says that antichrists, in order to receive the praise and worship of others, use outward suffering to create an illusion to deceive people. Wasn’t this what I was? I had always sought fame and status, and everything I did was to make others look up to me. I spent so much time reading God’s word, sometimes not sleeping until late at night, but my purpose was merely to understand more doctrines so as to better show myself off and have others look up to me and appreciate me. God’s words revealed all the manifestations that I had. I felt I had already been condemned by God, that I would be cast out, and I was filled with anxiety. But I didn’t dare tell my brothers and sisters my real state, because I feared being seen as an antichrist and being expelled. I strove to conceal my anxiety in front of the others, but my heart was in agony, and I felt like I had been sentenced to death. During that same period, an antichrist had been exposed and expelled. Outwardly, she appeared to expend for God and seek God’s word to fellowship with other brothers and sisters, but she herself didn’t practice the word of God, and when something happened that was not in line with her notions she spread negativity, and even denied God’s work in the last days and disturbed those investigating the true way. I realized some of my own manifestations were the same as hers. For example, I often found God’s word to fellowship with my brothers and sisters, but I myself didn’t practice God’s word. When I had difficulties, I relied on my own intelligence and wisdom to solve them, rather than focusing on seeking God’s will or practicing the truth. Furthermore, I also had the manifestations of an antichrist that God’s words had revealed. I was even more afraid I would become an antichrist and be expelled, because I felt I had a bad nature, that I could easily deceive and control my brothers and sisters, and that one day, like that antichrist, I would disrupt the work of the church. Thinking about this exacerbated my fear. I felt I had no hope of being blessed, so I began to have complaints, “I disregarded my family’s objections to believe in God and perform my duty. I even forsook my future and left my hometown to spread the gospel in new places. I’ve paid such a high price, but in the end I’m still going to hell to be punished. If I knew it would end like this, I wouldn’t have expended so much. I would have at least enjoyed some fleshly happiness before death.” At that time, I only thought about my destination, and didn’t pay attention to seeking God’s will, so I was always guarded against God and misunderstanding Him. I felt that if I continued to do such an important duty, I would definitely be exposed and expelled, so I resigned from my leadership position. I feared my brothers and sisters would criticize and deal with me after seeing my true face, so I didn’t open my heart to them, nor did I partner with them. My relationship with my brothers and sisters became entirely distant. Later, I used the excuse of going home to preach the gospel to return to my unbeliever family. Faced with the coercion and obstruction of my family, I became even more negative. Although I still attended gatherings, I was only going through the motions. I was very weak, and I felt I had come to the end, so I decided to leave the church.
After I left the church, my heart was very empty. I stayed in my room all day long and didn’t want to do anything. Although my family no longer persecuted me and I was quite comfortable physically, I was filled with anxiety, and felt very guilty. I was constantly worried that I would be punished by God for betraying Him. I was afraid of hell and afraid of death—I tried to overcome this anxiety, but to no avail. I read a lot of social science books, hoping to find something in them to comfort my soul, but nothing could relieve my inner torment. It seemed I could only passively wait for death. One day, I prayed to God to ask Him to guide me out of my predicament. Later, I began listening to hymns and reading God’s words. His words stirred my conscience and enlightened me. God says, “Some people have the disposition of an antichrist, and often display the outpourings of certain corrupt dispositions, but at the same time as having such outpourings, they also reflect upon and know themselves, and are able to accept and practice the truth, and after a time, change can be seen in them. They are possible objects of salvation” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Four). “There are those who, when reading God’s words, often develop notions and misunderstandings from God’s revelation of people’s corrupt states and His condemnation of people. They become negative and weak, thinking that God’s words were directed at them, that God is giving up on them and won’t save them. They become negative to the point of tears and don’t want to follow God anymore. This is actually a misunderstanding of God. When you do not understand the meaning of God’s words, you should not try to delineate God. You don’t know what kind of person God abandons, or under what circumstances He gives up on people, or under what circumstances He puts people aside; there are principles and contexts to all of this. If you don’t have full insight into these detailed matters, you’ll be very prone to hypersensitivity and you’ll delimit yourself based on a few words from God. Isn’t that problematic? When God judges people, what is the chief aspect of them that He condemns? What God judges and reveals are people’s corrupt dispositions and corrupt essences, He condemns their satanic dispositions and satanic natures, He condemns the various manifestations and behaviors of their rebellion and opposition to God, He condemns them for being unable to obey God, for always opposing God, and for always having their own motivations and aims—but such condemnation does not mean that God has abandoned people with satanic dispositions. If this is not clear to you, then you lack any abilities of acceptance, which makes you a bit like people who are mentally ill, always doubting and misinterpreting God. Such people are devoid of true faith, so how could they follow God to the very end? Hearing a single statement of condemnation from God, you think that, having been condemned by God, people have been abandoned by God, and will no longer be saved, and because of this you become negative, and abandon yourself to despair. This is misinterpreting God. In fact, God has not abandoned people. They have misinterpreted God and abandoned themselves. Nothing is more critical than when people abandon themselves, as proven by the words of the Old Testament: ‘Fools die for want of wisdom’ (Proverb 10:21). No behavior is more stupid than when people abandon themselves to despair. Sometimes you read God’s words that seem to delineate people; in fact, they are not delineating anyone, but are the expression of God’s will and opinion. These are words of truth and principle, they are not delineating anyone. The words uttered by God during times of anger or rage also represent God’s disposition, these words are the truth, and, moreover, belong to principle. People must understand this. The aim of these utterances of God is to allow people to understand the truth, and to understand principle; it is absolutely not to delineate people, these words have nothing to do with people’s ultimate destination and reward, nor are they people’s ultimate punishment. These are merely words of judging and dealing with people, His words are the result of anger because He is disappointed in them, and these words are in order to wake them up, to prompt them—and they are words from God’s heart. And yet, some people fall down and forsake God because of a single statement of judgment from God. People like this don’t know what’s good for them, they are impervious to reason, they do not accept the truth at all. … There are times when God shuns people, and times when He places them to one side for a time so that they may reflect upon themselves, but God has not forsaken them; He is giving them the opportunity to repent. God only truly forsakes the wicked who commit many evil acts, nonbelievers, and antichrists. Some people say, ‘I feel devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit and long have I been without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Has God forsaken me?’ This is a misconception. There is a problem of disposition here: People are temperamental, they always follow their own reasoning, are always ridiculous, and are devoid of sense—isn’t this a problem of disposition? You say that God has forsaken you, that He will not save you, so has He set your end? God has merely said a few angry words to you. How could you say that He’s given up on you, that He doesn’t want you anymore? There are occasions when you cannot feel the work of the Holy Spirit, but God has not deprived you of the right to read His words, nor has He determined your end, or cut off your path to salvation—so what are you so upset about? You are in a bad state, there is a problem with your motives, there are issues with your ideological point of view, your state of mind is twisted—and if you do not try to fix these things by seeking the truth, and constantly misinterpret and blame God, and push the responsibility onto God, and even say, ‘God doesn’t want me, so I don’t believe in Him anymore,’ are you not being ludicrous? Are you not being unreasonable?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (1)). God’s words spoke to my heart. I understood that God had not given up on me, condemned me, or determined my outcome. In fact, God knew how corrupted by Satan I was. God allowed my brothers and sisters to expose me at the right time and used His words to reveal my corrupt disposition and the wrong path I had taken, because only in this way could I have knowledge of myself. This was a great chance for me to change. God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing were not to condemn me or cast me out, but to save me. God hoped that I could truly know myself, and have true repentance. But I used my individual prejudices and notions to misunderstand God’s will, believing that because I had the manifestations of an antichrist, God definitely didn’t want me, and that I was doomed to the same fate of those to be destroyed. I believed that if someone with an antichrist’s disposition like myself remained in the church they would sooner or later disrupt the church’s work. But actually, all of my manifestations were normal in the eyes of God. I had revealed the manifestations of an antichrist’s disposition, but I hadn’t yet become an antichrist. God casts out and punishes those who have the essence of an antichrist. They are unable to repent, because their nature and essence are evil, and they loathe and detest the truth. No matter what they do wrong, they never admit their errors, and they do anything it takes to maintain their prestige and status, right to their death. I could still realize that I was corrupted so deeply, and I knew my error, so I still had the opportunity to repent. I only had an antichrist’s disposition, I wasn’t an antichrist with no ability to accept even the slightest bit of truth or who despised the truth. God had not condemned me on the basis of my exposed corruption, but had tried to save me to the greatest extent possible, waiting for me to repent. But I had been living with notions against God and I had misunderstood Him, believing God would cast me out. So I resigned and left the church, worried that if I remained in the church I would continue to disrupt its work and that I would suffer an even greater punishment. I didn’t understand God’s will, and I didn’t know God’s love or God’s disposition. I thought that since God didn’t want me anymore, any efforts I made were in vain. If I didn’t enjoy fleshly pleasures in this world, I would have nothing. Looking back now on what I did, I feel terribly ashamed. I swore many times that I would follow God all my life, but as soon as I faced judgment and exposure, I became passive, denied God’s salvation, lost faith in God, and chose without hesitation my personal interests, and to return to the world and enjoy fleshly pleasure. Where was my conscience! I felt the deepest regret. Now that I understood God’s will, it seemed like I had hope for life again, and I felt like I had risen from the dead. I let go of all my personal plans, including study and work, and began to conscientiously ponder God’s word, sing hymns, listen to recitations of God’s word, and seek God’s will in His words. It was like starting all over on the path of belief in God. Little by little, I once again received God’s mercy and felt the joy of God’s presence. I found inner peace and joy, and I also felt a renewed desire to return to the church in my heart. However, I didn’t know if God’s house would accept me. So I prayed to God, asking Him to have mercy on me and save me.
A few weeks later, I read a passage of God’s word and understood a little more of His will. God says, “Several years after this stage of work began, there was a man who believed in God but did not pursue the truth; all he wanted was to earn money and find a partner, to lead the life of the rich, and so he left the church. After roaming around for a few years, he has now returned. He feels great remorse in his heart, and has wept untold tears. This proves that his heart did not leave God completely, which is a good thing; he still has a chance and a hope of being saved. Had he stopped believing, becoming the same as unbelievers, then he would be completely done for. If he can truly repent, then there is hope for him yet; this is rare and precious. Regardless of how God acts, and no matter how He treats people—even if He hates, detests, or curses them—if there comes a day when they can make a turnaround, then I will take great comfort, for this will mean that they still have that little bit of room for God in their hearts, that they have not completely lost their human reason or their humanity, that they still want to believe in God, and they have at least some intention to acknowledge and return before Him. For people who truly have God in their hearts, no matter when they left God’s house, if they return and still hold this family dear, then I will become somewhat sentimentally attached and will take some comfort in it. However, if they never return, I will think it a pity. If they can return and truly repent, then My heart will especially be filled with gratification and comfort. That this man was still capable of returning shows that he had not forgotten God; he returned because in his heart, he still longed for God. It was very touching when we met. When he walked away, he certainly was being quite negative, and he was in a bad state; if he can come back now, though, it proves he still has faith in God. However, whether or not he can continue forward is an unknown factor, because people change so quickly. In the Age of Grace, Jesus had pity and grace for humans. If one sheep was lost out of a hundred, He would leave the ninety-nine to look for the one. This line does not represent a kind of mechanical action, nor a rule; rather, it shows God’s urgent intention to bring salvation to people, as well as His deep love for them. It is not a way of doing things; it is a kind of disposition, a sort of mentality. Thus, some people leave the church for six months or a year, or have however many weaknesses or suffer from however many misconceptions, and yet their ability to later wake up to reality, gain knowledge and make a turnaround, and get back on the right track makes Me feel especially comforted and brings Me a little piece of enjoyment. In this world of gaiety and splendor, and in this evil age, being able to acknowledge God and get back on the right track is something that brings quite a bit of comfort and excitement. Take raising children, for example: Whether or not they are filial, how would you feel if they did not acknowledge you, and left home, never to return? Deep down, you would still keep on feeling concerned about them, and you would always wonder, ‘When will my son return? I’d like to see him. After all, he is my son, and it wasn’t for nothing that I raised him and loved him.’ You have always thought this way; you have always longed for that day to come. Everyone feels the same in this regard, to say nothing of God—is His not an even greater hope that man will find their way back after having gone astray, that the prodigal son will return? People these days are small of stature, but the day will come when they understand God’s will—unless they have no inclination toward true faith, unless they are nonbelievers, in which case they are beneath God’s concern” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). God’s words moved me, and tears streamed down my face. I felt like God was talking to me face to face, just like a mother speaks to her child. God saved me when I was most desperate, and made me realize how real His love is. I understood that God doesn’t easily condemn or strike people down. God came incarnate in the last days to save humankind. God had never really left me, as I had assumed. Instead, due to my corrupt disposition and the wrong path I had taken, He had hidden His face from me. This was God’s righteousness and holiness, in order to discipline me and to change me. God was waiting for me to repent, but I had many notions and misunderstandings about God. I always stood on a personal standpoint and substituted my own notions for God’s will, as if I understood the truth. Although I was so rebellious, God knew my weakness, and knew where I would fall and fail. God’s love was greater than I could ever imagine. Step by step, God guided me until I woke up. I realized that God’s intention to save people is sincere. As long as people keep His name and His way, God will always extend the hand of salvation. God is responsible for everyone’s life, but people must actively fulfill the responsibilities of a created being. God does not like those who are cowardly like me, He likes those with resolution. So long as I sincerely repented, and strove to seek the truth and change myself, it wasn’t yet too late. I still had a chance to change my corrupt disposition and to be saved. Once I understood God’s will, my state of negativity and misunderstanding was reversed.
Later, I read another passage of God’s word that gave me some understanding of God’s work of judgment. God says, “Today God judges you, chastises you, and condemns you, but you must know that the point of your condemnation is for you to know yourself. He condemns, curses, judges, and chastises so that you might know yourself, so that your disposition might change, and, moreover, so that you might know your worth, and see that all of God’s actions are righteous and in accordance with His disposition and the requirements of His work, that He works in accordance with His plan for man’s salvation, and that He is the righteous God who loves, saves, judges, and chastises man. If you only know that you are of lowly status, that you are corrupt and disobedient, but do not know that God wishes to make plain His salvation through the judgment and chastisement that He does in you today, then you have no way of gaining experience, much less are you capable of continuing forward. God has not come to kill or destroy, but to judge, curse, chastise, and save. Until His 6,000-year management plan comes to a close—before He reveals the outcome of each category of man—God’s work on earth will be for the sake of salvation; its purpose is purely to make those who love Him complete—thoroughly so—and to bring them into submission under His dominion. No matter how God saves people, it is all done by making them break away from their old satanic nature; that is, He saves them by having them seek life. If they do not do so, then they will have no way to accept God’s salvation. Salvation is the work of God Himself, and the seeking for life is something that man must take on in order to accept salvation. In the eyes of man, salvation is the love of God, and the love of God cannot be chastisement, judgment, and curses; salvation must contain love, compassion, and, moreover, words of solace, as well as boundless blessings bestowed by God. People believe that when God saves man, He does so by moving them with His blessings and grace, so that they can give their hearts to God. That is to say, His touching man is His saving them. This sort of salvation is done by striking a deal. Only when God grants them a hundredfold will man come to submit before God’s name and strive to do well for Him and bring Him glory. This is not what God intends for mankind. God has come to work on earth in order to save corrupt mankind; there is no falsehood in this. If there were, He would certainly not have come to do His work in person. In the past, His means of salvation involved showing the utmost love and compassion, such that He gave His all to Satan in exchange for the whole of mankind. The present is nothing like the past: The salvation bestowed upon you today occurs at the time of the last days, during the classification of each according to kind; the means of your salvation is not love or compassion, but chastisement and judgment, in order that man may be more thoroughly saved. Thus, all that you receive is chastisement, judgment, and merciless smiting, but know this: In this heartless smiting there is not the slightest punishment. Regardless of how harsh My words might be, what befall you are but a few words that might appear utterly heartless to you, and no matter how angry I might be, what rain upon you are still words of teaching, and I do not mean to harm you or put you to death. Is this not all fact? Know that nowadays, whether it be righteous judgment or heartless refinement and chastisement, everything is for the sake of salvation. Regardless of whether today each is classified according to kind or the categories of man are laid bare, the purpose of all of God’s words and work is to save those who truly love God. Righteous judgment is brought to purify man, and heartless refinement is done to cleanse them; harsh words or chastening are both done to purify and are for the sake of salvation” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man). After reading God’s words, I saw that I didn’t understand God’s work of judgment. When I first accepted God’s work, it was more to enjoy God’s love and His mercy, and the illumination and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. I was content to merely enjoy God’s grace. I thought I was a little baby in God’s hands, someone cherished by God, that I was special and perfect, and that I shouldn’t be severely judged like this by God. Therefore, when God’s severe words exposed my corruption and my antichrist’s disposition, I thought God was going to cast me out. In fact, I didn’t understand God’s will. Humans were too deeply corrupted by Satan, and only God’s severe judgment and chastisement could change people’s corrupt dispositions and fully save us from the domination of Satan. I had been corrupted so deeply by Satan, I was so arrogant and self-righteous, that I needed the judgment and chastisement of God’s words to wake me up. Only this kind of work could make me see the ugly appearance of my corruption by Satan, and only then could I come to hate myself and forsake Satan. Without it, I would still think I was perfect and loved by God, and then I would never turn around to seek the truth or reflect on myself. I would have continued on the wrong path of antichrists until I died. I believed in God, yet didn’t want to suffer at all, and wanted to be spoiled by God, to enjoy God’s grace and mercy forever like a baby. How could I ever be purified by God like this? My ignorance and selfishness made me misunderstand God, turn away from Him, and betray Him. I could not see that behind His work of judgment was His love and salvation. I had paid a heavy price for my ignorance and selfishness. After realizing the great significance of God’s work of judgment and chastisement, I once again had the confidence to follow God and experience God’s work. I understood, regardless of whether God’s work conformed to my notions, it was all done to purify me and change my corrupt disposition, and to fully save me from domination by Satan. God’s judgment and chastisement is His best way to save man.
After that, I read more of God’s words and understood God’s requirements. God wanted me to be a true created being, accept His sovereignty and provision, fulfill my own duty, come to know Him and testify to Him. Actually, I had the same status as my brothers and sisters. God had given me some gifts and talents or a chance to serve as a leader, but this did not mean my status was higher than that of my brothers and sisters. I was still a created being, and was still a corrupt person in need of God’s salvation. These gifts and talents were given by God, so I should not have been parading myself. I should have focused my effort on performing my duty well to satisfy God. Once I realized these things, I had a path of practice, and I felt a sense of relief. Now, I wanted to hurry back to the church to continue my duties. This time, my determination to follow God and perform my duty was firmer. I deleted everything on my computer and phone unrelated to belief in God, wanting to put all else aside and follow Him. A few days later, I went back to the church and continued to preach the gospel. I was so grateful to God. In my duties, I consciously cooperated with my brothers and sisters. Each time I encountered a problem, I asked my brothers and sisters for their views and suggestions, and asked them to participate. I no longer had to have the final say and I no longer imposed my views on my brothers and sisters. Instead, I talked things over and discussed things with everybody. I no longer wanted to show off to make them look up to me, nor did I try to control them. I didn’t want power anymore. Instead, I learned to seek the principles of truth together with my brothers and sisters. Practicing like this felt much more at ease, which was something I hadn’t felt before.
Since this experience, I have gained some understanding of my corrupt dispositions. I have also gained some insights into God’s work and His will to save mankind, as well as greater faith. I truly feel that God’s judgment and chastisement is not a matter of condemnation and destruction, but rather is His love and salvation. Just as God’s word says, “God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). Thanks be to God!