57. How My Arrogant Disposition Is Changed
By Xiaofan, China
In August of 2019, I was selected to be in charge of the work of video production. At the time, I was the newest to the field among several brothers and sisters. I knew being chosen to be in charge was God’s grace and exaltation, so I promised myself that I would do my best to fulfill this duty.
At the start, I saw that there was much work and professional knowledge to learn and master, and I felt like there was too much that I lacked. I often discussed matters with the sisters who were my partners, and I was able to humbly accept their suggestions. Before long, I was familiar with the work and mastered the professional skills. I was able to discover problems when checking videos. When my brothers and sisters had technical problems, I was also able to resolve them. When my partners encountered problems they couldn’t see clearly, they asked me for advice. I not only had unique insights, I also often solved their difficulties. My sisters said I learned so quickly it was hard to believe I was a novice. When my brothers and sisters were in bad states, I could help them resolve their states. Sometimes they would even say, “Without your fellowship, we really wouldn’t know how to solve this problem.” Upon hearing this, I felt very satisfied, and thought to myself: “The other brothers and sisters have been doing video production work longer than me, but now this novice is coaching them. It seems that I have better caliber and capability in the work than they do.” I had been performing this duty for just over a month, but had made progress in the professional aspects and produced so many results. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like an irreplaceable talent. Gradually, my attitude began to change. I didn’t maintain a low profile as I used to be, and I unconsciously started to consider myself the lynchpin of the team. I thought I had higher caliber and was more capable than anyone. When brothers and sisters asked me technical questions, I used to discuss and communicate with my partners, but in that period, I directly offered answers without consulting with them at all. When we were discussing work and my partners raised some different suggestions, I rejected each of them without seeking and made them do things according to my own suggestion. I also arranged work tasks without discussing things with them. I thought that since I had served as a leader and had experience, I could directly arrange things. Sometimes my partners only learned about my arrangements once they were made. At that time, a sister dealt with me, saying I was too arrogant, that I acted as I pleased without discussing things with them, and that it was easy to make mistakes performing my duty like this. I outwardly agreed, but inside I thought, “My views are better than yours, and once we discuss things, you’ll end up doing things my way anyway. Why bother wasting time on this process?” And just like that, I refused to accept my sister’s advice and help and did things however I wanted. As time went on, because I constantly rejected my sisters’ suggestions, most of the time, I ended up making all the work arrangements myself, and when we discussed work, no one expressed their opinions. Two sisters who worked with me felt like they couldn’t do their duty and became negative, and many times revealed that they didn’t want to be partnered with me. Several times, coming back from gatherings, they even said, “I wish I didn’t have to go back. Being there is exhausting. …” At the time, I didn’t reflect on myself. I said in a mocking tone, “You two are so weak. You really are fragile!” Because I always had the final say and didn’t discuss things with my sisters, it didn’t take long for those two sisters to become so negative that they wanted to resign. More and more problems started appearing in my duties: I didn’t notice problems in our videos; I gave incorrect professional guidance several times, which led to repeated work; there were many oversights in my arrangement of other work. The work was less and less effective, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t turn it around. I felt very tortured by my predicament, to the point that I wanted to resign. But just in time, I was pruned and dealt with.
My leader, after learning about my performance, wrote a stern letter to expose and deal with me, “Most of your brothers and sisters have reported that you are extremely arrogant and self-righteous in your duties, you do not cooperate with your partners in your duty, you do not accept the suggestions of your brothers and sisters, you decide everything by yourself, and you hold all the power. These are manifestations of an antichrist’s domination and arbitrariness. If you don’t reflect on yourself soon, the consequences will be serious. …” When I read my leader’s words, my head was buzzing, as if I had just been slapped. There was also a passage of God’s word in the letter: “The first manifestation of how antichrists demand that people obey them alone, rather than the truth and God, is that they are incapable of working with anyone else. … On the surface, it may seem like some antichrists have assistants or partners, but when something actually happens, no matter how right others may be, antichrists never listen to what they have to say. They don’t even take it into account, much less discuss it or fellowship about it. They don’t pay any attention at all, as if others may as well not be there. When antichrists listen to what others have to say, they are merely going through the motions or performing an act for others to witness. It is the antichrist’s final decision that must still be obeyed; anyone else’s words are wasted breath, they don’t count at all. For example, when two people are responsible for something, and one of them has the essence of an antichrist, what is exhibited in this person? No matter what it is, they and they alone are the one who gets the ball rolling, who asks the questions, who sorts things out, and who comes up with a solution. And most of the time, they keep their partner completely in the dark. What is their partner in their eyes? Not their deputy, but simply window dressing. In the antichrist’s eyes, partners simply aren’t partners. Whenever there is a problem, the antichrist thinks it over, and once they have decided on a course of action, they inform everyone else that this is how it is to be done, and no one is allowed to question it. What is the essence of their cooperation with others? Fundamentally it is to have the final say, never discussing problems with anyone else, taking sole responsibility for the work, and turning their partners into window dressing. They always act alone and never cooperate with anyone. They never discuss or communicate about their work with anyone else, they often make decisions alone and deal with issues alone, and in many things, other people find out how things were finished or handled only after the deed is done. Other people tell them, ‘All problems have to be discussed with us. When did you deal with that person? How did you handle him? How did we not know about it?’ They neither provide an explanation nor pay any attention; to them, their partners have no use at all, and are just decoration or window dressing. When something happens, they think it over, make up their own mind, and act as they see fit. No matter how many people there are around them, it’s as if these people are not there. To the antichrist, they may as well be air. Given this, does anything real come from their partnership with others? Not at all, they are just going through the motions and acting a part. Others say to them, ‘Why don’t you fellowship with everyone else when you come across a problem?’ They reply, ‘What do they know? I’m the team leader, it’s up to me to decide.’ The others say, ‘And why didn’t you fellowship with your partner?’ They reply, ‘I told him, he had no opinion.’ They use their partner having no opinion or not being able to think for themselves as excuses to obfuscate the fact that they are acting as a law unto themselves. And this is not followed by the slightest introspection, much less acceptance of the truth—that would be impossible. This is a problem with the antichrist’s nature” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). God’s revelation of antichrists made me felt ashamed. Wasn’t my behavior during that period the manifestation of antichrists mentioned in God’s words? After making some progress at work I thought I had caliber and competence, and was better than my two partners. In name, these two sisters were partners in my duties, but actually, I had made them redundant. I felt that their opinions were worse than mine and weren’t worth considering. So I did not discuss with them when I made work arrangements. I did whatever I thought was right. With some things, even if we discussed them, it was just going through the motions because I had decided what to do before we talked. Therefore, whenever my partners made suggestions different from mine, I rejected them out of hand without seeking and made them do things entirely the way I wanted them done. The church arranged for us to work together to perform our duties, but I acted like a tyrant, demanded the final say in everything, completely froze out my sisters, and seized all power on myself. Wasn’t that the same as the great red dragon’s dictatorship? I thought about how I constrained my sisters, causing them to feel negative and even try to resign, and how the work was full of oversights. I wasn’t fulfilling my duty, I was disrupting the work of the church. When I realized this, I felt terrified. I had disrupted and disturbed the work of the church, as well as caused my brothers and sisters pain and misery. Would I be cast out and punished for what I did? So I lived in negativity and misunderstanding.
One day, I coincidentally saw a passage of God’s words: “Because man is so deeply corrupted by Satan, all his acts and deeds and all that he reveals are of the disposition of Satan, and they are all contrary to the truth and hostile to God. Man is not fit to enjoy God’s great love. Yet God is still so concerned with man, conferring grace unto him each day, and arranging for him all manner of people, events, and things to test and refine him, so that he can have a change. God reveals man by means of every sort of environment, having him reflect and know himself and understand the truth and gain life. God loves man so much, and His love is so real that man can see it and touch it. If you have experienced all this, you can feel that all God does is for the sake of man’s salvation, and that this is the truest love. Were it not for God doing such practical work, none could say how far man would have fallen! Yet there are many people who do not see God’s true love, who still pursue reputation and status, who strive to be head and shoulders above the rest, who wish always to ensnare and control others. Are they not setting themselves up in rivalry to God? If they continue down that path, the consequences will be unthinkable! God, with His work of judgment, exposes man’s corruption so that he may know it. He puts a stop to man’s erroneous pursuits. God does an excellent job! Though what God does exposes man and judges him, it also saves him. This is true love” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). When I saw this passage, I felt a warmth in my heart, as if God was right next to me, comforting and encouraging me. I understood that the pruning and dealing I experienced was God’s love. It stopped me from doing more wickedness and made me aware of my satanic disposition and the wrong path I had taken. If I went on like this, the consequences would be unthinkable. I thought of Jonah’s declaration to the people of Nineveh in the Bible, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). God sent Jonah to declare this, not because He intended to destroy them immediately, but to remind and warn them, and give them a chance to repent. God’s disposition is righteous and majestic, but also loving and merciful. This is God’s righteous disposition. I realized God’s intention in allowing me to be pruned and dealt with was not to cast me out, but to wake me up and make me repent. Once I realized these things, my heart was brightened, and I wasn’t so miserable. I knew I had to repent to God at once. I prayed to God, asking Him for guidance in reflecting and gaining knowledge of myself.
One day, during my devotionals, I saw a passage of God’s word: “There are many kinds of corrupt dispositions that are included within the disposition of Satan, but the one that is most obvious and that stands out the most is an arrogant disposition. Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more irrational they are, and the more irrational they are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God, and they have no fear of God within their hearts. Even though people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him. People who are arrogant and conceited, especially those who are so arrogant as to have lost their sense, cannot submit to God in their belief in Him, and even exalt and bear testimony for themselves. Such people resist God the most and have absolutely no fear of God. If people wish to get to where they revere God, then they must first resolve their arrogant dispositions. The more thoroughly you resolve your arrogant disposition, the more reverence you will have for God, and only then can you submit to Him and obtain the truth and know Him. Only those who gain the truth are genuinely human” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). After I read God’s word, I understood that I had acted arbitrarily and couldn’t cooperate with others because I had too much of an arrogant nature. Because I was chosen to be in charge, mastered much professional knowledge, produced some results in my duties, and could resolve some problems, I became arrogant, felt myself to be a talent, and thought very highly of myself. I thought no one was as good as me. It was as if no one had higher caliber or was more competent at this work, so I put myself above the others and dominated them. In my duties, I did whatever I wanted and didn’t discuss or communicate with others at all. I didn’t listen to my partners’ suggestions. No matter what they said, I thought I had the best opinions. I despised them in my heart and treated my partners as nothing but placeholders. I thought of how the archangel is arrogant. It had no fear of God in its heart. God created humans, but it wanted to manage humans, and it wanted to be on an equal footing with God. Arrogance and self-righteousness are classic satanic dispositions! With this kind of arrogance, and lack of reason, how could I fear or obey God? How could I practice the truth or live out normal humanity? This is when I realized that resolving my arrogant disposition is key to achieving dispositional change. My arrogant disposition was also the root cause of why I couldn’t cooperate with my partners.
Later, I recalled another passage of God’s word: “When God requires that people fulfill their duty well, He is not asking them to complete a certain number of tasks, or accomplish any great endeavors, nor to perform any great undertakings. What God wants is for people to be able to do all they can in a down-to-earth way, and live in accordance with His words. God does not need you to be great or honorable, nor does He need you to bring about any miracles, nor does He want to see any pleasant surprises in you. He does not need such things. All God needs is for you to steadfastly practice according to His words. When you listen to God’s words, do what you have understood, carry out what you have comprehended, remember what you have heard, and then, when the time comes to practice, practice according to God’s words, so that God’s words may become your life, your realities, and what you live out. Thus, God will be satisfied. You are always seeking greatness, nobility, and status; you always seek exaltation. How does God feel when He sees this? He loathes it, and He will be apart from you. The more you pursue things like greatness, nobility, and being superior to others, distinguished, outstanding, and noteworthy, the more disgusting God finds you. If you do not reflect upon yourself and repent, then God will despise you and forsake you. Be sure not to be someone whom God finds disgusting; be a person that God loves. So, how can one attain God’s love? By receiving the truth obediently, standing in the position of a created being, acting by God’s words with one’s feet on the ground, performing one’s duties properly, trying to be an honest person, and living out the likeness of a human being. This is enough, God will be satisfied” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation). God’s words made me understand that God doesn’t look at how much we achieve or how much work we do, nor does He look at our gifts and caliber. God looks at whether we can listen to His words, obey Him, live out normal humanity based on His requirements, and fulfill our duties. But I didn’t understand God’s requirements. I had some caliber and gifts, and could do some work, so I became arrogant, thought I was talented, felt I was better than anyone, put myself above everyone, and made them listen to me. I really lacked all reason. I thought of the disciple Paul. He had caliber and gifts, suffered much for preaching the gospel, did much work, and made others admire and look up to him, but in all his years of work, he achieved no change in his life disposition, he exalted himself and showed off, and finally spoke his most arrogant words yet, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Thanks to all this, Paul ultimately failed to gain God’s approval and was punished eternally by God. No matter what gifts or caliber a person has or how high their status or prestige is among people, if they don’t pursue the truth or achieve dispositional change, it’s no use. Caliber and gifts aren’t the truth. God doesn’t save or perfect people based on these things. I felt I had caliber, gifts, and talent, but I couldn’t live out even the most basic normal humanity, didn’t have basic respect for my brothers and sisters, and couldn’t accept correct advice. I wasn’t showing the slightest change in my disposition. My brothers and sisters reminded and helped me many times, and God smote and disciplined me, but I didn’t reflect on myself. It took severe pruning and dealing for me to reflect on myself. I was too numb! I had awful caliber! Someone truly of good caliber would seek the truth when things happen and reflect on themselves, be able to understand God’s will from the environments He arranges, and learn lessons from all things. Looking at myself, I saw that I was blindly and thoroughly arrogant. I had no reason at all. I also thought my two partners had done this duty longer than me, but I never saw them boast about their qualifications. They discussed with me when they had problems, and when I looked down on them, they were always tolerant and patient, and helped me. Seeing the humanity they lived out, I felt guilty and ashamed. I realized my reason and humanity were awful. I had no self-awareness at all! I caused so much damage and hindrance to the work of the church, and so much harm to my partners. Given my actions, I was unworthy of taking charge of such an important work. As I realized this, I felt self-blame. I swore to myself that no matter whether I was dismissed or what outcome I faced in the future, I would pursue the truth, resolve my corrupt disposition, and no longer be arrogant and arbitrary.
Later, I saw another passage of God’s words: “Harmonious cooperation involves many things. At the very least, one of these many things is to allow others to speak and make different suggestions. If you are genuinely reasonable, no matter what kind of work you do, you must first learn to seek the principles of truth, and you should also take the initiative to seek the opinions of others. As long as you take every suggestion seriously, and then work together to resolve problems, you will essentially achieve harmonious cooperation. This way, you will encounter far fewer difficulties in your duty. No matter what problems come up, it will be easy to solve and deal with them. This is the effect of harmonious cooperation. Sometimes there are disputes over trivial matters, but as long as these don’t affect the work, they will not be a problem. However, on key matters and major matters involving the work of the church, you must reach a consensus and seek truth to resolve them. As a leader or a worker, if you always think yourself above others, and revel in your duty like some government official, always indulging in the trappings of your station, always making your own plans, always considering and enjoying your own fame and status, always running your own operation, and always seeking to gain higher status, to manage and control more people, and to expand the scope of your power, this is trouble. It is dangerous to treat an important duty as a chance to enjoy your position as if you are a government official. If you always act like this, not wishing to work with others, not wanting to dilute your power and share it with anyone else, not wanting anyone else to have the upper hand, to steal the limelight, if you only want to enjoy the power on your own, then you are an antichrist. But if you often seek the truth, put aside the flesh, forsake your own motivations and designs, and are able to take it upon yourself to work with others, open up your heart to consult and seek with others, attentively listen to others’ ideas and suggestions, and accept advice which is correct and in line with the truth, no matter who it comes from, then you are practicing in a wise and correct manner, and you are able to avoid taking the wrong path, which is protection for you. You must let go of leadership titles, let go of the filthy air of status, treat yourself as an ordinary person, stand on the same level as others, and have a responsible attitude toward your duty. If you always treat your duty as an official title and status, or as a kind of laurel, and imagine that others are there to serve your position, this is troublesome, and God will despise and be disgusted with you. If you believe that you are equal to others, you just have a little more of a commission and responsibility from God, if you can learn to put yourself on an even footing with them, and can even stoop to asking what other people think, and if you can earnestly, closely, and attentively listen to what they say, then you will work in harmony with others. What effect will this harmonious cooperation achieve? The effect is huge. You will gain things you never had before, which are the light of truth and the realities of life; you will discover others’ virtues and learn from their strengths. There’s something else: You conceive of other people as stupid, dim-witted, foolish, inferior to you, but when you listen to their opinions, or other people open up to you, you will unwittingly discover that no one is quite as ordinary as you think, that everyone can offer up different thoughts and ideas, and that everyone has things to teach you. This way, beyond just helping you learn from the strengths of others, it can reveal your arrogance and self-righteousness, and avoid you imagining you are clever. When you no longer consider yourself smarter and better than everyone else, you will cease to live in this narcissistic and self-appreciative state. And that will protect you, will it not? Such is the lesson you should learn from and the benefit of working with others” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). From God’s words, I understood that no one is perfect and no one can see problems so clearly. Mistakes and deviations in our duties are inevitable, but as long as we learn to cooperate with others and learn from each other’s strengths, we can avoid these problems, and our duties will improve. The more we cooperate with our partners, the more we can discover the strengths of others, treat everyone fairly and justly, not belittle and look down on others. It also prevents us living in a state of arrogance and self-righteousness, acting like a tyrant, doing arbitrary things, or walking the path of antichrists. I realized the importance of cooperating with my brothers and sisters!
Later, I opened up with my partners. I told them how arrogant and self-righteous I became in my duty, the harm I caused them, and all my problems I recognized after reflecting. I also apologized to them and asked for their supervision. I told them if they noticed I was being arrogant or self-righteous, or not accepting their suggestions, they should fellowship with me and point it out, and they can prune and deal with me or report me if I didn’t accept it. Someone as arrogant and self-righteous as me required this kind of special treatment. Every day, I brought my problems before God and prayed to ask for His protection and discipline, so that I could avoid doing such unreasonable things. Practicing this way, I felt especially steadfast, like a cancer patient who finally found a cure. Without realizing it, I felt my heart growing closer to God, and I was behaving in a more reasonable way. Before acting, I actively discussed and communicated with my partners, and when they raised differing opinions, rather than blindly denying them, I could seek and contemplate to see whether their views accorded with principles and what the advantages were, which also prevented me demanding to have the final say.
I remember once, we were discussing personnel transfers. I suggested transferring a sister to perform duties in another group, but my partners didn’t advise transferring people around too much. They said we had to promote and train new people. When I heard my partners’ differing opinion, I wanted to stress that my view was correct, but I realized I was about to act by my arrogant disposition. I immediately prayed to God in my heart, asking Him to help me deny and forsake myself. After prayer, it occurred to me that since my partners had raised an objection, I had to contemplate it, and not insist too strongly on my view. What if my view on the matter had a problem? What was good about their suggestion? What were the benefits of their suggestion to the work of the church? When I thought about it that way, I realized their suggestion really was more beneficial to our work. Cultivating new talent alleviates the personnel shortage problem at the root. By comparison, my view was a bit one-sided. In the end, we implemented their suggestion. I felt at peace. I thought I had finally been a reasonable person for once, denied myself, and obeyed the truth. It felt wonderful to be that way.
After a period cooperating with my partners, I found my two sisters considered problems more comprehensively than I did. Many of my ideas were really unsuitable, but their advice made up for my deficiencies. When we cooperate with our partners, we should learn from each other’s strengths, and help, supervise, and restrain each other, which is how we get better and better at our duties. I also realized that none of us is better than the others. Each of us has our strengths and weaknesses, and no one can perform their duties well on their own. We need to cooperate with our partners and complement one another. That’s the only way to do our duties best and avoid taking the wrong path. I am grateful for God’s salvation!