95. How to Handle Being Pruned and Dealt With
Wednesday, August 17, 2022, Clear skies
I’ve started on a new duty today. I’m doing textual work. Though unexpected, I’m happy to be able to do this duty. I know that this is God’s grace and that He’s giving me a chance to practice. I want to do a good job. But I am so unfamiliar with this work, and furthermore, I’ve learned that others have been pruned and dealt with for being willful and unprincipled in this type of work, so I start to worry, thinking: “Will I be pruned and dealt with in this duty, too? But then again, wouldn’t this be a good thing if I could learn lessons from being pruned? This is a great opportunity to gain the truth!”
Sunday, September 4, 2022, Cloudy
How time flies. In the blink of an eye, I’ve been doing textual work for over half a month. With the leader’s fellowship on principles and guidance on work, I have become a little more familiar with this work and learned some principles. But when I saw some brothers and sisters being dealt with for not doing their duty with principles and being willful, I got quite nervous, afraid of being dealt with myself. Though I know the leader’s pruning is pointing out corrupt dispositions and the essence of problems in line with God’s word, and that this helps us know ourselves and enter into the truth principles, I still don’t want to be pruned or dealt with. Brother Saul was dealt with today for not doing his duty in line with principles. The leader had fellowshiped and redressed this with him repeatedly, but he kept making the same mistake. The leader said he lacked spiritual understanding and that he didn’t understand principles. Though these words weren’t directed at me, when I heard the words “lacked spiritual understanding,” it kind of felt like it touched a nerve. I warned myself: “I have to act according to principles, and I can’t make any mistakes, or I’ll be dealt with. I’ll be in trouble if I’m shown to have no spiritual understanding. How can a person like that be saved? Are they even worth cultivating?” These thoughts just made me more anxious. Doing my duty this evening, I was tense the whole time. I did things with the utmost caution, terrified of slipping up. But I don’t understand why other people being dealt with is having such an effect on me.
Friday, September 9, 2022, Clear skies
Lately I’ve been filled with apprehension in my duty and constantly looking over my shoulder. I’m terrified of slipping up. Sometimes others will ask for my point of view, but even when I have views that I am certain are in line with principles, I’m scared to say the wrong thing. I have to reach out and gain several other people’s approval before stating my view. To be honest, doing my duty like this is so tiring, and I feel like I’ve grown distant from God. I read a passage of God’s word that really touched me today. God says: “Some antichrists that work in the house of God silently resolve to act scrupulously, to avoid making errors, being pruned and dealt with, angering the Above or being caught by their leader doing something bad, and they make sure to have an audience when they do good deeds. Yet, no matter how scrupulous they are, due to the fact that their motives and the path they take are incorrect, and because they speak and act only for the sake of reputation and status and never seek the truth, they often violate principles, disrupt and disturb the church’s work, act as Satan’s lackeys and even often commit transgressions. It is very common for such people to often violate principles and commit transgressions. So, of course, it is difficult for them to avoid being pruned and dealt with. They have seen that some antichrists have been exposed and cast out because they have been sternly pruned and dealt with. They have seen these things with their own eyes. Why do antichrists act so cautiously? One reason, for sure, is that they are afraid of being exposed and cast out. They think, ‘I’ve got to be careful—after all, “Caution is the parent of safety” and “The good have peaceful lives.” I must follow these principles and remind myself at every moment to avoid doing wrong or getting into trouble, and I must suppress my corruption and intentions and not let anyone see them. As long as I don’t do wrong and can persevere to the very end, I will gain blessings, evade the disasters, and I will be successful in my belief in God!’ They often urge themselves on, motivate and encourage themselves in this way. They believe that if they do wrong, they will significantly lessen their chances of gaining blessings. Is this not the calculation and belief that occupies the depths of their hearts? Putting aside whether this calculation or belief of antichrists is right or wrong, based on this belief, what will they be most worried about when being dealt with and pruned? (Their prospects and fate.) They associate being dealt with and pruned with their prospects and fate—this has to do with their evil nature” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Eight)). This passage describes my state exactly. When I see others being dealt with, I don’t accept it as being from God or seek why these people are being dealt with, how they have deviated, how I can learn from their failures, and how I should avoid deviating in the same way in the future to act in line with principles. Instead, I draw an invisible yet intimate link between being dealt with and my fate. I feel that the more seriously you are dealt with, the less hope you have of being blessed. I’ve become more guarded and cautious, thinking that as long as I don’t make many mistakes or get dealt with, I have hope of being blessed. Because of my misunderstandings about being dealt with and because I value blessings too much, I’m highly sensitive to things that touch on my fate and overcautious in everything I do. I’m afraid that if I’m not cautious, I’ll be dealt with and lose my good outcome. I can see that I’m so deceitful! The leader fellowships principles with us many times and takes us by the hand, but we don’t take his words seriously. We go on to act willfully and blindly, and disrupt the work. Isn’t dealing with us a totally normal thing to do? A rational person would reflect on themselves in light of this, on where they are falling short or lack spiritual understanding, and seek the truth and promptly amend their deviations. This is a person with positive entry and who seeks the truth. We are dealt with to help us enter the truth and do our duties well. But not only do I not seek the truth or reflect, I’m also guarded and misunderstanding. I can’t tell good from bad! Thanks to the revelation of God’s word, now I have some understanding of my state.
Monday, September 12, 2022, Heavy rain
During a gathering today, the leader learned that Saul had become negative after being dealt with, and that he felt constrained and repressed. The leader asked us if we felt constrained. I recalled my recent state and said that I had felt somewhat constrained. The leader then gave some fellowship that really touched me. He said: “Why is it that some people are dealt with repeatedly and yet still don’t gain truth, and say they feel constrained, oppressed, and pained? It is because they don’t focus on understanding or gaining the truth, meaning they don’t gain anything. They get resistant and angry when dealt with. They go up against others. Is this a person that accepts the truth? Really, these people are dealt with because they have violated the truth principles, but they refuse to reflect, and even slack off. This shows they don’t accept the truth, and that they go against and are at odds with the truth. To be at odds with the truth is, in essence, to be at odds with God. The nature of this is very serious.” The leader’s fellowship finally made me realize how serious the nature of rejecting the truth or being dealt with is, and how dangerous this state is. When I got home, I felt deeply unsettled for a long time and lay in bed unable to sleep for ages. I’ve started to wonder, “How exactly not accepting the truth manifests? How can I learn a lesson and reflect in this situation?”
Wednesday, September 14, 2022, Clear skies
Saul was dismissed today. A few others were also dismissed because they didn’t accept the truth and weren’t making progress in their duties. I found out from a sister that Saul would often do his duty willfully and violate principles, and that the leader patiently fellowshiped on principles with him each time. Sometimes he would prune him and point out the essence of his problem, but Saul didn’t seek the truth or reflect. In response to being pruned, he’d slack off and refuse to share his views in work discussions. One time in a gathering, he even said: “The leader doesn’t see when I do a good job, but I get dealt with if I don’t.” It was hard to believe that he’d said this, and the fact that he could showed he didn’t accept the truth at all! I read a few passages of God’s word: “When an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, the first thing they do is resist and reject it deep in their heart. They fight it. And why is that? This is because antichrists, by their very nature essence, are sick of and hate the truth, and they do not accept the truth at all. Naturally, an antichrist’s essence and disposition prevent them from acknowledging their own mistakes or acknowledging their own corrupt disposition. Based on these two facts, an antichrist’s attitude toward being pruned and dealt with is to reject and oppose it, completely and utterly. They detest and resist it from the bottom of their heart, and have not the slightest hint of acceptance or submission, much less any genuine reflection or repentance. When an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, no matter who does it, what it pertains to, the degree to which they are to blame for the matter, how blatant the error, how much wickedness they commit, or what consequences their wickedness creates for the church—the antichrist doesn’t consider any of this. To an antichrist, the one pruning and dealing with them is singling them out, or deliberately finding faults to punish them. The antichrist may even think that they are being bullied and humiliated, that they are not being treated humanely, and that they are being belittled and scorned. After an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, they never reflect on what it was that they have actually done wrong, what sort of corrupt disposition they have revealed, whether they sought the principles in the matter, or whether they acted in accordance with the truth principles or fulfilled their responsibilities. They do not examine themselves or reflect on any of this, nor do they ponder these issues. Instead, they approach dealing and pruning according to their own will and with hot-headedness. Any time an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, they will be full of anger, resentment, and discontent, and will listen to advice from no one. They refuse to accept their being pruned and dealt with, and are unable to come back before God to learn about and reflect on themselves, to address their actions that violate the principles, such as being perfunctory or careless or running amok in their duty, nor do they use this chance to resolve their own corrupt disposition. Instead, they find excuses to defend themselves, to vindicate themselves, and they will even say things to provoke discord and incite others” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Twelve: They Want to Retreat When There Is No Status and No Hope of Gaining Blessings). “Regardless of the environments that crop up—especially in the face of adversity, and especially when God reveals or exposes people—the first thing one should do is to come before God to reflect and examine their words and deeds and their corrupt disposition, instead of examining, studying, and judging whether God’s words and actions are right or wrong. If you stay in your proper position, you should know exactly what it is you ought to be doing. People have a corrupt disposition and do not understand the truth. This is not such a big problem. But when people have a corrupt disposition and do not understand the truth, yet still do not seek the truth—now they have a real problem. You have a corrupt disposition and do not understand the truth, and you can judge God arbitrarily, and approach and interact with Him as your mood, preferences, and emotions dictate. However, if you do not seek and practice the truth, things are not going to be so simple. Not only will you not be able to submit to God, but you could misunderstand and complain about Him, condemn Him, oppose Him, and even scold and reject Him in your heart, saying that He is not righteous, that not everything He does is necessarily right. Is it not dangerous that you may yet give rise to such things? (It is.) It is very dangerous. Not seeking the truth can cost one their life! And this can happen at any time and at any place” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Ten: They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Three)). “For everyone who is often passive, this is caused by the inability to accept the truth. If you do not accept the truth, passivity will haunt you like a demon, causing you to live in a perpetual state of passiveness and develop a feeling of disobedience, dissatisfaction and resentment toward God. When it gets to the point that you start resisting, rebelling and shouting out against God, you will have reached the end. When people start exposing, dissecting and branding you, you will have realized the grim reality of the situation far too late and will fall to the ground, beating your breast. Then, all you can do is await God’s punishment!” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers (17)). God’s words finally made me understand that the clearest indicator of whether a person accepts the truth is how they handle being dealt with. When dealt with, those who pursue and accept the truth can reflect, and no matter how severely they have been dealt with, they can always pray to God, consider where exactly they went wrong, what caused this, and what corrupt disposition they revealed, then seek the truth and learn from it. Though there may be some negativity and weakness, this is because they see the depth of their corruption and the severity of their transgressions, they start to feel guilty and repentant, and thereby hate themselves from their hearts. But they won’t get stuck in negativity. They will seek the truth and continue reflecting on themselves from these failures, and when they truly know their problem and see the nature of their actions clearly, they see God’s love and protection within being dealt with, and they thank God. In this moment a person’s state is correct and positive. But a person who doesn’t accept the truth takes being dealt with differently. Though some won’t openly complain, they never self-reflect or know themselves by God’s word. Within themselves, they argue, resist, and make excuses. The more they think about it, the more aggrieved and pained they feel, even to the point of feeling wronged. Naturally, this creates negative emotions. These negative emotions contain their dissatisfaction with reality and with others. Those who accept the truth find that being dealt with lets them truly know their corrupt disposition, repent, and change, and that it is a turning point in their faith. But those who don’t accept the truth will be exposed and cast out. All those who become negative a lot do not accept the truth, are by nature sick of the truth, and cannot advance no matter their years of faith. When dealt with, Saul did not reflect or recognize the nature and consequences of working willfully, much less seek principles of practice. Instead, he was constrained, negative, and listless. At first I thought it was normal to feel down after being dealt with and he’d be fine after a couple days of reflection. But some of the other brothers and sisters said that he’d been like this before—zealous and active on the outside, but as soon as problems surfaced in work and he was dealt with, he’d become negative and listless, and stop contributing to discussions on problems. He’d say the more work suggestions he made, the more issues were exposed, and that he’d offer fewer suggestions and opinions, so fewer issues would be exposed. With his most recent pruning, he felt constrained and repressed in his duty, and also depressed and pained. This negative attitude of his is essentially rejecting the truth, and blaming and resisting God. He has been revealing an antichrist disposition. I’ve finally realized that behind this negativity hides a satanic disposition that resists God. Isn’t Saul taking the wrong path a wakeup call for me? This became particularly apparent when I read it said in God’s word, “Not seeking the truth can cost one their life! And this can happen at any time and at any place” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Ten: They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Three)). I didn’t have much personal experience with this before, but with what I’ve gone through lately, these words make my heart ring with assent. It’s so dangerous to not seek or accept the truth when dealt with. The brothers and sisters dismissed recently were in fact gifted, but their fatal weakness was being sick of and not seeking the truth, leading to them never getting results in their duties and being dismissed in the end. The more I think about it, the more I see the importance of seeking the truth.
Thursday, September 15, 2022, Light rain
The leader’s fellowship from that night has been running through my head for a couple days, and my thoughts keep coming back to these words of God: “If you have faith in God, yet seek not the truth or the will of God, nor love the way that brings you closer to God, then I say that you are one who is trying to evade judgment, and that you are a puppet and a traitor who flees from the great white throne” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth). Before, when I read God’s words: “you are one who is trying to evade judgment,” and “you are a puppet and a traitor who flees from the great white throne,” those in the religious world who cling to religious notions immediately came to mind. They just want to be saved through grace. They refuse to accept God’s judgment work in the last days. They are puppets and traitors fleeing from God’s great white throne. But I wonder, “Does accepting God’s work in the last days also mean accepting His judgment? Is that how God sees it? What does it really mean to truly accept God’s judgment and chastisement?” By pondering God’s word, I realized accepting God’s work in the last days does not mean truly accepting His judgment in the last days. You must at least be able to accept being dealt with to accept God’s judgment in the last days. If you can’t accept being dealt with, there’s no way you’ll accept God’s judgment and chastisement. I read some more of God’s word on how to correctly handle being dealt with. Almighty God says: “When it comes to being pruned and dealt with, what is the very least that people should know? Being pruned and dealt with must be experienced to adequately perform one’s duty—it is indispensable. It is something that people must face on a daily basis and often experience in their faith in God and attainment of salvation. No one can be apart from being pruned and dealt with. Is pruning and dealing with someone something that involves their future and fate? (No.) So what is pruning and dealing with someone for? Is it in order to condemn people? (No, it’s helping people understand the truth and perform their duty according to principles.) That’s right. That’s the most correct understanding of it. Pruning and dealing with someone is a kind of discipline, a kind of chastening, but it’s also a form of helping and saving people. Being pruned and dealt with allows you to alter your incorrect pursuit in time. It allows you to promptly recognize the problems you currently have, and allows you to recognize the corrupt dispositions you expose in time. No matter what, being pruned and dealt with helps you recognize your mistakes and fulfill your duties according to principles, it saves you from making mistakes and going astray in time, and it prevents you from causing catastrophes. Is this not the greatest aid to people, their greatest remedy? Those with a conscience and reason should be able to treat being dealt with and pruned correctly” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Eight)). God’s word is very clear on the correct attitude and path of practice we should have toward being dealt with. In fact, being dealt with is completely unrelated to our fate. No matter if the language used is harsh, distressing, or even condemning, it is all to help us recognize our corruption and see the deviations in our work. It is to help us seek the truth and do our duties with principles. Being dealt with often or severely doesn’t mean a person doesn’t have a good fate, nor does not being dealt with mean a person will have a good fate. Though some may be pruned and dealt with often, and sometimes this may be severe, poignant, or seem like exposure or condemnation, these people are later able to seek the truth, reflect, and gain some understanding of their corrupt disposition, shortcomings, and deviations. They are able to change and grow in life, and in the end, they can still shoulder important work. I’ve started to think back on my attitude toward being dealt with since becoming a believer. I’ve believed in God for nine years, and in all these years, I’ve rarely been dealt with or had major setbacks or failures. I’ve always held a different view of being dealt with. I’ve felt being dealt with is a bad thing, that it’s the same as being exposed or condemned. I shrink in fear at the sight of others being dealt with, afraid that it will happen to me too if I’m not careful. I’ve mistaken being dealt with for condemnation and exposure, rejecting and resisting it, wanting to stay in my comfort zone in my faith. How is my pursuit any different from those who just want their fill of bread in religion? I have read so much of God’s word and I clearly know that His work in the last days aims to cleanse and perfect man with judgment, refinement, pruning and dealing. But I have no real knowledge and am unwilling to accept being dealt with or refined, so no matter how many years I believe in God, I won’t make any progress. I won’t gain the truth or attain change in my life disposition, and in the end, I will be punished. The more I think about it, the more I realize how dangerous my state is. I crave comfort and pursue grace, so even if I am not dealt with, it doesn’t mean I’ll have a good outcome. If I never seek the truth or change my corrupt disposition, I won’t be saved in the end. It’s not that being dealt with reveals a person’s outcome, but that their attitude toward the truth reveals who they are. I’d always thought being dealt with was a bad thing, and that it was perhaps God’s displeasure or condemnation. But now I see how distorted my view was! In tears, I prayed to God: “God, I finally see my ignorance and foolishness. In my years of faith, I have never sought the truth and my nature has been sick of the truth. I have always evaded being pruned and dealt with. God, I want to repent. I am willing to learn lessons from being dealt with.” I felt much more at ease after praying, along with a sense of yearning and longing. I hope that I can experience being pruned and dealt with so I can progress in life.
Wednesday, October 5, 2022, Cloudy
Something unforgettable happened today. While working on a project, because I was doing my duty willfully and not seeking principles, work had to be redone, which delayed progress. The leader pointed out the nature of this problem and dealt with me for being arrogant and lacking in caliber. He said this showed my lack of spiritual understanding. His words kept running through my mind. I was very upset and started to delimit myself, thinking: “The leader’s seen right through me. He thinks I’m not suited for this duty. I’ll be dismissed any day now.” I got more and more depressed. Realizing my state was wrong, I prayed to God: “Oh God, I was dealt with today. I don’t know what I should learn from this or how to reflect on myself. Please enlighten and guide me to know myself and cast off these negative emotions.” After praying I remembered that seeking the truth is key when dealt with. What is being negative going to solve? I should reflect on what exactly my problems are and how I lacked spiritual understanding. Calmly giving it some thought, I realized that I was mainly dealt with this time because I was doing my duty willfully, without pondering or seeking principles. The leader had fellowshiped on principles related to this, but I just stuck to rules. I even felt that having heard these principles several times, I’d already mastered them and didn’t need to work on them anymore. I blindly believed in myself, put principles aside, saw my opinions as correct and didn’t seek opinions from others. I was too willful, didn’t act according to principles, and blindly followed rules. Wasn’t this having no spiritual understanding? If I hadn’t been dealt with this way, I would stay numb, thinking I had done my duty well, truly not knowing what evil I might commit. Being dealt with is a warning to me and it is protection for me. Now that I see this, I don’t feel negative anymore. I can focus on seeking with principles, and remind myself not to make these kinds of mistakes again.
Saturday, October 8, 2022, Clear skies
We were in a gathering with the leader today. He patiently fellowshiped on the principles of doing a duty with us and then asked if we had made any gains lately. He encouraged us to pursue the truth, and that no matter the circumstances, learning lessons is most important. He also read us a passage of God’s word: “In the course of experiencing the work of God, no matter how many times you have failed, fallen down, been pruned, dealt with, or exposed, these are not bad things. Regardless of how you have been pruned or dealt with, or whether it is by leaders, workers, or your brothers or sisters, these are all good things. You must remember this: No matter how much you suffer, you are actually benefiting. Anyone with experience can attest to this. No matter what, being pruned, dealt with, or exposed is always a good thing. It is not a condemnation. It is God’s salvation and the best opportunity for you to get to know yourself. It can bring your life experience a change of gears. Without it, you will possess neither the opportunity, the condition, nor the context to be able to reach an understanding of the truth of your corruption. If you truly understand the truth, and are able to unearth the corrupt things hidden in the depths of your heart, if you can clearly distinguish them, then this is good, this has solved a major problem of life entry, and is of great benefit to changes in disposition. Becoming able to truly know yourself is the best opportunity for you to mend your ways and become a new person; it is the best opportunity for you to obtain new life. Once you truly know yourself, you will be able to see that when the truth becomes one’s life, it is a precious thing indeed, and you will thirst for the truth, practice the truth, and enter into reality. This is such a great thing! If you can grab this opportunity and earnestly reflect upon yourself and gain a genuine knowledge of yourself whenever you fail or fall down, then in the midst of negativity and weakness, you will be able to stand back up. Once you have crossed this threshold, you will then be able to take a big step forward and enter the truth reality” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Gain the Truth, One Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Nearby). God’s words really moved me and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Though being dealt with was upsetting and painful and it sometimes felt like I was going to collapse with negativity, this experience has really made me see God’s love. It was this kind of situation that forced me to come before God to reflect and know my own corrupt disposition, and to reflect on where my problems lie. When I gain some understanding of myself, I feel a sense of inner peace and ease. If I hadn’t been dealt with, I don’t know what disturbances I would have created in my duty, or what problems or oversights would have emerged. It was being dealt with like this that made me pay closer attention to seeking principles in my duty. I’ve personally seen that being dealt with is inseparable from doing our duty.