97. The Consequences of Excessive Emotional Attachment
By Su Xing, China
One year, during my tenure as a deacon, God’s house ordered a cleansing of the church to remove all nonbelievers, evildoers and antichrists from within the ranks of our members. Only by performing such a cleansing could the normal church life of God’s chosen be ensured. Soon after, our church began an investigation into these three types of people.
One day, Brother Wang Zhicheng, a church leader, sought me out and told me: “Your wife often distorts the truth and judges leaders and workers during gatherings. Yet when two deacons pointed out this problem, not only did she not accept it, she held a grudge against them and began disparaging them behind their backs. This led some of our brothers and sisters to develop certain biases toward the leaders and workers and severely influenced church life. We fellowshiped and helped her, dealt with and pruned her, but she still didn’t see the error of her ways and failed to repent and achieve transformation.” Zhicheng also wanted to know more about her behavior in general, so he asked me to write an assessment to help inform a decision as to whether she should be removed. At the time, I felt a bit dejected. Zhicheng was speaking the truth—my wife did, indeed, often judge the leaders and workers, saying they were irresponsible and didn’t do practical work. In reality, the leaders had achieved some results in their work and were able to resolve some practical issues, but my wife would nitpick over the smallest issues and find flaws in everything the leaders did. I had fellowshiped with her before regarding this issue, but she just wouldn’t change her ways and continued to voice her judgment of the leaders in her gathering group. When her group leader, Brother Yang Yanyi, told her that she shouldn’t be judging leaders and workers during gatherings as it disrupted church life, she began disparaging him, saying that he only fellowshiped on doctrinal knowledge and lacked the reality of the truth. She even went so far as to say he was wasting the brothers and sisters’ time during the gathering, when, in fact, most of Yanyi’s fellowship was quite practical. My wife’s actions were disrupting church life and if, in the course of the church’s investigation, it was determined that she was an evildoer, she would be expelled from the church. At the time, I thought to myself: “If she is expelled, doesn’t that mean she won’t be able to attain salvation?” Realizing this, I told the leader: “The reason my wife caused these disturbances and interruptions is because she only accepted God’s work in the last days a little over two years ago and hasn’t yet comprehended the truth. I’ll make sure to fellowship with her when I return home and see if I can get her to repent. As for the assessment, can we hold off on that for now?” Zhicheng fellowshiped with me, saying that God’s house has always emphasized that evildoers and nonbelievers that disrupt the church’s work must be removed in order to prevent them from impacting normal church life. He asked me to complete my assessment as soon as possible and assured me that the church would make a fair judgment in accord with principle based upon her overall behavior. I knew Zhicheng was right, but when it came to writing an assessment of my wife, I just felt awful. My wife and I had suffered a lot since entering the faith. It was bad enough when our neighbors all mocked and ridiculed us, but even our close friends and family had all abandoned us—we had been through some very difficult times together. If I wrote out all of her wicked behaviors and she was ultimately expelled, then wouldn’t all of her suffering have been in vain? What’s more, if she were to find out that it was my assessment that had exposed all of her wicked behaviors, wouldn’t she say I had neglected our marital bond and had been heartless to her? I thought to myself: “Forget it. I shouldn’t write it.” But then I reconsidered, thinking: “I am clearly aware that my wife has been disrupting church life. If I don’t report my wife’s behaviors to the church in a prompt manner, won’t I be concealing the truth and covering up for her? That would be offensive to God!” Having realized all this, I felt agonized and upset. I couldn’t let go of my emotional attachment to my wife and didn’t know how best to proceed. For the next few days, whenever I returned home, I would fellowship with my wife and encourage her to repent. She would perfunctorily agree, but when I pressed her further, she’d get offended and refuse to accept my fellowship. Seeing how she hadn’t made even the slightest improvement, I became so tormented that I could barely eat or get a good night’s sleep.
Later on, during a co-worker meeting, a leader observed how I was being ruled by my emotional attachments and still hadn’t written the assessment, and so he fellowshiped with me, saying: “The truth reigns in God’s house. No evildoer will be spared, and no good person wrongfully accused. As a deacon of this church, you should lead the way in practicing the truth to preserve the church’s work.” I felt a bit ashamed after hearing the leader’s fellowship. Indeed, as a church deacon, if the church wanted to understand more about my wife’s situation, I ought to actively cooperate. Instead, I kept delaying writing the assessment and, in so doing, failed to preserve the work of the church. In reality, this was a wake-up call for my wife and a chance for her to realize she was having some issues. If she accepted the truth and repented and achieved transformation in a timely fashion, there could be a positive outcome. After returning home, just as I was getting ready to write my assessment, I saw my wife dutifully busying herself with chores throughout the house and began to hesitate. I hurriedly prayed to God, asking that He guide me to let go of my fleshly emotions and practice the truth to preserve the work of the church. After concluding my prayer, these words of God came to mind: “What are emotions, in essence? They are a kind of corrupt disposition. The manifestations of emotions can be described using several words: favoritism, over-protectiveness, maintenance of physical relationships, partiality; these are what emotions are” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Reality of the Truth?). “What issues relate to emotions? Number one is how you evaluate your own family, how you react to the things they do. ‘The things they do’ includes when they disturb and interrupt the church’s work, when they are judgmental about people behind their backs, when they do the things of the nonbelievers, and so on. Could you be impartial toward these things your family does? If you were asked to evaluate your family in writing, would you do so objectively and fairly, putting your own emotions aside? This relates to how you should face family members. And are you sentimental toward those you get on with or who previously helped you? Would you be objective, impartial, and precise about their actions and behavior? Would you immediately report or expose them if you discovered them disturbing and interrupting the work of the church? What’s more, are you sentimental toward those who are close to you, or who share similar interests? Would your evaluation, definition, and response to their actions and behavior be impartial and objective? And how would you react if principle dictated that the church take measures against someone who you have an emotional connection with, and these measures were at odds with your own notions? Would you obey? Would you secretly continue to liaise with them, would you still be inveigled by them, would you even be prompted by them to make excuses for them, to rationalize and defend them? Would you fall on your sword for and come to the aid of those who have been kind to you, oblivious to the principles of the truth and heedless of the interests of God’s house? This all involves various issues to do with emotions, does it not?” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). God’s words revealed how those with strong emotional attachments do not conduct themselves with principle, much less are they able to act fairly. Instead, they play favorites and maintain their fleshly relationships without the least consideration for the interests of the church. Measuring myself up against God’s words, I found that I had excessive emotional attachment. I knew perfectly well that insofar as my wife often distorted the facts, judged leaders and workers and disrupted church life, I should practice the truth and expose her wicked behaviors. Only in so doing would I be heedful of God’s will and be preserving the church’s work. Yet, because I couldn’t abandon my familial bond, feared that my wife would lose her chance to attain salvation and worried that she would begrudge me, I remained partial to her, covered up for her, delayed writing her assessment and allowed her to continue disrupting the church. In covering for her, I hadn’t spared the least amount of consideration for the work of the church, nor had I thought about how it may be damaging my brothers’ and sisters’ lives. I was truly despicable! Realizing all this, I thought: “I can’t go against my conscience and offend God any longer. I must practice the truth, abandon my fleshly emotions and expose her wicked behaviors.” With that, I picked up my pen and wrote out each and every one of the wicked behaviors I had observed in my wife. A few days later, the leaders and workers decided based on principle that my wife had poor humanity, had disrupted church life many times and should be expelled, but because she had only accepted God’s work in the last days for a short time, she would be given one more chance to repent. She would be pruned, dealt with and given a warning, but if she still failed to repent, she would be expelled. I was relieved upon hearing this news, knowing that she still had a chance to turn things around. I resolved to buckle down and really help my wife recognize her wicked behaviors and repent to God. If she could repent and achieve transformation, then she wouldn’t be removed. If that were the case, there was still hope that she could attain salvation. When I got home, I pointed out all of my wife’s issues to her and urged her to cherish this opportunity to repent. At the time, she assented to my request. After that, she wouldn’t argue with her brothers and sisters and judge the leaders and workers during gatherings. She willingly accepted to host the brothers and sisters when it was assigned to her by the church and she seemed, at least from the outside, to be restraining herself a bit more. I felt so happy for her, but as time went on, her true nature once again reared its head.
One time, during a gathering, a group leader Sister Liu Yi asked how one should practice and enter into the truth of fearing God and shunning evil. Upon hearing this, my wife disparaged Liu Yi, saying: “You exposed me before, saying I judged the leaders and workers and perpetrated evil, but you don’t even understand the truth of fearing God and shunning evil! Why are you even the leader of this group? What makes you qualified to criticize me?” She went on releasing this tirade of invective against Liu Yi, refusing to stop when the others told her to do so. Eventually, her ranting got so loud that a neighbor came to ask what was going on and the gathering had to be discontinued out of concern for safety. When I found out what had happened, I dealt with her and told her that her tirade had interrupted and disturbed church life, but she wasn’t having any of it and even tried to defend herself. Afterward, she remained angry with me and wouldn’t give me the time of day. It was truly demoralizing to see her take this kind of attitude with me. After that, because I was fairly well known among believers in my hometown and also because a wicked person had reported me for spreading the gospel, my wife and I were forced to flee and fulfill our duties away from home at a new church. Once, during a gathering, my wife’s understanding of a passage of God’s words was a little off and the other brothers and sisters pointed out her error, telling her this wasn’t an authentic interpretation of God’s words. My wife, however, was unwilling to concede and kept harping on her point to the extent that it disrupted the whole flow of the gathering. Another time, she came to the defense of an evildoer that the church was preparing to expel and severely disrupted the church’s work. When I found out about this, I dealt with and exposed her, but she wouldn’t concede my point and even thought that she was in the right. On another occasion, my wife heard from somewhere that the church leader was in danger and so she blocked the leader from attending the gathering, saying that he would endanger the other participants. She went so far as to say she was helping protect the church’s work, and she sowed fear among the brothers and sisters, advising them not to associate with the leader. She really had no idea what she was talking about and made all kinds of ridiculous statements and actions that directly disrupted church life. I was angry and upset when I heard what had happened and fellowshiped with her, saying: “You obstructed the leader from attending the gathering, sowed fear among the brothers and sisters, blocked people from coming into contact with the leader and hindered the leader’s ability to perform his duty. Were you not doing evil and disrupting church life? In the past, the church didn’t clear you out when you perpetrated all that evil because you had only been a believer for a short period of time. They gave you a chance to repent, but you didn’t repent at all and even continued to do evil. If you continue on like this, you will inevitably be expelled. How will you attain salvation then?” She just lowered her head and didn’t offer any response. She didn’t have any self-awareness and failed to correct her behavior going forward. She didn’t take what I had said to her while dealing with and exposing her seriously and didn’t have the slightest intention of repenting. With regard to my wife’s actions, I came across a passage of God’s words that said: “Those among brothers and sisters who are always giving vent to their negativity are lackeys of Satan, and they disturb the church. Such people must one day be expelled and cast out. In their belief in God, if people do not have a heart of reverence for God, if they do not have a heart of obedience toward God, then not only will they be unable to do any work for Him, but on the contrary will become those who disturb His work and who defy Him. Believing in God but not obeying or revering Him, and instead resisting Him, is the greatest disgrace for a believer. If believers are just as casual and unrestrained in their speech and conduct as unbelievers are, then they are even more evil than unbelievers; they are archetypal demons. Those who give vent to their poisonous, malicious talk within the church, who spread rumors, foment disharmony, and form cliques among the brothers and sisters—they should have been expelled from the church. Yet because now is a different era of God’s work, these people are restricted, for they are decidedly to be cast out. All who have been corrupted by Satan have corrupt dispositions. Some have nothing more than corrupt dispositions, while others are different: Not only do they have corrupt satanic dispositions, but their nature is also extremely malicious. Not only do their words and actions reveal their corrupt, satanic dispositions; these people are, moreover, the genuine devil Satan. Their behavior interrupts and disturbs God’s work, it impairs the brothers’ and sisters’ entry into life, and it damages the normal life of the church. Sooner or later, these wolves in sheep’s clothing must be cleared out; an unsparing attitude, an attitude of rejection, should be adopted toward these lackeys of Satan. Only this is standing on the side of God, and those who fail to do so are wallowing in the mire with Satan” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth). My wife’s actions were just like those that God described. In the past, she often distorted the truth and judged the leaders and workers and even incited conflict between the brothers and sisters and the leaders and workers. Now she was up to her old tricks again, acting recklessly, obstructing the leader from fulfilling his duty and severely impacting the work of the church. Our leader in the previous church had dissected her evil behaviors, but she still lacked self-awareness and wouldn’t repent. She even begrudged those that tried to help her and struck out at them when the first opportunity presented itself. It was clear that she didn’t accept the truth at all and even detested and despised the truth. These behaviors were not just normal manifestations of corruption or isolated transgressions, they represented a pattern of interruption and disturbance and none of the advising or persuasion offered to her had changed her ways. This was a manifestation of a malicious nature! The essence of evildoers is to detest and despise the truth and fail to truly repent even after years of faith. Reflecting on the revelation of God’s words, I realized that my wife was an evildoer and, sooner or later, she would be expelled from the church. Yet, I still couldn’t bear to see her get expelled after all these years in the faith—the mere thought of this tormented me to no end. Even though I knew that her inevitable expulsion was the result of her own evildoing and that she had dug her own grave, I still couldn’t bear to see it happen and wanted to protect her. Just at that time, the church leader asked me to write an assessment of my wife. At the time, I thought: “Perhaps I can just write about the misdeeds that the brothers and sisters in this church are already aware of and leave out her incidents in the previous church that people here don’t know about. Maybe then she’ll have a chance to remain in the church.” So I just wrote a perfunctory summary of some of her current misdeeds and handed it in. A few days later, the leader said to me: “That was a pretty basic evaluation that you wrote. Did you report all of your wife’s misdeeds? In conducting ourselves, we must accept God’s scrutiny. We mustn’t conceal the facts and reality due to our personal emotional attachments.” The leader’s words left me feeling conflicted. Indeed, I did not report all of my wife’s misdeeds, because if I did, then based on her overall pattern of behaviors, she would be determined to be an evildoer and immediately expelled. Given how resistant she was, if she really were expelled and found out that I had contributed evidence, I would never hear the end of it. What’s more, if my children found out what had happened, wouldn’t they say I had treated my own wife like an outsider? Then again, if I didn’t provide a truthful account in my evaluation, I’d be concealing the facts and reality and covering up an evildoer, allowing her to continue committing evil and disrupting the church’s work. I felt so agonized and went back and forth in my head, unable to make up my mind.
After returning home, I came across the following passages of God’s words: “You must cast aside your emotions as soon as you can; I do not act out of emotion, but exercise righteousness instead. If your parents do anything that is of no benefit to the church, they cannot escape. My intentions have been revealed to you, and you may not ignore them. Rather, you must focus all of your attention on them, and cast everything else aside to follow wholeheartedly. I will always keep you in My hands. Do not always be timid and under the control of your husband or wife; you must allow My will to be carried out” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 9). “Who is Satan, who are demons, and who are God’s enemies if not resisters who do not believe in God? Are they not those people who are disobedient to God? Are they not those who claim to have faith, yet who lack truth? Are they not those who merely seek to obtain blessings while being unable to bear witness for God? You still mingle with those demons today and bear conscience and love toward them, but in this case are you not extending good intentions toward Satan? Are you not in league with demons? If people these days are still unable to distinguish between good and evil, and continue to blindly be loving and merciful without any intention of seeking God’s will or being able in any way to harbor God’s intentions as their own, then their endings will be all the more wretched. Anyone who does not believe in the God in the flesh is an enemy of God. If you can bear conscience and love toward an enemy, do you not lack a sense of righteousness? If you are compatible with those which I detest and with which I disagree, and still bear love or personal feelings toward them, then are you not disobedient? Are you not intentionally resisting God? Does such a person possess truth? If people bear conscience toward enemies, love for demons, and mercy for Satan, then are they not intentionally disrupting God’s work? Those people who believe only in Jesus and do not believe in God incarnate during the last days, as well as those who verbally claim to believe in God incarnate but do evil, are all antichrists, without even mentioning those who do not even believe in God. All these people will be objects of destruction” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). The judgment and revelation of God’s words was heartrending. I knew full well that my wife had the essence of an evildoer and should be expelled, but because of my emotional attachment to her, I couldn’t bear to see her expelled and lose her chance of achieving salvation. I also worried that my wife and children would say I was heartless and unfaithful to the family when they found out I had provided an assessment. I covered up the facts and made only a brief, perfunctory sketch of my wife’s behaviors in an effort to trick and deceive God and my brothers and sisters. I was well aware that my wife would only continue to disrupt church life if she were to remain in the church, but I still doubled down and covered up her misdeeds without the slightest thought for what damage this may cause to the work of the church. Was I not covering for an evildoer, resisting God and harming the church and my brothers and sisters? I couldn’t distinguish between good and evil and gave in to my sentimental, loving attachment to this evildoer. What an idiot I was! I reflected on how the reason I had continually favored my emotional attachments over practice of the truth was because deeply ingrained satanic toxins like “Man is not inanimate; how can he be free from emotions?” and “Once a man and woman are married, their loving bond runs deep” had caused me to place too much importance on my emotional bonds and think that in life one must be affectionate and faithful. I had come to think of these satanic philosophies as positive things and, as a result, was incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, right and wrong, lacked principle in the way I conducted myself, maintained emotional ties with, covered for an evildoer, and allowed her to disrupt church life and obstruct the work of the church. Was I not a willing participant in the evildoer’s misdeeds? I was slightly horrified by this realization and felt deeply ashamed and regretful. If I had practiced the truth and exposed my wife’s misdeeds so that my brothers and sisters could have discernment toward her and promptly expel her from the church, then disruptions to church life could have been avoided. I reflected back on all of my wife’s misbehaviors—she might have had some enthusiasm, but she didn’t accept the truth at all and only served to disturb in the church. The church had given her numerous opportunities to repent and my brothers and sisters and I had fellowshiped with her multiple times and even dealt with and pruned her, giving her several warnings, but she didn’t accept the truth at all, didn’t repent. On the contrary, she would judge and attack our brothers and sisters. I realized that she despised and detested the truth and was just like the weeds exposed by God in His work of the last days. I thought of a passage from Revelation, which says: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). Indeed, once an evildoer, always an evildoer. She was never going to change, no matter the situation.
Later on, I came across another passage of God’s words: “Everyone’s outcome is determined according to the essence that comes from their conduct, and it is always determined appropriately. No one can bear the sins of another; even more so, no one can receive punishment in another’s stead. This is absolute. … In the end, doers of righteousness are doers of righteousness, and evildoers are evildoers. The righteous will eventually be allowed to survive, while the evildoers will be destroyed. The holy are holy; they are not filthy. The filthy are filthy, and not one part of them is holy. The people who will be destroyed are all the wicked ones, and the ones who will survive are all the righteous—even if the children of the wicked ones perform righteous deeds, and even if the parents of the righteous ones commit evil deeds. There is no relationship between a believing husband and an unbelieving wife, and there is no relationship between believing children and unbelieving parents; these two types of people are completely incompatible. Prior to entering into rest, one has physical relatives, but once one has entered into rest, one will no longer have any physical relatives to speak of. Those who do their duty are enemies of those who do not; those who love God and those who hate Him are in opposition to one another. Those who will enter into rest and those who will have been destroyed are two incompatible types of creatures. Creatures that fulfill their duties will be able to survive, while those that do not fulfill their duties will be objects of destruction; what is more, this shall last through eternity. … There are physical relationships that exist between the people of today, as well as associations by blood, but in the future, these will all be shattered. Believers and unbelievers are not compatible; rather, they are opposed to one another. Those in rest will believe that there is a God and will submit to God, whereas those who are disobedient to God will all have been destroyed. Families will no longer exist upon earth; how could there be parents or children or spousal relationships? The very incompatibility of belief and unbelief will have utterly severed such physical relationships!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). Through God’s words, I learned that God determines people’s outcomes based upon their essence. God does not save evildoers, He saves those that can accept the truth and truly repent, while casting out those that cannot accept and even detest and despise the truth. In her essence, my wife is an evildoer and cannot be saved by God. Even if she were to remain in the church, she would eventually be cast out and would only endure ever more severe punishments for her continued evildoing. I hadn’t comprehended God’s righteous disposition, thinking only of how to safeguard my fleshly emotional bonds, not practicing the truth and believing that as long as I concealed my wife’s misdeeds, she could remain in the church and muddle her way into the kingdom of God. What ridiculous notions I entertained! In the last days, God performs the work of “classifying each according to their kind.” He determines each person’s destination and outcome based upon their actions, nature and essence. The good shall be grouped with the good, and evil with evil. My wife would have to accept the consequences of her misdeeds as this is what God’s righteous disposition dictates. I came across another passage of God’s words that said: “All of you say you are considerate of God’s burden and will defend the testimony of the church, but who among you has really been considerate of God’s burden? Ask yourself: Are you someone who has shown consideration for His burden? Can you practice righteousness for Him? Can you stand up and speak for Me? Can you steadfastly put the truth into practice? Are you bold enough to fight against all of Satan’s deeds? Would you be able to set your emotions aside and expose Satan for the sake of My truth? Can you allow My intentions to be fulfilled in you? Have you offered up your heart in the most crucial of moments? Are you someone who does My will?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 13). God’s words made me feel even more regretful and ashamed. I had allowed my emotional attachments to dictate my actions, playing tricks on and deceiving God, harming my brothers and sisters and obstructing the normal progress of the work of cleansing. I couldn’t act according to emotions any longer, I had to be considerate of God’s will, conduct myself according to principle, expose all of my wife’s misdeeds and stop letting her disrupt the church’s work. I wrote down all the evil deeds and overall pattern of behavior I had observed in my wife throughout our time in the church and handed in my assessment to the leader. Soon after, the church leaders and workers determined that my wife was an evildoer based upon her overall conduct and it was decided through a church-wide vote to have her expelled. After her expulsion, church life went back to normal. I had truly witnessed God’s righteousness and felt good that I had played my part in exposing and expelling an evildoer from the church. I felt much more at peace and grounded as a result. It was through reading God’s words that I was able to resist the constraints of emotional attachment, expose my wife’s misdeeds, and do my part in protecting the work of the church. Thank God!