67. Living Out a Bit of Human Likeness Sure Is Great
By Tashi, Canada
Almighty God says, “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. … 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” (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I used to think that God showed His love by bestowing grace and blessings upon people. I didn’t understand why God said that His judgment and chastisement were also love. But then, I went through being judged, exposed, dealt with and refined by God’s words, and gained some understanding of my arrogant, self-important satanic nature. I became less impudent, and became able to consciously pray to God and seek the truth in the face of a problem; I also became able to listen to other people’s suggestions and live out a bit of a human likeness. This was how I truly experienced that God’s judgment and chastisement are His salvation for mankind, that they are the truest kind of love.
The church was preparing to film a movie last year, and brothers and sisters recommended I take on the duty of director. I remember when I first started that duty, I felt a little nervous, but I prayed all the while to God and gradually my nerves were calmed, and I was able to go get my feet wet. I studied hard, learning about how to make movies, and slowly came to grasp some of those skills. And then, brothers and sisters kept adopting my ideas. After seeing the film I directed, they thought highly of it. The leader also said that I was cut out to be a director. I was so happy to hear that and thought to myself: “With a little more practice, I’ll become competent, without a doubt.” When working with brothers and sisters from then on, I wasn’t as modest as I had been, but spoke with confidence, and I held my head up high. I also wanted to have the final say in everything and thought nothing of anyone else. The moment someone questioned my idea or made another suggestion, I was unyielding, impatient, and looked down on them. I felt I surpassed them in every regard, that they should just do what I said instead of making such a fuss. And in my eyes, they were just bringing up really petty things that didn’t even merit discussion. So I’d always ask “Is this a question of principle?” to shut them up. One time, Sister Zhang, the main character, had me look at costumes she’d picked. I thought, “How could you have such a terrible eye?” I had her choose all new ones. I shot down many of her clothing choices. I was filled with this idea of being the director, so I thought my sense was right and they should listen to me. The brothers and sisters ended up feeling constrained by me and didn’t want to make suggestions anymore. I actually did feel bad when I saw this, but then I thought, “I’m only considering our work, and I can’t be too off in this.” So, I didn’t think much of it. During that time, my leader gave me fellowship and exposed me, saying I was too arrogant and that I liked to control people, and warned me not to fix my gaze on others, but to reflect on myself and practice the truth to resolve my own problems. But I didn’t have any understanding of my own nature then. I felt I was really responsible in my work. I just kept living in that kind of rebellious, obstinate state, and I was no longer able to work well with brothers and sisters. Over time, problems kept cropping up in our work, which hindered our progress.
One day, I heard a team leader I knew had been dismissed because of holding up work from being arrogant, unable to accept the truth, and constraining brothers and sisters. That left me feeling a little afraid. I knew I’d been behaving just like that team leader. I figured God was giving me a warning, so I decided I couldn’t keep throwing my weight around like that. Instead, I should control myself, speak more kindly, and do my best to communicate and discuss work with others. But I still didn’t have any understanding of my own nature, so I didn’t seek the truth to resolve it.
After a while, since progress in our team was so slow, the leader arranged for Sister Liu to work with me. At first I just couldn’t accept it. I thought the leader must be doubting my capability, but since it had already been arranged, I reluctantly bit the bullet. In work discussions from then on, I found the leader always asked for Sister Liu’s advice. I was really uneasy and felt the leader didn’t think much of me. I started to resent her. But even more, I was resistant to Sister Liu. I couldn’t accept her. So whenever we discussed our work I’d just sit there scowling in silence. One time, she found some issues with the team’s work and made some suggestions that our brothers and sisters all really liked, but I was having none of it. I refused to listen to any of her suggestions. When everyone asked for my opinion, I bottled up my anger and said: “Whatever.” The leader then dealt with me, saying I wasn’t upholding the work of God’s house. I did actually feel bad and I knew that no matter what, I couldn’t keep taking out my frustration in the work of God’s house. But I really couldn’t swallow it. I thought, “If you just listen to Sister Liu all the time, what is there to discuss?” I kept thinking I was right in everything, so in the next few work discussions I clung to my own opinions and I disagreed with Sister Liu even when her suggestions were reasonable. I thought she was showing off. There was one time she recommended a certain actor and I brought up all sort of issues with that actor and shot her suggestion down. I just wasn’t willing to listen to her. I wanted to be in charge of all the work. Sister Liu ended up feeling constrained by me and wouldn’t make suggestions anymore. During that time, since I was living within an arrogant, self-righteous disposition and wasn’t seeking the truth, my spirit slowly fell into darkness. I felt depressed every single day and it seemed God was hiding Himself from me. I didn’t have anything to say to God in prayer and God’s words weren’t sinking in when I read them. My mind was blank and I was obtuse in my duty. I couldn’t see any problems. I was living in a state of anxiety and kept feeling like something was about to happen.
A few days later, our leader came to hold a gathering with us. She exposed my disposition and said I was too arrogant, that I was autocratic and arbitrary in my duty, and I’d really disrupted our work. She told me to go home to do some serious devotionals and self-reflection. I was shocked to hear that, but I prayed to God in earnest saying, “Oh God, no matter what situation I encounter, I believe it’s all set up by You and I’m willing to submit.” I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I was thinking about how I’d been a director for so long, but that tomorrow I had to leave there. I couldn’t let go of it and I was really upset, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I wanted to use that chance to work on my devotionals and reflect on myself, so I could pick myself back up where I had stumbled. But back at home I couldn’t focus on God’s words and I was really having a hard time. All I could do was come before God and call out to Him over and over again. I said, “God, I’m in so much pain. Please help me and protect my heart so that I can understand Your will in this situation, and know myself.” By constantly praying to God, I was finally able to feel some peace.
A few brothers and sisters came to check in on me the next day, to give me fellowship and help me, and they mentioned some of my issues. I remember that one sister said, “You become arrogant after achieving some results in your duty and you want to have the final say in everything. You’re really controlling and there’s just no way to work with you.” A brother said, “In work discussions, we’re all relaxed when you’re not there, but as soon as you show up we’re all on edge, afraid that you’ll shoot down our thoughts and ideas.” Every word out of their mouths was like a knife in my heart. I was ashamed to face them and I felt so terrible. In all my life, I had never felt like such a failure as a person. It had gotten so bad that brothers and sisters didn’t dare approach me, and were afraid when they saw me. I thought, “Am I still being a proper person? How could I have been so insensitive?” I had never realized that my arrogant disposition could constrain and do such harm to others. I already knew that I was arrogant and the leader fellowshiped with me often, but I’d never thought much of it. Instead, I thought my arrogance came from having a higher caliber. Who isn’t arrogant if they’re gifted and of high caliber? That’s why I never sought the truth to resolve it. But through the help and fellowship of brothers and sisters, I finally found peace in my heart and could quiet myself to reflect on my behavior.
As I reflected, I read two passages of God’s words. God says, “If you really possess the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if arrogance and conceit existed within you, you would find it impossible to keep from defying God; you would feel compelled to defy Him. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display, and, finally, sit in God’s place and bear testimony for yourself. In the end, you would turn your own ideas, your own thinking, and your own notions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature!” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). “Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people 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. Even though, externally, some 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” (God’s Fellowship). I realized from God’s words that my arrogance and conceitedness were causing me to rebel against and resist God. Since I’d done my duty as a director, when I had some success, I thought it was because of my own hard work, that I was better than others. I began to disregard others, and stubbornly hold to myself, wanting to have the final say in everything. When I failed to achieve results in my duty, I never reflected on whether the issue was with me, but just focused on my brothers and sisters. I condescendingly dealt with and lectured others. I looked down on everyone out of arrogance and conceitedness. I couldn’t see anyone else’s strengths, and thought my ideas were best. I shot down everyone’s suggestions at every turn, and was controlling. I failed to know myself because of my arrogance and conceitedness, and even after being pruned and dealt with many times, I wouldn’t accept it or reflect on myself. I had no desire for seeking. When my work progress slowed and it became clear I couldn’t manage the work, I still didn’t want to work with others or have them meddle in my tasks. I felt it would compromise my authority and threaten my reputation and position. I wanted to be totally in charge, and I wanted to have the final say. Wasn’t I walking the path of resistance to God? When Sister Liu had some success in her duty that threatened my position, I well knew she was right and what she suggested would benefit the work of God’s house, but I wouldn’t accept it. Instead I nitpicked, and when I saw our brothers and sisters agreeing with her, I just couldn’t take it, and took out my frustration in church work. I was ready to see the work of God’s house suffer to protect my own reputation and status. Where was my reverence for God? Where was my conscience and reason? I saw I’d been living by my arrogant and conceited satanic disposition, forcing my own thoughts and opinions on brothers and sisters as if they were the truth, making people listen to me in everything. Wasn’t that wanting to be on par with God, and wanting to control others? I had long ago violated God’s administrative decrees: “Man should not magnify himself, nor exalt himself. He should worship and exalt God” (“The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I finally realized I was in a precarious position. It looked like I was doing my duty every day, that I was passionate about expending myself, but I was revealing a satanic disposition in every way. My actions were all contrary to the truth, I was disrupting the church’s work. I was doing evil, resisting God, and offending His disposition! I wondered how I had gotten to that point. It was because I had such an arrogant, rigid nature. I never accepted the truth, so I ended up bringing God’s ire upon me. I saw that I’d been so deeply corrupted by Satan, that I totally lacked the reality of the truth. Being able to take on such an important duty was God elevating me, and having some success in my duty was entirely down to the Holy Spirit’s work, not at all because I had any ability. I saw that when I relied on my arrogant nature in my duty, the Holy Spirit stopped working and I couldn’t figure anything out or resolve anything. But even so, I still felt like I was okay. I was arrogant beyond reason, without a shred of self-awareness. Only then did I start to feel disgust and hatred for my arrogant nature.
I later read these words from God: “All of you live in a land of sin and licentiousness, and you are all licentious and sinful. Today you are not just able to look upon God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, you have received truly profound salvation, which is to say, you have received God’s greatest love. In all that He does, God is truly loving toward you. He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done for the purpose of making man complete. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and has no desire to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Today, He has come among you to work; is this not salvation all the more? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude in order to personally guide you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intentions toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because people are disobedient that He has to save them through judgment; if not for this, saving them would be impossible” (“The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I read God’s words over and over. I had such a feeling of warmth and I was so moved. I saw that, by revealing me that way, God wasn’t condemning or eliminating me, and He wasn’t making things difficult for me on purpose. He was really doing it for my salvation. I have such an arrogant, rigid nature and God knew what I needed. By losing my duty and being pruned and dealt with by brothers and sisters, I came to know my own arrogant disposition and could reflect on the path I’d taken, and truly repent to God so I wouldn’t rebel against and resist Him anymore. Though I experienced pain and negativity through that process, without that kind of judgment and chastisement, my numb heart couldn’t have been awakened. I couldn’t have reflected on my behavior or come to know God’s righteous disposition. I couldn’t have truly repented to God, but only would have kept opposing Him, ultimately offending His disposition and being punished. I finally experienced for myself that the judgment and revelation of God’s words were His protection for me, and the truest love. I was so grateful to God when I realized this and felt I should pursue the truth in earnest in the future so I could cast off my corrupt disposition and live out a human likeness soon.
After that I kept praying and seeking. I wondered how I could stop living by my arrogant disposition and stop resisting God. While seeking, I read these words from God: “An arrogant nature makes you willful. When people have this willful disposition, are they not prone to being arbitrary and rash? How, then, do you resolve your arbitrariness and rashness? When you have an idea, you tell it to others and say what you think and believe about this matter, and then, you communicate with everyone about it. First, you can shed light on your view and seek the truth; this is the first step you put into practice in order to overcome this disposition of being arbitrary and rash. The second step happens when other people voice dissenting opinions—what practice can you put in place to keep from being arbitrary and rash? You must first have an attitude of humility, set aside what you believe to be right, and let everyone have fellowship. Even if you believe your way to be correct, you should not keep insisting on it. That, first of all, is a kind of step forward; it shows an attitude of seeking the truth, of denying yourself, and of satisfying God’s will. Once you have this attitude, at the same time that you do not adhere to your own opinion, you pray. As you do not know right from wrong, you allow God to reveal and tell you what the best, most suitable thing to do is. As everyone joins in fellowship, the Holy Spirit brings you all enlightenment” (God’s Fellowship). I found a path of practice from God’s words. If I didn’t want to live in arrogance or be arbitrary in my duty, I had to have a heart of truth seeking and reverence for God. I had to cooperate with brothers and sisters, and when there was a difference of opinion, I should be able to deny myself and put my ego aside, pray to God and seek the truth. Only with that mindset would I be more easily enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and I’d never go so far as to rebel against and resist God and damage the work of God’s house for clinging to my own ideas. Realizing all of this was like a light shining in my heart. I made this prayer: “God, from now on, I wish to work harmoniously with brothers and sisters so we can seek the truth together and do our duty in accordance with principles.”
Shortly after that I was asked to write out a few lines of calligraphy for my duty. When I heard this, I thought, “A few characters of calligraphy is nothing. I’ve studied calligraphy, so I’m pretty confident about doing this.” I wrote out a couple versions, and after looking at them Sister Liu said, “I guess that’s not bad.” I felt averse toward her again just then and thought, “You say that so reluctantly. Was my calligraphy really that bad? I studied this, it’s something I’m good at. Don’t I know more about it than you? I can tell you don’t have an eye for this kind of thing, and you’re intentionally nitpicking.” But as those thoughts were running through my mind, I suddenly realized I was wrong. Wasn’t that revealing an arrogant disposition again? I lost no time in coming before God in prayer: “Oh God, I want to have a seeking and obedient attitude, to put myself aside, and give my all for my duty.” I wrote out another version with that mindset, and when Sister Liu saw it, she gave more suggestions, asking if I could make it neater. A number of brothers and sisters actually said it looked just fine. Based on how I’d been before, if I thought I was right and other people agreed with me too, there was nothing more to be said, and I’d dig my heels in more. But that wasn’t my thinking at the time. I thought, “The brothers and sisters are bringing up different viewpoints as they are thinking about our duty. No one is doing it to make things difficult for anyone. And my ideas aren’t necessarily right. In the end, we have to decide what will achieve the best results in our duty.” With this in mind, I took the initiative and said: “How about I draw up another version and you guys can decide which is the best. Use whichever one you like more.” When writing with that mindset I felt so calm and at peace, and losing face didn’t even occur to me. After I was done, I asked them for more feedback and the brothers and sisters gave me more suggestions. They were all valid points. What I felt then was that I had actually had a lot of faults and that brothers and sisters had a lot of strong points I didn’t possess. A lot of their ideas and suggestions made up for my weaknesses. So through everyone’s help, through making up for each other’s weak points, we were more successful in our duty in the end. After working with brothers and sisters this way for a while I started feeling really at peace, and much closer to everyone else. I wasn’t as impudent or high and mighty as before, and I wasn’t difficult when others got close to me. I also found that it wasn’t so hard to accept brothers’ and sisters’ suggestions, and I was able to take what they told me about my deficiencies in the right way. Some things happened that I didn’t like, and I did reveal some arrogance, but with brothers’ and sisters’ reminders I was able to come before God right away. I was willing to put myself aside, seek the truth, and carry out my duty in accordance with principles. After going through all this, what I really experienced from my heart was a sense of real happiness. I saw that I could finally put some of God’s words into practice, which had been so hard for me before. Putting myself aside and accepting others’ suggestions was so hard, but I am now able to practice a little bit of God’s words. I can finally live out a bit of a human likeness. I’m not as impudent as I was before, I’m not so loathsome to God, and I’m not constraining others like I did before. Whenever I think of all that, I feel so grateful to God. If it hadn’t been for God dealing with me and pruning me, without the judgment and revelations of His words, I have no idea how arrogant or depraved I might be now. The tiny bit of understanding and change I’ve achieved today is entirely down to the judgment and chastisement of God’s words.