41. Replacing Jealousy With Magnanimity
By Fu Dan, China
A few years back, Sister Xiaojie was transferred to our church to help me with leadership duties. Over time I found that despite being young, she was of good caliber and really capable. She practiced the truth when problems arose and focused on seeking the principles of the truth. I didn’t match up to her in caliber or work ability. I really admired her and felt she was talented. At a co-workers’ meeting once, a leader asked me if there were people in the church who pursued the truth and had high caliber. I told her about Sister Xiaojie’s strengths without hesitation. Before long, the leader invited her to the co-workers’ meeting and asked her to go to the next several meetings, too. I gradually started to feel a little uncomfortable, thinking, “I was always the one to attend the meetings and the leader discussed church work with me. Now she’s asking Xiaojie to go. It looks like she wants to focus her efforts on training her. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have mentioned her strong points.” I felt like I’d been forgotten and left behind all because of her. I was feeling more and more upset, and a thought was quietly forming that it would be great if the leader transferred her out. As long as we weren’t together, I wouldn’t look worse than her and then maybe the leader would discuss things with me. But I knew that Xiaojie wouldn’t be transferred again so quickly. I felt like there was a heavy weight pressing down on my heart. Not only that, but I was unwilling to concede. I secretly threw myself in God’s words, reading, memorizing, and pondering them more so I could surpass her in fellowship on the truth to prove myself. But my motives were wrong. I was just vying with her for status so I didn’t have the Holy Spirit’s work in my duty. I couldn’t understand or resolve any problems.
Once, a couple of sisters were chosen as church deacons. They were worried they didn’t understand enough truth to resolve others’ practical problems with entry into life. They didn’t want to take on the position. Hearing this, I thought, “What words of God can I fellowship on to resolve their state so that everyone can see Sister Xiaojie is no better than me?” As soon as those sisters finished, I rushed to read a couple of passages of God’s words and then share fellowship. But I just wanted to show off and be looked up to, not to quiet myself before God and seek the truth to find the root of the problem. My fellowship fell flat. Seeing them sitting there without responding was really awkward. I didn’t know what to say. Then Sister Xiaojie started to fellowship on the meaning of doing our duty and talked about her own experience and understanding, and about God’s will. The sisters were moved to tears and resolved to accept that duty. Seeing them giving Xiaojie admiring looks left a bad taste in my mouth. Everyone really approved of me before she came, but she’d gained the upper hand in everything so soon after joining the church. The leader valued her and brothers and sisters looked up to her, and I didn’t match up even though I’d been a leader for longer. I worried what the others thought of me. Would they say I lacked the reality of the truth, that I just made her look good by comparison? My thoughts were consumed with this over that period of time. I felt like Sister Xiaojie was stealing my thunder and I became jealous of her. Sometimes I’d wish that I could get her out of our church in some way. I racked my brains about it, but couldn’t come up with anything. I also felt that I was growing more distant from God and my spirit was falling into darkness. My fellowships on God’s words had no light to them and I couldn’t help others with their problems. I still did my duty every day, but I was tormented and in pain. I brought my state before God in prayer, asking Him to guide me to understand His will and know my own corruption.
I later read these words from God: “As church leaders, you should learn how to discover and cultivate talent, and not be jealous of talented people. In this way, your duty will be performed satisfactorily, and you will have fulfilled your responsibility; you will also have done your utmost to be loyal. Some people are always afraid that others will steal their limelight and surpass them, obtaining recognition while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only of oneself, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others, and thinking only about one’s own interests and not the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words really cut to the quick. They exposed my precise state. Seeing my sister’s high caliber and practical fellowship, that the leader valued her and others looked up to her, I was jealous and ostracized her. I couldn’t wait for her to leave the church. I didn’t consider how that would impact the church’s work or the interests of God’s house. I showed nothing but viciousness, and was particularly selfish and despicable. I totally lacked normal humanity! How could doing my duty that way not disgust God? I lost the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my duty and I fell into darkness. That was God’s righteous disposition. So I prayed to God asking Him to guide me to let go of status, live out normal humanity, and work well with my sister.
Then I read these words from God: “If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you give someone your recommendation, and that person is cultivated into someone of talent, thereby bringing one more talented person into God’s house, will you not then have done your work well? Will you not then have been loyal in performing your duty? This is a good deed before God, and it is the sort of conscience and reason people should possess” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). I felt even more regretful and guilty. God wants more people who pursue the truth to rise up and cooperate with God. I was a church leader but I didn’t have what God wanted at heart. When I saw that kind of person working in the church, not only was I not happy about it, but I was just jealous and worried about my status. I didn’t have the most basic conscience and reason of a person. I saw I was totally unfit to be a leader and I hated how selfish I was. Sister Xiaojie having good caliber and resolving problems through fellowship was good for the church’s work and brothers’ and sisters’ lives. I should have been supporting her and learning from her strengths. Working well with her in our duty was the only way to be considerate of God’s will. Once I understood God’s will, I did still feel a little jealous when I noticed others approving of Sister Xiaojie, but I would pray to God and forsake myself. I focused on living before God to do my duty well and stopped thinking so much about who was looked up to and I felt a lot less jealous. I became able to seek and discuss things with her in the face of a problem and draw on her strengths to offset my weaknesses, seeking the principles of the truth together. I felt much freer and more at ease. After undergoing some change, I thought my jealous nature had improved but I was surprised when I ran into another situation that showed how deeply rooted my satanic nature was. I needed to go through more of God’s judgment and chastisement to be cleansed.
One time, Xiaojie and I went to a co-workers’ meeting where the leader briefly greeted me and then started discussing the church’s work with Xiaojie. I was just sitting to the side feeling like a fifth wheel and my mood turned sour really quickly. I shot Xiaojie a disgruntled look and couldn’t help but feel suspicious, thinking, “So the leader does value you more than me. You’re the golden child in the church and in the leader’s eyes and I just make you look good by comparison.” I later heard the leader had arranged for Xiaojie to attend sermons in another area and get some training. I really wasn’t happy to hear this. “Why did she want Xiaojie to go, and not me?” I thought. “Am I really that bad? Am I not even worth a little training?” I felt embarrassed and like I’d been doused with cold water. I felt completely unable to accept that, thinking that I put just as much into my duty as she did, but I was being left behind while she went to listen to sermons. I felt totally overlooked and that no matter what I did, I’d never match up to her. I felt worse the more I compared myself that way and I started to live in a state of jealousy and resentment again. I was dying for the leader to have us work separately so I could get my chance to stand out.
Soon after that, Xiaojie’s husband became seriously ill. This was really hard for her. I comforted her and encouraged her to pray and seek God’s will through this trial, but I couldn’t help but think, “She was really at her peak. Now she’s being refined and she’s in a bad state, so it’ll be my chance to show myself. If she does improve her state then I’ll never get that chance. I hope this refinement lasts a while for her. Then everyone will see she fellowships well when things are normal, but she can’t live out the reality of God’s words. Then they won’t admire her so much. The leader might see she lacks the reality of the truth and won’t train her anymore and then naturally the others will think highly of me.” I didn’t really think much about my state of mind but just let those thoughts pass. One day, a couple of sisters asked about Xiaojie out of concern and I said she was in a terrible state, and even though she usually had great fellowship, she’d become negative through the trial and lacked true stature. I felt uneasy once I’d said that. I was exaggerating things to judge and demean her. But when I saw those sisters took me at my word, I felt secretly pleased. I thought they wouldn’t admire Xiaojie so much anymore. But when I saw her later, even though she was really suffering and cried whenever she prayed, she didn’t let it interfere with her duty at all. I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. Faced with that trial, it would be hard not to suffer and feel some weakness. I would’ve prayed for her if I really had humanity, and done everything I could to help and support her. But what had I done? I felt terrible about it. I came before God in prayer, saying, “Oh God! I’m much too jealous. I judged and demeaned Sister Xiaojie so I could outdo her. I even reveled in her pain, and couldn’t wait for her to become negative and stumble. I’m totally lacking humanity. God, please guide me and enlighten me to know my corruption and be freed from my satanic disposition.”
I read this in God’s words after my prayer: “If some people see someone better than they are, they suppress them, start a rumor about them, or employ some unscrupulous means so that other people don’t look highly upon them, and that no one is any better than anyone else, then this is the corrupt disposition of arrogance and self-rightness, as well as crookedness, deceitfulness and insidiousness, and these people stop at nothing to achieve their aims. They live like this and yet still think they’re great and that they’re good people. However, do they have God-fearing hearts? First of all, to speak from the perspective of the natures of these matters, are not people who act this way simply doing as they please? Do they consider the interests of God’s family? They think only of their own feelings and they want only to achieve their own aims, regardless of the loss suffered by the work of God’s family. Not only are people like this arrogant and self-right, they are also selfish and contemptible; they are utterly inconsiderate of God’s intention, and people like this, without a shadow of a doubt, do not possess God-fearing hearts. This is why they do whatever they want and act wantonly, without any sense of blame, without any trepidation, without any apprehension or worry, and without considering the consequences. This is what they often do, and how they have always behaved. What are the consequences such people face? They will be in trouble, right? To put it lightly, such people are far too jealous and have too strong a desire for personal fame and status; they are too deceitful and treacherous. To put it more harshly, the essential problem is that such people’s hearts are not even the slightest bit God-fearing. They do not fear God, they believe themselves to be of utmost importance, and they regard every aspect of themselves as being higher than God and higher than the truth. In their hearts, God is the least worthy of mention and the most insignificant, and God does not have any status in their hearts at all. … Would you or would you not say that this sort of person is terrible? What sort of person is one who does not revere God? Are they not arrogant? Are they not Satan? What kinds of things do not revere God? Leaving aside the animals, all those that do not revere God include demons, Satan, the archangel, and those who contend with God” (“The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). Reading this really struck to the heart. That’s exactly the sort of person I was. I knew Sister Xiaojie had good caliber, pursued the truth, and was worth being trained, but when I saw the leader valued her and wanted to send her away for gatherings, I was thrown off balance. I felt I was being wronged and I couldn’t accept it. I became jealous and resentful of her and badly wanted the leader to transfer her out. When she was weak and in pain through her trial, I acted like I helped her, but I reveled in her suffering. I wanted her to become negative so I could have the limelight. I even judged and demeaned her in front of others to elevate myself just so I could stand out. I’d believed in God for years but had no reverence for Him. I was jealous and did unconscionable things just to protect my own status. I was so despicable and malicious. I was narrow-minded, vain, vicious, and petty! How was I any different from Satan? Only Satan can’t stand to see things go well and wants people to be negative, far from God, and to betray God. I was clearly acting as Satan’s lackey, disrupting the church’s work. I was undermining God’s house and doing evil, standing with Satan against God! Even so, I thought a lot of myself. I clearly lacked the reality of the truth and my caliber didn’t match up to Sister Xiaojie’s. I was always vying for status, wanting to outdo her. I was so arrogant and lacking in any self-awareness! At that point, I really hated myself and urgently wanted to be freed of my satanic disposition.
I read this in God’s words after that: “The source of man’s opposition and rebelliousness against God is his corruption by Satan. Because of Satan’s corruption, man’s conscience has grown numb; he is immoral, his thoughts are degenerate, and he has a backward mental outlook. Before he was corrupted by Satan, man naturally followed God and obeyed His words after hearing them. He was naturally of sound sense and conscience, and of normal humanity. After being corrupted by Satan, man’s original sense, conscience, and humanity grew dull and were impaired by Satan. Thus, he has lost his obedience and love toward God. Man’s sense has become aberrant, his disposition has become the same as that of an animal, and his rebelliousness toward God is ever more frequent and grievous. Yet man still neither knows nor recognizes this, and merely opposes and rebels blindly. Man’s disposition is revealed in expressions of his sense, insight, and conscience; because his sense and insight are unsound, and his conscience has grown supremely dull, thus his disposition is rebellious against God. If man’s sense and insight cannot change, then changes in his disposition are out of the question, as is conforming to God’s will. If man’s sense is unsound, then he cannot serve God and is unfit for use by God” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This helped me understand that I was always rebelling against and resisting God, living in corruption because I’d been corrupted by Satan. I’d been steeped in satanic principles and logic such as “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “In all the universe, only I reign supreme,” “There can only be one alpha male,” “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” and so on. I’d accepted these adages from Satan, and my perspectives, rules for survival, and reason had been twisted, making me more arrogant and evil and devoid of humanity. Controlled by these poisons from Satan, I just wanted to seek name and status and be looked up to. I wanted to stand out in any crowd and didn’t want anyone to surpass me, and whenever someone did, I couldn’t help but become competitive. If I couldn’t surpass others, I’d get jealous and resentful or even do underhanded things to reach my goal. I showed nothing but the satanic dispositions of arrogance, deceit, and viciousness. I claimed to be doing my duty, but in fact I was working for myself, doing evil and resisting God. I thought of the antichrists who’d been expelled. They were jealous and bitter toward anyone who pursued the truth or cared for God’s will and treated anyone who threatened their own status like a thorn in their side. They were oppressive and spiteful and even wanted others expelled from the church so they could reign supreme. They all ended up kicked out of the church from doing so much evil. I wasn’t as spiteful or doing great evil like the antichrists, but I was jealous and controlled by my arrogant, vicious nature. I even excluded and judged Sister Xiaojie to maintain my own status. I was on the path of an antichrist who’s against God. God’s righteous disposition tolerates no offense. I knew if I didn’t repent, I’d end up rejected and eliminated by God. That was terrifying for me. I knew that God was protecting me with His harsh judgment. Otherwise I wouldn’t reflect on myself, then regrets would come too late when I did something truly evil. I was really moved as I pondered God’s will. I prayed to God, ready to repent and change.
I read these words of God in my devotionals one day: “For each of you fulfilling your duty, no matter how profoundly you understand the truth, if you wish to enter truth reality, then the simplest way to practice is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything you do, and to let go of your selfish desires, your individual intent, motives, prestige, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least you should do. If a person performing his duty cannot do even this much, then how can he be said to be performing his duty? This is not performing one’s duty. You should first consider the interests of God’s house, consider God’s own interests, and consider His work, and put these considerations first and foremost; only after that can you think about the stability of your status or how others see you. … In addition, if you can fulfill your responsibilities, perform your obligations and duties, set aside your selfish desires, set aside your own intents and motives, have consideration for God’s will, and put the interests of God and His house first, then after experiencing this for a while, you will feel that this is a good way to live. It is living straightforwardly and honestly, without being a base person or a good-for-nothing, and living justly and honorably rather than being narrow-minded or mean. You will feel that this is how a person should live and act. Gradually, the desire within your heart to gratify your own interests will lessen” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). “The functions are not the same. There is one body. Each does his duty, each in his place and doing his very best—for each spark there is one flash of light—and seeking maturity in life. Thus will I be satisfied” (“Chapter 21” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I understood from God’s words that God predetermines everyone’s caliber and what role they can fill. We can’t vie or struggle for those things. When someone else has better caliber, when God predetermines that I should be the grass, not the tree, I should just be that blade of grass and carry out that role happily. I didn’t want to vie with others over status anymore, but to let go of my selfish desires and not live by my satanic disposition, put the interests of God’s house first, and truly do my duty well in a grounded way. That’s the only way to live in the light. I opened up to the sisters about my corruption and apologized to Sister Xiaojie. When she learned about my malicious intentions and doings, she didn’t blame me at all but fellowshiped on the truth to help me. I was really moved. I also hated that I’d lacked humanity and hurt her. I later prayed to God to stop scheming for status and just do my duty well.
Xiaojie returned from her trip a little over a month later and shared what she’d learned in the gatherings. Her fellowship really was edifying and beneficial, but when I saw the others listening attentively, I got that uncomfortable feeling again. I realized I was struggling for status and being jealous again, so I quickly prayed to God to set myself aside. I remembered something I’d heard in a sermon that a reasonable person who serves God won’t get jealous, but will hope for others to be better than themselves so that more people can help share God’s burden. Someone like that can take joy when God gains someone. I realized that she’d grown and learned things from her trip to listen to sermons and she could water and help others. This was good for everyone’s understanding of the truth and would bring comfort to God. I had to learn from her and draw on her strengths in my duty. That was critical. When I prayed and forsook myself that way, I felt much more at ease. Whatever brothers and sisters thought and whatever my position in the church wasn’t important to me anymore. I just calmed down and listened to her fellowship and took in the enlightenment. I worked with her to seek the principles of the truth in our work. After that, when I saw the leader discussing something with her, I was okay with it and didn’t feel jealous. This was a big relief for me. I personally experienced that I felt more at ease and upstanding when I let go of my jealousy and over time I was able to live out a human likeness. I’ve changed a bit all because of the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. I give thanks to God for my salvation!