71. The Harm Done by Showing Off
By Ruoyu, Spain
A few years ago, I was on watering duty with some brothers and sisters of a similar age. They were so enthusiastic and responsible. They were often praised by others, which made me admire them a lot. I hoped to one day be like them and be looked up to by others. Later, I was transferred to another church. It wasn’t long before a leader there was designated a false leader and replaced for not doing practical work and I was elected to be church leader in their place. The brothers and sisters who knew me encouraged me, saying, “God is raising you up, you’d best cherish it.” I knew this duty would be a big responsibility and I felt this would be a great chance to prove myself. If I did well, I’d be looked up to by the brothers and sisters. I silently made a resolution to do my absolute best to do this duty well.
In every group gathering after that, I dissected how the previous leader had not done practical work and often spoke negatively, and everyone felt really angry with them. Seeing this, I often had to remind myself that brothers and sisters were now able to discern false leaders and were expecting me to do practical work. I had to work hard and strive to win their approval. As a church leader, I had to be the most proactive in the church and be willing to suffer more than anyone else, and be able to make more sacrifices than anyone, too. I had to have more faith than the others when trials came along and not become negative when they did. I had to be better than the others in the church in every respect so that everyone would be constantly singing my praises. Dominated by such thoughts, I busied myself with all the group gatherings and went to bed late every day. Sometimes, when chatting with the others, I would deliberately let slip how busy I was with church work and how late I went to bed. When they heard this, they’d think I was so responsible and so willing to suffer and were always telling me to look after myself. They would also gift me with delicacies and drinks from their homes. Whenever one of them was in a bad state, I’d rush over to support them, no matter the weather. In gatherings, I told the brothers and sisters about so-and-so who felt negative for a long time, but who became positive again when I fellowshiped with them. Everyone then thought I was so loving and patient, despite my young age. To get a handle on church work, the moment a potential convert appeared, I’d hurry to ask the gospel deacon to go fellowship with them and sometimes I’d even go myself to share testimony with them. Later, the gospel work began to make headway and in a gathering, I told the others: “See? Our gospel work wasn’t great before, but now we have people accepting God’s work every month. We have to make even more effort.” The brothers and sisters then felt that gospel work had been taken in hand since I arrived, and they looked up to me and idolized me even more. When I fellowshiped my experiences in gatherings, I’d hugely emphasize some instances of positive entry. I was afraid that if I spoke too much about my corruption, then the others would think I was frail when issues arose and that I was of small stature, and not look up to me anymore. So I tended to say very little about how I was negative or weak or how I revealed corruption. As for how I sought the truth, practiced God’s words and how I did my duty with faith and saw God’s guidance, I talked it all up, making sure I recounted every tiny detail. Because I fellowshiped like this for a long time, the others thought I was great at pursuing the truth and that I could always find the path of practice. They’d seek me out for fellowship when they had difficulties.
After a while, all aspects of the church’s work began to make headway. People’s faith grew, and more and more people wanted to do their duty. Seeing this success, I felt even more like I was the pillar of the church. I held myself straight and spoke more boldly wherever I went. I thought I was doing great at being a church leader, and that my position was well-deserved. When working with others, I always took the lead. I showed off like I was better than them so that they’d admire me and do what I said. One time, we had to rent a house to gather in. A deacon and a brother who was my work partner went to check out the house. I thought: “I should have the say on such an important matter. You can’t approve it without me even having seen it myself.” Actually, I knew in my heart that this brother was older and more experienced than me and that he’d know better than me whether the house was right or not. But I racked my brains about how I could show how clever I was, thinking: “What other details and issues should we consider when renting a house?” So I raised some questions and made them go make more enquiries. In the end, some issues were found with that house and when my co-workers found out, they said, “We’re so ashamed. We’re older than you, but we didn’t consider things as carefully as you did.” I felt so pleased with myself when I heard this. From then on, everyone came to me to seek answers and discuss things. As time went on, those I worked with became a little passive, waiting for me to give my opinion on everything. They began to rely on me more and more.
Gradually I found that my prestige among the co-workers was becoming more established and that I had to have a say in all church matters, big or small. Brothers and sisters looked to me to give them fellowship on every difficulty. I felt myself to be indispensable to the church and I often felt very self-satisfied. Sometimes I’d think that misfortune will come to those who are looked up to, and I’d feel uneasy and ask myself: “Everyone looks up to me so much—have I gone astray?” But then I’d think: “I’m a leader. The brothers and sisters are supposed to come to me with their issues. And there are some problems they have that I can help them resolve. It’s normal for them to rely on me! Who doesn’t like being with someone who helps them?” And so I ignored the Holy Spirit’s rebukes and warnings and didn’t examine my own state or the path I was on. Instead, I just carried on along the same old wrong path. Only when God chastened and disciplined me did my numb heart begin to be aware.
When I woke up one morning, I found that my left eye really hurt. It kept weeping and when I looked in the mirror, I found the whole left side of my face was stiff. I couldn’t close my eye or move my mouth. I had no idea what had happened. At the gathering that afternoon, a sister was shocked to see me and said this was facial paralysis and that I had to seek treatment right away. She said if I delayed, my face would never return to normal. This came as a real blow and my mind went totally blank. How could I have gotten such an illness so young? If what she said was true and my face would end up all skewed, how would I then do my duty? How would I face people? I felt totally dazed, and then I began to weaken in my heart. The others were all discussing my illness but in my head I was a total mess. I had no energy left at all.
My journey home that day was a blur. I wanted to pray to God but didn’t know what to say. All I could do was keep asking God to guide me to quiet my heart and seek His will. I suddenly thought of a hymn of God’s words: “When the suffering of illness befalls you, how should you experience it? You should come before God to pray, seeking to fathom His will and examining what kinds of transgressions you have made or what corruptions you have not yet resolved. You cannot but suffer physically. Only by being tempered through suffering can people cease to be unbridled and always live before God. When people feel upset, they always pray, reflecting upon whether they have done anything wrong or how they may have offended God. This is beneficial for them. When people suffer great pain and trials, it certainly does not happen by chance” (“You Must Seek God’s Will When Sickness Strikes” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). God’s words say: “When people suffer great pain and trials, it certainly does not happen by chance.” God’s words made me realize that this illness was no accident. God’s good will was surely behind it, and He was disciplining me. I had to seek in earnest and reflect on myself to figure out how I’d offended God. I came before God in prayer: “Almighty God! I’m now sick and I know in my heart that this is You disciplining me, that You’re using this illness to warn me and make me reflect on myself. But I’m so numb right now. I haven’t figured out my problems. Please enlighten me so that I may learn my lesson through this illness.” After praying, I kept thinking about it but couldn’t figure out how I’d offended God. So I came before God again in earnest prayer and asked Him to guide me. I prayed and sought like this for a few days. Thanks be to God for hearing my prayers. Not long after, God arranged situations so I could see my problems.
One day, I went to Sister Zhao’s house for acupuncture. Her family all asked how I was, afraid that I might be feeling down. During the acupuncture, they read The Principles of How to Handle Disease. Sister Zhao told me not to worry, but to pray and rely on God more and to have faith, and that with treatment I’d be better in no time. But because she’d said before that without prompt treatment my face could become crooked forever, I was really afraid. But seeing her so worried about me, I thought: “If the others knew how I really feel, would they think I have small stature? Whenever anyone encounters a trial or gets sick, I fellowship with them on truths related to faith, feeling so strong in faith myself. But now that I’ve gotten sick so suddenly, I’m showing my lack of faith and expressing worries and fears. Will everyone think I’ve just been preaching doctrine?” So I smiled and said to Sister Zhao, “I do actually feel a little weak now that I’m sick, but I believe that everything is in God’s hands. This physical suffering is nothing. What pains me most is that I can’t find God’s will or figure out what my problems are. It upsets me to be so numb.” She looked at me admiringly and said, “You should reflect on yourself now that you’re sick. Examine and try to understand yourself, and also go for treatment. You could’ve gotten sick because you always work so hard. You do your duty from dawn till dusk, and we all respect that. You still want to go do your duty even now. Just take it easy. I reprimanded the sister you work with for not pulling her weight. I’ve reminded her to be more attentive with church work.” I felt a little uneasy when she said this, so I set her straight, saying, “I’m not the only one who attends to church work. Don’t put me on a pedestal.” I thought on my way home that day: “How could she criticize that sister like that because of me? Am I more responsible than everyone else in her eyes? I must always be praising myself and belittling others.” I thought about how I’d just hidden my weakness from Sister Zhao and pretended to have such strong faith—hadn’t I deceived her? I was wondering about this when I saw Sister Zhang coming toward me. She was all concern for me, and said, “You must take good care of yourself. What will we do if you’re laid low by this condition?” Hearing her speak so frankly, I felt very afraid. As I went on my way, I kept thinking about what she’d said. I began to feel nervous inside, and thought: “I’m just an insignificant church leader. The church can get on fine without me. How could she ask what they would do without me? Her saying that shows that I’ve taken a place in her heart. The heart is God’s temple, so if I have a place there, aren’t I resisting God?” I thought about how I always wanted people’s approval and admiration, but when I heard the sister say that, I felt uneasy and afraid. I thought, “Have other brothers and sisters been deceived by me, too? If others feel the same way Sister Zhang does, doesn’t that mean I’ve brought people before me? I am on the antichrists’ path!” I thought about some antichrists I’d seen expelled before and felt a chill creep up my spine. I felt like I’d met some great calamity.
When I got home, I got my book of God’s words and read this: “People with an arrogant nature are capable of disobeying God, resisting Him, committing acts which pass judgment on Him and betray Him, and doing things that exalt themselves and that are an attempt to establish their own kingdom. If, for the sake of argument, twenty thousand people in a country were to accept and you were arranged to go there to work, and I neglected you for a month and handed you the authority to act by yourself, then before ten days had passed, you would have made yourself known to everyone; and within a month, they would all be kneeling down before you, singing your praises with every word, saying you preach insightfully, and persistently claiming that your utterances were what they needed and that you could provide for their requirements—all without ever voicing the word ‘God.’ How would you have done this work? For these people to be capable of such a reaction would prove that the work you were doing did not involve bearing testimony to God at all; rather, it only bore testimony to yourself and showed yourself off. How could you achieve such a result? Some people say, ‘What I fellowship is the truth; I’ve certainly never testified to myself!’ That attitude of yours—that manner—is one of trying to fellowship to people from God’s position, and it is not one of standing in the position of a corrupt human. Everything you say is bombastic talk and making demands of others; it has nothing at all to do with yourself. Therefore, the effect you would achieve is to get people to worship you, envy you, and praise you until, in the end, they all have knowledge of you, testify to you, exalt you, and flatter you to high heaven. When that happens, you will be finished; you will have failed! Is this not the path you are all on right now? If you are asked to lead a few thousand or a few tens of thousands of people, you would feel elated. You would then give rise to arrogance and start trying to occupy God’s position, speaking and gesticulating, and you would not know what to wear, what to eat, or how to walk. You would not meet most of those below you, and you would gradually degenerate, and be struck down just like the archangel. You are all capable of this, are you not? So, what should you do? If, one day, arrangements really were made for you to go out and do work, and you were capable of doing these things, then how could the work be expanded? Would this not be troublesome? Who, then, would dare to let you go out there? When you got out there, you would not come back; you would pay no attention to anything God said, and you would just keep on showing off and bearing testimony to yourself, as if you were bringing people salvation, doing God’s work, and making people feel as though God had appeared and was here working—and as people worshiped you, you would be overjoyed, and you would even acquiesce if they treated you like God. Once you reached that stage, you would be done for; you would be scrapped. Without your realizing it, this kind of arrogant nature would end up being your ruin. This is an example of a person who walks the path of the antichrists. People who reach this point have lost consciousness; their perception has ceased to function” (“An Arrogant Nature Is the Root of Man’s Resistance to God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). “Some people use their positions to repeatedly testify about themselves, aggrandize themselves, and compete with God for people and status. They use various methods and measures to make people worship them, constantly trying to win people over and control them. Some even intentionally mislead people into thinking that they are God so that they can be treated like God. They would never tell someone that they have been corrupted—that they too are corrupt and arrogant, not to worship them, and that no matter how well they do, it is all due to God’s exaltation and that they are doing what they ought to, anyway. Why do they not say these things? Because they are deeply afraid of losing their place in people’s hearts. This is why such people never exalt God and never bear witness to God” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “All of those who go downhill exalt themselves and bear testimony to themselves. They go around boasting about themselves and self-aggrandizing, and they have not taken God to heart at all. Do you have any experience of what I am talking about? Many people are constantly bearing testimony to themselves: ‘I’ve suffered in this way and that; I’ve done this work and that; God has treated me in this way and that; He asked me to do such and such; He thinks especially highly of me; now I’m like this and that.’ They deliberately speak in a certain tone and adopt certain postures. Ultimately, some people end up thinking that these people are God. Once they have gotten to that point, the Holy Spirit will long since have abandoned them. Although, for the meantime, they are ignored, and not expelled, their fate is set, and all they can do is to await their punishment” (“People Make Too Many Demands of God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words pierced my heart like a sword. I was just like what God’s words said, always exalting myself and showing off in my duty. Ever since I became a leader, I thought that to be a leader, I had to be better than others and with more stature to get everyone’s approval and admiration. When I fellowshiped my experiences, I put on a pretense and hardly ever talked about my own weaknesses and corruption, afraid that the others wouldn’t look up to me if they knew I was just as corrupt as them. Even when I got sick, I got negative and began to complain, and felt very frightened, but to maintain my image I hid my true feelings and only talked about positive things so the others would idolize me even more and think how positive I was, and how much more faith I had than other people. As a leader, I was supposed to stay up late and suffer more anyway. But I always intentionally let slip about how busy I was to the brothers and sisters, about how late I stayed up and how hard I worked so they’d think I was so responsible and hard-working. The success I saw in my duty was clearly down to the Holy Spirit, but I never exalted God, just showed off about how much I’d suffered and sacrificed so that everyone thought of me as the pillar of the church as though nothing could get done without me. I always fellowshiped like this, deceiving others, which led to me being disciplined with this illness. But the others believed I’d gotten sick because of how hard I’d worked, and they even reprimanded the sister I worked with for not pulling her weight as though I bore the greatest burden for the church. I’d exalted myself and showed off in this way, deceiving and caging others, and bringing them before me. I’d been being openly hostile to God. Thinking of this, I couldn’t help but feel afraid. In order to get the others to look up to me and idolize me, I used all kinds of means to show myself off and deceive the others, which led them to rely on me until there was no room for God in their hearts. They sought my opinion and approval in everything—hadn’t I been reigning like a queen in the church? The church was supposed to be a place to worship God. By exalting myself and bringing others before me, hadn’t I been trying to replace God and turn Him into a figurehead? I’d been resisting and betraying God just like an antichrist—I’d committed the terrible sin of offending God’s disposition! I felt terrified just then. I’d gotten sick because I’d enraged God and He was now showing His righteous disposition. I hated myself for being so numb and rebellious and saw how God’s righteous disposition tolerates no offense. I fell down before God to pray and repent: “Almighty God! For the last year, I’ve not been serving You, but doing evil. I’ve brought people before me, vying with You for control. I’ve acted like an antichrist, so despicably and shamefully. Dear God, I’ve really done wrong.” Overcome with remorse, I felt too ashamed to face God.
I then began to think: “How could I get onto such a wrong path? What on earth has caused this to happen?” I read God’s words: “Some people particularly idolize Paul. They like to go out and give speeches and do work, they like to attend gatherings and preach, and they like people listening to them, worshiping them, and revolving around them. They like to have status in the minds of others, and they appreciate it when others value the image they present. Let us analyze their nature from these behaviors: What is their nature? If they really behave like this, then it is enough to show that they are arrogant and conceited. They do not worship God at all; they seek a higher status and wish to have authority over others, to possess them, and to have status in their minds. This is the classic image of Satan. The aspects of their nature that stand out are arrogance and conceit, an unwillingness to worship God, and a desire to be worshiped by others. Such behaviors can give you a very clear view into their nature” (“How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). “Since mankind was corrupted by Satan, their nature began to change and they gradually lost the sense of reason possessed by normal people. They now no longer act as human beings in the position of man; rather, they wish to surpass the status of man, and they yearn for something higher and greater. And what is this higher something? They wish to surpass God, to surpass the heavens, and to surpass all else. What is at the root of why people have become like this? When all is said and done, man’s nature is overly arrogant. … The manifestation of arrogance is rebellion and resistance against God. When people are arrogant, self-important, and self-righteous, they tend to set up their own independent kingdoms and do things however they want. They also bring others into their own hands and draw them into their embraces. For people to be capable of doing such things, it means the essence of their arrogance has become that of the archangel. When their arrogance and self-importance reach a certain level, then that determines that they are the archangel and will put God aside. If you possess such an arrogant disposition, God will have no place in your heart” (“An Arrogant Nature Is the Root of Man’s Resistance to God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words gave me a clearer understanding of the essence of my problem and I saw the reason why I always exalted myself and showed off in my duty. It was because of my arrogant, conceited nature. The path I was on had been wrong from the start. Exalting myself and showing off in my duty made me just like Paul. Paul always exalted and testified to himself while he did his work and never once in his letters did he testify that the Lord Jesus was God incarnate. He just testified about how much he suffered and sacrificed, even saying “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21), and “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7–8). He made others believe that he deserved a crown and rewards. I saw that my nature was just like Paul’s. I enjoyed being looked up to and idolized, having people flock around me, and hearing people praise me wherever I went. I just had to have a place in people’s hearts. Just as God’s words said, I saw that my nature was filled with “arrogance and conceit, an unwillingness to worship God, and a desire to be worshiped by others.” I was so arrogant that I was beyond all sense. I wasn’t able to take my place as a created being and worship God and I didn’t treat God as God, but instead honored myself. I set myself up in my duty to be looked up to and idolized, which led to me deceiving my brothers and sisters. When issues arose, they relied on me and had me make all work decisions. I brought people before me and established my own kingdom. How could such behavior not arouse God’s wrath and make Him hate me? My sickness was God’s righteousness and I deserved it for doing evil and resisting God. I thanked God for disciplining me, stopping my evildoing in its tracks.
Realizing this, I prayed to God: “From tomorrow, I will purposefully practice the truth and forsake my flesh. I will expose my corruption so that others may see my ugliness, see me for what I am, and no longer idolize me.” During devotionals the next morning, I read some of God’s words about being honest and open, and about how to exalt God and testify to Him. God’s words say: “When bearing testimony for God, you should mainly talk more about how God judges and chastises people, what trials He uses to refine people and change their dispositions. You should also talk about how much corruption has been revealed in your experience, how much you have endured and how you were eventually conquered by God; talk about how much real knowledge of God’s work you have, and how you should bear witness for God and repay Him for His love. You should put substance into this kind of language, while putting it in a simple manner. Do not talk about empty theories. Speak more down-to-earth; speak from the heart. This is how you should experience. Do not equip yourselves with profound-seeming, empty theories in an effort to show off; doing so makes you appear quite arrogant and senseless. You should speak more of real things from your actual experience that are genuine and from the heart; this is most beneficial to others, and most appropriate for them to see. You used to be people who opposed God the most and were least inclined to submit to Him, but now you have been conquered—never forget that. You should ponder and think about these matters more. Once people have understood them clearly, they will know how to bear testimony; otherwise, they will be liable to commit shameful and senseless acts” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). “‘Sharing and communing experiences’ means giving voice to every thought in your heart, your state of being, your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, and the corrupt disposition within you, and then letting others discern them, accept the positive parts, and recognize that which is negative. Only this is sharing, and only this is truly communing” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). I understood from God’s words that to truly exalt and testify to God, we have to talk more about our corruption and rebelliousness, lay bare our true state and thoughts, talk about our base motives, what we have done and what the outcome was, and about how we experience the judgment of God’s words and come to know ourselves. We should also expose and dissect our corrupt essence so that everyone can see us for what we are and talk about how God has chastened and disciplined us and arranged situations to guide us so that everyone can see His love for man. We also have to speak truly from our hearts and not boast or show off. Now that I had a path of practice, I opened up to the others in fellowship about all the ways I’d been walking the antichrists’ path lately. I dissected the scary consequences of how I’d walked this path and deceived people, and the more I fellowshiped on this, the more clearly I saw myself. Afterward, the others said they hadn’t realized any of this and that they’d been fooled by my clever speech and good deeds. One sister said, “I used to think you were great at practicing the truth, as though you could always stay positive by reading God’s words. Now I see that you are also so corrupt, that you’ve been negative and weak, too, and that corrupt mankind is all the same. We cannot idolize anyone or put anyone on a pedestal.” Another sister said, “I used to think you were really strong and I never wanted to be open around you. I used to think I was so corrupt compared to you! Now that you’ve opened up to us today, I see that we’re all the same.” Hearing the sisters say this made me feel so ashamed and remorseful. I told them, “Don’t look up to me anymore. I’ve been walking the antichrists’ path and have misled you all.” Then my work partners and co-workers used God’s words to help me know myself, and I suddenly felt a lot closer to them all. I felt so much more at ease when I got home that day. That evening, I almost forgot about my illness and slept like a baby. I was delighted when I woke up the next day to find that my face was back to normal. It had gotten better in just one night!
In a gathering after that, I read this in God’s words: “Ordinarily, when it comes to those whose intentions and objectives are not right, as well as those who love to be seen by others, who are eager to do things, who are prone to causing disruptions, who are good at spouting religious doctrine, who are Satan’s lackeys, and so on—when these people stand up, they become difficulties for the church, and this causes their brothers’ and sisters’ eating and drinking of God’s words to come to nothing. When you encounter such people play-acting, ban them immediately. If, despite repeated admonitions, they do not change, then they will suffer loss. If those who stubbornly persist in their ways attempt to defend themselves and try to cover up their sins, the church should cut them out immediately and leave them no room to maneuver. Do not lose a lot by trying to save a little; keep your eye on the big picture” (“Chapter 17” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words revealed my most obvious trait over the last year. Ever since I became a leader, I always enjoyed taking the lead in everything I did. I showed off like I was better than everyone. When discussing work with my work partners, although they had their own ideas, I always had to take the lead and spout off my “superior” opinions. I appeared to be proactive and positive, but in reality I just wanted to show off in everything I did and make people admire me. Thinking of this, I realized that my arrogant nature had caused me to act so shamefully. The others respected my opinions and discussed things with me. They were living out truth reality—they weren’t dictatorial or arrogant. But I took this to mean I was better than them, and always wanted to be condescending and show how much better I was. It was all so laughable. I felt like the emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes, without any self-awareness. I didn’t know how shamefully I was behaving, but just showed off every chance I got. Thinking about my behavior, I felt mortified and embarrassed. I’d thought I was wonderful because I never really knew myself. I felt afraid thinking of the path I was on, especially when I read in God’s words that when we find people with wrong motives who love showing off, we should “ban them immediately,” and if they do not reflect on themselves but make excuses, “the church should cut them out immediately.” This showed God’s righteousness and majesty. I’d been showing off every chance I got and ended up deceiving my brothers and sisters and making them idolize me even more. This led them to have no place for God in their hearts. I’d secretly turned those I worked with into figureheads and they no longer acted responsibly. Running rampant in the church, I’d caused only harm without realizing it at all, all the while thinking of myself as a rising star. If God hadn’t judged me so sternly, I’d never have known anything about myself or about the wrong path I was on or that I was on the path of no return. Understanding this, my viewpoints on things began to change. I used to think that if I was a capable person who was looked up to by others, then a little bit of showing off was no big deal, even that it was glorious. Now I realized that showing off in such a despicable way to get people to look up to me was shameful. I felt how undignified it was to not understand myself, to not seek dispositional change, and to follow my arrogant disposition and show off every chance I got. Those with humanity are able to cast off their arrogance, revere God, conduct themselves properly, practically do their duty, and testify to God in both word and deed. People like this live sensible and dignified lives.
After that, I felt disgusted and repulsed whenever I showed off involuntarily. I’d then consciously remind myself that I had to be real and not brag, no matter who I was with. I especially had to be more practical in my fellowships and not show off. Before fellowshiping my experiences, I’d mindfully pray to God, asking Him to watch my heart and correct my motives so I would testify to Him more. After fellowship, I’d then ask myself whether I’d shown off in any way in what I’d just said. Sometimes I’d discover that I had shown off a little in what I’d said, so the next time I met with the same group, I’d lay myself bare and analyze my previous behavior so that they would all discern my words and not blindly idolize me. After fellowshiping like this, the brothers and sisters were able to see my true stature and not look up to me anymore.
Thinking back on all that happened, God gave me a chance to do my duty, but I walked the antichrists’ path to do my own thing and became His enemy. I owe God so much. If He hadn’t disciplined me with that sickness, without the judgment of His words, I still wouldn’t have known myself at all. I always used to sing the hymn “Know That God’s Chastisement and Judgment Are Love,” but I never had any real experience or understanding about it. Now I truly came to feel that God’s judgment, chastisement, chastening, and discipline are His greatest love and salvation! I was very moved as I pondered God’s love and regretted that I hadn’t pursued the truth. I told myself that I had to seek to be an honest person. In gatherings I focused on how to fellowship on God’s words in a way that would testify to God. When with my co-workers, I made extra effort to respect and affirm their opinions which accorded with the truth and I stopped shutting them down and showing off like I had before. My work partners and I were on an equal footing, with no one taking the lead anymore. When issues arose, everyone sought the principles and put them into practice. I was so grateful to God’s judgment and chastisement that led me to understand His righteous disposition and begin to revere Him. I sought to take my place as a created being while I served Him and to do my duty well. I thank Almighty God for saving me.