God’s Judgment Saved Me

February 12, 2022

By Flavien, Benin

In September 2019, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. During meetings, I was praised for my good fellowship, quick understanding, and good caliber. Later, I was selected as a group leader, and not long after that, I was selected as gospel deacon. After that, I performed my duties more actively than I had. I started preaching the gospel and hosting meetings. My brothers and sisters enjoyed my fellowship, and the church leader said I did a good job. This made me very happy, and I felt my caliber was actually very good. To gain more people’s admiration, I read more of God’s word, and watched many films from God’s house and video readings of God’s word, but at the time, I was content with having a little literal understanding to show off, and I wasn’t focused on seeking God’s will or practicing the truth. At meetings, I fellowshiped as comprehensively as I could so others would think I understood more. I even fellowshiped on things I didn’t understand well to make others think I knew everything. Also, to create a good image in my leader’s heart, I pretended to be very strong. For example, at first, I had notions about God’s work, but I thought that if I told anyone, my leader would definitely think I didn’t understand the truth, so I deliberately hid my notions from my leader. It was as if I was wearing a mask. The me that others saw was an illusion.

A few months later, I was selected as a church leader, this time in charge of gospel work. To do this work, one had to have caliber, discernment, and work ability. I felt that no one in the church but me had those qualifications, so I had been ordained by God to perform this duty. Being promoted repeatedly made me feel I was different from others, the most avid in seeking the truth, someone loved and favored by God. I even thought being responsible for gospel work was like being a guard at the gate of God’s house, that I could decide who could enter God’s house and who couldn’t. Slowly, I became more and more arrogant, and I felt that I was above my brothers and sisters, could issue orders, and that my brothers and sisters had to listen to me. In church work, I always wanted to decide by myself and have the final say, because I felt I had the ability to work, had mastered the principles, and didn’t need to accept the views or advice of my brothers and sisters. I looked down on my brothers and sisters. There was a group leader of average caliber, and without regard to whether she performed her duties well, I wanted to replace her. On top of that, I regarded my brothers and sisters as my subordinates, and felt like I could deal with them however I liked. For example, at a meeting, my brothers and sisters were sharing how they preached the gospel, and I thought they were doing it inappropriately, so I immediately scolded them and told them what they should be doing. One sister had her own method of practice in her duties, but I didn’t think she was doing it right, so without fellowshiping on principles, I severely dealt with her. Later, this sister said to me she felt so negative she didn’t want to partner with me. Later, at a meeting, our leader asked everyone if there were any difficulties, and this sister directly reported my problem to the leader, saying I didn’t fellowship on the truth, always dealt with others, and that when I dealt with people it was always very harsh. Several more brothers and sisters reported that I dealt with people arbitrarily, and exposed my arrogant behavior using God’s word.

Actually, some brothers and sisters had already mentioned the problem of my arrogant behavior to me. Some saw me being overly strict when I asked about others’ work and sent me messages to say, “Brother, it wasn’t good to speak that way. You’ll make your brothers and sisters feel negative.” Others said, “You always speak down to others. You never put yourself on an equal footing with your brothers and sisters, so some of them don’t want to talk to you, and others feel so attacked they don’t want this duty anymore.” After repeated rebukes and dealing from them, my sense of pride was attacked. I used to think I was someone God loved and favored, but seeing how my brothers and sisters exposed and rejected me made me feel very negative. Without my good image and prestige, I felt no motivation to do my duty. Every day I just went through the motions, sent notices, didn’t do detailed work or follow up on my brothers’ and sisters’ duties, and didn’t focus on resolving the problems they faced. I didn’t care at all about what they needed.

Later, a sister noticed I was in the wrong state, so she sent me a passage of God’s word. God says, “Since mankind’s corruption by Satan, people’s nature has begun to deteriorate, and they have gradually lost the sense of reason possessed by normal people. They now no longer act as human beings in the position of man, but are filled with wild aspirations; they have surpassed the station of man—yet yearn, still, to go even higher. What does this ‘higher’ refer to? 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. ‘Arrogant’ is a derogative term, and no one wants to have this term pinned to them. In fact, however, everyone is arrogant, and all corrupt humans have this essence. Some people say, ‘I’m not the least bit arrogant. I’ve never wanted to be the archangel, nor have I ever wanted to surpass God, or to surpass all else. I’ve always been someone who’s especially well-behaved and dutiful.’ Not necessarily; these words are incorrect. Once people have grown arrogant in nature and essence, they can often disobey and resist God, not heed His words, generate notions about Him, do things that betray Him, and things that exalt and bear testimony to themselves. You say you are not arrogant, but suppose you were given a church and allowed to lead it; suppose that I did not deal with you, and that no one in God’s family pruned you: After leading it a while, you would bring people to your feet and make them submit before you. And why would you do that? This would be determined by your nature; it would be none other than a natural revelation. You do not have any need to learn this from others, nor is there any need for them to teach it to you. You do not need others to instruct you or compel you to do this; this kind of situation comes about naturally. Everything you do is about making people submit before you, worship you, exalt you, testify about you, and listen to you in all things. Allowing you to be leader naturally brings about this situation, and it cannot be changed. And how does this situation come about? It is determined by man’s arrogant nature. 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 arrogant nature is that of Satan; it is that of the archangel. When their arrogance and self-importance reach a certain level, they become the archangel, and God must be put aside. If you possess such an arrogant nature, God will have no place in your heart” (“An Arrogant Nature Is the Root of Man’s Resistance to God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s words, I thought of my behavior up to this point. From the start of my belief in God, my brothers and sisters admired and encouraged me. They said I had good caliber and fellowshiped well, and I was promoted several times, so I felt I was special and better than those around me. My arrogant nature made me think I was someone who God loved and favored. I felt like I was outstanding and superior to others, so I started to use my position to scold and constrain others. I even tried to control my brothers and sisters and make them listen to me. I had been behaving just like the archangel! I thought too highly of myself. After being exposed and dealt with by my brothers and sisters, I realized I wasn’t as perfect as I imagined. Instead, I was especially arrogant and corrupt. I assumed I was so high above others and that God favored me, but those were purely my imagination.

Several days later, I read another passage of God’s word that exposed and analyzed antichrists. Almighty God says, “Antichrists will pay any price for the sake of their status and the satisfaction of their ambition, for their goal of controlling the church and being God. They often work late into the night and wake at the crack of dawn, rehearsing their sermons in the wee hours, all in order to equip themselves with the doctrine they need to give lofty sermons. Every day, they consider which of God’s words are of use and learn those words by heart. Then, they consider how to interpret those words in a way that demonstrates their brilliance and wisdom, with all the labor of students vying for a spot in college. When someone gives a good sermon, or one that provides some illumination, or one that provides some theory, an antichrist will collect and compile it and make it into their own sermon. No amount of labor is too great for an antichrist. What, then, is the motive and intention behind this labor of theirs? One thing drives them: Being able to preach these words, to say them clearly and with ease, to have fluent command of them, so that others may see the antichrist is more spiritual than they, more treasuring of God’s words, more loving of God. In this way, an antichrist can gain the worship of some of the people around them. An antichrist feels this is a worthwhile thing to do and worth any effort, price, or hardship” (“They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Seven)” in Exposing Antichrists). “The essence of the behavior of antichrists is to constantly use various means and methods to achieve their goal of having status, of winning people over and making them follow and venerate them. It is possible that in the depths of their hearts they are not deliberately vying over humanity with God, but one thing is certain: Even when they do not vie with God for humans, they still wish to have status and power among them. Even if the day comes when they realize that they are vying with God for status, and they rein themselves in, they still employ other methods to gain status in the church, believing that they will gain legitimacy by winning the approval and assent of others. In short, though everything antichrists do appears to comprise a faithful performance of their duties, and they seem to be true followers of God, their ambition to control people—and to gain status and power among them—will never change. No matter what God says or does, and no matter what He asks of people, they do not do what they should do or fulfill their duties in a way that befits His words and requirements, nor do they give up their pursuit of power and status as a result of understanding His utterances and the truth; throughout, their ambition consumes them, controls and directs their behavior and thoughts, and determines the path they walk. This is the epitome of an antichrist” (“They Deceive, Draw In, Threaten, and Control People” in Exposing Antichrists). God says that antichrists, to make others praise and worship them, use outward suffering to create an illusion to deceive people. I saw this and realized, wasn’t this what I was? I always sought fame and status, and everything I did was to be looked up to. I spent so much time reading God’s word, sometimes not sleeping until late at night. My purpose was to understand more doctrines so I could show off to others. I realized I had some of the manifestations of antichrists revealed in God’s word. I felt I had been condemned by God, and I was especially anxious. But at the time, I didn’t dare tell my brothers and sisters my real state, because I feared being seen as an antichrist and being expelled. During this period, an antichrist in the church was discovered and expelled. Outwardly, she appeared to expend for God and seek God’s word to fellowship with others, but she herself didn’t practice the word of God, and when encountering things not in line with her notions, she spread negativity, and even denied God’s work in the last days and disturbed those investigating the true way. I realized there were some things in me that were just like her. For example, I often found God’s word to fellowship with my brothers and sisters, but I myself didn’t practice God’s word. When I had difficulties, I relied on my own mind and caliber to solve them, but I didn’t focus on seeking God’s will or practicing the truth. I saw that my own manifestations were similar to those of this antichrist, and that other manifestations of antichrists revealed in God’s word also applied to me. So I was even more afraid I would become an antichrist and be expelled. During that time, I tried my best to restrain my anxiety in front of everyone, but I was especially miserable, and it felt like I had been sentenced to death. Gradually, my defensiveness and suspicion became more and more serious. I felt I had a bad nature, that I could easily deceive and control my brothers and sisters, and that sooner or later, like that antichrist, I would disrupt the work of God’s house. Thinking about this made me even more frightened. At that time, I couldn’t tell the difference between the disposition and essence of an antichrist, nor did I understand what God’s will was in this environment. I thought I was someone who would be eliminated by God, just like the antichrist, and I felt I had no hope of being blessed, so I began to have complaints, “I disregarded my family’s objections to believe in God and perform my duty. I even forsook my future and left my hometown to spread the gospel in new places. I’ve paid such a high price, but I’m still going to hell to be punished. If I knew it would end like this, I wouldn’t have expended so much. I would have at least enjoyed some physical comfort.” At that time, I only thought about my destination, and didn’t pay attention to seeking God’s will, so I was always guarded against and misunderstanding God. In the end, I resigned from the leadership duty, because I felt that if I continued to do such an important duty, I would definitely be expelled. I also stopped being open with my brothers and sisters because I feared they would criticize and deal with me after seeing my true face. I also didn’t partner with anyone in my duty, and my relationship with the brothers and sisters became more and more distant. Later, I used the excuse of going home to preach the gospel and returned to my unbeliever family. Faced with the persecution and judgment of my family, I became even more negative. Although I continued to attend meetings, I was only going through the motions. I was very weak, and I felt I had come to the end in my faith, so I decided to leave God’s house.

After I left the church, my heart felt very empty. I locked myself in my room all day long and didn’t want to do anything. Although my family no longer persecuted me and I was quite comfortable physically, I felt nothing but fear, and very guilty. I was terrified I would be punished by God for betraying Him, I was afraid of hell and afraid of death, so I thought of ways to ease my anxiety. I read a lot of social science books, hoping to find something in them to comfort my soul, but it was useless. Nothing could relieve my inner torment. It seemed I could only passively wait for death. Later, I prayed to God to ask Him to guide me out of my predicament, and I listened to hymns and read God’s words. This was when God’s word awakened my heart. In God’s word, I read, “Some people have certain manifestations of an antichrist and certain outpourings of the disposition of an antichrist, but at the same time as having such outpouring, they also accept and acknowledge the truth, and love the truth. They are possible objects of salvation” (“They Exalt and Testify About Themselves” in Exposing Antichrists). “Because of one statement from God, many people often feel weak and negative, and think that God has abandoned them—and as a result, they are unwilling to continue following God and moving onward. In fact, you do not understand what abandonment is; your abandonment of yourself is the real abandonment. Sometimes, the words with which God defines you are merely spoken in anger; He is by no means coming to a conclusion about you, nor is He condemning you, this has nothing to do with your final destination or what God ultimately bestows upon you, much less is this His final punishment. These are nothing more than words that judge and deal with you. They speak of God’s fervent hopes for you, they are words to remind and to warn you, and they are words from within God’s heart. Yet there are some who fall down and forsake God as a result of these words of judgment. … There are times when people believe God has abandoned them—but in fact, God has not abandoned you, He just puts you to one side, finds you detestable, and does not wish to heed you. He has not, however, truly forsaken you. There are those who make an effort to perform their duty in the house of God, but because of their essence and the various things that are manifested in them, God does actually forsake them; they were not truly chosen, but merely gave service for a time. There are some, meanwhile, whom God does His utmost to discipline, chasten, and judge; He employs various ways of treating them that are at odds with the notions of man. Some people do not understand God’s words, and think that God is picking on them and being hurtful. They think that there is no dignity to living before God, they do not wish to hurt God any longer and leave the church. They even think there is sense to doing this, and so they turn their back on God—but in fact, God had not forsaken them. Such people have no inkling of the will of God. They are somewhat oversensitive, going so far as to give up on God’s salvation. Do they really have conscience? There are times when God shuns people, and times when He places them to one side for a time so that they may reflect upon themselves, but God has not truly forsaken them; He is giving them the opportunity to repent, and is not genuinely forsaking them. God only truly forsakes antichrists and the wicked who commit many evil acts. Some people say, ‘I feel devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit and long have I been without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Has God forsaken me?’ This is a misconception. You say that God has forsaken you, that He will not save you, so has He set your end? There are occasions when you cannot feel the work of the Holy Spirit, but God has not deprived you of the right to read His words, nor has He determined your end, your path to salvation has not reached a dead one—so what are you so upset about? You are in a bad state, there is a problem with your motives, there are issues with your ideological point of view, your state of mind is twisted—and if you do not try to fix these things by seeking the truth, and constantly misinterpret and blame God, and push the responsibility onto God, and even say, ‘God doesn’t want me, so I don’t believe in Him anymore,’ are you not being ludicrous? Are you not being unreasonable?” (“Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word spoke to my heart. I understood that God had not eliminated me, condemned me, or determined my outcome. In fact, God knew from the very start how corrupt I was. God arranged for my brothers and sisters to expose me at the right time and used His word to reveal my corrupt disposition and the wrong path I took, because only in this way could I know myself. This was actually a great chance for me to change! God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing were all done to save me! But I used my own notions to misunderstand God’s will, saw condemnation in His judgment and chastisement, and thought I would be eliminated. I mistakenly believed that because I had the manifestations of an antichrist, God definitely didn’t want me, and that I was destined to be destroyed. But actually, all of my manifestations were normal in the eyes of God. Although I had the manifestations of an antichrist’s disposition, I hadn’t reached the point of being determined to be an antichrist. God wants to eliminate and punish those who have the essence of an antichrist. They can never repent, because their nature and essence are evil, and they loathe and detest the truth. No matter what they do wrong, they never admit it, and they do anything it takes to maintain their prestige and status. I could still realize that I was corrupted too deeply, and that I was wrong, so I still had opportunities to repent. I only had an antichrist’s disposition, I wasn’t an antichrist who didn’t accept the truth. But at that time, I didn’t understand God’s will, and I didn’t know God’s love or God’s righteous disposition. I thought that since God didn’t want me anymore, any efforts I made were in vain. If I didn’t enjoy fleshly pleasure in the world, I would have nothing. Looking back now on what I did, I feel terribly ashamed. I swore to God many times that I would follow Him all my life, but after I was judged and exposed this time, I became passive, denied God’s salvation, lost faith in God, and even chose without hesitation to return to the world and seek fleshly pleasure. How could I say I had a conscience? Now that I understood God’s will, I had hope again. I felt as if I had been brought back from the dead. I let go of everything else in my life and began to ponder God’s word, sing hymns, listen to recitations of God’s word, and seek God’s will. It was like starting all over on the path of belief in God. I once again received God’s mercy and felt God’s presence. I gradually found inner peace and joy, and I also felt a desire to return to the church in my heart. However, I didn’t know if God’s house would accept me. I prayed to God, asking Him to have mercy on me and save me.

A few weeks later, I saw another passage of God’s word that made me understand a little more about God’s will. God says, “In the past, there was someone who was expelled from the church for doing bad things, and his brothers and sisters rejected him. After roaming around for a few years, he has now returned. That his heart did not leave God completely is a good thing; he still has a chance and a hope of being saved. Had he run away and stopped believing, becoming the same as unbelievers, then he would be completely done for. If he can make a turnaround, then there is hope for him yet; this is rare and precious. Regardless of how God acts, and no matter how He treats, hates, or detests people, if there comes a day when they can make a turnaround, then I will take great comfort, for this will mean that they still have that little bit of room for God in their hearts, that they have not completely lost their human reason or their humanity, that they still want to believe in God, and they have at least some intention to acknowledge and return before Him. For people who truly have God in their hearts, no matter when they left God’s house, if they return and still hold this family dear, then I will become somewhat sentimentally attached and will take some comfort in it. However, if they never return, I will think it a pity. If they can return and truly repent, then My heart will especially be filled with gratification and comfort. When you walked away, you certainly were being quite negative, and you were in a bad state; if you can come back now, though, it proves you still have faith in God. However, whether or not you can continue forward is an unknown factor, because people change so quickly. In the Age of Grace, Jesus had pity and grace for humans. If one sheep was lost out of a hundred, He would leave the ninety-nine to look for the one. This line does not represent a kind of mechanical method, nor a rule; rather, it shows God’s urgent intention to bring salvation to people, as well as His deep love for them. It is not a way of doing things; it is a kind of disposition, a sort of mentality. Thus, some people leave for six months or a year, or have however many weaknesses or suffer from however many misconceptions, and yet their ability to later wake up to reality, gain knowledge and make a turnaround, and get back on the right track makes Me feel especially comforted and brings Me a little piece of enjoyment. In this world of gaiety and splendor, and in this evil age, being able to stand firm, acknowledge God, and get back on the right track are things that bring quite a bit of comfort and excitement. Take raising children, for example: Whether or not they are filial, how would you feel if they did not acknowledge you, and left home, never to return? Deep down, you would still keep on feeling concerned about them, and you would always wonder, ‘When will my son return? I’d like to see him. After all, he is my son, and it wasn’t for nothing that I raised him and loved him.’ You have always thought this way; you have always longed for that day to come. Everyone feels the same in this regard, to say nothing of God—is His not an even greater hope that man will find their way back after having gone astray, that the prodigal son will return? People these days are small of stature, but the day will come when they understand God’s will—unless they have no inclination toward true faith, unless they are the nonbelievers, in which case they are beneath God’s concern” (“People Who Make Constant Demands of God Are the Least Reasonable People” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading the words of God, I was particularly moved. I felt like God was talking to me face to face, just like a mother speaks to her child. God comforted me when I was most desperate, gave me hope, and let me see that His love for people is real! I understood that God doesn’t condemn or kill people at will. God came incarnate in the last days to save humankind. God had never really left me, as I assumed. Instead, He was just judging and chastising me for my corrupt disposition and the wrong path I had taken, which was God’s righteousness and holiness, and also a way to change me. God was waiting for me to repent, but I had many notions and misunderstandings about God. I saw God’s judgment and salvation as elimination and punishment, didn’t understand God’s will, and didn’t have an attitude of obedience. I always stood on a personal standpoint and took my opinion as the truth. Although I was so rebellious, God knew what I lacked and where I would fall and fail. Step by step, God guided me until I woke up and regained my sense. I saw that God’s intention to save people is sincere. As long as people keep His name and His way, God will always extend the hand of salvation. God loves us more than I realized. God is responsible for everyone’s life. I knew it wasn’t too late for me, if I sincerely repented. I still had a chance to change my corrupt disposition and to be saved. Once I understood God’s will, my state of negativity and misunderstanding was reversed.

Later, I read another passage of God’s word that gave me some understanding of the significance of God’s work of judgment. Almighty God says, “Today God judges you, chastises you, and condemns you, but you must know that the point of your condemnation is for you to know yourself. He condemns, curses, judges, and chastises so that you might know yourself, so that your disposition might change, and, moreover, so that you might know your worth, and see that all of God’s actions are righteous and in accordance with His disposition and the requirements of His work, that He works in accordance with His plan for man’s salvation, and that He is the righteous God who loves, saves, judges, and chastises man. If you only know that you are of lowly status, that you are corrupt and disobedient, but do not know that God wishes to make plain His salvation through the judgment and chastisement that He does in you today, then you have no way of gaining experience, much less are you capable of continuing forward. God has not come to kill or destroy, but to judge, curse, chastise, and save. 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. Salvation is the work of God Himself, and the seeking for life is something that man must take on in order to accept salvation. In the eyes of man, salvation is the love of God, and the love of God cannot be chastisement, judgment, and curses; salvation must contain love, compassion, and, moreover, words of solace, as well as boundless blessings bestowed by God. People believe that when God saves man, He does so by moving them with His blessings and grace, so that they can give their hearts to God. That is to say, His touching man is His saving them. This sort of salvation is done by striking a deal. Only when God grants them a hundredfold will man come to submit before God’s name and strive to do well for Him and bring Him glory. This is not what God intends for mankind. God has come to work on earth in order to save corrupt mankind; there is no falsehood in this. If there were, He would certainly not have come to do His work in person. 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). After reading God’s words, I saw that I didn’t understand God’s work of judgment. When I first accepted God’s work, I enjoyed a lot of God’s love, mercy, and the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment. I was content to merely enjoy God’s grace. I thought I was a little baby in God’s hands, someone cherished by God, that I was special and perfect, and that I wouldn’t be severely judged by God. Therefore, when God’s severe judgment and chastisement came, when God’s words exposed my rebelliousness, resistance, and antichrist’s disposition, I thought God was going to eliminate me, and I felt that all my efforts were in vain, so I decided to leave the church. My desire for blessings, my extravagant ambitions, and my ignorance made me betray God. My selfishness made me see only God’s condemnation and fail to understand God’s desire to save people. In the Age of Grace, God had endless mercy and tolerance for people, and He redeemed all humankind from sin. But humans were deeply corrupted by Satan. Only God’s severe judgment and chastisement could change people’s corrupt dispositions and fully save us from the domination of Satan. I was so corrupt that I became an embodiment of Satan, and I needed this severe judgment and chastisement from God to wake me up. Because only this kind of work could make me see the ugly appearance of my corruption by Satan, and only then could I come to hate myself and forsake Satan. Without it, I would still think I was perfect and loved by God, and then I would never seek the truth or reflect on myself. I would have taken the wrong path of the antichrist until I died. I believed in God, yet didn’t want to suffer at all, and wanted to be spoiled by God, to enjoy God’s mercy and blessings forever like a baby. How could I ever be purified by God like this? My ignorance and selfishness blinded me to the love and blessing in God’s work of judgment, so that I misunderstood God, turned away from God, and betrayed God. I paid a heavy price for my ignorance and selfishness. After realizing the great significance of God’s work of judgment, I had the confidence to follow God and experience God’s work again, because I understood, regardless of whether God’s work conformed to my notions, it was all done to purify me and change my corrupt disposition. It was to fully save me from domination by Satan.

Later, I reflected on myself through God’s word. I read a particular passage of God’s word. “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. Say there were several tens of thousands of people in a country that accepted God’s work, and God’s house sent you there to lead and shepherd God’s chosen ones. And say God’s house handed authority over to you and allowed you to work by yourself, without oversight by Me or anyone else. After several months, you would have become like a sovereign ruler, all power would be in your hands, you’d call the shots, all the chosen ones would revere you, worship you, obey you as if you were God; most would even go so far as to kneel before you, bowing to 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 revel in life’s comforts and hold yourself aloft, not deigning to meet with ordinary brothers and sisters. You would become utterly degenerate—and would be laid bare and eliminated, struck down like the archangel. You are all capable of this, are you not?” (“An Arrogant Nature Is the Root of Man’s Resistance to God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). As I pondered God’s words, I recalled my own behavior. Ever since I began my duties, I had unconsciously walked the path of antichrist. To secure a place in the hearts of my brothers and sisters, for the sake of higher prestige and more power, I disguised myself with all kinds of falsehoods to win the respect of my brothers and sisters. Beyond that, since I was continuously promoted, I felt I was above my brothers and sisters, and that I was favored by God and ordained by God to manage others, so I became especially arrogant, spoke down to others, wanted my brothers and sisters to obey me and submit to me, and led everyone before myself. In my duty, I didn’t focus on seeking the principles of truth, nor did I ask my brothers and sisters for their views and suggestions, because I didn’t think they were as good as me. During meetings, I arbitrarily criticized and rebuked them in front of everyone and exposed the deviations and mistakes in their duties, causing them to feel so negative that they no longer wanted to cooperate with me. I also asked others to follow my lead and perform their duties in my way of doing things, yet I didn’t guide my brothers and sisters in seeking the principles of truth. Without the revelation of God’s word, I wouldn’t feel I was arrogant, I wouldn’t think my desire and ambition to pursue status was a serious problem, nor would I realize that I had embarked on the path of the antichrist. Without God’s word to expose my true self, I would still have stubbornly followed the path of the antichrist, done unforgivable things, and finally be destroyed by God.

After that, I read another passage of God’s word. God says, “As one of the creatures, man must keep his own position, and behave conscientiously. Dutifully guard that which is entrusted to you by the Creator. Do not act out of line, or do things beyond your range of ability or which are loathsome to God. Do not try to be great, or become a superman, or above others, nor seek to become God. This is how people should not desire to be. Seeking to become great or a superman is absurd. Seeking to become God is even more disgraceful; it is disgusting, and despicable. What is commendable, and what the creatures should hold to more than anything else, is to become a true creature; this is the only goal that all people should pursue” (“God Himself, the Unique I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading God’s words, I reflected to understand myself. I had considered myself different, and especially after I became a leader and gained some status, my satanic nature was even more exposed. I was arrogant and showed off. I wanted my brothers and sisters to worship and obey me. God gave me some gifts and status, and I wanted to hold power. I was so shameful and ignorant! God wanted me to be a true created being, accept His sovereignty and provision, fulfill my own duty, come to know Him, and testify to Him. But I was corrupted so deeply by Satan that I lost a normal person’s reason and forgot my place as a created being. I didn’t want to conduct myself as an ordinary person, I wanted to be a superman, a great person, someone looked up to and admired by people. Actually, I had the same status as my brothers and sisters. Just because God had given me a special gift or talent or exalted me to the position of a leader, this did not mean my status was higher than that of my brothers and sisters. I was still a created being. These gifts and talents were given by God, so I should not have shown off. I should have focused my effort on performing my duty well and becoming a proper created being.

Once I realized these things, I had a path of practice, and I felt a sense of relief. Now, I wanted to hurry back to church to continue my duties. This time, my determination to follow God and perform my duty was firmer. I deleted everything on my computer and phone unrelated to belief in God and I decided to put all else aside and follow God. A few days later, I went back to the church. Before long, I returned to my duty of preaching the gospel. Thank God! This time, I started over again and consciously cooperated with my brothers and sisters. Each time I encountered a problem, I asked my brothers and sisters for their views and suggestions, and asked them to participate. I no longer made decisions by myself and I no longer imposed my views on my brothers and sisters. Instead, I gave them advice and worked with them to find a good path of practice. Also, I didn’t want to show off anymore to make them look up to me or try to control them. I didn’t want power anymore. Instead, I learned to seek the principles of truth together with my brothers and sisters. Practicing like this, I felt a deep sense of peace, which was something I hadn’t felt before. Now, my relationship with my brothers and sisters is much easier and they are willing to cooperate with me. I am very grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to start over. I truly feel that only God’s words can change my arrogant disposition and my pursuit of status. Only they can allow me to hold the position of a created being, cooperate with my brothers and sisters to perform our duties well, and live out a human likeness.

Through this severe judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing, I experienced God’s love and gained a little understanding of my corrupt dispositions, and I have a clear view of God’s work, as well as greater faith in God. I truly feel that God’s judgment and chastisement is not to condemn and destroy people, but instead, as God’s word says, “God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). My nature was too arrogant, my ambition too great, and my satanic dispositions too serious, so God had to use such severe judgment and chastisement to purify me, change me, and guide me onto the right path. I am grateful to God for saving me!

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