A False Leader’s Awakening
By Yang Fan, China
In 2019, I began my duty as a leader, I knew this was God’s exaltation, and I swore to myself that I would perform my duty well. After that, every day I was busy with meetings, resolving difficulties of my brothers and sisters in their duties, and monitoring work progress, and I felt very fulfilled. After a while, thanks to some administrative tasks, my workload increased, I worked until late every day, and I felt a little too busy. I thought, “Worrying about all of the work is a lot, and it’s tiring. My mind is wound up tight every day. It’s not as easy as doing an individual duty.” Later, I went to a group meeting where Sister Zhao was. I thought, “In the past, I was Sister Zhao’s partner, she was responsible in her duties, and actively sought truth to resolve difficulties she faced. She supervises the work in this group, so I don’t need to worry too much.” After that, I rarely met with their group. One night, some brothers and sisters wrote to point out that Sister Zhao’s group work had some problems and deficiencies and they asked me to quickly solve the problem. I meant to search for God’s word in advance and seek a solution, but I had so many problems to deal with that I couldn’t finish for quite some time. I thought, “It’s so late, and I’m so tired. I can’t do this. Besides, I’ve already written a letter to Sister Zhao about her problems and deficiencies, and she is responsible, so she will take the initiative to fellowship and resolve them, and I won’t have to do the work. If I did everything by myself, how could I ever finish? I’ll just fellowship with her about it at the meeting.” Later, once I looked into it, Sister Zhao had already fellowshiped with the group about it, and everyone was able to suggest paths of practice targeted at the problems, which made me feel I had nothing to worry about with Sister Zhao leading that group. After that, I basically didn’t ask about the group’s work.
After some time passed, I went to a meeting with Sister Zhao’s group, and I found that Sister Zhao’s fellowship beat around the bush, and she spoke for a long time without saying anything clearly. I thought to myself, “Is she in a bad state? Why does she speak incoherently?” But then I thought, “She might just be nervous because I’m here. She might just need some time to adjust. I have some other things to do for now.” And so I left without fellowshiping with her. Later, I found out that the group’s work was ineffective. I thought, “Is there some problem in the group?” But then I reconsidered, “They just fellowshiped about problems and deficiencies in the duty, everyone seems ready to turn around, and it is normal for it to be less fruitful now.” When I realized that, I didn’t think any more about it. Later, Sister Wang told me that Sister Zhao was obsessed with status, couldn’t cooperate with others, and wasn’t suited to being a group leader. I thought, “Sister Zhao is a bit too focused on status, but she is responsible. If she can’t cooperate with others, it must be because she was in a bad state and controlled by her corrupt dispositions. She only needs some time to adjust herself.” Once I thought of that, I said to Sister Wang, “Sister Zhao is responsible in her duty, and she is still a capable group leader. If she exposes corruption, we can try to help her, and expose her based on her problems. I’m busy today, so I don’t have time, but I will fellowship with her later.” When Sister Wang heard me say that, she didn’t say anything else. Later, as soon as I got busy with other tasks, I forgot about fellowship with Sister Zhao. One night, I suddenly remembered: “I don’t know about Sister Zhao’s state. Should I go see her?” But then I thought, “She has good caliber, and when her state was bad in the past, she could quickly seek the truth and solve it herself. This time she should be able to adjust herself too. She lives far away, so if I go all the way over there, never mind the trouble, if she’s not at home, won’t I be making a trip for nothing? Forget it, I’ll do it after this month.” I was completely dumbstruck when I inspected their work at the end of the month. There were many problems and deficiencies in Sister Zhao’s work, and her work was less and less effective. The brothers and sisters she supervised were all in a negative state, and their work was seriously impacted. Only then did I realize things were serious. So, I quickly went to Sister Zhao to fellowship and point out her problems, but she refused to accept it, made excuses and argued, and showed no knowledge of herself. After discussing her with my partners, we decided Sister Zhao could no longer be a group leader, and finally dismissed her. After that, my brothers and sisters reported that Sister Zhao was jealous, neglected her duties, and engaged in disputes, which caused a sister to feel constrained by her, become depressed, and want to leave her duty. Sister Wang reported her situation, but was suppressed and rejected. The other sisters also felt constrained by her, and their duties were affected, causing work to be hindered for several months. After Sister Zhao was replaced, not only did she not repent, she retaliated against others. After exposing and dissecting her, she didn’t understand or regret her evil deeds at all. Later, because I failed to do practical work, neglected my duty, didn’t replace Sister Zhao in time, and seriously harmed church work, I was also replaced. At that time, I felt miserable. Only then did I start to contemplate why Sister Zhao had engaged in jealous disputes for so long and seriously disrupted church work, but I was blind to it and didn’t recognize it. I only had a shallow awareness that I didn’t do practical work and couldn’t discern others, but I wasn’t focused on understanding and analyzing my own corrupt dispositions.
In a meeting, I saw (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Identifying False Leaders (3)). “False leaders: is this kind of person stupid? They are stupid and foolish. What makes them stupid? They blithely put their trust in people, believing that because when they chose this person, this person swore an oath, and made a pledge, and prayed with tears streaming down their face, there couldn’t be anything seriously wrong with them, and there will never have any issues with them in the future. False leaders have no understanding of people’s natures; they do not understand what a corrupt disposition is. They say, ‘How could someone change once they have been chosen as a supervisor? How could someone who seems so intense and reliable shirk their work? They wouldn’t, would they? They have a lot of integrity.’ Because the false leader had such imaginings, and is too trusting of their own intuition, this ultimately renders them incapable of staying on top of the many problems that arise in the supervisor, and of being able to promptly replace and reallocate them. This is a problem with the false leaders, is it not? (Yes.) And just what is the issue here? Does the false leader’s approach to their work have anything to do with laziness? For one thing, they think that it is not a suitable environment for them, that it is not convenient for them to go there, and so blithely send a supervisor instead, saying to themselves, ‘The problem is fixed, I don’t need to pay it any more attention. The persecution of the great red dragon is getting worse and worse—it is too dangerous for me to keep going there. What’s more, it is so hard to get there. Better to avoid the trouble if I can.’ Is this laziness? (Yes.) It is laziness; it is greediness for physical comforts. They also have a major failing: They are quick to trust people based on their own imaginings. And this is caused by not understanding the truth, is it not? Is this the way God’s words evaluate each person? Why should you trust in people when God doesn’t? Instead of judging people by appearances, God keeps a constant watch on their hearts—so why should people be so casual when they judge others and place their trust in them? False leaders are too conceited, are they not? What they think is, ‘I wasn’t wrong when I spotted this person. Nothing could go awry; they are definitely not someone who messes around, who likes to have fun and hates hard work. They are absolutely dependable and trustworthy. They will not change; if they did, that would mean I was wrong about them, wouldn’t it?’ What kind of logic is this? Are you some kind of expert? Is this your special skill? Do you have x-ray vision? You could live with this person for one or two years, but would you be able to see who they really are without a suitable environment to lay their nature and essence utterly bare? If they were not exposed by God, you could live side-by-side with them for three, or even five, years, and would still struggle to see just what kind of nature and essence they have. And how much more is that true when you rarely see them, are rarely with them? You judge them based on a fleeting impression or a few words from them, you are so casual in who you trust. In this, are you not being extremely blind and impetuous? And when they work like this, are the false leaders not being extremely irresponsible?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Identifying False Leaders (3)). God revealed that false leaders crave comfort, and are irresponsible in their duties. Once people in charge are found, they readily trust these people based on ideas and notions. They don’t follow up, supervise the work, and don’t want to pay the price to check the work. They save trouble whenever they can. The result is serious harm to church work. Seeing God reveal the various manifestations of false leaders not doing practical work, I felt as if God was exposing me face to face. It was very uncomfortable, and I felt guilty. As a leader, I was very irresponsible. To save myself worry and fleshly suffering, I played tricks and didn’t follow up with work. I only relied on my momentary impression of Sister Zhao, and thought she was responsible in her duty and was a capable group leader, so I took a hands-off approach, didn’t supervise her work. When I saw her work had problems and I had to suffer and pay a price to solve them, I didn’t do practical work, used the fact that everyone was groping as an excuse for myself. When others reported that she had problems and was an unsuitable group leader, I still assumed it was just temporary corruption based on my notions and imagination and that it wouldn’t impact her duty. I put off resolving Sister Zhao’s problems again and again, until finally the group’s work was paralyzed and the life entry of my brothers and sisters was severely harmed. I was so foolish and irresponsible. I was a false leader who craved comfort and didn’t do practical work. The fact is that the leaders and workers the church elected, including me, have not been perfected, we have many corrupt dispositions, and we can cause disruptions and disturbances in our duties at any time. Even if we appear to have some good behaviors, it doesn’t mean we are qualified. We don’t understand the truth, so we can only see people’s outward appearances, we cannot see people’s essences clearly, so we need to frequently follow up on and supervise others’ work to be responsible. I didn’t understand the truth, but I was blindly confident, and caused great harm to church work as a result, and I committed a transgression in God’s presence. Once I realized this, I felt deep regret. If I hadn’t been so self-righteous, so lazy, or so greedy for comfort when Sister Wang reminded me, but had investigated, discovered, and solved the problem in time, dismissed Sister Zhao, I would not have caused such a delay to the church’s work. I not only failed to benefit the church’s work in my duty, I acted as Satan’s accomplice and served as an umbrella for false leaders and workers. The more I thought, the more miserable I felt. I thought of how when the incarnate God worked, He went to every church. He genuinely suffered and paid a price. In response to all of our corruption and deficiencies, God tirelessly fellowshiped the truth, supported us, and helped us, and all His hard work was done to fully save us from the power of Satan. But I was a created being who didn’t understand the truth, couldn’t see things clearly, yet I didn’t want to suffer or pay a price in my duties, I didn’t resolve problems in time when I found them, and I harmed our work so badly. Performing my duties like this was disgusting and hateful to God! Once I realized these things, I quietly prayed to God, “God, I was wrong. I wish to reflect on myself and repent to You. Please have mercy on me.”reveal that false leaders don’t do real work before I finally gained some understanding. God’s words say, “False leaders never inform themselves about or keep track of the actual situation of group supervisors, nor do they inform themselves about, keep track of, or attempt to grasp the situation regarding life entry, as well as the attitude toward work and duty and the various attitudes toward God and belief in God, of group supervisors and personnel responsible for important work; false leaders do not inform themselves about their transformations, their progress, or the various issues that emerge during their work, particularly when it comes to the effect, on the church’s work and on God’s chosen ones, of mistakes and deviations that occurred during various stages of work. If they are unable to accurately understand such situations, then they cannot promptly solve them—and if they cannot solve them promptly, then they will be unable to promptly remedy the negative influence and damage that supervisors of various groups have inflicted upon the work. Thus, in this regard, the false leaders have not fulfilled their responsibility. Not fulfilling their responsibilities is dereliction of duty; they are not carrying out their role of supervising others, of learning more about them, fully grasping their situation and monitoring them”
At the time, I read two passages in which God revels false leaders. “A lot of work gets held up simply because false leaders have failed to check up on things, have not kept an eye on them, have not fixed any problems; simply because they have been severely remiss in their duties. Of course, this is also because these false leaders don’t take their responsibilities seriously. They revel in the trappings of status and in the gratification of parroting phrases, they don’t want to involve themselves in actual work, which often leads to numerous issues with specific tasks, and means that these issues take a long time to be addressed; often, someone still hasn’t come to ask about or try to rectify work deviations long after they have arisen; so, too, are there often major oversights in work, oversights that even an idiot could see, but which the false leaders are blind to, and cannot perceive; remedying these issues, naturally, is out of the question. When work problems are not fixed, when deviations are not corrected, and oversights are not promptly addressed, work efficiency is seriously compromised. The work is simply being carried out—but what effect does it have in testifying to God? Is it beneficial to people when they see it, does it leave an impression on them? Does it inspire them to investigate the true way? It does not. It does not have any of these effects, and this is simply down to the false leader being remiss in their duties and making too many mistakes. And so, whilst carrying out various items of work, there are actually many issues, deviations, and oversights that false leaders must solve, rectify, and remedy—but, because they have no sense of burden, because they can only play the part of a government official and do not do real work, as a result they cause a disastrous mess, such that some groups even lose unity, and the group members undermine each other, become suspicious and wary of each other, and even become wary of the house of God. When false leaders are faced with this situation, they do not carry out any specific work” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Identifying False Leaders (4)). “To outward appearances, these false leaders are not deliberately doing evil like the antichrists, deliberately establishing their own fiefdom and going their own way. But within the scope of their work, the false leaders are not able to quickly address the various problems caused by supervisors, they are not able to promptly reassign and replace substandard supervisors, which is severely damaging to church work, and is all caused by the false leaders’ negligence” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Identifying False Leaders (3)). I saw how God reveals the negligence of false leaders, how they don’t follow up or check on work, how they don’t supervise and inspect people in charge, and how, as a result, many work problems can’t be solved, and the work of God’s house is seriously damaged. I reflected on my actions. I craved comfort, neglected my duty, and was irresponsible, I trusted Sister Zhao based on my own notions and didn’t supervise or follow up on her work. When others reported her problems, I disregarded it, and didn’t resolve the problems or dismiss her in time, which allowed her to hold long-term jealous disputes, disrupt and disturb the group, and play no positive role, causing the group’s work to be ineffective for months and seriously delaying progress. When her brothers and sisters gave her advice, she suppressed, excluded, and pressured them for a long time, causing the group to feel constrained and unmotivated in their duties, yet I knew nothing about it, and thought she was doing well. God’s house arranged my duty as a leader, and not only did I fail to take responsibility, but when there were so many problems with church work, I was blind, couldn’t see them, and couldn’t solve them in time, which caused deep harm to church work and the life entry of my brothers and sisters. I was seriously derelict in my duties! Although I didn’t deliberately do evil like an antichrist to disturb the work of God’s house, my dereliction of duty also caused serious harm to the work of the church. I hated myself for being so ignorant, blind, and irresponsible, that I transgressed in God’s presence. I felt a deep sense of sadness and guilt, and I felt I owed God and my brothers and sisters.
Later, I reflected on myself. Why did I always consider my flesh and engage in trickery and deceit in my duty? Later, I saw a passage of God’s word that was very helpful to me. God’s words say, “What is Satan’s poison—how can it be expressed? For example, if you ask, ‘How should people live? What should people live for?’ people will answer, ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. Satan’s philosophy has become people’s lives. No matter what people pursue after, they do it for themselves—and so they live only for themselves. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’—this is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. These words have already become the nature of corrupt mankind, the true portrait of corrupt mankind’s satanic nature, and this satanic nature has already become the basis for corrupt mankind’s existence; for several thousand years, corrupt mankind has lived by this venom of Satan, right up to the present day. Everything that Satan does is for the sake of its own appetite, ambitions, and aims; it wishes to surpass God, to break free of God, and to seize control of all things created by God. Today, such is the extent that people have been corrupted by Satan: They all have satanic natures, they all try to deny and oppose God, they want to control their own fates and try to oppose the orchestrations and arrangements of God—their ambitions and appetites are exactly the same as Satan’s. Therefore, man’s nature is Satan’s nature” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter). I contemplated God’s word and finally realized that I was lazy, irresponsible in my duty, and lacked a conscience because the satanic rule “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” was rooted so deeply in me, that it became my nature. I always lived by it, I only considered my own fleshly interests in everything, and I became more and more selfish and despicable. Where anything made me worry or required me to suffer and pay a price, I tried trickery and deceit to avoid it, and did whatever allowed me to suffer the least. When I saw leadership duty required more worry and suffering, I wanted a single duty. When my workload increased, I wanted to worry less and pay less of a price, and I started to a hands-off approach to Sister Zhao’s work and ignored it. Later, when I saw her in a bad state, I didn’t want to resolve it. Even though God reminded me through Sister Wang that she wasn’t right for this duty, I used being busy with work as an excuse to put off investigating it until Sister Zhao’s problem became serious and she had to be dismissed. God exalted me with a church leader duty to give me a chance to practice, in the hope that I would accept His commission, take responsibility, supervise my brothers and sisters, so that they can fulfill their duty and satisfy God. But what did I do? Rather than trying to perform my duty well, I did nothing but crave comfort, and did whatever allowed me to worry and suffer less. I believed in God for years and enjoyed the watering of so much of God’s word, but when things happened, I was concerned with my comfort, not how to do my work well. I was selfish and despicable, and I disgusted God! I hated my lack of humanity and reason, and that I betrayed God’s good intentions. I prayed to God, “God, I was concerned for my flesh and ignored practical work, causing great harm to church work, but You didn’t treat me according to my transgressions. You gave me a chance to repent and reflect on myself. I wish to repent to You. In the future, no matter what my duty is, I don’t want to indulge my flesh and crave comfort. I want to be responsible and perform my duty in a down-to-earth manner.”
Later, I read two more passages of God’s word. (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Three: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Obeyed God (Part Two)). “No matter what important work a leader or worker does, and what the nature of this work is, their number one priority is to be au fait with how work is getting on. They must be there in person to follow up on things and ask questions, getting their information first-hand. They must not simply keep an ear to the ground, or listen to other people’s reports; instead, they must observe with their own eyes how staff are doing, how work is progressing, what difficulties there are, whether any areas are at odds with requirements of the Above, whether the specialist tasks have violated principles, whether there exist any disturbances or disruption, whether there is a lack of necessary equipment, or instructional materials for a certain task—they must stay on top of all of this. No matter how many reports they listen to, or how much they get from keeping their ear to the ground, neither of these beats paying a personal visit. Seeing things with their own eyes is more accurate and reliable; once they are familiar with the situation, they will have a good idea of what’s going on. Even more important is a clear and accurate grasp of who is of good caliber and worthy of cultivation, which is crucial if leaders and workers are to do their work properly. When leaders and workers also have a path for how to nurture and train people of good caliber, and know how to solve the various kinds of problems and difficulties that occur during work, have their own ideas and suggestions for how work is to progress, and how it will look in the future, and are able to speak with clarity about such things with their eyes closed, without any doubt or misgivings, then this work will be much easier to carry out. And by doing this, the leader will be living up to their responsibilities, will they not? Leaders and workers must take all of this into account, they must bear all of this in mind, they must be constantly thinking about these things in their head. When they encounter difficulties, they must go back to everyone to fellowship and discuss these things, searching for the truth in order to remedy the issue. If their work is thus grounded in reality, there will be no difficulties that cannot be solved” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Identifying False Leaders (4)). God’s word showed me the path to perform my duty, which is to be considerate of God’s will, be concerned for God’s desires, perform our own duties well, and not harm the interests of God’s house. Just like Noah, who was genuinely considerate of God’s will. When God told him to build the ark, he didn’t consider his own gains or losses, he only thought about how to build the ark quickly according to God’s requirements. Although I can’t compare to Noah, I wanted to imitate Noah, learn to be considerate of God’s will, and do my utmost to meet God’s requirements. I also understood that for leaders and workers to do practical work well, we must keep abreast of work, and when we find obstacles or interruptions in the work, we must fellowship and deal with them in time to ensure work progresses normally.says, “People with heart are able to be mindful of God’s will; those without heart are empty shells, buffoons, they do not know to be mindful of God’s will: ‘I don’t care how urgent this is for God, I’ll do what I want—in any case, I’m not being idle or lazy.’ Such people are not mindful of God’s will, nor do they understand how to be mindful of God’s will. In which case, are they possessed of true faith? Noah was mindful of God’s will, he had true faith. And so, it is not enough to do your best; in your heart, there must be true mindfulness—which is the conscience found in humanity, it is what people ought to have, and what was found in Noah. What do you say, to do such a thing at that time, how many years would it have taken to build the ark if Noah had dragged his heels, and had no sense of urgency, no angst, no efficiency? Could it have been finished in 100 years? (No.) It would have taken several generations of constant building. On the one hand, building a solid object like an ark would take years; what’s more, so would collecting and looking after all the living creatures. Was it easy to collect these creatures? It was not. And so, after hearing God’s instructions, and comprehending God’s urgent will, Noah sensed that this would be neither easy nor straightforward. He realized that he had to accomplish it, and complete this commission according to God’s intent, so that God would be satisfied and reassured, so that the next step of God’s work could proceed smoothly. Such was the heart of Noah. And what kind of heart was this? It was a heart that was mindful of God’s will”
Later, my leader put me in charge of gospel and watering work of several churches, and I thought, “I can’t let this be like last time. I can’t only care about fleshly comfort and not take responsibility for my duty. I need to stay down to earth and devote all my efforts to my duty.” After that, I focused on equipping myself with the truth of visions. If there were potential gospel targets, I actively testified God’s work of the last days to them. In the evenings, I searched and equipped myself with God’s word according to their religious notions. One day, as I was going to check the work of a church, I thought, “The leaders and gospel deacon of this church have believed in God for a long time. They have good caliber, and are competent and responsible. They can handle their work well, so I don’t need to follow up, which can save me some effort.” Once I had these thoughts, I realized I was using tricks and deceit again to find reasons not to supervise or follow up. Now, I was in charge of this church, so carrying out and supervising church work was my responsibility and duty. I could no longer make excuses to consider my flesh and put off my duty. With this in mind, I carefully checked the work of the church. I found problems in newcomer meetings and that watering staff weren’t doing their jobs well. The next day, I met the staff to fellowship on the truth and resolve their problems. Very soon, I heard newcomer meetings were normal, and that made me feel very safe and secure. I saw that leaders and workers in God’s house need to actually pay a price, and they need to follow up on and supervise work. This is the only way to find and resolve problems in time and perform the duty well. It is God’s salvation that I have this understanding and change today. Thanks be to Almighty God!