The Lessons I Learned From Being Dismissed

July 21, 2022

By Xiaowen, Spain

In 2018, I was in charge of video work. Sometimes several video tasks came at the same time, and needed to be assigned to the right people for production. Every time, I would quickly think about how to allocate the work, but when I told my partnered brothers and sisters about my allocation plan, they always offered supplements and improvements to my plan. Sometimes, they would point out where I was not thinking well, and I felt a little embarrassed when they had too many suggestions. The way they pointed out my problems always made me feel as if my work ability wasn’t very good. It made me wonder what others thought of me as a team leader. One of my two partners had outstanding work ability. The other had a lot of professional experience, and had believed in God for a long time. Both of them considered problems quite comprehensively. I always thought, “Even if I can see some problems and have some good ideas and suggestions, when it’s time for us to carry it out, everyone will think it is the result of the joint discussions between the three of us, and my contributions won’t be obvious. As time goes on, my brothers and sisters may feel that aside from making a few videos, as a team leader, I don’t offer much to the work done by the group.” The more I thought about it, the worse I felt, and I began to wonder, “If I can do the things my partners can’t take care of a little more, and a little better, then won’t my role be more obvious?” I knew my professional skills were fairly good in the group, and the brothers and sisters said I had good life entry, so if I spent a little more time resolving the states of my brothers and sisters, and shared a little more of my professional knowledge, then I thought my brothers and sisters would look up to me. So, regardless of whether they needed it or had problems, I always went to ask about their states and fellowship with them. I also often looked up technical information and summarized professional skills to share with them. Even when it delayed my video production work, I insisted on doing these things. I felt paying this price was worth it.

Because my intentions were wrong, I couldn’t handle things correctly. The effectiveness of my work declined sharply, and there were always problems. Once, I made a basic mistake that a novice might not even make, which made me feel very ashamed. I thought, “It’s ridiculous that I made such a basic mistake as a team leader. If I don’t do something to restore my image, how will I be able to go on as a team leader?” So, after that, to avoid being looked down upon, every time I received a task, I assigned it to my brothers and sisters in a hasty manner and then buried myself in my own work. I didn’t ask at all about the progress of work in the group, which led to several times where I delayed the assignment of tasks because I didn’t follow up on work in time. I was very numb at the time. When these things happened, I didn’t even think about reflecting on myself. Later, due to work requirements, my partners and I trained several new team members. I thought Sister Li, who I trained, had a stronger foundation than the others, and that if I could quickly cultivate her, I could prove that my ability to cultivate people was good. However, after a period of actual contact with her, I found that she had average caliber and progressed quite slowly. After that, I wasn’t as careful or thoughtful when I taught her. When she had questions, I muddled through the answer. Sometimes, when she didn’t understand my answers, it even felt like too much trouble to explain. After some time passed, she not only didn’t make progress, production tasks actually became more difficult. Later, my partner suggested that she train Sister Li with me, and I thought, “Now you’re just attacking my image. I’m a team leader. Do you think I need your help to cultivate Sister Li? That would make me look completely incapable, wouldn’t it?” But I also realized my training was ineffective, so I couldn’t outright deny her. All I could do was reluctantly agree. To save my image, I wanted to find other opportunities to prove myself. Once, another group had some professional difficulties and asked me for help. I thought, “This chance is hard to come by. If I can take care of this problem, the brothers and sisters will definitely look up to me, and my good reputation might spread to other groups too.” But once I actually looked into the situation, I found out it would take a lot of time and effort to deal with the problem. At the time, I already had plenty of problems within the scope of my own work that urgently needed solving, and the other group’s problem wasn’t all that urgent. I thought maybe I should put aside their problem for now. But I thought this was a good chance for me to restore my image, so I couldn’t miss it. Besides, my partners could handle work in our group. They could do without me this time. Thinking of this, with complete confidence, I went ahead.

I spent all my time thinking about how to make others look up to me, so I wasn’t attentive to the group’s work at all, which caused video production work to move very slowly. Also, because I allocated work unreasonably and there was a backlog of tasks, the effectiveness of work declined sharply. As one of the supervisors, I didn’t know how to resolve these problems, and my state grew worse and worse. Although I worked overtime every day to catch up on tasks, I still didn’t produce good results. My leader dealt with me after learning about it, saying I was pursuing fame and status in my duty and not resolving the specific problems in our work. After that, although I made some outward changes, I never genuinely tried to know myself, and when things happened, I always tried to protect my reputation and status first. Later, Sister Li was transferred because she couldn’t produce videos independently. Before she left, she wrote down her thoughts in the work summary, and mentioned that when I taught professional skills, she had many difficulties she couldn’t resolve, and that her professional skills only improved once Sister Liu started teaching her. When I read this, I was very angry. I thought, “If my leader and partners saw her say this, what would they think? Wouldn’t they think I can’t do anything?” As a means to protect my status and image, I went to my leader and partners to report on Sister Li’s problems, deliberately belittled her caliber, exaggerated how she muddled through her duties and often argued, and took pains to stress the deficiencies in her humanity. I was surprised when my leader said, “If that’s true, she might not be suitable for her current watering work.” When I heard that, I was shocked. I never imagined my words could lead to such a consequence. If Sister Li really lost her duty because of what I said, then I would be doing evil. I wanted to explain it to my leader, but I remembered I already had a bad image in everyone’s mind. If I was honest about this, then beyond just appearing useless in my work, others would think I had bad humanity. So, I said vaguely to the leader, “You should look into it.” Later, after investigating and verifying things, my leader discovered Sister Li’s problems weren’t as serious as I claimed and didn’t transfer her.

Meanwhile, because I stubbornly pursued fame and status and refused to change, based on my brothers’ and sisters’ evaluations of me, my leader said I was irresponsible in my duty, didn’t do practical work, and only did things to make myself look good, and dismissed me for these things. I couldn’t figure it out. I was so busy with my duty every day, and this was how things turned out. I thought that if my brothers and sisters found out the reason I was dismissed, they would definitely say I had bad humanity and I wasn’t someone who pursues the truth. How would I face everyone in the future? Thinking of this, I felt an inexpressible sadness, but I knew that no matter what, before anything else, I had to obey. I had taken this path, and I had no one but myself to blame. During that time, I wanted to reflect on my problems, so I prayed to God and asked Him to guide me in understanding my problems.

Later, I ate and drank some of God’s words and found a passage that described my state perfectly. Almighty God says, “Antichrists live each day only for reputation and status, they live only to revel in the trappings of status, this is all they think about. Even when they do occasionally suffer some minor hardship or pay some trivial price, this is for the sake of obtaining status and reputation. Pursuing status, holding power, and having an easy life are major things that antichrists always scheme for once they believe in God, and they don’t give up until they achieve their goals. If their evil deeds are ever exposed, they panic, as if the sky is about to fall on them. They can’t eat or sleep, and they seem to be in a trance, as if they are suffering from depression. When people ask them what was wrong, they make up lies and say, ‘Yesterday I was so busy that I didn’t sleep all night, so I’m very tired.’ But actually, none of this is true. They feel this way because they are constantly pondering, ‘The bad things I did have been exposed, so how can I restore my reputation and status?’ For a long time they can’t figure out what to do, and so they are depressed. Sometimes their eyes stare blankly at a single spot, and no one knows what they are looking at. The issue makes them rack their brains, exhaust every train of thought, and not want to eat or drink. Despite this, they still put on the appearance of caring about church work, and will ask people, ‘How is the gospel work going? How many people have you gained this month? Have the brothers and sisters gained any life entry recently? Has anyone been causing any disruptions or disturbances?’ Sometimes they will deliberately ask about church matters, but they are only putting on a show for others. What they are actually thinking is, ‘My evil deeds have been exposed, what should I do? What will the consequences be? How can I salvage this situation?’ There is nothing they can do, this is the biggest problem antichrists face in their entire lives. … Anywhere antichrists exist, no matter the scope of their influence, be it a group or a church, as long as they hold power, God’s work and God’s will are hindered there. Why can’t the work arrangements of God’s house be implemented? The fact that this occurs proves that antichrists never busy themselves with the work of God’s house, and they never implement the work arrangements of God’s house. So, what do antichrists do all day? They busy themselves with putting on performances and showing off. They only do things involving their own fame, interests, and status. They are busy deceiving others, drawing people in, consolidating their power to establish an independent kingdom. They only concern themselves with whether their endeavor to create an independent kingdom succeeds and whether they can gain total power and control more of God’s chosen people. They don’t care in the slightest about anything else. They don’t concern themselves with the work of the church, or the life entry of God’s chosen people, much less do they care about whether God’s will is carried out. They are only concerned with when they can independently hold power, control God’s chosen people, and stand on an equal footing with God. The desires and ambitions of antichrists are enormous indeed! No matter how hard-working antichrists appear to be, they are only busy with their own endeavors, doing what they like to do, and with things related to their own fame, interests, and status. They don’t even think about their responsibilities or the duty they should be performing, and they do nothing proper at all. This is exactly what antichrists are” (“Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Two)” in Exposing Antichrists). God’s word revealed that antichrists live only for fame and status and never do any practical work. Especially to stop others from discerning and seeing through them, they rack their brains to find ways to maintain their position, and they are happy to hinder the work of God’s house to do so. I reflected on my actions since becoming a team leader, and saw that I behaved the same as an antichrist. When I saw that my partners saw issues more comprehensively, and always pointed out the deficiencies in my work, I feared my brothers and sisters would think I had poor caliber and was incompetent in my work, so I tried to take every available opportunity to save my face. I spent time organizing information so that everyone could see I bore a burden and understood professional skills. I even put aside urgent problems in my group that needed to be solved and spent my time solving the problem for another group to show off. When I made a mistake in my video, I feared my brothers and sisters would say my skills were poor, so I put the work of the group aside and buried myself in my own production tasks, hoping to do the tasks well enough to prove that I had ability. I also used cultivating others as a chance to prove myself, and when I found out Sister Li wasn’t growing fast enough to show my own abilities, I became cold and perfunctory toward her, which made it impossible for her to master the skills. I only cared about pursuing reputation and status and did things that benefited me, not doing actual work. I caused delays and harm to the work of God’s house. Wasn’t my behavior exactly the same as an antichrist? Even after Sister Li was removed from her duty, I didn’t feel any guilt, and because she pointed out my shortcomings and deficiencies, to protect my reputation and status, I tried to justify and defend myself by belittling and judging her, almost causing her to lose her duty. At this moment, I finally realized my own nature was too vicious, selfish, and despicable! Thinking of all the harm I caused to the work of God’s house and to Sister Li, I felt especially miserable. These actions had tainted my path of belief in God! Later, I prayed to God to confess and repent.

One day, I read a passage of God’s word. “When God asks that people put aside status and prestige, it is not that He is depriving people of the right to choose; rather, it is because, while pursuing status and prestige, people harm the work of the church, they interrupt the brothers’ and sisters’ entry into life, and even have an influence on others eating and drinking God’s words normally and understanding the truth, and thus achieving God’s salvation. What’s even more serious is that, when people pursue their own prestige and status, such behavior and actions can be characterized as cooperating with Satan in harming and obstructing, to the utmost extent, the normal progress of God’s work, and stopping God’s will from being normally carried out among His chosen people. They are deliberately opposing and arguing the toss with God. This is the nature of people’s pursuit of status and prestige. The problem with people pursuing their own interests is that the goals they pursue are the goals of Satan—they are goals that are wicked and unjust. When people pursue personal interests such as prestige and status, they unwittingly become a tool of Satan, they become a channel for Satan, and, moreover, they become an embodiment of Satan. They play a negative role in the church; toward the work of the church, and toward the normal church life and normal pursuit of God’s chosen people, the effect they have is to disturb and impair; they have a negative effect” (“Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part One)” in Exposing Antichrists). After I read God’s word, I finally realized when I pursued status, protected my personal interests, and didn’t protect the work of God’s house at all, in essence, I was acting as Satan’s servant and disrupting the work of God’s house, which is something God hates and curses. I knew my work ability and professional skills weren’t as good as my partners. If I had been able to let go of my reputation, humbly learn from them, and cooperate harmoniously with them, I would have made some progress in my skills, and been able to understand some principles of truth. This would have been a good thing for me. But I didn’t recognize this opportunity. The title of “team leader” made me completely lose my head. I didn’t spend my time doing my actual duty or expend effort on my main work. Instead, I contrived ways to disguise myself and show off to make others admire me. I occupied the position of team leader without actually doing the work, and I hindered and delayed our progress. God hates and detests the things I did. My dismissal was God’s righteousness and God’s protection for me. Thinking of the harm I caused to the work of God’s house, I felt especially guilty. God had exalted me, but I had let Him down, and betrayed the trust of my brothers and sisters. I prayed to God, “God, my desire for status is too strong! Without this revelation, I don’t know how long I would remain numb. I would like to use this failure to reflect on myself.”

Later, as I sought the path of practice in this area, I read two passages of God’s words. “Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; do not consider the interests of man, and give no thought to your own pride, reputation, or status. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have been loyal, fulfilled your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of the church. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently and figure them out, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “If people only pursue status and prestige—if they only pursue their own interests—then they will never gain the truth and the life, and ultimately they will be the ones who suffer loss. God saves those who pursue the truth. If you do not accept the truth, and if you are incapable of reflecting upon and knowing your own corrupt disposition, then you will not truly repent, and will have no entry into life. Accepting the truth and knowing yourself is the path to your life’s growth and to salvation, it is the chance for you to come before God to accept God’s scrutiny and to accept the judgment and chastisement of God and gain the life and the truth. If you give up on pursuing the truth for the sake of pursuing status and prestige and your own interests, this is tantamount to giving up on the opportunity of receiving God’s judgment and chastisement and attaining salvation. You choose status and prestige and your own interests, but what you give up is the truth, and what you lose is the life, and the chance to be saved. Which means more? If you choose your own interests and forsake the truth, are you not stupid? To put it bluntly, this is a great loss for a small advantage. Prestige, status, money, and interest are all temporary, they are all ephemeral, whereas the truth and the life are eternal and immutable. If people resolve their corrupt disposition that causes them to pursue status and prestige, then they have hope of attaining salvation. Moreover, the truth people gain is eternal; Satan cannot take it away from them, nor can anyone else. You have relinquished your interests but what you have gained are the truth and salvation; these results belong to you. You gained them for yourself. If people choose to practice the truth, then even if they have lost their interests, they are gaining God’s salvation and eternal life. Those people are the smartest ones. If people benefit at the expense of the truth, then what they lose are life and God’s salvation; those people are the stupidest” (“Knowing One’s Disposition Is the Foundation of Changing It” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word made me understand that in our duty, we must forsake our incorrect intentions. Instead of our reputation and status, we must put the interests of God’s house first in everything. Only practice like this accords with God’s will, and this is what a person with conscience and reason should do. Recognizing this, I consciously forsook my flesh, no longer paid attention to reputation and status, and focused on my duty. Aside from completing my own production tasks, I also wrote down the frequent problems and deviations in my own and others’ work, and brought them to the team leaders and my brothers and sisters to discuss and find solutions. Practicing like this benefited everyone, and I was able to make progress in my professional skills. When I saw this result, I was very grateful to God. This was the result of everyone performing their duties with one heart and one mind. In the past, I always tried to protect my reputation and status. I always did things to improve my image and show off in my duty, I didn’t solve any practical problems, and all I left behind were transgressions. But once I stopped thinking about my reputation, and when I instead took the initiative to find the shortcomings and mistakes in the work, my brothers and sisters not only didn’t look down on me, they discussed and coordinated with me, and we found a better way to do our duty. Only then did I see how foolish I was to disguise myself and show off. If I had practiced this way earlier, I wouldn’t have hindered the work of God’s house.

Later, my leader arranged a part-time job for me to water newcomers. My leader said that because some newcomers had no foundation in their belief in God, they became passive, weak, and stopped attending gatherings when they faced difficulties or pastors disturbed them, and so they urgently needed support through watering. Although I knew this duty was very important, I was still a little reluctant. Mostly that it was a part-time job, so no matter how well I did, no one in our group would know. I thought I might as well spend more time on my own work. I could spend my spare time improving my professional techniques. If I became more effective in my main work, my brothers and sisters would look up to me. So, I didn’t want to work too hard on watering newcomers. But over the next few days, I felt that my state was a little off, so I opened up and fellowshiped with my brothers and sisters, and it was then I realized I was still pursuing reputation and status. Later, I read in God’s word, “Though most people say they happily pursue the truth, when it comes to putting it into practice or paying a price for it, some people just give up. This is betrayal in essence. The more crucial a moment is, the more you are needed to give up fleshly interests and cast aside vanity and pride; if you are unable to do so, you cannot gain the truth, and it shows that you are not obedient toward God. If the more crucial a moment is, the more able people are to submit and let go of their self-interests, vanity, and pride, and perform their duties properly, only then will they be remembered by God. Those are all good deeds! Irrespective of what duty people perform, or what they do, which is more important—their vanity and pride, or God’s glory? Which should people choose? (God’s glory.) Which are more important—your responsibilities, or your own interests? Fulfilling your responsibilities is what is most important, and you are duty-bound to them” (“Only to Gain the Truth Is Truly to Gain God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s word, I saw clearly that no matter whether I was looked up to, this was my duty, which meant it was my responsibility and a commission from God. I had to accept it and treat it sincerely. I couldn’t calculate for the sake of my reputation and status anymore. Personnel were needed to do watering work, and if I didn’t want to do this duty because it didn’t offer a chance to show off, that would be unconscionable and unreasonable. That evening, I heard a hymn of God’s word. The lyrics were, “God cherishes the love of every man. Toward all who love Him, His blessings are redoubled, for man’s love is so hard to come by, and there is so little of it” (“Are You Willing to Give God the Love in Your Heart?” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). At the time, I was very moved. The more the work of God’s house needs to be protected, the more I should fulfill my duty and responsibility. I couldn’t disappoint God again. Then, I went to the sister in charge of watering and said, “I am willing to accept this duty.” Although I had many deficiencies as I watered the newcomers and encountered many difficulties, when I set my motives right and relied on God, I saw God’s guidance and blessings, and it didn’t take long for some of the newcomers to be able to attend gatherings normally.

Soon, the church placed me in charge of another task. I thought, “This time, no matter how busy I am with my production tasks, I will keep track of the group’s progress and assign tasks in a timely manner.” I also went over our work with the brothers and sisters to resolve the difficulties in their work, and for things I didn’t understand, I found people with good skills to help us solve things. Slowly, my results significantly improved. I knew this was all thanks to God’s guidance and blessings. In the past, I only cared about reputation and status. Now I can let go of my pursuit of status, consciously protect the work of God’s house, and perform my duty in a down-to-earth manner. These are the results achieved by God’s work. Thanks be to God!

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