A Mistaken Report
By Xiaojie, Australia
For more than a year, God has fellowshiped on the truths of discerning false leaders. At meetings, I often fellowshiped on my own understanding and knowledge, but in real life, I couldn’t discern false leaders. When I saw the slightest manifestation of a leader not doing practical work, I blindly labeled and condemned them as a false leader, As a result, not only did I fail to protect the work of God’s house, I nearly caused a disruption to the work. Through what the facts revealed, I have learned some lessons from my failures that gave me some discernment of false leaders.
I did administrative work in the church. I was responsible for managing certain items and tools at the church. In the course of my duty, I found that brothers and sisters treated the tools inappropriately. This made management difficult. I went to the leader, Sister Li, and reported these issues to her. I also reminded that she could raise these issues with others, fellowship about them at meetings. Once she understood, she agreed to it. After that, I waited for Sister Li to come to the meeting, but after waiting for a long time, I never saw her at meetings and she never followed up on it, so I began to fix my gaze on the leader. I thought, “It’s been quite a long time. Why hasn’t she followed up on this work? I’ve told her about this problem more than once, but it hasn’t been resolved. God has been fellowshiping on the aspects of truth about discerning false leaders. If you don’t follow up and resolve problems, you are a false leader, and I have to report this issue to your superiors. That way, the leaders above you will feel that I have a sense of justice. They might even think highly of me!” At the time, I just thought about it. Later, the rental contract for our warehouse to store books of God’s word expired in just over a month, so the books needed to be moved to another place. Because there were so many books, and each box was heavy, it was hard for me to move them by myself, and took a long time. I was a little worried, so I asked the leader if she could find a few people to help. The leader always said she was looking for people, but for the longest time, no one came. Finally, two brothers came, helped me with one trip, and then left in a hurry. This situation made me very frustrated. I thought, “Why couldn’t the leader find more people? Why doesn’t she follow up on this work? Why doesn’t she come here and see how much work I have?” The more I thought, the angrier I got, and I didn’t want to report problems to the leader anymore, because it seemed pointless. During that time, I didn’t want to see the leader, and I didn’t want to talk to her when I saw her. I thought, “If you don’t want to find me people, don’t bother. I’ll finish by myself. At any rate, I remember everything you do. When the time comes, I’ll report this to your superiors.” I thought of another passage of God’s word about discerning false leaders. “False leaders also ignore problems that arise in church work. They never go on-site to find out more about, follow up on, or get to grips with what’s really going on, in order that they can immediately identify issues and solve problems and eradicate deviations and oversights arising during the work. Toward difficulties in church work, false leaders merely spout a little doctrine or parrot a few phrases to get them over with” (Identifying False Leaders). I thought, “My leader’s behavior is the same as God’s word describes. If she won’t investigate or resolve the problems in my work, isn’t she a false leader?” I also thought about this at the time. I saw the problem and didn’t communicate with her, I also didn’t ask those who understood the truth to verify it, so I couldn’t call her a false leader so rashly. I thought, “How about I seek more of the principles of truth in this area first, and discuss it with a few brothers and sisters who understand the truth before I decide?” But her behavior was just like God’s word described, so what else was there to say? I wasn’t sure if my view was right, and I didn’t want to wrongly accuse her, so I struggled with what to do. My mind was full of images of how my leader wasn’t resolving my problem. Just like that, I didn’t seek the truth anymore, didn’t consider the background of God’s word, and inaccurately understood God’s word. I used a single line, a single behavior, as an excuse to accuse Sister Li, and believed she was a false leader.
Afterwards, I heard sisters who did other administrative work say that Sister Li did not follow up their work very much, and sometimes their work was delayed. When I heard this, I felt even more certain, “Sister Li does no practical work and doesn’t monitor or investigate work, so doesn’t that reveal her as a false leader? Recently, we’ve fellowshiped on discerning false leaders at meetings. I can’t believe I found one. I need to have a sense of justice, uphold the work of God’s house, and expose the false leader.” But when I wanted to report these problems to Sister Li’s superiors, I felt uneasy. I still hadn’t discussed these issues with her, and I hadn’t sought or discussed it with those who understood the truth, so wasn’t this too blind and arbitrary? But this is when I heard that Sister Li’s superiors had come to talk to her, and also asked all the team leaders about her performance of her duty. When I heard that, I couldn’t calm myself. Unexpectedly, her superiors already knew there was a problem with Sister Li, so it was almost a certainty that she was a false leader. I thought, “I have to report Sister Li’s problems to her superiors right away. I don’t need to seek any more. Otherwise, after Sister Li’s superiors finish their investigation and dismiss her, and they discuss who had discernment of her, who discovered the problems with her, and who had a sense of justice and reported her, they would not mention my name, and then how could I show that I had discernment? I can’t wait any more.” I eagerly made an appointment with Sister Li’s superior, Brother Zhou, and I reported her problems to him. I said, “Sister Li, as a leader, doesn’t follow up on my work and doesn’t learn about the problems I had in my work. Every time I tell her about a problem, she doesn’t solve it.” I also showed him a passage of God’s word about discerning false leaders. I said the behaviors of false leaders revealed in God’s word were the same as hers, and that I thought she was a false leader. When I finished, he said, “We’ve already looked into it, and Sister Li does have some problems. There is some work she hasn’t properly monitored, and she muddles through her duty. She needs to be pruned, dealt with, and helped to reflect on herself and learn lessons. But we learned that for the past few months, Sister Li has mostly been overseeing watering work, because many newcomers have joined the church recently. Some religious pastors have been causing serious disturbances. These newcomers urgently need watering to put down roots in the true way. This is the most important and most critical work right now. Sister Li has been putting all of her energy into this work. Administrative work isn’t quite as urgent. As long as it doesn’t hinder things, it’s not a big problem if she’s a little slow following up for now. Because the work has come at the same time, and we are also short on staff, she has to prioritize, so she has to suspend administrative work for the moment. This is the reason why Sister Li hasn’t been following up on your work in time, but she only decided to practice like this after discussing it with her partners. Besides, Sister Li was in charge of a single job before. She is a new leader, and it’s hard for her to be responsible for so many jobs. There are some things she can’t follow up on, so she needs our help and communication.” At this point, Brother Zhou sent the related principles. Only then did I realize that sometimes work has to be prioritized. At the moment, watering work was the priority. They could do other work only as long as watering work wasn’t affected. If watering work was affected, wouldn’t that be sacrificing the important for the unimportant? Although Sister Li didn’t follow up on some work properly, she was prioritizing, not failing to do practical work. But I never tried to understand why she didn’t follow up on my work or why she didn’t resolve the problems I raised. Instead, I formed a prejudice against her, fixed my eyes on her, thought she didn’t do practical work, and directly characterized her as a false leader. Wasn’t I being too arbitrary? This was when Brother Zhou asked me, “If we dismissed Sister Li right now, could the church find someone to replace her right away? Could the work continue?” I thought about it and felt Sister Li was still suitable to continue as a leader. After my talk with Brother Zhou, I felt very sad. Originally, I thought I had a sense of justice, and I even found the related parts of God’s word. I thought I had reported Sister Li after seeking the truth. It turned out that I didn’t understand the truth, and had discerned wrongly. So, where was my mistake?
As I sought, I read a passage of God’s word. “The characterization of someone as a false leader or false worker must be based on sufficient facts. It must not be based on one or two incidents or transgressions, much less can temporary corruption be used as a basis for it. The only accurate standards by which to characterize someone are whether they can do practical work and use the truth to resolve problems, as well as whether they are a correct person, whether they are someone who loves the truth and can obey God, and whether they possess the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Someone can only be correctly characterized as a false leader or false worker based on these factors. These factors are the standards and principles for evaluating and determining whether someone is a false leader or false worker” (Identifying False Leaders). From God’s word, I understood that to discern a false leader, we mainly need to look at whether they can do practical work and whether they accept the truth. It wasn’t at all like I imagined, that leaders are required to resolve every single problem in my duty, and if they do, they are true leaders, but if they don’t, they are false leaders who don’t do practical work. This view is false and is not in line with the truth. To determine whether a leader is a false leader, what matters most is whether they can promptly oversee, understand, and grasp the progress and status of each task within the scope of their responsibility, whether they can promptly discover and investigate the problems, difficulties and deviations of the brothers and sisters in their duties, and whether they work with them to seek the principles of truth to resolve these issues. Based on these, we can judge whether a leader does practical work. Also, it depends on whether they can accept the truth and are the right person. If leaders have questions they don’t understand, they can seek upwards. When others make suggestions or point out their shortcomings, they must be able to obey, seek the truth, and reflect on themselves. When they experience pruning, dealing, setbacks, and failures, they must be able to learn lessons and change afterward. This means they are people who accept the truth. Also, when a leader is responsible for multiple tasks, they don’t need to do it all by themselves. They mainly play the role of checking up on each task, so the work of the church proceeds normally. Someone who does this is a qualified leader. False leaders outwardly appear to always be busy, but they only do superficial or unimportant work. They never do the most important work in time, they blindly run around and busy themselves, and they are inefficient. Because they don’t understand the principles of truth, they can’t discover or clearly see the problems in their work, and they don’t know how to plan or arrange things. They can only speak of letters and doctrines or empty words, which doesn’t offer paths of practice and doesn’t resolve the problems their brothers and sisters encounter in their duties. They also don’t seek the truth when in trouble, don’t accept the guidance and help of others, and in the end, many tasks do not proceed smoothly or even stagnate. This is serious dereliction of duty, and this is a false leader. I understood from God’s word that discerning whether someone is a false leader requires looking at multiple aspects and investigating thoroughly. If we only look at people’s temporary behavior or corruption, disregard the background, reason, and whether they repent and change, and arbitrarily characterize them, it’s all too easy to incorrectly accuse people. Everyone has corruption and shortcomings, but as long as they can know themselves, repent, and change, God’s house will give them opportunities to practice. After applying God’s word and principles to Sister Li’s behavior, I saw that she had been following up on the most important tasks, and when she had problems, she discussed things with others to solve them. Overall, she was indeed doing some practical work and producing results in her duty. It was just that the work had all come at the same time, and she hadn’t found balance yet, so some things fell through the cracks. This was a shortcoming in her duty, and she needed reminders and help. Once I realized these things, I finally saw that I didn’t understand the principles of truth and couldn’t treat people fairly. I saw my leader had problems, but didn’t communicate, failed to consider all aspects, and blindly characterized her as a false leader. I had no fear of God in my heart at all.
After that, I saw a passage of God’s word. “When someone is chosen to be a leader by the brothers and sisters, or is promoted by the house of God to do a certain piece of work or perform a certain duty, this does not mean that they have a special status or identity, or that the truths they understand are deeper and more numerous than those of other people—much less that this person is able to submit to God, and will not betray Him. It does not mean, either, that they know God, and are someone who fears God. They have attained none of this, in fact; the promotion and cultivation is merely promotion and cultivation in the most straightforward sense. Their promotion and cultivation simply means they have been promoted, and await cultivation. And the ultimate outcome of this cultivation depends on which path the person walks, and what they pursue. Thus, when someone in the church is promoted and cultivated to be a leader, they are merely promoted and cultivated in the straightforward sense; it does not mean that they are already a qualified leader, or a competent one, that they are already capable of undertaking the work of a leader, and can do real work—that is not the case. When someone is promoted and cultivated to be a leader, the very least they must possess is something most people do not see clearly. Some people, relying on their imaginings, look up to those promoted and cultivated, but this is a mistake. No matter how many years they may have believed, do those who are promoted really possess the reality of truth? Not necessarily. Are they able to bring to fruition the work arrangements of the house of God? Not necessarily. Do they have a sense of responsibility? Are they possessed of commitment? Are they able to submit to God? When they encounter an issue, are they able to search for the truth? All of this is unknown. Do these people have a heart that fears God? And just how great is their fear of God? Are they liable to follow their own will when they do things? Are they able to seek God? During the time that they perform the work of leaders, do they regularly and frequently come before God to search for the will of God? Are they able to guide people in entry into the reality of the truth? They are certainly incapable of such things right away. They haven’t received training and have too little experience, so they are incapable of these things. This is why promoting and cultivating someone doesn’t mean they already understand the truth, nor is it saying that they are already capable of performing their duty satisfactorily. So what is the aim and significance of promoting and cultivating someone? It is that such a person, as an individual, is promoted in order to be trained, to be specially watered and instructed, making them able to understand the principles of the truth, and the principles of doing different things, and the principles, means, and methods for solving various problems, as well as, when they encounter various types of environment and people, how to handle and settle with them in accordance with God’s will, and in a way that protects the interests of the house of God. Does this indicate that the talent promoted and cultivated by the house of God is adequately capable of undertaking their work and performing their duty during the promotion and cultivation period or prior to promotion and cultivation? Of course not. Thus, it is unavoidable that, during the cultivation period, these people will experience being dealt with, pruning, judgment and chastisement, exposure and even replacement; this is normal, and this is what it means to be trained and cultivated” (Identifying False Leaders). From God’s word, I understood that if someone is chosen as a leader or worker, it doesn’t mean they understand the truth and are fully qualified for the work. It also doesn’t mean they understand everything and can do every kind of work perfectly. Those who are promoted only have some caliber and work ability, and can accept and pursue the truth, so God’s house gives them a chance to be cultivated and trained. By constantly discovering and solving problems in their work, ultimately, they gain some truth and learn to act with principle. But during this period, leaders and workers are still at the stage of practice, so deviations, deficiencies, and shortcomings in their work are inevitable, and we should treat the matter correctly. When we have problems or difficulties, we should seek, fellowship, and solve things with leaders. Only in this way can work be effective. If we demand too much of leaders and workers, if we push all of the problems we find onto them to resolve, or if we define them as false leaders when they are slow to solve problems, treating leaders this way is unprincipled and not in line with God’s will. Through God’s word, I saw my treatment of leaders wasn’t based on principles of truth, but rather my own notions and imagination. My requirements for leaders were too high and demanding. When I saw my leader didn’t follow up on my duty properly and didn’t resolve my problems and difficulties quickly, I defined her as a false leader. I didn’t look at the background or the overall progress of her work, and I didn’t consider whether she could accept the truth or turn things around. I simply blindly condemned her as a false leader based on the one-sided information I could see. This wasn’t a sense of justice, it was a disturbance, and it violated the principles of truth. I saw that I didn’t understand the truth and didn’t treat leaders and workers with principles, and more seriously, I had no fear of God in my heart. When I saw the slightest problem with my leader, I made a big issue of it, carelessly condemned her, and seized on every issue. I didn’t treat her based on her nature and essence or the actual situation. My behavior was the same as how false leaders and antichrists suppress God’s chosen people. Thinking of this, fear suddenly gripped me. I realized that the nature of the problem was serious. If Brother Zhou hadn’t known the situation, and had listened to me and dismissed Sister Li, church work would have been affected, so wouldn’t I have been doing evil? That would have been a major transgression! If something like this happened to me again, I couldn’t rely on my imagination to evaluate others. I had to seek the principles of truth more, treat people fairly according to God’s requirements, and do things in a principled manner.
Afterwards, Sister Li came to me, and talked to me about her recent state and work problems. She said she wanted to change, and she learned about the problems and difficulties in my work, and organized documents with me to fellowship with the brothers and sisters on each team. I realized she wasn’t someone who didn’t accept the truth. Although there were oversights in her work and areas she didn’t follow up, once she knew there was a problem, she could change things quickly. I saw that she actually wasn’t a false leader who didn’t do practical work.
At first, I thought I had some understanding of this issue, that I didn’t understand the truth and couldn’t discern false leaders, which caused me to make this mistake. But once, at a meeting, I heard my brothers and sisters say that sometimes mistakes aren’t simply a lack of discernment or lack of understanding of the truth. We also have to look at whether mistakes are caused by adulteration from motives or corrupt dispositions. I read a passage of God’s word that says, “Do not regard your transgressions as the mere mistakes of an immature or foolish person; do not use the excuse that you did not practice the truth because your poor caliber had made it impossible to do so. Moreover, do not simply regard the transgressions you have committed as the acts of someone who did not know any better. If you are good at forgiving yourself and treating yourself with generosity, then I say you are a coward who will never gain the truth, nor will your transgressions ever cease to haunt you; they will keep you from ever meeting the demands of the truth, and cause you to forever remain a loyal companion of Satan” (“Transgressions Will Lead Man to Hell” in). After reading God’s word, I understood, when environments come, we can’t just simply let them pass us by. We need to seek truth in them and come to know our own corrupt dispositions. Only then can there be genuine change and growth in our life. If you always treat your transgressions as temporary mistakes, feel they don’t matter, decide to pay more attention next time, and always forgive your own transgressions, then you will never understand your own problems, you will never gain the truth, and finally, as your transgressions mount and you achieve no change at all, God will detest you and cast out you. Through what God’s word revealed, I began to reflect on precisely what my thoughts were when this environment came upon me and which adulteration by motives or corrupt dispositions I exposed. Through reflection I found that when I saw the leader’s problems, I wasn’t actually sure if I saw things correctly, and I wanted to read more of God’s word. But when I heard that Sister Li didn’t follow up the work of other administrative staff, and that her superiors were looking into Sister Li’s performance, I believed she was definitely a false leader, and I had to quickly report to Sister Li’s superiors to let my brothers and sisters see that I had a sense of justice and discernment. So, without understanding the principles of truth or continuing to seek, and without knowing the background or reasons, I blindly characterized Sister Li as a false leader based on a bit of information I heard. I even thought I saw things accurately and that there shouldn’t be any problems. But now, I realized I was too reckless, and that my intentions were wrong. I reflected, “Why did I report my leader without understanding the principles of truth? What is the source of the problem?”
I read this in God’s word, “If, no matter what they do, people follow their own ideas, and consider things in highly simplistic terms, and do as they please, and do not seek the truth, either, if there is a total absence of principle, and in their hearts they give no thought to how to act according to what God asks, or in a way that satisfies God, and they know only to mulishly follow their own will, then God has no place in such people’s hearts. Some people say, ‘I only pray to God when I encounter difficulty, but still it doesn’t feel like this has any effect—so generally when things happen to me now I don’t pray to God, because praying to God is of no use.’ God is utterly absent from the hearts of such people. Most of the time, they do not seek the truth no matter what they are doing; they only follow their own ideas, doing as they please. So are there principles to their actions? Definitely not. They see everything in simple terms and do as they please. Even when people fellowship the principles of the truth to them, they are not able to accept them, because there have never been any principles to their actions, and God has no place in their hearts; there is no one but them in their hearts. They feel their intentions are good, that they are not committing evil, that they cannot be considered in violation of the truth, they think that acting according to their own intentions should be practicing the truth, that acting thus is obeying God. In fact, they are not truly seeking or praying to God in this matter, they have not tried their best in following what God asks in order to satisfy God, they do not have this true state, this wish. This is the greatest mistake in people’s practice. If you believe in God yet He is not in your heart, are you not trying to deceive God? And what effect can such faith in God have? Just what can you gain? And what is the point of such faith in God?” (“Seeking God’s Will Is for the Sake of Practicing the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Through what God’s word revealed, I saw that when things happened, I rarely sought the truth and practiced according to its principles. Instead, I considered my own thoughts as the truth and followed my own ideas. In my heart, I had neither a place for God nor fear of God. Those who fear God, when things happen, first seek the principles of truth and what God’s word says on these matters, and then view people and things based on God’s word and the truth. In my lack of discernment of false leaders, I should have sought the truth, clearly understood what false leaders are, their manifestations, how to determine false leaders, and other such principles of truth. But I didn’t do that. I judged arbitrarily based on my own thoughts and imagination. I thought not following up on my work and not solving my problems made her a false leader. Although I read God’s word during this period, I didn’t understand it. When I saw a line of God’s word about false leader that seemed to apply, I applied it, concluded that she was a false leader, and thought I saw things very correctly and accurately. Actually, I was taking things out of context and blindly applying rules. And throughout this process, I felt uneasy. I wanted to seek more and communicate with Sister Li before I reported, but I felt Sister Li’s behavior was already so obvious, and matched what God’s word described, so why bother seeking more? So, I didn’t pray or seek further, I simply acted on my own ideas. I saw that I acted from my arrogant disposition and behaved recklessly. I did things based on my own ideas and thoughts while I put the truth to the side. If I continued like this, sooner or later, I would commit evil. This was too dangerous! At the same time, I saw that I had bad humanity. I wasn’t considerate of God’s will and I didn’t really safeguard the church’s interests. Someone with humanity and reason should offer timely help and reminders when they see oversights in church work, or seek the truth with the leader and see how to resolve the problem. But when I saw problems in my leader’s work, I didn’t raise them to seek and fellowship. Instead, I hid them, and reported them to the leader above her so that her superior would think I had discernment. Rather than say these things openly to Sister Li, I stabbed her in the back, and used reporting her problems to show off. I saw that at heart, I was malicious and despicable. This realization was heart-wrenching. I never imagined I was this kind of person. I clearly didn’t understand the truth, couldn’t discern false leaders, and was so arrogant and unreasonable. I was delighted with myself when I reported my leader because I felt no one but me had discerned that Sister Li was a false leader and that I understood the principles of truth best. Thinking about it now, I realized I didn’t understand anything. All I understood was letters and doctrines, yet I blindly applied rules. I didn’t understand the principles of truth, yet I reported without considering the consequences. I didn’t consider whether a mistaken report would affect the work of the church or harm Sister Li. I saw that I didn’t report her problems to be considerate of God’s will or to safeguard the interests of the church, I did so to show off. I arbitrarily reporting without principle. Wasn’t this disturbing the normal work of God’s house? I wasn’t accruing good deeds, I was doing evil!
Later, I read God’s word and learned the principles by which to treat leaders and workers.says, “People must not have high expectations or unrealistic demands of those who are promoted and cultivated; that would be unreasonable, and unfair on them. You can monitor their work, and if you discover problems or things that violate principles in the course of their work, you can raise the issue and seek the truth to resolve these matters. What you should not do is judge, condemn, attack, or exclude them, because they are in the cultivation period, and should not be viewed as people who have been made perfect, much less as people who are perfect, or as people who are possessed of the reality of the truth. They are like you: This is the time when they are being trained. … So what is the most rational way to act toward them? To think of them as ordinary people and, when there is a problem that needs to be searched, to fellowship with them and learn from each other’s strengths and complement each other. In addition, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep an eye on whether leaders and workers are doing real work, whether they use the truth to solve problems; these are the standards and principles for measuring whether a leader or worker is up to par. If they are capable of dealing with and solving general problems, then they are competent. But if they can’t even handle and fix ordinary problems, they are not fit to be a leader or worker, and must be quickly dismissed. Choose someone else, and do not delay the work of the house of God. Delaying the work of the house of God is hurting yourself and others, it is good for no one” (Identifying False Leaders). After reading God’s word, I understood how to treat leaders and workers. The leaders promoted by God’s house do not fully understand the truth, are not perfectly qualified, and don’t understand all of the work or know how to do it well. They are also in a period of practice, and they can also show corruption and deviation. We should treat people fairly and not demand too much from them, not unreasonably ask them to do all the work perfectly and show no deviations or oversights. Instead, we must understand, be tolerant, and cooperate to do the work of God’s house. This is to be considerate of God’s will, and treating leaders and workers in this way is in line with principles. Also, we have a responsibility to monitor the work of leaders. We should accept and obey when our leaders’ actions accord with the truth, but when their actions do not conform to the principles of truth, we should raise the issue, fellowship, and help them in a timely manner, so that they can realize their deviations in their duties and correct them quickly. This is beneficial to their life entry and to the work of God’s house. If someone is determined to be a false leader who does no practical work by the principles of truth, then they should be exposed and reported. When I realized this, my heart felt brightened, and I knew how to treat leaders and workers in the future.
Although my reporting of my leader this time was wrong, I came to understand some principles of the truth about discerning false leaders, I learned how I should treat leaders and workers, I gained some understanding of my own corrupt disposition, and learned some lessons. Thanks be to God!