An Awakening After Being Dealt With

October 17, 2022

By Liang Xin, China

In late 2020, I took on responsibility for watering newcomers in the church. There weren’t very many of them at first, so whatever problems they faced, I’d do my best to help resolve them as long as they came to talk to me. When I really couldn’t resolve something, I’d seek out the leader. I was worried that if new believers weren’t watered well, they wouldn’t stand strong. Later on, the number of new members kept growing and growing, so the leader assigned two other sisters to work with me, and we were each assigned certain new believers to water. A few times, some newcomers came to talk to me about some problems. I saw they were within the scope of the other sisters’ responsibilities, and I thought that my time was limited, so if I helped them, wouldn’t that hinder my watering of the new believers I was responsible for? Since those sisters were responsible for them, they should take on their issues. It wasn’t my problem. So, I didn’t share fellowship with those newcomers. When I did share fellowship it was perfunctory, just going through the motions. I learned a few days later that some of them hadn’t attended gatherings for a whole week because they weren’t added to a group, and some weren’t attending gatherings because their notions hadn’t been resolved through fellowship. I was kind of upset to hear that. I realized that was because I’d been irresponsible and hadn’t cared about them, but I didn’t self-reflect or try to understand my problem. Before long, some new believers that the two sisters were responsible for were feeling down because of some difficulties in their lives, and stopped attending gatherings. Since I knew them a little better, the leader asked me to help them out. I didn’t really want to. The other sisters were responsible for those new believers now, and if I spent my time supporting them, that would impact my work results. The more I thought about it, the more I felt I was at a disadvantage, and I found excuses to refuse. I said I was too busy to take on the watering of any additional newcomers.

Later, the leader checked up on our work progress and asked us why some newcomers hadn’t been added to the groups and lots of them weren’t attending gatherings. She wanted to know the reason. I said confidently, “I’ve spoken with the other sisters about this but they haven’t handled it in a timely manner.” The leader then asked me, “Is it entirely their responsibility, and it has nothing to do with you?” I was still justifying things to myself: I didn’t do anything wrong—I handled all of my responsibilities, and I’d handed over those new believers to the two sisters. It wasn’t within my scope of responsibilities. It was perfectly reasonable of me to not pay them any mind. The leader criticized me for being selfish and only attending to my own work in my duty. There were issues with the other sisters’ work, but I didn’t take care of it when I noticed, which led to lots of new believers not attending gatherings. That was irresponsible. She had me temporarily halt my duty to reflect on my personal problems. I was just stunned at the time. In the moment I just couldn’t accept that fact. Was I really solely responsible for some newcomers failing to attend gatherings? The other sisters were responsible for watering them at the time. I shouldn’t be the one held responsible for it. I was miserable without a duty to do, and I couldn’t hold my tears back. For a few days, I was miserable, as if a knife had been stabbed into my heart. I kept praying, calling out to God, reflecting on myself.

In my seeking, I read this passage of God’s words: “Regardless of what you are thinking, you are not practicing the truth, you have no loyalty, and your own personal considerations are always involved, and you always have your own thoughts and ideas. God watches these things, God knows—did you think God does not know? You are so stupid. And if you do not immediately repent, you will lose God’s work. Why will you lose it? Because God surveys people’s innermost being. He sees, with absolute clarity, all the schemes and trickery they have, and He knows that their heart is walled off from Him, that they are not of one heart with Him. What are the main things that keep their heart from God? Their thoughts, their interests and pride, and their own little schemes. When there are things in people’s hearts that separate them from God, and they are constantly preoccupied with these things, always scheming, this is trouble. If you are of poor caliber and scant experience, but are willing to pursue the truth, and are always of one heart with God, if you can give your all to what God entrusts of you, without getting up to petty tricks, then God will see this. If your heart is always walled off from God, if you always harbor petty schemes, always live for your own interests and pride, are always calculating these things in your heart, are possessed by them, then God will not be pleased with you, and He will not enlighten, illuminate, or acknowledge you, and your heart will grow ever darker, which means that when you perform your duty or do anything, you will make a mess of it, and it will be next to useless. That is because you are so selfish and vile, and always scheming for your own sake, and not sincere toward God, it is because you dare to be crafty and try to deceive God, and not only do not accept the truth, but are slippery in performing your duty—which is not truly expending for God. When you do not put your heart into performing your duty, and merely make some token effort, using this as an opportunity to get more benefits, to finagle status and reputation for yourself, and if you do not accept and obey when you are pruned and dealt with, it is highly likely that you will offend God’s disposition. God looks upon man’s innermost being: If you do not repent, you will be in danger, and will likely be cast out by God, in which case you will never again have the chance to receive God’s approval” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is Most Important in Believing in God Is Putting the Truth Into Practice). God’s words revealed my true state. In my duty, I was being calculating with God, totally scheming for my own interests. I was perfectly happy to work on whatever would benefit me, but otherwise, I paid it no mind. I really focused on the new believers I was responsible for watering, afraid they’d drop out if I didn’t water them well, but I paid no mind to the ones I wasn’t responsible for. I thought that since they’d been handed off to the other sisters, if they weren’t watered well and had problems, it had nothing to do with me, so I didn’t need to take responsibility for it, and my interests wouldn’t be impacted. So when those new believers sought me out to talk about their problems, seeing they weren’t within my purview, I didn’t want to fellowship with them. When I did give them a bit of help, I just went through the motions. The leader saw they weren’t attending gatherings normally and she asked me to support them, but I found excuses not to do that. I wasn’t thinking about how to water the newcomers well so they could set down roots on the true way as soon as possible. I was just thinking about my own interests, not considering God’s will at all. I was so selfish and vile! I very clearly delineated the boundaries of our jobs, of our responsibilities. I thought it was perfectly reasonable for me to disregard anything outside of my responsibilities, and any issues had nothing to do with me. I was just like an unbeliever working for a boss, as if I was paid based on the work I did. I just thought of my own interests and didn’t want to do anything more. I wasn’t willing to put in the slightest extra effort. How was that doing my duty? I was just a service-doer. That attitude of mine was really disgusting to God. Some newcomers couldn’t find a gathering group and seemed so anxious, just like little kids who had lost their way. They sought me out, and I should have helped them find a group to join, and shared fellowship with them on their issues. Instead, I was selfishly busy with my own tasks and disregarded them, so those newcomers didn’t attend gatherings. This thought left me full of regret and self-blame, and I felt like I had no humanity. Being pruned and dealt with and having my duty halted was God’s righteousness.

I saw a testimonial video later that quoted a passage of God’s words that helped me understand myself. “Antichrists have no conscience, sense, or humanity. Not only do they lack any shame, but they have another hallmark, too: They are uncommonly selfish and vile. The literal sense of their ‘selfishness and vileness’ is not hard to grasp: They are blind to anything but their own interests. Anything concerning their own interests gets their full attention, and they will suffer for it, pay a price, engross themselves in it, devote themselves to it. Anything not related to their own interests they will turn a blind eye to and take no notice of; others can do as they please—they don’t care if anyone is being divisive or disruptive, and to them, this has nothing to do with them. Put tactfully, they mind their own business. But it is more accurate to say that this kind of person is vile, sordid, wretched; we define them as ‘selfish and vile.’ … Regardless of what work they undertake, the kind of person who is an antichrist never gives any thought to the interests of the house of God. They only consider whether their own interests will be affected, only think about the little bit of work in front of them that benefits them. For them, the primary work of the church is just something they do in their spare time. They don’t take it seriously at all. They simply make a perfunctory effort, only do what they like to do, and only do the work of maintaining their own position and power. In their eyes, any work arranged by God’s house, the work of spreading the gospel, and the life entry of God’s chosen people are not important. No matter what difficulties other people have in their work, what issues they have identified and reported to them, how sincere their words are, the antichrists pay no heed, they do not get involved, it’s as if this has nothing to do with them. They are utterly indifferent to the affairs of the church, no matter how major these affairs are. Even when the problem is right in front of them, they only address it perfunctorily. Only when they are directly dealt with by the Above and ordered to sort out a problem will they grudgingly do a little real work and give the Above something to see; soon after, they will continue with their own business. Toward the work of the church, toward the important things of the wider context, they are disinterested, oblivious. They even ignore the problems they discover, and they give perfunctory answers or use their words to brush you off when asked about problems, only addressing them with great reluctance. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Four (Part One)). This passage of God’s words went straight to the heart for me. I was acting just like an antichrist, so selfish and vile, only thinking of my own interests in everything I did. When a newcomer wasn’t coming to gatherings, if it impacted my own results, no matter what price I had to pay, how hard I had to work, I was happy to water and support them, and I never got worn out. But when I saw new believers the other sisters were responsible for couldn’t find a gathering group, I could have resolved that by lifting a finger, but I didn’t. I realized I was deeply corrupted by Satan, and “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Let every man skin his own skunk,” and “Never lift a finger without a reward” were satanic poisons I lived by. I was selfish, vile, and really calculating. Those new believers had just accepted God’s work of the last days and were facing all sorts of temptations. They didn’t have anyone to support them and didn’t have gatherings to attend. They could be taken by Satan at any time. So, watering newcomers well is important work for God’s house. It’s not easy for anyone to come before God. We don’t know how much God expends just to save one person. Someone who has a conscience and humanity feels worried when they see newcomers aren’t attending gatherings. They think about how to support them along with others, with one heart and mind, so they can understand the truth and put down roots on the true way as quickly as possible. But I put my own interests above all else, and I didn’t care about newcomers not attending gatherings normally. I wasn’t willing to make the slightest time to help them. How was I showing any consideration for God’s will? I was criticized but still didn’t know myself, and brashly shirked my responsibilities. Then I realized I had no conscience, I was really cold and heartless. I thought I was being smart by just managing my own area of responsibility, and ensuring my own results, that I wouldn’t be dismissed. I was so absurd. God looks at someone’s intentions in their actions, if they’re truly expending themselves for God, if they’re upholding the church’s work and thinking of God’s will, not just looking at their superficial results. If you always uphold personal interests in your duty, even if you can suffer and pay a price, if your corrupt disposition isn’t changed, you’ll be revealed and cast out by God in the end. I didn’t understand God’s will or God’s disposition. To protect myself, I played tricks, and only cared about my own work, holding up and hurting these new believers. My little calculations and vile intentions couldn’t escape God’s scrutiny. Ultimately, I didn’t protect myself, but I was exposed and dismissed. God’s righteous disposition was coming upon me—I was reaping what I sowed. I was filled with remorse, and hated myself for being so selfish. I prayed to God, “Almighty God, I only think of my personal interests in my actions, which has led to new believers not attending gatherings. I don’t have any humanity at all and I deserve punishment. Being dismissed was Your righteousness and even more, Your love. I want to repent to You, and support and help these new believers so they can live a life of the church as soon as possible.”

After that, I worked with the two sisters to support the newcomers who weren’t attending gatherings. We learned that some new believers were having difficulties in their lives, and we helped them with fellowship on God’s words. They started doing a lot better and wanted to participate in church life. Helped and supported by fellowship, some other newcomers wanted to attend gatherings again. I was really happy. I also told the sisters I was working with that whenever a new believer didn’t attend gatherings normally or fell out of touch, they should tell me right away so I could water and support them. Putting this into practice left me more at peace. After a few days, the leader said I could take charge of watering new believers again. I couldn’t hold my tears back when I heard the news. I’d been so irresponsible toward the brothers and sisters, so selfish, but the church gave me another chance to take on that duty. I gave God heartfelt thanks for His mercy!

I read this in God’s words later on: “When you discover a problem, see first whether you can resolve it yourself. If you can, take the thing on and see it through to the end. Finish it; fulfill your responsibility well, such that you can give account of it before God. This is what it is to perform one’s duty, act and comport oneself with one’s feet on firm ground. If you cannot resolve the problem, then report it to a leader and see who would be right for the job. You must first fulfill your own responsibility. In doing so, you will be keeping to your duty and occupying the correct position. If, having found a problem, you cannot resolve it but do report it to a leader, you will have fulfilled your first responsibility. If you feel the matter is a duty you should perform and that you are up to it, you should then seek the help of your brothers and sisters. Begin by fellowshiping about the principles and determining its solution, then cooperate in harmony with them to do the thing to completion. This is your second responsibility. If you can take both of these responsibilities on, then you are satisfactory as a created being, and you will be doing your duty well. Man’s duty is no more than these two things. If you can take on everything you see and can handle, and do your duty well, you will be aligned with God’s will” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Four). God’s words are very clear. In God’s house, though everyone has a different duty and our responsibilities are divided, there are different jobs, but one family. Something may not be within your scope of responsibilities, but if you see a problem, do what you should do. Think of how to work with the brothers and sisters so the church’s work isn’t impacted. If you can’t resolve something by yourself, cooperate with other brothers and sisters or tell a leader about it to uphold the church’s work and do your duty. If you see an issue but stand by idly, paying it no mind, you’re just an employee, a service-doer, not a member of God’s family. When I realized that, I said a prayer to God in my heart, ready to solidly do my duty in line with God’s requirements.

I remember once, there was a new believer who had attended gatherings properly before, then stopped coming—we didn’t know why. We just couldn’t contact her. Then one evening, she sent me a message out of the blue, asking how I was. I was thinking getting in touch with her was so hard, I had to take this opportunity to have a good chat with her, see if she’d run into any problems. But then I thought I was busy preparing content for a gathering and I had limited time. If I spent my time supporting her, that could hold up my own work. I thought about getting someone else to talk with her, and anyway, I wasn’t responsible for her. Then I could have the peace of mind to do what I needed to. At this thought, I realized shirking that was being selfish and irresponsible again. This sister made the effort to reach out to me, so I should use the opportunity to help and support her. So, I gave her a video call. In our chat, I found out that her husband was opposed to her attending gatherings. She was feeling constrained and her state was impacted, so she stopped going to gatherings. I found some words of God to send her that addressed her state and I fellowshiped with her on God’s will. I also encouraged her to lean on God to get through the situation. Reading God’s words put a smile on her face, and she expressed confidence to get through this. She also said those words of God were just what she needed and ended up expressing a desire to rejoin gatherings. When she said that, I felt happy but also felt self-reproach. The self-reproach was because I’d just considered my own interests. I’d nearly shirked my responsibility and disregarded her. The happiness was because I’d just done the bare minimum I should do, sharing God’s words with her. It was God’s words that had given that sister confidence, giving her a path of practice to be freed from her husband’s strictures. I’d finally put the truth into practice—I felt some internal peace. I had a much better attitude when I ran into similar situations after that. I stopped calculating my own gains and losses, and put my all into it as long as I was capable. Being dealt with is a good chance for us to enter into life. It was thanks to being dealt with and eating and drinking God’s words that I learned a bit about myself and started fulfilling my responsibilities. Thank God!

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