What’s Hidden Behind Failing to Speak Up

November 30, 2022

By Song Yu, Netherlands

In 2021, Katie was elected as a leader, and we supervised the church’s work together. After some time, I found that Katie liked doing things on her own. Outside of the time she was busy with the textual work, which was her main responsibility, she rarely discussed or communicated about work with the rest of us, so there was hardly any cooperation between us. She didn’t participate in projects that upper leadership assigned for us to do together. She’d just send us a message asking us to do them. Later, I discovered there were problems in the textual work she was in charge of that she wasn’t following up on in time. My partner Joyce and I went to fellowship with Katie, and we told her that being a leader means following up on and participating in all projects throughout the church. She replied that she wasn’t familiar with the church’s projects, and she didn’t understand the principles of the work or how to follow up. She said that we could just take care of those things, that she was already very busy with textual work and couldn’t find extra time or energy.

Once, Katie received a letter reporting a church leader and gospel deacon for not following the principles in their duties. Katie just sent the letter to upper leadership, who asked the two of us to work together to handle the issue. But after that, Katie had me join a group chat, and told the brother and sister that wrote the letter to report any issues directly to me. Then she messaged me to say that she didn’t have time for these things, so she hadn’t read the contents of the letter but had just handed it over to the upper leadership. She wanted me to look into and handle it. After reading Katie’s message, I felt like something was off. The upper leadership had just asked us to handle the problem together. How could she just turn around and saddle me with these problems and then just forget about it? That’s not the attitude leaders and workers should have toward their work. When Joyce and I had recently spoken to her about how to resolve issues in church work, she said she was busy, didn’t understand it, and couldn’t do it. Now, upper leadership specifically asked the two of us to handle this report together, and she’d just given the same excuse. She had already been a leader for several months, but she wasn’t taking any part in following up on work or resolving problems. She was behaving like a false leader that doesn’t do practical work. God has communicated the responsibilities of leaders in great detail and has been so specific in His fellowship on how they should carry out their work. Even if she had just started practicing as a leader, going by God’s word, there were still things she could be doing. Even if she didn’t understand the job or the principles, she could have at least followed up on how the work was going. But Katie always made excuses of being busy, incapable, or ignorant. She didn’t act according to God’s word, and even when she was given pointers, she wouldn’t listen. She didn’t have an attitude of accepting the truth. I wondered if I should report her behavior to upper leadership. I was mulling over this issue nonstop for a while, and a few times I wanted to tell the upper leadership. But then I thought about one time before, when Katie reported a leader’s issue. Without a full understanding of the background of the matter, I just assumed she was casually judging the leader, so I harshly dissected and exposed her. Later, when the upper leadership learned of this, they dealt with me for being unfair, judgmental, and oppressing people, and they even exposed and dissected my behavior in a gathering. If I reported her to the upper leadership, would they think that I was oppressing and excluding her, and trying to find something against her? I couldn’t give upper leadership that kind of impression. If I were dismissed over this letter, wouldn’t the risks outweigh the rewards? So, I decided I wouldn’t mention her issues for the time being.

In June of this year, because the gospel work of Katie’s church was going poorly, upper leadership asked Brother Jerry to take charge of the gospel work. There were some reassignments of staff, and Jerry and several gospel work supervisors discussed and made some arrangements based on the principles, without getting Katie’s approval. After Katie learned of this, she felt that Jerry didn’t take her seriously and was judgmental of him behind his back. She said that Jerry was like an antichrist who wanted his own little kingdom, and even if he wasn’t an antichrist, he was a false leader that didn’t do practical work. Katie was undermining the relationships between the brothers and sisters, and supervisors. She incited some co-workers and supervisors to engage in jealous infighting, making it difficult for the gospel work to be carried out there. She also arranged for a sister to participate in gospel work just so she could scout out how Jerry’s work was going, to gain leverage over him and wait for a chance at revenge. Later, she leapt on some minor issues in Jerry’s duties, blowing things out of proportion, and convinced a sister to report Jerry to the upper leadership. She was attempting to use the upper leadership to thoroughly crush Jerry. I was shocked to learn of this. Katie was stopping at nothing to attack and ostracize co-workers for her own reputation and status. She wanted to take down the brothers and sisters responsible for the church’s main work. She wasn’t protecting the work of the church at all. It’s just as God’s word reveals: “Antichrists’ public suppression of people, exclusion of people, attacks against people, and exposure of people’s problems is all targeted. Without a doubt, they use means such as these to target those who pursue the truth and can discern the antichrists, with the goal of defeating them, thereby strengthening their own position. Attacking and excluding people like this is malicious in quality. There is aggression in their language and manner of speech: exposure, condemnation, slander, and evil calumny. They even twist facts, speaking of positive things as though they were negative and negative as though they were positive. Reversing black and white and mixing up right and wrong like this accomplishes antichrists’ goal of defeating people and ruining their name. What mindset is giving rise to this attack and exclusion of dissenters? Most of the time, it comes from a jealous mindset. In a vicious disposition, jealousy carries strong hatred with it; and as a result of their jealousy, antichrists attack and exclude people. In a situation such as this, if antichrists are exposed, reported, and lose their status, their mind will suffer an attack; they will not submit nor be happy about it, which makes it even easier to create a strong mindset of revenge. Revenge is a type of mindset, and it is also a type of corrupt disposition. When antichrists see that what someone did was damaging to them, that others are more capable than them, or that someone’s statements and suggestions are better or more lofty than theirs, and everyone agrees with that person’s statements and suggestions, the antichrists feel their position is threatened, jealousy and hatred arise in their hearts, and they attack and take revenge. When taking revenge, people generally deliver a preemptive blow to their target. They are proactive in attacking and breaking people down, until the other party submits. Only then do they feel they have let off steam. What other expressions are there of attacking and excluding people? (Belittling others.) Belittling others is one of the ways it is expressed; no matter how good a job you do, they will still belittle you or condemn you, until you are passive and weak and cannot stand. Then they will be happy, because they have accomplished their goal. Is condemnation a part of what it means to belittle others? (Yes.) How do antichrists condemn people? They make mountains out of molehills. For example, you did something that was not a problem, but they make a big fuss about it in order to attack you. They think of all kinds of ways to get dirt on you, and condemn you by making a mountain out of a molehill, such that others who listen think that what the antichrists say makes sense and that you did something wrong. With this, the antichrists have accomplished their goal. This is condemning, attacking, and excluding dissenters. What does it mean to exclude? It means that no matter how right you are in your actions—and actually, the antichrists also know that you are right—because they envy and hate you, and intentionally try to attack you, the antichrists will say that what you did was wrong. Then they will use their own views and fallacies to out-debate you, speaking in a compelling way so that everyone listening feels what they say is right and well said; then, all those people will stand on the antichrists’ side in opposition to you. Antichrists use this to attack you, to make you passive and weak, and to win everyone’s approval. With this, they have achieved their goal of attacking and excluding dissenters. Excluding dissenters can sometimes happen in the form of face-to-face debate, or sometimes in passing judgment on someone, stirring the pot, slandering them, and making things up about them behind their back. For example, if antichrists want to exclude a dissenter, they will spread word of that person’s mistakes around, stirring up the relationship between the dissenter and other people, making people steer clear of the dissenter, and accomplishing the antichrists’ goal of isolating the dissenter. Then, they will find an opportunity to use damaging information against the dissenter, until they are defeated and their reputation ruined. In antichrists’ minds, this is breaking down a competitor, lest they threaten the antichrists’ position” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Two). God reveals that antichrists go to great lengths to protect their own reputation and status. To rule over the church like a king, they attack and reject those who pursue the truth, and even develop hatred toward them. Truth-seekers are thorns in their sides, so they make a huge deal out of their small problems, and willfully judge and attack them to punish those that pursue the truth. They undermine truth seekers so they can wield power in the church. Katie sowed discord in the church. She attacked and condemned Jerry, who managed gospel work, and even wanted to use the upper leadership to punish him. Worse yet, she wouldn’t cooperate with her co-workers, and always did things alone. But she fabricated rumors, judging upper leadership as not working in harmony, which gave rise to prejudices against the leadership among brothers and sisters. She did this to achieve her goal of ruling like a king in the church. She was intentionally punishing people and undermining gospel work. Once the upper leadership found out what Katie was doing, they saw that she was a false leader on the path of an antichrist and immediately removed her from her leadership position.

Afterwards, my partner and I fellowshiped with Katie and analyzed her behavior. We said that inciting someone to report Jerry was sabotaging and disrupting church work, and she was on an antichrist’s path. Not only did she refuse to accept this, but she even defended herself, saying she had no ulterior motives, that she was just reporting a problem in a normal fashion, so how could that be disrupting church work? I saw that she refused to admit her mistakes at all even when faced with facts, that she argued her case and quibbled. I thought of God’s words, “When nothing has happened, you cannot see a person’s true attitude toward the truth. When people are pruned, dealt with, and dismissed, their true attitude toward the truth is revealed. Those who accept the truth are able to accept it in any situation; if they are wrong, they are able to admit their mistake, face reality, and accept the truth. As for those who do not love truth, even if their mistake is on display, they will not admit they were wrong, to say nothing of accepting that they be handled by the house of God. And what reasons do some people have? ‘My intent was to do it well, but I just didn’t do it well, so you can’t blame me for doing a bad job. My intent is good and I have suffered, paid a price and expended myself. This isn’t doing evil!’ They use this as their reason and excuse to refuse to let the house of God handle them. Is this appropriate? No matter what reason or excuse a person uses, it cannot disguise their attitude toward the truth, and their attitude toward God. This is an issue pertaining to a person’s nature and essence, and speaks to the problem the most. Regardless of whether you have encountered an issue, your attitude toward the truth represents your nature and essence—it is your attitude toward God. The way you treat God can be known by how you treat the truth” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). That is just it. Those who do not accept the truth will never admit their mistakes. Even if they do evil and disrupt church work, they will still say they have the right intentions, wanting to absolve themselves of their transgressions and evil deeds, as if they had no improper motives, and even if they disrupt church work, you shouldn’t hold them accountable. I realized Katie was exactly this way. She was obviously secretly sabotaging, creating disruption and punishing people, while still justifying herself, saying she had no intention of doing wrong. She refused to admit her mistakes even in the face of the facts. She completely rejected the truth. Katie had also kept talking about how she hadn’t been a leader for long, and that she didn’t understand and couldn’t do lots of the work. This proved that even though she was aware of the responsibilities and demands God has of leaders, she still didn’t follow God’s word. The upper leadership had fellowshiped that everyone should cooperate harmoniously, but she didn’t listen and just went on doing things on her own, however she pleased. Her behavior made it apparent that she did not accept or submit to God’s word or positive things whatsoever. Eventually, she even wanted to punish Brother Jerry to tear apart the gospel work for the sake of her own name and status. This is sufficient proof that she did not remotely uphold the work of the church, that by her nature, she did not love or accept the truth, and that her dismissal was entirely God’s righteousness. This realization gave me greater discernment over her. I also reflected on myself. Before, I’d felt that Katie was a false leader who didn’t do practical work, and I had wanted to report her problems to the upper leadership, so why did I ultimately give up on doing that? I brought my state before God in prayer, asking Him to guide me to understand my problem.

I read this in God’s words. “Some people follow their own will when they act. They violate the principles, and after being pruned and dealt with, they admit in mere word that they are arrogant, and that they made a mistake only because they do not have the truth. But in their hearts, they still complain, ‘No one else sticks their neck out, just me—and in the end, when something goes wrong, they push all the responsibility onto me. Isn’t this stupid of me? I can’t do the same thing next time, sticking my neck out like that. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down!’ What do you think of this attitude? Is it an attitude of repentance? (No.) What attitude is it? Haven’t they become slippery and deceitful? In their hearts they think, ‘I’m lucky this time it didn’t turn into a disaster. A fall in the pit, a gain in your wit, so to speak. I have to be more careful in the future.’ They do not seek the truth, using their pettiness and cunning schemes to attend to and handle the matter. Can they gain the truth in this way? They cannot, because they have not repented. The first thing to be done when repenting is to recognize what you have done wrong: to see where your mistake was, the essence of the problem, and the disposition you have revealed; you must reflect on these things and accept the truth, then practice according to the truth. Only this is an attitude of repentance. If, on the other hand, you consider cunning ways exhaustively, you become more slippery than before, your techniques are cleverer and more concealed, and you have more methods to deal with things, then the problem is not quite as simple as just being deceitful. You are using underhanded means and you have secrets you cannot divulge. This is evil. Not only have you not repented, but you have become more slippery and deceitful. God sees that you are overly intransigent and evil, one who admits on the surface that they were wrong, and accepts being dealt with and pruned, yet in reality, does not have a repentant attitude in the slightest. Why do we say this? Because while this event was happening or in its aftermath, you did not seek the truth, and you did not practice according to the truth. Your attitude is one of using Satan’s philosophies, logic, and methods to resolve the problem. In reality, you are sidestepping the problem, and wrapping it up in a neat package so others see no trace of it, letting nothing slip. In the end, you feel you are quite smart. These are the things God sees, rather than your having truly reflected, confessed, and repented of your sin in the face of the matter that has befallen you, then going on to seek the truth and practicing according to the truth. Your attitude is not one of seeking the truth or of practicing the truth, nor is it one of submission to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, but one of using Satan’s techniques and methods to resolve your problem. You give others a false impression and resist being exposed by God, and you are defensive and confrontational regarding the circumstances that God has orchestrated for you. Your heart is more closed than before and separated from God. As such, can any good result come from it? Can you still live in the light, enjoying peace and joy? You cannot. If you shun the truth and shun God, you will certainly fall into the darkness and weep and gnash your teeth. Is such a state prevalent in people? (Yes.) Some people frequently admonish themselves, saying, ‘I was dealt with this time. Next time, I’ve got to be smarter and more careful. Being smart is the foundation of life—and people who aren’t smart are dummies.’ If you are always guiding and admonishing yourself so, will you ever get anywhere? Will you be able to gain the truth? If an issue befalls you, you must seek and understand an aspect of the truth, and gain that aspect of the truth. What can be achieved by understanding the truth? When you understand an aspect of the truth, you understand an aspect of God’s will; you understand why God did this thing to you, why He would make such a demand of you, why He would orchestrate circumstances to chasten and discipline you so, why He would use this matter to prune and deal with you, and why you have fallen down, failed, and been exposed in this matter. If you understand these things, you will be able to pursue the truth and will achieve life entry. If you do not understand these things and do not accept these facts, but insist on opposing and resisting them, on using your own techniques to disguise yourself, and on facing all others and God with a false countenance, then you will be forever unable to gain the truth” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God). God’s words reveal that if those who make mistakes do not reflect on the root of their failure or seek the truth to resolve their problem, but instead worry about being dealt with if they make another mistake, and so start playing tricks and guarding against God when issues come up again, then this type of person has a deceitful, intransigent disposition. That’s how I was behaving. Before, without understanding Katie’s situation, I’d accused her of being judgmental and suppressed her. I was exposed and dissected for that by the leader. I later recognized my arrogant disposition, warned myself that this failure was a transgression in my life as a believer, and knew that I had to learn a lesson and not make this same mistake again. But at the same time, I developed a bit of guardedness against God. I was very worried that if I oppressed somebody like this again, and was determined to be one walking the path of an antichrist, then my work as a leader would come to an end and I would lose all dignity. So this time, when I found that Katie was a false leader who didn’t do real work, I didn’t dare report her and I was full of misgivings. I worried that the leader would think I was being too hard on her, and that by nitpicking and not letting things go, I was oppressing and ostracizing her. To protect my own reputation and status, I chose to say nothing. I was scared that making a report could backfire and jeopardize my status. Reporting Katie’s problem was completely normal, but I was filled with apprehension, and speculated at what upper leadership would think. I became defensive against both them and God, and I played games with God. I was so deceitful! Katie was sowing discord, disturbing and sabotaging the gospel work. This was God exposing her and protecting His own work. I saw that no person’s thoughts, intentions, or actions can escape God’s scrutiny. So why didn’t I have faith in God seeing all things? Why was I always worried about being dismissed by the leader if I was just objectively reporting Katie’s behavior in accordance with what I’d really seen, without any intention of suppressing her?

In my devotionals, I read a passage of God’s word that gave me a better understanding of my problem. God’s words say, “If you do not have real faith in God, and you do not believe that the truth reigns in the house of God, then you cannot accomplish anything. Many people do not understand the truth; they do not believe the truth reigns in the house of God, and they do not have a heart that fears God. They are always thinking that the officials of the world are all out to protect each other’s interests, and that God’s house must be the same. Certainly, they do not believe that God is the truth and righteousness. Therefore, a person like this can be called a nonbeliever. However, a minority of people are able to report practical problems. People such as this may be called people who protect the interests of God’s house; they are responsible people. There are many people who do not resolve severe problems when they find them, nor do they report them to the Above. They only start to report the issue and sense its severity when the Above investigates it directly. This delays things. Therefore, no matter whether you are an ordinary brother or sister, or a leader or a worker, whenever you encounter an issue that you cannot resolve and that pertains to the larger principles of work, you should always report it to the Above and seek guidance from Him in a timely manner. If you encounter perplexing problems or difficulties but do not resolve them, some work will be unable to progress; it will have to be put aside and stopped. This affects the progress of the church’s work. Therefore, when such problems arise as can directly affect the progress of work, they must be uncovered and resolved in a timely manner. If a problem is not easy to resolve, you must find people who understand the truth and people with expertise in the field, then sit with them and investigate and resolve the problem together. Problems of this sort cannot be delayed. Every day you delay in resolving them is a day’s delay in the progress of the work. It is not a matter of hampering a person; it affects the church’s work, as well as how God’s chosen ones perform their duties. Therefore, when you encounter a perplexing problem or difficulty of this sort, it must be resolved. If you truly cannot resolve it, then quickly report it to the Above. He will solve it directly, or tell you the path. If a leader is unable to handle problems of this sort, and sits on the problem rather than reporting it to the Above and seeking guidance from Him, then that leader is blind; they are brain-dead, and they are useless. They should be dismissed and removed from their position. If a useless person like this is not removed from their position, the work of God’s house will be unable to advance; it will be ruined in their hands. This must be dealt with immediately” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “Any perplexing problem or difficulty you encounter during your work, so long as it can affect how God’s chosen people perform their duty, or hinder the normal progression of the church’s work, should be resolved in a timely manner. If you cannot resolve it yourself, you should find several people who understand the truth to partner with you in resolving it. If the problem still cannot be resolved this way, then you must take the problem and report it to the Above and seek His guidance. This is the responsibility and obligation of leaders and workers” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). From reading God’s word, I saw that though I had been a believer for many years and read much of God’s word, I had too little faith in God and I did not understand His righteous disposition. I did not genuinely believe that the truth reigns in God’s house, and that’s why doubts and wariness still resided within my heart. In reality, the church evaluates and dismisses people based on the principles of the truth. Even if someone is a leader, if they go without doing real work for a while, run amok in their duty, doing things however they please, or do not make changes even after being fellowshiped with and dealt with repeatedly, then they will be transferred or dismissed, not be shielded or abetted. When God’s house dismisses or removes someone, it’s based on their consistent behavior in their duty and their approach to God and the truth is also taken into consideration. These things are never done arbitrarily. Thinking back on the last two years or so as a leader, when a problem emerged in my duty, my leaders would always fellowship the truth, help me, and give me pointers when they found out. When it was serious, they would deal with me, expose and dissect me, and help me understand myself. Like when I oppressed Katie because I didn’t understand the truth and was relying on my arrogant disposition, the leader didn’t dismiss me for that, but instead, pointed out my problems and gave me a chance to repent. Also, Katie was elected as a church leader, but she never did any practical work and committed evil, disrupting and wreaking havoc on the gospel work, walking an antichrist’s path. When the upper leadership learned of this, they dismissed her right away. The things I personally witnessed and experienced were proof that the truth and righteousness reign in God’s house. But I had thought that by reporting Katie’s problems, I’d be seen as suppressing and ostracizing someone talented, and that I would be dismissed. This way of thinking was completely wrong, I was so deceitful and lacked true faith in God. I also saw that I was unclear on what upholding the church’s work was and what suppressing people was. In fact, if a person is discerned by the principles to be a false leader that doesn’t do real work, and if reporting them is done to protect the church’s work, and it is done on the basis of facts, not fabricated or arbitrarily concocted, then this is upholding principles and protecting the church’s work, not oppression. If your intentions are to get revenge on or punish somebody, if you are judging or condemning a person because they don’t do what you want or they threaten or refuse to submit to your status, and you even distort facts to frame or punish them, then this is oppression. Katie’s behaviors that I wanted to report were things I had witnessed in my interactions with her. My report wasn’t coming from nowhere or an act of deliberate revenge. It was because I wanted to report problems and prevent harm from befalling the church’s work. This was protecting the church’s work, not suppressing or punishing her. Furthermore, one of the responsibilities of a leader is to “promptly report and seek guidance regarding confusion and difficulties encountered in the work” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). Currently, none of us understand the truth, so when we encounter a lot of confusion and difficulties in our work, things we can’t fully understand or people we can’t fully discern, we should promptly report this to upper leadership. This is particularly true for those who shoulder important work in the church. Just because a person is a leader or is supervising a project doesn’t mean they are fit for use, because before a person has gained the truth, they may follow their corrupt disposition and interrupt the church’s work at any point. You never know when they might go astray and resist God. Reporting somebody is not tattling on them. It’s not relentlessly fixating on their shortcomings, or nitpicking at them, but it is seeking the principles of how to discern and treat others. It is done to uphold the church’s work. If it’s found that this person is alright and the problem lies in your own discernment, then by making a report to upper leadership and seeking fellowship, you will be able to learn the principles and treat people fairly. If through seeking, it is determined that this person’s work really does have problems, then you can also promptly fellowship with them, and help them recognize their issue and do their duty according to principles. This is beneficial to the church’s work and to the brothers and sisters. Of course, those who are of poor humanity and do not uphold the church’s work at all must be promptly transferred or dismissed to prevent any impact on the work’s progress. Therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of leaders to report problems promptly. Once I understood God’s will, I resolved that if I discovered issues with another church leader or supervisor, I would promptly discuss whatever I didn’t fully grasp with my co-workers, and if nobody could clearly understand the matter, I would promptly report it to upper leadership and seek the principles. I could no longer only consider my own interests and be so selfish and deceitful. Before long, I found that my partner Sister Janie didn’t have a grasp of principles in her duty, that she was always fixating on trivial issues, and delaying the progress of the video work. When upper leadership asked why the progress of the video work had slowed, I reported Janie’s problems factually. They then fellowshiped some principles on how to do this duty, giving us a clearer path and the progress of the video work improved significantly. Seeing this outcome filled me with a sense of deep peace and I felt the joy of practicing the truth.

Through this experience, I gained some understanding of my corrupt disposition and why I didn’t dare to make a report. I saw that I was too selfish and deceitful, that I cherished my status too much. Just to protect my own interests, I feared reporting a problem and being accused of oppressing a talented person. It was the guidance of God’s word that allowed me to know my corrupt disposition, correct my mistaken thinking and perspectives, and gain a path of practice. Thank God!

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