Can Losing Your Temper Solve a Problem?
By Ou’nen, Myanmar
I was elected as a church leader in February 2021. At the time, Brother Yu was in training as the gospel deacon, and he needed my guidance in his work. I told him about all the experience I had accumulated. Seeing he understood what I’d said, I thought that if he did things the way I told him to, he should do a good job, then others would praise me for my proficiency, my ability to train people. After a while, I checked up on Brother Yu’s work and found out there were lots of things he hadn’t done. For example, I told him to arrange gatherings for others according to a schedule, but he hadn’t done that. Some people didn’t attend gatherings, and he didn’t go find out why afterward. Also, he wasn’t very proactive in presiding over any of the gatherings. At the time, I was seething. How could he possibly do a good job if he did things that way? If he didn’t do a good job, what would the upper leader think of me? Wouldn’t she think I hadn’t mentored him? I went to find Brother Yu right away to find out what was going on. I asked about one task, and he said he hadn’t done it. I asked about another, and he said he hadn’t done that one, either. Really angry, I shouted a few things at him, scolding him. He didn’t say a word. That just made me madder—I really wanted to vent my anger. But since he was a new believer, I just had to swallow my rage. The two of us then read a few passages of God’s words and I fellowshiped with him on the meaning and importance of following up on work. After our fellowship, he said he wanted to change, so I figured he’d do better after that. But to my surprise, a little while later, he still hadn’t done some of the work. When the upper leader found out, she sent me a message, “Brother Yu doesn’t know how to do his job? Or is there some other difficulty?” Seeing that message felt humiliating for me. His work wasn’t done well, so the upper leader must think I was incompetent, that I hadn’t taught him well. All I could do was explain to the leader, “I’m not sure either. I’ve told him everything he needs to know, and if he doesn’t do it, my hands are tied.”
Once in a work meeting, Brother Yu said right to the upper leader’s face that he didn’t know how to do his job. I was incensed when I heard him say that. Hadn’t I told him what he needed to do? It was just that he wasn’t doing it—how could he say he didn’t know what to do? I thought he wanted to make me look bad. The upper leader was sure to say I hadn’t trained him well. I got angrier and angrier. After the meeting, I sought out Brother Yu and kept asking him why he hadn’t followed up on work. With every one of his answers, I retorted, “If you’re not following up on these things, what are you doing every day? Just enjoying your creature comforts?” Brother Yu said helplessly, “I understood you perfectly when you explained the job to me, but I can’t seem to do it when I’m actually carrying things out. I want to go follow up on the work. But I think, how can I motivate others when I have so many shortcomings myself? I feel really held back and I can’t muster up the energy for my duty.” I didn’t consider his struggle after hearing him say that, but just found some passages of God’s words exposing people’s scumminess and scolded him for laziness. At the time I was just thinking about venting my feelings. My anger didn’t settle until I saw he was able to accept it and acknowledge his problem. I was really impatient with him when he asked me questions about work after that, and I thought, “If you gave it the slightest bit of thought, put a little effort into it, you’d be able to figure it out. I really don’t know what you’re thinking about all the time.” So I responded to his questions with a really harsh tone. Seeing I had a bad attitude, Brother Yu became extremely careful in how he spoke with me. Later, I sent him a message but he didn’t respond after reading it. That made me angry, but I didn’t understand what lesson I should learn from the situation. So, I came before God and prayed, asking Him to guide me to reflect and know myself.
I read this in God’s words later: “Man’s innate disposition belongs to the flesh. When damage is done to a person’s interests, vainglory, or pride, if they do not understand the truth or have its reality, they will let their corrupt disposition dictate their treatment of that damage, and they will be impulsive and act rashly. What they manifest and reveal then is impetuousness. Is impetuousness a positive thing or a negative thing? It is obviously a negative thing. For a person to live impetuously is no good thing; it is liable to bring about disaster. If someone’s impetuousness and corruption are exposed when things befall them, is that a person who seeks the truth and obeys God? Obviously, it is certain that such a person is not obedient to God. As for the various people, events, things, and environments that God arranges for people, if someone cannot accept them, instead coping with them and resolving them in a human way, what will result from that in the end? It can lead only to failure and dishonor. They will not only lose out in their own life but will also be of no edification to others. More than that, they will humiliate God and have Him detest and reject them. Such a person has lost their witness and is unwelcome wherever they go. If you are a member of God’s house, yet you are always impetuous in your actions, always expose what is natural in you, and always reveal your corrupt disposition, doing things with human means and with a corrupt, satanic disposition, the final consequence will be your doing evil and your resisting God—and if you remain unrepentant all the while and cannot tread upon the path of pursuing truth, you will have to be exposed and cast out. Is the problem of living in reliance on a satanic disposition and not seeking the truth to resolve it not a grave one? One aspect of the problem is that one does not grow or change in their own life; beyond that, one will adversely influence others. They will not serve any good purpose in the church, and in time, they will bring great trouble to the church and to God’s chosen people, like a stinking fly that flies back and forth above a dining table, courting disgust and loathing” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days, Part Three). Reading God’s words made a strong impression on me. I realized that my motivation was wrong when I started out training Brother Yu. I wanted to get him up to speed as quickly as possible, not for the church’s work, but so that others would praise me for being capable. When Brother Yu didn’t do things the way I told him to and his work wasn’t yielding results, I was worried the upper leader would think I hadn’t taught him well, that I wasn’t incompetent, so I lost my cool. I was upset every time I went to fellowship with him, and just dealt with him, without considering his difficulties. Particularly when he shared his struggles with the upper leader, that he didn’t know how to do his job, what he said really touched on my face and status, and embarrassed me, so I angrily dealt with and scolded him. When he came to me with questions, I really gave him the cold shoulder. I kept my gaze fixed on Brother Yu and treated him with anger, but I never thought about what lessons I should be learning or what corrupt disposition of mine God had set this up to change. Instead, I just put my thoughts into protecting my face and status. Doing my duty with a corrupt disposition that way not only hurt and annoyed others, but God didn’t like it, either.
I found out later that Brother Yu didn’t respond to my message because he saw he hadn’t done his work well and was afraid I’d deal with him. He wasn’t very proactive when he led gatherings because he didn’t know how to fellowship to resolve some problems, and felt held back. I felt terrible once I learned these things, and I regretted not having asked him about his struggles at the time, but just blindly delimiting and scolding him. I read some of God’s words after that. “If, as a church leader or worker, you are to lead God’s chosen ones in entering the reality of the truth and bearing proper testimony to God, of chief importance is to guide people in spending more time reading God’s words and fellowshiping the truth, so that God’s chosen ones can have a deeper knowledge of God’s aims in saving man and the purpose of God’s work, and can understand God’s will and His various requirements for man, thus allowing them to perform their duty properly and satisfy God. … Can you make people understand the truth and enter its reality if you only repeat words of doctrine, and lecture people, and deal with them? If the truth you fellowship is not real, if it is nothing but words of doctrine, then no matter how much you deal with and lecture them, it will be to no avail. Do you think people being afraid of you, and doing what you tell them to, and not daring to object, is the same as them understanding the truth and being obedient? This is a major mistake; entry into life is not so simple. Some leaders are like a new manager trying to make a strong impression, they try to impose their new-found authority on God’s chosen ones so that everyone submits to them, thinking that this will make their job easier. If you lack the reality of the truth, then before long your true stature will be exposed, your true colors will be revealed, and you could well be cast out. In some administrative work, a little dealing, pruning, and discipline is acceptable. But if you are incapable of fellowshiping the truth, in the end, you will still be unable to solve the problem, and will affect the results of the work. If, no matter what issues appear in the church, you keep lecturing people and casting blame—if all you ever do is lose your temper—then this is your corrupt disposition revealing itself, and you have shown the ugly face of your corruption. If you always stand on a pedestal and lecture people like this, then as time goes on, people will be unable to receive the provision of life from you, they will not gain anything real, and instead will be repulsed and disgusted by you. In addition, there will be some people who, having been influenced by you due to a lack of discernment, will likewise lecture others, and deal with them and prune them. They will likewise get angry and lose their tempers. You will not only be unable to solve people’s problems—you will also be fostering their corrupt dispositions. And is that not leading them onto the path toward perdition? Is that not an act of evil? A leader should lead, in the main, by fellowshiping about the truth and provisioning with life. If you always stand on a pedestal and lecture others, will they be able to understand the truth? If you work in this way for a while, and when people come to see you clearly for what you are, they are going to desert you. Can you bring people before God by working in this way? You certainly cannot; all you can do is foul up the work of the church and cause all God’s chosen people to loathe you and desert you” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days, Part Three). “There are many kinds of corrupt dispositions that are included within the disposition of Satan, but the one that is most obvious and that stands out the most is an arrogant disposition. Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more irrational they are, and the more irrational they are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God, and they have no fear of God within their hearts. Even though people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days, Part Three). This revelation in God’s words was really poignant for me. I was always losing my temper, scolding Brother Yu mainly because I was controlled by an arrogant disposition. When I’d done a job for a while and I’d come up with some methods, I felt like my approach was right. When I was teaching him, I didn’t integrate his actual situation or difficulties, and I didn’t pray or seek about what would be helpful for him so he could take on the work as soon as possible. I just went by my arrogance and rigidly demanded that he go by my thinking and experience, wanting him to be able to take on the job as soon as possible under my tutelage to show off my abilities and gain others’ admiration. So when I saw Brother Yu wasn’t getting results in his duty, I got mad because I felt like it was hurting my reputation. I didn’t look into his actual difficulties or the reasons he wasn’t accomplishing anything or handle it based on the specific situation. I just dealt with him and delimited him as being scummy and lazy. I constrained him to the point he didn’t dare respond to my message, and he got very passive in his duty. I was so arrogant! Clearly I was a nobody, but I was always scolding him from on high. I was really lacking humanity and didn’t have any reverence for God. Brother Yu wasn’t able to do his job because of my irresponsibility—it was my failure. I thought I could just tell him what he needed to do, then wash my hands of it, and wait for him to do everything else. But I didn’t give him any guidance on the more detailed aspects of it or find out about his actual difficulties and help him resolve them. When I found out there were issues with his work, I didn’t reflect on myself, but went headlong into angrily, blindly criticizing him. I thought he’d know how tough I was and be scared of me, then he’d obediently do what I said and be better at his job. But the facts showed me that if leaders and workers just deal with and scold people in their work without fellowshiping on the truth and resolving people’s real problems and struggles, over time, the brothers and sisters will just get annoyed and distance themselves, then their own duties will come to an end, too. Really thinking about it, everyone needs a process of familiarization when they take on an unfamiliar job. When I started doing church work, without brothers and sisters patiently guiding and helping me and some time for me to practice, I wouldn’t have known what to do, or understood the principles. Also, there was some work I hadn’t given him detailed guidance on, but I just demanded that he meet my expectations, otherwise I’d blow up at him and scold him. I was so arrogant and unreasonable!
Later on I noticed that in gatherings, Brother Yu also took a reprimanding tone with other brothers and sisters. He was haughtily scolding them, not having heart-to-hearts with them. There wasn’t any mutual support, help, and sustenance, which created a stressful atmosphere in gatherings. I was pretty shocked, and I felt a fear I couldn’t really describe. His behavior was directly related to me. I was always blowing up and scolding people in the face of problems, so he’d learned to lecture others instead of using the truth to resolve the issue. If that went on, it would really harm the brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I just knew to criticize people, not to fellowship on the truth to address people’s issues and difficulties in their duty and life entry. All I did was constrain and hurt the brothers and sisters. I was aware that if I didn’t resolve my arrogant disposition, I couldn’t do the church’s work well and I’d likely oppose and rebel against God. Realizing this, I really wanted to cast off my arrogance, to stop approaching people and things out of hot-headedness. I just wanted to live by God’s words, practice the truth, and help the others out of love.
I read this in God’s words in my devotionals one day: “When it concerns work or sorting things out, at the very least do not violate standards of conscience and sense; engage and interact with people—and handle things—according to the sense of normal humanity; naturally, what is best is to practice according to the principles of truth demanded by God, this satisfies God. So what are the principles of truth demanded by God? That people be understanding of the weakness and negativity of others when they are weak and negative, that people be mindful of others’ pain and difficulties, and then inquire about these things, and offer help and support, and read them God’s words to help them solve the problems, so that they are no longer weak, and are brought before God. Is this a way of practicing that is in line with principle? Practicing thus is in line with principle. Naturally, relationships of this kind are also in line with principle. When people are deliberately meddlesome and disruptive, or deliberately careless and perfunctory when performing their duty, if you see this and are able to handle matters according to principle, and can point these things out to them, and reprimand them, and help them, then this is in line with the principles of the truth” (Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). The guidance of God’s words was really enlightening for me. God tells us to treat our brothers and sisters in line with the principles of the truth. When we notice someone’s shortcomings or inadequacies, we should help them with love, and resolve the issue through fellowship on the truth. When I noticed problems in Brother Yu’s duty, losing my temper and scolding him couldn’t solve the problem. The key was to clearly fellowship the truth and point out the problems so that he could clearly see his own issues and have a path of practice. Also, I shouldn’t ask too much of him based on my own opinions, and demand that he achieve a certain level according to what I wanted. He needed time to practice. Everyone’s caliber, comprehension, and level of accepting the truth are different. Some people have good caliber and get things quickly, while some are a little slower. I should approach others’ shortcomings appropriately and be understanding of their difficulties, not ask too much of them, but let things take their course. That’s reasonable, and a responsibility I should fulfill. If it turns out that someone is always being sloppy and arbitrary in their duty, and it’s holding up work, they should be exposed and dealt with through fellowship. That’s taking responsibility for the church’s work, not scolding people out of hot-headedness. It’s pointing out the nature and consequences of their issues, helping them see where they’ve gone wrong and how they should improve next time. That’s being truly loving and doing your duty. At that point I saw that no matter what I encounter, handling it based on God’s words and principles of the truth, not hot-headedness and a satanic disposition—that’s doing my duty.
After that I opened up to Brother Yu. I fellowshiped with him on my recent experiences and understanding, and apologized. Brother Yu also felt embarrassed and guilty for not having done his work well. After opening up, the barrier between us dissolved and I felt really at peace and much freer. Once, I found out about something Brother Yu hadn’t done well in his duty and just as I was about to blow up, I suddenly realized that I was showing my arrogance again. I quickly said a prayer: “God, I don’t want to treat Brother Yu with arrogance like before. Please guide me to forsake the flesh and practice the truth.” I felt calmer after my prayer, and I patiently fellowshiped on the principles of that project with him. He was happy to do things that way. From then on, when I noticed problems in Brother Yu’s work, I’d remind him and help him as soon as I could, and slowly he became able to do a proper job. Through this experience, I learned how to properly approach others’ shortcomings and I personally learned how critical it is to seek the truth when things come up, and treat people according to God’s words. Thank God!
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