Criticism Is Necessary to Do a Duty Well
By Xinlu, USA
A while back I received a letter that was a sister reporting a leader and two deacons. She said Sister Xin, a leader, didn’t do practical work, but just went through the motions in gatherings and didn’t care about others’ states or difficulties. Two other deacons had some problems too. I was thinking that I’d fellowshiped with them before about the problems mentioned, and I’d dealt with them. They gained some self-awareness, and Sister Xin had even wept in regret. I figured I could offer them more help, there was no need to dismiss them. I felt certain they could do practical work. Plus, I saw the reporting sister had gotten a few cosigners for her letter, but they weren’t ardent seekers, and some were about to be kicked out of the church. Lots of problems they were reporting were about how those three people had behaved in their duty. Some of the report wasn’t entirely clear or accurate. It occurred to me that the sister who wrote the letter might be really arrogant. What did she know? Reporting a leader and two deacons together for a few little things—if they were dismissed, who would do the church’s work? Was she protecting the church’s work, or tearing it down? I thought, “I am in charge of their work. Shouldn’t I know better than anyone if there’s a problem, if they can do practical work? They do have problems, but none of us have been perfected, so who doesn’t make mistakes? If we report and dismiss them as soon as there’s a problem, that’s too high of a standard for leaders.” The more I thought about it, the more I thought the reporting sister had a problem, and I didn’t think much of that letter. I wanted to bring up those problems with the leader and deacons, deal with them a bit, help them, and that’s it.
Two or three days later, the upper leader suddenly brought up that report. Seeing I hadn’t handled it, she told me to bring it to the church for open discussion. I agreed to do so verbally, but I didn’t actually do that. I thought that those people were fairly capable in work, and if we aired their problems for everyone to openly discuss, would that be appropriate? Would everyone approach their problems properly? What if they thought they had too many problems and wouldn’t accept their leadership anymore? Shouldn’t I protect their work? I could privately help them, get them to make a change and then they could do their duty properly. God knew I was being rebellious and rigid, refusing to accept what the leader required. She sought me out again and fellowshiped in detail on my mistaken notions and disposition. She asked me a question in return: “The truth holds sway in God’s house, and we have to be fair to everyone. Why would you cover up for leaders and deacons who have issues? Why not stand on God’s side? Forming a tight circle, protecting them—this is an antichrist’s path! Why not follow principles in your treatment of others? You don’t believe God’s chosen people? You don’t believe the truth rules in God’s house?” Then finally, she stressed, “You refuse to expose false leaders, but you cover up for them, and you don’t stand on the side of truth.” At the time I couldn’t entirely accept it. I was still arguing and reasoning internally. I’d been suppressed by false leaders before, and I’d personally witnessed the harm done to the church’s work and its members with them in control. And their behavior really angered me. I’d always dismissed those exposed as false leaders right away. How could I shield false leaders? She kept on dissecting the nature of my actions, exposing me as a false leader who doesn’t practice the truth, but employs satanic philosophies. She said I protected those leaders, like Communist Party officials shielding each other, that if given power, I’d be an antichrist. “False leader” and “antichrist”: every time she said these words, my heart dropped. I was so upset, and felt terribly wronged. I couldn’t stop crying. I prayed through my tears, “Oh God, I know the leader is exposing a real problem of mine, but I can’t see it. Please enlighten and guide me so that I can know myself and learn the lesson I should.”
I organized a gathering the next day for open discussion and discernment of the reported leader and deacons. Brothers and sisters weren’t pouncing on their issues like I’d thought, but they fairly and objectively fellowshiped on the issues from the report, using specific examples to discuss how these people performed their duties. Our discussion of Sister Xin turned my assessment of her on its head. Lots of them said she didn’t do practical work, that she just went through the motions in gatherings. She didn’t resolve real problems or follow up on work. Everyone was struggling in their duty, but she showed no concern. She didn’t fellowship on the truth when making work arrangements or changing people’s duties, so they had to figure things out on their own when things were difficult, or help each other. The leader was nowhere to be found. Sister Xin’s behavior was really disappointing for brothers and sisters. Each assessment was a complaint of Sister Xin’s indifference and lack of practical work. They were also an indictment of me. Hearing all of them speak out left me with a feeling I can’t describe. I was guilty and ashamed, and it felt just like being slapped hard across the face. The church I was in charge of had a false leader that didn’t do practical work without me having any idea. I’d been so self-assured, thinking she pursued the truth and did real work as a leader. When her problems were reported, I didn’t look into them and handle them, but instead wanted to privately help her along. How was I any different from Sister Xin? I wasn’t considering the others’ needs or resolving their problems and difficulties. I was a false leader in a position of power who didn’t do real work. Then brothers and sisters brought up the two deacons’ problems, saying Sister Wang was emotional in handling things and lacked principles in her duty. She was also arrogant and used her position to constrain people, even oppressing others. She was really blatant, and it did a lot of damage to brothers and sisters, and held them back in their duty. These weren’t the little problems I’d thought they were, things that could be resolved with a little fellowship. I was ashamed to hear what everyone shared. The ways they were false leaders and workers doing no real work were laid out before me, one after another. I was stunned. They were rife with problems, even to the point of inciting others’ anger, but I was totally oblivious. What was I doing in my duty? Wasn’t that a serious failure on my part as a leader? Then, I finally calmed myself down to pray and reflect on my problem.
I read a passage oflater. says, “False leaders do not do real work. Neither do they ever go and inspect, supervise, or direct the various work specialisms, or make timely visits to different groups to find out what’s going on, inspecting how work is progressing, what problems there still are, whether the group supervisor is capable of doing their work; how the brothers and sisters are responding to the supervisor, what they think of them, whether anyone is being held back by the group leader or supervisor; whether anyone who is talented or pursues the truth is being undermined or alienated by others, whether any of the more guileless people are being bullied; whether people who exposed and reported false leaders are being suppressed and controlled, or whether, when people make correct suggestions, these suggestions are adopted; and whether the group leader or supervisor is someone wicked, or likes giving people a hard time. If false leaders don’t do any of these jobs, they should be replaced. Say, for example, someone reports to a false leader that there is a supervisor who often undermines people and holds them back; the brothers and sisters have an opinion about them, but dare not speak up; the supervisor finds various excuses to vindicate and justify themself, and never admits their mistakes. Why was a supervisor like this not promptly replaced? But the false leader says, ‘This is a problem of people’s entry into life. He’s too arrogant—everyone with a little caliber is arrogant. It’s no big deal, I just need to fellowship with him a little.’ During the fellowship, the supervisor says, ‘I admit I am arrogant, I admit there are times when I am concerned with my own vanity and status, but other people aren’t good at this area of work, they often come out with worthless suggestions, so there is a reason I don’t listen to them.’ The false leader is incapable of understanding the whole situation, they do not look into how well the supervisor works, much less what their humanity, disposition, and pursuit are like. All they do is blithely say, ‘This was reported to me so I’m keeping an eye on you. I’m giving you a chance.’ After the talk, the supervisor says they want to repent, but as for whether they really do subsequently repent, or just lie and deceive, and continue working as they did before, as for just what their work is like, the false leader pays no heed, nor tries to find out. … They can’t tell that the supervisor was tricking them, sweet-talking them. They pay no attention to what the people below them report about the supervisor, they don’t go to actually see how serious this person’s problem is, whether the problem reported by the people beneath them exists or not, is real or not, whether the person should be replaced or not; they give no consideration to these problems, but just keep putting things off. The false leader’s response to these problems is extremely sluggish, they act and move very slowly, they keep prevaricating, keep giving people another chance, as if these chances they give to people are so precious and important, as if they can change their fate. It is not possible for them to see someone’s nature and essence through what is manifested in them, and to judge just what kind of path this person walks based on their nature and essence, and to see just whether or not a person is fit to be a supervisor based on the path they walk. They can’t see it that way. They only have two tricks: pulling people for a chat, and giving them another chance. Does this count as working? False leaders see their chats with people, the trivial things they say to them, the empty words, the doctrine, as so precious and important. They are unaware that God’s work is not merely talking, but also dealing with and pruning people, exposing them, judging them, in serious cases testing and refining them, chastening and disciplining them; it’s not just one approach. So why are they so sure of themselves? Can their speaking a bit of doctrine and repeating a few catchphrases convince people, and make them change? How could they be so ignorant and naive? Could fixing a person’s wrong way of doing things and corrupt behavior be that easy? Is the problem of people’s corrupt dispositions that easy to solve? False leaders are too stupid and superficial! God doesn’t just use one method to solve the problem of people’s corruption, but many; He sets out different environments to lay people bare and make them perfect. The way of false leaders’ work is too simple: They pull people for a chat, do a little ideological work, give people a little advice, and think that this is doing work. This is superficial, is it not? And what issue is hidden behind this superficiality? Is it naivety? They are extremely naive, extremely naive in their view of people. Nothing is harder to fix than people’s corrupt dispositions. As the saying goes, ‘A leopard can’t change its spots.’ False leaders have no perception of these problems. When it comes to the kind of supervisors in the church who are like to make things hard for people, who disrupt the church’s work, who always hold people back, the false leaders do nothing but talk; a couple of words of dealing and pruning, and that’s it. They are not quick to reassign or replace people. Similarly, the false leaders’ way of doing things also causes tremendous harm to the work of the church, and often prevents this work from progressing normally, successfully, effectively, and often, because of disruption by the wicked, causes delays, and harm, and hold-ups—these are all the adverse consequences caused by the false leaders not using people properly. To outward appearances, these false leaders are not deliberately doing evil like the antichrists, deliberately establishing their own fiefdom and going their own way. But within the scope of their work, the false leaders are not able to quickly address the various problems caused by supervisors, they are not able to promptly reassign and replace substandard supervisors, which is severely damaging to church work, and is all caused by the false leaders’ negligence” (“Identifying False Leaders (3)” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Reading this felt like God’s words were judging and exposing me personally. When I received the report on the leader and deacons, I had a flippant attitude about it. I didn’t want to go verify things or take care of it right away. I thought that even though they did have some problems, they could do real work, so I could help them along. I hadn’t been keeping on top of things, and then I was really self-assured and stuck to my guns when they did make a report. I only believed my own judgment and paid no mind to what the others said. I even thought the letter writers were blowing it out of proportion and being unfair. I saw not only was I not doing practical work and being blind, but I was ignorant and arrogant. I’d fellowshiped with Sister Xin two months before about not doing practical work, and she’d expressed repentance. I felt like my work was done, the problem was resolved. But in fact, from what everyone shared, I could see there’d been no change. Her tears had been fake, but I didn’t have any discernment. I wanted to show kindness, and keep helping her and giving her chances. And there was Sister Wang—she was consistently arrogant and temperamental, and someone would report this from time to time. But I thought it was momentary corruption showing, and didn’t pay much attention. Sometimes I had a few words with her and I felt like my job was done, that she’d change afterwards. I didn’t discern her essence based on these things or seek how to handle it based on principle. I lacked truth and couldn’t see things clearly. God arranged things so that brothers’ and sisters’ report would give me a chance to gain discernment, but I ignored all that, oblivious to God’s work and not trusting the others. I stubbornly believed my own eyes. When I didn’t handle it properly, a leader helped me, telling me to figure it out with the others to make up for what I lacked. But I didn’t do that, afraid it wouldn’t turn out well. I saw that I really was arrogant to a significant degree. The leader and deacons had been doing their duties for years, but they still hadn’t changed after quite a bit of criticism and discipline. That meant they wouldn’t accept the truth. What good would yet more fellowship and help do? I naively thought that a little more fellowship would take care of it. Apparently in my heart, I thought my help and the fellowship I shared would do more than God’s own words, more than the judgment, chastisement, and discipline of God’s words. That was incredibly unreasonable and arrogant of me. It’s nauseating. At that point, I felt like, even though the report was about other people’s issues, it was also exposing my problems. False leaders and workers were right in front of my face, but I didn’t see them or handle the situation. This delayed brothers’ and sisters’ life entry, and held up the work of God’s house. I was acting exactly like the type of false leader who doesn’t do practical work that God exposes. I started coming off my high horse bit by bit.
Based on their performance, we determined they were false leaders and workers who didn’t do practical work, and dismissed them. I’d finished handling the report, but that experience was branded onto my heart. Thinking of how the leader had reprimanded me, saying I was shielding those people, that I wouldn’t expose false leaders and workers, I felt awful in a way I can’t describe. I really hated myself. How could I have done something like that? I came before God in prayer and seeking again, saying, “God, I’m so corrupt. I’m not able to do my duty as You require. I can’t help but do disruptive things. God, I want to deeply reflect on myself and resolve my problems using the truth, so I can be freed from corruption and do my duty well. Please guide and enlighten me.” After praying, I thought back over what I was thinking when I received that letter, and my attitude and perspective on it. I remembered how self-important, conceited, and arrogant I was at the time. I made every judgment and decision as if I had some all-seeing eye without any prayer or seeking. I didn’t have the slightest doubt in my handling of the matter and I didn’t follow the leader’s instructions. I felt like I was doing things right. This sent a chill through me. How could I have been so self-assured, so conceited?
A couple passages of God’s words came to mind. God says, “If you really possess the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if you have an arrogant and conceited disposition, then being told not to oppose God makes no difference, you can’t help yourself, it is beyond your control. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display, and, finally, sit in God’s place and bear testimony for yourself. You would turn your own ideas, your own thinking, and your own notions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature!” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “Human ideas usually look good and right to people, and they appear as though they would not violate the truth very much. People feel that doing things in such a manner would be putting truth into practice; they feel that doing things that way would be submitting to God. Actually, they are not truly seeking God or praying to God about it, and they are not striving to do it well, in accordance with God’s requirements, in order to satisfy His will. They do not possess this true state, nor do they have such a desire. This is the greatest mistake people make in their practice. You believe in God, but you do not keep God in your heart. How is this not a sin? Are you not deceiving yourself? What sort of effects can you reap if you keep believing that way? Moreover, how can the significance of belief be manifested?” (“Seeking God’s Will Is for the Sake of Practicing the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I already knew these passages well, but they were particularly poignant for me then. I saw my own ugliness so clearly through the judgment and revelation of God’s words. Brothers and sisters reported the leader and deacons, but I just showed disdain. I felt like I knew them and their capability in work, that the others had a narrow perspective, but I saw the big picture. I thought doing things my way would be best for our work. The leader told me to handle the report transparently, but I thought handling it openly would cause the others to develop a bias and it would harm the church’s work. I thought my behind-the-scenes fellowship and help was the wisest approach. I maintained that self-confidence throughout the entire thing. I was certain doing things my way was the best approach. I didn’t pray or seek God’s will at all, and I didn’t even recognize this was an environment God set up to remind me. God didn’t have a place in my heart. I thought I understood everything and possessed the truth, as if my personal opinions could represent God’s own opinions. Wasn’t I putting myself in the position of God, completely disregarding Him? I’d been in a leadership position just a few months and didn’t understand a lot of the truth. It was my first time handling a report letter. But even so, I had the utmost confidence in my own thinking and perspectives. I ignored the church’s clear principles on evaluating false leaders, just making my own judgment calls, considering them based on my impression of them and some superficial work. I treated my personal imaginings as the truth, turning a deaf ear to God’s words. I didn’t have God in my heart—I was simply arrogant beyond reason. I thought I knew those people well, that since I’d fellowshiped and helped them, and they’d gained some understanding, we could keep them in place. But their problems had been dissected and they’d seen them before, so exposing them again like that meant they hadn’t repented and changed, that they didn’t really accept the truth. God took a strike at my imaginings with the facts. I didn’t even understand what true self-knowledge or repentance and change were. I thought I saw things accurately, that I could see things clearly. Thinking of my arrogance is nauseating and shameful. God is the Lord of creation, the embodiment of the truth. He rules over all and sees into our hearts and minds, but He’s not remotely arrogant. He is humble and lovely. But I’d been so corrupted by Satan I didn’t even have a human likeness or any proper reason. I clearly amount to nothing at all, but I was still endlessly arrogant. I was acting like a buffoon, living within my satanic disposition. I had heartfelt disgust and disdain for myself then, and I could also feel how holy God is. God had long ago seen my every thought and deed, and used that report letter to reveal my arrogance, to show how flawed, lacking in principle, and unable to get work done I was. I was really grateful to God for His judgment and chastisement that helped me know myself. Without the leader directly calling me out, who knows how far off track I’d have gone, or how much more I’d have done against principle and disrupting the church’s work. God was giving me a chance to repent and change, and that was His special grace. I set my resolve that I’d learn to forsake and deny myself in my duty, come before God more in seeking, and work according to principle.
I read a passage of God’s words that helped me understand the consequences of handling the report that way and some principles for dealing with problems. God says, “You are a leader. What does it mean to be a leader? It means guiding people in learning their lessons, in actually learning from the people, events, and things that arise in their everyday lives, actually experiencing God’s words, and actually seeing things and people for what they really are. Once there is found in you the caliber of a leader or worker, once there is found in you the caliber or conditions by which people are nurtured by the house of God, then you should start taking the lead, guiding the brothers and sisters in learning how to tell the various people, events, and things in their daily lives for what they really are, so they attain understanding of the truth, know how to react to the different kinds of people who disturb and disrupt the work of the church, know how to put the truth into practice, and act with principle toward various types of people. All of this is your responsibility. … What’s even more important is that, as a leader or worker, you should be thankful to God for giving you such opportunity, enabling you to guide the brothers and sisters in handling these people, events, and things together, in understanding how, when these people, events, and things arise, they should identify them, what lessons they should learn, what notions, imaginings, and erroneous points of view they had toward different kinds of people before these things happened, and after experiencing certain things, what lessons they learned, what erroneous notions and viewpoints were set straight, achieving a pure understanding of God’s words, seeing that only God’s words are the truth, and how these words are fulfilled. The lessons they learn should be being better able to apply God’s words in how they behave toward others, and more impartial in how they view others, rather than relying on external appearances and their own imaginings. They will view people and things through God’s words, they will use God’s words to measure a person’s humanity and whether they are truly someone who pursues the truth; they will use God’s words as the standard by which they measure everything, rather than relying on what they see, feel, conceive, or imagine. Only once they have learned these lessons will the work of a leader or worker have hit home, and this responsibility have been fulfilled. Once you have fulfilled your responsibility, the brothers and sisters will reap these benefits. If you have been through a lot, but are not able to guide the brothers and sisters in learning lessons, and are not able to tell different people, events, and things for what they really are, then you are blind, numb, senseless. When these things happened to you, you not only struggled to deal with them, were unable to bear this work, but you also affected how the brothers and sisters experienced these things. If all you do is affect how the brothers and sisters experience these things, then the problem is not too serious; but if you don’t handle it properly, if you fail in your work, not saying what you should, not fellowshiping a word of the truth that ought to be fellowshiped, saying nothing that is beneficial or edifying to people; if, when these obstructive and disruptive people, events, and things appear, many people are not only unable to receive understanding from God, are not only incapable of actively reacting to these things, and learning a lesson from them, but have more and more notions about God, are more and more wary of God, and are more and more distrustful and suspicious of God, then in this, have you not failed to fulfill your responsibility as a leader or worker? You have not carried out the work of the church properly, you have not completed the commission that God entrusted to you, you have not fulfilled the responsibility of a leader or worker, you have not led the brothers and sisters from the power of Satan; they still live in corrupt dispositions, amidst the temptations of Satan. Are you not harming people? When you are made a leader or worker, you are to fulfill the responsibility that God has entrusted to you, you are to lead the brothers and sisters before God, enabling them to equip themselves with God’s words and the principles of the truth, their trust in God growing ever greater. If you haven’t done these things—if, when something happens to them, the brothers and sisters are even more wary of God, and have even greater misunderstandings about God, and their relationship with God grows even more tense and contradictory—then have you not facilitated evil? Is this not evildoing? You have not only failed to help the brothers and sisters achieve positive entry and learn a lesson, but have taken them further from God. Is this a serious problem? (Yes.)” (“Identifying False Leaders (20)” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words went straight to the heart, as if He were exposing and dissecting me face-to-face. Blind, numb, senseless—that was me. Leaders and deacons require oversight by brothers and sisters, so when someone reports them, as a leader, I should guide others in joint seeking to learn a lesson, and know how to treat them in a principled way. But what was my attitude toward that report? One of disdain, followed by passiveness. I had no intention of seeking the truth. I was only thinking of how I would handle it without thinking of what God’s will was, what would be truly doing my duty. The words “You are a leader,” “your responsibility,” “harming people,” and “facilitated evil” really struck me to the core. I had to ask myself: As a leader, what did I do? I didn’t use that report letter to seek the truth with the others, to gain discernment and learn a lesson, and I didn’t even want the others to find out about it. I felt like they had too many problems to put on display before everyone. No one would listen to them anymore, then how would we get work done? Looking back on it now, I can see that my perspective was simply absurd. What problems of leaders can’t be taken before everyone for open discussion? Whether they’re currently in that position or they’ve already been dismissed, whatever issues they have, whether they’re suitable to keep serving as a leader or deacon are things we have principles for in God’s house. As long as we fellowship clearly on this, brothers and sisters will naturally reach a conclusion. What use is it for me to protect them? Wasn’t I intentionally trying to cover up their personal problems so the others wouldn’t find out? In fact, I was shielding and coddling the leaders and deacons. Bringing that report for everyone for open discussion would make up for my deficits, so I could learn more truth and discernment, and grasp the principles for my duty. At first I didn’t understand why I needed to do that, and I couldn’t really settle on it. I didn’t understand that requirement from the leader. Now I finally saw how important that kind of practice was. It’s so important for absolutely all of us to understand the truth and gain discernment. Reflecting on myself, as a leader, I didn’t take the initiative to follow up on leaders’ and deacons’ work, or find and deal with problems when the others reported issues. And I was operating based on my notions and arrogance, shelving the issue. It wasn’t just not doing practical work, but I was actually shielding false leaders and workers. The brothers and sisters worked up their courage to practice the truth and make that report, but I just suppressed it without a single word. They saw their report on the leader’s and deacons’ problems went nowhere, that the problematic leader and deacons could stay in place doing evil, then they wouldn’t dare report problems in the future. They’d certainly think that we, the so-called leaders were just like officials, all covering each other’s backs, and they’d think the truth doesn’t hold sway in God’s house. I was suppressing righteousness, keeping people from practicing the truth and upholding the church’s work. I wasn’t leading others to enter into the truth, encouraging them to practice the truth, or bringing them before God, but I was suppressing righteousness, tamping down their enthusiasm to practice the truth, making them afraid to practice the truth or stand up and expose leaders’ problems. This caused people to misunderstand God and God’s house. Wasn’t I guiding people away from God, onto an evil path of forsaking God? The more I thought about it, the more I felt like I was being disruptive and wreaking havoc. How could I have been so stupid? Wasn’t that what an actual false leader would do? Thinking back on the leader’s criticism of me, I knew in my heart that calling me a false leader, an antichrist, was revealing my nature and essence, my satanic disposition. I was arrogant and lacked principle in my duty. I was shielding false leaders and false workers, holding up brothers’ and sisters’ life entry and harming the work of God’s house. If the leader hadn’t exposed me in time, I would have kept suppressing others’ reports, shielding leaders and deacons who don’t do practical work. Thinking back on the environment that God arranged, exposing me that way was actually saving me. It was to cleanse and change the corruption within me. If I hadn’t been dealt with that way, I wouldn’t have seen how serious my arrogance was. If we do things our own way, don’t seek principles of truth in our duty or have a heart of reverence for God, we’re likely to stumble and fall. When I realized that, I gave heartfelt thanks for God’s judgment and revelation, and I said a silent prayer, ready to repent, forsake myself to practice truth, and follow principles in my duty.
Not long after, a sister in the church shared some problems of Sister Xiao, a leader, out of the blue. She did things without discussing with others, without principles. When I heard about that kind of behavior, I thought that I’d just promoted her to leader and she had just two months of practice, and at the time she was thought highly of by other brothers and sisters. They said she was earnest in her duty, and I felt like she did well in her duty and got practical work done. Was Sister Xiao’s issue a substantive problem? Did she need more tolerance, more help? I had a hard time believing that Sister Xiao would be exposed so quickly as a false leader. Then, I read a passage of God’s words. God says, “In your life experience, every matter must be investigated. All matters must be thoroughly contemplated in accordance with God’s word and the truth so that you know how to handle them in a way that conforms entirely with God’s will. Things that arise from your self-will can then be abandoned. You will know how to do things in accordance with God’s will, and will then go and do them; it will feel as though everything is taking its natural course, and it will seem exceedingly easy. This is how people who have the truth do things. You can then really show others that your disposition has changed, and they will see that you certainly have done some good deeds, that you do things according to principle, and that you do everything right. This is someone who understands the truth and who indeed has some human likeness. Sure enough, the word of God has reaped results in people” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words are very clear on the principles to practice. We shouldn’t act by our own will, but seek the truth, and see things according to God’s words, manage things and resolve problems according to principles. That’s following God’s will. I’d seen the assessment of Sister Xiao and discussed her duty with her occasionally, but I hadn’t had much contact with her and didn’t know her well. Since someone made a report, I should take it seriously and gain a detailed understanding of it, gain discernment from God’s words and handle things based on principle. I couldn’t blindly follow my own judgment. I asked some brothers and sisters who knew Sister Xiao well to write some evaluations, and when I saw line after line explaining how she failed to do practical work, I was shamed once again. She’d always given me the sense that she was fairly practical, but in fact, she was bossing people around in her duty. She wasn’t at all pragmatic, or dealing with practical problems and she’d only report on her successes. I thought she could do practical work, but the facts really opened my eyes, and I felt like I’d been deceived. In that moment I saw what I was actually made of. I didn’t have the reality of the truth or any discernment over others. That arrogance within me shrank before I knew it. I thought of God’s words: “… guiding the brothers and sisters in learning how to tell the various people, events, and things in their daily lives for what they really are, so they attain understanding of the truth, know how to react to the different kinds of people who disturb and disrupt the work of the church, know how to put the truth into practice, and act with principle toward various types of people. All of this is your responsibility” (“Identifying False Leaders (20)” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I thought of the positive outcomes from the last time I’d put that into practice. I knew we should seek the truth together when brothers and sisters run into a problem, and learn a real lesson. Later on, we discussed Sister Xiao’s behavior in an all-church gathering and everyone agreed, based on God’s words, she was a false leader who didn’t do practical work. Some brothers and sisters had felt before she was somewhat capable, but they learned through fellowship how to judge someone’s fitness to serve as a leader. They saw that appearing enthusiastic and busy isn’t the standard to judge a leader, but it’s whether they do practical work and can resolve the church’s real problems. We also talked about some of her actual behaviors and tied in God’s words to fellowship on her disposition and essence, and the path she was taking. While developing discernment, everyone could take that as a warning, too. Doing that really put my heart at ease and gave me a deeper understanding of what sort of work a leader should do to truly lead and help brothers and sisters.
Lately brothers and sisters have been reporting all sorts of leaders’ problems to me. Some of them are people I know to an extent, but I don’t dare rely on my so-called understanding to arbitrarily judge them, to be as brazen as before, to arrogantly, stubbornly go my own way. I have a much better, lower-key attitude. And I’m not so casual and self-assured when problems come up, but I’m able to gain a practical understanding and discuss it with others, and consciously act according to God’s words and the principles. Without being dealt with by the leader and judged by God’s words, I never would have seen my own arrogance, and I never would have denied myself. I wouldn’t have realized the importance of seeking the truth and following principles in everything as a leader. Being dealt with this way has done such a great service for my life. Thank God!