What Disposition Is Behind Your Being Argumentative?
By Chen’mo, South Korea
After years of believing in God, I knew in principle that God likes people who accept the truth. If people believe in God without accepting the truth, no matter how much they suffer, their life disposition will never change. I wanted to be someone who accepts the truth, but when I was pruned and dealt with, I involuntarily argued and defended myself, and sometimes I refuted other people. After a while, I regretted it, and I wondered: Why did I argue? Why did I feel the need to say so much? But regret only went so far, and because I never saw the essence of the problem clearly, I never gained any genuine entry. Recently, after some experiences, I finally began to reflect on myself, seek the truth, recognize that always arguing is actually the satanic disposition of being weary of the truth, and know that if I don’t repent and change, I’m in danger.
I supervise gospel work in my church. Once, at a work summary meeting, the watering supervisor, Sister Liu, reported a problem in gospel work, saying, “Recently, gospel personnel don’t tell us in time the states of newcomers who need watering, which means we can’t provide watering that targets the newcomers’ notions and problems.” When I heard Sister Liu mention the problem in my work in front of so many people, I felt my shame rising in my chest. “Don’t you just mean to say I don’t do practical work? It’s not that I didn’t fellowship with the brothers and sisters on these issues. I told them about this long ago, but things take time to change, don’t they? Many of them just started doing gospel work. Why are you demanding so much from them?” I couldn’t accept what she said at all, and I felt she was inconsiderate of people’s difficulties. At the time, I wanted to express my thoughts all at once, but I worried everyone would say I didn’t accept suggestions, which would make me look bad, so I reluctantly took her suggestion and obeyed. Afterwards, I stressed to my brothers and sisters that they had to take time to give timely feedback on the newcomers who needed watering. After a while, things got a little better, and I didn’t reflect too much on it beyond that. That was until one day, when I learned that some waterers weren’t working well with gospel personnel, and had some prejudices against gospel personnel. I couldn’t help but presuppose, “This must be because Sister Liu always talks about the problems of the gospel personnel.” I started to complain about her in my mind, “She’s so annoying. She never thinks about what she should say in what situation. Every time we go over work, she always has to mention that gospel personnel don’t give timely feedback about the newcomers. Everyone hears that and gets ideas about us. If this continues, how will we cooperate in our duty in the future?” As I thought of this, an indescribable rage took hold of me. I reported this situation to our leader, and said Sister Liu constantly spread dissatisfaction in her group about the gospel personnel, which made it impossible for us to cooperate. As I was typing out the message, I had some concerns about it. “Is it appropriate to report this as a problem? Is ‘spreading’ really the best term to use here?” But then I thought, “What I’m saying is a fact. Every time Sister Liu talks about the gospel personnel’s problems, she sighs. Her sigh alone makes it sound like the situation is hopeless. Isn’t she just spreading her dissatisfaction? What I’m saying about her is fair.” Just like that, I sent the message without thinking any more about it. The next day, Sister Liu sent me a message: “If what I said is inappropriate, you are welcome to tell me. How do my words amount to ‘spreading dissatisfaction’?” When I saw her message, I knew the leader had fellowshiped with her. When I saw her attitude was refusal to accept or reflect on herself, I was furious. “Just how numb are you? You don’t even realize what you think and what you say, do you? Your sighs make it obvious how dissatisfied with the gospel personnel you are. Your disdainful attitude is affecting other people. How is this not spreading dissatisfaction?” I even wanted to call her and argue the point with her, but then I thought, “If I call her right now, won’t the two of us just start quarreling? If everyone hears about our fight, it would just be embarrassing. It would make the relationship awkward, and then how would we cooperate? This isn’t safeguarding church work. I’ve believed in God for so long, so why am I still so impulsive when things like this happen?” At this moment, I recalled God’s word. “For all who fulfill their duty, however profound or shallow their understanding of the truth, the simplest way of practice by which to enter the reality of the truth is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything, and to let go of selfish desires, individual intentions, motives, pride, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least one should do” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 2, In Giving One’s Heart to God, One Can Obtain the Truth). The words “the interests of God’s house” finally stilled my mind and made me reflect on myself. The interests of God’s house are what matters most. My dispute with my sister was just a fight over who was wrong, wasn’t it? Both of us were supervisors. If we started quarreling over this and became estranged and prejudiced, it would impact the work. This would be spoiling the greater purpose. Also, I characterized Sister Liu’s reporting of the problem as spreading dissatisfaction, but this characterization might not be accurate. Spreading dissatisfaction is inverting black and white, confusing right and wrong, and calling a positive thing negative. It means having improper intentions and saying something to attack and condemn others to achieve your own goals. However, the problem Sister Liu described in our work was accurate. She was objectively stating the problem. There were manifestations of muddling through and irresponsibility in how the gospel personnel did their duty, so she was saying this to improve the deviations and loopholes in our work. This was beneficial to gospel work, and there were no improper personal intentions in it. Even if her tone was wrong, it was to make the work better. But I characterized her action as spreading dissatisfaction about the gospel personnel. I was attacking and labeling her. Thinking of this, I felt a little guilty, so I replied to her, “I spoke inappropriately. I apologize.” She accepted my apology, and said we should communicate and cooperate more, and work together to do our duties well. When I saw her reply, I felt ashamed. But I was also glad I had calmed down. Otherwise, there would be a rift between us, and the work would definitely be affected. At the time, that was where I let the matter rest, but I felt I didn’t gain much self-knowledge of my corruption, so I prayed to God, asking Him to enlighten me so I could know myself.
Then one day, as I was writing an article, I saw some of God’s words. Almighty God says, “What is the most crucial attitude to have toward being dealt with or pruned? First, you must accept it, no matter who is dealing with you, for what reason, whether it comes across as harsh, or what the tone and wording, you should accept it. Then, you should recognize what you have done wrong, what corrupt disposition you have exposed, and whether you acted in accordance with the principles of truth. When you are pruned and dealt with, first and foremost, this is the attitude you should have. And are antichrists possessed of such an attitude? They do not; from start to finish, the attitude they exude is one of resistance and aversion. With an attitude like that, can they be quiet before God and modestly accept pruning and being dealt with? That cannot be. So, what will they do, then? First of all, they will vigorously argue and offer justifications, defending and arguing against the wrongs they have done and the corrupt disposition they have revealed, in hopes of winning people’s understanding and forgiveness, so that they need not take any responsibility or accept words that deal with them and prune them. … They turn a blind eye to their own mistakes, however evident they are and however great a loss they have caused. They do not feel the least bit sad or guilty, and their conscience does not reproach them at all. Instead, they justify themselves with all their might and wage a war of words, thinking, ‘This is a free-for-all. Everyone has their reasons; it comes down to who’s the better talker. If I can pass my justification and my explanation off on a majority, then I win, and the truths you speak of aren’t truths, and your facts aren’t valid. You want to condemn me? No way!’ When an antichrist is dealt with and pruned, in the depths of their heart and soul, they are absolutely, resolutely resistant and averse, and reject it. Their attitude is, ‘Whatever you have to say, however right you may be, I won’t accept it, and I won’t admit to it. I’m not at fault.’ No matter how the facts bring their corrupt disposition to light, they do not acknowledge or accept it, but go on with their defiance and resistance. Whatever others say, they do not accept it or acknowledge it, but think, ‘Let’s see who can outtalk whom; let’s see whose mouth is quicker.’ This is one sort of attitude with which antichrists regard being dealt with and pruned” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Eight)). “When an antichrist is dealt with and pruned, ask first: Can they confess to their evil deeds? Ask second: Can they reflect on themselves and know themselves? And ask third: Can they receive from God when faced with dealing and pruning? With these three measures, one can see the nature and essence of an antichrist. If a person can submit when dealing and pruning befall them, and reflect on themselves, and thereby recognize their own corrupt outflow and essence, then that is someone who can accept the truth. They are not an antichrist. These three measures are precisely what an antichrist lacks. When an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, they do something else instead, something no one expected—that is, when they are pruned and dealt with, they make unfounded countercharges. Instead of confessing their wrongdoing and acknowledging their corrupt disposition, they condemn the person who deals with and prunes them. How do they do that? They say, ‘Not all dealing and pruning is right, necessarily. Dealing and pruning is all about man’s condemnation, man’s judgment; it’s not done on God’s behalf. God alone is righteous. Whoever would condemn others is to be condemned.’ Is this not an unfounded countercharge? What kind of person is it that would make such unfounded countercharges? Only an unremitting pest who is impervious to reason would do so, and only someone who is of an ilk with the devil Satan would do so. Someone with a conscience and sense would never do such a thing” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Eight)). God’s word revealed that antichrists’ attitude toward pruning and dealing is weariness and resistance. Even when the facts are put before them, they don’t admit their mistakes. To maintain their dignity and status, they try to justify themselves, defend themselves, and fight with others, to the point that they can invert black and white and condemn those who deal with them. I realized my behavior was the same as that of the antichrists revealed in God’s word. I am the supervisor of gospel work. The problem Sister Liu mentioned with how gospel personnel performed their duties was a loophole in my own work, but not only did I refuse to accept it, I argued and defended myself in my heart. I felt there was nothing wrong with me, and my sister was deliberately trying to embarrass me, so I formed a prejudice against her. Afterwards, I found leverage on her, inverted black and white to judge her, reversed the blame, and falsely complained to the leader. I really had no humanity. I used the pretext of considering the difficulties of gospel personnel to stop others from pointing out problems. Superficially, I was empathizing with my brothers and sisters, but actually, I was arguing and defending myself. If I was genuinely taking responsibility for the lives of my brothers and sisters, I would have given more pointers and help to resolve the problems and reverse the deviations. That would have actually benefited them. Instead, I did the opposite. Where the problems in their work were concerned, not only did I not help or resolve them through fellowship on the truth, I repeatedly covered them up. How was I taking responsibility for the lives of my brothers and sisters? I was clearly just maintaining my own image and status. Those difficulties became a reason and excuse for me to not accept the truth or pruning and dealing. I was so deceitful and so wicked.
Later, I thought, there were clearly problems in how I did my duty, so why was I so confident in blaming others for my problems? Why didn’t I feel ashamed or uneasy? What was the root cause of this problem? I continued to seek, and read another passage of God’s word. Almighty God says, “When an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, the first thing they do is resist and reject it deep in their heart. They fight it. And why is that? This is because antichrists, by their very nature and essence, are sick of and hate the truth, and they do not accept the truth at all. Naturally, an antichrist’s essence and disposition prevent them from acknowledging their own mistakes or acknowledging their own corrupt disposition. Based on these two facts, an antichrist’s attitude toward being pruned and dealt with is to reject and oppose it, completely and utterly. They detest and resist it from the bottom of their heart, and have not the slightest hint of acceptance or submission, much less any genuine reflection or repentance. When an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, no matter who does it, what it pertains to, the degree to which they are to blame for the matter, how blatant the error, how much wickedness they commit, or what consequences their wickedness creates for the church—the antichrist doesn’t consider any of this. To an antichrist, the one pruning and dealing with them is singling them out, or deliberately finding faults to punish them. The antichrist may even go so far as to say that they are being bullied and humiliated, that they are not being treated humanely, and that they are being belittled and scorned. After an antichrist is pruned and dealt with, they never reflect on what it was that they have actually done wrong, what sort of corrupt disposition they have revealed, whether they sought the principles in the matter, or whether they acted in accordance with the principles of the truth or fulfilled their responsibilities. They do not examine themselves or reflect on any of this, nor do they ponder these issues. Instead, they approach dealing and pruning according to their own will and with hot-headedness” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Twelve: They Want to Retreat When There Is No Position and No Hope of Gaining Blessings). I understood from God’s word that antichrists can’t accept pruning and dealing because of their nature of being weary of the truth and hating the truth. They are unable to accept all positive things from God and they despise advice that accords with the truth. I reflected on myself and saw that from start to finish, my attitude towards my sister’s advice was refusal to accept, because in my mind, I had already decided, “None of you directly work with us, but you give advice without understanding the situation, which means you are being unreasonable and making things hard.” Although I didn’t say anything out loud, and gave the illusion of obedience, in my mind, I had all the reasons laid out in order, ready to use to deny others’ views and refuse to accept advice. I also repeatedly stressed that I had said what I was asked to say and I had done as I was asked, by which I was implying, “What else do you want from me? I did what I was asked to, so I was practicing the truth. You can’t accuse me. If you accuse me again, you are in the wrong.” In my refusal to accept their pointers and help, what I revealed was the satanic disposition of being weary of the truth. At this time, I thought of a passage of God’s word that stirred me. God says, “Many believe that the truths that are unacceptable to them or that they cannot practice are not truths. In such people, My truths become something that is denied and cast aside” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 1, You Ought to Consider Your Deeds). I claimed to admit that God’s word is the truth, that pruning and dealing is beneficial to people’s life entry, and that it helps people reflect on themselves, but in actuality, when I really faced pruning and dealing, or when others criticized me, I felt resistance and resentment. If anyone accused me or gave me advice, I didn’t accept it, I offered excuses to argue my case and defend myself, and I didn’t seek the principles of truth at all. I simply did whatever I wanted and acted as I pleased. After detailed analysis, I saw that my arguing was outwardly defending the gospel personnel, but actually it was safeguarding my own image and status, as if the more I argued, the more understanding and sympathy I would get from my brothers and sisters. This way, no matter how big the problem was with gospel work, I never had to take the blame, no one could accuse me, and my image was never damaged. I was so deceitful! Outwardly, this arguing protected my own image, but because I didn’t seek or accept the truth, all I revealed was a satanic disposition, and I lost my character and dignity. Recognizing this, I began to regret believing in God for so many years without properly pursuing the truth. Every time I was pruned and dealt with, although I didn’t say anything, my mind was full of arguments, and I couldn’t calm down and properly reflect on myself. The result was that I experienced things without gaining anything. Thinking of this, I told myself I would no longer argue if things happened that didn’t align with my notions. Instead, I would calm myself, pray to God, and properly learn lessons. This was the most important thing.
Before long, I took on some part-time film work. One day, I received a message that a newcomer had believed some rumors and spread some fallacies in the group. To prevent more newcomers from being deceived, we had to fellowship on the truth with them quickly. But at that moment, an issue with film work also needed my attention. I was torn, because both matters were urgent, but I had already handed off the matter of the newcomers to someone else, so I decided to go to the film shoot first. When I got to the film shoot, there was something that kept me there a long time. Then, my leader called me and said, “Why don’t you know how to prioritize things? When the newcomers are deceived, this is more important than anything. What could matter more than that? You can have a part-time film job, but you can’t let it interfere with your primary work, right? You need to examine yourself and see if you have any motives for treating your work like this. Maybe you value the chance to show your face on camera a little too highly.” Faced with this kind of pruning and dealing, I couldn’t help but want to argue again. “Didn’t I already ask someone else to handle the newcomers being deceived? At worst, I only delayed solving the problem by a little bit, right? I suppose I can accept you saying I don’t know how to prioritize what’s important, but saying I want to show off is completely unacceptable! First of all, I’m not doing the part-time film work as an actor, and second, I have no desire to show my face on camera, so why are you saying this about me? Is it because you’re worried I’ll be distracted and less effective in my work, which will make the results of your work look bad?” As I thought these things, I suddenly realized I was wrong. How did I turn this into someone else’s fault in my mind? Why was I thinking about attacking someone else again? Wasn’t I just starting to be argumentative again? At this moment, I thought of a passage of God’s word, “Regardless of what the reason is—though you may have an enormous grievance—if you do not accept the truth, you are done for. God looks at your attitude, especially in matters that concern the practice of the truth. Will complaining be of use to you? Can your complaining resolve the problems of a corrupt disposition? And even if your complaint is justified, so what? Will you have gained the truth? Will God approve of you before Him? When God says, ‘You are not one who practices the truth. Go off to one side; I am sick of you,’ are you not then done for? With that one phrase—‘I am sick of you’—God will have revealed and defined you as a person” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 2, Submission to God Is a Basic Lesson in Gaining the Truth). I understood from God’s word that when I was pruned and dealt with, God wanted to see my attitude. If I always argued, picked at other people’s faults, didn’t seek the truth, and get stuck on issues, then I hadn’t learned my lesson. No matter how good or high-sounding my reasoning was, even if everyone understood and approved, what was the use? If I didn’t accept the truth, my life disposition would never change. Thinking of this, I came before God to pray, and asked Him to enlighten me so I could know myself. Over the next few days, I frequently asked myself, “What mistaken intentions do I have?” As I reflected, I suddenly thought of something. In my part-time film work, I knew the upper-level leaders had asked for me for the job, so I immediately became proactive. The movie was very important to the upper-level leaders, so I knew I had to do my best. Although it was part-time, I wanted to consider everything thoroughly and be comprehensive in my advice. I didn’t want any problems to appear. If something went wrong, how would the leaders look at me? So, during this time, I was very enthusiastic and proactive. That I didn’t want to appear on camera didn’t mean I had no personal intentions. Actually, I was doing it to gain the high regard of the leaders and to impress others. I was doing it to maintain my image and status. In a matter as important as newcomers being deceived, I should have discussed my schedule and coordinated with the brothers and sisters doing film work. I easily could have handled the newcomer issue first. But when I thought of how the upper-level leaders were paying attention to the film, I failed to prioritize the important thing, put the newcomers aside, and went to the film shoot first. I wasn’t being considerate of God’s will in my duty, I was maintaining my status and reputation. I was so selfish and despicable! If my sister hadn’t pruned and dealt with me, I wouldn’t have reflected on myself, and I wouldn’t have recognized the personal intentions adulterating my duty. Once I realized this, the grievances in my heart vanished. I felt that I was corrupt and that my intentions were ugly. God didn’t use people and matters to prune and deal with me as a means to humiliate or embarrass me, it was to purify me, to guide me in doing my duty in line with principles, and help me enter the realities of truth. I also understood that when I didn’t argue for myself, and was able to obey and seek, God would enlighten me to make me realize my shortcomings and inadequacies so that I could avoid doing things according to my ideas and harming the work of the church. With these realizations and gains, not only did I feel no torment in my heart, I actually felt very fulfilled. These were wonderful experiences.
Later, I found some paths of practice in God’s word. God says, “Which of people’s states does learning the lesson of obedience chiefly solve? It solves people’s arrogant and conceited disposition, and it solves the most rebellious of all dispositions: the tendency to reasoning. When people are able to accept the truth and stop coming out with their own reasoning, this problem of rebelliousness will be solved, and they will be capable of obedience. And if people are to be able to attain obedience, do they need to be possessed of a certain degree of rationality? They must be possessed of a normal person’s sense. In some matter, for example: Regardless of whether we have done the right thing or not, if God is not satisfied, we should do as God says, God’s words are the standard for everything. Is this rational? Such is the sense that ought to be found in people before anything else. No matter how much we suffer, and no matter what our intentions, aims, and reasons are, if God is not satisfied—if God’s requirements have not been met—then our actions have unquestionably not been in line with the truth, so we must listen to and obey God, and should not try to reason or rationalize with God. When you possess such rationality, when you possess a normal person’s sense, it is easy to solve your problems, and you will be truly obedient, and no matter what situation you are in, you will not be disobedient, and will not defy God’s requirements, you will not analyze whether what God asks is right or wrong, good or bad, you will be able to obey—thus solving your state of reasoning, intransigence, and rebelliousness. Does everyone have these rebellious states within them? These states often appear in people, and they think to themselves, ‘As long as my approach, propositions, and suggestions are sensible, then even if I do things wrong, I should not be pruned or dealt with, and I can refuse to be pruned or dealt with.’ This is a common state in people, and is the primary difficulty in them being incapable of obeying God. If people truly understand the truth, they will be able to effectively solve this kind of rebellious state” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 2, The Five Conditions That Must Be Met to Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God). After contemplating God’s word, I understood, to resolve an argumentative rebellious disposition, the key is to have an attitude of obedience. No matter how good your arguments, if they aren’t in line with the truth, or if someone raises an objection, then you should first accept, seek the truth, reflect on yourself, and understand yourself. This is the reason you should possess, as well as the path of practice. Argumentative people do not seek or accept the truth and lack an obedient attitude, so no matter how many things they experience, they will never grow in life. Only by obeying God, accepting the truth, and reflecting on ourselves using God’s words can our corrupt dispositions change. Over all the years I believed in God, whenever I was pruned and dealt with, I usually felt resistance in my heart and always wanted to argue. I missed so many opportunities to gain the truth. Believing like this, I might believe another twenty years, but what would I gain? Realizing this, I told myself, from now on, when I am pruned and dealt with, no matter how bad it feels, I will obey and learn the lessons. These are opportunities to gain truth and change, so I should cherish them and strive to be a person who accepts the truth and obeys God.
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