Does the View “One Should Be Given Credit for Hard Work, If Not for Merit” Conform to the Truth?

March 10, 2024

By Enyu, China

In early August of 2022, we finished one of our gatherings and Sister Wang Jing said, “Zhang Min is isolated for reflection at home.” When I heard this, I asked, “What’s going on?” Wang Jing said, “Whenever brothers and sisters pointed out problems that emerged in her duty, Zhang Min consistently refused to accept this, and even reasoned and defended herself. She made a big scene, crying and causing a racket, even taking out her frustration on her duty. This led to the work being unable to proceed normally and caused a disruption and disturbance to church life. If she doesn’t reflect and try to know herself and still tries to defend herself, she may be cleared out.” But when I heard this, I was very surprised. I thought that Zhang Min had always forsaken and expended of herself during her many years believing in God, and that when watering newcomers, she was loving and amiable. No matter how late it was, whenever a newcomer had a problem, she would do everything in her power to fellowship with them and resolve it, and she wouldn’t drop her duty even when a family matter came up. Even though she didn’t accept the truth now, it could just be that she didn’t recognize it yet. If she gradually tried to ponder and reflect and came to recognize this, wouldn’t that be alright? She didn’t deserve to be cleared out. If someone like her was cleared out, then, considering that my forsaking and expending of myself was no match for hers, would I not also be cast out in the end? During that time, whenever I thought of this, my state became quite negative, and I lacked energy when doing my duty.

Later on, at one gathering, our church leader Wang Yu came to check the materials for Zhang Min’s clearing out, and I spoke up about my notions and my confusion, saying, “Zhang Min abandoned her family and gave up her career in performing her duty for many years; she deserves credit for hard work, if not for merit. Why is she being cleared out? If she can’t attain salvation by doing her duty like this, then since I don’t suffer as much hardship and pay as much of a price as her, should I not be cast out as well?” Seeing that I had developed notions, Wang Yu patiently fellowshipped with me, saying, “What you are seeing is how Zhang Min appears to do things on the surface; you haven’t seen what her attitude toward the truth has been all along. According to the brothers and sisters’ evaluation, when matters befell Zhang Min, she never accepted anything from God and always read too much into people and things. Brothers and sisters fellowshipped with her and helped her many times, but she didn’t accept the truth in the slightest, reasoning and defending herself, and even taking out her frustration on her duty.” And the leader gave an example, saying, “There was one time when her supervisor pointed out one of Zhang Min’s problems with watering newcomers. Zhang Min didn’t accept it and thought that the supervisor was deliberately targeting her. She lost her temper and said, ‘I can’t do this duty anymore; find someone else to do it!’ Then she walked out, crying as she went.” The leader said that these had been Zhang Min’s manifestations all along, and that every time something involved her pride and status, she would cause a big scene, and no one could hold her back. Even her supervisor was constrained by her. These behaviors of hers seriously disturbed the church life and affected the watering work. Although Zhang Min had been doing her duty during these years of believing in God, she did not pursue the truth at all, and when matters befell her, she never accepted them from God, nor did she self-reflect and learn new lessons. She was a nonbeliever. Next, Wang Yu read a passage of God’s words: “The standard by which humans judge other humans is based on their behavior; those whose conduct is good are righteous, while those whose conduct is abominable are wicked. The standard by which God judges humans is based on whether their essence submits to Him or not; one who submits to God is a righteous person, while one who does not is an enemy and a wicked person, regardless of whether this person’s behavior is good or bad and regardless of whether their speech is correct or incorrect(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). Then she fellowshipped and said, “People judge others based on their exteriors. If someone’s behavior appears to be good, then they’re a good person, and if it appears to be bad, then they’re an evil person. God looks at people based on their nature essence and their attitude toward the truth. God looks at whether people can submit to Him and to the truth, not at how much they appear to forsake, suffer, and work on the surface.” Through this fellowship, I reflected that the reason I felt sorry for Zhang Min when she was cleared out was that I only saw her exteriors. I saw that she was able to abandon her family, give up her career, endure suffering, and pay a price, and that when newcomers encountered problems, she didn’t mind taking time to fellowship with them, and so I believed that she was someone who pursued the truth. However, I didn’t look at whether she was able to accept or submit to the truth when matters befell her or what the results achieved from her duty were like. I thought that God’s house’s requirements of her were too harsh, and that she shouldn’t have been cleared out. It turned out that I couldn’t see through people or things, that I was too ignorant.

Later on, when I gathered in a small group, I found that in regard to Zhang Min’s clearing out, some brothers and sisters also had the view that “One should be given credit for their hard work, if not for merit.” Targeting this problem, I found several passages of God’s words to read. Almighty God says: “Paul did not pursue the truth. He only believed in God because he sought a future and destination for his flesh. He only sought to gain rewards and a crown. God spoke so many words, disciplined, enlightened and illuminated him so much, and yet he did not obey God or accept the truth. He always disobeyed and resisted God, and in the end, he became an antichrist and was condemned and punished. Paul serves as an example of what not to do. … According to man’s notions and imaginings, people think, ‘God shouldn’t have treated Paul that way. Paul had done so much and suffered so much. Plus, he was extremely loyal to God. Why would God treat him like that?’ Is it right for people to say this? Is it in line with the truth? In what way was Paul so loyal or devoted to God? Are they not twisting the truth? Paul was loyal and devoted to obtaining blessings for himself. Is that loyalty to God? When people do not understand the truth, cannot see the essence of a problem clearly, and speak blindly based on their emotions, are they not rebelling against God and resisting Him? No wonder everyone adores Paul! Those who are of Satan always adore Satan, and even speak for Satan based on their emotions. This means that although people may seem to have separated from Satan, they remain connected. In fact, when people speak for Satan, they are also speaking for themselves. People sympathize with Paul because they are like him, and on the same path as him. According to man’s common sense, God should not have treated Paul that way, but what He did was the exact opposite of human reason. This is God’s righteous disposition, and it is the truth. If a person speaks in accordance with man’s common sense, they may say, ‘Even if Paul did not achieve much, he put in a lot of work and effort. He should have been spared just on account of the number of years he suffered. Even if he was just a service-doer it would be okay. He shouldn’t have been punished or sent to hell.’ These are the reasonings and emotions of man—it is not the truth. What is the most lovely aspect of God? That He does not have man’s common sense. Everything He does is in accordance with the truth and His essence. He reveals a righteous disposition. God has no regard for your subjective wishes, nor for the objective facts of what you have done. God determines and defines what kind of person you are based on what you do, what you reveal, and the path you walk, and then assumes the most appropriate attitude toward you. This is how Paul’s end came about. Looking at the matter of Paul, it seems as if God was devoid of love. Peter and Paul were both created beings, but while God commended and blessed Peter, He exposed, dissected, judged, and condemned Paul. You cannot see God’s love in the way He decided Paul’s end. So, based on what happened to Paul, could you say that God does not love? No, you cannot, because God disciplined him many times, illuminated him, giving him many chances to repent, but Paul stubbornly refused and walked the path of resistance to God. So in the end, God condemned and punished him(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Understanding the Truth Can One Know God’s Deeds). “Some people will end up saying, ‘I’ve done so much work for You, and though I may not have made any celebrated achievements, still I have been diligent in my efforts. Can’t You just let me into heaven to eat the fruit of life?’ You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy, then it will be intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and who are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—this is an unalterable truth!(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks). “I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God shall also be punished. This is an immutable fact(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination). From God’s words, I saw that God’s disposition is righteous and holy. What a person’s outcome is and whether or not they are saved does not depend on how much work they appear to do or how much they appear to forsake and expend of themselves. What is important is whether or not this person is someone who pursues the truth, and whether or not they change their life disposition. If they only focus on working hard and do not pursue changing their life disposition, then they will ultimately be unable to stand firm and have to be cast out sooner or later. It’s just like Paul during the Age of Grace. He worked for many years, endured much suffering, gained quite a few people while spreading the gospel, and founded a lot of churches, but his expending of himself was all in order to gain rewards and a crown, and his intention was to make transactions with God. What’s more, Paul’s nature was extremely arrogant and conceited, and he had no regard for anyone, even testifying that he lived as Christ did. Paul walked the antichrist’s path of resisting God, and in the end, he offended God’s disposition and met God’s punishment. I made the same mistake when it came to Zhang Min being cleared out. I believed that Zhang Min worked hard and abandoned her family and gave up on her career to do her duty, and that she should be credited for her hard work if not for her merit, or at least for how weary she was, and that at minimum, she should be given a chance to repent. Now, looking at her consistent manifestations, I saw that she did not accept the truth in the slightest and was sick of the truth, and that each time a matter befell her, as long as it touched upon her pride and status, she would make a big scene of it. Not only did she not accept the brothers and sisters’ pointers and help, she would be unreasonably troublesome, curse and talk nonsense, and take out her frustration on her duty. She looked nothing like a person who believed in God. When brothers and sisters exposed and pointed out her problems, she thought that they were purposely embarrassing her, and sometimes she would feel wronged and thus ignore the leader, which led to the leader being unable to implement work. By being in the church, she brought disturbances to the brothers and sisters and the work, and it could be said that the cons outweighed the pros. The church clearing her out completely revealed God’s righteousness. However, I hadn’t judged this issue based on the truth principles. When I heard that she was cleared out, I misunderstood God and came to Zhang Min’s defense. I saw that I didn’t have the truth and didn’t know how to discern people, and that I could resist God at any time.

Later, I read another passage of God’s words. Almighty God says: “People who are unreasonably troublesome generally might not commit any significant treacherous or evil deeds, but the moment their interests, reputation, or dignity get involved, they immediately explode in anger, throw tantrums, act barbarically, and even threaten self-harm. Tell Me, if such an absurd and barbaric person emerges in a family, wouldn’t the whole family suffer? The household would then be engulfed in a foul and gloomy atmosphere, filled with cries and howls, making it unbearable to live. Some churches have such people; although it might not be apparent when everything is normal, you never know when they might have an outbreak and reveal themselves. The primary manifestations of such people include throwing tantrums, spouting preposterous arguments, and swearing in public, among others. Even if these behaviors occur only once a month or every half-year, they cause great distress and difficulty, bringing varying degrees of disturbance to the church life of most people. If it is indeed confirmed that someone falls within this category, they should be handled promptly and cleared out from the church. Some might say, ‘These people don’t do any evil per se. They can’t be considered evil people; they should be tolerated and endured.’ Tell Me, would it be okay to not handle such people? (No, it would not be okay.) Why not? (Because their actions cause significant trouble and vexation to most people, and also cause disturbances to church life.) From this conclusion, it’s clear that those who disturb church life, even if they are not evil people or antichrists, should not remain in the church. Because such people do not love the truth but are sick of it, no matter how many years they believe in God or how many sermons they hear, they will not accept the truth. Once they do something bad and are dealt with and pruned, they throw tantrums and spout nonsense. Even when someone fellowships the truth to them, they do not accept it. Nobody can reason with them. Even when I fellowship the truth to them, they may remain silent outwardly but do not accept it inwardly. When faced with some actual situation, they still act as they always have. They don’t listen to My words, so your advice would be even less accepted by them. Although these people may not commit acts of major evil, they do not accept the truth one bit. Looking at their nature essence, not only do they lack conscience and reason, but they can also cause needless trouble and be unreasonable. Can such people achieve God’s salvation? Absolutely not! Those who do not accept the truth at all amount to nonbelievers, they are lackeys of Satan. When things do not go their way, they throw tantrums, persistently spout absurd arguments, and do not listen to the truth no matter how it’s fellowshipped. Such people are unreasonable troublemakers, purely devils and evil spirits; they are worse than beasts! They amount to mental cases with unsound minds, and are never capable of true repentance. The longer they stay in the church, the more notions they have about God, the more unreasonable demands they make on God’s house, and the greater the disturbance and harm they cause to church life. This affects the life entry of God’s chosen people and the normal progress of church work. Their harm to the work of the church is no less than that of evil people; they should be cleared out from the church early on. Some people say, ‘Aren’t they just being a bit barbaric? They don’t reach the point of being evil, so wouldn’t it be better to treat them with love? If we keep them, maybe they can change and be saved.’ I tell you, it’s impossible! There’s no ‘maybe’ about it—these people absolutely cannot be saved. It’s because they cannot understand the truth, much less accept it; they lack conscience and reason, their thought processes are abnormal, and they even lack the most basic common sense required for being human. They are people with unsound minds. God absolutely does not save such people(The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers (26)). From God’s words, I saw that although people who are unreasonably troublesome don’t do anything greatly evil, whenever something involves their own interests, they make a big scene and engage in false reasoning. No matter how one fellowships on the truth with them, they don’t accept it, and they seriously disturb church life. Additionally, such people who are unreasonably troublesome do not possess the conscience and reason of normal humanity, and no matter how many years they’ve believed in God, they can’t understand a shred of the truth. God does not save such people. Zhang Min is this sort of person. As long as something touched upon her interests, she would stir up trouble and make a huge scene, turning a perfectly fine gathering into a chaotic mess. It was impossible for others to calm down and fellowship on God’s words. These kinds of people should be handled in a timely manner to safeguard church life. In fact, people with a bit of conscience and reason are all aware that being cleared out is not an accident, and they will calm their hearts to properly self-reflect and learn lessons from it. Even though they don’t understand at the time, at least they won’t spread their notions and give vent to their emotions; people like this have a bit of a God-fearing heart and still have a chance to repent. But when this matter befell Zhang Min, she didn’t seek the truth or self-reflect, and instead was full of notions and misunderstandings toward God, judging Him for being unrighteous, and even asking why He gave others a chance but not her. After being cleared out, she still did not reflect on herself, reasoning and clamoring against God while giving vent to her discontent and indignance, as well as spreading her notions and misleading people. Seeing that she didn’t have the slightest attitude of repentance, her being cleared out was entirely God’s righteousness!

From this experience, I came to understand how important it is to discern people’s essence based on God’s words. The saying “One should be given credit for hard work, if not for merit” was a fallacy and not in keeping with the truth. Those who don’t know how to discern others based on God’s words will be misled and even regard nonbelievers and evil people as their brothers and sisters and come to their defense. Only viewing people and things according to God’s words is accurate. I no longer felt sorry for Zhang Min for being cleared out, and I was also more alert with myself to ensure that when I was pruned and dealt with or judged and chastised, I was able to seek the truth, reflect on myself, and believe that whatever God does is righteous. That I am able to reap some gains is a result achieved by God’s words.

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