Envy Is the Rottenness of the Bones
By Su Wan, China
In November 2020, I was elected to be the leader of the watering team—I was so happy. Elected as a team leader, I felt like I understood the truth, that I had better life entry than others. I wanted to do my duty well so everyone would think highly of me. After a while, I started making some progress, and brothers and sisters said my fellowship was clear, that I could resolve some problems. This praise left me feeling really pleased with myself. But a month later, Sister Yu’s arrival changed everything. She’d been a leader before, had eye-opening fellowship, and had good caliber and work sills. She saw some issues in our work right after she came and was quick to find God’s words to fellowship on things. After a while, I noticed brothers and sisters would seek her out for fellowship, and I started to feel annoyed. I was the team leader, so if my fellowship and ability to solve problems didn’t match up to hers, what would they think of me? Would they think I wasn’t a good team leader, that I couldn’t solve problems? That thought was really embarrassing and made me feel biased against Sister Yu. I felt like she was showing off and didn’t respect me as the team leader, that she was intentionally embarrassing me. I was thinking that even though she’d been a leader before and had some experience, my caliber was no worse, so I didn’t think she could outdo me. To save face, in gatherings I tried to ponder God’s words, to fellowship better than her. When brothers and sisters encountered problems, I did everything to find God’s words to resolve them, and to think of any experience I could share so the others could see who really had the reality of the truth. I lived in a state of envy, always battling with others.
Once in a gathering, a sister brought up some difficulties she’d faced in her duty. I thought I had to have a response, that I had to find some of God’s words to help with her problem. That way the others wouldn’t see me as less than Sister Yu. But the more I wanted to, the more confused I got. I was paging back and forth without finding a suitable passage. In the end Sister Yu found a passage to discuss with her. I felt like a failure, and my face was burning with shame. I really wanted to find a hole to crawl into. The more I wanted to prove myself, the more I made a fool of myself. I felt like I could never match up to Sister Yu, no matter how hard I worked. I was feeling really miserable. I thought that I’d lost face by doing that duty, that the others had really seen through me, and the brothers and sisters must see Sister Yu as better than me, more skilled as a team leader. If so, maybe I should just resign sooner rather than later to save some face. I actually knew this kind of thinking wasn’t in line with God’s will, but I couldn’t help but feel jealous of her. I was in pain and depressed, and didn’t know how to escape those bonds of name and status. I was also delimiting myself, thinking that I’d always pursued name and status, so that was probably just my nature and I couldn’t change it. I wanted to open up to brothers and sisters about my state, but I was afraid they’d look down on me. Plus I didn’t want to acknowledge that I didn’t match up to her. So I kept feeling depressed and I grew more of a bias against Sister Yu. I saw how active she was in gatherings, so I thought she was showing off, trying to vie for status with me. I didn’t want to interact with her. I even thought about opening up to another sister about my state so she’d think my depression was all caused by Sister Yu. I wanted her to take my side and think less of Sister Yu, so she’d judge her along with me. I knew deep in my heart that I was ganging up against her, but I didn’t think too much about it. One evening, I started talking with a sister about how down I was feeling. It was generally Sister Yu suggesting which words of God we should fellowship on, and she was leading prayers, too. I felt like she overlooked me. I was feeling constrained and didn’t even want to be a team leader anymore. I thought she would take my side, but she said I should treat Sister Yu properly. A few days later, I saw that she got along well with Sister Yu, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. I was thinking that I’d shared so much with her, so how could she not have some opinion about Sister Yu? I was kind of surprised to have that thought. How could I even think that? Wasn’t I trying to form a clique, to exclude Sister Yu? I felt more and more afraid and started to reflect on myself.
I remembered some of God’s words: “If some people see someone better than they are, they suppress them, start a rumor about them, or employ some unscrupulous means so that other people don’t look highly upon them, and that no one is any better than anyone else, then this is the corrupt disposition of arrogance and self-rightness, as well as crookedness, deceitfulness and insidiousness, and these people stop at nothing to achieve their aims. … First of all, to speak from the perspective of the natures of these matters, are not people who act this way simply doing as they please? Do they consider the interests of God’s family? They think only of their own feelings and they want only to achieve their own aims, regardless of the loss suffered by the work of God’s family. Not only are people like this arrogant and self-right, they are also selfish and contemptible; they are utterly inconsiderate of God’s intention, and people like this, without a shadow of a doubt, do not possess God-fearing hearts. This is why they do whatever they want and act wantonly, without any sense of blame, without any trepidation, without any apprehension or worry, and without considering the consequences” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith). I’d never thought about myself in light of these words before. Then I finally saw that God was revealing my own state. I’d never imagined I’d be so evil. I’d been at odds with Sister Yu all that time, because I was jealous of her. Her fellowship was better and she could resolve others’ practical problems. I wasn’t happy about that, but I felt it humiliated me. Wanting to improve my image in the others’ eyes, I tried to think of everything to outdo her. When I couldn’t do that, I resented her, and judged her as showing off and trying to steal my show. I was forming a faction, spreading prejudices against her so everyone would isolate and judge her. I saw I was really arrogant and couldn’t stand anyone being better than me. I’d stop at nothing to hold on to my title as team leader—it was sinister and vile. How was I any different from those antichrists who fought and excluded others just for status? I was clearly lacking life entry and couldn’t resolve others’ practical problems. I wouldn’t let Sister Yu offer help and fellowship. Wasn’t I holding up others’ life entry, hurting my brothers and sisters? I didn’t have any humanity! I felt even more guilty at this thought, and that I’d really let down the brothers and sisters. Then I got up my courage to open up about my recent desire to go head-to-head with Sister Yu, and apologize to her. She said she could tell I wasn’t very happy while she was sharing fellowship and felt constrained, and didn’t want to share too much, afraid I’d be impacted. That’s when I realized my struggle had affected her negatively, and I felt terrible. I knew gatherings are a place to worship God, not a place to fight for name and gain. But my mind wasn’t in the right place—I wanted to vie with her, which disrupted the work of God’s house and hindered brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I was really filled with regret. Living by these kinds of satanic dispositions hurts other people, and I end up living in bitterness and pain. Envying others really does hurt me , too.
I kept seeking a path of practice. I read this in God’s words: “To be a church leader, one must not only learn to use the truth to resolve problems, but also to discover and cultivate people of talent, whom one absolutely must not suppress or envy. Such performance of duty is up to standard, and leaders and workers who do so are up to standard. If you grow able to act in all things according to the principles, you will then be living up to your loyalty. There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only about one’s own interests, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others or the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them. If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you advocate for a good person and nurture them to competence, whereupon there will be another person of talent in God’s house, will your work not then be easier to do? Will you not then have lived up to your loyalty in this duty? This is a good deed before God; it is the minimum of conscience and sense of which one who is a leader should be possessed. … Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; give no thought to your own status, prestige, or reputation. Also do not consider the interests of man. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have done your utmost to be loyal, done your best to fulfill your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of God’s house. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth). God’s words taught me that leaders and workers need to learn how to identify and cultivate talented people, and being envious of them is something God hates. Sister Yu’s fellowship was insightful and she could resolve real problems. That’s good for the church’s work and for brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I had to consider God’s will and let go of my own face and status, to work well with her and do my own duty. And being selected as a team leader was God giving me a chance to practice. It didn’t mean I knew everything. Having a shallow understanding of the truth and some other issues was normal, so I should learn from Sister Yu. But I was thinking of myself as a team leader, I thought I should be able to see into and resolve every problem, that I couldn’t be less capable than anyone else, so I was always competing with Sister Yu and I’d get depressed and miserable when I couldn’t do better than her. I was incredibly foolish. God has never demanded that leaders be able to solve every problem. He wants us to be honest people, to fellowship only on what we understand, and discuss whatever we don’t understand with brothers and sisters. That’s God’s will. I stopped feeling so envious of Sister Yu after understanding God’s will, and became able to accept and implement any good ideas she had. We worked together to fellowship and help anyone that brought up issues in gatherings, and lots of problems got solved that way.
After all that, I thought I’d changed, that I wasn’t so focused on name and status. But I was so deeply corrupted by Satan. When the right situation came along, I still couldn’t help but show that side. In July 2021, I was dismissed for failing to resolve practical problems, not being able to handle the duty of team leader. Sister Yu was elected to replace me. I knew in my heart this was a positive change and felt like she really would do a better job. Electing her would benefit brothers’ and sisters’ lives. But then I saw how much of a burden she shouldered for her duty, and that she was able to quickly handle any difficulties team members ran into. She also came up with a summary of flaws in our church life. That brought up some feelings for me. If Sister Yu accomplished more in her time as team leader, wouldn’t that make me look bad? What would everyone think of me? I was sure they’d think I was useless and lacking caliber. Thinking about it that way, I stopped hoping for a revitalization of church life. Before, whether we were fellowshiping about God’s words or talking about issues in our work, I was proactive, and helping to keep everyone engaged. But now I became the last one to speak up in gatherings, and sometimes when I gained a bit of enlightenment, I didn’t want to talk about it. I’d reluctantly say a few words at the end of our fellowship. When Sister Yu asked me to go on, I didn’t want to share more. For a while, some difficulties in their duties left brothers and sisters in a bad state, and Sister Yu was too busy to deal with it right away. I didn’t offer help, and even reveled in that difficult situation, thinking, “You’re not such an amazing leader either—no better than me!” I saw the others in a bad state and church life suffering, and I even hoped for things to continue on that way. Then I saw Sister Yu really quickly made the time to resolve these issues. I was really displeased. I started to like her less and less. It got to the point that whatever she said, whatever opinion she expressed, I didn’t even want to hear. I’d turn and look the other way when she was fellowshiping in gatherings. I knew my envy was getting worse and worse, getting more toxic, that it could hurt both her and our church life. I didn’t want that to continue, but I couldn’t escape it. In my pain, I prayed to God, “God, I don’t want to envy Sister Yu, but I can’t help myself. Please save me so I can see the dangers of name and status, so I’m freed from the bonds of my corruption.” After praying, I shared what I was going through with everyone else. Sister Yu said she’d never imagined I’d feel that way about her, and she felt terrible. I felt so guilty to hear her say that. We’d known each other for so long, I’d been so jealous of her and I’d been judging her behind her back, but she hadn’t been making any fuss. She’d been caring, fellowshiping on the truth to help me. Being that way toward her was so malicious and inhumane of me.
Then in a gathering, I read these words from God: “The antichrists consider their own status and reputation as more important than anything else. These people are not only devious, conniving, and wicked, but also vicious in nature. What do they do when they detect that their status is at risk, or when they lose their place in people’s hearts, when they lose these people’s endorsement and affection, when people no longer venerate and look up to them, and they have fallen into ignominy? They suddenly change. As soon as they lose their status, they don’t want to do anything, and everything they do is shoddy. They have no interest in performing their duty. But this isn’t the worst manifestation. What is the worst manifestation? As soon as these people lose their status, and no one looks up to them, and no one is inveigled by them, out comes the jealousy and revenge, and out comes the hate. They not only have no fear of God, but also lack any shred of obedience. In their hearts, furthermore, they are liable to hate the church, God’s house, and the leaders and workers; they long for the work of the church to run into problems or come to a standstill; they want to laugh at the house of God, and at the brothers and sisters. They also hate anyone who pursues the truth and fears God. They attack and mock anyone who is faithful in their duty and willing to pay a price. This is the disposition of the antichrist—and is it not vicious?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Two)). God shows us that antichrists are cunning, wicked, and have a vicious nature. If they lose their status or others’ endorsement, they become envious and want revenge. Not only do they muddle through in their duty, but they want things to go poorly in the church’s work. They want to make a mockery of God’s house and brothers and sisters. I realized I was in exactly the same state as how God describes antichrists in His words. After being dismissed, I’d seen what a burden Sister Yu had for her duty, that she could handle real problems. I was afraid that if she did a great job and church life improved, it would show how much better she was than me. To protect my status and image, I was longing for church life to go poorly. I didn’t want to share very clear insights I had. I reveled in it when I saw Sister Yu wasn’t resolving problems in time, I was laughing at her. I didn’t like anything about her and totally rejected her. I was showing an antichrist’s vicious disposition. I knew that church life has a direct impact on brothers’ and sisters’ life entry, that they can do their duty well only when they’re in a good state and have life entry. But I wanted to maintain my status in others’ eyes, so I not only failed to uphold church life, but I was pleased to see people’s problems going unresolved, to see nothing come of their duty. It was really insidious and malicious of me. When God’s house promotes or dismisses someone, it’s for the sake of the work. I couldn’t handle my job, so I was fired, and then a better candidate took it on. I wasn’t happy about it and wouldn’t work harmoniously with her, and I even undermined her, I was disruptive and hurt her. Was I even human? I was filled with regret at that thought and my tears just started flowing. I hated how vicious I was, and knew I didn’t deserve to live before God. I remember this Bible verse: “Envy is the rottenness of the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). It’s so true. Envy gives rise to hatred and can lead people to do crazy things.
That night, I read another passage of God’s words: “If, when it comes to the things God wants to safeguard, you are always disturbing, disrupting, and dismantling them, and if you are always despising them and have your own notions and thoughts, then what does this imply? It implies that you want to argue the toss with God, to take a different side to Him, and that you have not placed importance on the work and interests of His house. You are always trying to undermine it, always wanting to act destructively, always wanting to profit off of it, and are always trying to cause difficulties and do bad things. As such, will God be furious with you, or won’t He? (He will.) And what will this fury look like? (He will punish us.) He will definitely punish you. God will not forgive you; there is absolutely no chance of that. This is because the bad things you did undermined, vilified, and impaired the work of the church, they were a conflict of interest with the work of God’s house, a great evil, they were the inverse of God, and a direct offense to God’s disposition—so how could God not be furious with you? If some people are not up to doing a job due to their poor caliber, and they accidentally commit a few minor misdeeds, God might deal with them in an appropriate manner in accordance with the severity of their misdoings. However, if, for the sake of your own personal interests, you deliberately engage in jealousy and disputes, and knowingly transgress, and do some things that disrupt, disturb, and destroy God’s work, then you will have offended His disposition. Would He have mercy on you? God has put all His blood, sweat, and tears right here into the work of His six-thousand-year management plan. If you were to work against Him, intentionally harming the interests of His house and pursuing your own interests at the cost of the interests of His house, seeking personal fame and status, not caring about destroying the work of God’s house or causing it to be hindered and destroyed, and even causing great material and financial losses to God’s house, would you say a person like you should be pardoned? (No.)” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part One)). I got a sense of God’s unoffendable disposition from His words. I wanted to keep my status with everyone, so I was going against Sister Yu, even hoping she’d look bad. I impacted the church’s work. I wasn’t just going against another person, but I was going against God. I was holding the interests of God’s house as collateral to achieve my own aims. God has paid such a great price to save mankind, just hoping that we’ll gain the truth, change our dispositions, and be saved by Him. Only when brothers and sisters have a good church life and a good leader can they understand the truth, enter into the reality of the truth, and gain God’s salvation. I’m a created being, a follower of God, but I wasn’t considering God’s will at all. When I saw church life suffering, I felt happy about it. I even hoped things would go on that way. How could I be so despicable and evil? Satan hopes God’s management plan isn’t completed, that the work of God’s house is crippled, that everyone betrays God and loses His salvation, and that they go to hell with Satan in the end. By thinking that way and acting that way, wasn’t I just like Satan, disrupting the work of God’s house? God’s disposition won’t tolerate offense. I knew if I kept refusing to repent, I’d do even greater evil at some point, offend God’s disposition, and be eliminated by Him. That was when I really understood that pursuing name and status is not a good path. I remembered what God says: “Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts, until all people can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for the sake of fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds people with invisible shackles, and they have neither the strength nor the courage to throw them off. They unknowingly bear these shackles and trudge ever onward with great difficulty. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him and becomes increasingly wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the midst of Satan’s fame and gain” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VI). I didn’t take the issue of chasing name and status seriously, but thought I just wanted others to respect me. I thought I’d never hurt brothers and sisters or the interests of God’s house. But God’s words and the facts showed me that name and status are tools used by Satan to hurt people, to hobble them. They were shackles Satan had put on me. When the time was right, that got a hold over me and I couldn’t help but work against God. If I didn’t pursue the truth and accept God’s judgment and chastisement, but kept chasing after those things, I’d really do myself in. Since ancient times, in pursuit of status and power, people’s best friends have become bitter enemies, and those they love most have become calculating and cruel to each other. I was the same toward Sister Yu. Just thinking about my status, I couldn’t stand her anymore. I thought she was stealing my position, so I wanted to compete with her, and when I couldn’t outperform her, I wanted to form a faction to judge her. I wasn’t trying to protect church life when I saw it wasn’t doing well, I coldly stood aside, dying to see her fail so I could laugh at her. I was even willing to see the work of God’s house suffer. I saw that by chasing after name and status, I was on a path against God. At that point I felt a kind of fear grip my heart and I knew that if I didn’t repent, but kept going after name and status, disrupting the work of God’s house, at best I’d probably lose my duty, but at worst, I could become an antichrist and be expelled from the church. I’d lose my chance at salvation. I was so grateful to God once I saw this. I’d never seen the essence of name and status or the harm done by pursuing them, and I’d never really been willing to let go of that pursuit. This time God was setting up a real situation for me to personally experience the pain of living under Satan’s power, to see the ugly truth of me going after that. I could also experience God’s righteous, unoffendable disposition through the judgment of His words. I’d felt negative and weak before, like I was too corrupt to change, and I didn’t have the confidence to pursue the truth. But then I understood that even though I valued name and status too much, as long as I wanted to pursue the truth and personal change, God would guide me to understand the truth, to cast off those shackles and get on the path to salvation.
Then I read this in God’s words: “What disposition is it when people always try to be better than others, when they always try to get ahead of them, when they always try to stand out from the crowd? (An arrogant disposition.) This is not being mindful of God’s burden—God does not ask that you be mindful in this way. Some people say that this is them being competitive. In and of itself, being competitive is something negative. It is a revelation—a manifestation—of the arrogant disposition of Satan. When you have such a disposition, you are always trying keep others down, always trying to get ahead of them, always jockeying, always trying to take from people. You are highly envious, you don’t obey anyone, and you are always trying to distinguish yourself. This is trouble; this is how Satan acts. If you truly wish to be a creature of God, then do not strive for such things. Being competitive, flaunting your abilities—these are not good things; only learning to be obedient demonstrates sense.” “What are your principles for conducting yourselves? You should conduct yourselves according to your station, find the right station for you, and stand fast in your station. By way of example, there are people who are good at a profession and can grasp its principles, and they should make the final checks in this regard; there are people who can provide ideas and insights, enabling everyone else to build on their ideas and perform this duty better—they should then provide ideas. If you can find the right station for you and work in harmony with your brothers and sisters, you will be fulfilling your duty, and you will be conducting yourself according to your station” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct). This gave me a path of practice. God grants different gifts and caliber to every person. He hopes that we’ll submit to His arrangements and give play to our skills in our own position. Sister Yu was more qualified than me and could handle real problems. She was an effective team leader, and that was a good thing. I needed to learn from her strengths and do my own duty well. That was the only reasonable approach. But I was afraid of being called incompetent. I was arrogant and didn’t understand myself. I didn’t know my own place. Sister Yu was focused on entry into life and had love for our brothers and sisters. She was also really helpful when she noticed issues in me, so I should treasure that chance to work with her and focus on knowing myself in that environment God set up. That would help my life entry. That mindset gave me a sense of freedom. After that, I let go of my envy of her, and in gatherings I participated actively and cooperated with her, doing my best in fellowship and my utmost to help the others. Putting that into practice gave me a feeling of peace that I’d never had before. God puts capable brothers and sisters by my side so I can learn from their strengths and make up for my shortcomings. Then I’ll grow in life faster. That’s a priceless blessing.
This experience gave me more understanding of my corrupt nature. I saw how deeply Satan has corrupted me, how I’d stop at nothing for my own name and status, that I was truly sinister. I also experienced God’s salvation. Getting stuck in that fight for status, in that envy is really painful, and it was the judgment of God’s words that showed me the essence of what I was doing, releasing me from the bonds of my corruption so I could live more freely. I’m grateful for God’s salvation from the bottom of my heart!
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