Freed From Envy
By Claude, France
At the beginning of 2021, I was serving as a preacher and was partnered with Brother Matthew to preside over church work. I had just started in that duty and there was still much I didn’t understand, so I often came to him with questions. During that time, Matthew would often tell me about the corrupt dispositions he displayed in his duty. Over time, I came to look down on him. I thought I wasn’t as corrupt as him, and it wasn’t beneficial for me to be partnered with him. I thought I was better than him. I even thought: “How did he become a preacher first? I used to be his leader. I should be the one telling him how to be a preacher, not the other way around. Since he became a preacher first, everyone thinks more highly of him.” I just couldn’t accept this, and I knew I could do better than him. To excel above him, I would often compare our work. For instance, when Matthew told me he didn’t have enough time to keep up with all of his work, I’d be happy, knowing that I had already caught up on all the work I was responsible for and, thus, the upper leadership would think more highly of me. To my surprise, however, Matthew did a great job on the work he was responsible for. One day, the leader assigned us to identify some people that could be trained as watering workers. In just two days, Matthew had already found 3 candidates. I panicked, thinking: “I’ve gotta get going. At the very least I need to match Matthew’s numbers. Otherwise, he’ll earn more praise than me.” So, in just three days, I found seven people. I felt very satisfied because I’d done better than Matthew. But when the leader came to ask me about the candidates’ situations, he concluded that none of them were suitable to serve as watering workers. I hadn’t understood their actual situations when I was identifying them as candidates. But Matthew’s candidates were all considered suitable—they had caliber, good humanity, they loved the truth and were willing to expend themselves for God. Those past three days of work had all been in vain and I felt so down. I also began to feel jealous of Matthew. Why did he always get such good results in his duty? And why didn’t I? He would enthusiastically sharein our groups, and would even follow up on the work I was responsible for—there was just no way to distinguish myself with him around. I was so fed up with him and even began to hate him. Why did I have to fulfill my duty with him? I didn’t want him to be so noticeable and I wished he wouldn’t get results in his work. I kept vying for fame and didn’t change my ways.
During that time, I was supervising the work of Sister Anais, who was a church leader. She was in a bad state because she wasn’t doing well with her duty, and so my leader had me go give her some support. But when I contacted her, she told me that she’d already sought out Matthew to seek and fellowship, and Matthew had shared God’s words with her and helped her resolve her issue. This made me feel like I had no function. I was very unhappy that Matthew had meddled in my work. This church leader was under my supervision and I didn’t want people thinking that I wasn’t fulfilling my duty and resolving issues. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got and I really didn’t want to partner with Matthew anymore. I wanted to work on my own because then I could make people notice me. After that, I tried to avoid him while fulfilling my duties. One time, Matthew asked me to discuss a problem we would fellowship on in a gathering. He called and texted me, but I intentionally ignored him. I didn’t want to discuss anything with him. When he asked me questions about work, I wouldn’t respond in a timely fashion, and when he asked me to fellowship at the gathering, I intentionally kept quiet and told him to fellowship himself. I thought to myself: “After all, as long as you’re here, the brothers and sisters won’t notice me. So what’s the point of fellowshiping?” During one gathering, Matthew asked me for my opinion after he’d finished fellowshiping. I thought he had fellowshiped too much and had said everything I had wanted to say, so I was pretty unhappy. So, I said to him: “You’re fellowshiping with an arrogant disposition. You didn’t expose your own corrupt nature, and just vaguely discussed some of your understanding. You only gave an outline, but failed to discuss details.” I knew what I’d said wasn’t accurate—I’d said it intentionally. I just wanted to tamp down on his enthusiasm, so that he wouldn’t speak as much in future gatherings. When he’d send me messages asking how I was doing or regarding other things, I wouldn’t respond. I thought then he’d know that I didn’t want to partner with him. I even wanted him to stop sending me messages. I just wanted him to leave and give me some room to put my talents to play. I also wanted to do my duty full-time like him, so that whenever the brothers and sisters needed me, I would be there for them right away. That way they’d all think highly of me. I wanted to quit my worldly job and devote myself completely to my duty, but I still needed work to make a living and support my family. I felt quite depressed that I couldn’t devote myself full-time to my duty like Matthew. I even thought: “I might as well quit being a preacher. That way I won’t have to partner with Matthew. I won’t be influenced by him if I switch to a different duty and I’ll be able to distinguish myself.” But when I actually considered quitting, I felt a bit guilty and didn’t know what to do. I prayed to God, asking Him to help me understand my current state.
I thought of a passage of God’s words that says: “Duties come from God; they are the responsibility and commission that He hands off to man. How, then, should man understand them? ‘Since this is my duty and God’s commission of me, it is my obligation and responsibility. It is only right that I should be honor-bound to accept it. I can’t decline or refuse it; I can’t pick and choose. What falls to me is certainly what I ought to do. It’s not that I’m unqualified to make a choice—it’s that I shouldn’t make a choice. This is the sense that a created being ought to have’” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). Through God’s words, I realized that our duties are bestowed by God. I should hold to my duty and fulfill my responsibilities. I shouldn’t evade responsibilities and be choosy. This was the reason I ought to have. As for me, because my fervent desire to surpass Matthew hadn’t been satisfied, I wanted to quit my duty. This was so hurtful to God! I didn’t treat my duty as a responsibility, but rather as a way of distinguishing myself, and a means of winning respect and admiration. I wanted to quit my job and go full-time in my duty not in order to satisfy God in fulfilling that duty, but rather to vie for status with my partner and surpass him. When I wasn’t able to do my duty full-time due to practical concerns, I wanted to switch to a different duty to get a chance to distinguish myself. Reality showed me that everything that I did wasn’t really in order to perform my duty, but rather to use my duty as an opportunity to vie for status. God detests such behavior.
Later on, I came across some of God’s words.says, “Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? Despite the hundreds of thousands of words God has spoken, no one has come to their senses. People act for the sake of their families, sons and daughters, for their careers, future prospects, position, vainglory, and money, for the sake of food, clothing, and the flesh. But is there anyone whose actions are truly for the sake of God? Even among those who act for the sake of God, there are but few who know God. How many people do not act out of their own interests? How many do not oppress or ostracize others in order to protect their own position? And so, God has been forcibly sentenced to death innumerable times, and countless barbaric judges have condemned God and once more nailed Him to the cross. How many can be called righteous because they truly act for the sake of God?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished). “There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed while they 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 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 recommend a good person and let them undergo training and perform a duty, thereby adding a person of talent to 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” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). Through God’s words, I came to understand my current state. God says, “There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed while they 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!” These words were the truth, and they exposed my actual state. When I saw that my partner got better results in his duty than me, and was better at resolving brothers and sisters’ issues, I just felt like he was better than me and I’d never distinguish myself with him there. So I envied and excluded him and didn’t want to partner with him. I intentionally ignored his messages and didn’t answer his phone calls. When he fellowshiped on his experience and understanding, I didn’t cooperate with him to maintain church life, instead trying to pick out his flaws. I even intentionally called him arrogant and attacked him so that he’d be less enthusiastic and would stop distinguishing himself and surpassing me. I was so malicious. Each time I had to perform my duty with him, I’d feel so tormented. I always wanted to compete with him and was completely incapable of maintaining my calm. It was just like God has said: “Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end?” Because my desire for fame and status was never satisfied, I began to hate my partner. I only wanted to get away from and rid myself of him so I could work on my own. I even thought about quitting my duty. I realized how malicious and inhumane I was. I was no different from wild beasts that hunt their prey, ready to contend and claw for my own interests. I only ever considered myself, not the church’s work. Even if the church’s work was delayed, I wouldn’t be worried or panicked. How selfish and vile I was! I also thought about why I couldn’t just have a simple and harmonious partnership with Matthew. I realized that in my faith, I had set foot on a wrong path because of my satanic disposition. If I didn’t seek the truth and resolve my corrupt disposition, I would lose the work of the Holy Spirit and descend into darkness. I prayed to God several times, asking that He help me understand myself and resolve my corrupt disposition.
Then, I saw a passage of God’s words: “What is the motto of antichrists, no matter what group they are in? ‘I must compete! Compete! Compete! I must compete to be the highest and mightiest!’ This is the disposition of antichrists; everywhere they go, they compete and try to achieve their aims. They are the lackeys of Satan, and they disturb the work of the church. The disposition of antichrists is like this: They begin by looking around the church to see who has believed in God for many years and has capital, who has some gifts or special skills, who has been of benefit to the brothers and sisters in their entry into life, who is well regarded, who has seniority, who is well spoken of among the brothers and sisters, who has more positive things. Those people are to be their competition. In sum, every time antichrists are among a group of people, this is what they always do: They compete for status, compete for a good reputation, compete for final say over matters and the ultimate power to make decisions in the group, which, once they have gained it, makes them happy. … That is how arrogant, odious, and unreasonable the disposition of antichrists is. They have neither conscience nor reason, nor even a shred of the truth. One can see in the actions and deeds of an antichrist that what they do has none of the reason of a normal person, and though one may fellowship about the truth to them, they do not accept it. However right what you say is, it does not fly with them. The only thing they like to pursue is reputation and status, which they hold in reverence. So long as they can enjoy the benefits of status, they are contented. This, they believe, is the value of their existence. Regardless of what group of people they are among, they have to show people the ‘light’ and ‘warmth’ they provide, their special talents, their uniqueness. And it is because they believe they are special that they naturally think that they should be treated better than others, that they should receive people’s support and admiration, that people should look up to them, worship them—they think all of this is their due. Are such people not brazen and shameless? Is it not trouble to have such people present in the church?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). Through God’s words, I became aware of the severity of my actions. It turned out that, in seeking fame, status and the admiration of others in my duty, I was displaying an antichrist disposition. When I saw that Matthew’s fellowship of truth was enlightening, he got results in his duty and the brothers and sisters all praised him and went to him with questions, I envied him. In order to surpass him and gain status in others’ hearts, I even thought about quitting my job to go full-time in my duty so I could be there the moment anyone needed me to resolve their problems. That way the others would think highly of me and there’d no longer be a special place for my partner in their hearts. Each time I performed duties with Matthew, I always felt like I was living in his shadow and I had no chance to distinguish myself. I didn’t like how he always won the admiration and praise of the brothers and sisters and I even hoped that no one would respond to him when he sent messages in the group chat. Because of him, none of the brothers and sisters noticed me, so I spent all my time battling with him, hoping to surpass him and make the brothers and sisters admire and worship me. This was the kind of behavior I’d often display in my bid to win fame and status. When my ambition and desire wasn’t satisfied, I thought that I didn’t have any chance of distinguishing myself, and wanted to quit being a preacher, thinking that I’d have a chance to make a name for myself in a different duty. I realized that my obsession with fame and status was out of control. I was just like an antichrist in my love of fame and status—this desire was rooted deep within me, it was intrinsic to my nature. I realized that the path I was walking was extremely dangerous. God’s disposition is unoffendable—He is righteous. If I didn’t seek to make a change, and only focused on vying for fame and status without the slightest thought to the church’s work, I would be rejected and cast out by God. I felt a deep disgust for my actions and no longer wanted to vie for status with my partner. I prayed to God, asking that He help me break free from the fetters and constraints of my satanic disposition.
I then came across this passage of God’s words: “Regardless of what the direction or target of your pursuit is, if you do not reflect on the pursuit of status and prestige, and if you find it very difficult to put these things aside, then they will affect your entry into life. As long as status has a place in your heart, it will totally control and influence your life’s direction and the goals you strive for, in which case it will be very difficult for you to enter the reality of the truth, to say nothing of achieving changes in your disposition; whether you are ultimately able to gain God’s approval, of course, goes without saying. What’s more, if you are never able to put aside your pursuit of status, this will affect your ability to adequately perform your duty, which will make it very difficult for you to become an acceptable creature of God. Why do I say this? God hates nothing more than when people pursue status, because the pursuit of status is a satanic disposition, it is a wrong path, it is born of the corruption of Satan, it is something condemned by God, and it is the very thing that God judges and cleanses. God despises nothing more than when people pursue status, and yet you still mulishly compete for status, you unfailingly cherish and protect it, always trying to take it for yourself. And in nature, is all of this not antagonistic to God? Status is not ordained for people by God; God provides people with the truth, the way, and the life, and ultimately makes them become an acceptable creature of God, a small and insignificant creature of God—not someone who has status and prestige and is revered by thousands of people. And so, no matter what perspective it is viewed from, the pursuit of status is a dead end. No matter how reasonable your excuse for pursuing status is, this path is still the wrong one, and is not praised by God. No matter how hard you try or how great the price you pay, if you desire status, God will not give it to you; if it’s not given by God, you will fail in fighting to obtain it, and if you keep fighting there will only be one outcome: You will be exposed and cast out, which is a dead end” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). Through God’s words, I saw that my continual pursuit of status not only hampered my ability to do my duty, it also prevented me from qualifying as a created being. Because I was always seeking status, always trying to surpass Matthew and gain everyone’s admiration, and always vying and competing, I became more and more malicious and lacking in normal humanity. I saw how seeking fame and status is not the right path, and how it is a God-opposing road to ruin. Given that I took myself to be a believer and a created being, I should focus on seeking the truth and stop struggling over something as useless as the pursuit of fame and status. Only then could I avoid doing evil and resisting God. So I prayed to God, saying: “Dear God! I’ve come to recognize my own satanic nature. Due to my obsession with reputation and status, I often feel jealous of Matthew and don’t want to partner with him. Dear God! From now on, I’ll repent to You and not seek fame and status. I’ll only seek the truth and do my duty well. Please guide and help me, God.”
During my devotionals, I came upon this passage of God’s words: “What are your principles for conducting yourselves? You should conduct yourselves according to your station, find the right station for you, and perform the duty that you ought to; only this is someone with sense. By way of example, there are people who are good at a profession and can grasp its principles, and they should take on that responsibility and make the final checks in that area; there are people who can provide ideas and insights, enabling everyone else to build on their ideas and perform their 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). God’s words gave me a path of practice. I thought: “I’m a regular person—I should be seeking to become a true created being, to stand in my place, work harmoniously with others and do my duty to the best of my ability. Only this is the right path.” I thought of how when God had Adam give names to the animals, He assented to the names that Adam came up with—He didn’t reject Adam and come up with His own names to show how much greater He was, but accepted Adam’s choices. This showed me that God’s humbleness and hiddenness are truly lovable. God is supreme, the Lord of all creation, and yet He humbly conceals Himself. As for me, I was just a common created being, but I always wanted to show off and win the respect of others, and even tried to suppress those that got good results in their duty for the sake of my own status and reputation. I was just too arrogant and irrational! I felt so regretful for what I’d done, so I came before God to repent and prayed to Him, asking that He give me the bravery to expose myself in front of my partner.
Later on, I plucked up my courage and apologized to Matthew, exposing my antichrist disposition which manifested in my desire to secretly vie with him for fame and status. After practicing in that way, I felt much more peaceful. Later on, Matthew found some of God’s words that were relevant to my state and they were really helpful for me. I was just so grateful to God! I swore an oath to Him that I would conduct myself as He asked. After that, I stopped ignoring my partner’s messages and started actively updating him on the status of all the projects I was responsible for, allowing him to be kept up on my work and to supervise and assist me. We discussed our work and partnered in gatherings and fellowship. We complemented each other and upheld the church’s work as a team. Thank God!