How I Became a False Leader

September 28, 2022

By Xinchun, South Korea

At the end of 2019, I was put in charge of video work at the church. At the time, I felt very stressed. Video work involved professional skills I had never learned before. The thought of facing an unfamiliar profession made my heart feel as heavy as a big rock. When I followed up on the work, the group leaders often discussed professional issues, and I sat there listening but not understanding a thing. When they discussed disputes, they asked my views and suggestions, and this made me very nervous, because I couldn’t see where the problem was. Sometimes I offered some suggestions based on instinct, but they weren’t adopted. Whenever this happened, I felt ashamed. As the leader, I couldn’t see the problem, and I couldn’t suggest any modification. What did the brothers and sisters think of me? After this happened a few times, I didn’t want to take part in work discussions. I thought, “I don’t know these professional issues, and it’s too late to learn now. They’re the ones who make videos, so I’ll let them discuss the professional aspects of it. I can’t help them in this area, but I can help them more in life entry. If their state is normal, they’ll do well in their professional area, so aren’t I doing my duty? And this way, I won’t embarrass myself in front of them.” With these ideas in mind, I let them discuss the work, and I didn’t take part.

After a while, I found that video production was very slow, there were also some issues of principle, and the brothers and sisters weren’t cooperating harmoniously. Several sisters reported the group leader, Sister Shan, saying she was overbearing. In many work discussions, others had to listen to her, resulting in continuous rework of videos. I thought, “Sister Shan has good caliber. Although her disposition is a bit arrogant, she has good professional skills. It’s normal for people with some capital to be arrogant, I just need to fellowship with her.” So, using God’s word, I fellowshiped with her on how to cooperate with others and the lessons she should learn. At the time, Sister Shan expressed her willingness to accept my words and practice the truth. Soon, Sister Yang came to me and said that she spent the time and effort to make a video, but when Sister Shan saw it, she rejected her concept for the video completely, and there was no room for negotiation. Sister Yang was very sad, and asked me how she should experience this. I thought, “Her concept for the video was rejected, so does that mean her idea is inappropriate, or is it that Sister Shan is too arrogant?” I wanted Sister Yang to tell me her concept for the video, so I could know exactly what the problem was. But I thought that since I didn’t understand the profession, if she told me and I couldn’t understand the problem, what would she think of me? “Forget it,” I thought, “I’ll let them discuss professional issues by themselves. I’ll just fellowship with Sister Yang about her state and tell her to experience this as pruning and dealing. If she can treat the matter correctly, her problem cooperating with Sister Shan will be solved.” So, I fellowshiped with Sister Yang, telling her to accept other people’s advice, take the initiative to practice the truth and cooperate with others, and not be ruled by her own image…. Sister Yang was still frowning after she heard this, and finally left frustrated. After she left, I was also very sad, because I knew her problem wasn’t resolved. I wanted to see what the problem was with Sister Yang’s video, but I was worried I wouldn’t see the problem and would seem incompetent. I thought, “Forget it, let them fellowship and solve the professional problem on their own.” Then, I went to fellowship with Sister Shan to resolve her state. I pointed out that Sister Shan was arrogant, told her to work in harmony with others and learn from their strengths, and said that even when she had good suggestions, she should discuss them with others. Sister Shan promised to focus on changing in the future, but after that, she was still arrogant, always felt her opinions were better than others’, thought that she had better experience and skills, others were inferior to her, and she always wanted the final say when cooperating with others. Sometimes, when the brothers and sisters agreed on a production plan, if it was different from what she wanted, she rejected it completely and demanded it be remade according to her requirements. If the others felt her plan was unsuitable, she never accepted any suggestions, and she dismissed other people’s suggestions as useless. The brothers and sisters couldn’t communicate with her, and they often had to redo their work. Everyone’s state was getting worse and worse, and they were living in negativity. Seeing that Sister Shan was arrogant and arbitrary, which seriously affected the progress of work, I felt very tormented, because I couldn’t handle professional problems. I had a vague sense that Sister Shan didn’t accept the truth and didn’t repent and change, so she wasn’t fit to serve as a group leader any longer. But I knew she was better than others professionally, so if she was removed, who else would be able to take over the job? I wasn’t sure, so I wanted to report it to the leaders above me, but I worried that if they saw the mess I had made of our work, they might deal with me and dismiss me. After struggling with myself, I decided to fellowship with her again. So, I went to Sister Shan again. I pointed out her arrogance, exposed her for always being arbitrary and wanting the final say, and told her this was the way of an antichrist. She didn’t say a word after hearing what I said. It was clear that she wasn’t convinced. After that, she still did things her own way, and often showed off and belittled others, and most brothers and sisters were constrained by her and didn’t want to cooperate with her. Because of her disturbance and disruption, video work was hindered, and in the end, I had no choice but to report the issue to the leaders above me. After they investigated, Sister Shan was dismissed as the group leader, and I was dismissed for not doing practical work or solving practical problems.

After my dismissal, I admitted my caliber was poor, I didn’t know the profession, and I couldn’t do practical work. But I had no real understanding of my own problems. Later, when I read God’s fellowship on discerning the manifestations of false leaders, I started to reflect and understand exactly what I had done. “False leaders are good at superficial work, but they never do real work. Neither do they ever go and inspect, supervise, or direct the various work specialisms, or make timely visits to different groups to find out what’s going on, inspecting how work is progressing, what problems there still are, whether the group supervisor is competent; how the brothers and sisters report back about or appraise the supervisor, whether anyone is being held back by the group leader or supervisor; whether anyone who is talented or pursues the truth is being undermined or alienated by others, whether any of the more guileless people are being bullied; whether people who exposed and reported false leaders are being undermined or alienated, or whether, when people make correct suggestions, these suggestions are adopted; and whether the group leader or supervisor is someone wicked, or likes giving people a hard time. If false leaders don’t do any of these jobs, they should be replaced. Say, for example, someone reports to a false leader that there is a supervisor who often undermines people and holds them back. The supervisor has made a mistake but doesn’t let the brothers and sisters provide any suggestions, and even looks for excuses to vindicate and defend themselves, never admitting their mistake. Should such a supervisor not be immediately removed? These are problems that leaders should fix right away. Some false leaders do not allow supervisors of various groups—supervisors that they have appointed—to be exposed, no matter what issues arise in these supervisors’ work. If someone does expose the issues with a supervisor, the false leader tries to shield or cover up the true facts, saying, ‘This is a problem of people’s entry into life. It is normal for him to have an arrogant disposition—everyone with a little caliber is arrogant. It’s no big deal, I just need to fellowship with him a little.’ During the fellowship, the supervisor says, ‘I admit I am arrogant, I admit there are times when I am concerned with my own vanity and status and don’t accept other people’s suggestions, but other people aren’t good at this area of work, they often come out with worthless suggestions, so there is a reason I don’t listen to them.’ The false leader does not try to understand the whole situation, they do not look into how well the supervisor works, much less what their humanity, disposition, and pursuit are like. All they do is blithely say, ‘This was reported to me so I’m keeping an eye on you. I’m giving you a chance.’ After the talk, the supervisor says they want to repent, but as for whether they really do subsequently repent, or just lie and deceive, the false leader pays no heed” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 4, Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “The way of false leaders’ work is too simple and superficial: They pull people for a chat, do a little ideological work, give people a little advice, and think that this is doing real work. This is superficial, is it not? And what issue is hidden behind this superficiality? Is it naivety? False leaders are extremely naive, extremely naive in their view of people and things. Nothing is harder to fix than people’s corrupt dispositions. A leopard can’t change its spots. False leaders have no perception of this problem. Therefore, when it comes to the kind of supervisors in the church who are constantly disruptive, who always hold people back, who are likely to make things hard for people, the false leaders do nothing but talk; a couple of words of dealing and pruning, and that’s it. They are not quick to reassign or replace people. The false leaders’ way of doing things causes tremendous harm to the work of the church, and often stops church work from progressing normally, smoothly and efficiently because it is held up, delayed, and harmed as a result of the interference of a few wicked people—which is all a grievous consequence of false leaders acting on emotion, violating the principles of the truth, and employing the wrong people. To outward appearances, these false leaders are not deliberately doing evil like the antichrists, or deliberately establishing their own fiefdom and going their own way. But within the scope of their work, the false leaders are not able to quickly address the various problems caused by supervisors, they are not able to promptly reassign and replace substandard group supervisors, which is severely damaging to church work, and is all caused by the false leaders’ negligence” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 4, Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). When I read these words of God, I felt especially sad and heartbroken. I felt that the false leader God was describing was me. God reveals that false leaders do not do practical work, never inspect, supervise, or direct work, and never investigate the work to understand actual problems and follow up on specific work. When someone reports problems with supervisors, they never do a thorough investigation, they don’t discern their essence and the effect of their work, and they only fellowship with such supervisors and do ideological work. They think this solves the problem, causing them to not transfer inappropriate supervisors in a timely manner, which causes serious harm to the work. My behavior at the time was precisely what God revealed. I didn’t often get involved in the work, and I rarely went to inquire about the progress of the work or offered guidance. I knew that video production was slow, and people had reported Sister Shan was arrogant and insisted on her way, which affected work, yet I just fellowshiped on her state and let the issue be. I didn’t investigate what the problems were when they had disputes in the video production process, and I only fellowshiped that they should know their corrupt dispositions and learn lessons. I thought of fellowship and doing ideological work as solving problems and doing practical work, but I didn’t ask about or solve the actual problems that hindered the progress of work. The group leader causing disturbances wasn’t transferred or dealt with, and she was allowed to continue to disrupt and hinder video work. Was I not the false leader revealed in God’s word? During that time, more than one brother or sister told me that they were constrained by Sister Shan. She had to approve all the concepts and plans of video production, if she did not take part in decision-making, she would overturn the decision made by others, and brothers and sisters had to wait for her in every matter, which greatly delayed the work. At that time, she already held the power in the group and had the final say. The brothers and sisters constantly reported her problems, but I was blind and ignorant, I rarely had a deep understanding of the work, and I only looked at the surface of problems, so I couldn’t discern the serious problems in Sister Shan. I thought her professional skills were good, but her disposition was a little arrogant, so with a little fellowship, she could reflect on herself and gain some self-knowledge. But because I couldn’t see through the nature of what she was doing, all of my fellowship was empty words, and it didn’t solve the actual problems at all. As a result, for half a year, many people were constrained by her, negative, and weak, video production was ineffective, and video work was seriously hindered and disturbed. Only then did I see clearly, because I didn’t do practical work or transfer the inappropriate group leader in time, such massive harm was caused to the work. I was authentically a false leader. At first, I thought I failed at my duty because my caliber was poor and I didn’t know the profession. Only after reading God’s word did I see, my not even trying to understand the issues and solve the actual problems wasn’t just a matter of poor caliber, it was a lack of practical work.

I continued to reflect on myself, “Why am I reluctant to learn more about work?” Recalling some of my thoughts and behaviors at that time, only then did I realize I had always held a mistaken view. I felt I didn’t understand the profession, so I wanted to avoid issues involving it, and I didn’t want to know it or learn it. I feared discussing problems with people who understood, which made me look ignorant, so I didn’t even want to take responsibility for work when I should have. Later, I read in God’s word, “The chief characteristic of the work of false leaders is blathering on about doctrine and parroting slogans. After issuing their orders, they simply wash their hands of the matter. They don’t ask questions about the project’s subsequent development; they do not ask whether any problems, abnormalities, or difficulties have arisen. They consider it finished as soon as they hand it over. In fact, as a leader, after completing work arrangements, you must keep track of a project’s progress. Even if you are a novice in these matters—even if you lack any knowledge of it—you can find a way to carry out such work. You can find someone who is knowledgeable, who understands the work in question, to check the situation and give suggestions. From their suggestions you can identify the appropriate principles, and thus you will be able to keep track of the work. Whether or not you have any familiarity with, or understanding of, the type of work in question, at the least you must preside over it, keep track of it, make enquiries and ask questions to inform yourself about its progress. You must maintain a grasp of such matters; this is your responsibility, the part you must play. Not keeping track of the work, not doing anything more once it has been handed over—washing your hands of it—is the way false leaders do things. Not taking specific action to keep track of work—having no understanding and no grasp of its progress—is also the manifestation of a false leader” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 4, Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). From God’s word, I understood, not following up on specific work on the grounds that I didn’t understand the profession and not solving the practical problems that existed in the work was the manifestation of a false leader who was irresponsible and shirked responsibility. As a leader, the least you should do is to preside over and follow up on the work, ask about the progress of the work, and find and solve problems in the work. Even if you don’t know the profession, you can ask those who do to check and give advice, and you can cooperate with others to make up for what you lack. You can do a good job that way. But for me, in areas involving professional work, I feared I would be looked down upon by my brothers and sisters if I couldn’t direct it myself, so to cover up my shortcomings and deficiencies and maintain my image and status, on the grounds that I didn’t know the profession, I avoided it and didn’t take part in specific work. When there were problems in production and the brothers and sisters had disputes and couldn’t cooperate well, and as a result progress ground to a halt, instead of actually resolving things, I took a hands-off approach. Wasn’t I precisely the false leader revealed in God’s word? Actually, all of the work of God’s house involves the principles of truth. Simply mastering professional knowledge isn’t enough to do it well. As a leader, even if you don’t know the profession, you should know the relevant principles of truth so you can guide and check the work. Some leaders don’t understand the profession at first, but they study hard and master the relevant principles of truth, after which they can practically guide and check the work, and the work continuously improves. Indeed. At this point, I asked myself, “I always said I didn’t understand the professional aspect, but did I study it? Did I put in the effort and pay a price? When I didn’t know how to check things, did I seek the principles of truth?” I did none of these things. I muddled through in my duty, made no progress, didn’t try to learn from others or seek principles of truth when I didn’t understand things, and maintained my fame and status under the guise of not understanding the profession, which meant many practical problems and difficulties couldn’t be solved promptly as my brothers and sisters performed their duties, which had a serious impact on video work. These were the consequences of my shouting slogans, not doing practical work, and not solving practical problems.

Afterward, I also read in God’s word, “When God asks that people put aside status and prestige, it is not that He is depriving people of the right to choose; rather, it is because, while pursuing status and prestige, people harm the work of the church, they interrupt the brothers’ and sisters’ entry into life, and even have an influence on others eating and drinking God’s words normally and understanding the truth, and thus achieving God’s salvation. What’s even more serious is that, when people pursue their own prestige and status, such behavior and actions can be characterized as cooperating with Satan in harming and obstructing, to the utmost extent, the normal progress of God’s work, and stopping God’s will from being normally carried out among His chosen people. They are deliberately opposing and arguing the toss with God. This is the nature of people’s pursuit of status and prestige. The problem with people pursuing their own interests is that the goals they pursue are the goals of Satan—they are goals that are wicked and unjust. When people pursue personal interests such as prestige and status, they unwittingly become a tool of Satan, they become a channel for Satan, and, moreover, they become an embodiment of Satan. They play a negative role in the church; toward the work of the church, and toward the normal church life and normal pursuit of God’s chosen people, the effect they have is to disturb and impair; they have an adverse and negative effect” (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 One)). As I contemplated God’s words, I saw that all I did in my duty was to maintain my image and status, and that I didn’t safeguard church work at all, which caused harm to the work. I feared others would look down on me if I didn’t understand the profession, so to hide my deficiency, I didn’t take part in work discussions, nor did I follow up on specific work. Even when I saw that the group leader was arbitrary and disruptive to the work, I couldn’t resolve it. I also feared the leaders above me would find out I didn’t do practical work and dismiss me, so I didn’t take the initiative to report upward and seek solutions, and I watched as the work of the church suffered. I was blatantly concealing the facts, deceiving those above and below me, and making people mistakenly think the work I oversaw was problem-free and normal, so that I could protect my leadership position. But while I tried my best to protect my image and status, my brothers and sisters were constrained, had no way forward in their duty, lived in pain and suffering, suffered in terms of their life, and work was severely hindered. But I didn’t care about any of this. Weren’t these all manifestations of false leadership? As I reflected on these things, I felt a little afraid, but I also felt remorse and regret. I hated myself for being so selfish and deceitful. My conscience was numb to all of it! Video work is a key facet of work in the church. I performed such an important duty, yet I wasn’t considerate of God’s will, I maintained my image and status in everything, and I disrupted and disturbed church work. The thought of all my behaviors in my duty and the harm I brought to church work was as painful as a knife stuck in my heart. I felt too ashamed to come before God. With tears and remorse, I prayed to God, “God, I was cunning and played tricks in my duty, and I didn’t do practical work. The loss I brought to church work can never be recouped. I want to repent to You in my duty in the future, and I ask that You inspect me!”

Later, I found some ways to practice and enter in God’s word. “How to be someone who is ordinary and normal? How can people, as God says, assume the proper place of a created being—how can they not try to be superhuman, or some great figure? How should you practice to be an ordinary and normal person? How can this be done? … Firstly, don’t get caught up in your own title. Don’t say, ‘I am the leader, I am the head of the team, I am the supervisor, no one knows this business better than me, no one understands the skills more than me.’ Don’t get caught up in your self-appointed title. As soon as you do, it will bind your hands and feet, and what you say and do will be affected; your normal thinking and judgment will also be affected. You must free yourself from the shackles of this status; first lower yourself from this official position that you imagine yourself to have and stand in the place of an ordinary person; if you do, your attitude will become normal. You must also admit and say, ‘I don’t know how to do this, and I don’t understand that, either—I’m going to have to do some research and studying,’ or ‘I’ve never experienced this, so I don’t know what to do.’ When you are capable of saying what you’re really thinking and speaking honestly, you will be possessed of normal sense. Others will know the real you, and will thus have a normal view of you, and you will not have to put on an act, nor will there be any great pressure on you, and so you will be able to communicate with people normally. Living like this is free and easy; anyone who finds living exhausting has caused this themselves. Don’t pretend or put up a front; first open up about what you’re thinking in your heart, about your true thoughts, so that everyone is aware of them and understands them. As a result, your concerns and the barriers and suspicions between you and others will all be eliminated. You’re also hobbled by something else, too. You always consider yourself the head of the team, a leader, a worker, or someone with a title and status: If you say you don’t understand something, or can’t do something, are you not denigrating yourself? When you put aside these fetters in your heart, when you stop thinking of yourself as a leader or a worker, and when you stop thinking that you’re better than other people, and feel that you are an ordinary person who is the same as everyone else, that there are some areas in which you are inferior to others—when you fellowship the truth and work-related matters with this attitude, the effect is different, and the vibe is different, too. If, in your heart, you always have misgivings, if you always feel stressed and hobbled, and if you want to rid yourself of these things but can’t, then you can be effective in doing so by praying seriously to God, reflecting on yourself, seeing your shortcomings, striving toward the truth, and putting the truth into practice” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 2, Treasuring God’s Words Is the Foundation of Belief in God). After reading God’s words, my heart was brightened a lot. In the past, I always put myself in the position of a leader. I always wanted to pretend I knew everything to make others look up to me, and I didn’t want others to see my real side. I believed that to be a leader, I had to be above others and be omnipotent. This was mistaken. Actually, I wasn’t much better than others. My corrupt dispositions were the same as those of my brothers and sisters, and there were many things I couldn’t see clearly and understand. Being a leader was just a chance to practice. I had to let go of my title, be honest, open up about my real self to my brothers and sisters, and cooperate with everyone on an equal footing as we did our duties. If I didn’t understand something, I should admit it and let those who do fellowship more. That way, I could solve work problems in a timely manner as well as make up for my own deficiencies. If there was a problem I couldn’t see clearly or solve, I had to report it upward in a timely manner to avoid serious problems later.

Now, I have been chosen to lead the church again. I am very grateful, and I know this is an opportunity for me to repent. I can’t make up for my past transgressions, so I only wish to do my best in the future. I swore an oath to myself: I will do all I can and ought to do to perform this duty well, and if I let my corrupt disposition make me irresponsible in my duty again, I hope God’s chastening and discipline comes to me. There are many tasks in my duty now that I don’t know much about. Sometimes, when brothers and sisters come to me to discuss work, I don’t understand very well, and I feel the desire to avoid it and not participate, but when I think about the lessons from my previous failures, I feel a little scared. I quickly pray to God, asking Him to keep me calm, able to listen carefully, and able to work with my brothers and sisters to find ways to solve problems. After I adjust my state and actually engage in these tasks while bearing a burden, not only can I find what the problem is, sometimes I can give reasonable suggestions. When there are issues of principle I can’t see clearly or solve, I report them to my superior leaders and seek help. This way, work isn’t delayed, and the problem is quickly resolved.

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