How I Changed My Prideful Ways

July 21, 2022

By Bernard, Cameroon

Before, I always thought of myself as a very smart person. I thought I could always do anything without the help of others. Both at school and at home, no matter what questions people asked, even when my older brothers couldn’t answer, I could, and I looked down on them for it. My older brothers said I was arrogant, and that I had to change and consider the feelings of others, but I thought they said it because they were jealous of me, so I didn’t care about their accusations.

In 2019, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Soon, I began to water newcomers who had just accepted God’s work. Of the three sisters who worked with me at the time, two of them had only accepted God’s work for a few months. The other was Sister Jonna, who assisted me in my work. I was selected as the group leader at the time, which meant to me that I was the best in the group. As we worked together, when they suggested a different way to do something, I often disagreed, and said that it should be done as I instructed. For example, every time after gatherings for newcomers, Sister Jonna asked, “Should we ask the newcomers if they understood everything?” I said, “There’s no need. I already asked them during the gathering, they understand, so we don’t need to ask again.” When Sister Jonna said, “When you fellowship on the truth about God’s work, you should speak in more detail. This will help potential gospel converts quickly determine that God’s work is real.” I said without thinking, “I already said everything. There’s no need to repeat it.” Sometimes, Sister Jonna would tell me to go learn about the newcomers’ situations, but I didn’t want to go. I thought that as the group leader, I should arrange what she did, and that she shouldn’t be telling me what to do. Sometimes Sister Jonna asked if the newcomers understood the fellowship from gatherings. I got angry when I saw her always following up on my work. She wasn’t the group leader. She had no right to tell me to do this and that. At that time, I was very arrogant. I didn’t cooperate with Sister Jonna or my other two sisters. Usually, I supported the newcomers myself, and I didn’t assign any work to them. I thought they had just accepted God’s work and didn’t understand many truths of vision, so they might not do it well. When hosting gatherings with them, I always spoke a lot and didn’t give them time to fellowship. I worried they wouldn’t fellowship well and the newcomers wouldn’t understand. Actually, the newcomers could understand the fellowship of my two sisters. It’s just that I looked down on them, so I didn’t want them to fellowship. Once, to give the newcomers a foundation in the true way as soon as possible, I wanted to fellowship on several more aspects of the truth, but my sisters said, “You can’t do that. Our gathering is only an hour and a half. If you fellowship too much, there won’t be enough time, and the newcomers won’t understand. We can split the fellowship across several gatherings.” But I was reluctant to accept their opinions at the time, and I tried my best to convince them and make them listen to me. In the end, they had to agree. Later, we watered more than twenty newcomers. Almost all the newcomers were present at the first gathering, but at the next few gatherings, I found that more and more newcomers were absent. In the end, only three of the original twenty plus came to gatherings regularly. I had never had this happen since I started watering newcomers. I was very confused and negative at the time. Then, one day, the leader asked me about my state, and I said, “Not good. During this time, I’ve done my duty very poorly. Every time I properly fellowship with the newcomers, I also ask them if they understand, and they always say yes, but I don’t understand why they don’t come to gatherings.” The leader told me, “You should reflect on yourself. Did you do something inappropriate that made the newcomers not want to come?” The leader continued, “Have you asked your three partner sisters if they noticed something wrong with your watering content or methods?” I said, “No, I don’t think they can give any good advice.” The leader said, “That’s the problem. You should ask their opinion instead of always trusting yourself.” What the leader said sounded right to me. It never occurred to me to ask my partner sisters. I always thought I was better at work than them, so their ideas seemed useless to me.

Then the leader sent me a passage of God’s word. “When you are cooperating with others to fulfill your duties, are you able to be open to differing opinions? Are you able to let others speak? (I am, a little. Before, a lot of the time I wouldn’t listen to the suggestions of the brothers and sisters and would insist on doing things my own way. Only later, when the facts proved I was wrong, did I see that most of their suggestions had been correct, that it was the outcome that everyone discussed that was actually suitable, that my own views were wrong and lacking. After experiencing this, I realized how important harmonious cooperation is.) And what can we see from this? After experiencing this, did you receive some benefit, and understand the truth? Do you think anyone is perfect? No matter how strong people are, or how capable and talented, they still are not perfect. People must recognize this, it is fact. Such is also the attitude that people should have toward their own merits and strengths or faults; this is the rationality that people should possess. With such rationality, you can properly deal with your own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of others, and this will enable you to work alongside them harmoniously. If you have understood this aspect of the truth and can enter this aspect of the reality of the truth, then you can get along harmoniously with your brothers and sisters, drawing on each other’s strong points to offset any weaknesses you have. In this way, no matter what duty you are performing or what you are doing, you will always get better at it and have God’s blessing. If you always think you are pretty good and that others are worse by comparison, and if you always want to have the final say, then this will be troublesome. This is a problem of disposition. Are such people not arrogant and conceited?” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days, Part Three). God’s words pointed out my problem. God says, “When you are cooperating with others to fulfill your duties, are you able to be open to differing opinions? Are you able to let others speak?” As I looked at God’s questions, I reflected on my cooperation with my three sisters during this period. I refused to accept all of their suggestions. Even if their opinion was good or right, I still always disagreed because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t as good as them. I thought I was the best, so I was the only one who could give good advice. I was the leader of the group, so they should obey me and listen to me, it shouldn’t be me listening to them. God’s words say that everyone has shortcomings and needs help from others, but I always thought I was the best, and that I was superior to others. Wasn’t this hubris? I saw in God’s words that God hates such people.

Later, I read another passage of God’s word. “When work always has to be redone as people perform their duty, the biggest problem is not a deficiency in specialist knowledge or lack of experience, but because they are too self-righteous and arrogant, because they do not work harmoniously, but decide and act alone—with the result that they make a mess of the work, and nothing is achieved, and all the time and effort is wasted. And the most grievous problem in this is people’s corrupt dispositions. When people’s corrupt dispositions are too grievous, they are no longer good people, they are wicked people. The dispositions of wicked people are much more severe than ordinary corrupt dispositions. Wicked people are liable to commit wicked deeds, they are liable to meddle in and disrupt the work of the church. All that wicked people are capable of when they perform a duty is to do things badly and mess things up; their service is more trouble than it’s worth. Some people are not wicked, but they perform their duty according to their own corrupt dispositions—and they, likewise, are incapable of performing their duty properly. In sum, corrupt dispositions are extremely obstructive to people performing their duty properly. Which aspect of people’s corrupt dispositions, would you say, have the greatest impact on the effectiveness with which they perform their duty? (Arrogance and self-righteousness.) And what are the chief manifestations of arrogance and self-righteousness? Making decisions alone, going your own way, not listening to other people’s suggestions, not consulting with others, not cooperating harmoniously, and always trying to have the final say on things. Even though a good few brothers and sisters may be cooperating to perform a particular duty, each of them attending to their own task, certain group leaders or supervisors always want to have the final say; whatever they are doing, they never cooperate harmoniously with others, and they do not engage in fellowship, and they rashly do things without reaching consensus with others. They make everyone listen only to them, and herein is the problem” (“The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). These words of God’s touched me deeply. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do my duty effectively before. Only after reading God’s word did I understand that it was because my disposition was too arrogant and I couldn’t cooperate with others. During that time, when I worked with three sisters, I always had the final say. Every time we discussed the content to fellowship at gatherings, everyone should have given their views and opinions, and then we would decide what the overall theme of the gathering should be to ensure that the gathering would be effective. But I made my own decisions without asking their opinions because I thought my opinion was good and I didn’t need to listen to others. When anyone raised an objection, I found various reasons to refuse it. Because I was too arrogant to accept other people’s advice, I didn’t have God’s guidance or blessing and wasn’t effective in my duty. My failure this time revealed me.

Later, the leader sent me two passages of God’s word. God says, “If, in your heart, you truly understand the truth, then you will know how to practice the truth and obey God, and will naturally embark on the path of pursuing the truth. If the path you walk is the right one, and in line with God’s will, then the work of the Holy Spirit will not leave you—in which case there will be less and less chance of you betraying God. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if you have an arrogant and conceited disposition, then being told not to oppose God makes no difference, you can’t help yourself, it is beyond your control. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display; they would make you scorn others, they would leave no one in your heart but yourself; they would rob you of God’s place in your heart, and ultimately cause you to sit in the place of God and demand that people submit to you, and make you venerate your own thoughts, ideas, and notions as the truth. So much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve the problem of doing evil, they must first resolve their nature. Without a change in disposition, it would not be possible to bring a fundamental resolution to this problem” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “You must remember: Fulfilling your duty is not a matter of undertaking your own endeavors or your own management. This is not your personal work, it is the work of the church, and you only contribute the strengths you have. What you do in God’s management work is but a small part of man’s cooperation. Yours is just a minor role in some corner, you bear a minor responsibility. In your heart, you should have this sense. And so, no matter how many people are working on a task, when faced with difficulty, the first thing everyone should do is pray to God and fellowship together, seek the truth, and then determine what the principles of practice are. When they do this, they will have a path to practice. Some people are always trying to show off, and when given responsibility for a job, they always want to have the final say. What kind of behavior is this? This is being a law unto oneself. They plan what they do on their own, without informing others, and do not discuss their opinions with anyone; they neither share them with anyone nor open them up but keep them hidden in their hearts. When the time comes to act, they always want to amaze others with their brilliant feats, to give everyone a big surprise, so that others will think highly of them. Is that performing their duty? They are trying to show off; and when they have status and renown, they will begin to run their own operation. Are such people not possessed of wild ambitions? Why would you not tell anyone what you are doing? As this work is not yours alone, why would you act without discussing it with anyone and make decisions on your own? Why would you act in secret, operating in a black box, so that no one knows about it? Why would you always try to make people heed you alone? Clearly you view this work as your own personal work. You are the boss, and everyone else is a worker—they all work for you. When you constantly have this mindset, is this not trouble? Is what this kind of person reveals not the very disposition of Satan? When people like this perform a duty, sooner or later they will be cast out” (“The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Only by reading God’s word did I realize that arrogance had become my nature and what I naturally exposed. When I had status in God’s house, I only wanted to use this opportunity to show off, as a way to show I was better than others, and I was the best choice for group leader. I also wanted to prove to my partners that I was better than them and didn’t need their advice or help. Because of my arrogance, I always thought I knew everything and that it was useless to listen to others. I treated my own thoughts as if they were truth, made others do things as I wanted them done, and didn’t seek the truth or rely on God in my duty. Instead, I relied on my own experience and mental caliber to water newcomers and forced others to listen to me and obey me. Wasn’t this the same as the archangel? The archangel was arrogant and didn’t worship God. It wanted to be on an equal footing with God, and in the end, it betrayed God along with many angels. I lived trapped in my arrogant disposition, didn’t accept the truth, and made others listen to me. I was resisting and betraying God just like the archangel. I also recalled that before I believed in God, I was a very arrogant person. I looked down on people who were inferior to me, including my brothers. When I was a child, when I didn’t get the best score in exams, my father scolded me loudly, “You have to get first place in your exams, ahead of everyone else!” My grandmother also used to tell me, “You have to strive to be the best, so that you can be respected.” After hearing them say these things, I always tried to stand out from everyone else and put myself in first place to make myself appear stronger than others. I thought listening to others made me look bad, so I didn’t want to take advice from others. Only from God’s word did I realize that these views were entirely wrong. I always put myself above others and refused to submit to anyone. This is a satanic disposition. If it didn’t change, I would not only fail to achieve good results in my duty, I would do evil and resist God, and in the end, I would be cast out and punished by God. Reading God’s word also made me understand my duty is not my personal career, nor is it an opportunity for me to show off my abilities. It is a commission given to me by God. When I encounter difficulties, I have to work with others to solve them, and before making a decision, I need to seek advice from my partners. If I make decisions without considering others’ opinions and delay the work of God’s house, doing my duty this way is doing evil. Once I recognized this, I wanted to change my attitude toward my duty and cooperate harmoniously with others.

Later, during my devotionals, I saw another passage of God’s word. “What do you say, is it hard to cooperate with other people? It isn’t, actually. You could even say it is easy. But why do people still feel this to be difficult? Because they have corrupt dispositions. For those who possess humanity, conscience, and sense, cooperating with others is relatively easy, and they are likely to feel that this is something joyful. Because it is not easy for anyone to accomplish things on their own, whatever the field they’re involved in, or what they’re doing, it is always good to have someone there to point things out and offer assistance—much easier than doing it by themselves. Also, there are limits to what people’s caliber is capable of or what they themselves can experience. No one can be a master of all trades, it is impossible for one person to know everything, learn everything, accomplish everything—that is impossible, and everyone should possess such sense. And so, no matter what you do, whether it be important or not, there should always be people there to help you, to give you pointers, advice, and to assist you with things. This way, you will do things more correctly, it will be harder to make mistakes, and you will be less likely to go astray—which is all to the good” (“Item Eight: They Would Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God (Part One)” in Exposing Antichrists). After contemplating God’s words, I understood that only by cooperating with others can we truly fulfill our duties and live out normal humanity. I used to think that some of my partners had only accepted God’s work for a few months and had just started watering work, so there were many things they didn’t understand, while I had believed in God for three years and had more experience than them, so I never accepted their suggestions and opinions. Only now did I see that this view was wrong. Although I believed in God for longer and had more experience than them, it didn’t mean I was better than them in everything. Without the cooperation of my brothers and sisters, it’s impossible to perform my duty well. Sometimes at gatherings, I superficially understood some truth and fellowshiped badly, so I needed a partner to fellowship more clearly. Sometimes the newcomers couldn’t come to gatherings due to illness, or couldn’t attend regularly because of work, and I couldn’t find God’s word that applied to their situations, so I also needed my partners. In fact, everyone has the chance to be enlightened by God. God didn’t only enlighten me and give me caliber. I thought of myself too highly and thought of others as idiots. This was a mistake, and it was foolish. God’s enlightenment and guidance don’t depend on how much work experience we have, it depends on whether we can seek and accept the truth. And everyone has their own strengths, just like Sister Jonna, who bore a burden in her duty and often gave good suggestions. I should have cooperated with my sister and learned from her strengths to make up for my shortcomings.

Later, I tried to listen to the opinions of my brothers and sisters in my duty. At the end of every gathering, when my sister asked me to ask the newcomers individually if they understood what was said, I did as she suggested and no longer resisted as I used to. Also, when she asked me to fellowship in more detail with the newcomers at gatherings and try my best to solve the newcomers’ problems, I did that as well. Sometimes, she also gave me some good ideas for watering the newcomers, and I carried them out. After that, I saw more newcomers attending gatherings, and this made me very happy. I thought of God’s words, “The Holy Spirit not only works in certain people who are used by God, but, furthermore, in the church. He could be working in anyone. He may work in you during the present time, and you will experience this work. During the next period, He may work in someone else, in which case you must haste to follow; the more closely you follow the present light, the more your life can grow. No matter what manner of person someone is, if the Holy Spirit works in them, then you must follow. Take in their experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will progress more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and the means by which life grows” (“Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words made me understand even more clearly that I can’t be arrogant and insist on my way in my duty, and I have to cooperate with others. This is because the Holy Spirit enlightens and illuminates everyone. No matter how long a person has believed in God or whether they have status, as long as what they say is in line with the truth, we should accept and obey. If we refuse to listen, we will not be blessed by God in our duty. This experience showed me the importance of cooperating harmoniously in my duty.

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