How I Was Freed From Arrogance
By Qichen, Myanmar
In June of 2019, I accepted the work ofin the last days. A year later, I started my duty as a church leader. I was grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to practice, so I happily threw myself into my duty, followed up and understood the work, and solved the problems my brothers and sisters had. After a while, most newcomers attended meetings normally, they spread the gospel and performed their duties. My other work also produced some results, and I couldn’t help but feel a little pride. I thought, “It didn’t take long in my leadership duty to solve some practical problems, and my brothers and sisters respect me. I must be much better than the last leader.”
After one meeting, a sister said she still didn’t understand the principles of accepting people into the church and wanted my fellowship. Sister Zhang, my partner, also wanted to listen, so I fellowshiped on the relevant principles in detail and emphasized some key points. After the fellowship, I heard most brothers and sisters say they understood, which made me very happy and made me feel these problems are easy to solve for me. Gradually, I started to become arrogant. When I inspected others’ work, I noticed some team leaders didn’t understand the situation in their teams and procrastinated in their duties, and I became very impatient, so I scolded them, and didn’t want to fellowship with them. When I saw that some of them felt constrained by me, at first, I felt a little guilty as I realized I was showing my anger, but then I thought, “I am working for the church, and I can’t achieve results if I’m not strict.” After that, I didn’t reflect on myself, and the matters passed.
Before a gospel meeting, I met with the watering group leaders to discuss the meeting content. I first asked them to share their views, but after a long time, no one said a word, and only one sister offered a little fellowship. At the time, I was very angry. I thought they were so useless that they couldn’t even tell the meeting’s content, and I wanted to lose my temper at them, but I was afraid it would affect the meeting that evening, so I prayed to God to cool my temper. I thought, “None of them have opinions, so I’ll fellowship first. At the meeting if everyone fellowships based on my ideas, we should be able to achieve some results.” With this in mind, I calmly fellowshiped my thoughts with them in detail. I said this meeting revolved around several aspects of truth, so they should fellowship on A first and B second. Having said that, I added, “If you think what I’m saying is suitable, feel free to use it, but if you have better ideas, you can fellowship as you see fit.” But at the meeting, I saw that some sisters didn’t speak as I instructed, and others didn’t actively fellowship at all. I was furious and wanted to lose temper, but I feared the newcomers at the meeting would feel constrained so I kept my temper under control. After the meeting, we didn’t achieve the expected results, and I felt very sad. When the meeting finished, I said, “How do you feel about the results of tonight’s meeting? Tell me what problems or deficiencies you noticed.” A sister said she couldn’t calm herself enough to fellowship, some sisters said the meeting was too short, and the others followed suit, saying there wasn’t enough time…. After I heard it, my anger surfaced again. I thought, “I wanted to calmly go over the mistakes with you, but you not only failed to reflect on your problems, you also looked for excuses. I really ought to teach you a lesson.” After that, I sent them a passage of God’s word and used it to deal with them. I said they were very passive when discussing the meeting content and that they made excuses and didn’t reflect on themselves when the meeting didn’t go well. None of the brothers and sisters dared to say a word. Afterward, I reflected on whether my words were too harsh. It wasn’t right to deal with brothers and sisters that way. But then I thought, “I did this to help them know themselves.” I felt I had done the right thing and didn’t reflect on my own problems. After that, I reported to my leader that the waterers had low caliber and no sense of responsibility in their duties. I wanted him to send me good waterers and I even wanted to remove a sister. But my leader fellowshiped with me, saying, “They have believed in God for a short time and have small stature. We can’t ask too much, and we need to fellowship and help them.” He also said there were many newcomers who’ve accepted God’s new work recently, so they couldn’t spare any waterers for me. Once I heard this, I reluctantly accepted it.
Later, I found out that Sister Zhang, my partner, didn’t talk to me very much about work. She didn’t like to tell me about any problems at work at all, and several times at coworker meetings, several deacons didn’t actively fellowship, which made me frustrated. Just a few days later, my leader pointed out my problems, saying, “Sister Zhang reported that you tend to scold and deal with people at meetings. Fellowship in this tone makes people feel constrained, so you need to properly reflect on this matter….” I thought, “I was pointing out their problems. They don’t know themselves, and say they feel constrained now, but I never asked them to feel constrained. It’s their own issue if they feel constrained.” Later, I also felt guilty, and I realized I had shown corruption while cooperating with my brothers and sisters, which made them feel constrained. I went to Sister Zhang to open up and fellowship, and I said, “I am someone who speaks directly and often gets angry. Sometimes I don’t treat the corruption and deficiencies of my brothers and sisters properly, and I speak very harshly with people, which makes them feel constrained.” I was surprised when Sister Zhang said, “I think you are arrogant, self-righteous, have a terrible temper, and love to talk down to and scold others.” I was stunned when I heard that. I thought, “I admit I’m arrogant, but I certainly didn’t speak down to any of you! I opened up and fellowshiped with you just now, but you don’t know yourself, and now you’re digging up my problems.” I couldn’t swallow that, so I also pointed out some of her problems in her duties. I was taken aback when Sister Zhang immediately accepted what I said. I felt ashamed, and also a little uneasy, so I prayed to God to say, “God, I know this matter is part of Your orchestrations and arrangements. My sister pointed out my problems, but I couldn’t recognize or accept it. God, please enlighten me and help me reflect on myself.”
After that, based on Sister Zhang saying I was arrogant, self-righteous, and talked down to people, I reflected, but after thinking about it for three days, I still couldn’t see it. I went to Sister Zhang and asked her to clarify for me. She said, “Last time, at the meeting summary, you didn’t ask us what specific problems we were having, you just suddenly dealt with us.” I thought, “For just this one time, you say I’m arrogant and like to speak down to others?” I explained, “I had a reason for dealing with you. At first, I wanted to go over the mistakes. I only lost my temper when I saw none of you knew yourselves.” I thought Sister Zhang would understand, but she immediately said, “I think you are too arrogant. You regard your own ideas as the truth and demand that everyone listen to you.” When I heard her say this, I only felt confused. I thought I heard her wrong, so I asked again to confirm, and she told me very clearly, “That’s right.” I began to feel afraid and I thought, “What she’s saying is just nonsense! How dare I regard my own ideas as the truth? I’ve never thought that way.” But I knew God’s good intentions were behind me being dealt with like this, so I quickly prayed to God and asked Him to enlighten me so I could reflect and know myself.
Later, during my devotionals, I read two passages of God’s word. “Some people say they don’t have a corrupt disposition, that they are not arrogant. What people are these? These are people without sense, and they are also the most stupid and arrogant of all. In fact, they’re more arrogant and rebellious than anyone; the more someone says they are not corrupt, the more arrogant and self-righteous they are. Why are others able to know themselves, and accept God’s judgment, yet you aren’t? Are you the exception? Are you a saint? Do you live in a vacuum? You do not acknowledge that humankind has been corrupted by Satan, that people have a corrupt disposition, and so you are the most rebellious and arrogant of all” (“An Arrogant Nature Is the Root of Man’s Resistance to God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “I have found that many leaders are only capable of lecturing people, they are only able to preach to people from on high, and cannot communicate with them on the same level; they are not able to interact with people normally. When some people talk, it’s always like they are giving a speech or making a report; their words are only ever directed at other people’s states, and they never open up about themselves, they never dissect their own corrupt dispositions, but only dissect other people’s issues for others to know. And why do they do this? Why are they liable to preach such sermons, to say such things? This is proof that they have no knowledge of themselves, that they are too lacking in sense, too arrogant and conceited. They think that their ability to recognize other people’s corrupt dispositions proves that they are above other people, that they are better than others at discerning people and things, that they are less corrupt than other people. Being able to dissect and lecture others, but being incapable of laying themselves bare, not exposing or dissecting their own corrupt dispositions, not showing their true face, saying nothing about their own motivations, only lecturing other people for doing the wrong thing—this is self-magnification and self-exaltation” (“A Talk About God’s Administrative Decrees in the Age of Kingdom” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word revealed my true state. All humankind has been corrupted by Satan and is full of satanic dispositions. I certainly don’t live in a vacuum. I’ve also been corrupted by Satan. How could I not have an arrogant disposition? My sister dealing with me for being arrogant and speaking down came from God. But I actually thought she spoke too harshly when she dealt with me. I was so insensitive that I didn’t know myself at all. God’s word says that if leaders can’t fellowship on the truth, supply others, analyze, or know themselves, but scold, speak down to others while giving sermons, and always think they are better than others, then they are the most arrogant and rebellious people. I realized this was how I behaved in my duty. When the work I was responsible for was effective, or when my brothers and sisters approved of me, I started to appreciate myself and felt I was better than my brothers and sisters. When I saw them doing things slowly, I thought they weren’t bearing their burden, so I lost my temper, scolded them, blamed them, felt they were awful, and wanted to remove my sister who I thought had poor caliber without even looking at if she was effective in her duties. When we discussed the meeting content, my brothers and sisters were silent, but instead of asking about their difficulties, I forced them to fellowship in a certain way, which made them feel constrained. During the meeting, when they didn’t fellowship according to my ideas, I wanted to lose my temper and deal with them. When I pointed out their problems, but they didn’t recognize them, I despised and belittled them in my heart, and even harshly dealt with them. I didn’t consider at all whether their stature was up to it. Later, my leader told me Sister Zhang felt constrained by me and asked me to reflect, but I didn’t take it seriously, and thought I dealt with Sister Zhang to help her better know herself. I remembered Sister Zhang had once told me there was a newcomer who didn’t dare fellowship when I was present at meetings. I thought nothing of it at the time. Only now did I see my brothers and sisters all felt constrained by me, but I didn’t know my problems, and I despised them for not bearing a burden. I really was so arrogant! I didn’t treat my brothers and sisters as equals, nor did I try to understand or consider their difficulties and shortcomings. Instead, I scolded them condescendingly. When God used my brothers and sisters to prune, deal with, and instruct me, I didn’t know myself at all and tried to defend and explain myself. I thought I merely spoke directly and had a bad temper. I couldn’t admit I was being condescending and scolding people. I always asked others to know themselves, but I didn’t reflect on my own corruption. I always thought I was right and it was everyone else’s fault. I was so arrogant and irrational. Only then did I see God’s mercy and tolerance for me. God used Sister Zhang to point out my problems time and time again, to make me know myself, then confess my sins and repent.
Later, I read another passage of God’s word. “If you really possess the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. 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, and, finally, sit in God’s place and bear testimony for yourself. You would turn your own ideas, your own thinking, and your own notions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature!” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). From God’s word, I understood that people with arrogant and self-righteous natures exalt themselves, belittle others, and think they are always right. They even treat their own ideas as the truth and can do evil or resist God at any time. I thought of my previous contact with others: I never discussed my own experience or analyzed my own corruption to help them know themselves. Instead, I condescendingly analyzed and exposed them. When they didn’t understand, I got angry, belittled them, and dealt with them, making them feel constrained. They didn’t dare tell me if they had problems, which hindered their duties and impacted the effectiveness of church life. All of this was caused by my arrogant nature. I thought of how God expresses the truth to supply people and expose our corruption. God never forces us to accept or practice. Instead, He patiently guides people and arranges ways for them to experience His words and work. Through experience, people gradually come to know themselves, practice the truth, and grow in life. God also has principles in dealing with people. God treats people fairly based on their stature and caliber. He does not demand more than we can do. He does not look up or look down on us. I am nothing but a tiny created being, but just because I can share some understanding in fellowship, I demanded people listen to me. I didn’t account for people’s different situations, and I had high requirements for everyone. When people couldn’t reach my standards, I despised, belittled, and even hoped to remove people. I reflected on the essence of what I had done. I had treated my own ideas like the truth, insisted my point of view was right no matter what the time or place, and told my brothers and sisters to listen to me. I wasn’t fulfilling my duties at all. Wasn’t I just resisting God? I didn’t know I was controlled by my arrogant and self-righteous nature and I did wicked things that resisted God and harmed my brothers and sisters. I was terrible and deserved to be punished by God! Once I realized this, I was very grateful to God for protecting me by allowing me to reflect on myself in time and not go astray through my sister’s advice. Only now did I see I lacked the realities of truth. I could still consider my own views and understanding as the truth, make my brothers and sisters listen to me. I was too arrogant and I didn’t know a thing about myself.
Later, a sister sent me a passage of God’s word. It’s in the first passage of “Only Those With the Reality of the Truth Can Lead.” “If, as a church leader or worker, you are to lead God’s chosen ones in entering the reality of the truth and bearing proper testimony to God, of chief importance is to guide people in spending more time readingand fellowshiping the truth, so that God’s chosen ones can have a deeper knowledge of God’s aims in saving man and the purpose of God’s work, and can understand God’s will and His various requirements for man, thus allowing them to understand the truth. … Can you make people understand the truth and enter its reality if you only deal with and lecture them? If the truth you fellowship is not real, if it is nothing but words of doctrine, then no matter how much you deal with and lecture them, it will be to no avail. Do you think people being afraid of you, and doing what you tell them to, and not daring to object, is the same as them understanding the truth and being obedient? This is a major mistake; entry into life is not so simple. Some leaders are like a new manager trying to make a strong impression, they try to impose their new-found authority on God’s chosen ones so that everyone submits to them, thinking that this will make their job easier. If you lack the reality of the truth, then before long your true colors will be revealed, your true stature will be exposed, and you could well be eliminated. In some administrative work, a little dealing, pruning, and discipline is acceptable. But if you are unable to provide the truth—if you are only capable of lecturing people, and all you do is fly into a rage—then this is your corrupt disposition revealing itself, and you have shown the ugly face of your corruption. As time goes on, God’s chosen ones will be unable to receive the provision of life from you, they will not gain anything real, and so will be repulsed and disgusted by you, and will shun you” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). As leaders, God instructs us to learn to fellowship on the truth to solve problems and guide people in understanding the truth, not to scold and deal with people for every slight, show our strength, and make others fear us. These are the actions of a false leader. God exalted me with a leadership duty, yet not only did I do no practical work, I didn’t benefit the life entry of my brothers and sisters in any substantial way, and I always blindly scolded and dealt with my brothers and sisters, causing them to feel constrained by me, fear me, and avoid me. I thought of a false leader who was dismissed the previous month because he did no practical work, couldn’t solve the difficulties his brothers and sisters faced in their duties, and always blindly dealt with people and accused them of doing a bad job, causing them to cry, say they felt constrained. They lived in a weak and negative state and thought they couldn’t perform their duties. This false leader’s actions caused serious harm to the work of God’s house and the life entry of his brothers and sisters. Wasn’t I the same as this false leader? I didn’t have the realities of truth and didn’t focus on pursuing the truth or dispositional change. I could only blindly scold and deal with people from my arrogant disposition. I was walking the path of false leaders and antichrists. Continuing like this was dangerous.
Later, I saw a passage of God’s word. “Leaders and workers must be able to fellowship God’s words, must be able to find a path to practice from God’s words, and must lead people in understanding God’s words, and in experiencing and entering God’s words in their daily lives. They must be able to incorporate God’s words into their daily lives, and when they come across a problem, they must be able to solve it using God’s words; so, too, must they be able to use God’s words to address the various difficulties they encounter whilst performing their duty” (“Identifying False Leaders (1)” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Leaders and workers must often fellowship on the truth and principles, to guide others in understanding the truth and entering into its reality. They must understand and resolve the troubles and difficulties others encounter in their duties, so that as they perform their duties and in their real lives, they can learn to practice the truth and make progress in life. This is the job of leaders and workers. It is not, as I did, to not understand people’s difficulties, not fellowship on the truth to resolve their problems, and always accuse and make demands of them with an attitude of disdain. Even pruning and dealing have their principles. We can’t use words of doctrine to deal with people, and we can’t condescendingly scold others based on our own ideas or anger. Pruning and dealing require discerning different situations and backgrounds. If someone does something that disrupts or disturbs the work of God’s house, damages the life entry of their brothers and sisters, and doesn’t change after repeated fellowship, they should be pruned and dealt with. Some people often muddle through in their duties and don’t repent despite fellowship, and they should be pruned and dealt with. When people knowingly sin or know the truth but don’t practice it, they must also be pruned and dealt with. When we deal with others, we need to correctly see the problem’s essence and fellowship on the truth, so that they know what their mistake is, what corrupt disposition controls them, and the essence of their actions. Also, when pruning, dealing, and exposing people’s corruption, we need to stand on equal footing with our brothers and sisters. We can’t exclude ourselves, as if we aren’t corrupt. But I didn’t understand the principles of pruning and dealing with people. When I saw my brothers and sisters muddling through and procrastinating in their duties, instead of offering fellowship on the truth to help them, I scolded and dealt with them. As a result, instead of gaining knowledge of themselves, they felt constrained by me. Actually, my leaders had told me that some brothers and sisters had just started their duties, didn’t understand some principles, so there would inevitably be some mistakes and deviations, and I shouldn’t deal with them in such situations. Instead, I should understand their deficiencies and trouble, lovingly support and help them, and guide them in understanding the principles of truth. If I had helped and guided them more, and if they knew how to practice, but didn’t repent or change, I should have treated them as equals, pointed out the essence of their problems, helped them know themselves according to God’s word and principles. Only pruning and dealing like this accords with God’s will, and it helps the work of God’s house and the life entry of our brothers and sisters. No matter what, only practice according to the truth benefits people.
One day, my leader sent a message to the group to investigate the state of an item of work, but my partner and the team leaders didn’t respond in time. I thought, “Why didn’t my brothers and sisters proactively respond? They are far too passive about their duties.” When it was time for our meeting, I raised the question, and when everyone was silent, I involuntarily accused them of being too slow and passive in their duties. When I finished, they were still silent, and I thought, “Did I expose my arrogant disposition again and make my brothers and sisters feel constrained?” At that moment, I looked at my computer and realized that my microphone had been muted as I fellowshiped. This was when I realized God was protecting me and preventing me from harming my brothers and sisters. I silently gave thanks to God, but the same time, I felt a deep sense of remorse and hated myself for showing arrogance again. I turned on my microphone and calmly asked them why they did not reply to the message in time. That was when I learned my partner didn’t have internet, and the others didn’t grasp principles or understand the situation, and didn’t know how to respond. I patiently fellowshiped with them about how to implement this work according to principles, and then I reported on the state of the work to my leader. When I practiced in this way, I felt a little more at ease.
Later, I read another passage of God’s word. “After humans are conquered by God, the basic attribute of the sense of reason they should be equipped with is to be sure not to speak arrogantly. They should assume a lowly status, ‘as dung upon the ground,’ and say some things that are true; this would be best. Especially when bearing testimony for God, if you can say something of substance from the heart, with no empty or tall talk and no fictitious lies, then your disposition will have changed, and this is the change that should occur once you have been conquered by God. If you cannot possess even this amount of reason, then you are truly without any semblance of a human being. In the future, when all nations and regions have been conquered by God, if at a huge gathering in praise of God you begin to act arrogantly again, then you will be scrapped and eliminated. From now on, man must always behave properly, recognize their status and position, and not relapse into their old ways” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). From God’s word, I understood that I am a tiny created being, someone who is deeply corrupted, and that I should stand on an equal footing with my brothers and sisters and perform my duty well. This is what it means to be sensible. Now, when I follow up on church work, I will no longer rashly get angry and scold my brothers and sisters. I make a conscious effort to understand their difficulties, and I seek the truth with everyone. Slowly, my brothers and sisters and I become able to cooperate harmoniously. These changes in me are the result of God’s judgment and chastisement, and I am grateful to God for saving me.