Joy’s Story

February 9, 2024

By Joy, the Philippines

In the past, I always treated people based on emotion. So long as people were nice to me, I would be nice to them. I had no discernment of people, and what’s more, I had no principles. This was until I experienced some things that made me understand that the principles by which I got along with people and viewed others were incorrect.

In February of 2021, my good friend Emma invited me to a gathering of The Church of Almighty God. By reading the words of Almighty God and listening to the fellowship in gatherings, I made certain that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus and happily accepted God’s work in the last days. A few months later, I was chosen as the church’s watering deacon.

One day, I noticed that in a gathering group, Emma was suddenly spreading rumors and fallacies that questioned God and attacked the church, as well as prejudices about the leaders and deacons. There was dissatisfaction and ridicule in her words. She also said these things weren’t her own personal opinions, and that they were opinions from others, and she hoped that a meeting could be held for the leaders to answer these questions. I was shocked after reading about the fallacies and rumors Emma sent. At the same time, I was also worried, because all the people in that group were brothers and sisters who had just accepted God’s work in the last days. Sending those kinds of messages to the group would definitely cause a disturbance, and it might even cause some with shallow foundations and no discernment to stumble. I felt very uneasy and I didn’t know why Emma was doing this. If she really wanted answers to her questions, she could have sent them directly to the leader. Why was she spreading these things among the newcomers? Soon, just as I had feared, the rumors Emma had been spreading generated confusion and disruption within the church, with some brothers and sisters being influenced, causing them to become prejudiced against the leaders and deacons and feel resistant. One of the group leaders asked me, “Are the things Emma said true?” Seeing this situation, I became even more agitated. So, I hurried to find Emma to ask where these rumors were coming from. Emma told me, “These aren’t questions I’ve brought up. I just want the leaders to hold a meeting to answer them.” I asked her again who had sent her these rumors, but Emma still didn’t say. I reported this matter to the leader, who also wanted to know who exactly had raised these questions to quickly solve the problem at the root. But Emma told her nothing. Later, after investigating, it was found that none of the other brothers and sisters had raised these questions, and that it was Emma herself who had notions about God’s work. She collected some rumors from the Internet and arranged them into questions, but she refused to admit it. After learning the truth of the matter, the leader quickly organized a gathering, and fellowshiped to answer each one of Emma’s rumors and fallacies, thereby giving the brothers and sisters discernment over the things Emma said. However, Emma herself had no awareness of or repentance for her own actions.

After this incident, the leader asked me, “What will you do if Emma isn’t a right person? Will you be able to treat her according to the truth principles?” Faced with the leader’s questions, I didn’t know how to answer. Later, the leader and I read a passage of God’s word together: “By what principle do God’s words ask that people treat others? Love what God loves, and hate what God hates: This is the principle that should be adhered to. God loves those who pursue the truth and are able to follow His will; these are also the people that we should love. Those who are not able to follow God’s will, who hate and rebel against God—these people are despised by God, and we should despise them, too. This is what God asks of man. … During the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus said, ‘Who is My mother? And who are My brothers?’ ‘For whoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.’ These words already existed back in the Age of Grace, and now God’s words are even more clear: ‘Love what God loves, and hate what God hates.’ These words cut straight to the point, yet people are often unable to grasp their true meaning(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Recognizing One’s Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform). After reading God’s words, I understood God’s will a little better. God requires us to treat people with principles, and we should love what God loves, and hate what God hates. In any matter of principle, and no matter who it is, we must treat them based on God’s words, “Love what God loves, and hate what God hates.” Emma had deliberately been spreading these rumors and fallacies, which had given people notions and misunderstandings about God, and confusion about God’s work. This had disturbed the life of the church, which is doing evil in nature. God hates evildoers. People should stand on God’s side, reject evildoers, and stop their wicked deeds to prevent their continued disturbance of others having normal gatherings and reading God’s word. Once I understood this, I told the leader, “Although it’s hard for me to accept the fact that Emma did evil, it is a fact. I won’t be disturbed or constrained by her. I will treat her according to the principles given by God. If the church decides to isolate her, I will put aside my feelings for her, and I will not blame God.” The leader told me, “In this kind of situation, to protect the brothers and sisters from continuing to be deceived by Emma, the church has decided to isolate Emma so that she could reflect on herself.” Although I was worried about Emma’s predicament, I was also aware that Emma had acted as Satan’s servant, disrupting and disturbing the life of the church, and that the leader’s arrangement was to protect the brothers and sisters from being deceived or disturbed by rumors and fallacies, so I didn’t say anything more. Within a few days, Emma came to me, telling me that she was worried she would be removed from the gathering group. I said to her, “You’ve done wrong. If you really want to resolve these problems, you can bring them before the leader and the leader can help you resolve them, rather than spreading these rumors and fallacies among the brothers and sisters and causing disturbance to them.” I wanted to make Emma repent, but she didn’t respond to me. She just said she didn’t want to be removed from the group, and that if she was removed, she would just create a fake account with fake information and a fake address to re-enter the church as someone who investigates the true way, meaning that she would be arranged to go to a different church. Hearing Emma’s words, I was very surprised. Emma had absolutely no intention to repent. She even wanted to create a fake account to infiltrate the church to disrupt and sabotage. Wasn’t she just a servant of Satan? Emma’s actions also showed she wasn’t an honest person. She was planning to deceive the brothers, sisters, and the church. At this time, I thought of the watering deacon’s responsibility: “Upon discovering a problem, they should immediately address it by seeking the truth; major problems must be solved by fellowshiping with the church leaders. There must be no concealment of the true facts” (Work Arrangements). I felt that as a watering deacon, I had to adhere to the truth principles and protect my brothers and sisters from being disturbed and misled. So, I told the leader about this and sent her screenshots of our chat. But then I thought about how Emma was the one who first shared the gospel with me and about how we were friends, and so I asked the leader whether it would be possible to let Emma stay on in her group. That way, she wouldn’t apply with a fake account to disturb other churches. The leader said to me, “If she doesn’t do evil or cause any disturbances, she can stay. But right now, she has no understanding of her evil deeds and the disturbance she has caused. She still wants to cheat, deceive, and sneak into another church. This shows she hasn’t repented! If she really has an evildoer’s essence, she won’t repent or change, and she won’t stop doing evil.” The words of the leader were a warning to me, and only then did I realize that I was acting on emotion by wanting to keep Emma in the church. Emma had no knowledge of herself. There was no telling when she might do evil and disturb the church again. I had no principle in my pleading on behalf of Emma.

Later, the leader investigated and found that when Emma had notions, she didn’t seek the truth to resolve them. Instead, she deliberately seized on things to attack God, misrepresented facts, spread rumors and fallacies, and misled the brothers and sisters to make them have notions about God’s work. She also often said at gatherings that the leaders and group heads weren’t up to their work to attack the positivity of the performance of their duties, causing them to be negative, which affected the results of their duties. Emma’s actions seriously disrupted the church, and she didn’t repent, so she was indeed an evildoer. In the end, the church expelled Emma according to the principles of removing people, and I no longer protected Emma. But what happened next left me mired in pain.

One morning, Emma suddenly sent me a message asking me why I was doing this to her, and she said that I had destroyed her trust in me, and that I had made the situation get so terrible. Later I realized that the reason she was angry was because of the matter of the fake account. The content of the screenshots I had sent to the leader had been written in our local language which the leader didn’t understand, so she asked another sister to translate what had been said. However, this sister just so happened to be one of Emma’s friends and told her all about it. This was why Emma was sending me messages questioning me about it. I cried several times that morning. I felt that my friendship with Emma was about to end. I began to recall the moments I had spent with Emma. Emma helped me come up with ideas when I had difficulties, and we often shared our thoughts with one another…. But now, I didn’t know how to face Emma. I couldn’t calm my heart. I couldn’t even concentrate long enough to host gatherings. I kept blaming myself, “Did I really make everything terrible? Maybe there’s a better way to stop her from getting a fake account and disturbing the church.” I began to doubt whether my decision was the right one. I was very perturbed. I even wanted to deactivate my account, avoid my brothers and sisters, and get away from it all, but I knew that I couldn’t let go of my duties, that I shouldn’t run from the problems and that I should proactively seek solutions. So, I told the leader about my state. The leader sent a passage of God’s word to me: “You must enter from the side of positivity; be active and not passive. You must be unshaken by anyone or anything, in all situations, and you must not be influenced by anyone’s words. You must have a stable disposition; no matter what people say, you must immediately put into practice what you know to be the truth. You must always have My words at work inside of you, regardless of whom you might be facing; you must be able to stand firm in your testimony to Me and show consideration for My burdens. You must not blindly agree with others without having your own ideas; rather, you must have the courage to stand up and object to those things that do not conform with the truth. If you know clearly that something is wrong, yet lack the courage to expose it, then you are not a person who practices the truth. You want to say something, but dare not come right out with it, so you beat around the bush and then change the topic; Satan is inside you holding you back, causing you to speak without any effect and to be unable to persevere until the end. You still carry fear in your heart, and is this not because your heart is still filled with Satan’s ideas?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 12). After reading the word of God, the leader fellowshiped with me, “God’s words are very clear. If you discover something that harms the work of the church and that hurts your brothers and sisters, or if there is a disturbance from Satan, you should stand up, have the courage to expose it, stop it, and defend the work of the church. Only this is someone who practices the truth. If we know something is wrong, yet are still constrained by our emotions, fear breaking up relationships with others, and can’t adhere to the truth principles, then we are on the side of Satan, and this goes against God’s will! You discovered your friend spreading fallacies, and you exposed and stopped her, protecting your brothers and sisters from harm. You made the right choice, and there is no need to blame yourself or be sad.” After reading the word of God and listening to the sister’s fellowship, I saw that my stature was still too small, and that I lacked discernment. I had clearly acted in line with principle, but when Emma complained and accused me, it shook me, and I doubted whether I had been wrong. Now I know that my choice and practice had been right. In matters involving the work of the church and the lives of my brothers and sisters, I must have principles and take a firm stance. I had to learn to discern right from wrong and not be constrained by emotions.

After understanding God’s will, I calmed myself and focused on my duty. But things didn’t end there. Emma suddenly sent another message to me, saying, “I’ve been removed from the group. Are you happy now? This is all thanks to you. Thanks a lot!” There was mockery and sarcasm in those words. I didn’t know how to reply to Emma for a while. I knew that at that moment our friendship was over, and I was very sad. Our relationship was so good, and it was she who preached the gospel to me. But now, I’ve reported her problem to the leader. Haven’t I betrayed her? What will she think of me? What should I do now? Should I say sorry to her? Did I break her trust in me? Did I fail to cherish our friendship? Did I really do the right thing? In my confusion and pain, I read a passage of God’s words: “Behavior that cannot obey Me absolutely is betrayal. Behavior that cannot be loyal to Me is betrayal. Cheating Me and using lies to deceive Me is betrayal. Harboring many notions and spreading them everywhere is betrayal. Being unable to uphold My testimonies and interests is betrayal. Offering false smiles when far from Me in heart is betrayal. These are all acts of betrayal of which you have always been capable, and they are commonplace among you. None of you may think of this as a problem, but that is not what I think. I cannot treat a person’s betrayal of Me as a trifling matter, and I certainly cannot ignore it(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)). After reading God’s word, I was enlightened. I had always been thinking that it was me who had betrayed my friend. Why didn’t I think about whether my opinions and behavior are in line with the truth or whether I betray God? I shouldn’t just worry about my friend’s feelings and ignore God’s attitude. God’s words are very clear: “Being unable to uphold My testimonies and interests is betrayal.” Emma had spread notions about God’s work, deceived the brothers and sisters, and disturbed church life. She also wanted to create a fake account to deceive others. These are all actions of Satan, and they tear down the work of the church. If I had chosen to stand on Emma’s side and not practice the truth, that would be standing on the side of Satan and betraying God! I also thought of God’s words: “Be loyal to Me no matter what, and bravely advance; I am your rock of strength, so rely on Me!(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 10). I should sincerely pray to God and trust God, and believe that God would guide me to know right from wrong, learn to discern people, and keep me from losing my principles and position in this matter.

Later, I wondered, “When I found out that Emma was doing something wrong, I reported it to the leader. This was clearly to safeguard the work of the church. Why am I always feeling sorry for Emma?” Later, it was God’s word that provided an answer to my question. God’s words say: “If you do not have a normal relationship with God, then no matter what you do to maintain your relationships with other people, no matter how hard you work or how much energy you put in, it will all belong to a human philosophy for living. You will be protecting your position among people and attaining their praise through human perspectives and human philosophies, rather than establishing normal interpersonal relationships according to the word of God. If you do not focus on your relationships with people, and maintain a normal relationship with God instead, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, then your interpersonal relationships will naturally become normal. … Normal interpersonal relationships are established upon the foundation of turning one’s heart toward God, not through human effort. If God is absent from a person’s heart, then their relationships with other people are merely relationships of the flesh. They are not normal, they are lustful indulgences, and they are hated and loathed by God(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God). “In all you do and all you say, be able to set your heart right and be righteous in your actions, and do not be led by your emotions, nor act according to your own will. These are principles by which believers in God must conduct themselves(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How Is Your Relationship With God?). I understood from God’s word that I cared too much about protecting my relationships with others and that I had neglected my normal relationship with God and lived in fleshly emotions. The fact is, maintaining relationships with others is purely for the sake of one’s own interests, image, and status. All these things come from the flesh. It is also tainted with emotions and personal intentions, and does not conform to the truth principles. I realized that I was swayed on this matter of Emma and had no position, because I was constrained by emotions, which prevented me from doing the right thing. I only thought of maintaining my friendship, my image, and my place in people’s hearts, and as a result, I was trapped in emotion. So I couldn’t treat people by the truth principles, much less consider the interests of the church. I had even wanted to give up my duty, distance myself from the brothers and sisters, and betray God. Only then did I see that emotions are selfish. Satan uses emotions to control people, causing them to betray the truth and God. I also realized that, actually, when Emma preached the gospel to me and invited me to the gathering, these were the sovereign arrangements of God. I should have been grateful to God, not to Emma. Once I understood these things, I felt very relieved and much less tormented.

Later, at a gathering, I read a passage of God’s word, which let me see Emma’s nature essence more clearly. God’s words say: “Those among brothers and sisters who are always giving vent to their negativity are lackeys of Satan, and they disturb the church. Such people must one day be expelled and cast out. In their belief in God, if people do not have a God-fearing heart, if they do not have a God-obeying heart, then not only will they be unable to do any work for Him, but on the contrary will become those who disturb His work and who defy Him. Believing in God but not obeying or fearing Him, and instead resisting Him, is the greatest disgrace for a believer. If believers are just as casual and unrestrained in their speech and conduct as unbelievers are, then they are even more evil than unbelievers; they are archetypal demons. Those who give vent to their poisonous, malicious talk within the church, who spread rumors, foment disharmony, and form cliques among the brothers and sisters—they should have been expelled from the church. Yet because now is a different era of God’s work, these people are restricted, for they are decidedly to be cast out. All who have been corrupted by Satan have corrupt dispositions. Some have nothing more than corrupt dispositions, while others are different: Not only do they have corrupt satanic dispositions, but their nature is also extremely malicious. Not only do their words and actions reveal their corrupt, satanic dispositions; these people are, moreover, the genuine devil Satan. Their behavior disrupts and disturbs God’s work, it disturbs the brothers’ and sisters’ life entry, and it damages the normal life of the church. Sooner or later, these wolves in sheep’s clothing must be cleared out; an unsparing attitude, an attitude of rejection, should be adopted toward these lackeys of Satan. Only this is standing on the side of God, and those who fail to do so are wallowing in the mire with Satan(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth). This passage is God’s warning to people. I understand that those who do not practice the truth, who always spread rumors and sow discord are people who rebel against and resist God. Such people are not God’s chosen people, rather, they are Satan’s servants and evildoers. Everything they do is hostile to God, and according to the rules of the church, such people are to be expelled. Thank God! Now, my heart is bright, and I have discernment. Based on Emma’s behavior, I’m sure she is an evildoer. I also remembered that in “The Principles of Treating Others According to Their Essences” it says: “(4) So long as someone is confirmed essentially to be an evil person, an evil spirit, an antichrist, or a nonbeliever, that person must be cleared out or expelled, as enacted by the church; (5) Deceitful people who frequently reveal erroneous views, who frequently harbor notions of God and are defensive against Him, are counted among nonbelievers. They are to be cleared out or expelled” (170 Principles of Practicing the Truth, 132. The Principles of Treating Others According to Their Essences). According to principles, evildoers must be driven out of the church to prevent them from causing disruptions in the church, so that others will not be disturbed when they gather or perform their duties. I also understood that God allows evildoers to disturb the church so that God’s chosen ones can understand the truth, learn to discern people, and treat people according to God’s word. At the same time, it allows us to know our true stature, and learn to practice the truth and safeguard the interests of the church. Realizing these things, I was grateful to God. Without God’s protection and the guidance of God’s words, I would still be constrained by emotions, speaking for an evildoer, and being deceived by Emma. This is quite a dangerous thing! Once I recognized these things, I was no longer troubled by this matter, and I felt a great deal of release.

After that, Emma contacted me several times, but I was no longer influenced or disturbed by her. Having gone through this experience, I was full of gratitude to God. It was God who guided me to understand some truths, gain some discernment, and cast off the constraints of emotion. The truth is all too important for people. Only when we view people and matters based on the truth can we have principles and not be misled and used by Satan. Thank God!

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