Learning From Expelling an Evildoer

January 18, 2022

By Songyi, Netherlands

In March 2021, I took on a leadership duty. When I met with the supervisor, I discovered that some of the watering group leaders were just bossing people around and urging them to do their duty, while they just twiddled their thumbs. They didn’t understand the actual problems the groups faced, so they just gave some empty speeches and enforced the rules, without sharing a practical path. We fellowshiped with them that leading wasn’t just telling people what to do, they had to provide practical watering for newcomers as well, and work collaboratively with the others. But a few days later, they still hadn’t taken any real action. I looked into it and discovered a team leader named Gao was wreaking havoc. She wasn’t doing practical work, and was inciting the other team leaders, saying that the supervisor and I had them watering newcomers, leaving them with no time to follow up on their teams’ work, which must mean we didn’t need them to do that anymore. Then what was their responsibility? She also said that the supervisor was an amateur, so how could she get the job done right? Basically she was saying that, since the supervisor wasn’t experienced with watering, she couldn’t give them practical guidance, so they shouldn’t listen to her. When the supervisor found some problems in their work, she spoke pretty harshly, so Gao was judgmental about this, saying she’d been scolding people haughtily. Gao also spread rumors pretending that she wanted to seek, saying the supervisor was an amateur, so their work would definitely suffer, and that the upper leader violated principles of appointing people. But in fact, the upper leader Sister Liu had promoted the supervisor according to principle. She didn’t have much experience watering newcomers, but she had good caliber, she was capable and bore a burden in her duty, she could be cultivated. She could also spot problems and guide the team’s work, and she’d made some progress in watering newcomers. But Gao kept claiming that she wasn’t qualified, attacking her and insisting she wasn’t fit for the position. She also spread rumors that the upper leader appointed people without principle, making others biased against the leader and supervisor, and refusing to carry out the work. This caused a disruption in those leaders’ duties, and in the work of God’s house. Gao also gave some disingenuous fellowship at gatherings, subtly insulting and attacking the upper leader and supervisor. For example, she said she’d noticed that the two of them hadn’t arranged a certain task well. Gao had brought it up, but the two didn’t understand the work and didn’t take her suggestion. Gao didn’t want to persist, then later she noticed that there really was a problem. But that wasn’t what really happened at all. She was intentionally vague in her fellowship, to make it seem like the leadership didn’t understand her work and were holding her back, refusing to take her advice, and she was being stifled for upholding the interests of God’s house, so everyone would have sympathy for her and side with her. Gao always looked down on and judged leaders and supervisors, which the others had fellowshiped with her plenty of times about, but she’d never repented at all for it. This isn’t a matter of showing a little corruption, it’s a problem of nature.

I thought of God’s words about exposing such a person. Almighty God says, “In the life of the church, what people, matters, and things are associated with the issue of competing for status? What manifestations of competing for status are associated with being obstructive and disruptive to the work of the house of God in nature? Most common is competing with church leaders for their status in the church in order to gain control of the chosen ones, frequently denigrating, casting aspersions on, and condemning the church leaders, and deliberately exposing their failings and shortcomings in their humanity, or problems with their caliber, particularly when it comes to mistakes they have made in their work or when dealing with people. This is the most commonly seen, and most blatant, competition for status. What other manifestations are there? Openly competing for status with church leaders: not obeying them regardless of how well they do their work, of whether or not it is according to principle, and whether or not there are issues with their humanity. Why don’t they obey them? Because the person competing for status also wants to be leader. And so no matter what a leader who has been elected or appointed does, they cast aspersions on them and condemn them. They do not use the principles that the house of God requires of leaders and workers to measure or view whether what this leader does is according to principle, whether they are people who are correct, whether they are someone who pursues the truth, whether there is conscience and sense in their humanity—it is not according to such things. Instead, as befits their own ambitions, motivations, and aims, they constantly nitpick and split hairs, turning the screws on the leader or worker, spreading rumors behind their back about them violating the truth, or bringing up their shortcomings. They might say, for example, that ‘Leader so-and-so once made this mistake and was dealt with by the Above, which none of you know about—that’s how good he is at putting on an act.’ They ignore and overlook whether this leader or worker is being trained up by the house of God, and whether they are a qualified leader or worker, but simply keep on casting aspersions about them, gossiping about them, and scheming against them behind their back. And to what end do they do these things? It is because they are competing for status, is it not? There is an aim to everything they say and do. This is not for the sake of church work, and it is not based on the words of God, or the truth, much less the work arrangements of God’s house or the principles that God requires of man, but on their own ambitions and aims. They counter everything the leader or worker says with their own ‘insights’; they rebuff whatever you say with their own differing opinion. They are especially pleased when a leader or worker opens up and lays themselves bare, and talks about self-knowledge: They think they have found their chance. What chance? The chance to denigrate the leader or worker, to let everyone know there is a problem with their caliber, that they can be weak, that they are corrupt, that they often make mistakes in the things they do, that they are no better than anyone else. This is their chance to turn the screws on them, their opportunity to encourage everyone to subvert, undermine, and criticize the leader or worker. And the motivation for all of these behaviors and actions is none other than competition for status.” “Openly clamoring against a leader or worker and competing with them for status must not only be subject to curbs and limitations; if the situation is serious, and meets the conditions for removal and expulsion, then it should be dealt with according to principle. In addition, they try to alienate and attack people who are more apt to pursue the truth in the church, because people who pursue the truth have a pure understanding, they have experience of God’s words, insights into them, a yearning for them, and among the brothers and sisters, these people are often able to solve problems by fellowshiping the truth, and thus edify God’s chosen ones, and thus they gradually gain prestige in the church. Anyone who attacks or tries to alienate people who pursue the truth is directly disrupting and disturbing church life. They may not take aim at church leaders directly, but they have a particular antipathy toward people in the church who have real experiences, who are possessed of the reality of the truth, who understand and love the truth. They alienate, undermine, and disdain such people, often mocking and demeaning them, even laying traps for them and scheming against them, and so on. Although problems such as these are less serious than competing with leaders and workers for status, they still disturb and disrupt church life. And being obstructive and disruptive, these people should be limited and kept in check. And if a large number of brothers and sisters in the church are affected, if they are often reduced to negativity and weakness, then these people should not only be kept in check, but purged or separated from everyone else to reflect on themselves. If they are obstructive and disruptive in nature, then all issues of this sort are of the habitual kind. If two people occasionally fall out because of a certain thing, if they are fractious and querulous with each other due to a difference in personality, the way they see things, or the way they express themselves, then occasionally acting in this way is not associated with being obstructive and disruptive in nature. What we’re talking about is where the nature of this has already reached the point of being obstructive and disruptive: people who habitually act in this way, who try to undermine, alienate, mock, and scheme against anyone who has real experiences and who shares these real experiences. They habitually act in this way, they can’t bear people who are good—good people trigger them, they enrage them, and they target anyone who is good, they try to harm them and make them suffer. Such people have already caused severe obstruction and disruption to the normal life and order of the church, and leaders and workers should join hands with the brothers and sisters in curbing, limiting, and exposing such individuals. If it is not possible to keep them in check, if fellowshiping with them does not cause them to repent or rein themselves in, then once the brothers and sisters have fellowshiped together and reached a consensus, these people should be purged from the church. They should not be given any more leeway; their disruption of church life should be tolerated no more. If you tolerate their evildoing, you are not fulfilling your responsibilities to the brothers and sisters” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Identifying False Leaders (14)). I learned from God’s words that not looking at whether leaders are right for the job, if they’re in line with principles of God’s house for fostering people, just blindly finding fault and trying to turn the screws on them, and judging them behind their backs, trying to incite the others to oppose and overthrow them, this is disrupting the work of God’s house. These people should be exposed and reined in, and, in serious cases, purged from the church. Comparing that to Gao, she wasn’t looking at whether the supervisor was getting results in her duty, if her work was benefiting God’s house, or if she was worth training. Gao just saw she didn’t have her experience, and said she was an amateur trying to call the shots. She twisted facts and sowed discord, and got the others to develop a bias against the supervisor, and refuse to follow instructions. This hindered our progress in gospel work. This wasn’t Gao showing momentary corruption, she’s always been like that. She’d already seriously disrupted church life, and wasn’t fit for any duty. I should have dismissed her immediately according to principle. Then if she didn’t repent, she’d be removed from the church. But I hesitated, thinking that she’d been a team leader for a while, and was a good actor. The brothers and sisters didn’t have much discernment, and some looked up to her. They felt she had a sense of justice, a burden and love in her duty. If I dismissed her as soon as I joined the church, would the brothers and sisters think I was heartless and cruel, that I was being punishing? Would they approve of my leadership after that? But Gao was really evil, good at fanning the flames and sowing discord behind the scenes. If I offended her and she pointed the finger at me, and judged me among the others, stirring up my relationship with them, my work would get a lot harder to do. I figured I shouldn’t rush to dismiss her, but first prune and deal with her, expose and dissect the essence and consequences of her actions. If she’d accept it and change, then she’d still have a chance. If she didn’t, and kept judging the leaders and workers, then she could be removed.

Later, our upper leader Sister Liu and I talked to Gao and others involved, and fellowshiped with them on principles for selections in God’s house, and the background of the supervisor’s promotion. I also explained that Gao’s and a few other team leaders’ recent behavior was essentially forming a faction, attacking leaders and workers and belittling them, disrupting the work of God’s house. If they didn’t change, and kept doing all this, then they’d be dismissed. A few team leaders acknowledged their mistakes, and said they wanted to cooperate with the supervisor and get the job done together. Only Gao didn’t make a clear statement. A few days later, Gao started spreading rumors to another sister, saying the supervisor was unqualified, that the leader had made the wrong choice. That sister wasn’t taken in, but instead fellowshiped with her on some principles. Seeing the sister wasn’t playing along, Gao stopped at that. A few days later, Gao messaged a few other team leaders to mislead them, saying, “I got defensive after the fellowship the other day, afraid I’d be dismissed. You guys feel the same way? I don’t even dare say a word now. It’s like we can’t even make suggestions, can’t have different opinions, and if we speak up, we’ll be fired and kicked out of the church. Who’d dare make suggestions?” Then she said that the church’s poor progress was because of the leaders, they weren’t appointing people according to principles. Not only that, she also went to a brother on the gospel team under the guise of seeking those principles, badmouthing the supervisor. That brother knew quite a bit about the supervisor’s promotion and fellowshiped with her on the principles of selecting people in God’s house. Afterwards he asked if she understood. She said she did, and wasn’t biased against the supervisor anymore. He asked her if she could support and work harmoniously with the supervisor, and she swore she could. But after the fact, she secretly talked to a sister, pretending to seek and fellowship, but instead just complained, twisting the truth, saying, “Our leader Sister Liu arranged things in advance with the other brothers and sisters. They’re colluding. Liu’s pretty powerful, and everyone’s scared of her. I worry that if I keep reporting the supervisor’s problems, she might start treating me like an antichrist.” What that really means is the whole church is under Sister Liu’s thumb, she’s suppressing reports of problems. I saw how slick and cunning Gao was, that she just feigned compliance. So many people had fellowshiped with her on principles, but she refused to accept it. She had no repentance for judging the leaders and workers, instead becoming more deceptive and wantonly attacking them. She incited disharmony between others and the leaders, constantly disrupting church work. She was a demon, a minion of Satan. At that point I regretted not having dismissed her, while hesitating all those days, I gave her more chances to fool people. I knew Gao had always looked down on and judged the leaders and disrupted their work, so I should have dismissed her. But I was afraid of what the others would think of me, so I wanted to take it slow, first fellowship the truth and reprimand her, then dismiss and expel her if she still didn’t repent. That way I’d be convincing for the brothers and sisters, and they wouldn’t think ill of me. To protect my name and status, I didn’t keep Gao in check. I gave her free rein to disrupt the work of God’s house. Didn’t I have a part in her evil? Thinking over what I’d done was really tough for me. I felt I hadn’t done my duty as a leader or protected the interests of God’s house. God hated that. So I prayed, asking God to guide me in reflecting and knowing myself.

In my devotionals the next day, I saw a passage of God’s words exposing antichrists that helped me better understand myself. God’s words say: “Antichrists give serious consideration to how to treat the principles of the truth, God’s commissions, and the work of God’s house, or how to deal with something they are faced with. They do not consider how to fulfill God’s will, how to keep from damaging the interests of God’s house, how to satisfy God, or how to benefit the brothers and sisters; these are not the things they consider. What antichrists consider is whether or not their own status and reputation will be affected and whether or not their prestige could be lowered. If doing something according to the principles of the truth would benefit the work of the church and bring benefit to the brothers and sisters, but would cause their own reputation to take a hit and make a lot of people realize their true stature and know what sort of nature and essence they have, then they will definitely not act in accordance with the principles of the truth. If doing something a certain way will enable them to gain higher prestige within God’s house, causing more people to think highly of them, look up to them, and admire them, and enable their words to carry authority and make more people submit to them, then they will choose to do it that way; otherwise, they absolutely will not give any consideration to the interests of God’s house or of the brothers and sisters and then choose to discard their own interests. This is the nature and essence of antichrists. Isn’t it selfish and vile?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). God reveals that antichrists really cherish reputation and status, and everything they do is for that. They only do things beneficial to their status, but if their interests are at stake, then they’ll turn a blind eye to problems. They’d rather see the interests of God’s house harmed to uphold their own interests. My behavior was exactly like what God said about antichrists. I knew well that cleaning out the church was what God’s house required, and God has said many times that when an evil person disrupts the church, leaders and workers should make short work of them, either expose, limit, or purge them. Gao’s behavior had already become disruptive to the church’s work, so I should’ve dealt with her. But I was worried the others would think poorly of me, and wouldn’t support me as leader. To protect my own name and status, I just fellowshiped with her a bit, and I knew she hadn’t accepted it, but I didn’t limit or dismiss her, and so she had the chance to keep sowing discord, and disrupting the church’s work. I was willing to sacrifice the interests of God’s house to protect myself. I was so cunning, selfish and despicable! I hadn’t dismissed Gao according to principle or guided the others to understand the truth and develop discernment. As a result, many were misled by her and took her side, which held back the church’s work. I felt so guilty, and was filled with regret. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be a leader at all. I prayed, “Oh God, a disruptive evildoer surfaced in the church. I protected my own name and status instead of the church’s interests. I’m so selfish. I don’t want to keep living in such a vile way. I want to truly repent to You.”

I sought out some others who knew the situation to learn more about Gao’s behavior. While looking into it, I saw that some of them lacked discernment of her, they thought she was righteously protecting God’s house. Some knew the error of her ways, but thought she just didn’t understand the principles of the truth. I fellowshiped with them on what righteousness and arrogance are, and the difference between momentary transgression and someone’s nature. This helped them gain more discernment, and they were ready to stand up and expose her. But to my surprise, when I mentioned her to Brother Wang, he replied, “Why do you want to know about her? She just made a little suggestion. Why’re you guys targeting her? How come you leaders suppress anyone with an idea, and give them a hard time? Who’d dare give suggestions? This investigation of yours makes me afraid to ever have my own opinion. You guys seem a lot like antichrists, they don’t allow different voices.” I was startled to hear all this. I’d never imagined he’d have such a strong reaction and claim we were unfair to her. I started patiently fellowshiping with him. He wouldn’t listen, and still believed Gao, thinking the problem lied in us. I really wanted to give up then. I felt like my understanding of the truth was shallow and I lacked experience. If I kept handling this, the others might think less of me. Then I realized I was starting to consider my own interests again, so I silently prayed to God and asked Him for faith and strength. I remembered this passage: “Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; give no thought to your own status, prestige, or reputation. Also do not consider the interests of man. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have done your utmost to be loyal, done your best to fulfill your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of God’s house. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, your experience is shallow, or you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. When you are not thinking of your own selfish desires or considering your own interests in the things you do, and are instead giving constant consideration to the work of God’s house, bearing its interests in mind, and performing your duty well, then you will be accumulating good deeds before God. People who perform these good deeds are the ones who possess the reality of the truth; as such, they have borne testimony. If you are always living by the flesh, constantly satisfying your own selfish desires, then such people do not possess the reality of the truth; this is the mark of bringing dishonor to God” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth). I saw from God’s words that we can’t consider personal gain in our duty. We must put the interests of God’s house first, accept God’s scrutiny, and dedicate our whole heart. That’s the only way our duty gains God’s approval. Otherwise we do evil and oppose God. I can’t stop practicing the truth for fear of offending others, or of their bias. I hadn’t handled such a matter before, but I had to at least stay true to my duty and do my best to fellowship with the others. I knew Gao had misled and confused Brother Wang, so he was speaking on her behalf. She’d passed off lies as the truth, and said the leaders’ criticism of her was them not allowing suggestions or different voices. These falsehoods that appear true can be really misleading. Gao had said the leaders selected people without principles, but she was off base. She had been told about the principles for selecting people, but she refused to accept them or reflect on herself. She kept twisting matters, saying the leaders were suppressing her and all differing opinions. Isn’t that reversing the facts and framing others? She said if it meant being kicked out of the church, who’d dare voice different opinions? Those words appeared to come from the heart, to be honest, but that so-called honesty was hiding her sinister intentions and Satan’s tricks. She wanted to entice others over to her side, to speak for her and stand against the leaders. This is deception and disrupting the work of God’s house. Brother Wang had no discernment and was deceived by Gao’s remarks. He needed loving fellowship. Through fellowship, he later gained discernment of her. He realized he hadn’t sought the truth and lacked discernment, which is why he’d shielded Gao, and took the side of evil. He also saw how pathetic he was without an understanding of the truth, and how susceptible to evildoing he was. I was really happy to see his turnaround. Later, some coworkers and I fellowshiped with the others on discerning evil people, and we dissected all of Gao’s behavior. Everyone gained discernment over her, and we voted, nearly unanimously, to remove her from the church. During the vote, they noted some of what they’d learned. They said things like, “Gao fabricated lies and spread her biases everywhere, while waving the flag of protecting God’s house. This turned the church’s work into a huge mess. No matter how leaders exposed and dealt with her, she didn’t remotely regret this or repent. She has an evil essence.” Others said, “Gao appeared very gentle, but her words were misleading, sinister and evil. If it hadn’t been for this fellowship and dissection, I’d still lack discernment. I’ve seen the importance of understanding truth and having discernment.” Some said they’d been misled by her before, and thought she was protecting the work of God’s house, unaware she was doing so much evil in secret, so they stood by her side, saying things that didn’t accord with the truth. They needed to reflect and repent. They also saw God’s righteous disposition that tolerates no offense. When evildoers disrupt the work of God’s house, sooner or later they’ll be eliminated. That reminds me of God’s words: “Wicked men will always be wicked, and will never escape the day of punishment. Good men will always be good, and will be revealed when God’s work comes to an end. Not one of the wicked shall be deemed righteous, nor any one of the righteous deemed wicked” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God). This experience taught me that, as a leader, when an evil person in the church disrupts the work of God’s house, if I don’t handle it based on principles and truth, but protect my personal interests, that’s essentially letting Satan sabotage the work of God’s house, acting as its minion, doing evil and opposing God. I must clear evildoers out of the church right away, and lead brothers and sisters to learn truth and gain discernment. This is protecting God’s house and doing what a leader should do. Thanks be to God!

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