Lessons Learned From Lashing Out
By Xiaowen, Spain
Last year, Sister Liu and I were in charge of the church’s video work. She had more professional skills and experience than me, so I’d reach out to her for help whenever I ran into a problem. We got along pretty well. Once when working on a video, I made a pretty basic mistake, and she came to help me with it as soon as she could. While handling it she asked me, “You’ve been doing this for a while, so how could you have made such a simple mistake?” I felt some internal resistance, thinking she talked to me that way right off the bat, as if I was really unskilled. She must look down on me. I did fix the problem later, but with a defiant attitude. A few days later, some brothers and sisters had similar problems, and when summing them up in a gathering, Sister Liu used my mistake as an example. I felt even more resistant. I was thinking that I was one of the supervisors, so what would everyone think of me with her talking about my mistake in front of everyone? Would they still respect me? I thought she wanted to make me look bad. I started ignoring her after that and I didn’t want to ask her about problems I struggled to solve. In our work discussions I’d leave as soon as we were done, not wanting another word with her. When she talked to me about her state, I’d just force myself to say a couple things, and I couldn’t wait for her to wrap up.
Later on I got dismissed from my position because I was pursuing status instead of doing real work, and got another duty in the team. After a while Sister Liu asked me how I was doing and I opened up about my personal reflections since my dismissal. I thought she would comfort and encourage me, but surprisingly she said, “You’ve been more proactive in your duty lately, but your understanding is superficial. You haven’t really reflected on the root of your failures. I spoke about it with Sister Wang, and she agrees….” It was embarrassing to hear her call out my problems so directly. I felt like she wasn’t considering my feelings, and saying that in front of other brothers and sisters was deliberately hurting my image. I didn’t take in anything she said to me after that at all. I gave her a brief response, but I was holding onto lots of anger. I was thinking I wouldn’t share my real feelings with her anymore, that I’d give her a taste of her own medicine next time I had a chance. From then on, aside from things we had to discuss about work, I did my best not to talk to her. I didn’t even want to hear her voice anymore.
One afternoon, a sister on our team messaged that she needed to talk to me urgently. I was working on a video and didn’t see the message in time, which held up our work. Sister Liu saw that and called to ask why I hadn’t responded promptly, then said, “I see you’ve got the same old problem. You don’t respond quickly to messages and sometimes we can’t find you. This project you’re managing is really important—it can’t be delayed.” But I felt really resistant and didn’t want to accept what she said at all. I felt like I’d been irresponsible before, just focusing on my own work, but after being dismissed I started to change myself. Wasn’t saying that to me just negating all my recent hard work? Did she look down on me and think I didn’t seek the truth? My bias against Sister Liu grew more and more after that. Sometimes when I saw she messaged me about work, I didn’t even want to respond. Before long, the leader asked me to write an assessment of Sister Liu. I felt like my chance had come. She was always exposing me, but this time I could expose her so she could get a taste of it. So I listed out her issues in detail and focused on how she was dismissive of my feelings in her words and actions, plus ways she didn’t do practical work. Later I heard the leader read that and pointed out Sister Liu’s problems to her, then she made a conscious effort to change. But I still couldn’t let go of my bias against her. So once, I used the chance to fellowship onin a gathering to vent everything I was holding against her.
I thought about how she wasn’t considerate of my feelings, so I should call her out to let everyone see she had many issues too, and wasn’t any better than me. I subtly exposed her, saying, “Someone may be a supervisor and have technical skills, but she’s disrespectful in how she speaks and points out others’ problems. Sometimes she even takes a very authoritative tone, saying this and that is wrong with the other person, which can make them feel constrained in their duty. That’s holding people back, and indirectly disrupts the church life. We need to have discernment about this kind of person.” I felt like I’d gotten to vent, but there was silence for quite a few minutes—no one shared more fellowship. I felt kind of uneasy at the time. I wasn’t sure if my fellowship was appropriate, but then I thought everything I said was true, so there shouldn’t be anything improper about it. I put it out of my mind. Surprisingly, the leader told me a few days later that I was being judgmental of Sister Liu in a roundabout way in that gathering, and that was attacking and condemning her. That could be hurtful for her and get some brothers and sisters to take my side, becoming biased against Sister Liu and not supporting her work. It was undermining and disruptive. I was really nervous and afraid when hearing the leader’s analysis. I knew that God’s words say, casually condemning someone in a gathering is disruptive to church life, and that’s doing evil. I knew the nature of acting that way was grave. When our conversation was over, I found some relevant words from God right away.says, “In churches everywhere, the phenomenon of arbitrarily condemning, labeling, and punishing people often occurs. Some people harbor prejudices toward others, and so they expose and analyze others under the banner of fellowship on the truth. Their intentions and goals in doing this are wrong. If the purpose of fellowshiping the truth is really to testify to God and also to benefit others, you should fellowship about your own experiences, reflect on and know yourself, and benefit others by analyzing yourself. This will be more effective, and God’s chosen people will approve. If it is done for the purpose of exposing, attacking, and belittling others to elevate yourself, then God will not approve, and your brothers and sisters will not benefit in any way. If someone’s intention is to condemn and punish others, this person is an evildoer who has begun to perform wicked deeds. God’s chosen must be able to discern the wicked. If someone deliberately exposes and belittles others because of their corrupt disposition, they should be lovingly helped; if they cannot accept the truth and persist in these actions despite repeated attempts to teach them otherwise, then it is another matter. But for those evil people who often arbitrarily condemn, label, and punish people, they should be thoroughly exposed so that everyone can discern them, and then they should be restricted. This is necessary, because such people disrupt church life and disturb the work of the church, and they are liable to deceive people and bring chaos into the church” (Identifying False Leaders (15)). “Attack and revenge is one type of action and revelation which comes from a malicious satanic nature. It is also a kind of corrupt disposition. People think like this: ‘If you are unkind to me, then I won’t be just to you! If you don’t treat me with dignity, why would I treat you with dignity?’ What sort of thinking is this? Is it not a vengeful way of thinking? In the views of an ordinary person, is this type of perspective not viable? Is it not tenable? (Yes.) ‘I will not attack unless I am attacked; if I am attacked, I will certainly counterattack,’ and ‘Here’s a taste of your own medicine’—the unbelievers often say such things; among them, these are all rationales that hold water and completely conform to human notions. Yet how should those who believe in God and pursue the truth view these words? Are these ideas correct? (No.) Why are they not correct? How should they be characterized? Where do these things originate from? (From Satan.) They originate from Satan, of this there is no doubt. What part of Satan do they come from? They come from the malicious nature of Satan; they contain venom, and they contain the true face of Satan in all its maliciousness and ugliness. They contain the very essence of that nature. What is the nature of the perspectives, thoughts, expressions, speech, and even actions that contain that nature’s essence? Are they not of Satan? They are. Are these aspects of Satan in line with humanity? Are they in line with the truth? Do they have a basis in God’s words? (No.) Are they the actions that followers of God should do, and the thoughts and points of view that they should possess? (No.) Then when you do things or think about things that way, or you express those things, does it conform to God’s will? Since these things come from Satan, are they in line with humanity, with conscience and reason? (They’re not.)” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Resolving Your Corrupt Disposition Can Free You From a Negative State). When I compared the way I’d behaved to God’s words, I felt really afraid. In my interactions with Sister Liu, when she privately mentioned my issues without impacting my status or image among the others, I could accept it, but later on when she analyzed my mistakes in front of everyone I felt like I’d been humiliated. Thinking that others would think less of me made me hate her and not want to talk to her. I just brushed her off in our discussions about work. When she saw my issues and was so blunt about them and talked to another supervisor about me that way, I was so angry. I felt like in an instant, she ruined the good image I’d worked so hard to establish, and I felt such resistance that I didn’t even want to hear her voice. When she mentioned I hadn’t responded to messages in time and warned me not to hold up work like before, I felt like she was delimiting me, denying that I’d changed, and making things hard on me. I was venting my frustration through my duty, intentionally not responding to her. My bias against Sister Liu got more and more intense and I was full of resentment for her. In my assessment for the leader, I used that for a personal grievance, highlighting her faults so the leader would deal with or even dismiss her, and I’d get some release. Wanting to take revenge on her, I judged her as having poor humanity in fellowship in a gathering and tried to get others to discern and isolate her so I could vent my ire. I was revealing a vicious disposition, without the slightest humanity or reason. Sister Liu bringing these things up and criticizing me was her being responsible for the work of God’s house and helping me know myself, but I wasn’t remotely accepting of it. I was being bratty and using my duty to vent my frustration, even using God’s words to attack and lash out at her. I was trying to form a clique, disrupting church life and sabotaging the work of God’s house. A few words from Sister Liu hurt my sense of status, so I lashed out, wanting revenge. That was scary of me. Even a reasonable unbeliever wouldn’t act that way. God’s words say, “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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth). I’m a person of faith. I’d eaten and drunk so much of God’s words, but I couldn’t even accept a few suggestions. Was I even human? I was following these satanic philosophies: “If you’re not going to be kind, then I won’t be just!” “I will not attack unless I am attacked; if I am attacked, I will certainly counterattack.” I was just venting my discontent without any fear for God. I wasn’t living out a human likeness at all. I was feeling really guilty and upset, so I prayed to God in repentance, wanting to let go of my bias against Sister Liu. For a few days, when I had time away from my duty, I thought about how well we got along when I started out, so why had I gotten so irritable with her? I knew her criticism was justified, and maybe she was harsh and a little bit blunt, but it wasn’t a big deal. Why couldn’t I accept it, but I went behind her to lash back out?
I saw a passage from God in my seeking. “When antichrists encounter being pruned and dealt with, they often show great resistance, and then they start to try their best to argue for themselves, and use sophistry and eloquence to deceive people. This is quite common. The manifestation of antichrists refusing to accept the truth completely exposes their satanic nature of hating and despising the truth. They belong purely to Satan’s kind. No matter what antichrists do, their disposition and essence are exposed. Especially in the house of God, everything they do is condemned, called evil deeds, and all of these things that they do fully confirm that the antichrists are Satan and demons. Therefore, they are definitely not happy and certainly unwilling when it comes to accepting being pruned and dealt with, but in addition to resistance and opposition, they also hate pruning and being dealt with, hate those who prune and deal with them, and hate those who expose the nature of their essence and who expose their evil deeds. Antichrists think that whoever exposes them is simply giving them a hard time, so they give anyone who exposes them a hard time. Due to their antichrist nature, they will never be kind to anyone who prunes or deals with them, nor will they tolerate or put up with anyone who does so, much less will they feel gratitude or praise anyone who does so. On the contrary, if anyone prunes or deals with them and makes them lose dignity and face, they will harbor hatred for this person in their heart, and will want to find an opportunity to take revenge on them. How much hatred do they have for others? This is what they think and what they say openly in front of others, ‘Today you have pruned and dealt with me, well, now our feud is written in stone. You go your way, and I’ll go mine, but I swear I’ll get my revenge! If you confess your fault to me, bow your head to me, or kneel down and beg me, I will forgive you, otherwise I will never let this go!’ No matter what antichrists say or do, they never see anyone’s kind pruning or dealing with them or anyone’s sincere help as the arrival of God’s love and salvation. Instead, they see it as sign of humiliation, and as their moment of greatest embarrassment. This shows that antichrists do not accept the truth at all, and this is the disposition of antichrists” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Eight)). I saw from God’s words that antichrists’ attitude toward criticism is to reject it, make excuses, and be combative, and even see the other person as their enemy and find ways to lash out and take revenge. They hate the truth by nature and will never accept it. I knew what Sister Liu said about my problems was all true, so no matter what tone she took, it was to help me know myself, not to intentionally target me. Clearly, I wasn’t being serious in my duty or taking on responsibility, which led to some problems in our videos. Sister Liu was analyzing and dissecting these problems, and that was so we wouldn’t make the same mistakes again and hold up our work progress. She also noticed that my self-understanding after my dismissal was pretty superficial, so she kindly pointed that out. It was to help me know myself better and truly repent. But with her helping me time after time, not only was I not grateful, but I thought she was trying to shame me and wound my dignity. I really resented her and started treating her like an enemy, looking for chances to get back at her. I even wanted others to isolate and reject her. I was just as sinister and venomous as an antichrist. Antichrists eat up any flattery, and they absolutely love anyone who sings their praises. But the more honest someone is, the more they lash out against them. Whoever offends them or hurts their interests will bear their brunt, and they won’t rest until that person is done in. This does incredible harm and damage to the church’s work and others’ life entry. They end up permanently eliminated by God for doing all that evil, for offending God’s disposition. A few words from Sister Liu hurt my sense of reputation and status, so I wanted to take revenge. I would only be appeased when she acknowledged her wrong, and stopped “provoking” me. I was really evil, really malicious. I hated the truth just like evildoers and antichrists, and I was on an antichrist’s path. If I didn’t change my antichrist disposition, when I got a position, I knew I’d lash out and do even more evil and end up damned and punished by God. I could see the consequences were really scary. I prayed to God, seeking a path to practice and enter in.
I read this in God’s words later: “If your leader, the person in charge, or the brothers and sisters around you often supervise you, observe you, want to know you better, and at the same time want to help and support you, what attitude should you hold toward this matter? Should you oppose it, be on guard against it, and resist it, or should you humbly accept it? (We should humbly accept it.) What does it mean to humbly accept it? It means that you should receive all this from God, and should never treat it with impetuousness. If someone actually discovers your problem and can point it out to you, help you discern, and help you resolve it, they are taking responsibility for you and the work in your hands. It is not from Satan, not from malice, but from a responsible attitude toward the work of God’s house. It originates in love and comes from God. You should receive it from God, and you should never treat it with impetuousness or act on your impulse, and moreover, you should not have any resistance, guard against or possess suppositions in your heart. These are all wrong, and they do not accord with principles. This is not an attitude of accepting the truth. The most correct attitude is that you should accept from God any practice, statement, supervision, observation, correction, or even pruning and dealing that are helpful to you, and not rely on impetuousness. Impetuousness is something that comes from the evil one, from Satan, not from God, and it is not the attitude a person should have toward the truth” (Identifying False Leaders (7)). I learned from God’s words that there’s no malice in brothers and sisters pointing out my problems. They’re not making fun of me, but are responsible for the work of God’s house and my life entry. No matter how much I could understand of problems they mentioned, I should try to accept it from God and submit, not to dwell on right and wrong or to be temperamental and vengeful. When I couldn’t entirely understand things, I should still pray and keep reflecting, or find experienced brothers and sisters for seeking and fellowship. That’s the attitude for accepting the truth. I remembered I’d covertly criticized Sister Liu in a gathering, and some brothers and sisters who didn’t know the reality could have been taken in, which could impact their cooperation in their duties. So, I used a chance of fellowshiping on God’s words in a gathering to open up so others would have discernment over what I’d done. Sister Liu sought me out to talk about work later, and I told her honestly about how when she gave me suggestions, I revealed a disposition of hating the truth and evil motives. I saw she didn’t seem to blame or hate me at all. I felt so ashamed. Sister Liu and I got along much better again after that. When she brought up my issues, I stopped caring so much about her tone of voice, but I knew if it was good for my duty, I needed to accept it. Sometimes I lacked awareness in the moment, but I’d pray to God and let go of myself, not caring about my own face or arguing my own case, then I’d think about it later. Working with her this way, I felt much more relaxed over time.
Later, I worked on a video in a rush, not seeking the principle, which meant there were problems that required it to be redone. Another supervisor, Sister Chen, sent me a private message asking me to fix it, and then I thought it was taken care of. But I was surprised to see that in a work meeting, my mistakes were brought up for analysis again. I thought that she talked about me in front of everyone that way—it was embarrassing! I started to feel biased against Sister Chen, like she was making a big deal out of nothing and wasn’t taking my dignity into account. I wanted to find a reason to defend myself, to save face in front of everyone. But then I realized that the work had to be redone because I’d been too harried. Sister Chen was fellowshiping on it to give me a warning, so I could reflect on my own attitude toward my duty, and brothers and sisters could also use it as a warning so they didn’t make the same mistake. She was protecting the church work. If I made excuses to save my face, and became biased against Sister Chen, wouldn’t that be hating and refusing to accept the truth? I knew I couldn’t keep acting out of corruption, so I opened up to everyone about the details of the mistakes I’d made. When I was done, they shared some helpful ways to approach those kinds of issues, and in my later video production, I followed their suggestions and avoided making the same mistakes. I truly experienced that accepting brothers’ and sisters’ suggestions can save hassles and improve efficiency. Also, it can help me know myself and be good for my own life entry.
Through this I’ve truly experienced that it’s important to have an attitude of submission toward criticism. If what the others say is right and in line with the truth, I should put aside my pride and accept it unconditionally. But if I just unilaterally reject and oppose being pruned and dealt with, and become biased or even lash out against the others, that’s an expression of being an antichrist, and I’ll be condemned and eliminated by God if I don’t repent. Before, hardly anyone dealt with me so directly, and I didn’t know myself. I thought I had good humanity and could accept the truth. Now I see I despise the truth and don’t have good humanity. What I’ve gained and learned today is all thanks to the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. I’m also ready to experience more of this and change my corrupt disposition. Thank God!