Lying Only Brings Pain

January 18, 2022

By Gengxin, South Korea

I remember in May this year, we were filming a music video of Brother Liu singing, and I was working on lighting. Brother Liu was moving around the stage and he’s kind of tall with a pretty wide stride, so I had to keep an eye on how far he was walking and then move the lights accordingly. If I failed to keep up and messed up the backlighting on his head, there would be a continuity problem in the final editing. Before we started filming, I told myself that I had to stay focused. There weren’t any problems in the first few shots so I gradually relaxed a bit. We were almost done filming when the director said he wanted a couple more shots, so when we started rolling I was still watching another monitor, and I didn’t notice until Brother Liu had walked out of the lit area. I quickly moved the light, but I wasn’t fast enough, and Brother Liu’s head moved out of the light and then back in. The shot was unusable. Normally when we have a problem on stage, we have to tell the director right away and do another take, but I was just holding the walkie-talkie and didn’t dare open my mouth. I just couldn’t get the words out. I felt really conflicted and I was thinking that it wasn’t just the director, but there were lots of other brothers and sisters there. If I told them I’d made such a basic mistake, what would they think of me? Would they say I’d been careless? It would be so embarrassing. But if I didn’t say anything, that would be irresponsible. It would have a direct impact on the quality of the video if the footage was used. Just when I was struggling with this, I heard the director say, “We’re good on this one, let’s do the next one.” I saw the brother filming had already switched out his equipment, so I started looking for outs. I was thinking it was all filmed, so if I said something, everyone would have to switch their equipment again and that would be a big hassle. Maybe I shouldn’t mention it, it was just one shot anyway, and it might not even be used. Besides, you couldn’t even see the problem unless you were watching carefully. I decided to keep quiet. After filming I was feeling guiltier and guiltier. Wasn’t I being knowingly deceptive? I could fool people, but God? So I told the director about my mistake. He said, “We were done and everyone’s packed up. Why did you wait until now to tell me? Why didn’t you tell me then? If you did, it wouldn’t have taken long to film it again.” Seeing the director’s look of helplessness, I felt even worse and really wanted to slap myself. Why was it so hard for me to just admit my error? Why was it such a struggle to just be real? In my pain, I said a prayer to God: “God, I made a mistake I didn’t have the courage to admit to, afraid they’d look down on me. God, I’m really in pain now. Please guide me to know myself.”

Then I read a passage of God’s words. “If you were either to admit your mistakes and be an honest person, to tell the truth, and to let everyone see your true colors, such that your image and status in people’s hearts would disappear completely, or to sacrifice your life for God, which would you choose? It would be a difficult choice, would it not? You might say, ‘I would choose to give up my life for God. I am willing to die for God.’ You might be able to accomplish that, but if you were not to die now, but to be an honest person and say something true, something that involves the facts, something that involves your future and your fate, the consequences of which perhaps were not to your advantage, and others were no longer to look up to you, and your reputation were to be destroyed—could you do it? This is the hardest thing to do, much harder than giving up your life. You might say, ‘Having me tell the truth won’t do. I’d rather die for God than tell the truth and be an honest person. I’d rather die than have everyone look down on me and think I am an ordinary person.’ What does this show to be the thing people cherish most? What people cherish most is not their life, but their status and reputation—things that are controlled by satanic, corrupt dispositions. One’s life can be sacrificed with a single word, given up with a single exertion. God would not have you sacrifice your life, but be a real honest person who says whatever is in your heart and shows it to everyone. Is that an easy thing for you to do? (No.) God does not ask you to sacrifice anything, and He does not ask you to sacrifice your life. Was your life not given to you by God? What good would your life do for God? God does not want it. He wants you to speak honestly, to say who you are and what you think in your heart. Can you say these things? Here, the task becomes difficult, and you may say, ‘Have me work hard, and I’d have the strength to do it. Have me sacrifice, and I’d forsake all of my property, my parents, my children, my youth, my marriage, and my career. All of these are easy to sacrifice. But saying what is my heart, speaking honestly—that’s the one thing I cannot do.’ What is the reason you cannot do it? It is that once you do, anyone who knows you or is familiar with you will see you differently. They will no longer look up to you. You will have lost face, and your character and dignity will also be gone. Your lofty status and prestige in the eyes of others will be no more. This is why, no matter what, you will not say these things. When people encounter this, there is a battle in their hearts, and when that battle is over, some ultimately break through their difficulties, while others have not yet managed to break through, and are still controlled by their satanic, corrupt dispositions and their own status, reputations, and so-called dignity. This is a difficulty, is it not? Merely speaking honestly and telling the truth is not some great act, yet so many brave heroes, so many people who have sworn to dedicate their lives for God and expend as long as they live for God, and so many who have said grandiose things to God find it impossible to do” (“Performing Duty Well Requires a Conscience, at the Very Least” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). This was my exact state. My face and status were too important to me. I couldn’t say a single word admitting my mistake, afraid of looking bad. When I saw my mistake, I thought the others would look down on me if I admitted it, thinking I couldn’t handle something so simple. Wanting to protect my image, I didn’t say anything, and even covered it up, thinking no one would find out and they wouldn’t criticize me for it. Then I could maintain my image in their eyes. I saw it could impact church work, and though I felt bad about it, I was too afraid of being pruned and dealt with, and losing face, so I found an excuse to comfort myself: This shot probably won’t be used. Wasn’t I lying to myself? So selfish of me! I felt so much regret for my dishonesty towards God and brothers and sisters just to protect my face and status. So I prayed to God, “Oh God, I didn’t own up to my mistake just for my own face and status. I know that’s not Your will, but it’s like I was possessed, and I couldn’t escape my corruption. God, please guide me so I can be freed of my corruption.”

Then I read a couple passages of God’s words that really did give me a path. Almighty God says, “God has predestined that only honest people can be a part of the kingdom of heaven. If you are not honest, and if, in your life, your practice is not directed toward being honest and you do not reveal your own true face, then you will never have any chance of gaining God’s work or praise. No matter what you are motivated to do, you must have an honest attitude. For example, does performing a duty require an honest attitude? If, while performing your duty, there are some things you haven’t done properly, then you must lay yourself bare and dissect yourself, and then seek the principles of the truth, strive to do them properly without being perfunctory the next time. If you do not try and satisfy God with a heart that is honest, and always look to satisfy your own flesh, or your own pride, then will you be able to do a good job while working in this way? Can you perform your duty well? Certainly not” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “If, having made a mistake, you can treat it correctly, and can allow everyone else to talk about it and evaluate it freely, and can open up about it and analyze it, what will everyone’s opinion of you be? (That this is someone honest.) Their opinion of you will instantly improve. They will say you are an honest person and that your heart is open, and through your actions and behavior, they will be able to see your heart. But if you try to disguise yourself or deceive everyone, people will think little of you, and say you are a fool and an unwise person. If you do not try and put on a pretense or make excuses, everyone will say you are honest and wise. And what makes you wise? Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has faults and flaws. And actually, everyone has the same corrupt disposition. Do not think yourself more noble, perfect, and kind than others; that is being utterly unreasonable. Once people’s corrupt dispositions and the essence and true face of man’s corruption are clear to you, you will not be surprised by your own mistakes, nor will you turn the screws on others when they make a mistake, but will face both correctly. Only then will you be insightful and not do stupid things, which will make you someone wise. Those who are not wise but foolish always dwell on their minor mistakes while being sneaky behind the scenes. It is disgusting to see. In fact, what you’re doing is immediately obvious to other people, yet you are still blatantly putting on an act. To others, it looks like a clown performance. Isn’t this stupid? It really is. Stupid people don’t have any wisdom. No matter how many sermons they hear, they still don’t understand the truth or see anything for what it really is. They are always on their high horse, thinking they are different from everyone else, thinking they are more worthy—which is stupid. Stupid people don’t have spiritual understanding, do they? The matters in which you are stupid and unwise are the matters in which you have no spiritual understanding, and do not understand the truth. This is how it is” (“The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I learned from this that everyone makes mistakes in their duty. It’s normal. We can’t cover it up, but we have to call a spade a spade, opening up about our corruption and shortcomings. We can’t protect our face and status, but be honest people as God requires. Only that’s dignified and gains God’s approval and blessings. But I cared too much about what other people thought, just wanting to maintain my status and image in their eyes. I just wanted to cover up any mistakes I made, afraid of others finding out, and I didn’t have the courage to speak up even when I felt guilty. I didn’t even think about the damage it could do to the work of God’s house. I wasn’t looking after the interests of God’s house, and I wasn’t remotely honest. How could I do my duty well that way? I felt terrible when I thought of that. I wanted to change my approach in my duty after that. If we think about it, everyone makes mistakes in their duty. It’s normal. Calmly facing it and dealing with it right away can help us improve. It won’t impact the work and isn’t so painful, either. After that when I made mistakes in filming and I felt conflicted about acknowledging it, I realized I was just trying to maintain my face and status. I’d pray to God and ask Him to guide me to practice the truth and be honest so I could acknowledge my error. When I did that, I realized the brothers and sisters didn’t blame me, but were matter-of-fact about it, and we’d do another shot. I felt much better and I felt the peace and joy that comes from practicing the truth.

One day we were working on another music video. Before we started shooting, the director asked over the walkie-talkie, “Lights ready? Check the frames carefully.” I thought I’d taken a good look at all the frames, so I said confidently, “Ready, all good!” But after one shot, I realized I’d forgotten to turn a couple lights on. I panicked. I wanted to say something, but hesitated. I was thinking that I’d asserted confidently everything was ready in front of everyone, so if I admitted I’d been wrong, what would they think of me? Would they lose confidence in me? Forgetting to turn lights on was such a newbie’s mistake. How could I show my face again if I admitted to it? Would the others think that I was useless, having messed up such a simple task? I felt so conflicted for a while. I felt like I was on hot coals, not knowing whether to say what I’d done wrong. We’d already done several shots, so if I said something, I was afraid everyone would criticize me for not speaking up right away. After racking my brains, I figured I could go talk alone to the brother editing the video and ask him to adjust the lighting so I wouldn’t have to acknowledge my mistake publicly. That would solve the problem with the video and keep me in good standing. So after we finished filming, I talked to the brother doing the editing and downplayed it: “I had a problem with the lighting the first time. Comparing them, it’s not that bad, it’s just the differences in brightness. It’d be great for you to help with that.” He took me at my word and said he’d help with getting the lighting right. I felt terrible as soon as the words left my mouth because it was actually a big problem, but I’d said it was no big deal. Wasn’t I lying with my eyes wide open? It ended up taking that brother more than three hours to get the lighting right on that one. First thing the next morning, the director asked me why I hadn’t told him right away about such a major lighting problem. I didn’t know what to say, so I tried to find some excuses to explain myself. He said, “This has happened before, and you didn’t say anything. You’re holding up our work. You really need some self-reflection.” I felt so guilty when he said that. I hated that I’d been controlled by corruption and had failed to practice the truth again. I kneeled before God to pray: “God, I care too much about my reputation. This time, I not only refused to speak up about my mistake, but I played games to hide it. I’m really cunning. God, I want to repent. Please guide me and save me.”

Then I read this passage of God’s words: “The humanity of antichrists is dishonest, which means they are not truthful in the least. Everything they say and do is debased with their own intentions and goals, and hidden in it all are their unsaid and unspeakable tricks, methods, purposes, and conspiracies. The way they speak is simply so debased that it is impossible to know which of their words are true and which false, which right and which wrong. Because they are dishonest, their minds are extremely complicated, full of twists and turns and rife with tricks. None of what they say is straightforward. They do not say one is one, two is two, yes is yes, and no is no. Instead, in all matters, they beat around the bush and work things through several times in their minds, thinking of causes and consequences, weighing merits and drawbacks from every angle. Then, they manipulate things with their language such that everything they say sounds quite unwieldy. Honest people never understand what they say and are easily deceived and tricked by them, and whoever speaks with such people finds the experience tiring and laborious. They never say one is one and two is two, they never say what they are thinking, and they never describe things as they are. Everything they say is unfathomable, and the goals and intentions of their actions are very complicated. And if, having spoken, they expose themselves or are found out, they hurriedly invent another story to cover up for themselves. These people often lie, cover up their lies, and deceive others to protect their own secrets and privacy, and when, as often happens, their lies are discovered, seen through, and exposed, they lie more to cover for themselves, adding lies on top of lies. Most people’s impression of such people is that of not knowing which of their words are true, of not knowing when they are speaking the truth and less still knowing when they are speaking falsehood. When such people lie, they do not blush or flinch, just as if they were telling the truth. Does this not mean lying has become their nature? For example, in the simplest matter, they seem on the surface to be good to others, to be considerate of them, and to be warm-hearted in their speech, which is pleasing and moving to hear—but even in this simple matter, no one can tell whether they are being sincere or whether there is some intent or purpose behind their words, or what it is, exactly, that they are after. Even simple things like solicitous words are debased and insincere in their mouths. Has lying not become their nature? Such people lie without regard to the consequences. As long as what they say is of immediate advantage to them and able to deceive others, as long as it can achieve their goals, they disregard the consequences. As soon as they are exposed, they will continue to conceal, to lie, to trick. The principle and method by which these people interact with others is tricking people with lies. They are two-faced and speak to suit their audience; they perform whatever role the situation demands. They are smooth and slick, their mouths are filled with lies, and they are untrustworthy. Whoever is in contact with them for a while grows deceived or disturbed and cannot receive provision, help, or edification. No matter if the words from such people’s mouths are nasty or nice, or reasonable or absurd, or in accord or disaccord with humanity, or coarse or civilized, they are essentially all lies” (“Excursus Four: Summarizing the Character of Antichrists and the Essence of Their Disposition (Part One)” in Exposing Antichrists). God’s words expose antichrists’ cunning and crafty nature. They are dishonest in their words and actions. Not a single word of truth leaves their mouths. To cover up their mistakes, they keep on shamelessly lying and hiding their despicable motives. People like antichrists are incredibly evil. Looking at myself, I felt like God’s words were about me. I wasn’t attentive while filming, which led to a mistake. I didn’t acknowledge it, afraid the others would look down on me, so I racked my brains to find a way to cover it up. I talked to the brother doing editing alone to get him to fix it, and I played games, lying to him that it wasn’t a big problem so he’d think it was no big deal. I was way too cunning. Wasn’t I just as evil as an antichrist? God likes honest people, but my craftiness, evil, and lies had become my nature. Isn’t that disgusting and odious to God, just like antichrists? I remembered the Lord Jesus saying, “Let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). God says that lies come from the evil one, from the devil, and those who are always deceptive are devils. With my constant lying, and adding deception upon the lies, wasn’t I just like Satan? What I was saying had a demonic element, it was deceptive, and it was disruptive for the work of God’s house. That mistake I made in filming could have been resolved with a simple admission, which would have prevented lots of avoidable losses. But, to protect my image and position in other people’s eyes, I turned it over and over in my mind but didn’t say an honest word. I ended up lying and covering it up even more, deceiving brothers and sisters. The editing brother had to spend over three hours helping me fix the mistake. I wasn’t considering other people’s work or what sort of consequences those messed up shots might have in the final video. I was so selfish! Everything I did because of my corrupt disposition was hurting myself and others. It was really nauseating, and disgusting for God. I was filled with regret and self-reproach. I prayed to God, wanting to stop protecting my face and status, and to be a simple, open and honest person.

I read a passage of God’s words after that. “You must seek the truth to resolve any problem that arises, no matter what it is, and by no means disguise yourself or put on a false face for others. Your shortcomings, your deficiencies, your faults, your corrupt dispositions—be completely open about them all, and fellowship about them all. Do not keep them inside. Learning how to open yourselves up is the first step toward entering the truth, and it is the first hurdle, which is the most difficult to overcome. Once you have overcome it, entering the truth is easy. To take this step signifies that you are opening your heart and showing everything you have, good or bad, positive or negative; baring yourself for others and for God to see; hiding nothing from God, concealing nothing, disguising nothing, free of deceit and trickery, and being likewise open and honest with other people. In this way, you live in the light, and not only will God scrutinize you, but other people, too, will also be able to see that you act with principle and a degree of transparency. You do not need to cover anything up, make any modifications, or employ any tricks for the sake of your own reputation, self-respect, and status, and this also applies to any mistakes you have made; such pointless work is unnecessary. If you do not, then you will live easily and tirelessly, and completely in the light. Only such people can win God’s praise. Next, you must learn how to dissect your thoughts and ideas. Whichever things you are doing are wrong, and whatever behaviors of yours God would not like, you should be able to reverse them immediately and rectify them. What is the purpose of rectifying them? It is to accept and take on board the truth, while rejecting the things within you that belong to Satan and replacing them with the truth. You used to rely on your satanic natures, such as cunning and deceptiveness, but now you do not; now, when you do things, you act with a mentality of honesty, purity, and obedience. If you hold nothing back, if you do not put on a front, a pretense, a facade, if you lay yourself bare to the brothers and sisters, do not hide your innermost thoughts and ponderances, but instead allow others to see your honest attitude, then the truth will gradually take root in you, it will blossom and bear fruit, it will yield results, little-by-little” (“Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I found some paths of practice in God’s words and learned to open up when I encountered problems, and open my heart to God, instead of being disingenuous or being cunning and deceitful to protect my image. I knew I needed to open up to others about my corruption, faults and mistakes, including my ulterior motives. That’s the most critical part of entering into the truth. Achieving that is the only way to gradually be freed from corruption and live out a true human likeness. I knew I couldn’t keep acting for the sake of my status, but I had to accept the scrutiny of God and the supervision of brothers and sisters.

So, I opened up to the others all about my mistakes and the corruption I’d revealed in the process. I also did some things to punish myself, to make the memory stick. In fact, admitting mistakes isn’t hard. The real difficulty is being so trapped in corrupt disposition. This incident gave me some understanding of my cunning disposition and I swore that I’d make changes in it. One day after that during filming, while looking at on-screen details on another camera, a singer walked out of the lit area the moment I wasn’t paying attention. By the time I realized what was happening, he’d sung quite a few lines, so we had more than 10 seconds of unusable footage because of the lighting. I was wondering how I could make that same mistake again. I’d been messing up so much lately. What would everyone think if I admitted it? Would they say I wasn’t taking my duty seriously? Just as I was hesitating to say something, I suddenly realized I was trying to protect my status again and I remembered what an impact it had on brothers and sisters and church work when I’d been protecting myself and not practicing the truth before. I also thought of how disgraceful my efforts to hide my mistakes were, and all the pain and misery that came from lying. I knew I couldn’t play games and be deceptive, but this time I had to forsake myself and practice the truth. So I stopped wavering, grabbed my walkie-talkie and told the director what had happened.

After that, I started consciously practicing being honest in my duty, proactively admitting my mistakes. I wasn’t constantly thinking about my status and reputation, but considered the interests of God’s house. Doing that not only meant there was less work making up for errors, but the work of God’s house didn’t suffer losses because of my own mistakes. Sometimes I heard brothers and sisters reprimanding and exhorting me through the walkie-talkie, but working that way left me feeling calm and at peace. And I truly experienced how painful it is to lie and deceive for my own reputation. Practicing the truth and being an honest person is the only way to have dignity and to live in the light. Thanks be to God!

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