Misgivings Over Reporting an Issue
By Zhu Lin, China
In September 2021, I was sharing the gospel in the church. After a while, I realized that the gospel work supervisor wasn’t shouldering any burden in her duty, and that she had not asked us how our duties were going in a long time. Every time she came around, she just went through the motions and never resolved any real problems. She was of no help or benefit to our duties whatsoever. At the beginning, I thought that because she’d just started supervising gospel work, she wasn’t familiar with it, and that it was normal for her to be at a loss for a while, and that after practicing for a while, she would get the hang of it. But after a while, I found it was not as I had imagined.
One time, we hit a snag in our gospel work, so we sent a letter to the supervisor seeking a solution. But her response contained no clear viewpoints or suggestions. She just sent us a passage of God’s word to read that had nothing at all to do with our problem. I found this absolutely unbelievable. How could this supervisor be so perfunctory in her duty? She was normally unable to find any problems when following up on work, and when we took the initiative to seek her out and ask, she had no clear viewpoints or suggestions. This was so irresponsible of her. Initially, I wanted to bring this up with her at a gathering, but I had some misgivings. Would she say I was arrogant? That I was asking too much? That my intention was to prey on her weakness? If she couldn’t accept what I said and investigated my responsibilities instead, wouldn’t it just be looking for trouble? At this thought, I lost the courage to bring it up with her. When we met later, I downplayed the matter, and just reminded her, “If you can find the time, follow up on our work and see if there are any problems.” But to my surprise, she said, “You’ve all been doing gospel work for so long and understand all the principles better than me. You’re getting great results, too. I’m just here to learn from you.” After this, whenever I reminded her to take more notice of our work, she’d always just say something like that. I thought to myself, “She’s not doing any real work and always making excuses for herself. This isn’t accepting the truth.” The main job of a supervisor is to find and resolve real problems and difficulties that brothers and sisters have in their duties, and to supervise and follow up on work. But she couldn’t find or resolve any problems, so she wasn’t capable of any practical work. If things went on like this, it would definitely impact gospel work. Later, I wanted to bring this up with her again, to make her aware of her problem and fix it quickly. But then I thought again, “I’ve been a supervisor myself in the past, and was dismissed because I was unable to do practical work. If I keep coming to her with opinions, would she think that I value status too much? That I feel it is unfair because I am not made a supervisor, so I am deliberately nitpicking? Would she take a poor view of me and dismiss me from my duty? Better just to drop it. Maybe she hasn’t been exposed to the work long enough. She might be fine if I wait for her to get more familiar with it.” So I didn’t bring up the matter with her again.
A while later, we encountered some problems in our gospel work and sought her help. But she still just pushed it aside and left us to resolve the issues ourselves. On another occasion, I inadvertently heard her say that because she didn’t have a good handle on the specifics of our gaining followers, when the leader queried her, she just picked a number out of thin air to report, resulting in a great discrepancy with the actual figure. I was furious when I heard this. We told her about the specific situation of our gospel work every month, and reminded her to follow up on and guide our work more, but she still didn’t even know how many newcomers entered the church in a month. In what way was she doing practical work? With this kind of attitude toward her duty, how could she act as a supervisor? No wonder she couldn’t find any problems. When looking at these behaviors together, I felt that this supervisor was unable to do practical work, that she was a false worker, and that she was not suited to oversee gospel work. At this time, I really wanted to write a report about her problems, but then I thought, “If the supervisor learns that I was the one who reported her, will she think that I’m intentionally finding fault with her and making life difficult for her? If she then speaks ill of me to the leader, will the leader transfer or dismiss me?” At this thought, I retreated once again. A couple of days later, I heard Sister Liu from another group talking about how this supervisor had never solved any of their practical problems. When they informed her about a group member who had an arrogant disposition, was obsessed with status, often preyed on others’ weaknesses, attacked and constrained them, and who had already disturbed people performing their duty, the supervisor just let it slide, and didn’t treat it as important. In the end, the only way to solve the problem was to report it to the leader. I felt so guilty when I heard Sister Liu say this. I’d long since found out that this supervisor had problems, but to protect myself I had said nothing. Why can’t I practice the truth and protect the work of the church?
During my devotionals, I read a couple of passages of God’s word.says, “There are also some false leaders who have a bit of caliber and can do a bit of work, who know a bit about the principles of handling each sort of person, but are afraid of giving offense, so do not dare constrain evil people and antichrists. They live by satanic philosophies, aloof with matters that are not their personal concern. They are unconcerned with whether the church’s work is effective, nor with how great a detriment is dealt to God’s chosen people in their life entry; they think such things have nothing to do with them. So, during such a false leader’s tenure, the normal order of church life goes unmaintained, and the duties and life entry of God’s chosen people go unensured. What is the nature of this problem? It is not that such false leaders cannot do work because their caliber is poor, so in what way are they false? They are false in that there is a problem with their humanity. During their tenure as leaders, there can be no resolution at all to the problem of evil people and antichrists disrupting and disturbing the church’s work. Some brothers and sisters are greatly harmed by this, and it is a tremendous setback to the work of the church. This sort of false leader notices a problem and sees someone causing a disruption and disturbance, and they know what their responsibility is, what they should do and how they should do it, yet they do nothing at all. They pretend to be deaf and mute, neither hearing nor questioning anything, nor reporting the matter to their superiors. They pretend that they know nothing and see nothing. Is this not a problem in their humanity? What is the principle of their leadership? ‘I cause no disruptions or disturbances, but I won’t do anything that gives offense, or anything that attacks the dignity of others. Characterize me as a false leader, and I still won’t do anything that gives offense. I need to leave myself an escape route.’ What sort of logic is this? It is the logic of Satan. And what sort of disposition is this? Is it not very evasive and deceptive? Such a person is not the least bit sincere in their treatment of God’s commission; they are always wily and slippery in the performance of their duty, with so many nasty calculations, thinking of themselves in all things. They give not the least thought to the work of the church and have no conscience or reason at all. They are quite unfit for the work of leadership. … In My heart, no matter how stalwart this sort of person appears, or how well regulated, or taciturn, or hardworking and competent, the fact that they act without principles and take no responsibility for the work of the church obliges Me to ‘see them in a new light,’ as it were. To wrap up, I will define this sort of person. They may not make any big mistakes, but they are very evasive and deceitful; they do not take on any responsibility at all, nor do they uphold the work of the church at all. They have no humanity. I feel that they are like a sort of animal—in their cunning, they are a bit like the fox” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “Once the truth has become life in you, when you observe someone who is blasphemous toward God, unfearful of God, and careless and perfunctory while performing their duty, or who interrupts and interferes with church work, you will respond according to the principles of the truth, and will be able to identify and expose them as necessary. If the truth has not become your life, and you still live within your satanic disposition, then when you discover wicked people and devils who cause interruptions and disturbances to the work of the church, you will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear; you will brush them aside, without reproach from your conscience. You will even think that anyone causing disturbances to the work of the church has nothing to do with you. No matter how much the work of the church and the interests of the house of God suffer, you don’t care, intervene, or feel guilty—which makes you someone who has no conscience or sense, a nonbeliever, a service-doer. You eat what is God’s, drink what is God’s, and enjoy all that comes from God, yet feel that any harm to the interests of the house of God is not related to you—which makes you a traitor who bites the hand that feeds you. If you do not protect the interests of the house of God, are you even human? This is a demon that has insinuated itself into the church. You feign belief in God, pretend to be a chosen one, and you want to freeload in God’s house. You are not living the life of a human being, and are clearly one of the nonbelievers” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Those Who Truly Submit to God Have Hearts of Fear for Him). were deeply distressing. Especially when I read these words, “they have no humanity,” “in their cunning, they are a bit like the fox,” “a demon that has insinuated itself into the church,” and “the nonbelievers,” I felt that God’s disposition does not tolerate offense. God particularly hates and is disgusted by deceitful people. God defines these people as demons and nonbelievers. I felt a great sense of fear and guilt, and that God was exposing and denouncing me to my very face. Thinking back on my behavior then, I had already clearly seen that the supervisor was muddling through her duty and wasn’t doing practical work, and I’d wanted to bring this up with her several times, but I’d always been overly cautious and afraid that she would call me arrogant and unreasonable, so I didn’t dare talk to her. Even when I did bring things up with her, I’d always downplay it and didn’t dare mention the full problem, even to the point of being encouraging, despite my convictions, just so that I could protect my reputation and relationships with her. I later determined that she was a false worker who was unable to do real work, that she should be transferred or dismissed, and that in order to protect the work of the church, she should be exposed and reported. But I worried the supervisor would say I was vying for status and that I was deliberately making life difficult for her, and that she would suppress me. So for my own protection, I played dumb, and just looked on as the gospel work was obstructed without reporting anything. I was truly deceitful, selfish, and despicable! I didn’t have any sincerity toward God. Thinking back on all the years I’d believed in God, enjoying the provision of so many of God’s words, how could I look on at the losses to the church’s work and only want to protect myself and not the church’s work at all? If I had reported the supervisor’s problem sooner, she wouldn’t have delayed or obstructed the church’s work.
In the throes of self-reproach, I saw God’s word says, “For many years, the thoughts that people have relied upon for their survival have been corroding their hearts to the point that they have become treacherous, cowardly, and despicable. Not only do they lack willpower and resolve, but they have also become greedy, arrogant, and willful. They are utterly lacking any resolve that transcends the self, and even more, they don’t have a bit of courage to shake off the strictures of these dark influences. People’s thoughts and lives are so rotten that their perspectives on believing in God are still unbearably hideous, and even when people speak of their perspectives on belief in God it is simply unbearable to hear. People are all cowardly, incompetent, despicable, and fragile. They do not feel disgust for the forces of darkness, and they do not feel love for the light and the truth; instead, they do their utmost to expel them” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Why Are You Unwilling to Be a Foil?). Considering God’s words, I realized that I had been deeply corrupted by Satan and that Satan’s poisons had already taken root deep within my heart. Satanic philosophies like “Protect yourself, seek only to escape blame,” “The less trouble, the better,” “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down,” and “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” had become my nature and the laws I lived by, and had me firmly under their control, making me only consider my own interests when I spoke and acted. I even watched on as a supervisor who wasn’t doing practical work delayed and impacted the work of the church. I played dumb, held my tongue, and didn’t safeguard the work of the church at all. I was unwittingly siding with Satan and serving as its accomplice. I was truly disgusting to God! I saw that these worldly philosophies were fallacies and lies used by Satan to mislead and corrupt people. By living by these things I could only ever become more and more deceitful, evil, selfish, and despicable. To protect my own interests I guarded myself from God and people, and no matter what disruption or disturbance befell the church, I remained uncaring, apathetic, and aloof. The truths I should have practiced went unpracticed, the duties I should have fulfilled went unfulfilled, and I had not a trace of conscience, reason, humanity, or dignity. Without repenting, eventually I would have been detested and cast out by God. The more I thought, the more remorseful I felt. I felt I had been so deeply corrupted by Satan that I lacked any kind of humanity. I hated myself so much. But at the same time, I resolved to practice the truth. I couldn’t go on being so unconscionable. I had to heed the will of God, practice the truth, and report the problem with the supervisor to the leader as soon as possible. Later, I reported the matter of the supervisor not doing practical work to the leader.
After I sent the report, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. But after two or three days, the leader still hadn’t responded, and my misgivings couldn’t help but return. Would the leader read the report and think that I was vying for status, or that I was deliberately fault-finding? Would he pin me as an evildoer and expel me? My heart lurched at the thought. I opened up to Sister Liu about my state. She said, “Aren’t you denying the righteousness of God and the fact that in God’s house, truth rules? ...” Having said this, she picked out a passage of God’s word and read it to me. Almighty God says, “Such people as antichrists always treat God’s righteousness and disposition with notions, challenges, and resistance. They think, ‘It’s just a theory that God is righteous. Is there really such a thing as righteousness in this world? In all the years of my life, I haven’t once found it or seen it. The world is so dark and evil, and evil people and devils are doing quite well, living in contentment. I haven’t seen them get what they deserve. I can’t see where God’s righteousness is in this; I wonder, does God’s righteousness really even exist? Who has seen it? No one has seen it, and no one can attest to it.’ This is what they think to themselves. They do not accept all God’s work, all His words, and all His orchestrations on the foundation of belief that He is righteous, but are always doubting and passing judgment, always full of notions, which they never seek the truth to resolve. This is always how antichrists believe in God. Do they have true faith in God? No. Antichrists always maintain a stance of doubt when it comes to God’s righteousness. … For instance, when a problem arises in the work of the church, no matter the severity of the blame for it nor what its consequences are, an antichrist’s first reaction is to clear themselves and pass the blame elsewhere. In order not to be held responsible, they will even guide gazes off themselves, saying a few correct, nice-sounding things and making a superficial to-do, to cover up the truth of the matter. In ordinary times, people cannot see it, but when something befalls them, an antichrist’s ugliness is revealed. Like a porcupine, with all its spikes erect, they protect themselves with all their might, wishing not to take on any responsibility. What sort of attitude is this? Is it not one of not believing that God is righteous? They do not believe that God scrutinizes all or that He is righteous; they wish to use their own methods to protect themselves. They believe, ‘If I don’t protect myself, no one will. God can’t protect me either. They say He’s righteous, but when people get into trouble, does He really treat them fairly? No way—God doesn’t do that.’ When faced with trouble or persecution, they feel unaided, and think, ‘So, where is God? People can’t see Him or touch Him. No one can help me; no one can extend justice to me and see it done.’ They think the only way to protect themselves is with their own methods, that otherwise, they would be at a loss, bullied and persecuted—and that God’s house is no exception to this. … They care only about their own pursuit of prestige and status, and do not do anything at all to uphold the work of the church. Whoever does something bad and harms the interests of God’s house, they do not expose or report them, but act as if they had not seen it. Looking at their principles for handling things and their treatment of what happens around them, do they have any knowledge of God’s righteous disposition? Do they have any faith? They have none. ‘None’ here does not mean that they have no awareness of it, but that they challenge God’s righteous disposition in their hearts. They neither accept nor acknowledge that God is righteous” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Ten (Part One)). God reveals that the nature of antichrists is particularly slippery and deceitful. They observe all things and people using their own insight, and approach problems with an air of suspicion. They don’t believe in the sovereignty of God, or that God scrutinizes all things, let alone that God’s disposition is righteous. So when they see something harming the church’s work, they always protect themselves and their personal interests, and do not practice the truth at all. It’s like if they’re not careful and don’t protect themselves, they will be suppressed, punished. I reflected that I was the same as an antichrist. I did not believe in the righteousness of God, or that truth and righteousness ruled in the house of God. I saw the supervisor was not doing practical work, but was always overly concerned and didn’t dare report it. Even when I finally did muster up the courage to write a report, because I had no true understanding of God’s righteousness, when I saw that the leader hadn’t responded after several days, I became suspicious and guarded. I feared the leader wouldn’t handle the false worker, and that I would be expelled as an evildoer who preyed on people’s weaknesses. I was truly deceitful! I didn’t have any faith in God. Was I not denying God’s righteousness and His sovereignty over all things? I was looking at God’s orchestration of all things from the perspective of a nonbeliever, and I was suspicious and guarded against the leaders of the church. I thought the church was just as unfair and unrighteous as the outside world. How was this believing in God? Was this not slander and blasphemy against God?
I then thought back on God’s word, “Does the truth have favorites? Can the truth deliberately oppose people? If you pursue the truth, can it overwhelm you? If you stand firm for justice, will it knock you down? If it is truly your aspiration to pursue life, can life elude you?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). “How could one of those who truly seek God be cursed by God? How could one of sound sense and sensitive conscience be cursed by God? How could one who truly worships and serves God be consumed by the fires of His wrath? How could one who is happy to obey God be kicked out of God’s house? How could one who could not love God enough live in God’s punishment? How could someone who is happy to forsake everything for God be left with nothing?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God). Yes, God’s essence is righteous and faithful. The truths that God expresses are for man to practice and live out. Pursuing and practicing the truth and protecting the church’s work is of course, a positive thing, and meets with God’s approval. In particular, the reporting and exposure of antichrists, evildoers, false leaders and workers meets with God’s approval and is a good and just deed. Think about it, has a person who practices the truth and who has a sense of justice ever been expelled from the church? Has any person who pursues and loves the truth ever been abandoned or cast out by God? On the contrary, not only have those who practice the truth not been suppressed or ostracized, but they have received protection, and the approval and respect of their brothers and sisters. Even if a few are suppressed and punished by antichrists and evildoers for practicing the truth, this is only temporary, and these antichrists and evildoers will all be exposed and expelled or cleared out of the church. Furthermore, those who were suppressed by antichrists and evildoers will have made real gains through their praying to God and pursuit of the truth. Not only will they have gained discernment of evildoers and antichrists, they will also have gained some understanding and experience of God’s almighty sovereignty. These things wholly reveal God’s righteous disposition, and that truth and righteousness rule in the house of God. In God’s house, only antichrists and those with the intent to do evil will be cleared out or expelled by the church. My reporting the supervisor’s problem was not done with any ill intent, nor was it to deliberately prey on her weaknesses. It was done out of consideration for the church’s work. The things I reported were all objective facts and were not attempts to wrong her. My actions were done for the good, not harm, of both the supervisor and the church’s work. If she was someone who could pursue and accept the truth, having been reported, she would be able to reflect on herself and learn a lesson. This situation would be beneficial in making her shortcomings and corruption clearer to herself, and would burgeon her life entry. If she hated me because of this, or even suppressed me or dismissed me on impulse, this would fully reveal that she did not love or accept the truth, and was unsuited for cultivation or an important position. At this realization, my heart brightened considerably and I no longer felt constrained. Reporting false leaders and workers who don’t do real work is my responsibility and what I should do. No matter the consequences, I would never regret doing this.
That evening, a letter from the leader came that said the supervisor had been dismissed. It was truly stirring to read the leader’s letter. Truth and righteousness really do reign in the house of God. I praised and thanked God from the bottom of my heart! Through this experience, I not only gained some discernment of false leaders and workers, I also became aware of how deceitful my nature was, and gained some awareness of God’s righteous disposition. This was all by the grace of God! In the future, no matter what I face, I am willing to heed God’s will, practice the truth, safeguard the work of the church, and fulfill the responsibilities and duties I should. Thank God!