I’m No Longer Disdainful Toward My Partner

October 17, 2022

By Qi Hang, South Korea

I manage church books and items. I typically check whether the various items are organized and put away, whether they are arranged neatly, and whether check-in and check-out records are clear. I fear a mess would be made of things if I were negligent. Brother Cheng, who worked with me, was rather careless and didn’t focus on cleanliness. Sometimes, he just threw things down or put them in a pile, so I always worried about him, and always had to check his work. Every time I saw Brother Cheng misplacing things or saw that the check-in and check-out records for items were unclear, I got so anxious that I lost my temper and didn’t fellowship to help him. At first, I would consider my brother’s feelings and be careful with my tone and wording, but as time went on, I didn’t care about those things, and at every turn, I would tell him that this or that was wrong. Sometimes I got angry and scolded him, saying, “Why are you putting things in the wrong place again? You put one here and one there. Can’t you put things back where you found them? It would only take a moment to clean up after yourself, but you can’t help but leave something undone, and you never clean it up afterwards….” My attitude towards Brother Cheng got worse and worse. Sometimes, I’d use a commanding tone to tell him to clean up the mess.

I remember once, when I was going over the check-in and check-out records, I found that he had corrected some of them so badly that they were illegible. My temper immediately flared up, and I thought, “I can’t even guess what he wrote here!” I went straight to Brother Cheng. Like a teacher scolding a student, I held out the records and asked what each one was. I said, “Do you know what I want to do right now? I want to take these records to the leader, so that she can see how you do your duty, and how careless you can be!” Brother Cheng had a guilty look on his face, and said he would pay attention in the future. He said this time was an accident. While he was making a record, someone called him to deal with an urgent matter, so he forgot about it. But I didn’t let him explain. I said angrily, “If something like this happens again, I’ll give the record sheet straight to the leader and let her handle it!” Before long, I saw that one of Brother Cheng’s record sheets had an indistinct smear again. This time, I got even angrier. I went to Brother Cheng to question him, “I already told you, if you make a mistake, rewrite it in another place, don’t just write over it. Look at your correction. Who knows what you wrote? If I can’t see it clearly, I have to come and ask you. Don’t you think this is annoying? Even if you don’t, I do!” When he saw I was angry again, he picked up the record sheet and said, “Then I’ll correct it again.” I yelled angrily, “Don’t bother! This won’t fix it!” I left after I said that, leaving my brother sitting there alone with the record sheet at a loss. At that point, I realized I had gone a bit too far. But I didn’t give it much thought, and the matter passed. After a few days, I got angry with Brother Cheng again over a trivial matter. He got angry at me too, and we got into an argument. The leader found that we couldn’t work together harmoniously, so she fellowshiped with me and read me a passage of God’s word, “Whatever duty an antichrist performs, with whomever they are cooperating, there are always conflicts and disputes. They want always to lecture others and be heeded by them. With whom could such a person cooperate? No one—their corrupt disposition is too severe. Not only are they unable to cooperate with anyone, but they are also always lecturing others from on high and constraining them, wishing always to sit astride people’s yokes and compel their obedience. This is not just a problem of disposition—there is also something seriously wrong with their humanity, being that they have no conscience or reason. … For people to interact normally, one condition must be met: They must, at least, have a conscience and reason, patience and tolerance, before they are able to cooperate. To be able to cooperate in the performance of duty requires that people be of one mind, and able to offset their own weaknesses with the other’s strengths, and that they be patient and tolerant, with a baseline of comportment. Only in this way can they get along amicably. Though conflicts and disputes may come up at times, they can continue cooperating; no hostility will arise, at least. Everyone without humanity is a rotten apple. Only those with normal humanity cooperate easily with others, and are tolerant and patient with others; only they will listen to other people’s opinions, and condescend when working to discuss with others. They, too, have corrupt dispositions and a constant wish to have others heed them. They, too, have that intent—but because they have a conscience and reason, and can seek the truth, and know themselves, and because they feel that such behavior would be inappropriate, and are reproached at heart, and have a capacity for restraint, they are thus able to cooperate with others. It is just the outpouring of a corrupt disposition. They are not evil people, nor do they have the essence of an antichrist. They are able to cooperate with others. If they were evil people or antichrists, they would have no way to cooperate with others. This is how it happens with all the evil people and antichrists who are cleared out of God’s house. They cannot cooperate in harmony with anyone, so they are all exposed and cast out(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). After reading God’s word, the leader reminded me, “To get along with people, we at least need to respect them. If you yell at Brother Cheng like this and reprimand him all the time, you lack even the most basic respect. Isn’t this overly arrogant of you? You look down on everything he does, watch him like a hawk all day, and never let problems go. Is this appropriate? Brother Cheng is busy with work and his memory is bad. Some problems are unavoidable. Shouldn’t you treat him properly and help him more? Moreover, he is constantly improving. But what about you? You have a problem with your disposition and humanity. Constantly yelling at people is a corrupt disposition. Aren’t you just staring at the speck in your brother’s eye but blind to the beam in your own?”

Then, the leader read me another passage of God’s word. “What do you say, is it hard to cooperate with other people? It isn’t, actually. You could even say it is easy. But why do people still feel this to be difficult? Because they have corrupt dispositions. For those who possess humanity, conscience, and sense, cooperating with others is relatively easy, and they are likely to feel that this is something joyful. Because it is not easy for anyone to accomplish things on their own, whatever the field they’re involved in, or what they’re doing, it is always good to have someone there to point things out and offer assistance—much easier than doing it by themselves. Also, there are limits to what people’s caliber is capable of or what they themselves can experience. No one can be a master of all trades, it is impossible for one person to know everything, learn everything, accomplish everything—that is impossible, and everyone should possess such sense. And so, no matter what you do, whether it be important or not, there should always be people there to help you, to give you pointers, advice, and to assist you with things. This way, you will do things more correctly, it will be harder to make mistakes, and you will be less likely to go astray—which is all to the good(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). After reading God’s words, the leader fellowshiped some more, and finally asked me, “If you were to manage the items by yourself, could you do it without making any mistakes?” In shame, I said, “No.” The leader said, “That’s right. No one knows everything, and everyone needs a partner to perform their duties. If you can’t cooperate harmoniously, how can you perform your duty well? You need to contemplate this and reflect on your own problems.”

When I came back, I felt really sad. How could I be unaware of what a big problem I had? I used to think that my humanity was good and I could get along with my brothers and sisters, but since cooperating with Brother Cheng in my duty, I was always self-righteous, thinking that my ideas and actions were right. I imposed my will on him and made him do what I wanted. I didn’t help him by fellowshiping on the truth, I just got angry, accused him, and reprimanded him. I had no humanity or reason. I always felt that I was better than my brother, so I looked down on him. I found him unpleasant, so I couldn’t address his strengths and weaknesses correctly. I showed off at every turn and belittled him. Originally, Brother Cheng and I were responsible for managing church items together, but I didn’t discuss anything with him. I was always self-centered, and had the final say, and I gave orders to Brother Cheng. I often scolded him like a child, trying to teach him lessons. My disposition was too arrogant, and God hated it!

I knew that I was arrogant and always forced others to listen to me, but I didn’t know how to solve this problem. I prayed to God and looked for relevant parts of God’s word. One day, in God’s word, I read, “Antichrists have a constant ambition and desire to control and conquer others. In their dealings with people, they wish always to find out how they are seen, and whether they have status in people’s hearts and are admired and worshiped by them. An antichrist is especially happy when they encounter bootlickers, people who flatter and fawn over them; they will start to lecture that person from on high and indulge in empty talk, instilling rules, methods, doctrines, and notions in that person for them to accept as the truth. They will even glorify this by saying, ‘If you can accept these things, you will be a person who loves and pursues the truth.’ Undiscerning people will think what the antichrist says is justified, though they find it ambiguous, and do not know whether it accords with the truth. They will feel only that what the antichrist says is not mistaken and cannot be said to violate the truth. And in this way, they submit to the antichrist. If someone does identify the antichrist and can expose them, it will enrage them. The antichrist will unceremoniously sling accusations, condemnations, and threats at that person, and make a show of strength. The undiscerning will be subdued completely and fling themselves to the floor in admiration; they will become worshipful of the antichrist and reliant on them, and even fearful. These people will have a feeling of being enslaved, as though without the antichrist’s leadership, without the antichrist to deal with and prune them, they would be adrift at heart, as if God would not want them if they lost these things. And they have no sense of security. When this happens, people learn to take cues from the antichrist’s facial expressions before they act, for fear they may be upset. They all wish to court their pleasure; all of them are dead set on following the antichrist. In all the work they do, an antichrist offers words of doctrines. They are good at instructing people to adhere to rules, but they never tell them what principles of the truth they should observe, or why they should do something, or what God’s will is, or how God’s house arranges its work; they never say what work is most essential and important, or what the main work is that is to be done well. An antichrist says nothing at all about these critical things. In doing and arranging work, they never fellowship about the truth, because they do not understand the principles of the truth. So, all they can do is instruct people to adhere to certain rules and doctrines—and should someone violate their claims and rules, they will be met with censure and reproach. An antichrist often bears the banner of God’s house as they do their work, lecturing others from on high. There are even some who are so overwhelmed by their lectures that they feel it would be shortchanging God not to do as the antichrist demands. This sort of person has come under the antichrist’s control. What sort of behavior is this on an antichrist’s part? It is enslavement(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight (Part One)). What God described was precisely my state. When working with Brother Cheng, I found him to be easy-going. If something went wrong at work, he accepted it when I criticized him and didn’t try to refute it. I thought he was soft and easy to push around, so I was overbearing towards him, and I had the final say in everything. Many times, when I discussed things with him I was just going through the motions. In the end, I decided what to do. Also, some precautions I formulated for managing items appeared to be unproblematic and help to manage items, but I didn’t formulate these precautions based on relevant principles. I created them to address Brother Cheng’s problems. You could say they were tailor-made for him. Whenever he failed to take these precautions, I had an excuse to accuse him and reprimand him, and he had no way to protest. Just like last time, when he didn’t do the record sheet as I instructed, I scolded him without hesitation and forced him to do what I wanted. I remembered what he said that day, “As soon as I see you cleaning things up, I try to hide. I’m afraid you’ll criticize me again if I don’t do it right.” The thought made me miserable. The satanic disposition I revealed cast a shadow over my brother’s heart and constrained him. It’s just as God’s word reveals, “Should someone violate their claims and rules, they will be met with censure and reproach. An antichrist often bears the banner of God’s house as they do their work, lecturing others from on high. There are even some who are so overwhelmed by their lectures that they feel it would be shortchanging God not to do as the antichrist demands. This sort of person has come under the antichrist’s control.” I finally realized my problem was serious. Since partnering with Brother Cheng, my antichrist disposition was revealed. I had no status at the moment, but if I had status, it would be even easier to constrain and control people. At that point, wouldn’t I be an antichrist? I usually didn’t focus on seeking the truth or reflecting on myself. I often showed a corrupt disposition without being aware of it. I was incredibly numb.

I thought of God’s words, “If you are a member of God’s house, yet you are always impetuous in your actions, always expose what is natural in you, and always reveal your corrupt disposition, doing things with human means and with a corrupt, satanic disposition, the final consequence will be your doing evil and your resisting God—and if you remain unrepentant all the while and cannot tread upon the path of pursuing truth, you will have to be exposed and cast out(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. A Corrupt Disposition Can Only Be Resolved by Accepting the Truth). I recalled how I treated Brother Cheng. To vent my dissatisfaction and for the sake of momentary pleasure, I completely disregarded my brother’s feelings. When I got angry because the record sheet was illegible, I lectured Brother Cheng like a child who made a mistake. He just sat there without saying a word, and when he admitted he was wrong, I coldly rejected his offer. That image was frozen in my mind, impossible to forget. When I thought about it, I couldn’t express the guilt and pain in my heart. I asked myself, “How could you treat your brother like this? You’ve never fellowshiped or helped him, so what qualifies you to scold him? How do you have the gall to call him your brother?” Every question left me speechless. In the past, I always thought Brother Cheng was to blame, that it was him who had too many faults and caused me so much trouble. Now I realized it was me who had the real problem. It was me who hadn’t changed, and it was me who was too arrogant and inhuman. I felt intense remorse, so I silently prayed to God and said I wanted to repent.

I sought how to treat my brothers and sisters in accordance with principles. In God’s word, I read, “There must be principles to how the brothers and sisters interact. Do not always focus on others’ faults, but reflect on yourself frequently, be proactive afterward in admitting to another what you have done that constitutes interference or harm to them, and learn to open yourself up and fellowship. This will allow mutual understanding. What’s more, no matter what befalls them, people should view things based on the words of God. If they are able to understand the principles of the truth and find a path to practice, they will become of one heart and mind, and the relationship between brothers and sisters will be normal, and they will not be as callous, cold, and cruel as the unbelievers, and so will shed their mentality of suspicion and wariness toward each other. The brothers and sisters will become more intimate with each other; they will be able to support one another, and to love each other; there will be goodwill in their hearts, and they will be capable of tolerance and compassion toward each other, and they will support and help each other, instead of alienating each other, being envious of each other, measuring themselves against each other, and secretly competing and being defiant toward each other. How can people perform their duty well if they are like the unbelievers? Not only will this impact their entry into life, it will also harm and affect others. … When people live by their corrupt dispositions, it is very hard for them to be at peace before God, very difficult for them to practice the truth and live by God’s words. To live before God, you must first learn how to reflect on and know yourself, and truly pray to God, and then you must learn how to get on with the brothers and sisters. You must be tolerant of each other, lenient with each other, be able to see what is exceptional about one another, what others’ strengths are—and you must learn to accept others’ opinions and things that are right. Don’t indulge yourself, don’t have wild desires and always think you’re better than other people, and then think of yourself as some great figure, forcing other people to do what you say, to obey you, to look up to you, to exalt you—this is perverse. … So how does God treat people? God does not care what people look like, whether they’re tall or short. Instead, He looks at whether their heart is kind, whether they love the truth, whether they love and obey God. This is what God bases His behavior toward people on. If people can also do this, they will be able to treat others fairly, and so will be in accord with the principles of the truth. First of all, you must understand the will of God. When we know how God behaves toward people, we too have a principle and path for how to behave toward people(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Principles of the Practice of Entering the Reality of the Truth). Yeah. When we interact with each other in our duties, we should at least live out normal humanity, support and help each other, be tolerant and patient, take care of each other, fellowship on the truth when people go against principles, and in serious cases, we can expose, prune, and deal with them. This is the only way to do things in line with principles. The brothers and sisters come from different places, and everyone’s living circumstances, experience, age and caliber are different. No matter what their deficiencies or shortcomings are, we should treat them properly, never ask too much of them, and be considerate and tolerant of them. Brother Cheng was good at maintenance, and was usually busy. In addition, he wasn’t good at managing the check-in and check-out records of items. I should have taken more responsibility and been more understanding, and I shouldn’t have forced him to do things my way. It was utterly without humanity. My brother was good at maintenance, conscientious in his repair work, and didn’t fear suffering in his duty. In this respect, he was far superior to me. But I didn’t look at my brother’s strengths. I focused on his shortcomings, accused him, and scolded him. It was so arrogant and stupid.

Later, I consciously changed my state and practiced according to principles. When things happened again, I was much calmer, and I was also more understanding of Brother Cheng. Once, I went out to run an errand, and Brother Cheng was left to manage things on his own. After a while, I called Brother Cheng to ask how the process was going. Calmly and cautiously, he said, “How do you think? Exactly the way you think it’s going.” Hearing this, I felt very sad. Why would my brother say such a thing? Wasn’t it because the way I treated him in the past flowed from my corrupt disposition, and always made him feel that he was nothing and couldn’t do anything well? The more I thought about it, the more it hurt, but it strengthened my determination to practice the truth and change myself. I comforted Brother Cheng, saying, “Just look around at what’s out of place and take the time to tidy up. You’re usually busy with other things, so a little messiness is inevitable. If you really don’t have time to clean up, we can do it together when I get back.” After the call, I thought Brother Cheng wouldn’t be able to manage by himself, so I asked a sister to help him. When similar things happened in the past, I always scolded and reprimanded him for his mistakes. Now, when this happens, I am able to fellowship and help him, which makes me feel at peace and at ease. I am very grateful to God. Now, I have some understanding of my arrogant disposition, and I can restrain myself a bit. This is all the result of reading God’s word. Although it’s a small change, and does not amount to a fundamental change in my corrupt disposition, I am happy, because I think it’s a good start. I believe if I practice and enter by God’s words, I will be able to cast off my corrupt disposition. Thank Almighty God!

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