The Reason I Don’t Accept Supervision
By Parfait, Africa
I had been watering newcomers in the church for over a year. In the course of my duty, I gradually mastered some principles, and my watering of newcomers also improved. I felt that I had some experience in doing this duty, and that even without help, I could water newcomers well. When the newcomers had problems and difficulties, I could help resolve them by seeking truth, so I thought I already knew how to do my duty well. I thought I didn’t need anyone to guide me, and there was no need for others to supervise and follow up on my work. So, I didn’t accept the supervision and advice of my brothers and sisters, and I didn’t give much feedback on the specific situation of the newcomers I watered. I just did my work on my own terms.
One day, the supervisor, Pheolie, asked me about some newcomers, as well as asked me some questions. For example, how did I notify newcomers about gatherings? Why did this or that sister or brother not attend gatherings? Did I often fellowship with newcomers to understand their states or difficulties? When I heard these questions, I was very resistant. I thought, “Does she think I’m doing my duty irresponsibly? Does she not trust me?” I was very defiant, I couldn’t help showing my corrupt disposition and wanted to ignore her. She asked me if newcomers were interested in coming to gatherings, I perfunctorily said “yes” and didn’t explain a single detail. She asked me how I notified newcomers about gatherings, and I told her I sent them text messages, but I didn’t explain details of how I notified them, what difficulties they faced, and so on. She then asked me what aspects of the truth I fellowshiped on with the newcomers, and I said impatiently that I knew how to fellowship with newcomers, but I gave no details on what I said, how they responded, or what questions they had. She was not satisfied with my answer, and she wanted to know more about whether I was supporting and helping these newcomers. I thought she was underestimating me, as if I didn’t know how to do my duty, and this made me very uncomfortable. Once, she realized I didn’t consider newcomers’ feelings when I spoke, so she said, “You have to think from the perspective of newcomers. If you were a newcomer, would you be happy with these words? Would you want to reply to them?” Her words rankled me. I said I understood, but I didn’t actually accept it. I didn’t think there was a problem with the way I spoke to newcomers. In my heart, I said to myself, “I know how to get these newcomers to attend gatherings, so I’m going to do it my way.” Another time, she asked me how I usually fellowshiped with newcomers, and I said by sending a message. She asked me to call the newcomers, saying calls were more direct, made it easier to understand real issues, and helped build ties. But I didn’t accept it at the time, and I thought my method was better. I was content to send messages to newcomers, and I didn’t want to listen to her. In our discussions, I didn’t want to talk anymore, so I remained silent or answered briefly. I found that if anyone wanted to discuss things with me about my watering of newcomers, I would become very negative and troubled. I felt that they were laughing at me, belittling me, and thought I was worthless, someone who didn’t know how to do my duty or was untrustworthy. I thought I was doing my duty well, that I knew how to water newcomers, that I had my own methods of follow-up, and that I was more gifted than the supervisor, so I couldn’t take her advice. Although I verbally agreed, I rarely practiced what I promised, and I focused on continuing to water and fellowship with newcomers on my own terms.
During one gathering, I readand finally gained some understanding of myself. God says, “Some people don’t accept pruning or being dealt with. In their hearts, they clearly know that what others are saying conforms to the truth, but they don’t accept it. These people are so arrogant and self-righteous! And why do I say that they are arrogant? Because if they do not accept pruning and being dealt with, then they do not obey—and if they do not obey, are they not arrogant? They think that their actions are good, and they don’t think they have done anything wrong—which means they do not know themselves; this is arrogance” (“An Arrogant Nature Is at the Root of Man’s Resistance to God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “Let no person think of themselves as perfect, or distinguished and noble, or distinct from others; all this is brought about by man’s arrogant disposition and ignorance. Always to think oneself distinctive—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never being able to accept their shortcomings, and never being able to confront their mistakes and failures—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be higher than oneself, or to be better than oneself—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be superior or stronger than them—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to have better thoughts, suggestions, and views than oneself, and, when they do, becoming negative, not wishing to speak, feeling distressed and dejected, and becoming upset—all of this is caused by an arrogant disposition. An arrogant disposition can make you protect your reputation, unable to accept others’ guidance, unable to confront your own shortcomings, and unable to accept your own failures and mistakes. More than that, when someone is better than you, it can cause hatred and jealousy to arise in your heart, and you can feel constrained, such that you do not wish to do your duty and become slipshod in performing it. An arrogant disposition can cause these behaviors and practices to arise in you. If you are able, little by little, to dig deeper into all these details, achieve breakthroughs in them, and gain understanding of them; and if you are then able gradually to forsake these thoughts, and to forsake these erroneous notions, views and even behaviors, and are not constrained by them; and if, in performing your duty, you are able to find the right station for you, and act according to principles, and perform the duty you can and should perform; then, over time, you will be able to perform your duties better. This is entry into the reality of the truth. If you can enter into the reality of the truth, you will appear to others to have a human likeness, and people will say, ‘This person conducts themselves according to their station, and they are doing their duty in a grounded way. They do not rely on naturalness, on hot-headedness, or on their corrupt, satanic disposition to do their duty. They act with restraint, they have a heart that reveres God, they have love for truth, and their behavior and expressions reveal them to have forsaken their own flesh and preferences.’ How wonderful it is to conduct oneself so! On the occasions when others bring up your shortcomings, you are not only able to accept them, but are optimistic, facing your shortcomings and flaws with poise. Your state of mind is quite normal, free of extremes, free of hot blood. Is this not what it is to have a human likeness? Only such people have good sense” (“The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). In the past, I thought I wasn’t arrogant, but through the revelations of God’s word, I saw that I was very arrogant. When the supervisor told me some good ways to water newcomers, I didn’t accept it at all. When she asked me about how I watered the newcomers, I stayed silent or answered briefly, because I didn’t want to lose face or for others to see my inadequacies in watering newcomers. I wanted others to see that everything was fine with me, there was nothing wrong in my duty, and I could perform my duty without the supervision or help of others. I really was too arrogant. I also felt I was more gifted than the sister who oversaw my work, that I knew how to water newcomers, that I had my own methods, and that they worked well, so I was reluctant to accept her suggestions. Deep in my heart, I believed that if I accepted her advice, it meant my ability was inferior to hers. That would be embarrassing. What would others think of me? So, I outwardly agreed to her suggestions, but I seldom practiced them. My arrogant disposition kept me far from the truth, stopped me from accepting others’ advice, and made me cling to my own views. This was rebellion against God. After that, I calmed down and thought about my sister’s suggestion. I thought she had a good point, and it was worth trying. So, I called the newcomers on the phone. I felt it was easier to communicate with them and understand their problems on the phone, and to promptly help them. When I put her advice into practice, and saw that my work of watering newcomers became more effective, I felt very ashamed. In this matter, I saw that although I had done my duty for a long time, I still had many shortcomings. Without the help and guidance of my sister, the results of my work would not have improved. I also realized that I was no better than others, and that I couldn’t do my duty well by myself.
One day, the supervisor asked me about a newcomer’s situation and why he hadn’t come to gatherings for several days. After I explained, she asked me some other questions, wanting to know more details about how I did my duty. I felt embarrassed, and I was very resistant. I didn’t want to answer any of her questions, because I didn’t want to accept her supervision and questioning of my work. I realized this was my corrupt disposition again, so I prayed to God in my heart for guidance in learning to obey such environments, recognizing my own corruption, and accepting the supervision and guidance of others. After that, I read some of God’s words. “Antichrists prohibit the involvement, inquiries, or supervision of anyone else, and this prohibition is manifested in several ways. One is refusal, plain and simple. ‘Stop interfering, asking questions, and supervising me when I work. Any work I do is my responsibility, I’ve got an idea of how to do it and I don’t need anyone managing me!’ This is straight refusal. Another manifestation is the appearance of being receptive, saying ‘Ok, let’s fellowship a little and see how the work should be done,’ but when others really start asking questions and trying to find out more about their work, or they point out a few issues and make a few suggestions, what is their attitude? (They are unreceptive.) That’s right—they simply refuse to accept, they find pretexts and excuses to reject other’s suggestions, they turn wrong into right and right into wrong, but actually, in their hearts, they know that they are forcing logic, that they are blowing hot air, that this is conjecture, that their words have none of the reality of what other people say. And yet to protect their status—and knowing full well that they are wrong and that other people are right—they still turn other people’s right into wrong, and their own wrong into right, and keep carrying it out, not allowing things that are correct and in line with the truth to be implemented or introduced where they are. … What is their aim? It is to stop other people from interfering, inquiring, or supervising, and to make the brothers and sisters think that them acting as they are is justified, correct, in line with the work arrangements of God’s house, and in agreement with the principles of action, that, as a leader, they are abiding by principle. Really only a few people in the church understand the truth; the majority are undoubtedly incapable of discernment, they can’t see these antichrists for who they really are, and are naturally taken in by them” (“Item Eight: They Would Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God (Part Two)” in Exposing Antichrists). “When Satan acts, it does not permit the interference of anyone else, it wishes to have the final say in everything it does and to control everything, and no one may supervise or make any inquiries. If anyone interferes or intervenes, this is even less permissible. This is how an antichrist acts; no matter what they do, nobody is allowed to make any inquiries, and no matter how they operate behind the scenes, no one is permitted to interfere. This is the behavior of an antichrist. They act this way because they have an extremely arrogant disposition and are extremely lacking in sense. They are completely lacking in obedience, and they do not permit anyone supervising them or inspecting their work. These are truly the actions of a demon, which are completely different from those of a normal person. Anyone who does work requires the cooperation of others, they need other people’s assistance, suggestions, and cooperation, and even if there is someone supervising or watching, this is not a bad thing, it is necessary. If mistakes happen to occur in one location, and they are identified by the people watching and promptly fixed, is this not a great help? And so, when smart people do things, they like being supervised, observed, and asked questions by other people. If, by any chance, a mistake does occur, and these people are able to point it out, and the mistake can be promptly rectified, is this not an unexpected benefit? No one in this world does not need the help of others. Only people with autism or depression like being on their own. When people suffer from autism or depression, they are no longer normal. They can no longer control themselves. If people’s minds and sense are normal, and they just don’t want to communicate with others, if they don’t want other people to know about anything they do, if they want to do it in secret, in hiding, in private, operating behind the scenes, and they don’t listen to anything anyone else says, then such people are antichrists, are they not? This is an antichrist” (“Item Eight: They Would Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God (Part Two)” in Exposing Antichrists). I felt that these words were God’s judgment for me. I realized that I was behaving as God revealed. It was very hard for me to accept the advice and supervision of others in my duty. Even when I had difficulties, I never exposed these or let others know, because I felt that since this job was given to me, I was responsible, I had the final say, and I could do it my own way. I felt I knew how to do my duty, and I didn’t need a supervisor, nor did I need someone to monitor me or give me advice. I considered the advice of others as a condemnation of my inadequacies or as questioning my abilities, so I didn’t want to hear it. Now I saw that this was arrogance and foolishness. This was not the reason that normal humanity should possess. My arrogant nature made me not obey anyone, and never accept the supervision and advice of others. I always wanted to have the final say and water the newcomers according to my own will. In the past, I simply followed up with newcomers in my own way, which was simply sending messages and rarely speaking to the newcomers. When some newcomers didn’t reply to me for a few days, I would put them aside, and continue to gather with the newcomers who wanted to communicate with me, and as a result, some newcomers couldn’t be watered in time. Newcomers are very fragile, and can withdraw and stop believing at any time, and some even quit the gathering group. Weren’t my actions the same as an antichrist? Antichrists don’t like to be supervised by others and never take advice from others. They want to control everything by themselves, do things their own way or according to their own opinions, they don’t obey anyone, and they don’t cooperate with others to do their work well. I saw that I was walking the path of the antichrist, and I was afraid. If I continued like this, I would be hated by God. There is no value in the lives of those hated by God and they are enemies in God’s eyes. I also learned from God’s word that everyone has their own shortcomings and deficiencies, so we need advice and help from others. We need to cooperate with people to perform our duties well. The supervisor was helping me by following up on my work and giving me suggestions. I also saw that it was useful when I practiced it, but I didn’t want to accept it, and in this way I harmed the work of the church. This was a very serious matter.
After that, I read some of God’s words. “When anyone spends a little time monitoring or observing you, or asks you in-depth questions, trying to have a heart-to-heart with you and find out what your state has been like during this time, and even sometimes when their attitude is a little harsher, and they deal with and prune you a little, and discipline you, and reproach you, this is all because they have a conscientious and responsible attitude toward the work of the house of God. You should not have negative thoughts or feelings toward this. What does it mean if you can accept others’ oversight, observation, and questioning? That, in your heart, you accept the scrutiny of God. If you do not accept people’s oversight, observation, and questioning of you—if you push back against all this—are you able to accept the scrutiny of God? The scrutiny of God is more detailed, in-depth, and accurate than people’s questioning; what God asks is more specific, exacting, and in-depth than this. So if you cannot accept being monitored by God’s chosen ones, are your claims that you can accept God’s scrutiny not empty words? For you to be able to accept God’s scrutiny and examination, you must first be able to accept monitoring by the house of God, the leaders and workers, and the brothers and sisters” (Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “If you have a heart that fears God, then you will naturally be capable of receiving God’s scrutiny, but you must also learn to accept the supervision of God’s chosen people, which requires you to have tolerance and acceptance. If you see someone supervising you, inspecting your work, or checking up on you without your knowledge, and if you grow angry, treat this person like an enemy and despise them, and even attack them and deal with them as a traitor, longing for them to disappear, then this is trouble. Is it not extremely vile? What is the difference between this and a devil? Is this treating people fairly? If you walk the right path and act the right way, what do you have to fear from people checking up on you? There is something lurking in your heart. If you know in your heart that you have a problem, then you should accept the judgment and chastisement of God. This is sensible. If you know you have a problem, but you don’t allow anyone to supervise you, inspect your work, or investigate your problem, then you are being highly unreasonable, you are rebelling against and resisting God, and in this case, your problem is even more serious. If God’s chosen people discern that you are an evildoer or a nonbeliever, then the consequences will be even more troublesome. Thus, those who are able to accept the supervision, examination, and inspection of others are the most sensible of all, they have tolerance and normal humanity. When you discover you are doing something wrong or have the outpouring of a corrupt disposition, if you are able to open up to and communicate with people, this will help those around you to keep an eye on you. It is certainly necessary to accept supervision, but the main thing is to pray to God and rely on Him, subjecting yourself to constant reflection. Especially when you have gone the wrong way or done something wrong, or when you are about to take a dictatorial and unilateral action, and someone nearby mentions it and alerts you, you need to accept that and hasten to reflect on yourself, and admit to your mistake, and correct it. This can keep you from setting foot on the path of antichrists. If there is someone helping and alerting you in this way, are you not being preserved without knowing it? You are—that is your preservation” (“The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word makes the importance and benefits of being supervised by others very clear. Before, I didn’t really understand the benefits of being supervised, which caused me to resist those who supervised me. I thought they were trying to control my work or were showing contempt for me. In my mind, if someone came to me to learn about work, it was as if they felt I was irresponsible and incapable of working, and couldn’t do my duty well, or as well as others. So I was very resistant to others’ supervision of me. But from God’s word, I saw that my opinion was wrong and not in line with the truth. I had some shortcomings in my work, and I needed the help of my brothers and sisters to improve, but I refused to accept supervision. This way, could I ever correct the mistakes in my work and do my work better? It was very important for my brothers and sisters to ask about my work, because they were bearing the burden of the work and doing their duty. I shouldn’t have an attitude of silence and rejection. I should open up and tell them my difficulties and the actual situation in my work. That will be better for the work of the church. By accepting supervision, I can see my own deficiencies and reflect on whether I do my duty according to principles. Now, I understood God’s will. Others often supervising and checking my work can stop me from misleading, giving up on, or ruining newcomers due to my own desires. This is indeed God’s protection for me.
I read another passage of God’s word, “Do you think anyone is perfect? No matter how strong people are, or how capable and talented, they still are not perfect. People must recognize this, it is fact. Such is also the attitude that people should have toward their own merits and strengths or faults; this is the rationality that people should possess. With such rationality, you can properly deal with your own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of others, and this will enable you to work alongside them harmoniously. If you have understood this aspect of the truth and can enter this aspect of the reality of the truth, then you can get along harmoniously with your brothers and sisters, drawing on each other’s strong points to offset any weaknesses you have. In this way, no matter what duty you are performing or what you are doing, you will always get better at it and have God’s blessing” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days, Part Three). Through God’s word, I understood everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and there are no perfect people in this world. No matter how strong people are, they still have shortcomings and need help from others. No matter what duty we do in the church, it is inseparable from the help and cooperation of others. We have been corrupted so deeply by Satan that we always act by our corrupt dispositions, so we need the reminders and supervision of our brothers and sisters to avoid deviating from principles and reduce our mistakes. When others came to me to understand my problems at work, I should have used it as an opportunity to improve myself, and learned from their strengths to make up for my weaknesses. This would have helped me and the work of the church. I saw clearly that I was no better than anyone else, including the sister who oversaw my work. I should accept the guidance and advice of others, correct my deviations and mistakes, and dare to reveal my own weaknesses and seek help from others. This is a person with normal reason and humanity. Knowing this, I started to let go of my erroneous views. I no longer felt like I could water newcomers without anyone’s supervision. Instead, I felt that I had many shortcomings and that I wasn’t perfect. After that, I started to accept my sister’s advice, and when she asked questions or wanted to know about any aspect of the newcomers’ states, I discussed it openly and told her in detail. Like this, I became more effective in my duty.
One day, my sister asked me about the newcomers’ situation. I answered her questions without reservation and gave details about the reasons for some newcomers’ irregular attendance. She reminded me of some key points, and I wrote them down and carried them out. I saw that it is very good to take advice from others. Although sometimes when she pointed out my shortcomings, I couldn’t accept it immediately, I understood that she was here to help me, so I shouldn’t be negative and resist. I had to come before God to pray and seek, which was beneficial both for me and the work of the church. My responsibility is to water newcomers well to lay their foundations in the true way, and I am willing to accept the supervision of others and perform my duty well.