Reflections After Being Dealt With

January 17, 2022

I started serving as a leader in June this year. I was continuing with some work arrangements made by God’s house to clear all the evildoers, nonbelievers, and antichrists out of the church, so God’s chosen people have a better environment to do their duty, experience God’s work, and seek the truth. I started working with other church leaders to carry this out. There was one church with a particularly serious problem. A few nonbelievers had made a complete mess out of church life and an upper leader told me to take care of it right away. He followed up with me on it before too long, and I hadn’t finished evaluating the situation, so I couldn’t say for sure. Seeing the issue wasn’t being taken care of quickly enough made the leader anxious, and he spoke to me pretty harshly. I was worried, seeing that he wasn’t too happy with what I was accomplishing in my duty. Would he think my caliber was too lacking to do the job? I figured I couldn’t lose any time, but I had to take care of the problem so I didn’t disappoint him. I wanted to get it done quickly, but it was a complex situation in that church. Its leaders had just been elected and didn’t know everyone in the church well, so the investigation was moving slowly. Then the upper leader asked me again about the progress, and when he found out it wasn’t done, criticized me for dragging my feet. Church life was still in disarray since the nonbelievers hadn’t been removed, so he urged me again to take care of it. After being criticized, I didn’t seriously reflect on my own problem, but could only think about how to turn things around. I saw the leader was really focused on that church’s problem, so what would he think of me if I took too long to handle it? Would he think that I couldn’t manage even that little task, so I was lacking caliber and couldn’t do practical work? I wanted to make a good show for him, to show that I could do real work. So I started putting all of my time and energy into that church, following up with and coaching its leaders, and I personally went to talk to church members familiar with the situation. But I stopped keeping real track of other churches’ efforts to clear people out, just casually, quickly checking in with them.

One day I got a letter from Sister Zhang saying there were a few people in their church that had to be removed. I glanced at the letter and didn’t give it much thought. I figured they could talk it over and take care of it, and report back to me. I was more concerned about that problematic church and not being able to report back to the leader that I’d completed the task. Sister Zhang wrote to me again saying she’d talked it over with a couple co-workers and they’d determined who to remove, and sent me some names. I didn’t know any of the people on the list and I gave my approval without delving into the details of the situation. I just stayed busy with that other church. One day the upper leader came and asked me why Brother Wang was kicked out. He had a sense of justice, upheld the work of God’s house, and was a good person. He did well in his duty. So why was he removed from the church? I really didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know Brother Wang or how he usually acted. I just remembered his name was on Sister Zhang’s list. Then the leader asked me about the behavior of a few others that had been removed and I had absolutely no clue. I didn’t even know their names, so I said I had no idea, that I didn’t know them, that it was Sister Zhang’s decision. I didn’t get involved, as if it had nothing to do with me. He dealt with me again, asking why Brother Wang was removed if he was doing fine and upholding the work of God’s house, and if I had any principles. “Why weren’t you supervising church leaders kicking people out,” he asked. “Why did you let them do whatever they wanted?” Facing question after question, my hardened heart started to wake up a little. I was responsible for that project, but I didn’t know anything about the people who were gotten rid of. Was that taking responsibility? I acknowledged my failure, that I hadn’t done a good job, and he told me to do it again.

I felt unsettled for a long time. I knew that being pruned and dealt with had come from God, but I still felt pretty awful deep inside—I was miserable. I was thinking about the leader asking, “Why did you get rid of good people? Who should be kicked out of God’s house? Do you even have principles?” Those things kept echoing in my head, and I asked myself, “Why did I do something so foolish? It’s not that I don’t know the principles, so why did I make such an outrageous mistake? Why didn’t I make inquiries?” Still confused about this, I sought out that church leader to look into Brother Wang and the others. So I didn’t make the same mistake, I did a thorough review of all the people on the list to kick out. Before long, I received brothers’ and sisters’ evaluations of Brother Wang, saying he had a great attitude toward his duty and a sense of justice, that he upheld the work of God’s house. He didn’t fit the principles for removal. I felt terrible and really unsettled when I saw this. I had kicked out people who truly believed in God, and even though Sister Zhang had handled it, I was the leader, so wasn’t I derelict in my duty by not supervising, acting as a gatekeeper? We gave Brother Wang his duty back after that. I knew being pruned and dealt with over this wasn’t because it was just a little mistake, but I had to really reflect on myself. I prayed to God, “Oh God, being reported by brothers and sisters, and pruned and dealt with by upper leadership was Your righteous judgment, and there’s a lesson I should learn, but I’m not really sure what. Please enlighten me so that I can gain true understanding of my corrupt disposition.”

Then one day I shared what I was going through with a couple other church members, telling them that I’d been putting all my energy into the church that the leader was asking me about and neglecting the other churches. My heart skipped a beat when I said this. Making such a big mistake in the cleanup work wasn’t just a simple oversight in my duty, but it was having the wrong motive in my duty, only caring about my reputation. At that point I started to gain some awareness of my corrupt disposition. Later I saw a video reading of God’s words. Almighty God says, “Another hallmark of an antichrist’s humanity—beyond their having no shame—is an uncommon selfishness and vileness. How selfish are they? And what is the literal interpretation of this selfishness? Anything concerning their own interests gets their full attention: They will suffer for it, pay a price, engross themselves in it, devote themselves to it. Anything not related to them they will turn a blind eye to and take no notice of; others can do as they please—they don’t care if anyone is being divisive or disruptive. Put tactfully, they mind their own business. But it is more accurate to say that this kind of person is vile, sordid, wretched; we define them as ‘selfish and vile.’ How does the selfishness and vileness of the antichrists’ humanity manifest itself? When something concerns their status or reputation, they rack their brains over what to do or say, they do not balk at running all about, they gladly suffer great hardship. But toward that which relates to the work of God’s house, and to principle—even when evil people disrupt and interfere, and commit all kinds of evil, and seriously affect the work of the church—they remain impassive and unconcerned, as if this has nothing to do with them. And if someone discovers this, and exposes it, they say they saw nothing, and feign ignorance. When people report them, and expose them for what they really are, they see red: Meetings are hurriedly convened to discuss how to respond, investigations are held into who went behind their back, who the ringleader was, who was involved. They will not eat or sleep until they have gotten to the bottom of it and the matter has been completely put to rest; sometimes it’s even the case that they’re only happy when they’ve taken down all of their accuser’s associates, too. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not? Are they doing church work? They are acting for the sake of their own power and status, pure and simple. They are running their own operation. Regardless of what work they undertake, the kind of person who is an antichrist never gives any thought to the interests of the house of God. They only consider whether their own interests will be affected, think only of tasks that are right in front of their nose. The work of the house of God and the church is just something they do in their spare time, and they have to be prompted to do everything. The protection of their own interests is their real vocation, the things they like doing the real business. In their eyes, anything arranged by the house of God or relating to the life entry of God’s chosen ones is of no importance. No matter what difficulties other people have in their work, what issues they identify, how sincere their words are, the antichrists pay no heed, they do not get involved, it’s as if this has nothing to do with them. They are utterly indifferent to the affairs of the church, no matter how major these affairs are. Even when the problem is right in front of them, they only address it reluctantly, and perfunctorily. Only when they are directly dealt with by the Above and ordered to sort out a problem will they grudgingly do a little real work and give the Above something to see; soon after, they will continue with their own business. Toward the work of the church, toward the important things of the wider context, they are disinterested, oblivious. They even ignore the problems they discover, being evasive when asked, only addressing them with great reluctance. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not? What’s more, no matter what duty they are performing, all they think about is whether it will raise their profile; as long as it will boost their reputation, they rack their brains to come up with a way to learn how to do it, to carry it out; all they care about is whether it will set them apart. No matter what they do or think, they are only thinking for themselves. In a group, no matter what duty they are performing, they only compete over who is higher or lower, who wins and who loses, who has the bigger reputation. They only care about how many people look up to them, how many people obey them, and how many followers they have. They never fellowship the truth or solve real problems, they never talk about how to do things according to principle when performing one’s duty, whether they have been faithful, have fulfilled their responsibilities, have been deviant. They pay not the slightest attention to what the house of God asks, and what the will of God is. They act only for the sake of their own status and prestige. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not? Their humanity brims with their own wants, ambitions, and senseless demands; everything they do is governed by their own ambitions and wants; no matter what they do, the motivation and starting point is their own ambitions, wants, and senseless demands. Is this not the archetypal manifestation of selfishness and vileness?” (“Excursus Four: Summarizing the Character of Antichrists and the Essence of Their Disposition (Part One)” in Exposing Antichrists). It was like holding up a mirror, showing all that corruption I’d been hiding deep in my heart. Vile, sordid, wretched: These were all ugly things that I’d displayed in my duty. During the cleanup work, I looked like I was keeping busy, but I was picking and choosing what I suffered for. I wasn’t genuinely taking on a burden like God wanted. The upper leader was asking me regularly about the progress in that one church, so I was afraid that if I didn’t handle that well, he’d see my true stature and regret promoting me. Wanting to preserve a good image with him and make him think I could get real results in my work, I was really focused on that one church, not just following up with and coaching the church leaders, but personally trying to get an understanding of the church members. I wanted to get good results for my leader as soon as possible so he’d see me as capable. But I wasn’t very involved in the other churches’ processes, and when I saw that list of people from Sister Zhang, I didn’t ask a single question. I didn’t know who they were or why she wanted to kick them out. I’d failed in the most basic supervision and gatekeeping expected of a leader. God exposes antichrists for being really selfish and vile and only working for name and status. They’ll do whatever gives them a chance to show off, and neglect anything that doesn’t benefit their name and status. They don’t think about the wider work of God’s house or care about God’s will and requirements. Looking at my motives and behavior in my duty, how was I any different from an antichrist? It was all the church’s work, so if any church’s cleanup work wasn’t done well, it would impact the work of God’s house. But I wasn’t worried about that, and I didn’t care. I was just thinking about how to report back to the leader that the job was completed, to get his approval. I was just looking out for my name and status. I put my effort and energy into whatever project the leader was focused on, and didn’t pay attention to anything he didn’t specifically have me do. I wasn’t being considerate of God’s will at all. I was so selfish and vile! If my leader hadn’t been overseeing my work, dealing with me and reining me in, I would have allowed true believers who were accomplishing things in their duty to be removed. That would be an evil deed and make me a terrible leader who doesn’t do practical work! I saw I was lacking in every aspect. Being able to serve as a leader and take responsibility for all that work was a tremendous elevation and entrustment from God. When I first took it on, I swore to God that I’d be considerate of His will and fulfill my duty, but in reality, I was cheating God. When I thought about it that way I felt really pained and guilty, and the tears just started to flow. I hated myself for being so selfish and vile, and I felt like I’d let God down. I wanted to learn about myself, and really repent and change.

I read a passage of God’s words: “If someone says they love the truth and that they pursue the truth, but their goal is to achieve status, to distinguish themselves, to show off, to make people think highly of them, to achieve their own interests, and the performing of their duty is not to obey or satisfy God, and instead is to achieve reputation, gains, and status, then their pursuit is illegitimate. That being the case, when it comes to the work of God, the work of the church, and the work of the house of God, are they an obstacle, or do they help move these things forward? They are clearly an obstacle; they do not move these things forward. All who wave the banner of doing the work of the church yet pursue their own personal fortune and prestige, run their own operation, create their own little group, their own little kingdom—is this kind of leader or worker performing their duty? All the work they do essentially interrupts, disrupts, and impairs the work of the house of God. So, judging by the various natures of people’s pursuit of fortune and prestige, no matter how unobtrusively people pursue fortune and prestige, and how legitimate such pursuit seems to man, and how great a price they pay, the end result is to dismantle, interrupt, and impair God’s work. The performance of their duty not only disrupts the work of the house of God, it also ruins the life entry of God’s chosen ones. What is the nature of this kind of work? It is dismantlement, interruption and impairment. Can this not be defined as walking the path of an antichrist? And so, when God asks that people put aside their interests, it is not that He is depriving people of the right to freedom, and does not wish for them to share in the interests of God; rather, it is because, whilst pursuing their own interests, people harm the work of God’s house, they interrupt the brothers’ and sisters’ normal entry, and even stop people from having a normal church life and a normal spiritual life. What’s even more serious is that, when people pursue their own interests, such behavior can be characterized as cooperating with Satan in harming and obstructing, to the utmost extent, the normal progress of God’s work, and stopping God’s will from being normally carried out among people. This is the nature of people’s pursuit of their own interests. Which is to say, the problem with people pursuing their own interests is that the goals they pursue are the goals of Satan—they are goals that are wicked and unjust. When people pursue these interests, they unwittingly become a tool of Satan, they become a channel for Satan, and, moreover, they become an embodiment of Satan. In the house of God, and in the church, they play a negative role; toward the work of the house of God, and toward the normal church life and normal pursuit of brothers and sisters in the church, the effect they have is to disturb and impair; they have a negative effect” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part One)” in Exposing Antichrists). God’s words showed me that working for name and status and running my own enterprise was essentially acting as Satan’s lackey, disrupting and sabotaging the work of God’s house, and standing in the way of God’s will being done. When I reflected on my actions, I saw God had exposed the essence of my behavior. In the last days, God is sorting people according to their kind, rewarding good and punishing evil. Clearing out the church is to get the nonbelievers and evildoers out who’ve wormed their way into God’s house. They don’t truly believe in God and really won’t pursue the truth or do their duty well, so if they stay in the church, they’ll just get in the way of brothers’ and sisters’ experience of God’s words and life entry, or could even do evil that disrupts the work of God’s house. The cleanup work is to clean out the church, to give the true believers a good environment to pursue the truth, so they can learn the truth sooner and get onto the right track in faith. God saves those who pursue the truth and are happy to expend themselves for Him, but those who infiltrate God’s house, who belong to Satan but want blessings, are exposed and eliminated. This is God’s righteousness. The cleanup work really shows the church’s principles for treating people and God’s righteous disposition. I realized I wasn’t considerate of God’s will in my duty, but I was always thinking about protecting my name and status. I was sloppy and indifferent about the work that wouldn’t help me that way, casually removing people who were just, upheld the work of God’s house, and fulfilled their duty. How was that doing my duty? Wasn’t that working against God? I was irresponsible in my duty, letting Sister Zhang kick people out based on her whims, leaving some evildoers in the church but kicking out some of God’s chosen people who put their heart into their duty and upheld the work of God’s house. Wasn’t I serving as Satan’s lackey, disrupting the work of God’s house? Wasn’t I hurting people? Once I realized this, I saw I’d been so corrupted by Satan that I didn’t even have a human resemblance. I didn’t take responsibility for brothers and sisters or for God’s commission. I wasn’t considering the interests of God, God’s house, or brothers and sisters. I was thinking about how to make myself look better, to gain the leader’s approval. Even with this despicable motive, I wanted praise from others and rewards from God. Isn’t that shameless? I saw I was really selfish and despicable, and utterly self-serving. God is righteous and holy, and sees into our hearts. No one can fool Him. My value can’t be changed by working on faking it, but I have to put my heart entirely into my duty, not resort to trickery. That kind of thing can fool people for a little while, but sooner or later I’ll be exposed. If I don’t have an honest heart before God and pursue the truth, I’m bound to be unmasked by God and eliminated just like those failed false leaders and antichrists. Realizing this showed me how much I benefited from being pruned and dealt with. I never would have realized it without God pruning and exposing me. I’d take that path straight into darkness and be cast out by God. I saw how selfish and vile I was, that I wasn’t genuine toward God in my duty, but God just wanted to save me, so He revealed my transgressions and evil deeds through others’ supervision and the leader’s checks. It made me reflect on myself, and gave me a chance to repent and change. This thought left me full of regret and self-blame, and I felt so indebted and grateful to God. I quietly prayed, “God, my corruption goes so deep, and I’m not considerate of Your will. I disrupted the work of God’s house. I truly want to repent and practice the truth in my duty from now on to satisfy You!”

I read these words of God in my devotionals after that: “Those who are capable of putting the truth into practice can accept God’s scrutiny when doing things. When you accept God’s scrutiny, your heart is set straight. If you only ever do things for others to see, and do not accept God’s scrutiny, then is God still in your heart? People like this have no reverence for God. Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; give no thought to your own status, prestige, or reputation. Also do not consider the interests of man. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have done your utmost to be loyal, done your best to fulfill your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of God’s house. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, your experience is shallow, or you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. When you are not thinking of your own selfish desires or considering your own interests in the things you do, and are instead giving constant consideration to the work of God’s house, bearing its interests in mind, and performing your duty well, then you will be accumulating good deeds before God. People who perform these good deeds are the ones who possess the reality of the truth; as such, they have borne testimony. If you are always living by the flesh, constantly satisfying your own selfish desires, then such people do not possess the reality of the truth; this is the mark of bringing dishonor to God” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). This showed me that true believers who are willing to practice the truth can accept God’s scrutiny. They don’t seek admiration or to please others, or go after name and status, but put the work of God’s house first, protect its interests, and devote themselves to God’s commission. This is what a created being should do. This is the only way to gain the Holy Spirit’s work in our duty, and God’s guidance and blessings. I’d been living by a satanic nature, pursuing name and status, disrupting the work of God’s house, leaving a stain and a debt to God. I really saw how selfish it was of me to seek name and status for my own benefit, and that I was on an antichrist’s path against God. I genuinely wished to shift my mistaken perspective on pursuit and become able to live before God with a pure, honest heart. No matter what upper leadership thought or how others saw me, I was ready to put my all into whatever I can do and do my duty earnestly.

In my duty since then, no matter what project it is or which church it is, I work to fulfill my responsibilities and follow the principles, not to calculate which project will make me look good or win the leader’s praise. I feel a lot more relaxed in my duty, and the times I do reveal corruption I’m able to consciously forsake it. Not long ago, the leader asked me to refocus on watering work and spend less time on the other work. One day, pondering how to get a good handle on watering work, I heard someone mention a certain church’s problems. I was conflicted: “Should I go look into it and take care of it? The problem would require some time to get an understanding of, so would spending my time there mean neglecting the watering work? The leader wanted me to focus on that, so if I didn’t make progress on it for a while, would I look incompetent? I thought about sending someone else to handle things at that church.” I felt unsettled the moment that occurred to me. All of it was church work and my responsibility, so if I only did what the leader arranged and disregarded the other work, wouldn’t that be just seeking name and status, like an antichrist or false leader? So I sought out someone familiar with the situation to look into matters. With that effort, I saw the guidance of God, and found out that the problems in that church were much worse than I’d heard. I went with another leader to take care of things. We removed a few disruptive nonbelievers and dismissed some false leaders who’d been irresponsible and failing to do real work for a long time. Seeing those disruptive evildoers removed from the church, knowing church life wouldn’t be messed up anymore made me really happy. Now I can be down to earth in my duty without chasing after name and status. This is all thanks to being judged, chastised, pruned, and dealt with by God. Thank God’s salvation!

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