Reflections After Using the Wrong Person

October 17, 2022

By Xiaofan, China

In the summer of 2020, I was in charge of the church’s textual work. One day, I noticed that Yang Can was good with words and a pretty good writer. Her thinking was clear in her fellowship on the truth and she was enthusiastic in her duty. I wanted to have her do textual work. After some investigation, I found out that most brothers and sisters thought she had an arrogant disposition, that she always wanted others to listen to her, and was hard to cooperate with, but that she could accept being pruned and dealt with, self-reflect, and know herself. I thought to myself, “Even if she is a bit arrogant, as long as she can accept being pruned and dealt with, she’ll change sooner or later, so there shouldn’t be any major issue.” So, I arranged for her to start textual work. To confirm what I thought, when I saw Yang Can, I exposed her for being arrogant and not accepting others’ suggestions, and fellowshiped that this was the path of an antichrist to see what her understanding was. With a look of remorse, she said, “Sister, if it hadn’t been for your fellowship, I wouldn’t have seen what a serious issue this is. I do have an arrogant nature—I want to repent.” Seeing she had some awareness and appeared to have some remorse, I took it as confirmation that Yang Can didn’t have any major issue. Also, she was enthusiastic in her duty, so I chose her as the team leader. But some time passed and very little was becoming of the work she managed. A coworker, Sister Li, went to see what was going on and found that Yang Can and another sister weren’t able to work together. But through some fellowship, Yang Can gained some self-awareness. I didn’t think too much of the matter. In a gathering once, my leader warned me that Yang Can was fairly arrogant and always wanted others to listen to her, that she was on an antichrist’s path, and she’d committed serious transgressions before. She wanted me to follow up on and supervise Yang Can’s work more, and asked for information on how she was doing. But at the time I was very self-assured, and said to the leader confidently, “It’s true that Yang Can is pretty arrogant, but she can accept being pruned and dealt with, so she’s a right person.” I also gave the leader an account of the time I’d dealt with Yang Can. After that, I didn’t think much of the leader’s warning.

A couple months later, the work Yang Can was in charge of still hadn’t picked up. When I went to look into it, Yang Can reported to me that a team member, Sister Lin, had poor caliber and still couldn’t grasp principles. Yang Can had to help her with every problem, which ate up much of her time and kept her from getting work done expediently. That’s what had been delaying the work. Hearing this, I felt like their lack of results must be an issue with Sister Lin. Then later on, Sister Li said, “Nothing ever comes of this team’s work. Yang Can is the team leader, so isn’t the issue with her?” I couldn’t have disagreed more when I heard that. I said, “Yang Can is pretty arrogant, but she’s able to accept being pruned and dealt with, she has a good understanding of principles, and bears a burden in her duty. The lack of results can’t possibly be an issue with her. Sister Lin really is lacking caliber, so she’s the one holding up work progress. As long as we make the appropriate staff changes, Yang Can can make use of her strengths and their work is bound to improve.” My co-workers didn’t know Yang Can very well, so they agreed to transfer Sister Lin after I said that. Soon after, I sent Yang Can to work with some brothers and sisters who were just training in textual work so she could help guide their work. I figured that if I let Yang Can train these brothers and sisters for a while, they were sure to make progress in their work.

After a month, we found that all of them had become negative and passive in their duty, saying they had poor caliber. And not only were they not doing better, their effectiveness was slipping. I was really puzzled. Before Yang Can arrived, the brothers and sisters were all really enthusiastic, so why did they get depressed after she arrived? Then, Sister Li mentioned that she felt that Yang Can had an issue, and asked me what sort of person she was. But I still insisted that Yang Can was someone who accepted the truth. Then Sister Li went on, “She can accept being pruned and dealt with to your face, but sometimes she’s really resistant when we point out her problems.” I was surprised: Had I been misled by a false image from Yang Can? And so, soon after that, I had Sister Xin take a closer look at the situation there. She found out that Yang Can always wielded her authority over the team, and if anyone expressed a different idea, she’d go on and on to negate their view, and they’d do what she wanted in the end. After a while, because all the brothers’ and sisters’ ideas kept being scrapped, they all felt like their caliber was too low for that duty and didn’t raise any more opinions in work discussions, but just listened to Yang Can. Not only did Yang Can fail to reflect on herself, she was often complaining that she was under too much pressure and was the only one concerned about work, causing them to feel they were the ones that made their work fruitless, making them feel even more down. Sister Xin said Yang Can always acted that way. I felt awful when I heard all of this. Her words were like one slap in the face after another. I realized that Yang Can had put up a false front for me to mislead and deceive me. She didn’t have any true self-awareness and she wasn’t someone who accepted the truth at all. Only then did I realize that the textual work’s lack of results was entirely brought about by me, because I’d been blind, lacking discernment, and using the wrong person. The coworkers and I dismissed Yang Can after that, because of how she’d been acting.

After Yang Can’s dismissal, I started to reflect on what the real reason for my failure was. I read this passage in God’s words one day. “So how should whether someone loves the truth be measured? This depends on what they ordinarily manifest, and on whether or not they live out the reality of the truth, whether they do what they say, whether what they say and do are the same. If what they say sounds coherent and agreeable, but they don’t do it, don’t live it out, then in this they have become one of the Pharisees, they are a hypocrite, and absolutely not someone who loves the truth. Many people sound very coherent when they fellowship the truth, but don’t realize when they have outpourings of a corrupt disposition. Are these people who know themselves? If people do not know themselves, are they people who understand the truth? All who do not know themselves are people who do not understand the truth, and all who speak empty words of self-knowledge have false spirituality, they are liars. … So what should be the basis for evaluating whether people really know themselves? It must not only be what comes out of their mouths. You must also look at what is really manifested in them, the simplest method for which is to look at whether they are able to practice the truth—this is what’s most crucial. Their ability to practice the truth proves that they truly know themselves, because those who truly know themselves manifest repentance, and only when people manifest repentance do they truly know themselves. For instance, a person may know that they are deceitful, that they are full of petty schemes and plots, and they may also be able to tell when others reveal deceitfulness. In such a case, after they have said they were deceitful in some instance, look to whether they truly repent and cast off their deceitfulness. And if they again reveal deceitfulness, look to whether they feel reproach and a sense of shame for having done so, to whether they are sincerely remorseful. If they have no sense of shame, much less repentance, then their self-knowledge is a cursory, slapdash thing. They are just going through the motions; theirs is not true knowledge(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Self-Knowledge Is of Aid in Pursuing the Truth). Pondering God’s words, I realized my ability to assess and select people for positions was lacking. Our assessments of others can’t just be based on what understanding they profess. What’s key is to see how they approach issues they encounter and what they do. Those who really love the truth can accept the truth, and when things happen, they can seek the truth and reflect on themselves, and they can repent and change after the fact. Those who don’t love the truth may say nice-sounding things, but they go on to do as they please without practicing the truth at all. No matter how good or how deep their understanding seems, it’s all fake. Just like the Pharisees—what they said sounded really good, really elevated, but at heart they were sick of the truth. They didn’t put God’s words into practice or follow God’s commandments at all. When the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, they madly resisted and condemned Him to protect their own status and their living. Ultimately, they had Him nailed to the cross, committing a most heinous sin. Clearly, the spiritual knowledge the Pharisees always talked about was just for others’ ears and to gain others’ admiration and esteem. It was all fake.

In my interactions with Yang Can, I thought she could accept the truth because she could admit her nature was arrogant and say she was willing to repent. But in fact, she was just saying that to my face so I’d think she could take being pruned and dealt with. She was doing that just to put on a front to maintain her name and status, creating a false image to pull the wool over my eyes and to fool me. She didn’t really accept the truth at all. She had no self-awareness, much less repentance or change. So she wanted to be in charge everywhere she went and have everyone listen to her. No one was able to work with her, which left their work in shambles. And she even shifted the blame, saying another sister lacked caliber so that I’d think the work suffering was because of that sister. Everything she said and did was an act, all meant to deceive, but I was a fool, blind, and lacking discernment. I was totally taken in by her lies, so I transferred that sister and saw Yang Can as being responsible and taking on a burden in her duty. That ended up delaying the church’s work. I was blind in every way possible! I felt a deep sense of regret and guilt when I realized that, particularly when I read this in God’s words: “False leaders are all blind. They don’t see any problems. They can’t tell who is a wicked person or a nonbeliever. They remain unaware when anyone meddles in or interrupts the work of the church, and even give important positions to idiots. False leaders place great trust in everyone who they promote, blithely entrusting important work to them. These people make a mess of the work of the church, and betray many of the interests of God’s house—but the false leaders remain completely unaware. … In using a wrong person, they have already made a great mistake, after which they compound their error by never asking questions, trying to find out more, or looking into this person’s work; nor do they supervise or observe. All they do is to unquestioningly tolerate this person acting wantonly. Such is how the false leaders work. Whenever a job is short of people, the false leaders blithely arrange for someone to be responsible and that’s the end of it; they never inspect the work, or actually go to meet the person, observe them, and try to find out more. In some areas the situation is not conducive to meeting and conversing with them, but you must inquire as to their work, and find a way to ask what they’ve been doing, and how they’ve been doing it: ask the brothers and sisters, or someone who is close to them. Is this achievable? But the false leaders don’t even ask any questions, that’s how confident they are. Their work is to hold assembly and preach doctrine, and when the assembly is over and the work arrangements have been made, they do nothing more; they don’t go to see if the person they selected is able to do actual work. At the start, you didn’t understand this person, but based on their caliber, and their behavior and passion, you felt they were suitable for this job and so used them—and there is nothing wrong with this, because no one knows how people will turn out. But after you promote them, shouldn’t you look into whether they do real work, how they work, and whether they have been trying to be slippery, lazy, and perfunctory? This is exactly what you should be doing, but you don’t do any of it, you don’t take any responsibility—which is a false leader, and you should be replaced and cast out(The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). God’s words expose this type of false leader who doesn’t do practical work, who is perfunctory and unprincipled in promoting and training others, and who randomly assigns people who don’t fit the principles to important tasks. They’re also really irresponsible, and when they appoint a bad match they fail to supervise them or follow up on their work; they just move on once someone is in place. This really disrupts the church’s work. I felt terrible about everything I’d done. Wasn’t I a false worker who not only lacked discernment and insight, but also didn’t do real work? Yang Can was clearly an arrogant person on the path of an antichrist, was disruptive to the team, attacking and constraining brothers and sisters. But I was clueless about this, and believed everything she said, acting as her shield, allowing her to dismantle and disturb the church’s work. I was blind with my eyes wide open! At first I was lacking discernment and I chose Yang Can, but when her performance stayed constantly poor, I didn’t look into it or learn the situation with her work, and when my leader and coworkers mentioned it, I still didn’t think much of it, I chose to just believe my own eyes instead. This cost us several months of work. Even worse, I was well aware that the work Yang Can was in charge of was a mess, but I still felt like she was talented and arranged for her to train new staff. As a result, because of her belittlement and attacks, the brothers and sisters lived in a state of misunderstanding and negativity, impacting their work. If I’d had even a little responsibility and a desire to seek, I would have followed up on and supervised Yang Can’s work, and it wouldn’t have taken so long to discover her issues. This hurt the work so much. A leader or worker with a real sense of responsibility and fear for God takes on burdens and does things with principle. They’re cautious with who they promote and appoint, they look into that person, and then go on to supervise their work to see if they really are up to the job. Especially when they’re not sure, they supervise and look into things even more, and transfer or dismiss people the moment they discover they aren’t the right fit. This prevents losses to the church’s work because of an improper choice. But my selection of Yang Can went against principles, and after that, I didn’t supervise or follow up on her work. I neglected my duty and I was irresponsible. I was the type of false worker who doesn’t do practical work that God’s word exposes.

I felt unsettled for a long time after that. I knew that Yang Can was really arrogant, so why hadn’t I been supervising her work? Why did I trust her so much, despite everyone’s warnings? I turned this over in my mind again and again. Then one day, I saw this passage of God’s words. “False leaders also have a major failing: They are quick to trust people based on their own imaginings. And this is caused by not understanding the truth, is it not? How does God’s word reveal the essence of corrupt humankind? Why should they trust in people when God doesn’t? Instead of judging people by appearances, God keeps a constant watch on their hearts—so why should false leaders be so casual when they judge others and place their trust in them? False leaders are too conceited, are they not? What they think is, ‘I wasn’t wrong when I spotted this person. Nothing could go awry; they are definitely not someone who messes around, who likes to have fun and hates hard work. They are absolutely dependable and trustworthy. They will not change; if they did, that would mean I was wrong about them, wouldn’t it?’ What kind of logic is this? Are you some kind of expert? Do you have x-ray vision? Is this your special skill? You could live with this person for one or two years, but would you be able to see who they really are without a suitable environment to lay their nature and essence utterly bare? If they were not exposed by God, you could live side-by-side with them for three, or even five, years, and would still struggle to see just what kind of nature and essence they have. And how much more is that true when you rarely see them, are rarely with them? You blithely trust them based on a fleeting impression or someone else’s positive appraisal of them, and dare to entrust the work of the church to such people. In this, are you not being extremely blind? Are you not being impetuous? And when they work like this, are the false leaders not being extremely irresponsible?(The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “If your attitude is to stubbornly insist, to deny the truth, to reject anyone else’s suggestions, to not seek the truth, to only have faith in yourself, and to only do as you want—if this is your attitude regardless of what God does or asks, then what is God’s reaction? God pays you no heed, He sidelines you. Are you not wayward? Are you not arrogant? Do you not always think you’re right? If you are devoid of obedience, if you never seek, if your heart is utterly closed and resistant to God, then God pays you no heed. Why does God pay you no heed? Because if your heart is closed to God, can you accept God’s enlightenment? Can you feel it when God reproaches you? When people are intransigent, when their satanic and barbaric natures are in play, they don’t feel anything God does, it is all to no avail—so God does not do useless work. If you have this kind of stubbornly antagonistic attitude, all that God does is to remain hidden from you, God will not do superfluous things. When you are this stubbornly antagonistic, and this closed, God would never forcibly do anything in you, or force anything upon you, He would never keep trying to move and enlighten you, over and over again—God does not act in this way. Why does God not act thus? Mainly because God has seen a certain kind of disposition in you, a beastliness that is sick of the truth and impervious to reason. And do you think people can control a wild animal when its beastliness is in play? Does shouting and screaming at it do anything? Is reasoning with it or offering it comfort of any use? Do people dare to approach it? There is a good way of describing this: It is impervious to reason. When people’s beastliness is in play and they are impervious to reason, what does God do? God pays them no heed. What more does God have to say to you when you are impervious to reason? Saying any more is useless. And when God pays you no heed, are you blessed, or do you suffer? Do you gain some benefit, or suffer a loss? You will undoubtedly suffer loss. And who caused this? (We caused it.) You caused it. No one forced you to act like this, and yet you still feel upset. Did you not bring this upon yourself? God pays you no heed, you cannot feel God, there is darkness in your heart, your life is compromised—and you brought this upon yourself, you deserve it!(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three).

God’s words revealed my precise state. I wasn’t seeking principles of the truth in my duty at all. I was self-assured, arrogant, and intransigent. I had been warned over and over but I wouldn’t listen, and stubbornly clung to my own ideas. I was so unreasonable. I hadn’t known Yang Can at all before that, and when I heard others’ assessments of her, I went by my own imaginings, thinking she just had an arrogant disposition, and that it wasn’t a big deal. I fellowshiped and exposed her, and seeing her seemingly accept it and express repentance, I figured she accepted the truth. I was very trusting of my own eyes and had no intention of seeking. I read that God’s words say: “Instead of judging people by appearances, God keeps a constant watch on their hearts—so why should false leaders be so casual when they judge others and place their trust in them? False leaders are too conceited, are they not?(The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). God is the Lord of creation and can see into all things. God doesn’t go by people’s appearances. I’m just a corrupt human who doesn’t possess any of the truth or have insight into anything, but I was so arrogant, believing what I briefly saw, casually trusting Yang Can, and promoting her as team leader. No matter how I was warned or how poor her work was, I remained certain that I couldn’t have misjudged her. That held up the work for several months. I was so arrogant and intransigent. How was that doing a duty? I was just doing evil! People are deeply corrupted by Satan, and our corrupt dispositions are deeply entrenched. Before we gain the truth and change our dispositions, we live according to our satanic dispositions. We’re arrogant and deceitful, and completely untrustworthy. As for what a person’s nature and essence are like, if we don’t understand the truth, and we haven’t known them for a long time, it’s very difficult to tell. But I was arrogant and self-assured. I didn’t understand the truth and couldn’t see into people, but I stubbornly clung to my views and imaginings. No matter how people warned me, I refused to accept what they said. I just kept doing whatever I wanted. I was so unreasonable. I remembered God said the Pharisees are “stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew). They were full of notions and imaginings toward God’s work. When the Lord Jesus appeared to work, they rigidly stuck to their own notions. No matter how authoritative and powerful the Lord Jesus’ work and words were, they wouldn’t accept it at all, but madly denied and condemned Him, ultimately nailing Him to the cross. Their stubbornness, arrogance, and lack of reason drove them not to accept God’s work, but to condemn and resist God, and in the end got them punished and cursed by God. Then I saw the disposition I’d shown was just like the Pharisees’, and that I was on the Pharisees’ path of resisting God. If I didn’t address my arrogant, intransigent disposition, it would cause me to resist God, and sooner or later I’d offend God’s disposition and be abandoned and cast out by Him. Realizing this was really frightening for me and I rushed to pray, confess and repent.

Then I read that God’s words say: “No matter what you’re doing, you must learn how to seek and obey the truth; as long as it is according to the principles of the truth, it is correct. It could be the words of a child, or an unremarkable young brother or sister, but as long as they are in accordance with the truth, you should accept and obey, and the result of acting thus will be good, and in accordance with God’s will. The key is what your motive is, and what your principles and methods for handling things are. If your principles and methods for handling things are born of human will, from human ideas and notions, from the philosophies of Satan, then your principles and methods are impractical, and are bound to be ineffective, because the origin of your principles and methods is wrong, and they are not in accordance with the principles of the truth. If your views are according to the principles of the truth, and you handle things according to the principles of the truth, then you are bound to handle them properly, and even if, at the time, people do not accept, or else have notions, or resist, after a time you will be validated. The effects of things that are in accordance with the principles of the truth grow ever better; things that are not in accordance with the principles of the truth may fit with people’s notions at the time, but the consequences will grow ever worse, and people will all confirm this. Nothing you do must be subject to human constraints or your own delineation; first you should pray to God and seek the truth, and then everyone should probe and fellowship together. And what is the aim of fellowshiping? It is to do things in precise accordance with the will of God, to act in line with God’s will(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Path of Resolving a Corrupt Disposition). Reading this passage gave me a way forward. When facing something, we must seek the truth. We can’t be arrogant or act according to our personal notions and imaginings. We have to set ourselves aside, ask for feedback, listen to others, and do things based on principles of the truth. Only by doing our duties in this way can we gain God’s guidance and achieve results in our work. Doing that can also make sure that we don’t do evil and resist God. I learned a lesson from this failure and worked to act according to God’s words, to seek others’ suggestions when anything came up, and to stop clinging to my own opinions and ideas.

Before long we noticed that since Wang Juan had been promoted to supervisor, the progress of her team’s work was clearly faltering. Some coworkers and I discussed this. Sister Xin wondered if it could have something to do with Wang Juan. I was thinking that though Wang Juan was a little arrogant, she seemed to really long for the truth, and she’d show great sincerity when an issue with her was pointed out. I felt like it wasn’t a problem with her. I was about to share my opinion when I remembered the lesson I’d learnt from my previous failure. As Sister Xin mentioned Wang Juan might have a problem, and I didn’t know the truth and wasn’t sure of the matter, I couldn’t be arrogant and stubborn. I remembered God’s words: “If people wish to be enlightened and guided by God, and to receive God’s graces, what kind of attitude must they have? They must often have an attitude of seeking and obedience before God. Whether you are performing your duty, interacting with others, or dealing with some particular issue that you are faced with, you must have an attitude of seeking and obedience(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). Without fully understanding the situation, whether the poor work results were related to Wang Juan wasn’t something I could blindly judge. I had to get a real understanding of things and listen to everyone’s suggestions, then make a decision based on principle. Later, by making practical inquiries and fellowshiping on the relevant truths with the other coworkers, I found that Wang Juan had an arrogant, sinister, and deceitful disposition. To maintain her name and status, in work discussions with the others, she would always spout her high-sounding opinions and flaunt her professional knowledge to covertly overturn others’ perspectives and get them to listen to her. And to keep them from saying she was autocratic, she’d say with false humility, “I’m not sure if I’m right,” or “I may not be right,” leading everyone to think she knew what she was doing, blindly go along with her, and do what she wanted. As a result, their work was always held up and they couldn’t get anywhere. Though it looked like Wang Juan was seeking everyone else’s opinions, in her heart, she didn’t accept the truth at all. She was putting up a false front to hide her authoritarian nature, to mislead and control others, and get them to listen to her. Later we read God’s words about relying on gifts in one’s work that showed even more clearly that Wang Juan had no understanding of principles. She just used her eloquence, good memory, and recollection of doctrine to show off, but really, she didn’t have any paths of practice. Based on her consistent performance, we saw she was on the path of an antichrist and dismissed her in accordance with principles. After her dismissal, the hang-ups in the team’s work were quickly resolved and their work progressed.

Through this experience I really came to understand that not seeking principles of truth in our duty, and just relying on an arrogant disposition in our actions means we could do evil and resist God at any time, thereby offending His disposition. I also came to understand the importance of seeking the truth and viewing people and things in accordance with God’s word. This is the only way to avoid doing the wrong thing, and the only way we can satisfy God in our duty. Thank God!

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