My Reflections Before Being Expelled
By Yan Xin, China
In 2014, I was working on video production in the church. Before long, I was promoted to group leader. To make the videos well, I put thought into the principles, prayed and sought, and took every shot seriously. After a while, most of the videos I produced were selected for use and the brothers and sisters looked at me with admiration. I couldn’t help but think that I was among the church’s best, or else I wouldn’t have been promoted. A couple weeks later, the supervisor had me lead another group’s video production and made a point of telling me: “Guide the brothers and sisters to experienceand follow the principles.” I couldn’t help but feel pleased with myself. The supervisor having me direct the others showed I had some skills, and that I was capable. Once I came to the group, I learned that a couple of brothers didn’t have great video production skills. One sister wasn’t bad, but she was young, so she lacked experience in all aspects. The group leader was the only one somewhat strong in each regard. When fellowshiping on God’s words in gatherings, the group leader wasn’t as concise or organized as me, and he didn’t have as broad a perspective when discussing ideas for video production. Most of the time, my suggestions were approved by everyone, so I thought even more of myself. In a few discussions, the group leader expressed an idea different from my own and I was utterly disdainful. I thought to myself, “After all my time in this duty, don’t I know what’s what?” I stuck to my own idea and felt really annoyed with the group leader. Once when we were discussing video production, I had shared a few ideas, and the group leader said he didn’t like any of them. My blood just started boiling, and I felt like he’d shot down all my ideas just to make me look bad. I complained behind his back, “I don’t know what he’s getting at, he didn’t have any good ideas himself, but he shot down every one of mine, so we didn’t get anything done all morning. Isn’t he just holding up our work?” The brothers and sisters all thought there was an issue with the group leader after hearing me say that. One brother fellowshiped with him, criticizing him for being arrogant and impacting the work. The group leader felt guilty, and wanted to resign. I was kind of guilty when I saw this and felt like I’d crossed the line, so I hurried to apologize to him. But I didn’t do any self-reflection after that.
One day, a church leader came to a gathering, and asked about our video production. I mentioned some thoughts, which the leader approved of, and she suggested everyone follow my suggestions, and refine them while working on them. I thought to myself, “The fact that the leader has approved my ideas shows I’m more capable than the others, so they should all listen to me.” After that, I arranged all of our group’s work, and the others came to me to talk over all the issues they encountered. I set myself up as the backbone of the group. I felt like I was the group’s driving force, and the group leader was just a figurehead. I had final say in everything. When the videos they made didn’t turn out the way I wanted, I’d just directly change them as I wanted. One time, Brother Wang Yi noticed that I’d made quite a few changes to one of his videos and asked me, “Why’d you change it so much? If you felt like it was really problematic, we could have discussed it together. Why didn’t you ask for my opinion before editing it?” I was kind of embarrassed by his questions, but then I thought “I have better caliber than you and a better understanding of principles, so all of my changes are improvements.” I responded, unyielding, “Weren’t all of my changes for the sake of better results? If you feel like these weren’t approved by you, I’ll discuss it with you first next time.” His hands were pretty tied. I became more and more arrogant in my duty after that. I refused to listen to other brothers’ and sisters’ suggestions when we discussed work, thinking that they wouldn’t have any good ideas, and that we’d just end up doing what I wanted anyway. Sometimes, when they expressed doubts about my plans, I’d retort confidently: “If you don’t like my idea, do any of you have a better plan?” Their hands were tied, and they just had to do what I said. Over time, no one in the group countered any of my ideas anymore. Everyone just nodded their heads in agreement to whatever I said.
For a while, the videos we made didn’t make it through multiple rounds of vetting and they contained some clear violations of principles. The brothers and sisters blamed themselves, feeling they hadn’t done their duties well, but I didn’t self-reflect. I felt like I’d done my best, but as our caliber was limited, not meeting standards was normal. After that, my duty started to feel more and more taxing and I was getting sleepy a lot. A sister warned me, “You should do some self-reflection. Lately you keep insisting everyone do as you want—isn’t that arrogant?” Learning that I was being arrogant, autocratic, and that I wouldn’t listen to others’ fellowship, our leader harshly exposed and dealt with me. Then she dismissed me when she saw I didn’t have any self-awareness. I was numb and didn’t know to turn to God. I felt I had strengths, that I was a flexible thinker, and that the church would soon give me another duty. I kept studying video production so I wouldn’t get out of practice with time. But whenever I was getting ready to work on a video, my mind would go blank. I’d rack my brains, but I just couldn’t come up with any ideas—I was in a fog. I thought I was a broad thinker and quick-witted. Why couldn’t I produce anything now? Then I remembered these words of God: “God bestows gifts on man, giving them special skills as well as intelligence and wisdom. How should man use these things? You must dedicate your special skills, your gifts, your intelligence and wisdom to your duty. You must use your heart and apply everything you know, everything you understand, and everything you can achieve to your duty. By doing so, you will be blessed. What does it mean to be blessed by God? What does this make people feel? That they have been enlightened and guided by God, and that there is a path when they perform their duty. … When God blesses someone, they become intelligent and wise, clear-sighted on all matters, as well as keen, alert and especially skillful; they will have the knack and be inspired with everything they do, and they will think everything they do is so easy and that no difficulty can obstruct them—they are blessed by God. When someone finds everything they do to be hard, awkward, and absurd, they just don’t get it, and they don’t understand it no matter what is said to them, then what does this mean? It means they do not have God’s guidance and they do not have God’s blessing” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Being Honest Can One Live as a True Human Being). God’s words were an immediate wake-up call for me. When we’re on the right path, God blesses us and allows our gifts and strengths to come into play. When we’re not on the right path, the Holy Spirit doesn’t work on us, so no matter how gifted or skilled we are, it’s all to no avail. Without God’s guidance, people’s gifts and strengths are utterly worthless. When I first started video production, I had the right attitude and I focused on seeking principles, so God enlightened me. Whether it was building skills or learning principles He opened my eyes. It was only now that I realized it was all God’s blessing. But I didn’t recognize the Holy Spirit’s work. I had gotten some results and thought I was special. I used my caliber and quick wit as capital, looking down on the others, and refusing to listen to their suggestions. That led to the Holy Spirit ultimately abandoning me—I fell into darkness and accomplished nothing in my duty. Before, I felt like I was talented, but then I saw that I’d never been better than the others. I’d been able to make some videos thanks to the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and guidance. Now, without the Holy Spirit’s work, I couldn’t produce anything. I didn’t even have any ideas. I finally saw how wretched and pitiful I was.
I read this passage of God’s words during my reflection after that: “Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more irrational they are, and the more irrational they are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God, and they have no fear of God within their hearts. Even though people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him. People who are arrogant and conceited, especially those who are so arrogant as to have lost their sense, cannot submit to God in their belief in Him, and even exalt and bear testimony for themselves. Such people resist God the most and have absolutely no fear of God” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). I compared my own behavior to the words of God. I got swept away with pride after being continually promoted. I had thought myself a talent the church couldn’t do without. When the supervisor had me take charge of the brothers’ and sisters’ video production, I became even more arrogant and felt I was better than everyone. When the group leader had feedback on my ideas, I absolutely refused to accept it. I even thought that when he disagreed with me, he was intentionally belittling me, making me look bad, so I judged him behind his back, causing the others to become critical of him and deal with him. He then felt constrained and didn’t dare point out my issues anymore. I was a law unto myself and no one dare disagree with me. I was so arrogant I looked down on everyone, I was autocratic and pompous, not listening to anyone else’s suggestions. That led to us straying from principles in our videos and we got nothing done for over a month. This was a serious hindrance to the church’s video work. This wasn’t a little slip-up, it was doing evil and resisting God! At that point I realized that my arrogant disposition was the root of my resistance to God. The antichrists who are expelled from the church are all arrogant to the point of losing reason, and won’t listen to anyone. They seriously disrupt the church’s work and absolutely refuse to repent. Ultimately they’re cast out. I never imagined I’d be living in an arrogant disposition, blindly imperious, and disrupting important work of the church. Without even knowing it, I was on an antichrist’s path. I lived in a state of terror for a few days, with the constant feeling that having committed such great evil, I was sure to be cast out. I felt really down. My dad read me a passage of God’s words that was really moving for me. God’s words say, “I do not want to see anyone feeling as though God has left them out in the cold, that God has abandoned them or turned His back on them. All I want to see is everyone on the road to pursuing the truth and seeking to understand God, boldly marching onward with unfaltering determination, without any misgivings or burdens. No matter what wrongs you have committed, no matter how far you have strayed or how seriously you have transgressed, do not let these become burdens or excess baggage that you have to carry with you in your pursuit of understanding God. Continue marching onward. At all times, God holds man’s salvation in His heart; this never changes. This is the most precious part of the essence of God” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VI). Hearing God’s heartfelt words of comfort that are overflowing with compassion, I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. I’d been living in an arrogant disposition, and disrupting the video work, but people around me read God’s words to me, helping me understand His will and find a path of practice. This was by God’s love. But I didn’t understand what God wanted or turn towards Him. I misunderstood and blamed God. I had no conscience. I was filled with guilt and self-reproach when I thought of the evil I’d done, but I didn’t want to keep being constrained by my transgressions and live in negativity and misunderstanding, so I prayed to God, ready to pursue the truth, repent, and change. Six months later, to my surprise, the leader told me I could resume video production. I was so grateful. I swore to myself that I’d be sure to do my duty well to make up for my past transgressions. In my duty this time around, I wasn’t as arrogant or stubborn as before. I often discussed things with the others, I sought the principles of the truth, and when someone had a different opinion, I learned to deny myself and listen to their suggestions. I became more and more successful in my video production.
But good things don’t last. When I saw I was doing better in my video work, unwittingly my arrogance flared up again. At the time I was partnered with a sister for video production, but I found her thinking too outdated, so I’d just disregard her suggestions and totally ignore her. Later on, she mentioned that she felt like I wasn’t cooperating with her, so I finally allowed for her input, but when I saw she didn’t do a good job, I was really disdainful. I told her what she should do in a really harsh tone, making her feel really constrained. Another time, when the group leader offered a suggestion for a video I’d produced, I thought, “Your understanding of the principles is no better than mine, nor is your caliber better than mine. Do I really need your second-guessing me?” So I shot her down without giving any real thought. Seeing that I wasn’t remotely receptive, the group leader used her experience to guide me to understand my corrupt disposition, but I was really resistant and wouldn’t accept it. Another group leader fellowshiped and called me out for my recent behavior of being autocratic and refusing to accept others’ suggestions. I just couldn’t accept it, “You just want to force me to accept your ideas. My ideas were okay, so why do I have to deny myself and accept your suggestions?” With a sour face, I didn’t say a word, creating a really awkward atmosphere, and so the gathering was wrapped up hastily. I was so arrogant and rigid, totally unwilling to accept others’ suggestions, so I achieved nothing in my duty and was dismissed again. I felt really depressed after I went back home. I wondered, “Why did I go back to my old ways? I didn’t want to be so arrogant, but I just couldn’t help myself. It seems like it’s just my nature, my essence, and that I can’t change it.” I gave up on myself.
Then one day, my mom, who’d been out of town for a duty, came back and fellowshiped with me, and asked about my self-reflection. She heard me out, then shook her head and said, “You’re only acknowledging your arrogant nature, and that you’re doing evil and resisting God, but does that mean you really know yourself and repent? How is it that you’ve been learning about yourself all these years, but your arrogance hasn’t changed at all? It’s because your self-knowledge is too shallow, so you can’t achieve any dispositional change! You need to integrate God’s words, and self-reflect from the root of it. Have you reflected on the path of faith you’ve been on? Over a decade of faith, who have you ever submitted to? Who have you respected? You’ve been combative at every turn, wanting to go head-to-head with everyone and just show off yourself. Aside from your two dismissals, and when you served as a church leader, you always elevated yourself and made the others admire you. And two years ago, when you were making videos you looked down on the group leader and were openly combative with him. As a result, the group didn’t accomplish anything for over two months. Have you reflected on yourself? The others gave you feedback so many times—did you ever accept it?” Question after question from my mom went straight to the heart—they were really cutting. I knew it was all true, but I didn’t know how to respond in the moment. Then she said, disappointed, “You’ve been dismissed for so long, why haven’t you done real self-reflection? You haven’t accepted the truth. There’s no peace wherever you take on a duty. This is a serious problem! Based on your behavior over all these years as a believer, your arrogant nature, the evil you’ve perpetrated, and your failure to accept the truth and self-reflect, it’s very likely you’ll be expelled.” At the mention of being expelled, I burst into tears. I felt an unspeakable pain: “Am I really going to be expelled? Is my path of faith really coming to an end? Will I be completely cut off from the church forever? I’ve followed God for so many years and suffered a fair bit, how can I be expelled just like that?” I was feeling increasingly wronged and upset. My mom kept fellowshiping with me, but I just couldn’t hear her. For a few days, I just kept crying and crying. The thought of the church expelling me was so painful. I spent my days like a walking corpse, unable to muster up the energy to do anything.
One time, my dad came back from a gathering and I asked him, “Am I about to be expelled?” He said to me sternly, “What’s important now is how you approach this. If you really are expelled, will you still follow God? If you are truly remorseful, start to repent, and pursue the truth, then being expelled will be a salvation for you. If you write yourself off because you’re expelled, you’ll be fully exposed and cast out. Do you plan on throwing in the towel? Don’t you want to pursue the truth, truly repent, and salvage your ending?” My dad’s words really woke me up. He was right. Even if I were expelled, was I not still a created being? No one could deprive me of the right to read God’s words and pursue the truth. I had to repent to God. I bowed down before God and prayed, “God! I’ve come to this point today entirely because of my own fault and my own failure to pursue the truth.” Later, I considered, “After all these years of faith, why have I never pursued the truth, but remained clueless until being expelled is upon me? If I’d just put a little effort into pursuing the truth, things wouldn’t have gotten to this point!” I was consumed with regret and pain. Then I thought of the Ninevites, who truly repented and gained God’s mercy. I quickly opened my book of God’s words and read this: “This ‘evil way’ does not refer to a handful of evil acts, but to the evil source from which people’s behavior springs. Turning away from one’s evil way’ means that those in question will never commit these actions again. In other words, they will never again behave in this evil way; the method, source, purpose, intent and principle of their actions have all changed; they will never again use those methods and principles to bring enjoyment and happiness to their hearts. The ‘abandon’ in ‘abandon the violence in one’s hands’ means to lay down or to cast aside, to fully break with the past and to never turn back. When the people of Nineveh abandoned the violence in their hands, this proved and represented their true repentance. God observes people’s outward appearances as well as their hearts. When God observed the true repentance in the hearts of the Ninevites without question and also observed that they had left their evil ways and abandoned the violence in their hands, He changed His heart” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). I was really touched, too. The Ninevites truly repented and gained God’s mercy. Their repentance wasn’t just confessing their sins with lip service or a focus on external behavior. Moreover, it wasn’t just momentary regret. It was a transformation in how they did things, their starting point, and their motives. They truly gave up on their past pursuits. They not only changed their behavior, what was most important was that they truly repented. That kind of repentance is the only way to gain God’s mercy and forgiveness. Then, thinking about myself, I had always said I was arrogant, but I’d never reined in my arrogant disposition at all. I’d known I was doing evil and working against God, but I never put a stop to my evil behavior. I’d reached the point of being expelled, not because I’d done one or two bad things, but because I’d been unrepentantly running rampant on the road of evil. I’d never put the truth into practice or repented to God. I’d known my arrogant disposition was serious and that I’d committed lots of transgressions, but I’d never put effort into seeking the truth to resolve it. How could I truly repent if I never resolved my arrogant disposition? If I didn’t show genuine repentance, then wasn’t my self-knowledge just a deceptive facade? I had to be like the Ninevites. I had to reflect on myself from the roots, motives, ways, and intents behind my actions, and repent to God.
I thought about how my mom had exposed me a few days earlier, and how I was dismissed twice. I got lost in thought over it. “Why did I see that I had an arrogant disposition, but as soon as something happened, I couldn’t help but rely on my arrogant disposition and resist God?” In my devotionals after that, I read this in God’s words: “This is because until people have accepted the truth and God’s salvation, all the ideas they accept derive from Satan. All the thoughts, viewpoints, and traditional cultures that arise from Satan—what do these things bring people? They bring beguilement, corruption, bondage, fetters, causing corrupt mankind’s thoughts to be narrow and extreme, and their views on things to be one-sided and biased, even absurd and preposterous. This is precisely the consequence of Satan’s corruption of mankind” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part One)). “If, in your heart, you truly understand the truth, then you will know how to practice the truth and obey God, and will naturally embark on the path of pursuing the truth. If the path you walk is the right one, and in line with God’s will, then the work of the Holy Spirit will not leave you—in which case there will be less and less chance of you betraying God. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if you have an arrogant and conceited disposition, then being told not to oppose God makes no difference, you can’t help yourself, it is beyond your control. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display; they would make you scorn others, they would leave no one in your heart but yourself; they would rob you of God’s place in your heart, and ultimately cause you to sit in the place of God and demand that people submit to you, and make you venerate your own thoughts, ideas, and notions as the truth. So much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve the problem of doing evil, they must first resolve their nature. Without a change in disposition, it would not be possible to bring a fundamental resolution to this problem” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition). Pondering God’s words, I realized that before I gained the truth, any thoughts and perspectives I had all came from Satan. Since childhood, from what I learned in school, what my elders taught me, and what I was socially influenced by, I felt like I had to be the center of everything. “Only I reign supreme” and “Only I dominate” became my pursuits, and the words I lived by. I treated these satanic philosophies as positive things. Whatever group I was in, I wanted to be in charge, to have final say, I couldn’t help but want to direct others, and make everyone listen to me. Seeing the group leader wasn’t listening to me and kept giving me suggestions, I was annoyed and judged him in front of the brothers and sisters. To get everyone to listen to me, I used my high caliber and qualifications to oppress them. The brothers and sisters were all so constrained that they didn’t dare express their opinions, and just obeyed me like puppets. As a result, my duty was a mess. I forced the others to do what I wanted and to listen to me. I wasn’t revealing just tiny bit of an arrogant disposition; rather, I was arrogant beyond all reason. God could never keep a satanic sort of person like me in His house. If the church expelled me, that would entirely be God’s righteousness! I was grateful to God and had no complaints. I knew I’d committed many transgressions that I could never make up for, and I was filled with regret.
Later, I thought of my mom reminding me to not just reflect on these two dismissals, but to also think about the path I had been on over all my years of faith. I found some relevant words of God.says, “Antichrists are born not liking to live by the rules or to live an ordinary life, or quietly to stick to their position, or to live honestly as an ordinary person. They are not content to be a person like this. So, no matter what they express on the outside, deep inside, they are never content; they must do something. Do what? Things that the average person could never imagine. They like to stand out like this, and to do so, they would willingly go through a bit of hardship and pay a price. ‘New officials are eager to impress’ is how the saying goes: They have to perform a small miracle or create a legacy of some sort to prove they are not just a nobody. What is the most serious problem with this? Even though they are working in the church, and even though they are working under the pretense of doing their duty, they have never sought from God how things should be done, and have never seriously investigated what the house of God decrees, what the principles of the truth are, what to do to benefit the work of God’s house, what can be done to profit the brothers and sisters and not to insult God, but to testify to Him, and to bring smooth progress to the church’s work, such that it goes off without trouble and without any oversights. They never ask about these things, nor do they inquire about them. They do not have these things in their hearts; their hearts do not hold these things. So, what do they inquire about? What do their hearts hold? What they hold is how to show their talents at church, to show they are different from everyone else, to show off their leadership skills, to show people that they are a pillar of the church, that the church cannot do without them, that it is only because people like them are there that every project of the church’s work can progress smoothly. Looking at the expression of antichrists, and their impetus and motivation for doing things, in what position do they place themselves? In a position above everything else. … What is their goal? It is not to do a good job performing their duty as a created being, and it is not to pay consideration to God’s burden. Rather, it is to control everything while serving at the church and serving the brothers and sisters. Why do we say they want to control everything? Because as they act, they first try to carve out a place for themselves, to make a name for themselves, to get themselves held in high repute, with the power to call the shots and the power to make decisions. If they can do that, they can replace God and turn Him into a figurehead. Within their sphere of influence, they try to turn God incarnate into a puppet; this is what is called putting oneself above all else. Is this not what antichrists do? This is the behavior of antichrists” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Ten)). God’s words revealed my precise state. I’d been a believer for over a decade, but I’d never been content with being ordinary. Wherever I went and whatever duty I did, I always wanted to be the best of the best. In my first few years as a believer, I watered newcomers in the church. To prove myself, I worked hard to equip myself with the truth of visions to resolve newcomers’ issues. No matter rain or shine, or how far the road, I never complained about hardship. After becoming a church leader, I’d sought to stand out from the crowd. Then, when I was producing videos, in an effort to excel, I burned the midnight oil, put effort into principles and skills and ended up getting promoted and praised by leaders and the others, and so I got even more carried away. I felt like I was a talent the church couldn’t do without, and I even shamelessly thought of myself as the backbone of the group. I was overbearing and autocratic in the group. After being dismissed, I only acknowledged that I was arrogant and I’d done evil, but I didn’t reflect on my behavior or the path I was taking. The same problems cropped up when I returned to making videos. Why was I always so arrogant and submissive to no one? Why wouldn’t I listen to anyone else’s ideas? Why did I always want to have final say and make everyone listen to me? It was because I was too arrogant and I didn’t want to be a regular person. I wanted to be above others, to have people listen to me. How was that disposition of mine any different from the antichrist disposition of “putting oneself above all else” that God reveals? At that point I saw that although I’d been a believer all those years, my satanic disposition hadn’t changed, and I had a strong antichrist disposition. When I heard the church was going to expel me, I felt wronged, as if God shouldn’t reject me because I’d been a believer all those years. But really, I wasn’t someone who sought the truth. What I sought was name and gain—I had chosen the wrong path. That’s why, even after more than a decade, I still hadn’t gained any truth. Whose fault was that? It was my own fault, for not pursuing the truth! Also, thinking of my transgressions and evil deeds over those years, the church expelling me was God’s righteousness! I was living by my arrogant disposition. I’d not only seriously disrupted our work, but I’d also constrained and hurt the others. I had no humanity at all! Based on my essence, disposition, and all the evil I’d done, I should have been expelled. At that point, I didn’t consider whether the church would expel me or not. I had to make a choice, to pursue the truth and resolve my corrupt disposition.
Later, the church arranged for me to gather with a couple other people who had been isolated for reflection. I found words of God to expose and dissect my corruption and evil behavior to show them that I was on an antichrist’s path, that I was just like Satan, and that expelling me would be God’s righteousness. I also told them, “We have to truly repent. No matter what our outcome is, we have to follow God and do our duty.” After that, I wasn’t as arrogant as before. In my interactions with others, I no longer wanted to have the final say. When issues cropped up, I sought others’ suggestions. I often warned myself that I should deny myself and look at others’ strengths more, and without even realizing it, I became much more humble. After a few months, the church considered my behavior and determined I had a serious antichrist disposition, but not an antichrist essence, so I wasn’t expelled. Later on, seeing I had some self-knowledge and repentance, the church arranged a duty for me again. I was overcome with emotions when I heard that and my eyes were blurred with tears. I thought of these words from God: “God’s disposition is vital and vividly apparent, and He changes His thoughts and attitudes according to the way things develop. The transformation of His attitude toward the Ninevites tells humanity that He has His own thoughts and ideas; He is not a robot or a clay figure, but the living God Himself. He could be angry with the people of Nineveh, just as He could forgive their pasts because of their attitudes. He could decide to bring misfortune upon the Ninevites, and He could also change His decision because of their repentance. People like to rigidly apply rules, and to use such rules to delimit and define God, just as they like to use formulas to attempt to understand God’s disposition. Therefore, as far as the domain of human thought is concerned, God does not think, nor does He have any essential ideas. But in reality, God’s thoughts are in a state of constant transformation according to changes in things and in environments. While these thoughts are transforming, different aspects of God’s essence are revealed. During this process of transformation, at the precise moment when God has a change of heart, what He shows to mankind is the real existence of His life, and that His righteous disposition is full of dynamic vitality. At the same time, God uses His own true revelations to prove to mankind the truth of the existence of His wrath, His mercy, His lovingkindness, and His tolerance” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). God’s righteous disposition is so dynamic and full of vitality. Whether it’s wrath, majesty, mercy, or love, it’s all genuine. God expresses His disposition bit by bit, based on man’s attitude toward God and toward the truth. When I was on my own path, God set up situations over and over to expose me, strike at me, and to discipline me, but I never repented, never self-reflected, and remained intransigent. It was only when I got to the point of being expelled that I finally woke up and started to reflect on myself. Once I had some understanding and disgust for myself, was willing to give up my erroneous pursuits and turn back toward God, God showed mercy toward me and gave me another chance to repent. Whether it was God’s wrath, curse, mercy, or tolerance, it was all the real manifestation of His righteous disposition. God’s disposition is expressed toward me based on my attitude toward God and the truth. I also truly experienced that God’s disposition is full of dynamic vitality. God has always been by my side, observing my every word and deed. Whatever thoughts I’ve had, however I’ve acted, God has had an opinion. If I hadn’t faced being expelled that time, my numb, rigid heart still wouldn’t have turned back, and I really wouldn’t have truly reflected on myself. Without God’s harsh chastening and discipline, I would have only become more arrogant, and resisted God more, and I would have eventually been punished. This experience brought a change in my life as a believer. I saw God’s earnest intentions, and I felt God’s love and salvation.
Last summer, the church arranged for me to work on videos again. Once, I got stuck on an idea about a video, and at that moment, a sister came to me. When she learned of my difficulty, she shared her opinion. I listened to her and felt that what she said wasn’t remotely what I wanted, and I felt a bit disdainful. I thought to myself, “I still haven’t come up with an idea after thinking for so long, you’ve not even done this duty, so how would you have any good suggestions?” I didn’t want to keep listening. At this point, I realized that my arrogant disposition was flaring up again, so I quickly prayed to God within my heart, and thought of a passage of God’s words I’d read recently: “The path to being made perfect is reached through your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. You do not know through what kind of person God will work to perfect you, nor through what person, occurrence, or thing He will allow you to gain or see things. If you can set foot upon this right track, it shows that there is great hope for you to be perfected by God. If you cannot, it shows that your future is bleak, devoid of light” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God). I saw I was really lacking reason. I thought that the sister couldn’t provide good suggestions without experience in this duty. That was just my own judgment and wasn’t in line with God’s words at all. I thought I had a brain, that I had gifts, but if God wasn’t guiding me, no matter how I tried, I couldn’t come up with an idea. I thought about my previous failures and didn’t dare put faith in myself again. Perhaps the Holy Spirit would lead or enlighten this sister, so I couldn’t be arrogant or delimit her. I started to deny myself, carefully listen to the sister’s suggestions, and without realizing it, I got some inspiration from our conversation, and my thinking became clearer. I truly thanked God! The more I experienced that, the more I felt I had been too arrogant. I saw I’d been so deeply corrupted by Satan, and that my arrogant nature was so deeply rooted, and I hated myself even more, but I knew that I couldn’t solve the problem of an arrogant nature overnight, and that it had to be resolved through being repeatedly judged and pruned by God. I often prayed to God, asking for His chastening and discipline, and swearing that no matter how much I suffered, I would keep pursuing the truth, do my duty, and comfort God’s heart.