Reflections After Getting Lost
By Xinzhi, China
One day in August 2019, my leader sent a letter asking me to pick up a sister from out of town. I saw that the sister’s home address was within the area of the neighboring church. I thought, “Why is she being transferred to our church? Why not go to the closer one?” But on second thought, our church needed extra hands for all kinds of work, so I decided to pick her up and see. No matter what her duty was, we could use the extra help. Then I saw the letter said the sister’s name was Zhu Yun, and I suddenly remembered, “I met Sister Zhu Yun a few years ago. She’s in her forties and receives things well. If it’s her, she could even become a leader or worker in our church. This would give me an extra helper.” This thought made me very happy. I no longer cared that she lived far away, I just wanted to bring her to the church right away!
I used the address in the letter to find Sister Zhu Yun’s house, and knocked on the door, but the person who opened it was very old. It wasn’t the Zhu Yun I remembered. I quickly said, “Sorry, I knocked on the wrong door!” I turned around to leave, but she followed me and asked eagerly, “Who are you looking for?” I said I was looking for Zhu Yun. She quickly said, “That’s me.” I followed her into the house. As we talked, I learned she was arrested by the CCP and spent more than three years in prison. The police were still monitoring her after her release, so she couldn’t attend gatherings in her hometown. She had no choice but to come to her son’s house so that she could resume church life. After learning about her situation, I was really disappointed. I thought, “If only this was the Zhu Yun I knew. If she joined the church, I would have a great helper. This Zhu Yun has an arrest record, and the police are still monitoring her. That means she can’t do any duty in the church. Our church is already short-staffed, and now someone needs to go gather with her one-on-one. If the police also target the brothers and sisters in contact with her, the losses will be terrible! No, I can’t let her into our church. When I go back, I will write to the leader and ask her to be transferred to the church nearby.” After learning about her situation, I got ready to leave. I didn’t ask her if she had any problems or difficulties. She urgently asked me, “When are you coming back?” I said perfunctorily, “Just wait here. I’ll get back to you after I discuss some things.”
On the way back, I lamented to myself as I walked, “The leader doesn’t know what she’s doing. Zhu Yun is so close to the neighboring church. Why didn’t someone from that church pick her up? It’s such a long way for us. In the future, we’ll waste so much time going to meet her….” I grumbled in my heart as I continued to walk north, and as I went, I realized I was lost. When I asked for directions, I found out I had gone the opposite direction, out of the city. I wondered, too, “I’ve walked down this road before. How did I get lost?” At the time, I didn’t think too much about it. When I got home, I wrote a letter suggesting the leader transfer Zhu Yun to the church nearby.
In the days after I sent the letter, I always felt uneasy, as if something was wrong. I couldn’t calm myself when I read God’s word, nor focus on sermons or fellowship. I realized I might have done something that was against God’s will, so I quickly prayed and sought God, asking Him to enlighten and guide me to know myself. After praying, I suddenly remembered getting lost the other day. I realized that when it came to admitting Zhu Yun into the church, all I cared about was my own interests. If it was good for me, I would do it, but if it wasn’t, I resisted, refused, and complained. I didn’t care about the life of my sister at all. It was only later, after reading (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part One)). “Until people have experienced God’s work and gained the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates them from within. What, specifically, does that nature entail? For example, why are you selfish? Why do you protect your own position? Why do you have such strong emotions? Why do you enjoy those unrighteous things? Why do you like those evils? What is the basis for your fondness for such things? Where do these things come from? Why are you so happy to accept them? By now, you have all come to understand that the main reason behind all these things is that Satan’s poison is within you. So what is Satan’s poison—how can it be expressed? For example, if you ask, ‘How should people live? What should people live for?’ people will answer, ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. Satan’s philosophy and logic has become people’s lives. No matter what people pursue after, they do it for themselves—and so they live only for themselves. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’—this is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. These words have already become the nature of corrupt mankind, the true portrait of corrupt mankind’s satanic nature, and this satanic nature has already become the basis for corrupt mankind’s existence; for several thousand years, corrupt mankind has lived by this venom of Satan, right up to the present day” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter). God’s word revealed my state. I saw that I was especially selfish and despicable. In everything, I thought only of my own interests, and wanted only to find ways to maximize the benefit to me. I didn’t think at all about my brothers and sisters, let alone the work of the church. When the leader asked me to pick up Sister Zhu Yun, I thought she could do work for the church, and I would have another helper to lighten my load and make my work more effective, which would make me look better, so I couldn’t wait to bring her back. But when I saw she wasn’t the sister I knew, and that she was a security risk, I was conscious that not only would she not be able to do a duty, someone would need to gather with her one-on-one. I thought that not only would she not improve our productivity or make me look good, but she might pose a risk to our safety. I was against it, and complained that the leader’s arrangement was unreasonable, so I hastily tried to pawn her off to a neighboring church. I saw that living by the satanic poison of “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” made me more and more selfish and despicable. I only had my own interests at heart, and all I cared about was myself. God sees what’s in our hearts. How could God not detest my thoughts? When I thought about how Sister Zhu Yun had been transferred to the neighboring church, I felt I owed her, and knew I had to practice God’s word and could no longer consider my own interests., that I gained some understanding of my problem. God’s words say, “Matters concerning a person’s interests reveal them most of all. Interests are intimately linked to every person’s life, and everything a person comes into contact with every single day involves their interests. For example, when you say something or talk about a matter, what interests are involved? When two people discuss something, interests touch on who can speak eloquently and who cannot, as well as which person is admired and which one is looked down upon. … Aside from this, what does a person’s pursuit of interests touch on? When people do things, they are constantly gauging, weighing, pondering, and racking their brains about what will benefit themselves and what will not, what will enhance their interests or at least prevent harm to their interests, what will earn them the greatest honors and best material treatment, and what will make them the greatest beneficiary of any given matter. These are the two aspects of personal interests people strive for when facing a situation”
After a while, I received another letter from my leader. Some brothers and sisters were on the run from the CCP, and we needed to arrange for them to come to our church. This time, I could no longer consider my own interests. Regardless of whether they could perform duties, I was ready to accept them so that they could have a church life. I went to the addresses my leader gave me, welcomed them into our church, and made the necessary arrangements. After practicing like this, I felt very peaceful and at ease.
Later, the police were watching me too, so I was a security risk and couldn’t have contact with others. I couldn’t attend gatherings, and couldn’t perform my duties. That was a very difficult time for me. I often missed the days when I could gather with my brothers and sisters and perform my duties. I looked forward to seeing my brothers and sisters again, fellowshiping on the truth together, and speaking what was in my heart. My longing for church life and my brothers and sisters tormented me. Only then did I understand how the brothers and sisters hunted by the CCP felt when they couldn’t have a church life or have contact with their brothers and sisters. I thought of Sister Zhu Yun, who I’d passed off to the neighboring church. At the time, I thought that since she couldn’t perform duties, she’d be of no help to the church’s work. But I gave no thought to how much torment and pain she must be in, given that she had been imprisoned by the CCP for over three years, and was still under surveillance after her release, and couldn’t contact her brothers and sisters or live a church life. In order to attend gatherings, she was obliged to come to our church from her hometown. She did this to have contact with brothers and sisters, but I turned her away without even a word of comfort or an ounce of sympathy. The more I thought about it, the more guilty I felt. Why was I so cold and heartless? I had no humanity at all!
Later, I read words from God that revealed antichrists, which helped me see my problem more clearly. God’s words say, “The primary manifestations of the antichrists’ insidiousness and venomousness are that there is an aim to everything they do. The first thing they think about is their own interests; and their methods are despicable, crude, sordid, wretched, and shady. There is no sincerity in the way they do things, and in the way they treat people and the principles by which they treat them. The way they treat people is to take advantage of them and manipulate them, and when people are no longer of useful value to them, they toss them away. If you have useful value to them, they pretend to care about you: ‘How have you been? Have you had any difficulties? I can help you solve your difficulties. Tell me if you have any problems. I’m here for you. How lucky we are to have such a good relationship!’ They seem so attentive. Yet if a day comes when you no longer have any useful value to them, they will abandon you, they will toss you to one side and treat you like they’ve never met you. When you really do have a problem and go looking for them for help, their attitude suddenly changes, their words are no longer as nice-sounding as when they first promised to help you—and why is this? It is because you have no useful value to them, so they stop paying any attention to you. And that’s not all: If they find out you have done something wrong or find something they can use as leverage, they become coldly cynical toward you, and may even condemn you. What kind of modus operandi is this? Is it a manifestation of kindness and sincerity? When antichrists manifest this kind of insidiousness and venomousness in their behavior toward others, is there any trace of humanity involved? Do they have the slightest sincerity toward people? Absolutely not. Everything they do is for their own profit, pride, and reputation, to give themselves status and renown among others. Of everyone they meet, if they can take advantage of them, they will. Those they can’t take advantage of, they disdain and pay no heed to; even if you take it upon yourself to approach them, they ignore you, as if you are invisible to them. But if a day comes when they need you, their attitude toward you suddenly changes, and they inexplicably become very attentive and amiable. Why has their attitude toward you changed? (You have useful value.) That’s right: Seeing that you have useful value, their attitude changes” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Four: Summarizing the Character of Antichrists and the Essence of Their Disposition (Part One)). When I saw what God’s word revealed, I felt miserable and guilty. What I did was the same as an antichrist. I had a motive in every situation, and only considered my own interests. I always calculated and used people in my interactions. I had no love for my brothers and sisters, no honesty or kindness. Sister Zhu Yun had been under CCP surveillance for so long and couldn’t have a church life. I should have understood her situation, and supported and helped her with love, arranging for her to attend gatherings and perform what duties she could as soon as possible. But I was concerned about the security risk she posed. I thought accepting her into the church would do nothing to help the church’s work, and we’d have to expend further energy and pay a price to help her. At worst, she posed a hazard to the other brothers’ and sisters’ safety, which would affect church work. So, I didn’t care at all whether she could have a church life or not, and I didn’t ask her a single question about her state or difficulties. I only wanted to get rid of her, not admit her into the church. I was so indifferent and selfish. I really had no humanity at all! I couldn’t help but ask myself, “I couldn’t even think about my sister in a small matter. I had no love or compassion for her. So how could the help I offered my brothers and sisters before be sincere?” Through reflection, I found that many times, I helped my brothers and sisters because I was the church leader. I thought that by giving them proper support and making sure everyone’s state was normal, I could achieve results in my duty and ensure I presented a good image. Only now did I realize my actions weren’t considerate of God’s will, and I wasn’t fulfilling my responsibility as a leader. Instead, I was protecting my reputation and status. Outwardly, I was performing my duty, but actually, I was looking after my own interests under the guise of doing my duty, and I used others as stepping stones in my pursuit of reputation and status. What I did was disgusting to God, and I was walking the path of resistance to God. If I hadn’t experienced the pain of missing out on church life, I never would have known the pain and suffering my brothers and sisters had without gatherings and church life. And I never would have recognized my sinister and vicious antichrist disposition.
Later, I read another passage from God’s word. “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 personal interests such as prestige and status, they unwittingly become a tool of Satan, they become a channel for Satan, and, moreover, they become an embodiment of Satan. They play a negative role in the church; toward the work of the church, and toward the normal church life and normal pursuit of God’s chosen people, the effect they have is to disturb and impair; they have a negative effect” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part One)). This revelation from God’s words made me realize that if we do our duty without practicing the truth, and safeguard our reputation and status, no matter how big a price we pay, we will always play a negative role in the church and be an outlet for Satan. We will only cause disruption and disturbance to the work of the church and damage the life entry of our brothers and sisters. I thought of my sister being forced to come to us from her hometown just to partake in church life. She sincerely believed in God and longed for God’s word. If I had even a smidge of humanity, I wouldn’t have treated her like that. I was a church leader, but when Sister Zhu Yun was in trouble, I didn’t help her, I indifferently and ruthlessly tried to pass her off to another church. The more I thought about what I did, the more I hated myself. I felt I owed my sister, and more so I owed God. I came before God and prayed, “God! I only consider my own interests when I do things, and have no love for my brothers and sisters. I am so selfish and vicious! God! I want to repent….”
Later, as I read God’s word, I saw God’s selfless provision and care for humankind, and I felt even more ashamed of my selfishness and viciousness. God’s words say, “No matter how much of God’s word you have heard, how much of the truth you are able to accept and have understood, how much reality you have lived out, or how much result you have obtained, there is a fact you must understand: The truth, the way and the life of God is bestowed freely on each and every person, and this is fair to each and every person. God will never favor one person over another because of how long they have believed in God or how much they have suffered, and will never favor or bless a person because of how long they have believed in God or how much they have suffered. Nor will He treat anyone differently because of their age, their appearance, their gender, their family’s background, etc. Each and every person obtains the same from God. He doesn’t make anyone obtain less, or make anyone obtain much more. God is fair and just to each and every person. He provides for man in time and in proportion, not letting them go hungry, cold or thirsty, and He satisfies all the needs of man’s heart. When God does these things, what does God require of people? God gives these things to people, so does God have any selfishness? (No.) God has no selfishness at all. God’s words and work are all for the sake of humankind, and are meant to solve all of humankind’s hardships and difficulties, so that humankind can obtain real life from God. This is a fact” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Man Is the Greatest Beneficiary of God’s Management Plan). God selflessly provides for everyone. He works very hard in every one of us and never expects anything in return, only hoping that we pursue the truth, change our dispositions, and live out true human likeness. But my treatment of my brothers and sisters was based on whether they were useful. If they were useful, I was willing to pay any price. If not, I’d pay them no heed. I didn’t want to bother if there was no benefit. I was selfish and despicable. The said, “Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me” (Mat 25:40). Yeah. Even the least conspicuous brothers and sisters in the church should be offered help, as long as they genuinely believe in God, and are not evildoers, antichrists, or nonbelievers. To lovingly help them is to be considerate of God’s will, and has God’s approval. Especially for those brothers and sisters hunted and wanted by the CCP, who can’t return home, we need to treat them well and make sure they’re safe. This is even more of a good deed. A person’s attitude toward their brothers and sisters shows their humanity. I felt a deep sense of regret. If I had another chance to do my duty, I could no longer be so selfish and despicable, or only consider my own interests when interacting with my brothers and sisters. I had to do my best to help my brothers and sisters, and be someone who possesses humanity and reason.
In January of this year, I finally started another duty. My leader arranged for me to support a sister who was a security risk. I thought, “After all I went through, I finally have a duty. If I have contact with this sister, what will happen if I am implicated?” At this point, I realized I wasn’t in the right state, and I hurriedly came before God and prayed that I might forsake myself, saying I wanted to do my best to help and support my sister. By gathering and fellowshiping on God’s word with her, her negative state gradually turned around, and she wanted to write an article testifying to God. When I did my utmost to help my sister, I felt very peaceful.
In the past, I felt I could withstand hardship, worked hard in my duty, had good humanity, and had love for my brothers and sisters. Through what the facts showed and the judgment and revelation of God’s word, I finally saw that I only sought to gain. I was selfish, indifferent, and my heart had no honesty or kindness. I was corrupted by Satan to the point of being inhuman! The judgment and revelation of God’s word made me understand how to treat my brothers and sisters with humanity and reason. It helped me get along with others without always seeking my own interests, and be sincere in supporting and helping my brothers and sisters. Thanks be to God!