Reflections on Rejecting Being Dealt With

February 7, 2023

By Xiaoguang, China

In 2021, I was assigned to water newcomers with Li Xiao. At first, I wasn’t familiar with the work, so Li Xiao would patiently help me, telling me the principles and demands of the duty. After some time, I slowly got the hang of things, so when she reminded me about certain issues, I figured I already knew, and didn’t listen. This later caused aberrations to crop up in my work. When Li Xiao found out, she pointed these out directly, and reminded me to be diligent. At first, I agreed that I really did lack diligence and her chiding served as a good reminder for me. But over time, I continued to have some glaring issues in my work: I failed to do tasks assigned to me, influencing the work’s progress. When she saw these mistakes happening over and over, she adopted a harsher tone in her critique and would even reprove me: “Why didn’t you remember? Why didn’t you do your work?” I knew that she only meant for me to quickly rectify my issues and deviations and get better results in my duty, but hearing her use that harsher tone put me off a little. I thought: “She’s making it seem like I’m so careless in my work and can’t do anything right, even after being here so long. What would the others think if they heard about this? Even if there’s problems, can’t we just discuss things calmly? It’s not like I’m unwilling to improve. Forget it—from now on I’ll just avoid her, that way she won’t have to scold me.” After that, I didn’t give her the time of day, and would even give her dirty looks at times to make my dissatisfaction known to her. Sometimes I needed to discuss work with her, but I worried that if I sought her out and she discovered some issue in my work, she might chide and deal with me. Wouldn’t that just make me look even worse? Later, when I had to discuss something with her, I’d wait until the last possible moment or just let her seek me out before speaking up. As time went on, Li Xiao became constrained by me. One time I overheard her say, she felt free to make suggestions to others, but felt constrained when she was with me. At times, when she noticed certain problems and deviations in my work, she wasn’t sure what to say to me, and feared I might get angry if there was harshness in her tone. Hearing this, I felt a bit guilty. But then I thought: “If you had a gentler tone, I wouldn’t be this way. You’re too arrogant.” Thinking this, I still didn’t reflect on myself.

Later on, my supervisor found out, and fellowshiped with me several times, telling me to reflect on myself first before shifting my focus to others. Outwardly, I could discuss self-reflection with the supervisor, but inside I felt wronged and thought the issue was with Li Xiao. So, every time I talked about my state, I would emphasize how Li Xiao was taking a harsh tone with me to show the supervisor that my displays of corruption were all due to Li Xiao’s arrogance. I hoped that the supervisor would fellowship with her and get her to ease off on her harsh tone. At the time, another supervisor saw that I hadn’t recognized my issues and fellowshiped with me on her own experience. She also read this passage of God’s words: “In the church, there are those who are pruned and dealt with because they have not performed their duty well, and there tends to be a note of rebuke and even censure in what is said to them. The recipient is certainly not happy about this and wants to refute what is said. They say, ‘These words dealing with me may be right, but some of them are just too harsh—they’re humiliating and upsetting. I’ve believed in God for so many years, and even if I haven’t made a grand contribution, I’ve worked hard. How can I be treated like this? Why isn’t someone else being dealt with? I won’t accept it. I’m not having it!’ Is this a sort of corrupt disposition? (Yes.) This corrupt disposition only manifests in the forms of grievance, defiance and resistance; it has not yet peaked or reached its extremity, but the signs are there and a crisis point is close. What attitude do they take in the immediate aftermath? They will be unable to submit, and, feeling distressed and defiant, will begin venting their indignation. They will rationalize and give justifications: ‘Leaders and workers aren’t necessarily right about everything when they’re dealing with someone. The rest of you may accept this, but I don’t. You only accept it because you’re foolish and cowardly. I won’t accept it! Let’s argue it out if you don’t believe me—we’ll see who’s right.’ The others fellowship with them, saying, ‘Whoever’s right, you need to submit first. Could your performance of your duty be completely free of impurity? Is everything you do right? And even if it is, being dealt with will be helpful for you! We’ve fellowshiped about the principles with you many times, and you haven’t listened; you’ve just gone on acting blindly and willfully, disrupting the work of the church and causing serious losses. How could you not be dealt with and pruned? What was said to you was on the strict side, on the harsh side—but is that not normal? What excuse could you have? You won’t let others deal with you when you do something bad?’ Having heard this, is the recipient of those words accepting? No—they keep giving excuses and resisting. What, then, is the disposition they are revealing? It is demonic, a vicious disposition. And what are they getting at? ‘I’m nobody’s fool, and no one can touch me. I’ll have you know I’m no one to mess with. You’ll think twice before dealing with me in the future, and then I’ll have won, won’t I?’ Well, their disposition is laid bare, is it not? It is a vicious disposition. People with vicious dispositions are not simply sick of the truth—they hate the truth! Faced with being pruned and dealt with, they either evade it or ignore it. Their hatred of truth goes very deep, certainly deeper than a few words of reasoning would suggest. That’s not how they really feel. They are defiant and resistant, and they will challenge you like a harridan, while thinking, ‘You’re humiliating me, deliberately putting me on the spot. I see what’s happening here. I won’t contradict you directly, but I’ll find a chance to take my revenge! You’re dealing with me and bullying me, no? I’ll get everyone over to my side and leave you isolated—I’ll give you a taste of what it’s like to be targeted like this!’ These are the words in their hearts, and their vicious disposition has finally revealed itself. To achieve their goal, to vent their indignation, they do their best to give rationalizations and excuses, trying to get everyone on their side. Then, they are happy and their equilibrium is restored. Is this not malice? This is what it is to be vicious of disposition(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Knowledge of the Six Kinds of Corrupt Disposition Is True Self-Knowledge). God’s words exposed my exact state. I’d been perfunctory and careless in my duty, and had failed to do things that Li Xiao had told me to do several times, delaying the work. This was my mistake. It was right of her to point out my issue. Even though her tone was a bit harsh, it was for my own good and the good of the church’s work. But I didn’t reflect on myself at all—I’d even thought that she didn’t respect me and was giving me a hard time. I gave her dirty looks because I felt she had made me lose face by pointing out my issues. I’d made her feel constrained. I realized I’d been unreasonable. When pruned and dealt with, not only did I not self-reflect, I turned the tables and called her arrogant. I even used knowing myself to complain about her, hoping to get the supervisor to deal with her. I had a truly vicious disposition. Realizing all this, I felt a bit ashamed.

Later, I found this passage of God’s words: “When most people are pruned and dealt with, it can be because they exposed corrupt dispositions. It can also be because they did something wrong due to ignorance and betrayed the interests of God’s house. It may also be because their attempts to muddle through their duty caused harm to the work of God’s house. The most egregious reason is when people blatantly do as they wish without restraint, violate principles, and disrupt and disturb the work of God’s house. These are the primary reasons people are pruned and dealt with. Regardless of the circumstances that cause someone to be dealt with or pruned, what is the most crucial attitude to have toward it? First, you must accept it, no matter who is dealing with you, for what reason, whether it comes across as harsh, or what the tone and wording, you should accept it. Then, you should recognize what you have done wrong, what corrupt disposition you have exposed, and whether you acted in accordance with the principles of truth. When you are pruned and dealt with, first and foremost, this is the attitude you should have(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Eight)). Through God’s words, I’ve learned there is a reason why we are dealt with: In most cases, the reason is that we don’t seek principles in our duties and just go by our corrupt dispositions. It’s because we are damaging the church’s work that we are dealt with. This dealing with is done out of a sense of responsibility to the work, and to protect the church’s interests—it’s a positive thing. After being dealt with, no matter whether or not we can recognize our issue, we should accept it, reflect on ourselves and seek principles of actions. This shows acceptance of the truth—it’s the attitude one should have when being dealt with. Thinking back on my time with Li Xiao, when I’d been unfamiliar with the work, she’d taught me patiently step by step, but I would often just muddle through—I wasn’t meticulous and didn’t do the work I was assigned. As a result, our progress was continually held back. Only then did she deal with and chide me. She was trying to make me reflect and rectify my actions, she wasn’t blowing up on me without principle. But I didn’t accept the truth, and didn’t reflect when she chided me and gave me suggestions. Instead, I placed my focus on her and her actions. I thought that she was picking out my flaws when she took a slightly harsh tone with me, and was embarrassing me and making things hard for me. I was resistant, and couldn’t accept it. As a result, I missed many chances to learn lessons, my life entry was damaged and the church’s work was delayed. I had been so unreasonable! I then reflected on why, despite the fact that her criticism was clearly helpful to me and beneficial to the church’s work, I hadn’t received it properly, and even developed a bias against her. As I sought, I found these words of God: “With antichrists, when it comes to the matter of being dealt with and pruned, they are unable to accept it. And there are reasons they are unable to accept it, the main one being that when they are dealt with and pruned, they feel they have lost face, that they have lost their status and dignity, that they have been left unable to raise their head in the group. These things have an effect in their heart: They are loath to accept being pruned and dealt with, and they feel that whoever prunes and deals with them has it out for them and is their enemy. This is the attitude of antichrists when they are pruned and dealt with. Of this, you can be sure. It is in pruning and dealing, in fact, that whether someone can accept the truth and whether someone is truly obedient is most exposed. That antichrists are so resistant to pruning and dealing suffices to show that they are sick of the truth and do not accept it in the least. This, then, is the crux of the problem. Their pride is not the crux of the matter; not accepting the truth is the essence of the problem. When they are pruned and dealt with, antichrists demand that it be done with a nice tone and attitude. If the doer’s tone is serious and their attitude is severe, an antichrist will resist and be defiant and grow furious. They pay no mind to whether what is exposed in them is right or whether it is a fact, and they do not reflect on where they have erred or on whether they should accept the truth. They think only of whether their vanity and pride have suffered a blow. Antichrists are entirely unable to recognize that pruning and dealing are helpful to people, and loving, and salvific, that they are of benefit to people. They cannot even see this. Is this not a bit undiscriminating and unreasonable of them? So, when faced with being pruned and dealt with, what disposition is it that an antichrist pours forth? Without any doubt, that disposition is one of being sick of the truth, as well as one of arrogance and intransigence. This reveals that the nature and essence of antichrists is one of being sick of the truth and hating it(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Eight)). From God’s words, I learned that antichrists by nature despise the truth and covet status. When dealt with and pruned, they know the criticism is accurate, but because it makes them lose face and exposes their true nature, they’re unwilling to accept it. They’ll even reject as an enemy the person that deals with them. I had the same disposition as an antichrist. When Li Xiao had pointed out my issues, I’d known what she said was true, but I hadn’t sought the truth or reflected on myself. I wouldn’t accept her pointers because she’d directly exposed my inadequacies, and made me lose face. I’d thought she was trying to make things difficult for me. To protect my own reputation, not only had I shot her dirty looks, constraining her, I’d even complained about her to my supervisor to make the supervisor deal with her and prevent her from calling me out. I realized that I had a truth-despising disposition just like the antichrists. Someone able to accept the truth finds it helpful to have a partner that points out their shortcomings—this way, they can avoid doing their duty according to their corrupt disposition, and avoid disrupting the church’s work. This benefits both them and the church’s work. As such, they’re able to accept other people’s pruning and criticism. But clearly I was filled with corruption and inadequacies, and there were problems with my work, but I didn’t want anyone to point them out. When they did point them out, I demanded they do so tactfully so I wouldn’t lose face. When what they said threatened my status and reputation, I treated them like an enemy and found ways to exclude them without any thought to the church’s work or their feelings, much less with any reverence for God. I was walking the path of an antichrist, and if I didn’t repent, God would detest me and cast me out.

Later, I found a passage of God’s words: “How is constructive speech expressed? It is mainly encouraging, orienting, guiding, exhorting, understanding, and comforting. Also, sometimes it is necessary to point out and criticize others’ shortcomings, deficiencies, and faults directly. This is of great benefit to people. It is a real help to them, and it is constructive for them, is it not? Say, for example, you are especially willful and arrogant. You’ve never been aware of this, but someone who knows you well comes right out and tells you the problem. You think to yourself, ‘Am I willful? Am I arrogant? No one else dared to tell me, but they understand me. That they could say such a thing suggests that it really is true. I must spend some time reflecting on this.’ After that you say to the person, ‘Other people only say nice things to me, they sing my praises, no one ever gets personal with me, no one has ever pointed out these shortcomings and issues in me. Only you were able to tell me, to get personal with me. It was so great, such a big help to me.’ This was having a heart-to-heart, was it not? Little by little, the other person communicated to you what was on their mind, their thoughts about you, and their experiences of how they had notions, imaginings, negativity and weakness in this matter, and were able to escape it by seeking the truth. This is having a heart-to-heart, it is a communion of souls(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (3)). Through God’s words I learned that in addition to speech that encourages and comforts people, speech that confronts people’s issues and points out their inadequacies is also truly helpful. Sometimes we are dictated by corrupt dispositions and don’t see our own problems, and words that deal with and expose our issues can be even more beneficial. In the moment, we may lose a bit of face, but this criticism and support can push us to come before God to seek the truth and reflect upon ourselves. This is truly beneficial for our life entry. I didn’t place importance on life entry and wouldn’t actively reflect on myself. Li Xiao was in close contact with me, so she had a very clear sense of what issues existed in my work. She had a sense of righteousness, worked responsibly, and could directly point out my issues and aberrations. She might have been untactful, even a little harsh, but she was truly trying to help me. Even when she felt constrained by my corrupt disposition, she didn’t hold it against me and continued to collaborate with me just the same. It was only after Li Xiao dealt with and exposed me that I was distressed and knew to come before God to reflect on my problem. Gradually, I started to rectify my attitude in my duty. These improvements all came as a result of Li Xiao chiding and dealing with me. But I didn’t know what was good for me—I thought that when she took a harsh tone, she had it out for me and was picking at my flaws. So I kept avoiding, resisting, refusing to accept, and didn’t focus on reflecting on myself. In the end, I didn’t change at all and missed opportunities to gain truth. How foolish I was! If I had been paired with a people pleaser who didn’t point out my problems, while outwardly this would have kept me from losing face, in reality, it wouldn’t have been of any real help to me and there would have been no benefit to my life entry or the church’s work. Through these realizations, I gained a path of practice. I knew that when I was pruned and dealt with going forward, I shouldn’t prefer only favorable and pleasing comments, or only consider my own reputation and status. I should accept being dealt with, and seek the truth with regard to people’s criticisms, reflect on myself and promptly repent and rectify my actions. Only by partnering with others in this way could I fulfill my duty and responsibility well.

Later, I openly shared what I had learned with Li Xiao in fellowship. Afterwards, we both felt deeply liberated and I could finally partner with her normally again. One time, a newcomer was going through some issues, so I fellowshiped with him on my understanding, but when Li Xiao heard what I’d said, she bluntly said to me that my fellowship had only offered the newcomer a little encouragement but wouldn’t resolve his issue. I felt a bit embarrassed by what she’d said. Outwardly, I made a show of accepting her criticism, but inside I was a bit unhappy with her. But then I realized my state was incorrect, so I hurriedly prayed to God and forsook myself. I thought of God’s words: “In being able to perform your duties at present, what is most important is that you learn to submit, that you learn to submit to the truth and to that which comes from God. In this way, you can learn a lesson in following God, and you can gradually enter the reality of the truth(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Gain the Truth, One Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Nearby). Indeed, when faced with problems, we must learn to accept speech that accords with the truth and is beneficial to our duty. This is God’s demand, and it is what we must do. Since Li Xiao had pointed out my problem, I should accept her criticism, seek and reflect. Through prayer and meditation, I found I really hadn’t grasped the newcomer’s issue and hadn’t fellowshiped on the crux of the matter. Through reading God’s words, I gained some recognition of my aberrations and inadequacies and gained more insight into this aspect of the truth. I really saw how having a partner like that by my side was incredibly beneficial both for my life entry and doing my duty. I also felt the benefits of accepting the criticism of others. From now on, I will accept my brothers’ and sisters’ criticisms and do my duty well.

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