The Transformation of a Rebellious Son
By Wang Xin, Heilongjiang Province
In the 1999 church elections, I was selected as a church leader. When I just took up my post, I deeply felt that I wasn’t worthy of the position, but after a long time had passed my initial caution and timidity gradually became self-admiration and self-importance. I slowly began to exalt and bear witness to myself and enjoyed the blessings of having status. It got to the point that I wholeheartedly pursued an even higher position, wanting even more people under my purview. In the end, because of my pursuit of status and unwillingness to repent, I was sent back home. It was only after that that I awakened. I had turned my back onand distanced myself from God in my pursuit for status, and it was because of that pursuit that I was setting up my own empire and was taking the path of an antichrist. It was and chastisement that awakened me, led me back from being lost, and onto the right path of life.
I remember when I first started working, because of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there were some good results in thework that I was responsible for. I thought that I had some talent and could do some practical work, so I became complacent and boastful. Before I knew it the tone I used when speaking had changed and I would scold anyone who did something wrong, but wasn’t aware of it at all. Later on, the sister I was partnered with mentioned this fault to me and said I spoke with an arrogant disposition. I just accepted what she had said on the surface but I wasn’t convinced in my heart. I didn’t believe there was any problem, thinking that she was making a big deal out of something small. After that I refuted what she said about my deficiencies in roundabout ways. In the following days, I became more hardened and rebellious, starting to exalt and bear witness to myself. In our work, I wanted my brothers and sisters to accept my perspectives and do as I said; when someone didn’t listen to me or wasn’t convinced by me, I would get angry or even lose my temper. My heart gradually grew numb. In the midst of my complete lack of awareness that I was charging down the wrong path, a leader sent me a letter. It said: “Some brothers and sisters have told me that you’ve become a big shot, that even your tone of voice has changed. You’re pretty much like those government officials out in the world. God’s disposition is holy and righteous and will tolerate no offense! You must really reflect on and know yourself; you must repent to God. Going on like this is very dangerous….” Seeing this, I was really taken aback. I thought: “What? What’s so bad about me? Doesn’t this imply that I am going to lose my future and destination?” I sank into the pain of torment, but I did not examine my nature nor did I appreciate that it was from God’s care and thought, and moreover I did not realize the consequences of continuing on like that.
Before long I fell suddenly ill; I was so sick that I couldn’t do anything at all. Lying in bed, my mind was in a tangle and I was terrified of losing my duty and my status. I was also afraid of being sent home, and I was even more afraid of being eliminated and not having a future. I was full of immoderate requests of God. Although I had been aware that I cared too much about status, and that I shouldn’t pursue those things, I was under the control of my corrupt satanic disposition and could not extricate myself. I always thought: I must not lose my status and I can’t lose my duty. As a result, I got brothers and sisters to help me find a doctor so I could find a way to get my illness treated quickly, and I also accepted good health supplements sent by brothers and sisters without question. Yet, I absurdly thought: I’m not doing it for enjoyment; I’m doing it to recover from my illness so it won’t delay my work, therefore it does not count as excessive. In the end, I not only did not recover, but my illness grew even worse.
Later, because of the circumstances I was in, the leaders arranged for me to go home to reflect on myself, saying that my illness was an issue of my spiritual state. As soon as I heard that, it felt like I had been struck by a lightning bolt. My legs were so weak I couldn’t stand, and I almost didn’t have enough strength to even breathe. I thought: “It’s over! Haven’t all these years of pursuit been in vain? What prospects do I still have? How am I going to survive in the future?”
After returning home, I was constantly driven to distraction. My former aspirations and vows were all gone, and I lived every day within complaints, disappointment, and accusations against my conscience, without a shred of comfort. Though I sometimes would think back to the sweetness ofand the joyous moments of experiencing God’s work, the more I thought about it the more I suffered and felt regret. In my regret I thought, why didn’t I really pursue the truth from the start? Why did I pursue status and fleshly enjoyments? Every time I thought of this I couldn’t keep myself from bawling my eyes out, and asking myself: “Will my path of believing in God just draw to an end like this? Am I going to just die aggrieved like this?” I, living in the midst of chastisement, was in such pain that I didn’t even want to go on living. I knelt down and called out to God, crying: “Oh God! Every minute since leaving You has been so unbearable. I now understand deeply that what I need is You, the truth from You, and not things for the flesh such as food, clothing, status, and enjoyment. These things will only bring me darkness and pain, mental torment, accusations against my conscience, condemnation and anxiety. Oh God! I hate myself for not cherishing the opportunity to perform my duty, gain the truth, and be saved that You bestowed upon me. I really don’t want to leave You! Oh God! How shall I walk my future path? What should I do? Please point out the right path to me, so that I may know what I should do to satisfy Your will.” Tears of regret, indebtedness, and remorse were all intermingled. At that moment, I got a taste of being abandoned by God for offending His disposition. I continuously called out to God and came before Him to confess and repent. Gradually, I could feel God’s mercy. I then remembered God’s words: “God did not come this time to strike people down, but rather to save people to the greatest extent possible. Who is entirely free from errors? If everyone is struck down, then how could it be called salvation? Some transgressions are done on purpose and other transgressions are done involuntarily. With involuntary matters, you can change after you recognize them, so would God strike you down before you change? Is this how God saves people? It is not like that! Regardless of whether you transgress involuntarily or out of a rebellious nature, you must remember: Hurry and wake up to reality. Press onward; no matter what situation arises, you must press onward. God is working to save people …” (“God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Christ’s Talks). From God’s words, I understood God’s will, I saw hope, and I was no longer confused about which path in front of me to take. My heart gradually recovered. Yes, the great blow and the pain I had suffered were because of my own corruption. God’s original intention was not to let man suffer. It’s just that I didn’t want to be a created being. I was always trying to avoid the truth and walk my own path, always pursuing status and enjoyment, always wanting to lord over and possess others, to have others revolve around me. Isn’t that the archangel’s disposition? I was on the path of an enemy of God. Being so corrupt and rebellious, how could I not suffer? I was tormented by illness because of my disobedience. arranged for me to go home and reflect on myself because my disposition was too arrogant and hardened. I was rebellious and corrupt, so I ought to have been subject to God’s righteous judgment and chastisement; within that was God’s mercy and love. God revealing me that way, judging me that way, was not to do me in, or to condemn and punish me. He hoped that from failing and stumbling, I could really reflect on my own rebelliousness and transgressions, know my own corrupt essence, and clearly see that I was taking the wrong path. I could then truly repent to Him, be able to perform my duty and interact with others standing in the position of a created being, pursue the truth, and pursue a change in disposition on steady footing. Pondering God’s will, my heart’s lostness, confusion, and difficulties were resolved by God’s words. I felt an incomparable freedom in my heart while deeply experiencing that God’s judgment and chastisement are the light to save mankind, that they are what corrupt human beings most need. I couldn’t help but fall down before God and offer up a to Him: “Oh God! Through Your work I have enjoyed the sweetness and happiness of being blessed by You, and because of my corruption, I have also experienced Your righteous and holy disposition that will tolerate no offense. Even more, I have had a taste of the warmth of a rebellious son returning to Your embrace. Oh God! No matter what You do, You are the truth and righteousness, and Your disposition is so beautiful. It is right for me to worship You!”
This experience has left a deep imprint in the depths of my soul; one which I will never be able to forget for the rest of my life. Every time one scene after another of being struck by God comes to mind, I give myself a warning that I can never again take the wrong path that I did before, and encourage myself to really pursue the truth, to seek a change in disposition, and to live out a true human likeness to repay God’s love.