Chiding People Condescendingly Exposed My Ugliness
By Ai Meng, Myanmar
In October of last year, I was overseeing the church’s gospel work. There were a few new members in the church that’d just begun doing their duties, and so I’d often fellowship with them on the principles of gospel sharing and take them out to share gospel together. After a period of time, they had all made some progress and I felt great. To get them working independently as quickly as possible, I had them practice sharing the gospel on their own. At first, when they encountered issues, I would assist them with love, but after a while, I began to get fed up. I felt disdain for them: “I used to get things the first time someone taught me. I’ve spent time teaching you guys, so why do you still have so many questions? Were you not paying attention when I taught you? If you can’t work independently still after a long period, the upper leadership will definitely say I don’t have a knack for this work and can’t train people well. That won’t do. I’ve got to give you guys a talking-to and teach you a lesson.” Having realized all that, I angrily scolded them. One time, I got a call from Sister Ai, she said: “Brother, I wanted to ask you, which aspect ofwill we be fellowshiping on in the gathering tonight?” I thought: “I already told you this before, how do you still not know? Were you not listening to me?” So, in a loud, aggressive tone I said to her: “Did you read the last file I sent you or not? Why do you have to ask me every time?” The sister didn’t respond and I angrily hung up on her. Later on, I realized what I’d done and felt a bit guilty. But then I thought, “I said that for her own good. Otherwise, how will she ever make progress if she keeps relying on me? Maybe this was actually helpful for her.” After this occurred to me, I stopped worrying.
The next day, the brother I was partnered with said to me: “Sister Ai told me that when she asked you a question yesterday, you got angry. She also said she felt quite constrained by and afraid of you.” I couldn’t quite accept that when I heard it and made excuses in my head: “I might have sounded a bit harsh, but it was all just to urge her to work independently. If I didn’t say it like that, she’d keep coming to me every time she had a question. How would she ever become independent then?” But then I thought: “I might have spoken a bit inappropriately. After all, Sister Ai has only just started training. I should help her in a loving way instead of getting angry and scolding her.” So I sent a message to apologize to her: “Yesterday I screwed up. I shouldn’t have flipped out on you like that. I hope you understand and please don’t take it personally. I lost my cool in the moment and made you upset.” Sister Ai responded saying it was fine. After that, I didn’t reflect on and come to know myself any further.
A little while later, I was elected as a preacher and took on more responsibilities. Some of the leaders and workers had just started training and weren’t familiar with church work, so I’d often fellowship with them on the principles of work. I’d also check in with them in their work and give them detailed guidance and assistance. At first, when they had questions, I’d patiently fellowship with them. But if they asked too many times, I’d become impatient. I chided them, saying: “Why can’t you get this through your heads? When I first started working in the church, I would clearly remember whatever assignments my leader gave me, and would quickly and competently complete them. I’ve told you everything and given you detailed instructions, so why can’t you get things right?” They didn’t say a word in response.
The next day, a leader sent me a message saying: “I’m too dumb to be cut out for this work. Please find someone else to work in my place.” I was quite shocked: She was one of the best of the new trainees. Why would she think that? Then, another leader sent me a message saying: “Some people are saying you’ve made them feel really constrained.” Only then did I start reflecting on myself. I realized I wasn’t dealing correctly with others’ deficiencies. I kept blowing up at them and chiding them instead of patiently guiding and assisting them. As a result, they felt constrained. Later, I heard that a sister had become so negative as a result of being constrained that she didn’t do her duty for over ten days. When I heard this, I felt awful. I couldn’t believe that I’d hurt them so deeply. I felt distressed and wondered why I kept getting angry and having a bad influence on everyone. So I came before God in prayer: “Dear God, I don’t want to get angry at the brothers and sisters, but whenever something comes up I can’t control my emotions. How should I resolve this problem? Please lead and guide me.”
Afterwards, I came across a passage of God’s words. God says, “Once a man has status, he will often find it difficult to control his mood, and so he will enjoy seizing upon opportunities to express his dissatisfaction and vent his emotions; he will often flare up in rage for no apparent reason, so as to reveal his ability and let others know that his status and identity are different from those of ordinary people. Of course, corrupt people without any status also often lose control. Their anger is frequently caused by damage to their private interests. In order to protect their own status and dignity, they will frequently vent their emotions and reveal their arrogant nature. Man will flare up in anger and vent his emotions in order to defend and uphold the existence of sin, and these actions are the ways in which man expresses his dissatisfaction; they brim with impurities, with schemes and intrigues, with man’s corruption and evil, and more than anything else, they brim with man’s wild ambitions and desires” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). God’s words exposed my current state. I reflected on how I was getting angry to maintain my position. Normally, I always got results in my work and people thought I was an able leader. But having been assigned these brothers and sisters to train, if I couldn’t get them to work independently after a long period of time, the upper leadership would certainly say I wasn’t competent. So when the brothers and sisters still weren’t getting it after I’d taught them multiple times, I became very resistant and impatient. When they came to me with questions, I’d seize on the opportunity to chide and criticize them to blow off steam. I even compared them to myself and was full of grievances and disdain for them. As a result, they all felt constrained and even became so negative that they didn’t want to do their duty. When others pointed out my issue, I didn’t seek the truth to resolve it. Even though I did apologize to Sister Ai, the implicit and explicit purpose of my words was to preserve my status and image, show Sister Ai that this was just a rare case of my getting upset and not a common occurrence, and make her think that I was actually quite rational through my insincere apology. I thought of God’s words which say: “Some people patently have bad dispositions and always speak of themselves as having bad tempers. Is this not just a kind of justification? A bad disposition is just that: a bad disposition. When someone has done something unreasonable or that harms everyone, the problem is with their disposition and humanity, but they always say they temporarily lost control of their temper or got a bit angry; they never understand the problem in its essence. Is this truly dissecting and laying themselves bare?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. On Harmonious Cooperation). I was just like this. Thinking back on my apology, it had sounded so dignified, but I hadn’t understood the actual substance of the issue and even tried to defend myself. I was being so hypocritical! Realizing this, I felt really guilty. I often spoke to brothers and sisters about treating people with love and patience, but these were just slogans that didn’t match up with my actual behavior.
After that, I quieted my thoughts and reflected on myself: “Why is it that whenever things don’t go my way, I lose my temper and betray my corrupt disposition? Why can’t I collaborate well with the brothers and sisters?” After that, I came across a passage of God’s words. (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). God revealed how the root of people’s corrupt disposition is arrogance. The more arrogant one is, the likelier they are to resist God. I realized that’s just how I was. I didn’t take other people seriously, thinking they were all inferior to me. I always believed I had good caliber, was talented in my work and was just better than everyone else. I also always measured the others’ deficiencies against my own strengths. I could master a task after being taught one time, but they still hadn’t learned after such a long time. I’d just blow up at them, criticize and chide them, without giving them the slightest bit of respect. I didn’t acknowledge their strengths and merits, much less did I provide any loving support. When the brothers and sisters encountered problems, I didn’t reflect on whether I had fellowshiped God’s word with them to resolve their issues, or if there was some way that I’d come up short. Instead, I just thought that they hadn’t listened closely and indiscriminately blew up at them and dealt with them. I was so irrationally arrogant! Our church was expanding God’s gospel, but I kept going off on, chiding and constraining people, leading them to become afraid of me, define themselves, and even become so negative that they didn’t want to do their duties. Wasn’t I disrupting and impeding the gospel work? Reflecting on all this, I felt quite ashamed. I didn’t provide anything beneficial for the others’ life entry. Instead, I hurt them and disrupted the church’s work. I was living according to my arrogant disposition and might do evil and resist God at any time. Thinking of all that I’d done, I truly despised myself. I felt like slapping myself a few times across the face. I silently prayed to God in my heart: “Dear God, I blindly dealt with people due to my arrogant disposition, hurting them and disrupting church work in the process. Dear God, I’m ready to repent and make changes. I pray that You guide and assist me in resolving my arrogant disposition.”says, “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. If people wish to get to where they revere God, then they must first resolve their arrogant dispositions. The more thoroughly you resolve your arrogant disposition, the more reverence you will have for God, and only then can you submit to Him and obtain the truth and know Him. Only those who gain the truth are genuinely human”
Then, one day, I heard a (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). This hymn of God’s words was truly inspirational for me. Through God’s words, I found a path of practice. No matter what situation I encountered, I should first seek God’s intention, seek the truth, resolve my own issues, come to understand my arrogant disposition through God’s words, focus on forsaking myself in everyday life, and practice the truth. Then my arrogant disposition would gradually transform. The fact that due to my arrogant disposition, I chided and constrained people and always thought I was superior showed that I didn’t truly understand myself. In truth, I didn’t have anything worth showing off. I was a fairly quick learner in my duties and had been blessed with certain gifts, but God had given me my gifts and caliber, there was nothing remarkable about me personally. I should give thanks to God. Each person has a different caliber and different abilities. All the brothers and sisters had their strengths. Sister Ai was good at interacting with people, she had a loving touch and patience. I didn’t display any of those qualities. Realizing this, I felt ashamed. I was ready to practice God’s words. When I encountered issues, I would consciously forsake myself and practice the truth.of God’s words: “Live by God’s Words to Change Your Disposition.” “You must first resolve all the difficulties within yourself by relying on God. Put an end to your degenerate disposition and become able to truly understand your own condition and know how you should act; continue to fellowship about anything you do not understand. It is unacceptable for a person not to know themselves. Heal your own sickness first, and, by eating and drinking God’s words more often and contemplating them, live your life and do your deeds on the basis of His words; whether you are at home or elsewhere, you should allow God to wield power within you. Cast off the flesh and naturalness. Always let God’s words have dominion within you. There is no need to worry that your life is not changing; with time, you will come to feel your disposition has changed a great deal, with time, you will come to feel your disposition has changed a great deal. …”
I remember one time, I asked a sister I was partnered with about her progress on a project and she said: “I haven’t started on it yet. When we were discussing our ideas for the project I felt quite clear, but when I actually started working on it, I wasn’t sure how to proceed.” When I heard that, I could feel the rage bubbling back up again. I thought: “Why is this so hard for you? When we were discussing this project, I described everything so clearly. How did you already forget? Are you not concentrating on the work? I guess I’ll have to have a serious talk with you.” Just when I was about to blow up on her, I remembered God’s words: “If people can consciously satisfy God, put the truth into practice, forsake themselves, abandon their own ideas, and be obedient and considerate toward God’s will—if they are able to do all these things consciously—then this is what it means to accurately put the truth into practice” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition). God’s words were a timely reminder: I had to forsake myself and practice according to God’s words. I couldn’t keep acting according to my arrogant disposition. She probably didn’t start on it because she had some issue or wasn’t clear about the path forward. I should get a handle on her actual situation and treat her inadequacies in the right way. So I just calmly went over the specifics of how she should proceed in light of the actual situation. When I’d finished, she happily replied: “So that’s how I should do it! Now I finally have a path forward.” When the sister said that, I felt so ashamed. I was always shouting slogans in our work, but I didn’t take the time to understand everyone’s problems and issues, much less did I teach them one-on-one. If I were a bit more patient and detail-oriented in my work, the brothers and sisters would have been working independently long ago.
After that, I came across another passage of God’s words. Almighty God says, “Can you make people understand the truth and enter its reality if you only repeat words of doctrine, and lecture people, and deal with them? If the truth you fellowship is not real, if it is nothing but words of doctrine, then no matter how much you deal with and lecture them, it will be to no avail. Do you think people being afraid of you, and doing what you tell them to, and not daring to object, is the same as them understanding the truth and being obedient? This is a major mistake; entry into life is not so simple. Some leaders are like a new manager trying to make a strong impression, they try to impose their new-found authority on God’s chosen ones so that everyone submits to them, thinking that this will make their job easier. If you lack the reality of the truth, then before long your true stature will be exposed, your true colors will be revealed, and you could well be cast out. In some administrative work, a little dealing, pruning, and discipline is acceptable. But if you are incapable of fellowshiping the truth, in the end, you will still be unable to solve the problem, and will affect the results of the work. If, no matter what issues appear in the church, you keep lecturing people and casting blame—if all you ever do is lose your temper—then this is your corrupt disposition revealing itself, and you have shown the ugly face of your corruption. If you always stand on a pedestal and lecture people like this, then as time goes on, people will be unable to receive the provision of life from you, they will not gain anything real, and instead will be repulsed and disgusted by you” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). Through God’s words, I realized that the key to working with brothers and sisters in the church is to fellowship the truth clearly so that everyone has a good grasp of the principles. Only then can we do our duties well. Right. If I was always going off on people and chiding them, not only would I fail to resolve issues, I’d also turn people off and push them away. Later when I worked with others or checked in on their work, I would first understand their actual problems. If there were things they didn’t understand or hadn’t learned yet, I would patiently fellowship with them on the principles and truth and help them resolve their issues. In that way, after a period of time, the brothers and sisters could complete some work independently and we could work harmoniously together. Through reading God’s words, I gained a little understanding of my arrogant disposition, learned how to treat people’s inadequacies correctly and was able to work harmoniously with others. Thanks be to Almighty God!