A Special Experience of Discipline
By Xiao Han, China
I used to have a strong desire for reputation and status, and I even did some things that hurt my brothers and sisters out of jealousy. Later, I was disciplined in a special way that finally allowed me to wake up and change.
In 2019, I did textual work in the church. One day, the supervisor arranged for Sister Wang to come and work with us. Because I had been doing this work for a long time and had mastered some principles, the supervisor asked me to help Sister Wang. My supervisor also said there was a church that lacked textual workers, so if Sister Wang could be cultivated, she could go to that church to perform her duty there. When I heard this, I thought, “Then I have to train Sister Wang as soon as possible.” So, I started patiently helping Sister Wang. No matter what problems and difficulties she encountered in her duty, I fellowshiped with her in a timely manner to help her resolve them, and gradually, Sister Wang made some progress. At first, I was happy to see her growth, but later, I found out that she was progressing very quickly. Sometimes, I could only find some basic problems in the work, but she could find critical issues, and the other sisters in the group also agreed with her points of view. At this time, I felt a little uncomfortable. I wondered, “She is progressing so quickly. At this rate, she will definitely surpass me. Who will look up to me after that?” I also noticed Sister Wang’s special importance to the supervisor. Every time the supervisor came to the group, she mostly asked Sister Wang for fellowship, and she often complimented her in front of me for her good caliber and rapid progress, but I just couldn’t bring myself to be happy for her. I thought, “Oh great! Now my supervisor and partners don’t pay attention to me or think highly of me like they did before. They’ve seen how much Sister Wang has progressed since she arrived. I’ve been in the group for so long, but I’m not progressing as fast as her. Do they think my caliber is lower than Sister Wang’s?” The more I thought, the more miserable I was, to the point that I even angrily thought, “Sister Wang has indeed progressed a lot, but behind this, someone needed to put in the time and energy to help her. Now that she is making a name for herself, will anyone notice me, the one who helped her? Why should I only serve as Sister Wang’s backdrop?” The more I thought about it, the more upset I felt. I didn’t want to even look at Sister Wang. I knew my state was wrong and that I was jealous of my sister. Sometimes I restrained myself, but I still couldn’t help but want to compete with her, and I didn’t even want to talk to her anymore.
I remember one time, I saw some problems in Sister Wang’s work, so I helped resolve them. Afterwards, the supervisor said Sister Wang’s work was done well and that she had made progress recently. At this, my partners cast envious glances at her. After what the supervisor said, my heart sank. I thought, “Isn’t her good work due to my help? This is obviously my doing, but now everyone looks up to and envies her.” The more I thought about it, the more bitter I felt. I couldn’t help but blame Sister Wang. It was clear she had grown so much all because of my assistance. When she was in a bad state, I looked up parts of God’s word to fellowship with her. I explained things to her when she wasn’t familiar with the principles. I had paid such a high price to back her up, so how could she not tell the supervisor about it? I thought, “It looks like I can’t help you anymore, otherwise you will surpass me. Then I won’t have even a little place in the hearts of the supervisor or my brothers and sisters.”
After that, when I found mistakes in her work, I didn’t fellowship with her on principles, and I didn’t talk to her about things she didn’t understand. I simply went to another room and ignored her. I did this to show the supervisor that Sister Wang’s progress was entirely due to my effort, and that without my help and fellowship, she wouldn’t be where she was today. I remember one time, when I was going to go to another room to ignore her, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her, and I could see in her eyes that she was hurt. It felt like a hammer blow to my heart. I knew I was acting from a corrupt disposition, and I should forsake myself, but then I thought about how much effort and time I had spent, how in the end, she had stolen the limelight and the credit, and how she was often praised by the supervisor. It all felt so unfair and the little bit of reproach I felt disappeared. Before long, she became more and more depressed because she felt constrained by me, stopped making progress, and even started regressing. During that period, Sister Liu in the group couldn’t work well with Sister Wang, and had some prejudices against her. When Sister Liu saw Sister Wang’s effectiveness decline, she suspected Sister Wang was unsuitable for textual work. When she told me this, not only did I not correct her prejudice, I was secretly delighted. I thought, “Now everyone finally sees Sister Wang’s real stature. How could she have received so much praise if I hadn’t helped her early on?” I said to Sister Liu in a loaded tone, “We need to have loving hearts. Sister Wang was arranged to work with us, so there’s nothing we can do. We just have to obey.” After I said that, her prejudice against Sister Wang not only remained, but even deepened. She thought it was Sister Wang who had delayed the work and made our duty less effective. Sometimes, when she talked to Sister Wang, she was very aggressive and pushed her away. Sister Wang became more and more constrained and didn’t speak much. I was vaguely aware that what I said had made the prejudice between the sisters worse, and I felt a little afraid, but when I thought of how Sister Wang received all the attention and approval, I stopped caring. Due to our inability to cooperate, we were less and less effective in our duties. The supervisor fellowshiped and told us to reflect on our attitudes towards our duty. Faced with this situation, I felt a little guilty. Actually, all I needed to do was let go of my personal interests just a little bit, stop paying so much attention to my status in others’ hearts, and cooperate with everyone so that work could proceed normally. But when I thought about how I had paid such a price and yet no one knew about it, I felt very bitter, and I still wanted to ignore Sister Wang.
Not long after, I was arrested by the police at a meeting. At the beginning, I thought that the Communist Party is a demon that resists God, and that if you believe in God in China, you will be arrested sooner or later, so I didn’t reflect on myself. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that this arrest wasn’t just persecution, and that it contained God’s will. I thought, “Why am I being arrested all of a sudden? Did I offend God in some way?” So, I silently prayed to God. As I sought, I remembered an experience testimonial I had read. Because the author pursued status and wanted to be admired, and stubbornly took the wrong path, she committed wickedness that disrupted the work of God’s house. Soon after, she was arrested and persecuted. During her detention, she reflected on herself and realized God was using the great red dragon to stop her from doing evil. Later, she gained knowledge of the nature and consequences of her pursuit of fame and status and changed her mistaken views on pursuit. Now I was arrested. Could it be that I was receiving God’s discipline because I had taken the wrong path? I couldn’t help but recall what had happened in my duty. I had clearly known that God’s house urgently needed textual talent, but to stop Sister Wang from surpassing me, I just looked on and didn’t help as she became passive, completely disregarded the work of God’s house, and as a result, textual work was obstructed. Thinking of this, I couldn’t help but feel pain and sadness. I asked myself, “In the past, I spent my days pursuing fame and status and thinking about how to gain and retain them. Now that I’m arrested, can fame and status increase my faith? Can they resolve my cowardice? Can they help me stand witness? Just what is the use of fame and status?” I suddenly realized that my constant pursuit of fame and status ended up being nothing but a joke. I felt very remorseful, so with tears in my eyes, I prayed to God, saying, “God, I shouldn’t have pursued fame and status. I missed my chances to pursue the truth. If I have the chance to do my duty again, I don’t want to pursue reputation and status. God, please guide and lead me.” God took mercy on my weakness. Soon, my parents got the news of my arrest, and after paying 140,000 RMB bail pending trial, I was released.
After returning home, I read God’s word over and over and reflected on myself. One day, during my devotionals, I read a passage of God’s word. “If, when it comes to the things God wants to safeguard, you are always disturbing, disrupting, and dismantling them, and if you are always despising them and have your own notions and thoughts, then it implies that you want to argue the toss with God, to take a different side to Him. You have not placed importance on the work and interests of His house. You are always trying to undermine it, always wanting to act destructively, or always hoping to take advantage, cheat, and embezzle. As such, won’t God be furious with you? (He will.) And what is the consequence of God’s fury? (Punishment.) This is a certainty. God will not forgive you; there is absolutely no chance of that. This is because the things you did undermined and impaired the work of the church, they conflicted with the work and interests of God’s house, they were a great evil, the inverse of God and a direct offense to God’s disposition—so how could God not be furious with you? If some people are not up to doing a job due to their poor caliber, and they accidentally cause some disruption and disturbance, this can be overlooked. However, if, for the sake of your own personal interests, you engage in jealousy and disputes, and deliberately do some things that disrupt, disturb, and destroy God’s work, then you will have knowingly committed sins. This will offend God’s disposition. Would He have mercy on you? God has put all His blood, sweat, and tears right here into the work of His six-thousand-year management plan. If you were to work against Him, intentionally harming the interests of His house and pursuing your own interests at the cost of the interests of His house, seeking personal fame and status, not caring about destroying the work of God’s house or causing it to be hindered and destroyed, and even causing great material and financial losses to God’s house, would you say a person like you should be pardoned? (No.) … Because of your disturbance, disruption and destruction, or because of your negligence or dereliction of your duties, or because of your selfish desires and for the sake of pursuing your own interests, you have caused the interests of God’s house, the interests of the church, and various other aspects to suffer losses, and even caused severe disruption and destruction to the work of God’s house. So, in the pages of your life book, how should God weigh your outcome? What conclusion should He make about you? In all fairness, you should be punished; this is what’s called getting what you deserve. What do you understand now? What are people’s interests? In fact, they are nothing but extravagant desires; to put it plainly, they are all temptation, they are all false, and they are all Satan’s enticements meant to tempt humans. Pursuing your interests means being an accessory to Satan’s evil ways; it means going against God. To obstruct God’s work, Satan raises up all manner of environments to tempt and disturb people. When you follow God you do not obey God, and instead collaborate with Satan, and deliberately cause destruction and disturbances to the work of God’s house. No matter how you are pruned and dealt with by the house of God, you do not accept the truth, and do not submit to the requirements God has of you. Instead, you just willfully act alone, doing whatever you please. As a result, you have disturbed the work of God’s house and done damage to its interests, seriously affecting the progress of the work of God’s house. This is a sin of enormous magnitude, and you will surely be punished by God” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part One)” in Exposing Antichrists). After reading God’s word, I was trembling with fear. I could feel God’s wrath for me. Especially when I saw God say He never forgives those who vie against Him and disregard the work of God’s house to protect their own interests, and that those who transgress seriously will be punished by God, I felt a piercing pain in my heart. All these years, God had exalted me to do my textual work. In my duty, the Holy Spirit had guided me, and God’s word had supported and supplied me. Even if I was severely judged, pruned or dealt with, it was also to purify and change me. I had enjoyed so much love from God, and I should do my duty well to repay Him. When the supervisor arranged for me to help Sister Wang, I should have done my best, but I wasn’t considerate of God’s will, and I didn’t care about the work of God’s house. I spent all my time being jealous and contending with others. Especially when I saw Sister Wang’s rapid progress, and I saw her gain the approval of the supervisor and our partners, I was jealous and angry, so I did things both openly and in secret to hurt her. I clearly knew that there were still many areas of principle she didn’t understand, but I didn’t fellowship on them to guide her. When I saw her in a bad state, I didn’t offer support or help. Sister Liu had prejudices and critical opinions of Sister Wang, but instead of resolving these, I reveled in them, and deliberately fanned the flames with my words. As a result, Sister Liu’s prejudice against Sister Wang deepened. Because Sister Wang was being excluded, she was miserable, depressed, and couldn’t do her duty normally. Thinking back on what I did to Sister Wang, and about all the hurt and pain I brought upon my sister, how could I claim to have any humanity? Through God’s judgment and revelation, I saw clearly that I was jealous of Sister Wang. I didn’t want to see her surpass me. and I didn’t want my reputation and status to be damaged. This wasn’t simply not getting along with her, it was going against God. Textual work is an important task at the church. For the sake of my own reputation and status, I had the nerve to take out my anger on the work. When I saw her state was bad, she was ineffective in her work, the people in the group couldn’t get along, and that the effectiveness of our work declined, I still didn’t reflect on myself or repent to God, and I led the way in sowing jealousy and strife. I was disrupting the work of God’s house, acting as a servant of Satan, and doing evil. For those truly considerate of God’s will, when they see someone better than them, or who works more effectively than them, they are happy, but due to my fame and status, I was jealous of Sister Wang, couldn’t stand to see her do well, and I didn’t consider the work of God’s house at all. This was nothing but a satanic disposition! Satan was upset when it saw that Job feared God and shunned evil. so it wanted to torment Job and wished he was dead. Wasn’t the essence of what I revealed the same? I longed to see Sister Wang miserable and unable to do her duty. I was so vicious and so evil!
Later, I read another passage of God’s word, “What does Satan use to keep man firmly within its control? (Fame and gain.) So, Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts, until all people can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for the sake of fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds people with invisible shackles, and they have neither the strength nor the courage to throw them off. They unknowingly bear these shackles and trudge ever onward with great difficulty. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him and becomes increasingly wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the midst of Satan’s fame and gain” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in). I didn’t have much understanding of this passage of God’s word before. Only then did I come to know how vicious and terrifying vying for fame and gain had made me. Satan corrupts people so deeply! Things like “Men should always strive to be better than their contemporaries,” “Stand out above the rest,” and “Wanting to be better than others” are all satanic philosophies that deceive people. When I lived by these satanic philosophies, I had mistaken thoughts. I liked fame and status, and I wanted to be the best in any group of people. I wanted to become the most dazzling person and gain the high regard of others. I believed this was the only way to live a worthwhile and meaningful life. Under the control of these satanic thoughts, I became especially aloof and snobbish, and even regarded my duty as a tool to compete for reputation and status, which seriously delayed the textual work of God’s house, and also caused my sister pain and misery. I saw that I had done so many evil things and played so many tricks for my reputation and status, all of it at the cost of harming the work of God’s house and the lives of my brothers and sisters! Thinking of all this, I was very afraid. Only at this moment did I realize how evil and selfish I had been. The great red dragon wildly disturbs God’s work externally and arrests brothers and sisters, yet I had done what the great red dragon wanted to do but couldn’t within the church. How could I have been so detestable? Antichrists can punish people for the sake of status, and I could also exclude and suppress people for the sake of reputation and status. I was walking the path of the antichrist. After this failure, I saw that the pursuit of fame and status is not a correct pursuit. It is a path to resisting God and perishing. At the same time, I also felt God’s protection. If God hadn’t chastened and disciplined me so harshly, and set up a situation to stop my evil deeds, my numb, hardened heart would never have awakened. I would have continued down the wrong path, and in the end, I would only be condemned and cast out by God for my evil deeds. At that point, I would have completely ruined my chance to be saved. After that, I prayed to God to say I wished to repent, and asked God to observe my heart, so that if I pursued name and status again, and took the path of the antichrist, God could reveal me, chasten me, and discipline me.
Before long, I resumed my textual work again. In the group, Sister Xiao had just started work, and the supervisor asked me to train and help her. Considering my previous failure, I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake, so I tried my best to help her. After a while, Sister Xiao made some progress. Later, I heard the supervisor say that Sister Xiao had good caliber and learned quickly, so she was worth cultivating. When I heard this, it was like a needle piercing my heart. I lost control of myself again, and I didn’t want to help her anymore. When I had this thought, the memories of my arrest floated to the surface of my mind. I quietly prayed to God to ask Him to protect my heart so that I wouldn’t take the wrong path. Later, I ate and drank of the word of God that applied to my state, and I watched a video reading of God’s word that was very helpful to me.say, “Be sure not to be someone whom God finds disgusting; be a person that God loves. So, how can one attain God’s love? By receiving the truth obediently, standing in the position of a created being, acting by God’s words with one’s feet on the ground, performing one’s duties properly, trying to be an honest person, and living out the likeness of a true human. This is enough. Be sure not to hold ambition or entertain idle dreams, do not seek fame, gains, and status or to stand out from the crowd. Moreover, do not try to be a person of greatness or superhuman, who is superior among men and makes others worship them. That is the desire of corrupt humanity, and it is the path of Satan; God does not save such people. If people incessantly pursue fame, gains, and status and refuse to repent, then there is no cure for them, and there is only one outcome for them: to be cast out. Today, if you are quick to repent, there is still time; but when the day comes and the work of God ends, the disasters will grow ever greater, and you will no longer have the chance to repent. When that time comes, those who pursue fame, gains, and status and refuse to repent shall all be cast out. You should all be clear about what kind of people God’s work saves, and what the meaning of His salvation of man is. God asks people to come before Him, listen to His words, accept the truth, cast off their corrupt disposition, and practice as God says and commands, that is, to live according to His words, as opposed to living according to human notions and imaginings or satanic philosophies, and pursuing human ‘happiness.’ If someone does not listen to God’s words or accept the truth, and still lives by the philosophies of Satan, and by the dispositions of Satan, and refuses to repent, then this kind of person cannot be saved by God. When you follow God, you have, of course, also been chosen by God—so what is the meaning of God choosing you? It is to change you into someone who trusts in God, who truly follows God, who can forsake everything for God, and who is able to follow the way of God, someone who has shed their satanic disposition, and no longer follows Satan or lives under Satan’s power. If you follow God and perform a duty in the house of God, yet in every regard set yourself against God, and in every regard do not act or experience according to His words, could you be approved by God? Absolutely not. What do I mean by this? Performing a duty isn’t actually difficult, nor is it hard to do so devotedly, and to an acceptable standard. You don’t have to sacrifice your life or do anything special or difficult, you merely have to follow the words and instructions of God honestly and steadfastly, without adding your own ideas or running your own operation, but walking the path of pursuing the truth. If people can do this, they basically have a human semblance. When they have true obedience to God, and have become an honest person, they will possess the likeness of human being” (“The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I understood from God’s word that God hopes people perform their duties in a grounded way, conduct themselves by God’s word, and no longer live under Satan’s dominance or act according to their satanic dispositions. I should let go of my ambitions according to God’s requirements, no longer pay attention to whether others think highly of me, and focus on pursuing the truth and performing my duty well. This was my proper task and the right path. Also, that I was able to grasp some principles in my duty was thanks to God’s guidance, this was the result of years of cultivation within the house of God. If I treated these things as my own private assets, hid things and kept things from others to protect my reputation and status, and stubbornly continued on the path of resisting God, I would have only made God loathe and detest me. But if I could tell others everything I knew, even though they might make progress and gain admiration while I was overlooked, I would be practicing the truth, living an upright life, and feel security and peace of mind. How was this a bad thing? When I was arrested and detained, and facing the persecution of the police, reputation, status, and the admiration of others didn’t help me in the slightest. It was God’s word that guided me in standing firm when I was besieged by Satan, and it was God’s word that gave me faith and strength. If I believe in God but can’t gain the truth, and am rejected by God, what good is it if people think highly of me? It’s not whether people think highly of me that decides whether I can be saved, it’s whether I am a qualified created being in the eyes of God, whether my corrupt dispositions have changed, and whether I possess the truth. God has never asked people to be great or famous. Instead, God likes honest people who can do their duty in a quiet and down-to-earth manner. Only people like this are truly human. Once I understood these things, my heart was brightened, and I knew how I should practice. After this, I fellowshiped about everything I understood to Sister Xiao. She indeed had high caliber. When we discussed problems together, she could always come up with things I hadn’t considered, which complemented my shortcomings, and sometimes, when I heard that the supervisor agreed with her, I was no longer affected.
Later, after the brothers and sisters heard my experience, they found a passage of God’s word that addressed my view that I deserved the credit for other people’s progress. “When God enlightens someone, this is the grace of God. And what is that little bit of cooperation on your part? Is it something you are due credit for—or is it your duty, your responsibility? (Duty and responsibility.) When you recognize that it is duty and responsibility, this is the right state of mind, and you will not have thoughts of trying to take credit. If what you believe is always ‘This is my contribution. Would God’s enlightenment have been possible without my cooperation? This needs people’s cooperation; people’s cooperation accounts for the bulk of this,’ then this is wrong. How could you have cooperated if the Holy Spirit had not enlightened you, and if no one had fellowshiped the principles of the truth to you? You would not know what God requires, nor would you know the path of practice. Even if you wanted to obey God and cooperate, you wouldn’t know how. Is this ‘cooperation’ of yours not empty words? Without true cooperation, you’re only acting according to your own ideas—in which case, could the duty you perform be up to standard? Absolutely not, which indicates a problem. What problem does this indicate? No matter what duty a person performs, whether they achieve results, perform their duty up to standard, and gain God’s approval rests upon God’s actions. Even if you fulfill your responsibilities and duty, if God does not work, if God does not enlighten and guide you, then you won’t know your path, your direction, or your goals. What ultimately comes of that? It would be a waste of effort, and you would gain nothing. Therefore, your duty being performed up to standard, benefitting your brothers and sisters, and obtaining God’s approval all depends on God! People can only do those things that they are personally capable of, that they ought to do, and that are within their inherent capabilities—nothing more. Therefore, ultimately, performing your duties in an effective manner depends on the guidance of God’s words and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, so that you can understand the path, principles, direction and goals that God has given you. These are God’s grace and blessings, and if people cannot see this, they are blind” (“The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s word, I understood that my belief that others’ progress was due to my effort was actually stealing God’s glory. God can enlighten me, and He can enlighten others. That I understood some of the principles of my duty was not due to my own effort, it was the result of God’s enlightenment and the Holy Spirit’s work. I only understood once God’s words pointed out the path and principles of practice. Without God’s enlightenment and the guidance of God’s word, I wouldn’t be able to understand any matter or problem. No matter how many nights I stayed up and how much effort I put in, it would be useless, and I couldn’t do anything well. But I thought that I deserved the credit for their progress, and that without my help, they wouldn’t have made any progress. I put all the laurels on my own head, I was too arrogant and thought too highly of myself. Many people had started out in textual work and made significant improvements without my help. Their progress is a result of God working in them. Their caliber is something innate, and once they genuinely pay a price in terms of the truth and principles, and gain the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, they can make progress. That I am now able to help my brothers and sisters is the duty I am meant to perform, and it is also God’s grace. There is nothing to admire or boast about in it. Looking back on the days I spent with Sister Wang, although I fellowshiped some principles with her at first, after that, she seriously went over things and contemplated them, so she could always receive God’s blessings and guidance. Sister Xiao was the same. Some of the ideas she raised were often things I hadn’t considered, and they actually broadened my thinking. I saw that everyone has strengths, so as long as we work hard and diligently in our duties, we can all obtain God’s enlightenment and understand some principles of truth, and only by complementing each other can we perform our duties well together.
Later, I practiced according to God’s words. I stilled my heart before God when I performed my duty, and focused on how to do my duty well and fulfill my responsibilities. Without realizing it, I focused less on whether others thought highly of me and whether I had a place in others’ hearts. When I helped my brothers and sisters, saw them progress little by little, and gradually surpass me, I wasn’t so jealous anymore, and I stopped considering my reputation and interests all the time. I felt I could accept God’s observation, turn toward God, and perform my duty. Practicing this way felt practical and easy, and I felt more joy than being admired by any others. I truly felt what God meant by saying, “The functions are not the same. There is one body. Each does his duty, each in his place and doing his very best—for each spark there is one flash of light—and seeking maturity in life. Thus will I be satisfied” (“Chapter 21” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Myself, my brothers and sisters all have different experiences, caliber, and strengths. We should complement one another and cooperate harmoniously, and play our own role in our respective duties. Working this way accords with God’s will.
Although God’s chastening and discipline came to me for pursuing reputation and status, through this experience, I gained some understanding of the nature and consequences of my pursuit of fame and status. I also realized that God’s disposition cannot be offended, and I learned how to conduct myself and perform my duty in a down-to-earth manner. This little bit of change I’ve been able to achieve is entirely the result of God’s judgment and chastisement. Thank God!