The Reality Behind People Pleasers

January 17, 2022

By Su Jie, China

Last October, the church assigned me to oversee the graphic design team alongside Wang Li, who I’d worked with before. She was kind of preoccupied with her image, and she’d cause problems with anyone who offended her. But we got along well enough, without any major conflict. We’d always had a good relationship. Now that we were doing a duty together again, I wanted our cooperation to go smoothly. Later she was briefing me on the team members. When she got to Sister Xin, she said angrily, “She doesn’t have good humanity and is incredibly arrogant. She not only refuses to accept suggestions, but is always talking about my problems. She doesn’t play a positive role in the team. I’ve written to the leader about her and gathered others’ assessments. She’s going to be dismissed.” I read the assessments, and most of them said Sister Xin had strengths in her duty and good caliber, but she was a little arrogant, and sometimes would cling to her own opinion. But she was able to accept things with good fellowship. Overall, she was worth cultivating. I was thinking that Wang Li’s assessment of her wasn’t objective or fair, that she shouldn’t be casually dismissed. Did Sister Xin give Wang Li feedback that made her look bad, so she became biased against her and wanted to take away her duty? If so, Wang Li should have reflected on herself. I wanted to point this problem out to her, but then I thought, She cares so much about saving face—would she dislike me after that? How would we get along if it made things awkward? So I said to her tactfully, “Sister Xin’s new to the faith, and she is a little headstrong. Her problem isn’t serious enough to dismiss her, though. Let’s help her through fellowship.” Her whole demeanor changed, and she said, annoyed, “It’s not that she’s headstrong, but she has a bad disposition. I used to think the same thing as you, but now I’ve gained discernment. Based on God’s words, she should be eliminated. Help her if you want to. You can take charge of her work.” I didn’t really know what to do. I’d just joined the team and wasn’t familiar with things. But she pushed her responsibilities onto me, and this could hold up our work. It was a pretty irresponsible thing to do. I wanted to share more of my thoughts with her, but seeing how cold she was being, I was scared of conflict disrupting our rapport, so I kept my mouth shut.

A few days later, we were getting ready to change locations because of needs for our work. Wang Li said to me out of the blue, “Let’s not take Sister Xin. She should stay here and reflect.” I thought it was strange. Wasn’t having her stay here alone a way to isolate her? How was that different from firing her? Sister Xin played a major role. That would hold up our work and it was unfair to her. I was worried. I saw Wang Li was acting out of corruption, and I wanted to expose her for abusing her power and ostracizing Sister Xin. But the last few days when we discussed Sister Xin, she was really resistant and had a bad attitude toward me, so if I dissected the problem in a more direct way, she might say I was coddling Sister Xin and being difficult with her, and become biased against me. If it drove a wedge between us and she resented and ostracized me, how could we possibly work together? I hesitated, and swallowed what I was about to say. I figured, Forget it. The truth hurts, so I shouldn’t be so direct. I should gloss over it. So I stammered out, “The leader hasn’t confirmed any change to her duty. Is it appropriate for us to leave her here? Shouldn’t we wait for the leader’s approval before dismissing her? Let’s have her come with us. That’ll also be better for us to follow up the work.” Wang Li didn’t insist after I said that. I knew I hadn’t clearly addressed her problem, and I was concerned she’d keep targeting Sister Xin. I felt guilty about it, but then I thought that since we were partners, I’d just keep watch and stop her from making a major mistake. She kept intentionally excluding her. One time, the church had a need for someone to train. Sister Xin was clearly a quick study, so the best option was to send her for training, then have her come back and teach the others. But Wang Li insisted on sending Sister Liu, who didn’t know our work well. I also learned from other brothers and sisters that Sister Xin had expressed views contrary to Wang Li’s several times, and everyone felt like Sister Xin’s ideas were better, but Wang Li refused to accept them, and insisted that Sister Xin listen to her. After Sister Xin brought up her problems in a gathering, Wang Li got angry and ignored her. When Sister Xin had problems in her duty, Wang Li wouldn’t help her with them, leaving her stuck in her work, making things hard for her. I was really uncomfortable when I heard about all this. Wang Li had always been biased and excluded Sister Xin. It was becoming really serious. It was becoming disruptive and harming the church’s work. I knew I had to talk to Wang Li. Mm. That day, I mustered up some courage and said, “You haven’t let go of your bias against Sister Xin, have you? Sister Xin is good at learning new things. You didn’t let her go, so it must be your bias against her.” The moment I said this she got a dark look on her face and said angrily, “I have let go of my bias against her, but now I have one against you. Sister Xin’s team isn’t achieving anything in their work, and it’s her problem. I told you ages ago we should dismiss her, but you disagreed.” She had no self-awareness. As a team leader, she didn’t look at herself when the team wasn’t doing well, but fobbed it off. I was mad too, and I wanted to be blunt about the nature of her actions. But seeing how resistant she was held me back. I thought that I’d given her just a few kernels of truth, but she’d taken that so poorly. If I really brought all of her problems to light, she was certain to go through the roof. That would definitely harm our relationship. It was better not to say more, and besides, I’d already admonished her a bit. Since she wouldn’t accept it, I decided to drop it. Arrangements changed after that, leaving me mainly in charge of other work. Surprisingly, a month later, Wang Li’s work was at a standstill, and team members were feeling weak and down. They said when she saw them not doing well in duty, she just dealt with them, but didn’t guide them. They all felt constrained by her, and so negative they could hardly do their duty. They also said she hadn’t been guiding Sister Xin’s work for months. They all had tears in their eyes. I couldn’t keep calm any longer. I’d seen Wang Li’s problems a long time before, but I hadn’t pointed out the nature of these issues to her. She had no understanding of her own corrupt disposition, but kept ostracizing people out of prejudice, to the point the team’s work was nearly at a standstill. I felt so guilty. When I got home, I read a passage of God’s words exposing antichrists: “To all appearances, the antichrists’ words seem especially kind, cultured, and distinguished. Anyone who violates principle, who is meddlesome and intrusive, is not dealt with, pruned, or exposed, no matter who they are; the antichrist turns a blind eye, letting people think they are magnanimous in all matters. People’s every corruption and odious deed is met with beneficence and toleration; the antichrist is not disposed to anger, would not hurt people due to rage, wrath, or because the person made a mistake. They want to show that they are long-suffering and patient, that they would not hurt or threaten anyone. But their ulterior motive is to ingratiate themselves, to make people feel admiration and approval toward their actions, toward their behavior, toward their character” (“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 Ten)” in Exposing Antichrists). This was really poignant for me. Antichrists won’t step in when they see people disrupting the work of God’s house, so they can preserve their own good image—they’re really selfish and despicable. I realized I was acting just like an antichrist. God’s house arranged for me to work with Wang Li, so we could make up for each other’s weaknesses, keep an eye on each other, uphold the work of God’s house together. But to protect my “harmonious” relationship with her, to maintain my “nice guy” image with her, I didn’t dare expose her exclusionary, oppressive treatment of Sister Xin. I saw her treatment of others was controlled by her corruption and impacting work, but I didn’t stick to the principles of the truth and step in or report it to a leader. I was afraid she’d dislike me and it would drive a wedge between us. When I got the courage to say something, I still held back, not directly and clearly pointing out the nature of her behavior. I always gave her an out. I saw exactly what she was doing to brothers and sisters, which seriously hindered the work of God’s house and brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I finally really saw that acting like a nice person, not offending anyone actually comes from slippery, crafty motives. Everything I did was to protect myself, it was all to maintain my name and status. It was to win hearts and minds, to ensnare others with the appearance of kindness. I was revealing an antichrist’s evil disposition! Reflecting on my actions, I felt really guilty, and I hated myself for being so slippery, so cunning. I’d been elevated by God to do such an important duty, but I was irresponsible and didn’t stick to the principles when I saw problems. I damaged the work of God’s house and hindered the lives of others. I was biting the hand that feeds me. I’d let down God’s commission for me. It was unconscionable! I came before God to pray and repent, ready to stop being rebellious and hurting God. I would practice the truth and protect the work of God’s house.

The next day, as soon as I brought up the situation in Sister Xin’s team, Wang Li’s demeanor changed and she started complaining about Sister Xin bringing the others down. I saw she had no self-awareness and couldn’t take feedback. Things felt a little awkward. I was thinking that I’d hardly gotten started and she was already angry. If I brought up all her problems, she’d definitely be annoyed with me. Should I? I hesitated and felt kind of constrained, so I said a silent prayer and thought about how God requires us to be honest and uphold the interests of God’s house. This gave me some courage. No matter what she thought, I knew I had to share my honest opinion. So, I severely and fairly laid out how she was oppressing Sister Xin, and fellowshiped on the nature and consequences of that. But she was having none of it. She just kept arguing over the details. She refused to accept the truth or know herself. I saw how serious her problem was, and that she couldn’t stay in that duty, so I shared this with the leader. She said she’d fellowshiped with Wang Li on this many times before, but she still hadn’t changed. Her behavior showed she was unfit for work. She didn’t have good humanity and wouldn’t accept the truth, so had to be dismissed. She wanted me to do it. I felt a flutter in my heart, and thought that her attitude toward me had been different ever since I exposed her problems. If I went to personally fire her, that would seriously offend her. Would she hate me after that? If she thought I’d reported to the leader, would she think I was targeting her? I felt conflicted and didn’t know how to face her. As I was fretting over this, I read this in God’s words: “Most people wish to pursue and practice the truth, but much of the time they merely have a resolution and the desire to do so; the truth has not become their life. As a result, when they come across evil forces or encounter wicked and bad people committing evil deeds, or false leaders and antichrists doing things in a way that violates principles—thus causing the work of God’s house to suffer losses, and harming God’s chosen ones—they lose the courage to stand up and speak out. What does it mean when you have no courage? Does it mean that you are timid or inarticulate? Or is it that you do not understand thoroughly, and therefore do not have the confidence to speak up? It is none of these; it is that you are being controlled by several kinds of corrupt dispositions. One of these dispositions is cunning. You think of yourself first, thinking, ‘If I speak up, how will it benefit me? If I speak up and displease someone, how will we get along in the future?’ This is a cunning mentality, right? Is this not the result of a cunning disposition? Another is a selfish and mean disposition. You think, ‘What does a loss to the interests of God’s house have to do with me? Why should I care? It’s got nothing to do with me. Even if I see it and hear it happen, I don’t need to do anything. It’s not my responsibility—I’m not a leader.’ Such things are inside you, as if they had sprung from your unconscious mind, and as if they occupy permanent positions in your heart—they are the corrupt, satanic dispositions of man. … You never say what you really think. It all has to be pre-edited by your brain, in your mind. Everything you say is a lie, at odds with the facts, it is all in your own spurious defense, to your own advantage. Some people are taken in, and it’s good enough for you: Your words and actions have achieved your objectives. This is what is in your heart, these are your dispositions. You are wholly controlled by your own satanic dispositions. You have no power over what you say and do. Even if you wanted to, you could not tell the truth or say what you really think; even if you wanted to, you could not practice the truth; even if you wanted to, you could not fulfill your responsibilities. Everything you say, do, and practice is a lie, and you’re just sloppy and perfunctory. Evidently, you are wholly shackled and controlled by your satanic disposition. You may want to accept and strive for the truth, but it’s not up to you: You are nothing but a puppet of corrupt flesh, you have become a tool of Satan, you say and do whatever your satanic disposition tells you to. … You never seek the truth, much less do you practice the truth. You just keep on praying, building up your determination, making resolutions, and swearing oaths. And what has come from all of this? You are still a yes-man; you don’t provoke anyone, nor do you offend anyone. If a matter is none of your concern, then you will stay away from it, and think: ‘I won’t say anything about things that have nothing to do with me, and this goes without exception. If anything can harm my own interests, my pride, or my self-regard, I will pay none of it any heed, and will approach all of it cautiously; I mustn’t act rashly. The nail that sticks up gets hit first, and I’m not that stupid!’ You are totally under the control of your corrupt dispositions of wickedness, cunning, hardness, and detesting the truth. They are running you into the ground, and have grown harder for you to bear even than the Golden Hoop the Monkey King wore. Living under the control of a corrupt disposition is so exhausting and excruciating!” (“Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Every one of God’s words went straight to the heart. With Wang Li, I was always afraid of offending her and didn’t dare practice the truth and reveal the facts. I was controlled by these satanic dispositions of being evil, cunning, and detesting the truth. “Harmoniousness is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” “Never hit people below the belt,” “When you know something is wrong, it is better to say less,” and “being frank annoys others.” These satanic, worldly philosophies had become my laws for life. I didn’t dare speak up about problems I saw, or stick to principles to protect the work of God’s house. I was cowardly. When the leader wanted me to dismiss Wang Li, it was very clear to me that it had to be done right away so the work of God’s house wouldn’t be delayed. But I couldn’t open my mouth, afraid of offending her. It looked like I was nice and didn’t want to hurt anybody, but I was actually selling out the interests of God’s house in exchange for a positive image with others. I coddled Wang Li at every turn, allowing her to disrupt the work of God’s house. I was like a shield for Satan running rampant in God’s house. I was a hypocritical, crafty person! Those satanic philosophies are just fallacies that mislead and hurt people! This society is so dark and evil, because people live by satanic philosophies. They become cowardly and hate the light. No one dares stand up, uphold righteousness and expose the truth. But those who are ingratiating and always see which way the wind blows are favored and gain power. There’s no justice or righteousness. Everyone is deceiving each other without any sincerity at all. That’s what comes of Satan’s corruption. I finally saw that these satanic philosophies are in line with human notions, but they are actually lies Satan uses to mislead and corrupt people. Living by them just makes us more and more selfish, evil, and cunning. It’s a vile and inhuman way to live.

I read a passage of God’s words in “Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing.” “If you hold nothing back, if you do not put on a front, a pretense, a facade, if you lay yourself bare to the brothers and sisters, do not hide your innermost thoughts and ponderances, but instead allow others to see your honest attitude, then the truth will gradually take root in you, it will blossom and bear fruit, it will yield results, little-by-little. If your heart is increasingly honest, and increasingly oriented toward God, and if you know to protect the interests of God’s house when you perform your duty, and your conscience is troubled when you fail to protect these interests, then this is proof that the truth has had an effect in you, and has become your life. Once the truth has become life in you, when you observe someone who is blasphemous toward God, unfearful of God, and careless and perfunctory whilst performing their duty, or who interrupts and interferes with church work, you will respond according to the principles of the truth, and will be able to identify and expose them as necessary. … When the truth holds sway in your heart and has become your life, then, when you see something passive, negative, or evil arising, the reaction in your heart is entirely different. First, you feel reproach and a sense of uneasiness, followed immediately by this feeling: ‘I can’t just remain idle and turn a blind eye. I must stand up and speak, I must stand up and take responsibility.’ You can then stand up and put a stop to these evil deeds, exposing them, striving to safeguard the interests of God’s house and prevent God’s work from being disturbed. Not only will you have this courage and resolve, and will you be capable of understanding the matter completely, but you will also fulfill the responsibility you should bear for God’s work and for the interests of His house, and your duty will thereby be fulfilled” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Reading this left me feeling both guilty and motivated. After all those years of faith, enjoying the truth through God’s sustenance, I still couldn’t uphold principles or the interests of God’s house. It was unconscionable. I had to take off my mask as a people pleaser. I couldn’t keep living by my evil, crafty corrupt disposition, but I had to practice the truth and uphold the church’s interests. After that, I went to talk to Wang Li and dismiss her. I also opened up in fellowship, listing one by one her expressions of refusing to accept the truth, oppressing people, and harming the church’s work. I stopped interjecting with nice things that were easy to take. I truly wanted to help her, to expose her problems, so she could understand her corrupt disposition and genuinely repent. She was so upset that she cried when I was done, and said she was ready to accept what God’s house arranged, to truly reflect and learn a lesson. The brothers and sisters gradually recovered after that, and the team’s work slowly started getting results. I genuinely felt the peace and ease that comes from practicing the truth. It’s the only way to live in the light.

There were some transfers later, so I started watering newcomers with a few other sisters. I saw Sister Yan didn’t have a burden for her duty, but was negligent and irresponsible, which impacted our work. I was worried about it and wanted to point it out so she could change, but since we’d just met each other and we’d gotten along so well, if I were direct about her irresponsibility in her duty, would she get annoyed with me? I realized I was thinking like a people pleaser again, so I quickly said a prayer. Then I saw a video reading of God’s words. Almighty God says, “‘And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.’ … In these brief words that God spoke, can you see anything of God’s disposition? Are these words of God true? Is there any deception? Is there any falsity? Is there any intimidation? (No.) God honestly, truthfully and sincerely told man what he may eat and what he may not eat. God spoke clearly and plainly. Is there any hidden meaning in these words? Are these words not straightforward? Is there any need for conjecture? (No.) There is no need for guesswork. Their meaning is obvious at a glance. Upon reading them, one feels entirely clear about their meaning. That is, what God wants to say and what He wants to express comes from His heart. The things God expresses are clean, straightforward and clear. There are no covert motives, nor any hidden meanings. He speaks to man directly, telling him what he may eat and what he may not eat. That is to say, through these words of God, man can see that God’s heart is transparent and true. There is no trace of falsehood here; it is not a case of telling you that you may not eat what is edible, or telling you ‘Do it and see what happens’ with things that you cannot eat. This is not what God means. Whatever God thinks in His heart, that is what He says” (“God Himself, the Unique IV” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). What God said to Adam and Eve was perfectly clear. He is sincere, not hiding anything. God’s essence is so holy. In the last days, God expresses the truth to judge and chastise man. His words directly expose and dissect the nature of our corruption by Satan, and reveal our inner ugliness and unrighteousness. They are clear and hide nothing. His words may be harsh, but it is all love, and all to cleanse and transform us, so we can know ourselves, forsake Satan, and live out a true human likeness. Satan is exactly the opposite. It is roundabout, obscure, and evil, and never directly says what it wants. It started out saying nice things, false things that sounded plausible to mislead Adam and Eve so they’d sin and betray God. I’d been living by satanic philosophies, showing an evil and cunning disposition just like Satan. To protect my relationships with others and how they saw me, I thought one thing and said another, as crooked as a snake, hemming and hawing. No one could understand what I was trying to say. It was so slippery of me. I was more like Satan than a human being! I was disgusted with myself when I realized this and I didn’t want to be a people pleaser, a fox anymore. I wanted to practice the truth and be an honest person upholding the work of God’s house. In the next day’s gathering, I opened up about the problems I saw in Sister Yan, and then we fellowshiped together after that. She was able to recognize her problems. I saw her state slowly began to shift after that, and I felt much freer.

This experience has shown me that we shouldn’t live by satanic philosophies and cheat each other, but we should be open and honest. Only this is genuine love and benefits absolutely everyone. I personally experienced that only being honest according to God’s words and following the principles is having humanity, and the way to be blessed, have peace and joy. That is being a good person. Thanks be to God!

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