To Report or Not to Report
By Yikao, China
Almighty God says, “[F]or the sake of your fate, you should seek the approval of God. This is to say, since you acknowledge that you are a member of the house of God, you ought then to bring peace of mind to God and satisfy Him in all things. You must, in other words, be principled in your actions and conform to the truth in them. If this is beyond you, then you shall be detested and rejected by God and spurned by every man. Once you have fallen into such a predicament, you cannot then be counted among the house of God, which is precisely what it is meant by not being approved of by God” (“Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I’d like to share an experience related to these words of God.
Our church leader put me on writing duty last summer to have me help the team leader with the team’s work. I’d been dismissed from my last duty three months before, so I gave heartfelt thanks to God for another opportunity. I really treasured this chance and wanted to rely on God in undertaking this work. I was briefed on the team’s work by the team leader, and I saw they didn’t have enough hands to edit documents. This really impacted their progress. I suggested a few brothers and sisters so we could discuss who would best fit that duty. But his response was, “There’s no rush. Let’s take it easy—you put a few together first, then we’ll see.” Seeing how nonchalant he was made me nervous. There weren’t enough people in the team who understood the truth and had good caliber, and this had already impacted the work. How could he say, “Take it easy”? Wasn’t that irresponsible? I felt like I had to bring it up with him. But then I thought, “He is in charge. He’s been doing this duty longer than me and he understands more principles. He should have a good sense of how to arrange things. I just joined the team and everything is new to me. If I run off at the mouth, won’t he say I’m being pushy and out of line? Forget about it. I’ll wait and see.”
After a little while I discovered that he was really lax about training team members, and he wasn’t principled in assigning people to tasks. Some brothers and sisters would be doing a certain duty, and without a thought for the overall situation, an individual’s strengths, or what kind of duty they were suited for, he’d just arbitrarily assign them to another team. This impacted the work of God’s house and held up our progress. I mentioned to him that his arrangements were unprincipled and inappropriate, but he kept on anyway. I wanted to fellowship with him to dissect and reveal the nature of what he was doing. But then I thought, “I’m new to the team. If I’m constantly suggesting things, will he say I’m controlling and unreasonable?” I didn’t dare mention it again.
Before long, I got a letter from a church leader asking me if we’d found anyone to edit documents and if the team leader and I were working well together. This worried me a bit. I didn’t know how to respond. If the team leader found out that I’d told the church leader he didn’t do practical work, how could we possibly keep working together? On top of that, I didn’t know what the others in the team thought of him. If my perception was off, would the church leader say that I was nitpicking, that I was biased? But if I didn’t speak up, I’d feel I wasn’t being honest or protecting the interests of God’s house. After considerable thought, I decided to find out what the others thought of him first. I could respond to the letter later.
I saw Brother Yang in a gathering. He said he’d been in the team for several months, and the team leader had never been very responsible. He didn’t keep abreast of the work or follow up in a timely fashion, and he didn’t guide brothers and sisters or help them enter into the principles. There were also some urgent documents he hadn’t assigned to people in time, and he was really casual about issues other people brought up. Brother Yang also said that he hardly ever heard him share fellowship in gatherings about how to reflect on and know himself, and how to practice God’s words when he had an issue, but he just spouted some doctrine. He was a smooth talker, but he didn’t do any real work at all. I thought to myself, “It looks like he’s just muddling along without doing any real work. He won’t accept the truth or suggestions from others. Isn’t that the definition of a false leader or worker? If he keeps doing this duty, responsible for such important work in God’s house, that could really damage the work of God’s house.” This made me realize how serious the problem was and that I should tell a church leader without delay. But then I thought, “If I do report this and he doesn’t end up being replaced, he might make things difficult for me or even dismiss me from my duty. I’d been doing devotionals and self-reflection for three months. I haven’t been in this duty long. If I’m dismissed, will I get a shot at another duty? The old saying goes, ‘The nail that sticks up gets hit first.’ I shouldn’t say anything. I’ll wait until someone else reports him and then chime in. That way I won’t stick my neck out.”
I wanted to just muddle through with one eye open and one eye closed, but God sees into our hearts. I had this really uncomfortable feeling on my way home. My conscience was pricked. I felt it was the Holy Spirit reprimanding me. I prayed to God and asked Him to enlighten me so that I could know myself. After my prayer, I thought of these words of God: “[A]ll of you say you are considerate of God’s burden and will defend the testimony of the church, but who among you has really been considerate of God’s burden? Ask yourself: Are you someone who has shown consideration for His burden? Can you practice righteousness for Him? Can you stand up and speak for Me? Can you steadfastly put the truth into practice? Are you bold enough to fight against all of Satan’s deeds? Would you be able to set your emotions aside and expose Satan for the sake of My truth? Can you allow My intentions to be fulfilled in you? Have you offered up your heart in the most crucial of moments? Are you someone who does My will?” (“Chapter 13” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I had no response to this. I was really upset. I was always talking about being considerate of God’s will and upholding the church’s work, but when something really happened that violated the truth and harmed God’s house, I just upheld my own interests. I knew the team leader was slipshod in his duty and didn’t do any real work, that it had already impacted the church’s work Yes. and I should tell the church leader. But I just protected myself, afraid he’d get back at me or that I could even lose my duty. I shrunk back at the crucial moment, turning a blind eye, pretending not to know what was going on. I wasn’t upholding the interests of God’s house one bit. I was so selfish and despicable, without any humanity or reason!
When I got home, I prayed to God in seeking: “What really made me not practice the truth, and not uphold the church’s work?” I later read this passage of God’s words: “Most people wish to seek and practice the truth, but much of the time they merely have a resolution and the desire to do so; they do not possess the life of the truth within them. 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—people afterward 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 it 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? … Your satanic, corrupt disposition is controlling you; your mouth is moving in spite of you. Even if you want to give voice to honest words, you are both unable and afraid to say them. You are not able to commit even one ten-thousandth of the things you should do, the things you should say, and the responsibility you should take; your hands and feet are bound by your satanic, corrupt disposition. You are not in charge at all. Your satanic, corrupt disposition tells you how to speak, and so you speak that way; it tells you what to do, and so you do it. … You do not seek the truth, but simply pray in secret all the time, building up your determination, making resolutions, and swearing oaths. And what has come from all of this? You are still a yes-man: ‘I won’t provoke anyone, nor will I offend anyone. If a matter is none of my concern, then I’ll stay away from it; I won’t say anything about things that have nothing to do with me, and this goes without exception. If anything is injurious to my own interests, my pride, or my self-regard, I still 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 Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words very incisively revealed my cunning and selfish satanic dispositions. When I initially brought up the lack of people in the team and saw the team leader was totally unruffled and didn’t take responsibility, I knew very well that it would impact the church’s work. But I didn’t dare say more, afraid he’d say I was overstepping and would start to dislike me. Later, I saw that he switched people around without any principles, robbing Peter to pay Paul and damaging our work. I still barely mentioned it, but just glossed over it. I knew nothing had come of it, but I was afraid to deal with or expose him. When Brother Yang told me more about him, I had no doubt that he wasn’t doing practical work and wouldn’t accept the truth, that he was a false leader and I should report it to a church leader right away. Still, I was afraid he’d take my duty away from me, so I tucked my tail and ran again, just to protect my own position and prospects. I was so selfish and devious! Every time I saw one of his problems I didn’t dare expose him or tell a church leader. The work of God’s house was disrupted as a result. I’d been living by satanic poisons like “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “The nail that sticks up gets hit first,” “Might makes right,” and “The county official can’t order people around like the local one can.” My view was so absurd, and I became more and more self-interested and devious. I was on my guard and tiptoeing around in everything I did, protecting my own interests at every turn, afraid of being held responsible for any trouble caused. I couldn’t stand the thought of being at a loss. It was so hard for me to utter a true word, to say what was really going on. I didn’t have the guts to report and expose a false leader. I was firmly bound and controlled by these satanic dispositions and poisons both physically and mentally. I couldn’t tell the truth, and I had no righteousness at all. It was such a cowardly way to live. I really experienced how absurd these satanic poisons are, and when living by them, everything I did went against the truth and opposed God. I didn’t have any human likeness at all.
Just then, it came time for the church to issue its work arrangements. We were told again that if any evildoers and antichrists, or any false leaders or workers who weren’t doing practical work had been discovered, they should be reported to protect the interests of God’s house. That is the responsibility of every one of God’s chosen people. I felt terrible when these requirements from God’s house were put before me. I was well aware that we had a false leader in our team, but I hadn’t dared report him. How was I worthy of being one of God’s chosen? I looked for some words of God pertinent to my state and found this: “What is the attitude that people should have in terms of how to treat a leader or worker? If what he does is right, then you can obey him; if what he does is wrong, then you can expose him, and even oppose him and raise a different opinion. If he is unable to do practical work, and is revealed to be a false leader, a false worker or an antichrist, then you can refuse to accept his leadership, and you can also report and expose him. However, some of God’s chosen people do not understand the truth and are particularly cowardly, and so they do not dare do anything. They say, ‘If the leader kicks me out, I’m finished; if he has everyone expose or forsake me, then I will no longer be able to believe in God. If I leave the church, then God will not want me and will not save me. The church represents God!’ Do these ways of thinking not affect such a person’s attitude toward those things? Could it really be true that if the leader expels you, you can no longer be saved? Is the question of your salvation dependent upon your leader’s attitude toward you? Why do so many people have such a degree of fear? If, as soon as one who is a false leader or an antichrist threatens you, you do not dare to report it higher up and even guarantee that from then on, you will be of a single mind with the leader, then are you not done for? Is this the sort of person who seeks truth? Not only do you not dare to expose such wicked behavior as might be committed by satanic antichrists, but on the contrary, you obey them and even take their words as the truth, to which you submit. Is this not the epitome of stupidity?” (“For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Reading these words from God brightened my heart. I’d been afraid to report the team leader mainly because of my fear he’d make things difficult for me if I offended him, or that I could even lose my duty. It was as if I thought he could determine my duty or my fate. It was such an absurd way of looking at it. Whether I would be dismissed or what my fate held were in God’s hands. No human had the final say. False leaders and antichrists can’t control that. God’s house isn’t like the world. Here, the truth and righteousness reign. False leaders and antichrists can’t get a foothold in God’s house. They may gain power for a time, but ultimately, they will all be exposed and eliminated. The church had dismissed and eliminated quite a few false leaders and antichrists in the past. I saw that really clearly, but when one of those appeared in my circle and I needed to report him to protect the interests of God’s house, I shrank back. I preferred to be Satan’s little lackey. I was so weak and cowardly. I didn’t understand God’s righteous disposition, and I really didn’t see that He rules and sees everything. I was afraid of offending a man, but not of offending God. How was that having a place for God in my heart?
I read another passage of God’s words after that. “If a church contains no one who is willing to practice the truth and no one who can stand witness for God, then that church should be completely isolated, and its connections with other churches must be severed. This is called ‘burying death’; this is what it means to cast out Satan. If a church contains several local bullies, and they are followed by ‘little flies’ that entirely lack discernment, and if the congregants, even after having seen the truth, are still incapable of rejecting the binds and manipulation of these bullies, then all those fools will be eliminated in the end. These little flies might not have done anything terrible, but they are even more deceitful, even more slick and evasive, and everyone like this will be eliminated. Not a single one shall remain! Those who belong to Satan will be returned to Satan, while those who belong to God will surely go in search of the truth; this is decided by their natures. Let all those who follow Satan perish! No pity will be shown to such people. Let those who search for the truth be provided for, and may they take pleasure in God’s word to their hearts’ content. God is righteous; He would not show favoritism to anyone. If you are a devil, then you are incapable of practicing the truth; if you are someone who searches for the truth, then it is certain that you will not be taken captive by Satan. This is beyond all doubt” (“A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading His words, I could really feel God’s holy, righteous, unoffendable disposition. He will not abide false leaders and antichrists disrupting the work of His house and harming His chosen. He also hates those who don’t practice the truth, who don’t protect the interests of God’s house when those people appear. If they don’t repent, they’ll all end up eliminated and punished, too. I thought about how I knew that the team leader was a false leader, but I didn’t practice the truth or have the courage to report him. It was all for my own interests. I bowed to Satan time after time, standing on its side, indulging and shielding that false leader at the expense of the work of God’s house. I had a part in the evil that he was doing. I was enjoying the truth that God bestows and eating and drinking from His table. But at the critical moment when Satan was wreaking havoc in God’s house, I wasn’t able to protect the interests of God’s house. Instead, I bit the hand that fed me and favored an enemy. That was a betrayal of God, and it seriously offended His disposition. Thinking of these words of God, “Let all those who follow Satan perish!” left me feeling really afraid. I knew if I didn’t repent, I’d definitely be eliminated by God, along with the false leader. I saw the nature and serious consequences of failing to report a false leader and really hated myself for being so selfish and despicable. I hadn’t protected the interests of God’s house at all. I was totally lacking humanity. I then came before God in prayer. “Oh God, I’m so selfish and devious. I saw a false leader in the church that I never reported or exposed. I covered up for him and indulged him, and acted as Satan’s servant just to protect my own interests. I should be punished. God, I’ll never do something like that again. I wish to repent. Please give me strength so I can practice the truth, report and expose that false leader, and uphold the church’s work.”
I read these words from God in my devotionals the next day: “You must learn how to dissect your thoughts and ideas. Whichever things you are doing are wrong, and whatever behaviors of yours God would not like, you should be able to reverse them immediately and rectify them. What is the purpose of rectifying them? It is to accept and take on board the truth, while rejecting the things within you that belong to Satan and replacing them with the truth. You used to rely on your corrupt dispositions, such as cunning and deceptiveness, but now you do not; now, when you do things, you rely on attitudes, states, and dispositions that are honest, pure, and open. … Once the truth has become your life, if someone blasphemes against God, has no reverence for Him, is perfunctory and just goes through the motions in fulfilling his duty, or causes interruptions or disturbances to the work of God’s house, then upon seeing this, you will be able to approach it in accordance with the principles of the truth by discerning what should be discerned and exposing what should be exposed” (“Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words showed me that the most basic element of faith is having an honest heart, practicing the truth, protecting the interests of God’s house, and doing things by principle. That’s how we can bring God joy. I knew I had to practice the truth and report our team leader in accordance with principle. And so, I wrote out everything he’d done, accurately and in detail, and gave it to a church leader. After verifying everything, the church leader confirmed that he had been doing his duty carelessly and hadn’t done any real work. He was indeed a false leader and was dismissed from his duty. I felt a sense of peace when I was notified of that. That experience showed me how righteous God is, and that in His house, Christ and the truth reign. No matter how high someone’s position, how great their seniority, they must submit to the truth and to God’s words. Those who don’t practice the truth won’t be able to stand firm in God’s house. They’ll be eliminated in the end. Only being an honest person, practicing God’s words, and doing things in a principled way is in line with God’s will and gains His approval.