What I Gained From Discerning an Evildoer

September 28, 2022

By Jian Yi, Japan

In August of 2015, I learned that a leader, Sister Chen, had been dismissed for not doing practical work, competing with others for fame and status, and spreading judgments about her partner among the brothers and sisters, which disturbed and disrupted church work. After Sister Chen was dismissed, through fellowship, pruning, and dealing, she gained some understanding of her transgression and corrupt dispositions, she felt especially remorseful and guilty, and she was willing to repent. Li Qin, my partner, was once Sister Chen’s partner. When she heard that Sister Chen was classified as a false leader, she said, “After Sister Chen became a leader, she acted as if she was above everyone else. She usually ignored me when I talked to her, she always disregarded others, and she was very arrogant. She even formed cliques and sowed disputes to gain status. Only an antichrist could do such things. It’s not enough to call her a false leader. She should have been classified as an antichrist.” She even planned to ask the upper leaders to redefine Sister Chen. Another partner, Xiaomin, also agreed with everything Li Qin said. At the time, I thought, “Sister Chen is self-important, and her arrogant disposition is serious, but she didn’t do any great evil, nor did she habitually cause disruptions, and after she was dismissed, she could repent, reflect, and know herself. She isn’t someone who doesn’t accept the truth at all. If we classified her as an antichrist based only on her transgression and temporary corruption, wouldn’t that be going too far? Making that determination in error would be unjustly harming a good person.” So, I shared my views with them. But Li Qin didn’t accept what I said, and continued, “You don’t understand some of Sister Chen’s behavior. We have to stick to principles. We can’t let any of the antichrists go.” At the time, I felt a little uneasy, but what Li Qin did next surprised me even more.

Then, Li Qin asked Xiaomin to collect evaluations of Sister Chen, and she did this without asking the upper leaders. Then, she privately arranged a gathering for everyone to discern and analyze Sister Chen. At the gathering, Li Qin reiterated how Sister Chen behaved arrogantly before, and also emphasized that Sister Chen acted arbitrarily, but she didn’t say whether Sister Chen revealed this corruption momentarily or consistently, nor did she mention whether Sister Chen could later accept the truth and whether she repented. None of this was mentioned. After the meeting, one sister noticed that this gathering was meant to pillory Sister Chen, and she made a point to remind Xiaomin, “What are you trying to achieve by doing this? Is this in line with God’s will? Without sufficient evidence, you can’t arbitrarily characterize others. It’s all too easy to offend God like this.” Xiaomin was a little afraid after hearing this, and she also thought treating Sister Chen like this was over the line, so she told Li Qin and me about her doubts. She replied angrily, “Every time we want to practice the truth, Satan disturbs us.” Finally, she analyzed Sister Chen’s behavior again, and emphasized that because Sister Chen was jealous of her partner, she formed a clique, judged, and suppressed her. Li Qin also said she acted arbitrarily, didn’t discuss things with others, dismissed people at will…. The behaviors Li Qin talked about were very serious, so Xiaomin was convinced, and again stood with Li Qin. At this time, I was also a little unsure. What if Li Qin’s view was correct? Especially when I heard Li Qin use God’s words revealing antichrists’ forming cliques to give plausible-sounding fellowship, I was even more confused. I felt like her analysis might be right. Could it be that the upper leaders couldn’t discern her, mistakenly judged an antichrist as a false leader, and let her remain in the church? If that were the case, had I not become someone who spoke for an antichrist without discerning the antichrist? I might not be able to keep my position, and I would be accused of defending an antichrist. Then, my reputation would be ruined. I thought I might be better off standing with Li Qin and Xiaomin. That way, if I was wrong, it wouldn’t be my fault alone. That would be better than being revealed as wrong and bearing all the blame myself. Just as I was about to agree with them, I felt a little uneasy. I thought that since things weren’t clear yet, I couldn’t simply listen to someone’s words. If Sister Chen wasn’t an antichrist, and I blindly followed others in characterizing her, I would be arbitrarily condemning and ruining someone, which is something that offends God. Once a transgression is made, it can never be erased. Due to my sense of reproach, I didn’t follow Li Qin.

After that, I sought truth about how to discern antichrists. In God’s word I read, “A person who has only the disposition of an antichrist cannot be classified as an antichrist. Only those who have the nature and essence of antichrists are genuine antichrists. To be sure, there are differences in the outward humanity of the two, and under the governance and functioning of different sorts of humanity, the stances those people take toward the truth are likewise not the same—and when the stances people take toward the truth are not the same, the roads they choose are different; and when the roads people choose are different, the resulting principles and consequences of their actions also have their differences. Because a person with the disposition of an antichrist has a conscience at work, and has reason, and knows shame, and loves the truth, relatively speaking, when they reveal their corrupt disposition, there is reproval for it in their heart. At such times, they can reflect on themselves and know themselves, and they can admit to their corrupt disposition and their disclosure of corruption, thus enabling them to forsake the flesh and their corrupt disposition, and come to practice the truth and submit to God. With an antichrist, however, this is not the case. Because they have no conscience at work or conscientious awareness, and less still do they know shame, when they reveal their corrupt disposition, they do not measure according to God’s words whether their disclosure is right or wrong, or whether theirs is a corrupt disposition or a normal humanity, or whether it in fact accords with the truth. They do not reflect on these things. So, how do they behave? They invariably maintain that the corrupt disposition they reveal and the road they choose are the right ones. They think whatever they do is right, that whatever they say is right; they are bent on safeguarding themselves. And so it happens that, however great a wrong they may do, however severe the corrupt disposition they may reveal, they will not recognize the gravity of the matter, and they certainly will not be cognizant of the corrupt disposition they have revealed. Neither, of course, will they put their desires aside, forsake their ambition, or rebel against their corrupt disposition in favor of choosing such a path as that of obedience to God and the truth. One can see from these two different outcomes that a person with an antichrist’s disposition has a chance to attain an understanding of the truth and to practice it, and to attain salvation, whereas the sort of person with the essence of an antichrist cannot understand the truth or put it into practice, nor can they attain salvation. That is the difference between the two” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Excursus Five: Summarizing the Character of Antichrists and the Essence of Their Disposition (Part Two)). “Some leaders and workers have, in the past, often revealed antichrist dispositions: They were wanton and arbitrary, it was always their way or the highway. But they didn’t commit any obvious evils and their humanity was not terrible. Through being pruned and dealt with, through brothers and sisters helping them, through being transferred or replaced, by being negative for a time, they finally become aware that what they revealed before were corrupt dispositions, they become willing to repent, and think, ‘No matter what, what is most important is to persist in performing my duty. Though I was walking the path of the antichrist, I wasn’t classed as one. This is God’s compassion, so I must be good in my belief, I must pursue in earnest. There’s nothing wrong with the path of pursuing the truth.’ Bit-by-bit, they turn themselves around, and then they repent. There are good manifestations in them, they are able to seek the principles of the truth when performing their duty, and seek the principles of the truth when engaging with others, too. In every regard, they are heading in a better direction. Have they not then changed? This is turning from walking the path of the antichrist to walking the path of practicing and pursuing the truth. There is hope and a chance for them to attain salvation. Can you class such people as antichrists because they once exhibited some manifestations of an antichrist or walked the path of the antichrists? No. Antichrists would rather die than repent. They have no sense of shame; they are vicious and evil of disposition, and they are sick of the truth in the extreme. Can someone who is so sick of the truth put it into practice, or repent? That would be impossible. Their absolute sickness of the truth determines that they will never repent” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Eight: They Would Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God (Part One)). Genuine antichrists have a vicious disposition, poisonous humanity, and are evildoers. They have no conscience and no shame, and no matter how much evil they do, or how much harm they cause to the church’s work or the life entry of others, their conscience is unbothered. They are weary of and hate the truth to an extreme degree, they never accept it, and they never admit their mistake or repent no matter how much evil they have done. But people with antichrist dispositions aren’t evil in humanity or evildoers in essence. Although sometimes they have antichrist manifestations, such as being arbitrary, acting alone, and rejecting dissent, through pruning and dealing, or dismissal and adjustment, they can seek the truth and reflect on themselves, feel remorse for their wicked deeds, and afterward, genuinely repent and change. Some false leaders can reflect and understand themselves after being dismissed several times, and ultimately, they can walk the path of pursuing the truth. If we determine them to be antichrists because some of their behaviors resemble those of antichrists, we are unjustly accusing them. After that, I reread Li Qin’s collection of files on Sister Chen’s behaviors, and I found most were just showing corruption, like being arrogant, looking down on others, doing things arbitrarily, transferring people without discussing it with co-workers, and so on. She also drew in her brothers and sisters to judge her partner, which disrupted church life—this certainly was an evil deed, but it wasn’t her habitual behavior. In the past, she had never suppressed or judged others. After her dismissal, she was able to reflect on her transgression and corrupt disposition, and she could hate herself and repent. She wasn’t someone who refused to change or accept the truth. Based on this, she only had some antichrist manifestations, not an antichrist essence. If she was named an antichrist because of this transgression, it would be exaggerating things, and not in line with the principles of truth. It would be suppressing and condemning her, which is an evil deed.

After that, the upper leaders again spoke to us on the difference between corrupt manifestations and essences. I thought, “Now Li Qin should understand, and won’t cling to this anymore.” Unexpectedly, after the gathering, Li Qin said to us, “The upper leadership is protecting Sister Chen. They don’t look at problems according to the essence of Sister Chen’s behaviors. I don’t know if it’s because they think Sister Chen has some caliber that they are shielding her.” I thought, “Why is Li Qin seizing on this one transgression of Sister Chen and not letting go? Didn’t the leaders just fellowship clearly? Sister Chen’s behavior was just showing corruption. It was a temporary transgression. She can’t be classified as an antichrist at all.” But Li Qin and her clique couldn’t accept it. She also said that if the leaders wouldn’t handle Sister Chen, they would report it further up. Li Qin’s attitude was so stubborn, and the other two partners were also on her side. I was the only one who disagreed with them. This left me very troubled. If I continued to approve of how my leaders handled things, would Li Qin and her clique say I worshiped status, lacked discernment, and parroted whatever the leaders said? But if I agreed with their point of view, wouldn’t I be blindly condemning someone? I thought my best option would be to say I didn’t know how to discern. That way, they wouldn’t know my actual views, and wouldn’t say I lacked discernment or stood on the side of an antichrist. So, in a faltering tone, I said, “I don’t know enough about Sister Chen’s behavior, so I don’t know how to classify her.” Li Qin’s expression changed immediately when she saw that I didn’t follow her. Afterward, they deliberately avoided me when they discussed reporting Sister Chen. I felt like I was being isolated, and it was very uncomfortable, “Did I do something wrong? Why are they treating me like this?” This was disturbing for me, and I couldn’t be calm in doing my duty. I worried they would say I understood the truth too shallowly and lacked discernment. Would they continue to reject me over this? When I thought about this, my heart sank even more, “Forget it, if they won’t listen to my suggestions and don’t want me involved, then I won’t unnecessarily involve myself, and they won’t make up reasons to have me dismissed for offending them. They can treat Sister Chen however they want. It’s none of my business.” But after I made that choice, I felt rebuke in my heart, “Aren’t I running away? I’m not safeguarding the work of the church.” Later, I opened up and fellowshiped about my state with my leaders, and they reminded me to seek God’s will and uphold the work of the church, and that if I passively withdrew, or even wanted to escape because Li Qin was isolating me, I would be ignoring my responsibility. After hearing what the leaders said, I realized I was only considering my personal interests. I saw that Sister Chen was being suppressed, but I didn’t care. I wanted to run away to avoid being excluded. I was so selfish and despicable! Later, I read a passage of God’s words, and only then did I see my nature a little more clearly. God says, “What disposition is it when people take no responsibility toward their duty, do it in a careless and perfunctory manner, act like yes-men, and do not defend the interests of the house of God? This is cunning, it is the disposition of Satan. The most striking item in man’s philosophies for living is cunning. People think that if they are not cunning, they will be liable to offend others and unable to protect themselves; they think they must be cunning enough not to hurt or offend anyone, thereby keeping themselves safe, protecting their livelihoods, and gaining a firm foothold among the masses. Unbelievers all live by Satan’s philosophy. They are all yes-men and do not offend anyone. You have come to the house of God, read the word of God, and listened to sermons of God’s house. So why are you always a yes-man? Yes-men only protect their own interests, and not the interests of the church. When they see someone do evil and harm the church’s interests, they ignore it. They like to be yes-men, and do not offend anyone. This is irresponsible, and that kind of person is too cunning and untrustworthy. To protect their own vanity and reputation, and maintain their good name and status, some people are happy to help others and sacrifice for their friends no matter the cost. But when they need to protect the interests of the house of God, the truth, and justice, they harbor no such good intentions, which have completely disappeared. When they should practice the truth, they do not. What is going on? To protect their own dignity and reputation, they will pay any price and suffer anything. But when they need to do real work, protect positive things, and protect and provide for God’s chosen people, why do they no longer have the strength to pay any price and suffer anything? That is inconceivable. Actually, they have a kind of disposition that is sick of the truth. Why say that their disposition is sick of the truth? Because whenever something involves bearing witness for God, practicing the truth, protecting God’s chosen people, fighting against Satan’s deceptions, or protecting positive things, they flee and hide, and don’t do what is proper. Where is their heroic manner and spirit to endure suffering? Where do they use them? This is easy to see. Even if someone criticizes them and says they should not be so selfish and contemptible, and protect themselves, they don’t really care. They say to themselves, ‘I don’t do those things, and they do not apply to me. What good would acting like that be for my fame and status?’ They are not a person who pursues the truth. They like to seek fame and status, and simply do not do the work that God has entrusted to them. So when they are needed to do the work of the church, they choose to flee. In their hearts, they are not fond of positive things, and are not interested in the truth. This clearly shows that they are sick of the truth. Only those who love the truth and possess the reality of the truth can step forward when required by the work of God’s house and the chosen ones, only they can stand up, bravely and bound by duty, to testify to God and fellowship the truth, leading God’s chosen ones onto the right track, and allowing them to attain obedience to God’s work; and only this is an attitude of responsibility and the manifestation of caring about God’s will” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 2, Knowing One’s Disposition Is the Foundation of Changing It). Through God’s word, I saw that I was especially cunning and deceitful. Li Qin and the others wanted to classify Sister Chen as an antichrist. I obviously didn’t agree with them, and I also knew they were unjustly and arbitrarily condemning Sister Chen, but I feared offending them and being condemned or dismissed by them. To protect my status and prestige, I changed my words and said something ambiguous. I didn’t dare to hold the correct point of view at all. In everything I schemed for my own interests and tried to protect myself, I didn’t protect the work of the church, and I didn’t consider how much they could disrupt the work of the church. In a major matter involving the church’s work and the life entry of my brothers and sisters, I pretended to be confused so that no one was offended or hurt, and to keep my position, I went with the flow and spoke against principles. I really was too cunning. I was not only cunning, I was weary of the truth. I knew practicing the truth and protecting church work is a righteous and positive thing, but when I saw that my own interests were to be threatened, I didn’t practice it, and even thought I would suffer for maintaining righteousness. Wasn’t this precisely a dislike of positive things and the truth? I felt very remorseful and guilty.

After that, my leaders reminded me that after Sister Chen’s dismissal, Li Qin had been reporting her as an antichrist, and wouldn’t stop until she was expelled, which was no longer an ordinary manifestation of corruption. If Li Qin’s intention was really to discern an antichrist and maintain the work of the church, but she couldn’t discern accurately, then after the leaders fellowshiped on the principles of truth, she should have been able to see her mistakes and correctly view Sister Chen’s transgression. Instead, she didn’t accept the fellowship at all and wouldn’t let go of Sister Chen, which has the essence of suppressing and punishing people. The leaders asked me to investigate Li Qin and find out the truth of the matter, and I agreed. But when I was going to ask others about the matter, I wanted to withdraw again. At this point, it wasn’t just Xiaomin who didn’t discern Li Qin. Even some brothers and sisters in the church stood on her side. If I tried to find out the truth of the matter in secret, and they told Li Qin about my investigation, would Li Qin and her clique try to remove me? As soon as I thought about this, I started to feel conflicted again. Later, I remembered God’s words, “All 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? Ask yourself these questions, and think about them often” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 1, Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 13). God’s words stirred my heart. In the face of God’s questions, I felt I was a timid coward. Whenever things happened, I wanted to run away. I wasn’t considerate of God’s burden at all. I didn’t protect church work for fear that I would offend others and harm myself. I was so selfish and despicable! God’s words awakened me. God had set up this environment to test me. Li Qin’s behavior was causing a disturbance in church life. If I didn’t stand up now, Li Qin would cause even greater harm to the work of the church. My timidity and fear were a lack of faith in God. I didn’t believe everything was in God’s hands, so I always feared being suppressed by others. God is righteous, the truth rules in God’s house, and negative people and evildoers can never find footing here, but my faith was too small. So, I came before God and prayed, “God, I have fear and timidity in my heart. Please give me faith so that I can stand up to safeguard church work.” After I prayed, I thought of a group leader who was rather upright and had some discernment. So I asked him to work with me in investigating the matter. After we verified Li Qin’s reports of Sister Chen’s antichrist manifestations, we couldn’t help but gasp at what we found. We discovered that some of these reports were not factual. In some, she had shown corruption, but these weren’t problems of essence. In condemning Sister Chen as an antichrist based on these things, wasn’t she twisting the facts to suppress Sister Chen? The deacon of general affairs also saw that Li Qin was unrelenting toward Sister Chen, and reminded and warned her not to do evil, but Li Qin was indifferent, and still clamored to condemn Sister Chen as an antichrist. We saw that Li Qin hated Sister Chen so much that she wanted her expelled, so we started looking into Li Qin’s partnership with Sister Chen and discovered that when they were partners, because Sister Chen’s caliber and work ability were much better than hers, the upper-level leaders entrusted a lot of important work to Sister Chen. Li Qin thought Sister Chen stole her limelight, so she was jealous and dissatisfied with Sister Chen. Sister Chen also often pointed out problems in her work, so Li Qin felt that Sister Chen looked down on her, and held a grudge against her, and she was always looking for a chance to get revenge. When it happened that Sister Chen violated principles and was shown to be a false leader, Li Qin wanted to take the chance to characterize Sister Chen as an antichrist and expel her. At first, I always felt she condemned Sister Chen because she didn’t understand the truth. Now, I saw that Li Qin’s desire for revenge was so strong that she was distorting the facts to confuse and draw people in to condemn Sister Chen with her. The essence of this was so evil!

Afterward, through the revelation in God’s word, I saw Li Qin’s essence more clearly. God says, “What is a dissenter? Who are the people an antichrist views as dissenters? At a minimum, they are those who do not take the antichrist seriously as a leader; they are those who do not look up to them or worship them, who treat them as an ordinary person. That is one sort. Then there are those who love the truth, pursue the truth, pursue a change in their disposition, and pursue the love for God; they take a different road from that of an antichrist, and they are dissenters in the antichrist’s eyes. Beyond that, any who dare offer the antichrist their suggestions and expose them, or whose views are different from theirs, are seen by them as dissenters. And there is another sort: those who equal the antichrist in caliber and ability, whose capacity for speech and action is similar to theirs, or whom they see as above them and able to identify them. To an antichrist, this is beyond the pale, a threat to their status. Such people are the antichrist’s greatest dissenters. The antichrist does not dare neglect such people or slacken in the least. They consider them as thorns in their side, and they are vigilant and guarded against them at all times. They avoid them in everything they do. When the antichrist sees that a dissenter is going to identify and expose them, a special panic grips them; they are desperate to exclude and attack such a dissenter, such that they will not be satisfied until they have removed that dissenter from the church. … For an antichrist, the dissenter is a threat to their status and power. Whoever threatens their status and power, no matter who it may be, antichrists will go to any lengths to ‘take care’ of them. If these people truly cannot be brought to heel or incorporated into their own forces, then the antichrists will bring them down or purge them. In the end, the antichrists will achieve their goal of having absolute power, and being a law unto themselves. This is one of the techniques that antichrists habitually use to maintain their status and power—they attack and exclude dissenters” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Two: They Attack and Exclude Dissenters). “When a ferocious person is faced with any kind of well-intentioned exhortation, accusation, teaching or help, their attitude is not to thank or accept it humbly, but instead to become enraged, and to feel extreme hatred, enmity, and even a desire for revenge. … Of course, when they retaliate against another because of hatred, it is not because they have an old grudge, but because that person has exposed their mistakes. This shows that regardless of who does so, and regardless of their relationship with the antichrist, merely the act of exposing them can trigger their hatred and instigate their revenge. It does not matter who it is, whether the person who does so understands the truth, or whether they are a leader or worker or an ordinary member of God’s chosen people. Should anyone expose, prune, and deal with the antichrist, they will treat that person as an enemy, and even openly say, ‘If anyone deals with me, I’ll go hard on them. If anyone deals with me, prunes me, exposes my secrets, gets me expelled by the house of God, and robs me of my share of blessings, I’ll never leave them be. That’s how I am in the secular world: No one dares give me trouble, the person who dares to bother me hasn’t been born yet!’ These are the type of angry words antichrists speak when they face being pruned and dealt with. When they speak these angry words, it isn’t to intimidate others, nor is it venting to protect themselves. These are genuine promises of wickedness, and they can stoop to any means available to them. This is the ferocious disposition of antichrists” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Nine: 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 Eight)). Only through the revelation of God’s word did I clearly see Li Qin’s motives. She said she wanted to safeguard the church’s work and not let an antichrist go, but she was using public justice for private revenge. Merely because Sister Chen pointed out the deviations in her work, she felt resentment, so she used Sister Chen’s dismissal to cause such a fuss, and seized on Sister Chen’s momentary transgression to characterize her as an antichrist. After our leaders fellowshiped clearly on the difference between corruption and evildoing, she wouldn’t let go, she still tried every means to gather information about Sister Chen. She exaggerated and indiscriminately condemned Sister Chen, and she deceived and drew the brothers and sisters into joining her condemnation, in her attempt to remove Sister Chen. When the leaders didn’t handle Sister Chen as she hoped, she became dissatisfied, and also spread judgments among the co-workers that the leaders were shielding Sister Chen, deceiving some into standing with her and being prejudiced against the leaders. When I put forward a different view on Sister Chen, she rejected and isolated me. When some brothers and sisters reminded and warned her, she not only didn’t accept it, she said it was Satan’s disturbance. From these facts, we saw that Li Qin hated the truth and had a very vicious disposition. If anyone discerned her or posed a threat to her status, she became hostile to them, attacked, excluded, punished, and retaliated against them. Li Qin was an evildoer. After that, I reported the facts I learned to the leaders, who then dismissed Li Qin, put her in isolation, and observed her behavior, so that if she caused further disturbance, she would be expelled. Through fellowship, Xiaomin also gained discernment of Li Qin. When she saw that she had followed Li Qin in doing evil, she was remorseful and hated herself.

Although this happened a long time ago, when I think about how, during this process, I would rather see church work suffer losses to safeguard my own interests, I feel very ashamed! Without God arranging for my brothers and sisters to help and fellowship with me, I wouldn’t even have had the courage to protect the church’s work. It was God’s word that gave me the principles of practice. No matter how much truth I understand, if the interests of the church are involved, I have to stand up and defend them. This is an unshirkable responsibility.

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