What I Gained From Speaking Honestly
By Qiu Guo, USA
Some time ago, I heard a passage of God’s fellowship, which said, “Currying favor, brownnosing, saying what you think people want to hear: everyone is likely to know what the literal meaning of these words is. People who do this are common, too. Currying favor, brownnosing, saying what you think people want to hear: most of the time this way of speaking is in order to gain people’s favor or praise, or to glean some kind of benefit. This is sycophants’ most commonly seen manner of speech, and it is fair to say that such things are manifested in all of corrupt mankind to a greater or lesser extent, and count as one of the ways of speaking of satanic philosophies” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Two)). At that time, when I heard reveal such people, I didn’t apply them to myself. Such people disgusted me, and I didn’t like them or want to spend time with them, so I thought I was better than such people. Unexpectedly, when the facts revealed me, I saw that for my own interests, I tried to please people, curry favor, and say pleasant things, which is also cunning and deceitful.
A few days ago, I went to a group meeting. After the meeting, the leader sent a message asking me how Brother Zhang’s fellowship was. Looking at the message, I was a little nervous, “Why is the leader suddenly asking me this question? How should I answer it? If I answer incorrectly, what will the leader think of me? Will my leader think I can’t even discern how well other people fellowship, that I have poor caliber, and no practical experience? If so, will the leader ever trust me and use me in important roles in the future? I might even lose my group leader position before long.” I just wanted to maintain my image and position so he would think I could discern things, so I started to wonder what he meant by it. Since he asked, he must have felt there was a problem with Brother Zhang’s fellowship, so how could I get the leadership’s approval? I felt that although some of what Brother Zhang fellowshiped was words of doctrine, in some places it was practical. But I worried I didn’t see things correctly, so I didn’t tell the leader my true thoughts. Instead, I said, “Brother Zhang fellowshiped a lot of empty doctrine.” My leader replied, “Only what he said was doctrine. Be sure to remind and help him more in the future.” After reading the leader’s reply, I thought, “Fortunately, I didn’t express my true thoughts. Otherwise, I would have made myself look bad. Then my leader would have seen through me!”
Immediately after that, I went to another group meeting. After the meeting, the leader sent me a message asking, “What did you think of Sister Liu’s fellowship?” When I saw the message, I was a little dumbfounded. My mind had wandered at the meeting, so I didn’t listen to the sister’s fellowship at all. How was I supposed to answer? If I was honest, what would the leader think of me? I remembered I heard the leader say before that this sister often spoke of doctrine, so was the leader messaging me to confirm this issue? Last time, the leader asked me because he thought Brother Zhang spoke of doctrine. I thought it might be the same reason this time. So, I answered, “From her fellowship, I didn’t hear what self-knowledge she possessed, or which of her views had changed.” After reading my reply, the leader said nothing. This time, I couldn’t calm myself, and I began to wonder, “Is the leader dissatisfied with my answer? Did I answer incorrectly? If I did, then it’s over for me. Will the leader think I have poor caliber?” In those days, this disturbed my thoughts from time to time.
A few days later, during a meeting, I read a passage of God’s words that pierced my heart. God’s words say, “Those deceitful people who act one way in front of others and another way behind their backs are not willing to be perfected. They are all sons of perdition and destruction; they belong not to God but to Satan. They are not the kind of people chosen by God!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God). I couldn’t help but think of what happened the other day, when the leader asked me what I thought of the brother’s and sister’s fellowship. I didn’t dare express my real opinion to my leader because I worried an incorrect answer would affect my image and status in the leader’s heart, so I answered in a deceitful way. I guessed what my leader thought, then tried to answer in a way that matched his thoughts. I thought I would be less prone to errors like this, that I wouldn’t expose my flaws, that he wouldn’t see through me, and my position would be more secure. I thought I was clever by fooling my leader and concealing my thoughts, but God is righteous, and God sees everything. God saw my deceitful intentions and tricks entirely clearly, and God condemned every bit of it. The more I contemplated God’s words, the more afraid I was. I wondered how my thoughts could be so evil, despicable, and shameful.
I also remembered how God revealed the “currying favor, brownnosing, saying what you think people want to hear” manifestations of antichrists, so I looked up some of God’s words. God says, “The antichrists are blind to God, He has no place in their hearts. When they encounter Christ, they treat Him no different from an ordinary person, constantly taking their cues from His expression and tone, changing their tune as befits the situation, never saying what’s really going on, never saying anything sincere, only speaking empty words and doctrine, trying to deceive and hoodwink the real God standing before their eyes. They are without the slightest fear of God. They are utterly incapable of speaking to God from the heart, of saying anything real. They talk as a snake slithers, the course sinuous and indirect. The manner and direction of their words is like a melon vine climbing its way up a pole. When you say someone is of good caliber and could be promoted, they immediately talk about how good they are, and what is manifested and revealed in them; and if you say someone is bad, they are quick to talk about how bad and evil they are, about how they cause disturbances and interruptions in the church. When you wish to learn the truth about something, they have nothing to say; they prevaricate, waiting for you to make a conclusion, listening out for the meaning in your words, so they can tell you what you want to hear. Everything they say is flattery, brownnosing, and obsequiousness; not a word of truth comes out of their mouths” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Two)). “God loves honest people, but hates deceitful and cunning people. If you act as a treacherous person and attempt to play tricks, will God not hate you? Will God’s house simply let you off the hook? Sooner or later, you will be held accountable. God likes honest people and dislikes treacherous people. Everyone should understand this clearly, and stop being confused and doing foolish things. Momentary ignorance is understandable, but refusing to accept the truth at all is a stubborn refusal to change. Honest people can take responsibility. They do not consider their own gains and losses, but rather safeguard the work and interests of God’s house. They have kind and honest hearts that are like a bowl of clear water that one can see the bottom of at a glance. There is also transparency in their actions. A deceitful person always plays tricks, always disguises things, covers up, and wraps themselves in packaging so tightly that no one can see through them. People can’t see through your inner thoughts, but God can see the deepest things in your heart. If God sees that you are not an honest person, that you are cunning, that you never accept the truth, that you are always trying to deceive Him, and that you do not hand your heart over to Him, then God will not love you, He will hate and abandon you. All who prosper among the unbelievers—people who are silver-tongued and quick-witted—what kind of people are these? Is this clear to you? What is their essence? It can be said that they are all extraordinarily shrewd, they are all extremely crafty and slippery, they are the genuine devil Satan. Could God save someone such as this? God hates nothing more than devils—people who are crafty and sneaky. God absolutely will not save such people, so whatever you do, do not be this kind of person. They who are ever vigilant and consider all the angles in their speech, who see which way the wind blows and are guileful in handling their affairs—I tell you, God loathes such people the most, people like this are beyond redemption. When people are crafty and sneaky, no matter how nice what they say sounds, it is still deceitful lies. The nicer their words, the more they are the devil Satan. So these are exactly the kind of people that God despises most. What do you say: People who are crafty, good at lying, smooth-tongued—could they receive the work of the Holy Spirit? Could they receive the illumination and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? Absolutely not. What is God’s attitude toward people who are crafty and sneaky? He spurns them, He sidelines them and pays them no heed, He regards them as of the same class as animals. In God’s eyes, such people are merely wearing human skin; in essence, they are of the same kind as the devil Satan, they are walking corpses, and God would never save them” (Identifying False Leaders).
From the words of God, I saw that antichrists have a particularly evil disposition. To achieve their own goals, even in Christ’s presence, they flatter and watch which way the wind blows, and they believe Christ won’t see through their tricks, that they can deceive Him. Therefore, they dare to blatantly deceive God, use God, and treat God like a human being. This attitude toward God is disgusting and detestable to God. Although I wasn’t in direct contact with Christ, the disposition I exposed was the same as the antichrist. In fact, my leader asking me what I thought about the fellowship of my brother and sister was a very common question, and I could say whatever I thought, but I made things complicated, and my mind made many twists and turns. I wondered if the leader was testing my ability to discern, and I feared if I made a mistake, he would despise me and no longer value or cultivate me. To maintain my image and position in his heart, I concealed my true thoughts and deliberately tried to match his meaning. My behavior was just as God’s word reveals, like a slithering snake and a climbing melon vine, twisting and turning. I treated people and got along with people in this manner, all to deceive and toy with them. I was especially cunning and tricky. And when I said these words, it wasn’t that I didn’t know. I spoke after thinking and calculating. I did it deliberately. I even thought God didn’t know about my tricks, so I dared to blatantly lie and deceive. I lacked even the slightest reverence for God, and didn’t treat God as God at all. I dared to lie and deceive other people, so if I ever came into contact with Christ, I would definitely deceive God, use God, and offend God’s disposition. These words of God’s stood out to me: “In God’s eyes, such people are merely wearing human skin; in essence, they are of the same kind as the devil Satan, they are walking corpses, and God would never save them.” These words immediately paralyzed me. God was revealing my nature and characterizing my actions. I recalled that when I interacted with others, I typically observed their words and expressions. With leaders and workers, I was especially flattering. I always tried to guess their thoughts and match their meaning, and I thought living this way was clever, because no one could see through me. But God had already seen through me, and God especially loathes and detests people like me. Now, I finally understood why God says He loves honest people and hates deceitful people. It is because the hearts of honest people are pure, as clear as water, they treat people and God honestly, and they never intentionally conceal their shortcomings or disguise themselves. Such people don’t live exhausting lives, others enjoy getting along with them, and God likes them. But deceitful people’s minds are complex, they scheme and have their own motives in everything, and very simple matters and words become very complicated with them. Deceitful people’s words and actions are all to confuse and deceive others to achieve their own goals. They live out a demonic nature, and God never saves such people. Thinking of this, I was a little scared. I saw that my own nature was as deceitful and wicked as Satan, and if I still didn’t pursue the truth and change myself, I would be cast out and punished by God. God is holy and righteous, and those who will live in God’s kingdom are all honest people willing to practice the truth. A deceitful person will never enter God’s kingdom. Thinking of this, I felt deep remorse, and I no longer wanted to live by my deceitful and evil dispositions, so I prayed to God to say I wanted to practice being an honest person and that I wanted to open up and speak honestly to everyone, no matter who. After that, at a meeting, I opened up about my despicable intentions and the corruption I displayed in these two matters. After I did this, I felt much more relieved and at ease.
After that, I wondered why I always cared what the leader says about me, and why I could lie and deceive over it. One day, in God’s word, I read, “No matter the level of a leader or worker, if you worship them for their understanding of truth and for their gifts, and believe that they possess the truth, and can help you, and if you venerate and depend on them in all things, and try to attain salvation through this, then in the end, this will all come to nothing, because the starting point is inherently wrong. No matter how many truths someone understands, no one can stand in the stead of Christ, and no matter how gifted they are, this does not mean they possess the truth—and so those who worship, venerate, and follow people will ultimately all be cast out, they will all be condemned. When people believe in God, they can only venerate and follow God. Regardless of their rank among the leadership, leaders are still common people. If you see them as your immediate superiors, if you feel that they are superior to you, that they are more competent than you, and that they should lead you, that they are in all ways a cut above anyone else, then that is wrong—it is your delusion. … If you follow God, you should listen to His word, and if someone speaks and acts correctly, and it accords with the principles of the truth, is obeying the truth not okay? Why are you so base? Why do you insist on finding someone whom you worship to follow? Why do you like to be Satan’s slave? Why not be a servant of the truth instead? This shows whether a person has sense and dignity. You should start with yourself: Equip yourself with truths of various kinds, be able to identify the various manifestations of different matters and people, know what the nature of what is manifested in various people is and what disposition is revealed in them, learn to distinguish the essences of various kinds of people, be clear about what kinds of people are around you, what kind of person you are, and what kind of person your leader is. Once you see all this clearly, you should be capable of approaching these people in the right way, according to the principles of the truth: If they are brothers and sisters, you should face them with love, and if they are not, you should forsake them and keep your distance; if they are people who possess the reality of the truth, though you might venerate them, you should not worship them. No one can take the place of Christ, only Christ is the real God. If you can see these things clearly, then you are possessed of stature, and are not likely to be duped by the antichrists, nor do you need to fear being duped by the antichrists” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Behave in Strange and Mysterious Ways, They Are Arbitrary and Dictatorial, They Never Fellowship With Others, and They Force Others to Obey Them). What God revealed was my state. Although I believed in God for many years, I didn’t have a place for God in my heart. What I focused on was people’s power and status, what I upheld was Satan’s poison of “A high official is no match for a hands-on manager,” and I always felt that God’s sovereignty and control over me was distant, as if the leader in front of me is the one who decides everything for me, and whether I was valued, cultivated, and could perform my duty at all depended on the words of the leader. Isn’t this the view of unbelievers? To gain the appreciation of their leaders and keep their positions and jobs, unbelievers please their leaders in all things and flatter them everywhere, like lapdogs with no character or dignity. What was the difference between them and me? To get my leader’s appreciation and retain my status, I always wanted to please him, and I tried my best to speculate and cater to his preferences. I became a cunning villain who watches which way the wind blows. For my own interests, I lost my human dignity and became completely inhuman. In fact, God’s house has principles in selecting and cultivating people, unlike in the world of unbelievers. The unbelievers practice “One accomplishes nothing without fawning and flattery.” As long as they can lick their superior’s boots, even without real talent and knowledge, they can win favor and get promoted. But it’s different in God’s house. The truth rules in God’s house. People are selected and cultivated based on the principles of truth. If you have good humanity, can accept the truth, your heart is turned to God, and you can protect the interests of God’s house, it doesn’t matter if your caliber is a little poor. The church will arrange a suitable duty for everyone. If you have bad character, don’t pursue the truth, and only play tricks and scheme, even if you curry favor with the leader, you will never have an important role. Once your brothers and sisters discern and see through you, you will be despised and rejected. Even if some false leaders and antichrists go against principles and promote those who fawn and lick their boots, sooner or later, they will be revealed, so they can never gain a foothold in God’s house. Once I understood this, I no longer worried about how the leader saw me. It doesn’t matter what people think of me, and whether I can continue in my duty depends on whether I pursue the truth and perform my duty well. What I should focus on now is to do my duty well, and seek the truth in my duty to resolve my problems and difficulties. This is how I should practice, and this is my real responsibility.
After that, I searched for a path of practice in God’s word and found this passage. “You all know that God detests those who curry favor, brown-nose, and tell you what they think you want to hear. So what principles should people abide by? … Be sincere: This is the principle that should be followed when interacting with God. Do not concern yourself with currying favor with God or brown-nosing; there is no need to brown-nose, it’s enough to be sincere. And what does it mean to be sincere? How should this be put into practice? (Simply opening up to God, without putting up a front or hiding anything or keeping any secrets, meeting God with an honest heart, and being straightforward, without any deceit or trickery.) That’s right. To be sincere, you must first put aside your personal desires. Instead of focusing on how God treats you, say what is in your heart, and do not ponder or consider what the consequences of your words will be; say whatever you are thinking, put aside your motivations, and do not say things just to achieve some objective. When you have too many personal intentions, you are always calculated in the way you speak, considering, ‘I should talk about this, and not that, I must be careful about what I say. I will put it in a way that benefits me, and which covers up my shortcomings, and will leave a good impression on God.’ Do you not have motivations? Before you open your mouth, your mind is filled with devious thoughts, you emend what you want to say several times, so that when the words come out of your mouth they are no longer so pure, and are not in the slightest bit genuine, and contain your own motives and the schemes of Satan. This is not what it means to be sincere. What is this? This is called having ill intentions, sinister motives. What’s more, when you talk, you always take your cues from the other person’s facial expressions and the look in their eyes: If the person has a positive expression on their face, you keep talking; if not, you hold it in and say nothing; if the look in the other person’s eyes is bad, and it seems as if they don’t like what they’re hearing, you think it over and say to yourself, ‘Well, I’ll say something that interests you, that makes you happy, that you will like, and which makes you well-disposed toward me.’ Is this being sincere? It is not” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Two)). “God does not like people who curry favor, or brownnose, or say what they think He wants to hear. So what kind of people does God like? How does God like people to converse and fellowship with Him? God likes people who are honest and frank. He does not need you to try and read Him and take your cues from Him; He needs you to be candid, and to have an honest heart. He doesn’t want you to hide anything or put up a front or pretense in your heart, He wants what’s on the outside to be the same as what’s in your heart” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Two)). God’s word makes the path of practice very clear. In interacting with God and people, you must be frank, honest, and able to speak the truth, you must not be constrained by power and status, you must not have personal motives, and you must accept God’s scrutiny and be an honest person. At that time, after reading this passage of God’s words, I thought of the asking Peter, “Simon Barjona, have you ever loved Me?” Peter answered truthfully, “Lord! I once loved the Father in heaven, but I admit I have never loved You.” Peter was pure and honest. He didn’t think about how to please the Lord Jesus, he simply said exactly what he thought. Peter’s heart was pure and transparent, so he could be honest with the Lord Jesus. What Peter lived out satisfied God and gained His approval. Once I understood these things, I saw the path of practice more clearly, and I began to consciously practice being an honest person in my life.
One day, after a meeting, my leader asked me and two group leaders about a sister’s evaluation. I was a little nervous when I heard this, and started to speculate again, “My leader wants the evaluation, so does he think that this sister has a problem? He comes to us to ask, so does he want to test our discernment? The leader said these two group leaders had good caliber, and that he wanted to cultivate them, so if I don’t see things as well as them, will I still be valued and cultivated?” That was when I realized I was about to speculate and deceive again. I thought of God’s words, “God does not like people who curry favor, or brownnose, or say what they think He wants to hear. So what kind of people does God like? How does God like people to converse and fellowship with Him? God likes people who are honest and frank. He does not need you to try and read Him and take your cues from Him; He needs you to be candid, and to have an honest heart. He doesn’t want you to hide anything or put up a front or pretense in your heart, He wants what’s on the outside to be the same as what’s in your heart.” God watches what I think and what I plan to do, and God wants me to be an honest person and say what I actually think without any disguise, concealment, or inconsistency with my inner thoughts. I had to practice according to God’s words and be honest with others. So, I directly told my views to the leader. When I finished, I felt very relaxed, and I felt practicing being an honest person put me at ease, and also made me feel calm and secure. This was something I had never experienced. I also experienced a little of the sweetness of telling the truth, and I felt this was how people should conduct themselves. Thank God!