What I Learned From Being Fired
By Zheng Yi, USA
Almighty God says: “People cannot change their own disposition; they must undergo the judgment and chastisement, and suffering and refinement, of God’s words, or being dealt with, disciplined, and pruned by His words. Only then can they achieve obedience and faithfulness to God, and no longer be perfunctory toward Him. It is under the refinement of God’s words that people’s dispositions change. Only through the exposure, judgment, discipline, and dealing of His words will they no longer dare to act rashly but instead will become steady and composed. The most important point is that they are able to submit to God’s current words, and to His work, even if it is not in line with human notions, they are able to put these notions aside and willingly submit” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. People Whose Dispositions Have Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words). God’s words are very practical. Only by being judged, chastised, dealt with, and pruned by God’s words can we change our satanic dispositions and achieve obedience and faithfulness to God. I always used to perform my duties with a corrupt disposition and was particularly selfish and contemptible, always protecting my face and status. After being dismissed, I gained true knowledge of my corrupt disposition from the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. I felt remorse and despised myself, and when I got another duty, I did better than before.
Last August, I was elected as a church leader and was responsible for the work of the church alongside a few other brothers and sisters. I was mainly following up on watering work, while also participating in the decision-making for church projects. We’d divided up responsibilities, but I knew that the church’s work is one comprehensive unit, and that I had to cooperate with brothers and sisters to safeguard the interests of God’s house and perform my duties properly. At first, I was really attentive in our weekly meetings. I actively participated in the discussion, and put forward recommendations. Then one day in October, the watering of newcomers was almost delayed because I hadn’t followed up in time. The higher-ups harshly pruned and dealt with me. I thought to myself that there was a problem in my work, so I was the one dealt with. If more problems came up, the leaders would see through me and say that I couldn’t do practical work, and I’d be dismissed. Then how could I show my face again? Who would look up to me? No, I had to put more effort into the work I was responsible for, and no more mistakes could be made.
After a while, the scope of my responsibilities expanded. I wasn’t good at some things, so it required a lot of time and effort to get the hang of them, but there were so many strategic decisions that needed to be discussed in every meeting, and this was taking up a lot of time. I wondered if it might affect the work I was responsible for after a while. If the work I was responsible for wasn’t effective and there were more problems, I’d definitely be dismissed, and then what would the others think of me? Weren’t other people following up on other church projects? I figured they could have their discussions, but I had plenty of work. What’s more, them finishing their work had nothing to do with me and that wouldn’t gain me any praise. But I’d be directly responsible for problems within my scope, so I should just look after my own responsibilities. After that, I put more time and effort into the main work I was responsible for and treated other work like a burden. I gave my viewpoint on anything involving my work, but I just occupied myself with my own tasks when it came to things outside that scope. I didn’t listen closely to the discussions, so when my stance on decisions was needed, I just fell in line with everyone else. When important matters needed urgent discussion and deciding, as soon as I saw that they weren’t related to my duty, I’d disregard them and act indifferent.
After a while, I kept hearing from brothers and sisters that some matters hadn’t been seen to properly and they’d been dealt with by leaders, and also that personnel arrangements weren’t in line with principles, causing losses for the work of God’s house. Some things required everyone to decide and sign off on them. Since they hadn’t been handled properly, this eventually harmed the interests of God’s house. Also, the purchase of goods for the church wasn’t seen to properly, resulting in the loss of offerings. Things like this kept happening. I figured it was a good thing there weren’t any major problems in my work. It wouldn’t fall on my head when it’s looked into. This was the kind of irresponsible attitude I had toward my duty for quite a long time and I didn’t see anything wrong with it. One day, a sister I worked with came to find me, and said I wasn’t taking on a burden in my duty or seeing the bigger picture, but I was only paying attention to my own work, and I wasn’t being proactive in decision-making. She said that was dangerous and if I didn’t turn this around, I’d be eliminated sooner or later. She said I should thoroughly reflect on my attitude toward my duty. After her fellowship, I still didn’t reflect on myself. Instead, I reasoned to myself: “Haven’t you seen all my suffering? It takes a lot to do this job well. If there are problems with the work I’m responsible for, that is on me, then what would the others think of me? They’d think I’m incapable and that I can’t do practical work. What’s more, isn’t anyone responsible for those other jobs? My participation in these decisions won’t affect anything.” But because of my carelessness and irresponsibility toward the overall work of the church and my lack of true self-reflection, God’s wrath soon descended upon me. This January, a leader came to me and said, “The brothers and sisters have said you’re not bearing a burden in your duty, that during discussions and decisions you rarely express your viewpoint, you aren’t putting forward substantive recommendations, and you don’t feel an ounce of responsibility toward the church’s work. After discussion, everyone has decided you should be dismissed.” Listening to the leader, I felt entirely in a daze, on the verge of collapse. I thought, “How can you dismiss me just like that? I haven’t been participating much in the church’s overall work, but I’ve been incredibly busy every day with my own responsibilities and I’ve suffered so much. How could you say I’m not bearing a burden? Isn’t it enough that I’ve been completing my work without issue?” For a while I couldn’t accept this outcome, but I still believed that everything God did was good, and I just lacked awareness. I prayed to God and sought His guidance so I could reflect and know myself.
I once saw a passage from God’s words that moved me greatly: “Conscience and reason should both be components of a person’s humanity. These are both most fundamental and most important. What kind of person is one who lacks conscience and does not have the reason of normal humanity? Generally speaking, he is a person who lacks humanity, a person of extremely poor humanity. Going into more detail, what manifestations of lost humanity does this person exhibit such that people say he has no humanity? Have a go at analyzing what characteristics are found in such people and what specific manifestations do they present. (They are selfish and mean.) Selfishness is one, and so is meanness. What is manifested, furthermore, in what they do? Such people are perfunctory in their actions and stand aloof from anything that does not concern them personally. They do not consider the interests of God’s house, nor do they show consideration for God’s will. They take on no burden of testifying for God or performing their duties, and they have no sense of responsibility. … There are even people who, upon seeing a problem in the performance of their duty, remain silent. They see that others are causing interruptions and disturbances, yet say nothing, and do nothing to stop them. They do not consider the interests of God’s house in the least, nor do they at all think about their own duties or responsibilities. They speak, act, stand out, put forth effort, and expend energy only for their own vanity, prestige, position, interests, and honor. The actions and intents of someone like that are clear to everyone: They pop out whenever there is an opportunity for honor or to enjoy some blessing. But, when there is not an opportunity for honor, or as soon as there is a time of suffering, they vanish from sight like a tortoise retracting its head. Does this kind of person have conscience and reason? Does a person without conscience and reason who behaves in this way feel self-reproach? (No.) Such people have no sense of reproach; the conscience of this kind of person serves no purpose. They have never felt self-reproach, so can they feel the reproach or discipline of the Holy Spirit? No, they cannot” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth). The more I read, the more heartbroken I felt. I was exactly what God described. I’d been inattentive and aloof toward my duty, paying no attention to anything outside my responsibilities. I’d only attended to my own work. I had only considered whether my desire for reputation and status could be satisfied. I hadn’t safeguarded the work of God’s house at all. Thinking back on that time, when everyone was in discussions to make decisions, I thought that any successes outside of my own responsibility wouldn’t help me look good, and if it wasn’t handled well the blame wouldn’t fall on me. So I wouldn’t participate if I could avoid it. I just went through the motions, going along with everyone else. That was careless and irresponsible. I was very diligent and hardworking in the work within my scope, afraid of being pruned and dealt with if there were a problem with it, or that I would be dismissed and absolutely discredited. In order to take care of my own work well and keep my status and image with others, I treated decision-making like a nuisance and a waste of time, keeping me from keeping up with my own work. Reflecting on my behavior, I saw that the intent behind the performance of my duty had been to satisfy myself, and that all my suffering had been for myself. I hadn’t taken on any burden or sense of responsibility to safeguard the overall work or interests of God’s house. I’d been devoid of humanity and totally unworthy of such an important commission. It was then that I fully accepted my dismissal. Although I was aware that my actions were not in line with God’s will, I still didn’t understand my own nature and I didn’t know what exactly led to my lack of a burden for my duty. I was fixated on reputation and status, and totally disregarded the interests of God’s house. I brought this problem before God in prayer after that, asking God to lead me to know the root and essence of my problem, to see my satanic disposition, so I could hate myself from the bottom of my heart.
After that, I saw a video reading of God’s words. Almighty God says, “Another hallmark of an antichrist’s humanity—beyond their having no shame—is an uncommon selfishness and vileness. How selfish are they? And what is the literal interpretation of this selfishness? Anything concerning their own interests gets their full attention: They will suffer for it, pay a price, engross themselves in it, devote themselves to it. Anything not related to them they will turn a blind eye to and take no notice of; others can do as they please—they don’t care if anyone is being divisive or disruptive. Put tactfully, they mind their own business. But it is more accurate to say that this kind of person is vile, sordid, wretched; we define them as ‘selfish and vile.’ How does the selfishness and vileness of the antichrists’ humanity manifest itself? When something concerns their status or reputation, they rack their brains over what to do or say, they do not balk at running all about, they gladly suffer great hardship. But toward that which relates to the work of God’s house, and to principle—even when evil people disrupt and interfere, and commit all kinds of evil, and seriously affect the work of the church—they remain impassive and unconcerned, as if this has nothing to do with them. And if someone discovers this, and exposes it, they say they saw nothing, and feign ignorance. When people report them, and expose them for what they really are, they see red: Meetings are hurriedly convened to discuss how to respond, investigations are held into who went behind their back, who the ringleader was, who was involved. They will not eat or sleep until they have gotten to the bottom of it and the matter has been completely put to rest; sometimes it’s even the case that they’re only happy when they’ve taken down all of their accuser’s associates, too. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not? Are they doing church work? They are acting for the sake of their own power and status, pure and simple. They are running their own operation. Regardless of what work they undertake, the kind of person who is an antichrist never gives any thought to the interests of the house of God. They only consider whether their own interests will be affected, think only of tasks that are right in front of their nose. The work of the house of God and the church is just something they do in their spare time, and they have to be prompted to do everything. The protection of their own interests is their real vocation, the things they like doing the real business. In their eyes, anything arranged by the house of God or relating to the life entry of God’s chosen ones is of no importance. No matter what difficulties other people have in their work, what issues they identify, how sincere their words are, the antichrists pay no heed, they do not get involved, it’s as if this has nothing to do with them. They are utterly indifferent to the affairs of the church, no matter how major these affairs are. Even when the problem is right in front of them, they only address it reluctantly, and perfunctorily. Only when they are directly dealt with by the Above and ordered to sort out a problem will they grudgingly do a little real work and give the Above something to see; soon after, they will continue with their own business. Toward the work of the church, toward the important things of the wider context, they are disinterested, oblivious. They even ignore the problems they discover, being evasive when asked, only addressing them with great reluctance. This is the manifestation of selfishness and vileness, is it not?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Four: Summarizing the Character of Antichrists and the Essence of Their Disposition (Part One)). Being faced with judgment and revelation of God’s words was poignant and upsetting. Antichrists only work for their own name and status, and they’re diligent in anything involving their own interests. They can suffer, and expend all their mental and physical energy for that. They ignore anything that won’t benefit them. This is a particularly selfish and contemptible nature. I saw that my behavior had been the same as an antichrist’s, and that I’d only been working for my own reputation and status in a selfish and scheming way. “Let things drift if they do not affect one personally” and “The less trouble, the better” were satanic philosophies I’d lived by. I’d only been paying attention to work I was responsible for, that could impact my reputation and status, and ignoring and disregarding work that didn’t fall within my scope of responsibility. This resulted in severe losses for the work of God’s house and the offerings to God. I saw that I’d been a selfish, self-interested, contemptible degenerate, and I wasn’t worthy of trust or confidence. Thinking back on that time, a series of problems cropped up in the church’s work, and the leaders came down on the other brothers and sisters for not doing the work properly. I wasn’t directly criticized, but I was also a church leader, and had a responsibility that could not be shirked. If I had diligently tended to and participated in work discussions, perhaps I might have discovered some of the problems, but I only wanted to save my own face and status and see to my own little set of responsibilities. I didn’t consider at all the overall work or interests of the house of God. Seeing my various transgressions in my duty and the irreparable losses I caused in the work of God's house, I was filled with regret and self-blame. God exalted me with such an important duty, giving me a chance to hone myself, so that I could learn the truth more quickly. God put everything into saving me, expending so much for me, and I enjoyed many years of God’s words’ watering and sustenance, yet I repaid this with ingratitude and didn’t want to do my duty properly or repay God’s love. All I thought about was how to protect my own face and status and my own little sphere so I wouldn’t be dealt with. I was careless and irresponsible with this important work and just stood idly by as the interests of God’s house suffered and the work of the church was impacted. I was indifferent and lacked any sense of conscience. How could I even be considered human? When a family feeds a dog, the dog will be unfailingly loyal. I was truly worse than even an animal. The more I thought about it, the more inhuman I felt, and that I was truly unworthy of enjoying God’s grace. At this time, I came before God and prayed: “Oh God, I was wrong. I’ve only considered my own reputation and status in my duty without safeguarding the work of God’s house whatsoever. I was devoid of humanity, and I was selfish and self-interested. Being dismissed today was Your righteousness, and even more, Your love and salvation of me. I’m ready to repent to You.”
Afterwards, I read a passage of God’s words from “Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth.” “What is the standard by which a person’s deeds are judged to be good or evil? It depends on whether or not you, in your thoughts, expressions, and actions, possess the testimony of putting the truth into practice and of living out the reality of the truth. If you do not have this reality or do not live this out, then you are without a doubt an evildoer. How does God see evildoers? Your thoughts and external acts do not bear testimony for God, nor do they put Satan to shame or defeat Satan; instead, they shame God, and are riddled with marks that cause God to be ashamed. You are not testifying for God, not expending yourself for God, nor are you fulfilling your responsibility and obligations toward God; instead, you are acting for your own sake. What is the implication of ‘for your own sake’? For Satan. Therefore, in the end, God will say, ‘Depart from Me, you that work iniquity.’ In God’s eyes, you have not done good deeds, but rather your behavior has turned evil. Instead of meeting with God’s approval, you will be condemned. What does one with such a belief in God seek to gain? Would such belief not come to naught in the end?” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). From God’s words, I saw that His disposition is righteous and unoffendable. God sees into the depths of people’s hearts, and if people carry out their duties with intentions other than satisfying God, lack the testimony of practicing truth, but satisfy themselves in every respect and pursue their own interests, this is not commended by God. No matter how much someone suffers in this, God does not commemorate it, but they are condemned by God as a wicked person. My intentions in my duty were wrong. They weren’t to satisfy God, but I was running my own enterprise. I was willing to suffer and expend effort for the work I was responsible for, but it was to protect my status and image in the eyes of others. I wanted to be admired for appearing to suffer and work hard, to gain people’s praise and a place in their hearts. This was essentially to entrap people, and to vie against God. This seriously offended God’s disposition. If I didn’t repent and change, I’d eventually be cast aside and eliminated by God. The duty of a leader was God giving me a chance to hone myself. Leaders are responsible for the church’s overall work, and there are plenty of problems, difficulties and issues that need to be resolved. That requires seeking the truth and principles a lot. I may make mistakes in the work and I could be pruned or dealt with, but through constant review, correction, and reflection, I will gain a lot. It’s all practical knowledge, whether it’s about God’s righteous disposition or my own corrupt disposition. But I wasn’t grateful, and I didn’t cherish this opportunity. Instead, I saw it as a nuisance and wasted this chance at being perfected by God. In such an important duty, not being responsible or collaborating with others, and not playing a role in decisions, supervision or gatekeeping, how was I really doing my duty? I was fooling and cheating God. I was doing evil.
Later on I read a passage from God’s words: “For all who fulfill their duty, however profound or shallow their understanding of the truth, the simplest way of practice by which to enter the reality of the truth is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything, and to let go of selfish desires, individual intentions, motives, reputation, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least one should do. If a person performing his duty cannot do even this much, then how can he be said to be performing his duty? This is not performing one’s duty. You should first consider the interests of God’s house, consider God’s own interests, and consider His work, and put these considerations first and foremost; only after that can you think about the stability of your status or how others see you. Do you not feel that it gets a little easier when you divide it into these steps and make some compromises? If you do this for a while, you will come to feel that satisfying God is not difficult. In addition, you should be able to fulfill your responsibilities, perform your obligations and duties, set aside your selfish desires, set aside your own intents and motives, have consideration for God’s will, and put the interests of God and His house first. After experiencing this for a while, you will feel that this is a good way to live. It is living straightforwardly and honestly, without being a base person or a good-for-nothing, and living justly and honorably rather than being narrow-minded or mean. You will feel that this is how a person should live and act. Gradually, the desire within your heart to gratify your own interests will lessen” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth). God’s words gave me a path to practice. The interests of God’s house have to come first. We have to accept God’s scrutiny and focus on seeking the truth, put aside our face, status, and personal interests, and safeguard the work of God’s house in all respects. This is the only way to act in line with God’s will and to live openly and honorably. I’d always thought that participating in decision-making for the church’s work would delay my own work, but that’s an absurd idea. In fact, as long as you focus on seeking the truth and the principles, maintain a sense of priority, and take care of critical tasks, then work won’t be delayed. And by participating in decision-making, you’ll grasp more principles, benefiting your duty and yourself. God’s house has each church elect a few leaders to be jointly responsible for the church’s work so each person can complement, supervise and keep each other in check. Especially in some complicated issues where they act as decision makers, this can prevent losses to the work of God’s house as a result of arbitrary decision-making and lack of insight, but I was careless and negligent in such an important duty. I was truly unworthy of confidence, and I deserved to be dismissed and eliminated. When I figured this out, I resolved that in the future, no matter if something is my main work responsibility, if it’s work of God’s house or involves its interests, that’s my responsibility and duty, and I should do my best to safeguard the work of God’s house. I’d stop being selfish and contemptible, only concerned with my own interests.
Later on, I was once again selected as a leader for another church. I knew that this was God exalting me. I’d been selfish and contemptible, but God’s house still allowed me to perform such an important duty. I swore I’d do it properly, that I wouldn’t selfishly only consider my own work. I was one of three leaders at that church, and each one was responsible for one portion of work. When a sister fellowshiped with me on the church’s projects, I saw a lot of things that I did not understand, that needed time and effort to learn. Every day I had a full work schedule, and sometimes I felt I didn’t have enough time. One day, that sister I worked with came to me and said she wanted me to help her share fellowship with others on some problems. I thought, “A few days before, an upper leader reviewed my work and said there was a lot I hadn’t done properly. My time is so precious. If I go and help her and my work is delayed, and this keeps me from getting results, what will the leader think of me? Will she say I’m incompetent and can’t do practical work? Will I be dismissed again?” At that thought, I realized I was thinking of my face and status again, that the work of the church is a whole and I can’t divide it. If I only attended to my own responsibilities and disregarded everything else, wouldn’t that be selfish and contemptible, and safeguarding my own interests? I couldn’t do that. I had to put aside my own interests and cooperate with this sister to resolve the church’s problems. So, I agreed to go to the gathering with her to help with fellowship. When I did this I felt at peace and felt the freedom that comes from practicing the truth. Although being dismissed from my duty was very painful for me, it also gave me a valuable lesson. It gave me a practical awareness of God’s righteous and unoffendable disposition. I’ve also corrected my mistaken views and careless attitude towards my duty. I thank God for saving me.
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