Now I Know What Good Humanity Really Is

October 17, 2022

By Mu Yan, China

My parents and teachers taught me since I was little that with others, harmony is precious, and we should be reasonable and understanding. We can’t say things that damage relationships, and we have to let people save face. “Never hit people below the belt” and “Be lenient wherever it is possible” are the only ways to get along well with others. So since I was little, I took these worldly philosophies as my rules to live by, always considering people’s sense of pride and hardly ever arguing with others. Acting that way won me a lot of praise. After becoming a believer, since I didn’t know the truth, I kept treating these worldly philosophies, moral standards as rules to live by, even thinking that doing these things was possessing normal humanity like God requires and being a good person. It wasn’t until I was exposed through some failure that I saw from God’s words that this traditional thinking isn’t the truth at all, and it really isn’t the standard for having good humanity. Only God’s words should be the criteria for our actions.

This January, some brothers and sisters told me that Sister Xu, a church leader, held people back and didn’t get real work done, so I went to look into it. I found out that though Sister Xu had some talents and some capabilities, she hadn’t gotten much practical work done during her time as leader and the projects she was responsible for weren’t ever very successful. She also showed off a lot to gain others’ admiration and wanted quick and easy gains. She’d appointed quite a few inappropriate people as team leaders and supervisors, violating principle, causing disruptions and holdups in the church’s work. Brothers and sisters had made suggestions to her many times, but she wouldn’t accept them and didn’t have any self-awareness after the fact. Based on her consistent performance, it was certain she was a false leader who should be dismissed. So I planned to write a letter informing the upper leader about Sister Xu’s issues. After writing it, I thought about how Sister Xu was generally really caring toward me and trusted me, so if she knew I’d investigated and reported her issues, would she bear a grudge against me? Would it ruin her good impression of me? I felt really conflicted when I thought about it that way. And so, I gave myself an excuse: Maybe Sister Xu had been in a bad state recently, so I could give her fellowship and support, then see if she made a change. I didn’t send that report letter. I set up a time to meet with Sister Xu and I prepared to expose her issues. But when we met, I saw she wasn’t in a good state, and she said in tears that she’d been living in the pain of fighting for name and gain. It got to the tip of my tongue, then I just swallowed it back. She was having such a hard time, so if I picked at her sore spot, wouldn’t that be adding salt to the wound? Then if I told the leader about her problems and the leader dismissed her, would she accuse me of being heartless? I hesitated over and over, and in the end just glossed over her pursuing name and status, and appointing people against principle, then ended our gathering.

After getting home I edited the letter I’d already written up, saying Sister Xu was overly concerned with name and status and lacked life entry, that I’d fellowshiped with her and she wanted to repent, and I suggested ongoing help and fellowship. After sending off the letter I had this consistent, uneasy feeling of guilt. I knew very well that I hadn’t told the truth. I read something in God’s words. “Once the truth has become life in you, when you observe someone who is blasphemous toward God, unfearful of God, and careless and perfunctory while performing their duty, or who interrupts and interferes with church work, you will respond according to the principles of the truth, and will be able to identify and expose them as necessary. If the truth has not become your life, and you still live within your satanic disposition, then when you discover wicked people and devils who cause interruptions and disturbances to the work of the church, you will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear; you will brush them aside, without reproach from your conscience. You will even think that anyone causing disturbances to the work of the church has nothing to do with you. No matter how much the work of the church and the interests of the house of God suffer, you don’t care, intervene, or feel guilty—which makes you someone who has no conscience or sense, a nonbeliever, a service-doer. You eat what is God’s, drink what is God’s, and enjoy all that comes from God, yet feel that any harm to the interests of the house of God is not related to you—which makes you a traitor who bites the hand that feeds you. If you do not protect the interests of the house of God, are you even human? This is a demon that has insinuated itself into the church. You feign belief in God, pretend to be a chosen one, and you want to freeload in God’s house. You are not living the life of a human being, and are clearly one of the nonbelievers. If you are someone who truly believes in God, then even if you have yet to gain the truth and life, at the very least you will speak and act from the side of God; at the very least, you will not stand idly by when you see the interests of the house of God being compromised. When you have the urge to turn a blind eye, you will feel guilty, and ill at ease, and will say to yourself, ‘I can’t sit here and do nothing, I must stand up and say something, I must take responsibility, I must reveal this evil behavior, I must stop it, so that the interests of the house of God are not harmed, and the church life is not disturbed.’ If the truth has become your life, then not only will you have this courage and resolve, and will you be capable of understanding the matter completely, but you will also fulfill the responsibility you should bear for God’s work and for the interests of His house, and your duty will thereby be fulfilled(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Those Who Truly Submit to God Have Hearts of Fear for Him). God’s words were really poignant for me. The church put me in charge of report letters, hoping I could consider God’s will and stand up for justice, that when false leaders, antichrists, and evildoers upset the church’s work, I would uphold the principles of the truth and stand up to expose them, protecting church work. That was my duty, my responsibility. At that point I had already discerned Sister Xu as a false leader. Many projects she took charge of seriously declined in productivity and there still hadn’t been real change after fellowship. If she wasn’t dismissed soon, it would cause even greater losses to the church’s work. But I was afraid that if she found out I’d looked into and reported her issues, getting her dismissed, she’d say I was unfeeling. Especially after seeing she was feeling bad and crying, I was worried that if I revealed her issues then, she would say I wasn’t understanding of her struggles, and then hate me. So I hid the real situation and didn’t report her actual problem, choosing the middle road with one eye open and one eye closed, covertly covering up for a false leader with no regard for whether the church’s work or the brothers’ and sisters’ life entry was harmed. In my faith I enjoyed the watering and sustenance of God’s words, but I was favoring outside interests, biting the hand that feeds me. I was so selfish and vile, without the slightest humanity. At this thought, I was full of regret and guilt over what I’d done. I hated how selfish and cunning I’d been.

I read another passage of God’s words later on. “No matter how well someone fakes it, no matter how presentable or becoming their behavior, how nicely or beautifully they package themselves, or how deceptive they are, what cannot be denied is that each and every corrupt person is filled with satanic disposition. Under the mask of this outward behavior, they still resist and rebel against God, resist and rebel against the Creator. … In short, to be a person of good behavior who conforms to the traditional notions of morality is not to pursue the truth; it is not the pursuit of being a true created being. On the contrary, many dark and unmentionable secrets are hidden behind the pursuit of these good behaviors. No matter what sort of good behavior man pursues, the goal behind it is none other than to win more people’s affection and respect, to increase their own standing, and to make people think they are respectable and worthy of trust and commission. If you pursue being such a well-behaved person, is this not in quality the same as those who are famous and great? If you are a person who is merely well-behaved, but does not love God’s word and does not accept the truth, then in quality, you are the same as they. And what is the result? What you have forgone is truth; what you have lost is your chance at salvation. This is the most foolish of behavior—it is an idiot’s choice and pursuit. Have you ever wished to be that great, famous, larger-than-life person on stage, whom you have admired for so long? That sweet and approachable person? That courteous, genial, academic person? That person who, from the outside, looks to be friendly and lovely? Have you not followed people like this before? (Yes.) If you are still following people like this now, still idolizing people like this, let Me tell you: You are not far from death, because the people you idolize are evil people who pretend to be good. God will not save evil people. If you idolize evil people and do not accept the truth, in the end you will be destroyed, too(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (3)). I was steeped in and influenced by traditional culture since I was a little girl, taking “Never hit people below the belt,” “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever it is possible,” “Keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes for a long and good friendship” and other satanic philosophies as my standards for behavior and for evaluating people’s humanity. After gaining faith, I kept considering others’ pride in all my interactions with brothers and sisters, rarely directly pointing out faults and shortcomings I saw, always leaving others leeway so they’d feel I was understanding and have a good impression of me. I knew well that Sister Xu was a false leader and needed to be dismissed right away, but to keep from offending her, to protect our relationship, I not only didn’t call her out, but I hid the truth and didn’t report on her issues. I nearly became a false leader’s shield, which would be a transgression. Now I understood that it looked like I was loving and kind on the outside, but in fact, I wanted to establish a positive image in the others’ hearts and gain their admiration. To achieve my despicable aim, I could hurt the church’s work and the brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. No matter how well someone adheres to these human notions, ethics and morals, that doesn’t mean they’re a good person. On the contrary, shameful motives are behind these agreeable behaviors. Living by these satanic thoughts and perspectives could only make me increasingly slippery, cunning, selfish, and evil. Everything I did was against the truth and against God. I read a couple passages of God’s words later on that were really helpful for me. Almighty God says, “There must be a standard for having good humanity. It does not involve taking the path of moderation, not sticking to principles, endeavoring not to offend anyone, currying favor everywhere you go, being smooth and slick with everyone you meet, and making everyone speak well of you. This is not the standard. So, what is the standard? It is having principles and taking responsibility in one’s treatment of God, the truth, the performance of duty, and of every manner of people, events, and things. This is plain for all to see; everyone is clear about this in their heart(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Giving One’s Heart to God, One Can Obtain the Truth). “What should the basis of people’s speech be? God’s words. So, what are the requirements and standards God has for people’s speech? (That it be constructive to people.) That is right. Most fundamentally, you must tell the truth, speak honestly, and benefit others. At the very least, speech must edify people, and not trick, make fun of, mislead, satirize, insult, constrict, hurt, expose people’s weaknesses, or mock people. This is the expression of normal humanity. It is humanity’s virtue. … What does it mean to say one should not expose people’s weaknesses? It means not to get dirt on other people. Do not hold on to their past mistakes or shortcomings in order to judge or condemn them. This is the least you should do. On the proactive side, how is constructive speech expressed? It is mainly encouraging, orienting, guiding, exhorting, understanding, and comforting. Also, sometimes it is necessary to point out and criticize others’ shortcomings, deficiencies, and faults directly. This is of great benefit to people. It is a real help to them, and it is constructive for them, is it not? Say, for example, you are especially willful and arrogant. You’ve never been aware of this, but someone who knows you well comes right out and tells you the problem. You think to yourself, ‘Am I willful? Am I arrogant? No one else dared to tell me, but they understand me. That they could say such a thing suggests that it really is true. I must spend some time reflecting on this.’ After that you say to the person, ‘Other people only say nice things to me, they sing my praises, no one ever gets personal with me, no one has ever pointed out these shortcomings and issues in me. Only you were able to tell me, to get personal with me. It was so great, such a big help to me.’ This was having a heart-to-heart, was it not? Little by little, the other person communicated to you what was on their mind, their thoughts about you, and their experiences of how they had notions, imaginings, negativity and weakness in this matter, and were able to escape it by seeking the truth. This is having a heart-to-heart, it is a communion of souls(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (3)). I understood clearly from God’s words that truly good humanity isn’t being kind, compassionate, and reasonable, and it’s not always being understanding and protecting interpersonal relationships, gaining others’ agreement, but it’s being genuine toward God and others, and treating people with sincerity. If you see false leaders, antichrists, or evildoers disrupting things in the church and can uphold principles of the truth to protect the church’s work, if you can point out others’ issues, fellowshiping and helping them, edifying them in word and deed—only that is truly being a good person. If you only consider your own face and status in your duty, if you see someone disrupting the church’s work but don’t expose and stop it, disregarding God’s will, you’re not a good person no matter how good your relationships with others are, but you’re a selfish, vile, lowly person. Before, I thought satanic philosophies like “Never hit people below the belt” were being understanding and tolerant, that this was a good thing. Now I know that this is entirely different from God saying “one should not expose people’s weaknesses.” God saying that meant, don’t find fault with people or seize on their weak points to judge and condemn them, but treat them properly. That’s what normal humanity should possess. And Satan instills us with thoughts like “Never hit people below the belt” to get us to protect our own image and status, not to point out others’ problems so we become more and more selfish and cunning, and we don’t have normal humanity. No matter how nice someone seems, it’s just hypocrisy and deceit to satisfy their own personal interests. That’s not being a truly good person. If we’re not reined in by corruption, but we give someone pointers and help by fellowshiping on the truth so they can gain real knowledge and repentance, that’s a true representation of having good humanity and love.

There was another passage I read that gave me a clearer path of practice. God’s words say, “After fellowshiping on sayings about good behavior in traditional culture, have you gained any understanding with them? How should you approach this sort of good behavior? Some people might say, ‘Beginning from today, I will not be some academic, genial, or courteous person. I will not be a so-called “good” person; I won’t be one who respects the elders or loves the young; I won’t be a sweet, approachable person. None of that is a natural outpouring of normal humanity; it is deceptive behavior that is fake and false, and it does not rise to the level of practicing the truth. What sort of person will I be? I will be an honest person; I will begin by being an honest person. In my speech, I can be uneducated, not understand the rules, be lacking in knowledge, and looked down on by others, but I will speak frankly, with sincerity, and without falseness. As a person and in my actions, I will not be fake and will not put on an act. Every time I speak, it will be from the heart—I will say what I think inside. If I have hatred toward someone, I will examine myself and not do anything hurtful toward them; I will only do things which are constructive. When I speak, I will not give consideration to my own personal gain, nor will I be constricted by my reputation or face. Moreover, I will not have the intent of making people think highly of me. I will only place importance on whether God is happy. Not hurting people will be my baseline. What I do will be done in accordance with God’s demands; I will not do things to harm others, nor will I do things detrimental to the interests of the house of God. I will only do things that are beneficial to others, only be an honest person, and a person that makes God happy.’ Is this not change in a person? If they truly practice these words, then they will have truly changed. Their future and fate will have changed for the better. They will soon embark on the path of pursuing the truth, soon enter into the reality of the truth, and soon become a person with hope of salvation. This is a good thing, a positive thing(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (3)). Pondering God’s words, I saw that by being an honest person and speaking honestly like God requires, being up-front in our interactions, taking God’s words as our basis in everything and living with the truth as our standard, we can gradually cast off the bonds of Satan’s poisons and have more of a human likeness. I said a prayer to God to stop considering how others would see me, and to stop protecting interpersonal relationships. I just wanted to be an honest person who satisfies God. And so, I told the upper leader about Sister Xu’s issues again and opened up about my incorrect motives in editing the letter. I finally felt a bit more at peace and at ease after doing that. A few days later, the upper leader looked into it and determined that Sister Xu was a false leader and dismissed her in accordance with the principles.

A little while later, I needed to handle another report letter. The accuser, Sister Lin, reported their church leader, Sister Zhang, as a false leader. Checking up on it, I saw Sister Zhang had just been in a bad state recently, impacting her effectiveness in her duty, but generally she could get real work done and help the others resolve problems. She wasn’t a false leader. What Sister Lin reported was true, but she was fairly arrogant. She didn’t have the right approach to the flaws and shortfalls in Sister Zhang’s work, and didn’t fully understand her situation. She just blindly defined Sister Zhang as a false leader. This was magnifying her problems and didn’t fit the principles—it’s likely to hurt her. I needed to fellowship with Sister Lin and point out her issues. I was thinking that this time I had to practice the truth and point out the problem to her. But the day I was going to meet with Sister Lin, I still had some concerns. Sister Lin had helped me not long before when I ran into difficulties, and before she’d had a really good impression of me. If I told her the results of the review and mentioned her problems, would she misunderstand it and think I was being unfair, then see me poorly? Then I realized I wasn’t in the right state, so I quickly said a silent prayer to God in my heart, “God, I’m thinking of following satanic philosophies and protecting my relationships again. Please enlighten, illuminate me, so I can forsake my flesh. No matter how it turns out, I don’t want to consider my own reputation anymore. I want to practice the truth and truly help this sister.” I thought of a passage of God’s words I’d read a couple days earlier: “When someone encounters a situation wherein they have personal intent and plans, and when someone’s corrupt disposition is clearly on display, this is when they need to reflect on themselves and seek the truth, and it is also a critical moment when God examines that person. As such, whether you are able to seek truth, accept truth, and truly repent, is the moment most telling of a person. … You plan to repent; you have that glimmer of intention, and you demand it more strongly than before, but who knows how long it will be before you actually repent. If you haven’t made concrete steps or have no concrete plan to practice repentance, then it isn’t true repentance. You must also take real action. Once you have taken real action, God’s work will follow(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth. What It Is to Pursue the Truth (2)). That’s right. When I encountered this matter, God was examining my heart to see if I’d truly repented, if I’d choose to practice the truth, or to protect my pride and my interests. Then, I set my motives straight and fellowshiped with Sister Lin. Afterward, Sister Lin didn’t become biased against me because I pointed out her issues, but she self-reflected and learned about herself through God’s words, and said that without being exposed that way, she wouldn’t have seen she was arrogant and wasn’t treating Sister Zhang properly. She would have thought she was practicing the truth and protecting the church’s work. Sister Lin also opened up and asked about how to address this issue and we shared fellowship with each other. I felt we were very close, without the slightest barrier. I was really moved in that moment and I truly saw that living and acting according to God’s words and the truth is the only thing that can truly benefit and help people. I felt settled and at peace.

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