Why Am I Afraid to Report on Problems?

December 20, 2023

By Kristina, USA

In 2011, while serving as a gospel deacon, I noticed that my leader Zhang Min would often show off by speaking of doctrines. I knew this was detrimental to the brothers and sisters and to herself, so I pointed out the issue to her as I saw it. To my surprise, she had me replaced just a week later and told the brothers and sisters it was because I was vying with her for status. Later on, Zhang Min was exposed as an antichrist and expelled for attacking and avenging people, doing all manner of evil and not seeking to repent. Only after that was I allowed to fulfill my duty again. Having gone through that, I told myself: “I’ve got to watch my mouth going forward. Speak less, do more and don’t meddle in others’ affairs. I absolutely can’t say whatever is on my mind like before. If I happen to run up against another antichrist and accidentally offend them and end up being suppressed and replaced, I won’t be able to fulfill my duty yet again. Then what chance will I have at salvation?” After that, I was very cautious and prudent when interacting with others.

Later on, I was partnered with Liu Xiao to take charge of the gospel work. During gatherings, I noticed that Liu Xiao would only fellowship on positive aspects of her entry, as if she’d already worked through a lot of issues and already had very good stature. I never once heard her dissect or display knowledge of her own corruption. I couldn’t help but say to her: “We’ve known each other for so long, but I’ve never once heard you discuss your self-knowledge.” To my surprise, Liu Xiao became very upset and adopted a severe expression. She sternly replied: “We can’t only have knowledge of ourselves; all the knowledge of ourselves is useless if we don’t have dispositional transformation! Who can’t speak of self-knowledge these days? Have any of them transformed?” From this, it seemed to me that her understanding was distorted. The key to dispositional transformation is self-knowledge; if you lack knowledge of your own corruption, how will you transform? She didn’t accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and didn’t reflect on herself based on God’s words. How could she make such ridiculous comments? So, I told her about my understanding based on God’s words, but not only was she not accepting, she shot back: “I often hear you discussing self-knowledge, but have you transformed? If you know yourself, why do you still reveal corruption?” I felt like she had a very distorted understanding and didn’t accept the truth. After that, Liu Xiao’s attitude toward me changed. She would ignore me, and rarely ever spoke to me, all of which made me feel quite constrained. Seeing that Liu Xiao had a distorted understanding and didn’t accept other people’s suggestions, I thought she wasn’t so suited to be a supervisor, and I thought about reporting her issue to the leader, but then I thought: “Liu Xiao is a long-time believer and has been spreading the gospel all along, and our leader also regards her highly. I’ve only just started in this duty; if I report Liu Xiao’s issue, what will the leader think of me? Would she say I was jealous of Liu Xiao and was nitpicking? Forget it, the less trouble the better. I’d better look after myself first. Her lack of self-knowledge and distorted understanding is her problem and has nothing to do with me. Going forward, I’ll just avoid discussing my understanding of myself in front of her. That way she can’t pick at my flaws and get me in trouble.”

Later on, the CCP launched a large, coordinated crackdown on believers and Liu Xiao stopped spreading the gospel due to being timid and afraid. A few days later, our leader wrote to ask us on our progress in the gospel work and encouraged us to do our best to keep spreading the gospel as long as it was safe. Liu Xiao said: “It’s a dangerous situation right now. What if we were to be arrested while spreading the gospel? Our leader is making a questionable call here; this isn’t the first time she made problematic decisions.” Liu Xiao’s criticism also influenced my opinion of the leader. I thought: “What if someone got arrested while spreading the gospel? Who would take responsibility? Perhaps we should hold off for a bit.” Just like that, the gospel work ground to a halt for over a month. The leader wrote us another letter stressing the importance of the gospel work and emphasizing that the gospel work is God’s commission and must never stop. Even in adverse situations such as these, it was still possible to spread the gospel to close acquaintances, relatives and friends. The leader also asked why we had stopped our gospel work. Upon reading the letter, I realized that we’d gotten off track in our practice, but when I showed the letter to Liu Xiao, she seemed indifferent and not in the least concerned, and she had no intention of rectifying our mistakes. Observing Liu Xiao’s attitude, I thought to myself: “If she won’t spread the gospel, then I’ll go myself.” With that, I went and fellowshiped with the brothers and sisters about rectifying our mistakes. Liu Xiao would just stay in her room all day and never really checked in on the gospel work. Sometimes she’d even watch TV for hours on end. I really wanted to point this out to her, but thinking of how the last time I’d given her a suggestion, she not only didn’t accept it, but used my revelation of corruption as leverage over me and ignored me in the aftermath, I began to hesitate: “If I pointed out her issues again, who knows how she might argue back. It would be such a pain to have to deal with her giving me the cold shoulder if I offended her! Forget it, I’ll just keep my mouth shut and keep my own affairs in line.” Later on, our leader fellowshiped with us about how brothers and sisters from other churches were spreading the gospel and what results they’d achieved. I felt quite guilty. These were trying times, but brothers and sisters from other churches still persevered in spreading the gospel. Meanwhile, our own church had completely stopped our gospel work and had not achieved any results. I really wanted to write to the leader and tell her about Liu Xiao’s behavior and the current state of the gospel work, but whenever I picked up my pen to write, I would think about how awful it was to be condemned and repressed by that antichrist, and then I’d hesitate: “If I report Liu Xiao’s problem, will the leader believe me? If she doesn’t believe me and investigates my situation, won’t that just be more trouble for me? What’s more, I’m not familiar with the leader; what if she happens to be an antichrist, can’t resolve issues fairly and suppresses me? It’s nice how stable and peaceful I feel in my duty now. I don’t want to bring myself any trouble by reporting this issue.” Realizing this, I once again chose to keep quiet. But it was making me really anxious and agitated to see us continue to get poor results in our work. I was in a dark place and felt agonized; I didn’t know how to experience that situation. So, I prayed to God, beseeching Him to guide me and help me understand how to experience that situation.

One day, I came across two passages of God’s words that stirred some feeling in my numb heart. Almighty God says: “Selfish and mean 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 performing their duties or testifying for God, and they have no sense of responsibility. … There are some people who do not take any responsibility regardless of the duty they are performing. They don’t promptly report problems they discover to their superiors, either. When they see people being disruptive and disturbing, they turn a blind eye. When they see wicked people committing evil, they don’t try to stop them. They don’t protect the interests of the house of God, or consider what their duty and responsibility is. When they perform their duty, people like this don’t do any real work; they are people-pleasers who are greedy for comfort; they speak and act only for their own vanity, face, status, and interests, and are only willing to devote their time and effort to things that benefit them(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Giving One’s Heart to God, One Can Obtain the Truth). “If you often have a sense of accusation in your life, if your heart can find no rest, if you are without peace or joy, and are often beset by worry and anxiety about all kinds of things, what does this demonstrate? Merely that you do not practice the truth, do not stand firm in your testimony to God. When you live amid the disposition of Satan, you are liable to often fail to practice the truth, to turn your back on the truth, to be selfish and vile; you only uphold your image, your name and status, and your interests. Always living for yourself brings you great pain. You have so many selfish desires, entanglements, fetters, misgivings, and vexations that you do not have the least peace or joy. To live for the sake of corrupted flesh is to suffer excessively(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Life Entry Begins With the Performance of Duty). I felt quite guilty after reading God’s words. I realized the reason why I didn’t dare report Liu Xiao’s problem to the leader was because I was too selfish and despicable. I only considered my own interests, wanting to just do my duty in peace, avoiding offending others and making trouble for myself. As soon as I saw that Liu Xiao had a distorted understanding and didn’t accept the truth, I wanted to report her to the leader, but I worried the leader would misunderstand me and think that I was jealous of Liu Xiao and had seized on her faults to attack her. As such, I remained quiet. When I saw that she had stopped spreading the gospel, watched TV at home all day, showed no interest in her work and just enjoyed the benefits of her status, I should have promptly reported her to the leader, but I chose to protect myself and didn’t consider the interests of the church’s work at all. Even as I saw how poor our results were in the gospel work, I still remained silent, and no matter how guilty I felt, I just wouldn’t report what was really happening. I kept my mouth shut tight. I was truly selfish, despicable and lacking humanity. I felt indebted to God, and I hated myself for not practicing the truth, which had led to long delays in work progress.

While seeking, I came across this passage of God’s words: “For all who perform a duty, no matter how profound or shallow their understanding of the truth is, the simplest way to practice entering into the truth reality is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything, and to let go of one’s selfish desires, personal intents, motives, pride, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least one should do. If a person who performs a duty cannot even do this much, then how can they be said to be performing their duty? That is not performing one’s duty. You should first think of the interests of God’s house, be considerate of God’s will, and consider the work of the church. Put these things first and foremost; only after that can you think about the stability of your status or how others regard you. Do you not feel that this becomes a little easier when you divide it into two steps and make some compromises? If you practice like this for a while, you will come to feel that satisfying God is not such a difficult thing. Furthermore, you should be able to fulfill your responsibilities, perform your obligations and duty, and set aside your selfish desires, intents, and motives; you should have consideration for God’s will, and put the interests of God’s house, the work of the church, and the duty that you are supposed to perform first. After experiencing this for a while, you will feel that this is a good way to comport yourself. It is living straightforwardly and honestly, and not being a base, vile person; it is living justly and honorably rather than being despicable, base, and a good-for-nothing. You will feel that this is how a person should act and the image that they should live out. Gradually, your desire to satisfy your own interests will lessen(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). God’s words pointed me on a path of practice. When faced with a choice between church work and personal interests, we should always give the church’s work priority. The most important thing is to first maintain the church’s work. This is an unshirkable duty that we all must fulfill. I had to practice according to God’s words and stop looking on indifferently. I had to report our problem in the work to the leader right away. If there really was a problem with Liu Xiao’s behavior, the leaders and workers could promptly resolve it and avoid any delays in the work. If I had a mistaken understanding of some issues, I could improve my deficiencies through seeking. How the leaders and workers would view me was less important than these things. Realizing all this, I felt a bit more liberated, and gave my leader a detailed account of Liu Xiao’s situation. But after over two weeks, I still hadn’t seen any response implemented. I thought to myself: “Did the leader take my report on these issues seriously? Why hasn’t she come to resolve these issues? Does she think that there is no issue with Liu Xiao’s behavior and I made an erroneous report?” I felt deeply distressed and wanted to report the issues to another leader, but then I thought: “Well, I’ve already reported the issue to one leader, so I’ve done my duty. I shouldn’t run my mouth; otherwise, if I’m not careful, I may offend someone and be suppressed and punished.” I didn’t want to look into this matter any further, but I still felt quite guilty. I thought to myself: “I’m reporting these issues to seek the truth and maintain the church’s work, not because I’m trying to make life difficult for anyone. God scrutinizes all things, so what do I have to worry about? Why am I always so overcautious and indecisive about reporting issues, as if my mouth had been sealed shut?” I came before God in seeking and prayer, asking that He guide me to understand my issues, rebel against myself and practice the truth.

Later on, I came across two passages of God’s words which gave me some knowledge of myself. Almighty God says: “Such people as antichrists always treat God’s righteousness and disposition with notions, doubts, and resistance. They think, ‘It’s just a theory that God is righteous. Is there really such a thing as righteousness in this world? In all the years of my life, I haven’t once found it or seen it. The world is so dark and evil, and evil people and devils are doing quite well, living in contentment. I haven’t seen them get what they deserve. I can’t see where God’s righteousness is in this; I wonder, does God’s righteousness really even exist? Who has seen it? No one has seen it, and no one can attest to it.’ This is what they think to themselves. They do not accept all God’s work, all His words, and all His orchestrations on the foundation of belief that He is righteous, but are always doubting and passing judgment, always full of notions, which they never seek the truth to resolve. This is always how antichrists believe in God. … In ordinary times, people cannot see it, but when something befalls them, an antichrist’s ugliness is exposed. Like a porcupine, with all its spikes erect, they protect themselves with all their might, wishing not to take on any responsibility. What sort of attitude is this? Is it not one of not believing that God is righteous? They do not believe that God scrutinizes all or that He is righteous; they wish to use their own methods to protect themselves. They believe, ‘If I don’t protect myself, no one will. God can’t protect me either. They say He’s righteous, but when people get into trouble, does He really treat them fairly? No way—God doesn’t do that.’ When faced with trouble or persecution, they feel unaided, and think, ‘So, where is God? People can’t see Him or touch Him. No one can help me; no one can extend justice to me and uphold fairness for me.’ They think the only way to protect themselves is with their own methods, that otherwise, they would suffer loss, be bullied and persecuted—and that God’s house is no exception to this. An antichrist will already have planned everything for themselves before something has befallen them. In part, what they do is disguise themselves as such a powerful person that no one would dare offend them, or mess with them, or bully them. The other part is their adherence at every turn to Satan’s philosophies and its laws of existence. What are those, in the main? ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ ‘Let things drift if they do not affect one personally,’ ‘Sensible people are good at self-protection, seeking only to avoid making mistakes,’ acting as circumstances permit, being smooth and slick, ‘I will not attack unless I am attacked,’ ‘Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,’ ‘Speak good words in harmony with others’ feelings and reason, as being frank annoys others,’ ‘A wise man submits to circumstances,’ and other such satanic philosophies. They don’t love the truth, but accept Satan’s philosophies as if they were positive things, believing that they’ll be able to protect them. They live by these things; they don’t speak the truth to anyone, but invariably say pleasing things, ingratiating, flattering things, offending no one, thinking of ways to showcase themselves so that others will esteem them. They care only about their own pursuit of fame, gain, and status, and do not do anything at all to uphold the work of the church. Whoever does something bad and harms the interests of God’s house, they do not expose or report them, but act as if they had not seen it. Looking at their principles for handling things and their treatment of what happens around them, do they have any knowledge of God’s righteous disposition? Do they have any faith in it? They have none. ‘None’ here does not mean that they have no awareness of it, but that they have doubts about God’s righteous disposition in their heart. They neither accept nor acknowledge that God is righteous(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Ten: They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part One)). “Some people fear retaliation from antichrists and they don’t dare to expose them. Isn’t this foolish? You are unable to safeguard the interests of God’s house, which inherently shows that you are disloyal to God. You’re afraid that an antichrist might find leverage to retaliate against you—what’s the problem? Is it possible that you don’t trust in God’s righteousness? Don’t you know that the truth reigns in God’s house? Even if an antichrist manages to get hold of some issues of corruption in you and makes a fuss over it, you should not be afraid. In God’s house, problems are handled based on the truth principles. Making transgressions doesn’t automatically make someone a wicked person. God’s house never handles someone because of a momentary revelation of corruption or occasional transgression. God’s house deals with those antichrists and wicked people who consistently create disturbances and do evil, and who don’t accept even a smidgen of the truth. God’s house will never wrong a good person. It treats everyone fairly. Even if false leaders or antichrists wrongly accuse a good person, God’s house will vindicate them. The church will never remove or handle a good person who can expose antichrists and has a sense of justice. People always fear that antichrists will find leverage to retaliate against them. But aren’t you afraid of offending God and incurring His detestation and rejection?(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Eight)). God exposes how antichrists do not believe in God’s righteousness and that He scrutinizes all things. They abide by their own philosophy of dealing with the world in all aspects of life, use their own methods to protect themselves and are incredibly crafty and slick. Comparing myself to the revelation of God’s words, I saw that I was no different from an antichrist. I had no knowledge of God’s righteous disposition, did not believe that the truth reigns in God’s house, and lived by satanic philosophies of dealing with the world in all aspects. As a child, my parents would often warn me, “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, let your actions do the talking out in the world.” After I grew up and started working, I saw the darkness, evil and injustice in society and came to believe that only by learning to be tactful and canny, and ingratiating and not speaking truthfully would I be able to protect myself and live life in peace. Satan’s philosophies of dealing with the world like “Silence is gold, and he who talks a lot errs a lot,” “When you know something is wrong, it is better to say less” became the principles by which I conducted myself. I lived by these creeds, and not only became reticent and reluctant to speak, but also quite selfish, indifferent, slick and crafty. Even if I had insight on a topic, I wouldn’t readily express my view. I wouldn’t share my innermost thoughts or speak honestly, and always worried I’d say the wrong thing, offend someone and make trouble for myself. After entering the faith, I still used satanic philosophies to protect myself. I told myself I had to do more and speak less, to avoid offending anyone and making trouble for myself. When I saw that Liu Xiao was not suited to work as a supervisor, I knew I should promptly report this to my leader, but I worried that my leader wouldn’t handle the issue fairly, that I would be suppressed and punished. So, to protect myself, I kept quiet, not daring to say a single honest thing. I was incredibly selfish, slick, crafty and lacking in even the slightest bit of a sense of justice. I was living in a despicable and sordid way. Actually, from my own experience I could see that despite the fact that I was suppressed and replaced after giving a suggestion to a leader, that same leader was exposed as an antichrist and expelled not soon after. Following that, I started fulfilling my duty again, and didn’t lose my opportunity to pursue the truth and attain salvation due to being temporarily suppressed by that antichrist. I saw for myself how God’s house is ruled by the truth and righteousness. God’s house handles all things and treats all people fairly and according to the truth principles, ensuring that nobody is wronged. Yet, I was too evil and crafty by nature and had no knowledge of God’s righteousness. I believed God’s house was like society, and leaders and workers were like government authorities. I thought if I offended them, there would be no place left for me in the church. These thoughts and views were so evil!

I then came across another two passages of God’s words: “How many philosophies for living are there within you? Have you cast them off? If your heart cannot turn completely toward God, then you are not of God—you have come from Satan, you will ultimately return to Satan, and you do not deserve to be one of God’s people(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God). “I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God shall also be punished. This is an immutable fact(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination). Pondering over God’s words, I realized that what determines if a believer can attain salvation is whether or not they possess the truth and practice the truth. If someone is not able to live by the truth in their faith, and instead abides by satanic philosophies of dealing with the world, then they are of Satan, not of God. Even if, outwardly, they fulfill an important duty, or they are well thought of by a leader, they will ultimately still be cast out by God because they don’t practice the truth and have not attained the truth. I plainly saw Liu Xiao disrupting and disturbing church work, but I didn’t dare report it to my leader, fearing that I’d be suppressed by an antichrist and lose my duty, which would mean losing my chance at attaining salvation. How foolish and ridiculous my idea was! My ability to attain salvation could not be decided by others; it would be determined based on whether or not I practiced the truth. If I continued to live by satanic philosophies, protecting myself and not maintaining the church’s work, then even if I was doing my duty, I still wouldn’t attain salvation. Realizing this, I felt quite remorseful and guilty. So, I prayed to God, beseeching Him to guide me in practicing the truth and becoming an honest and upright person.

Through seeking and reflection, I also realized that the reason I was afraid the leader would suppress me if I reported the issue was because I lacked understanding of God’s almighty sovereignty, did not accept the situations I faced from God, and instead believed they had occurred because I had been too meddlesome. Were these not the views of a nonbeliever? I saw this passage of God’s words: “Antichrists and wicked people appear in some churches and create disturbances, and in doing so they deceive some people—is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is this God’s love, or is it God playing with people and exposing them? You can’t understand this, can you? God brings all things into His service to perfect and save those He wishes to save, and what those who genuinely seek the truth and practice the truth ultimately gain is the truth. Some who don’t seek the truth, however, complain, saying, ‘It isn’t right for God to work this way. It causes me to suffer so much! I almost fell in with antichrists. If this really is arranged by God, how can He allow people to fall in with antichrists?’ What’s going on here? You not following antichrists proves that you have God’s protection; if you fall in with antichrists, then that is a betrayal of God and God no longer wants you. So, is it a good thing or a bad thing that these antichrists and wicked people cause disturbances in the church? From the outside, it appears to be a bad thing, but when these antichrists and wicked people are exposed, you then grow in discernment, they are cleansed away, and you grow in stature. When you encounter such people again in the future, you will have discernment of them even before they’ve shown their true colors, and you will reject them. This will allow you to learn lessons and be benefited; you will know how to discern antichrists and will no longer be deceived by Satan. So, tell Me, is it not a good thing to have antichrists disturbing and deceiving people? Only when they have experienced to this stage can people see that God has not acted in line with their notions and imaginings, and that God permits the great red dragon to frenziedly create disturbances and permits antichrists to deceive God’s chosen people so that He can use Satan in His service in order to perfect His chosen people, and only then do people understand God’s painstaking intentions(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (1)). Through God’s words I realized that God allows antichrists to appear in the church so that we may attain the truth and discernment and break free from Satan’s deception and control. If we don’t encounter an antichrist, we won’t learn to discern them and will still be liable to be deceived by antichrists. Through being suppressed by that antichrist, I gained some discernment of antichrists and also reflected on and gained knowledge of my own antichrist disposition. During that time, I was always seeking status in my duty and was full of desire and ambition. I was walking the path of an antichrist, yet I was completely unaware that I was doing so. Only after being suppressed by that antichrist and replaced did I start to reflect on myself. Through the enlightenment and illumination of God’s words I realized that seeking status is a road to ruin. I also learned that in our faith, we must seek to fulfill our duties as created beings—this is what we ought to pursue. I began to focus on pursuing the truth, and would consciously work to do my best in whatever duty I was assigned. This little bit of transformation was God’s salvation and great protection. Despite having suffered to a degree, I learned quite a lot in the process and this was most beneficial for my life. The more I reflected, the clearer I became—I knew that what I needed to do was fulfill my duty and responsibilities and report my understanding of the situation to the leaders. As for how the leaders would treat me and what kind of situation I would encounter, all was with God’s permission. I should put myself in God’s hands and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements. So, I reported the issue to another leader.

After receiving my letter and confirming my report, the leader promptly replaced Liu Xiao. This all left me feeling overwhelmed with emotion. From the time I noticed Liu Xiao was having a problem until when I reported it to the leader, I had delayed more than two months. Thinking of how the gospel work had been affected and delayed those past two months, I felt terribly remorseful and guilty, and I hated myself for how deeply I’d been corrupted by Satan and how selfish and crafty I was. Living by satanic philosophies of dealing with the world, I had not only harmed myself, but also affected the church’s work. Only after reading God’s words did I gain some self-knowledge, stop being constrained by status and authority, and honestly report the issue at hand. Thank God!

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