Why I Couldn’t Conduct Myself Honestly
By Xiaofan, China
When I first started supervising the work of watering newcomers, my partner, Sister Zhang, often spoke of doctrine, exalted herself, and showed off at gatherings. and many problems at work weren’t resolved in a timely manner. I reported Sister Zhang’s behavior to the leaders, and after investigating the situation, the leaders determined she was unsuitable to be a supervisor and dismissed her. After that, I also transferred some of the unsuitable people in the group, and fellowshiped with the brothers and sisters to solve the problems in their duties. Two months later, the work had improved, and everyone was proactive in their duties. Once, a letter from the leaders mentioned that our watering of newcomers had improved. My partner sisters also said I was good at the work and could solve the brothers’ and sisters’ practical problems. When they had problems, they often came to ask me. Seeing the leaders’ affirmation of my work and my partners’ high regard and admiration of me, I was very happy. I thought, “It seems I have some of the realities of truth and can do some practical work.” Slowly, I began to think highly of myself. I thought, since I was the supervisor, and the group leader among my partners, I should be better than others at solving problems.
At that time, I was mainly responsible for the work of one group. I frequently met and fellowshiped with the members to solve the problems and deviations in the work, and it didn’t take long for the work to improve significantly. But the groups my partners supervised didn’t improve much at all, especially the group supervised by Sister Li, where the members couldn’t cooperate well and the problems remained unresolved. Sister Li was very anxious, and asked me, “How did you fellowship with them? How did you achieve such good results?” I answered with a very vivid description of my methods. When I finished, I remembered a brother with an arrogant disposition who couldn’t cooperate with others. I hadn’t fully resolved this issue, and I needed to seek and fellowship with everyone about it. But then I thought, “I am the group leader, a role model for everyone, so if I say there are some problems I can’t solve, what will my sisters think of me? I spoke with so much relish just now. How can I let there be problems I can’t solve? Won’t they look down on me otherwise?” In the end, I didn’t have the courage to raise the issue. A few times after that, when we discussed work together, I always talked about how I solved problems and what results I achieved, but I didn’t say a word about unsolved problems. As a result, my two partners looked up to me and thought that I could solve problems well. They even said, “You understand the truth and possess its realities.” I realized that the way I was speaking was wrong. I had a little awareness at the time, so I simply said there were also problems I couldn’t solve, and let the matter pass.
Later, there was a group that worked ineffectively, and the brothers and sisters had some difficulties in their duties. So Sister Li said to me, “I met with them to fellowship several times, but I still can’t solve their problems. Now I feel very negative.” When I heard that, my head dropped, and I felt very uncomfortable too, because I had also gone several times, but I hadn’t solved the problems. I felt very helpless at the time, like I had tried my best, and I didn’t understand why they couldn’t be solved. I wanted to open up about my state, but when I saw that Sister Li was negative, I thought that if I also opened up about my difficulties at that time, I might be spreading negativity. Besides, I was the group leader. When we had problems, I had to bear up, hold on, and not become negative. This was when Sister Li asked me, “Faced with these difficulties, how should I experience?” I didn’t know how to answer. I had no path and no idea how to fellowship. But to maintain my good image in their eyes, I bit the bullet and said, “In difficulties like this, we have to rely on God. It was difficult for Noah to build the ark, but he did it by relying on God. We have to be like Noah and face our troubles head-on.” Then, I talked about the times I encountered difficulties in my duty in the past, and how I led everyone in overcoming difficulties and achieving good results. A few sisters without discernment even praised me for my experience, but I wasn’t happy at all. We still hadn’t solved the difficulties in our recent work, so wasn’t I just fooling people with what I said? But I comforted myself, thinking, “What else could I do but say this? As the group leader, what else can I do? No matter what, I have to hold up!” Although I didn’t want to, I said, “Let me take care of this problem.” I had no clue at all how to handle it. I felt like I was under the crushing weight of a mountain, with no escape, but I didn’t dare open up and fellowship with my sisters. This is when Sister Li said, “The problems in our work lately haven’t been solved. Shouldn’t we reflect on this?” Sister Xin said to me, “All this time, we’ve been looking up to you. We’ve felt that you understand the truth and can solve problems, so we rely on you for everything. This state of ours isn’t right.” Then Sister Li said, “It’s true. During the time we’ve worked with you, you rarely talk about your own corruption. You only talk about your positive entry. But at a time like this, when we have so many problems and difficulties in our work, the two of us are in a negative state, but you haven’t shown weakness. Are you disguising yourself?” When I heard her say that, my heart sank. Was this all the result of me disguising myself? But I still felt very confused, and thought, “I am the group leader. If I open up and say I feel weak, isn’t this spreading negativity? Just like in a war, if the generals fall, won’t the soldiers be defeated faster?” But then I thought, since my partners looked up to me, and I had brought them before myself, there must be a problem with the path I had taken. I knew I had to reflect on myself. At that moment, I also learned several others were in a negative state and wanted to give up, which was seriously affecting the work. Faced with these problems, I felt very negative. I couldn’t resolve any practical problems at that time. I couldn’t bear such an important commission at all. If I continued like this, I could only hinder the work of God’s house. In the end, I couldn’t hold up any longer, so I submitted my resignation to my leaders.
After resigning, I began to reflect on myself, “Why can’t I open up and fellowship about my problems and difficulties? Why do I always disguise myself? Why can’t I be honest?” Later, I read a passage ofand gained some understanding of myself. God says, “Do you know who are actually Pharisees? Are there any Pharisees around you? Why are these people called ‘Pharisees’? How are Pharisees described? They are people who are hypocritical, completely fake, and put on an act in everything they do. What act do they put on? They pretend to be good, kind, and positive. Is this what they are actually like? Absolutely not. Given that they are hypocrites, everything that is manifested and revealed in them is false; it is all pretense—it is not their true face. Where is their true face hidden? It is hidden deep within their hearts, never to be seen by others. Everything on the outside is an act, it is all fake, but they can only fool people; they cannot fool God. If people do not pursue the truth, if they do not practice and experience God’s words, then they cannot truly understand the truth, and so no matter how nice-sounding their words are, these words are not the reality of the truth, but words of doctrine. Some people only focus on parroting words of doctrine, they ape whoever preaches the highest sermons, with the result that in just a few years their recital of doctrine grows ever higher, and they are admired and venerated by many people, after which they start to camouflage themselves, and pay great attention to what they say and do, showing themselves to be especially pious and spiritual. They use these so-called spiritual theories to camouflage themselves. This is all they talk about wherever they go, specious things that fit with people’s notions, but which lack any of the reality of the truth. And through preaching these things—things that are in line with people’s notions and tastes—they dupe many people. To others, such people seem very devout and humble, but it is actually fake; they seem tolerant, forbearing, and loving, but it is actually a pretense; they say they love God, but it is actually an act. Others think such people holy, but it is actually fake. Where can a person who is truly holy be found? Human holiness is all fake. It is all an act, a pretense. On the outside, they appear loyal to God, but they are actually just performing for others to see. When no one is looking, they are not the slightest bit loyal, and everything they do is perfunctory. Superficially, they expend themselves for God and have given up their families and careers. But what are they doing in secret? They are conducting their own enterprise and running their own operation in the church, profiting from the church and stealing offerings secretly under the guise of working for God…. These people are the modern hypocritical Pharisees” (“Six Indicators of Life Growth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words reveal the essence of the Pharisees very clearly. The Pharisees disguised themselves and deceived others in all they did. They used outward good deeds to mislead people and win their high regard. I reflected that I had been behaving exactly like the Pharisees. From the moment I started supervising the watering work, when I saw that the group’s work was progressing smoothly and was more effective, and that the leaders and my partners admired me, I felt I understood the realities of the truth better than others, and unconsciously, I began to think highly of myself. I thought that as the supervisor, I had to be stronger than others and couldn’t be negative, and I had to be an example for my brothers and sisters, so I disguised myself and covered myself up in all I did. When Sister Li encountered difficulties and sought solutions from me, I pretended to understand when I didn’t and forced myself to answer in words of doctrine to make a few sisters mistakenly think I understood the truth and possessed its realities. When I had difficulties and couldn’t solve them, I felt very depressed, but I feared my brothers and sisters would see my weakness, so I pretended to be strong, which caused my partners to look up to me, and caused them to feel I had greater stature and could solve any problem. To establish a good image and high status in front of my brothers and sisters, I never mentioned my own corruption, I endured everything, no matter how hard. I strove to disguise and package myself and used correct-sounding doctrine to confound and deceive others. In this, I not only failed to solve my own problems and difficulties, more importantly, I hindered the work of God’s house. I was harming others and myself! I was walking the path of the hypocritical Pharisees. Only then did I truly understand what God said, “Being a regular person has meaning; you can live free from anxiety, and have joy and peace of mind. This is the right path in life. If you always want to be someone outstanding, a cut above the rest, then you are throwing yourself to the wolves, putting yourself through the meat grinder, and making your own life difficult” (“They Want to Retreat When There Is No Position and No Hope of Gaining Blessings” in Exposing Antichrists). God’s words are so real. Always wanting to be looked up to by others and be superior only leads to being toyed with by Satan and living in pain. Only by letting go of fame and status, pursuing being an honest person, and being someone ordinary and down-to-earth can we conduct ourselves with freedom and release, and can we feel peace and security.
Through reflection, I also realized that my point of view was wrong. I thought opening up about my weaknesses and difficulties was spreading negativity, so I didn’t dare open up. Actually, I didn’t understand what it means to open up and what it means to spread negativity. I had the concepts mixed up. Later, I looked for relevant parts of God’s word to eat and drink. God’s words say, “First let us look at how exuding negativity should be understood and identified, at how people’s negativity should be distinguished, what remarks and manifestations in them exude negativity. Above all, the negativity that people exude is not positive, it is something adverse that contradicts the truth, it is something produced from their corrupt disposition. Having a corrupt disposition leads to difficulties in practicing the truth and obeying God—and because of these difficulties, negative thoughts and other negative things are revealed in people. These things are produced in the context of them trying to practice the truth; these are thoughts and points of view that affect and hinder people when they try to practice the truth, and are wholly negative things. No matter how in line with the notions of man and how reasonable these negative thoughts sound, they do not come from the understanding of God’s words, much less are they the experiencing and knowing of God’s words. Instead, they are produced by the human mind, and not in agreement with the truth at all—and so they are negative things, adverse things. The intention of people who exude negativity is to find many objective reasons for their failure to practice the truth, so as to earn other people’s sympathy and understanding. To varying degrees, this behavior influences and attacks people’s initiative in practicing the truth, and can even stop many people from practicing the truth. These consequences and adverse impact make these negative things even more deserving of being defined as adverse, resistant to God, and totally hostile to the truth. Some people are blind to the essence of negativity, and think that frequent negativity is normal, that it has no great effect on their pursuit of the truth. This is wrong; in fact, it has a very great effect, and if the negativity becomes too much to bear, it can easily become betrayal. This terrible consequence is caused by none other than negativity. So how should the release of negativity be identified and understood? Simply put, to exude negativity is to deceive people and stop them from practicing the truth; it is the use of soft tactics, of seemingly normal methods, to deceive people and trip them up. Is this harmful to them? It is actually profoundly damaging to them. And so, exuding negativity is something adverse, it is condemned by God; this is the simplest interpretation of exuding negativity. … Does negativity not contain people’s defiance, dissatisfaction, grievances, and resentment? There are also very serious things, such as opposition, resistance, and even arguing back. Remarks that contain these elements can be defined as exuding negativity” (Identifying False Leaders). “‘Sharing and communing experiences’ means fellowshiping your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, giving voice to every thought in your heart, your state of being, and the corrupt disposition that is revealed in you, and letting others discern them, and then solving the problem through fellowship on the truth. Only when experiences are fellowshiped in this way does everyone benefit and gain a lot; only this is the true church life” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s words, I understood. Spreading negativity means expressing, with your own motives and corrupt dispositions, dissatisfaction with the work of God’s house and misunderstandings and complaints about God, so that others develop notions about God, or even don’t want to follow God and fulfill their duties. For example, if someone is pruned and dealt with, they might argue and complain, so that others develop notions and misunderstandings about God. This is spreading negativity. But opening up is being an honest person. It isn’t simply fellowshiping on your experience of practicing the truth. You must also open up about your own corruption, difficulties, shortcomings, and the adulteration and wrong intentions in your duty for all to see, so that everyone can discern and analyze them. The purpose of opening up is to seek the truth to resolve your problems and difficulties, and to resolve your corrupt dispositions. This is a kind of positive practice. Once I understood this aspect of truth, I consciously opened up about my corruption and shortcomings in my duty, and sought the truth with my brothers and sisters to solve them. Slowly, my state began to turn around, and I was more effective in my duty. Later, my leaders saw that I had some repentance and self-knowledge, so they asked if I felt like I could continue my work as a watering supervisor for newcomers. I was very moved. I didn’t think I would have the chance to continue in this duty. I appreciated God’s grace for me, and I was willing to fulfill my responsibilities. After that, I became more and more confident about being an honest person, and it didn’t feel so difficult to open up. After a while, Sister Xin said to me, “I feel like you’ve changed a bit now. It’s great that you always practice the truth by opening up like this.” I was very happy when I heard her say that, and I felt like I had finally managed to change. But good times never last. Before long, my problem came roaring back.
At the end of a gathering, I asked everyone if they had any questions. A sister said she recently had trouble in her duties and didn’t know what to do, so she wanted my help. At that time, I couldn’t think of a good way, so I asked everyone what they thought. A brother came up with a solution, everyone nodded in agreement, and I understood it too. The sister said happily, “Your solution is great. Why didn’t I think of it?” I wanted to answer, “I didn’t think of this solution either.” But then I thought, “I’m the supervisor. If I say that, what will people think of me? Will they say that I am not as good as my brothers and sisters in handling problems?” So, I took credit for the solution my brother offered and added some of my own detailed advice. After my fellowship, the sister said, “Now I have a path.” After hearing her say this, I felt a little guilty, and thought, “Aren’t I deceiving people? Why am I disguising myself again?” Later, I started to reflect on myself, and I ate and drank some of God’s words related to my state. God’s words say, “What disposition is it when people always put up a front, always whitewash themselves, always put on a pretense so that others think highly of them, and cannot see their faults or shortcomings, when they always try to present their best side to people? This is arrogance, fakery, hypocrisy, it is the disposition of Satan, it is something evil. Take members of the satanic regime: No matter how much they fight, feud, or kill behind the scenes, no one is allowed to report or expose this. They are afraid that people will see their demonic face, and they do everything they can to cover it up. In public, they do their utmost to whitewash themselves, saying how much they love the people, how great, glorious and correct they are. This is the nature of Satan. The salient feature of Satan’s nature is trickery and deception. And what is the aim of this trickery and deception? To hoodwink people, to stop them from seeing its essence and its true colors, and thus achieve the aim of prolonging its rule. … Satan uses methods of all kinds to deceive people, dupe them, and play them for fools, giving them a false image. It even uses intimidation and threats to make people feel reverence and fear, with the ultimate goal of making them submit to Satan and worship it. This is what pleases Satan; this is also its goal in competing with God to win people over. So, when you fight for status and reputation among other people, what are you fighting for? Is it really for renown? No. You are actually fighting for the advantages that renown brings you” (“The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “People who never open up, who always hide things, who always pretend to be upright, who are always trying to make others think highly of them, who don’t allow others to get a full sense of them and have others admire them—are these people not stupid? Such people are extremely stupid! That’s because the truth about a person will come to light sooner or later. What path do they walk in their conduct? The path of the Pharisees. Are hypocrites in danger or not? They are the people who God hates the most, so do you imagine they are not in danger? All those who are Pharisees walk the road to perdition!” (“In Giving One’s Heart to God, One Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After pondering God’s word, I understood that the root cause of disguise is to establish yourself and make people look up to you, and to dominate people, control them, and stabilize your own position. This is governed by arrogant and evil dispositions, and is walking the path of resisting God. As for my sister’s problem, I obviously didn’t know how to solve it, but I feared my brothers and sisters would look down on me if they knew that, so I disguised myself, adding my ideas to another’s knowledge and packaging it as my own, and hoping to show everyone I was perceptive, understood the truth, possessed its realities. I used deceit to win everyone’s high regard in the deluded hope that they would admire me and depend on me. I was walking the path of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were hypocritical deceivers, and they were condemned and cursed by God. God’s righteous disposition cannot be offended, so if I didn’t repent, I knew I would be cursed and punished by God too. When I saw the seriousness of the problem, I was a little scared, so I immediately prayed to God to say I wanted to repent.
Later, I read a passage of God’s word that showed me how to correctly treat being promoted to a leader or worker. God’s words say, “Some people are promoted and nurtured by the church, and this is something good, it is a good chance to be trained. It can be said they have been elevated and graced by God. So how, then, should they perform their duty? The first principle they should abide by is to understand the truth. When they do not understand the truth, they must seek the truth, and if they still don’t understand after seeking, they can find someone who does understand the truth to fellowship and seek with, which will make solving the problem faster and more timely. If you focus only on spending more time reading God’s words by yourself, and on spending more time pondering these words, in order to achieve understanding of the truth and solve the problem, this is too slow; as the saying goes, ‘Distant water won’t slake an urgent thirst.’ If, when it comes to the truth, you wish to make quick progress, then you must learn how to work in harmony with others, and to ask more questions, and do more searching. Only then will your life grow quickly, and will you be able to solve problems timely, without any delay in either. Because you have only just been promoted and are still on probation, and do not truly understand the truth or possess the reality of the truth—because you still lack this stature—do not think that your promotion means you possess the reality of the truth; this is not the case. It is merely because you have a sense of burden toward the work and possess the caliber of a leader that you are selected for promotion and nurturing. You should have this sense. If, after being promoted and made use of, you sit in the position of leader or worker and believe that you have the reality of the truth, and that you are someone who pursues the truth—and if, regardless of what problems the brothers and sisters have, you pretend that you understand, and that you are spiritual—then this is a stupid way to be, and it is the same way as the hypocritical Pharisees. You must speak and act truthfully. When you don’t understand, you can ask others or seek answers from and fellowship with the Above—there is nothing shameful about any of this. Even if you don’t ask, the Above will still know your true stature, and will know that the reality of the truth is absent in you. Seeking and fellowshiping are what you ought to be doing; this is the sense that should be found in normal humanity, and the principle that should be adhered to by leaders and workers. It is not something to be embarrassed about. If you think that once you are a leader it is shameful to always be asking other people or the Above questions, or to not understand the principles, and if you then put on an act as a result, pretending that you understand, that you know, that you are capable of work, that you can do any church work, and do not need anyone to remind you or fellowship with you, or anyone to provide for you or support you, then this is dangerous, and this is too arrogant and self-righteous, too lacking in sense. You don’t even know your own measure—and does this not make you an idiot? Such people do not actually meet the criteria for being promoted and nurtured by the house of God, and sooner or later they will be replaced or cast out” (Identifying False Leaders). After reading God’s words, I understood. God doesn’t want me to be a master or a know-it-all. God wants me to have the right intention in my duty, perform my duty with all my heart and mind, and no matter what deficiencies I have, to seek and fellowship more with my brothers and sisters, and cooperate harmoniously. This is how to act with reason. But I was arrogant and ignorant, and I always felt that as a supervisor, I had to be above my brothers and sisters, and I had to be able to solve every problem. As a result, I disguised and packaged myself everywhere and pretended to understand things. I ran myself ragged and hindered the work of God’s house. I was so shameless, and my views were ridiculous and absurd! That I was promoted to supervisor was only a chance God gave me to practice and be cultivated. It didn’t happen because I understood the truth more than others, and it wasn’t a means to prove my identity and status were higher than others. I was the same as my brothers and sisters, there was much truth I didn’t understand, and there were many problems I couldn’t see clearly or solve. I only had some insight into certain matters, and even that was God’s enlightenment; it didn’t mean I possessed any reality. But I didn’t know my own measure. To maintain my reputation and status, I did nothing but try to disguise and package myself. I not only failed to understand the truth and enter its realities, I became increasingly evil, cunning, and arrogant. I was such a fool! When I realized this, I swore an oath to myself that I wouldn’t disguise myself or fool myself anymore. I want to practice being an honest person and fulfill my responsibilities and duty well.
A few days later, as we were discussing work, Sister Xin said she saw a newcomer who was making very rapid progress. I quickly said, “I water that newcomer.” When I finished, I realized, “Aren’t I just showing off? I need to open up and expose myself.” But then I thought, “That would be so embarrassing. Will Sister Xin think I’m unreasonable, and that I show off whenever I do something good for fear others won’t know?” I realized I was about to disguise myself again, so I quickly prayed to God, asking Him to guide me so that I could forsake myself. So, I mustered the courage to open up and expose that the purpose of my words was to exalt and reveal myself. Sister Xin said, “We could tell when you said it. If you can open up about yourself, you are consciously practicing being an honest person.” I was ashamed when I heard what she said, but I also felt that if I didn’t disguise or deceive, and that if I always opened up like this, I would feel a sense of security and release.
After experiencing all this, I saw one fact clearly. In the past, I never wanted to expose my corruption, I always wanted to disguise myself, thinking that if others couldn’t see it, I could maintain my image. But actually, this was self-deception, and it was very foolish. God sees everything. No matter how I pretend, God sees things clearly, and sooner or later, I will be revealed. Also, the brothers and sisters are gradually understanding the truth after hearing God’s words. They are more and more able to discern different types of people, and can more and more clearly see the manifestations of different satanic dispositions, so no matter how I disguise myself, those who understand the truth will discern it instantly. I am more convinced now than ever that only those who pursue the truth and being a pure and open honest person in a down-to-earth manner are actually wise people who God and other people like, and only this is the path of light God has pointed out for us.