Why I Don’t Dare Share My Views
By Mingyi, China
In March last year, the church assigned me as supervisor in a church. I was really excited because I thought that being selected to be a supervisor meant that I must have excelled within those teams and was a cut above the others. I also made a silent vow that going forward I would work hard to show the brothers and sisters that I was cut out for the position.
On my first day as supervisor, my partner, Chen Ming, told me, “A few of the teams aren’t getting good results. We’ve got to gather with them and fellowship right away tomorrow.” I panicked a little when he said that, because I still wasn’t up to speed with each team’s work status and wasn’t clear about everyone’s issues and problems. If my fellowship didn’t address their state and didn’t resolve their problems, what would they think of me? Would they think I couldn’t resolve practical issues and wasn’t cut out to be a supervisor? I considered asking Chen Ming to hold off on the gathering for a couple days. But several teams’ performance was suffering recently and the issue couldn’t be put off any longer. So, what should I do? Just as I was agonizing over this decision, Chen Ming sent me a file with the current progress report for each team. I hurriedly acquainted myself with the report and prepared for the gathering tomorrow.
The next day at the meeting, a brother said that he’d just started training in sharing the gospel and wasn’t sure if he was debunking various religious notions clearly, so he discussed his understanding and asked us to point out any errors in his thinking. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to analyze this meticulously and show the brothers and sisters that this supervisor has some ideas worth taking note of.” So I paid close attention to his fellowship and after thinking it over thoroughly, I said, “I think your fellowship is just fine and will be able to resolve the issue.” But as soon as I’d said that, Chen Ming said: “You didn’t give a clear explanation of the key point used to address this notion. It was a little vague and won’t be easy for people to understand.” After that, he fellowshiped on some of the finer points of his understanding of the problem. When I saw how practical and to-the-point Chen Ming’s fellowship was, and how the others all nodded their heads in agreement, my face immediately went red. I thought, “What will these brothers and sisters think of me? Will they think this newly promoted supervisor isn’t so great, given that I couldn’t even spot such an obvious problem?” As soon as I thought these thoughts, I didn’t know what to say and felt so embarrassed. I didn’t dare make eye contact with anyone and just kept my eyes trained on the computer. I felt like time was going in slow-motion. Right after that, the brothers and sisters began fellowshiping on another issue. I felt really nervous and worried what they’d think of me if my ideas were off the mark again. Would they think that I was no good at analyzing problems and question my ability to serve as a supervisor? As soon as I thought this, I didn’t dare share any more opinions. I thought to myself, “I’ll let Chen Ming speak first and just summarize whatever he says. That way, at least I won’t say something wrong and no one will look down on me.” But to my surprise, the more I tried to avoid scrutiny, the more I was exposed. Just then, a sister asked me, “Can this fellowship resolve the issue?” I replied that it could, but as soon as I’d replied, Chen Ming piped up saying, “Your fellowship is a bit oversimplified. You didn’t debunk this religious notion clearly enough and there are still a few aspects that need to be addressed.” After he shared his opinions, I thought to myself, “Chen Ming is right about those issues. This has once again exposed my view as incorrect.” It was like I’d been slapped in the face publicly and I felt awful. I’d shared two incorrect opinions in a row. What could the brothers and sisters possibly think of me now? Would they think my performance was inadequate, given that I didn’t have insight on sharing the gospel, and wonder how I had been selected as a supervisor? The more I thought, the worse I felt—it was terribly embarrassing and I just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. Later on, when discussing other work issues, I just didn’t feel like putting any thought into it, so I just made some perfunctory remarks after Chen Ming shared his opinion. Sometimes, I didn’t say anything at all. Just like that, the whole day went by and I felt a sense of emptiness and guilt. I was well aware that this team wasn’t getting results in their work. The brothers and sisters had come up against problems in their duties, and I should seek the truth together with everyone to resolve their issues. But because the opinions I’d shared were off base, I didn’t dare say anything else. I was shirking my responsibility! So I prayed to God and sought, asking Him which aspect of the truth I should enter to resolve my issue.
The next day, during my devotionals, I came across a passage of (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Five Conditions That Must Be Met to Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God). God’s words clearly exposed my current state. I thought that as a supervisor, I had to have insight into every problem, and all of my opinions should constitute valuable contributions, so I pretended like I understood everything and had insight into all aspects of the work to gain respect from the brothers and sisters. During gatherings, I always worried that I’d be unable to resolve issues, and everyone would think I wasn’t cut out for my position. Then, when I spoke incorrectly, I became even more worried that the others would look down on me. In order to protect my image and status as a supervisor, I put on a false front and didn’t readily share my views. I even cunningly planned to wait until after my partner had spoken to chime in with my summary, so as to hide my inadequacies from the others. When the brothers and sisters were discussing issues they’d had in their work, I just didn’t feel like fellowshiping anymore and all I could think about was my own status and reputation. I hadn’t fulfilled my duty and responsibilities in the slightest. In reality, I was just an average created being, not some polymath or jack-of-all-trades. There was so much truth I didn’t understand, issues I failed to grasp and my opinions were often wrong. But this was all completely normal. I needed to have the proper attitude towards my own inadequacies; when I found aberrations in myself, I should recognize and rectify them. No matter if my ideas and views were right or wrong, I should apply myself to the work and fulfill my responsibilities. After I rectified my mentality, I began to consciously open up about my corruption and insufficiencies and show all the brothers and sisters the real me. When discussing issues, I’d only comment on what I knew and didn’t feel constrained.that helped me understand my state. God’s words say, “People themselves are objects of creation. Can objects of creation achieve omnipotence? Can they achieve perfection and flawlessness? Can they achieve proficiency in everything, come to understand everything, see through everything, and be capable of everything? They cannot. However, within humans, there are corrupt dispositions, and a fatal weakness: As soon as they learn a skill or profession, people feel that they are capable, that they are people with status and worth, and that they are professionals. No matter how unexceptional they are, they all want to package themselves as some famous or lofty figure, to turn themselves into some minor celebrity, and make people think they are perfect and flawless, without a single defect; in the eyes of others, they wish to become famous, powerful, some great figure, and they want to become mighty, capable of anything, with nothing they cannot do. They feel that if they sought others’ help, they would appear incapable, weak, and inferior, and that people would look down on them. For this reason, they always want to keep up a front. … What kind of disposition is this? Such people’s arrogance knows no bounds, they have lost all sense! They do not wish to be like everyone else, they don’t want to be ordinary people, normal people, but superhuman, some lofty individual, some hotshot. This is such a huge problem! With regard to the weaknesses, shortcomings, ignorance, foolishness, and lack of understanding within normal humanity, they will wrap it all up, and not let other people see it, and then keep on disguising themselves”
Later on, though, an incident occurred which sent me back into my prior state. One time, we attended the gathering of another team. One of the sisters was in a bad state—ever since being dismissed, she’d sunken into defensiveness and misunderstanding. I wanted to discuss God’s will with her, but then I thought about how I didn’t have any experience in these matters and worried that if I didn’t fellowship practically, the brothers and sisters would say I was just reciting doctrinal knowledge and didn’t have any reality of the truth. But knowing that it was my responsibility to provide fellowship, I went ahead and just discussed what I knew with her. After fellowshiping, however, the sister still seemed downtrodden. Just then, Chen Ming took over and began speaking about how when he’d been dismissed, he’d reflected on his corrupt disposition through God’s words, and how he came to understand and despise himself, found a path of practice, repented and was transformed. Through this, he learned that failure and dismissal were all forms of God’s salvation and love. The sister nodded in agreement as he spoke and then said, “I’m in the same state now. Your fellowship has given me a path forward.” Hearing this, I at once felt happy for her that she’d understood God’s will, but also a little upset because I assumed the others would certainly think I just recited doctrinal knowledge and wasn’t cut out to be a supervisor. For the next few days, whether it was resolving problems with work or issues with brothers’ and sisters’ states, I kept worrying that my fellowship wouldn’t bring resolution and so I kept relatively quiet. Even when I did share my thoughts, I had to think it over ad nauseam and would sometimes even ask Chen Ming first, only sharing if he agreed with my ideas. In reality, I did have some insight into various issues and had my own views and ideas, but because I was worried that if I spoke incorrectly I’d expose my deficiencies, I didn’t dare say anything. Later on, I came before God in prayer, saying, “Dear God! Recently I’ve been constrained by status and reputation in my duty. I worry that if I fellowship poorly, I won’t resolve issues and so I don’t dare fellowship. I haven’t been fulfilling my responsibilities and feel really guilty. Please enlighten me and guide me to reflect on and come to know myself, so that I can break free of this current state.” After praying, I came across two passages of God’s words. (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “Everyone is equal before the truth. Those who are promoted and cultivated are not very much better than others. Everyone has experienced God’s work for around the same time. Those who have not been promoted or cultivated should also pursue the truth while performing their duties. No one may deprive others of the right to pursue the truth. Some people are more eager in their pursuit of the truth and have some caliber, so they are promoted and cultivated. This is due to the requirements of the work of God’s house. So why does God’s house have such principles for promoting and using people? Because there are differences in people’s caliber and personality, and each person chooses a different path, this leads to different outcomes in people’s faith in God. Those who pursue the truth are saved and become people of the kingdom, while those who do not accept the truth at all, who are not devoted to their duty, are cast out. God’s house cultivates and uses people based on whether they pursue the truth, and on whether they are devoted to their duty. Is there a distinction in the hierarchy of various people in God’s house? For the time being, there is no hierarchy in various people’s status, position, worth, or title. At least during the period when God works to save and guide people, there is no difference between various people’s rank, position, worth, or status. The only things that are different are in the division of work and in the duty roles performed” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). Through God’s words, I learned that the reason I’d been passive, negative and afraid of fellowshiping was because I had put myself up on a pedestal as a supervisor. I thought that my being promoted to a supervisory role meant that I was better than the others, had good insight, possessed unique interpretations of issues, and that my work performance was a cut above the rest. So, after taking on this supervisor role, I kept wanting to show everyone how I excelled in every way and was completely capable of doing this job. I wanted to garner everyone’s respect and approval. When the views I shared were off the mark and I didn’t resolve people’s issues in gatherings, I worried that everyone would say I wasn’t cut out to be a supervisor and so I started to put up a false front; I became reticent and afraid of speaking. I would even shy away from fellowshiping when I’d clearly observed issues with others. When I did speak, I would first think long and hard or seek the approval of my partner; otherwise, I wouldn’t voluntarily offer up my ideas or take action. I had become quite passive in my duty. I thought that what I had received from God was a title, not a duty or a responsibility. I had become completely trapped and controlled by status. In truth, I hadn’t been selected to be a supervisor because I was better than the others or understood more, and it wasn’t that I was cut out for the position. The church was cultivating me based on my caliber and talents, training me to resolve problems with truth and handle affairs according to principle, and addressing my inadequacies so I could understand the truth and enter into reality as soon as possible. But there was no guarantee that I’d be able to do my duty well and fulfill my responsibilities. The key was whether or not I could walk the path of seeking truth and do my duty according to God’s demands. But I mistakenly thought that I was already a cut above because I’d been made supervisor, and that I had a higher status than the others. I had no awareness of myself, and my ideas were so absurd!says, “Some people perform their duty relatively responsibly and are approved by God’s chosen ones, so they are cultivated by the church to become leaders or workers. After attaining status, they start to feel they stand out from the masses and think, ‘Why has the house of God settled on me? Isn’t it because I’m better than all of you?’ Doesn’t this sound like something a child would say? It is immature, ridiculous, and naive. Actually, you are not the slightest bit better than other people. It is just that you possess the requirements needed to be cultivated by the house of God. Whether or not you can shoulder this responsibility, perform this duty well or complete this entrustment is another matter. When someone is chosen to be a leader by the brothers and sisters, or is promoted by the house of God to do a certain piece of work or perform a certain duty, this does not mean that they have a special status or identity, or that the truths they understand are deeper and more numerous than those of other people—much less that this person is able to submit to God, and will not betray Him. Naturally, it does not mean, either, that they know God, and are someone who fears God. They have attained none of this, in fact; the promotion and cultivation is merely promotion and cultivation in the most straightforward sense, and is not equivalent to them having been destined and validated by God. Their promotion and cultivation simply means they have been promoted, and await cultivation. And the ultimate outcome of this cultivation depends on whether this person pursues the truth, and on whether they are capable of choosing the path of pursuing the truth. … So what is the aim and significance of promoting and cultivating someone? It is that such a person, as an individual, is promoted in order to be trained, to be specially watered and instructed, making them able to understand the principles of the truth, and the principles of doing different things, and the principles, means, and methods for solving various problems, as well as, when they encounter various types of environments and people, how to handle and deal with them in accordance with God’s will, and in a way that protects the interests of the house of God. Does this indicate that the talent promoted and cultivated by the house of God is adequately capable of undertaking their work and performing their duty well during the promotion and cultivation period or prior to promotion and cultivation? Of course not. Thus, it is unavoidable that, during the cultivation period, these people will experience being dealt with, pruning, judgment and chastisement, exposure and even replacement; this is normal, and this is what it means to be trained and cultivated”
Later on, I came across another passage of God’s words that had a deep impact on me: “Antichrists believe that if they are always fond of talking and of opening their hearts to others, everyone will see through them and think they have no depth, but are just ordinary people, and will then no longer respect them. What does it mean when others do not respect them? It means that they no longer have a lofty place in others’ hearts, and that they seem quite commonplace, quite ignorant, quite ordinary. This is what the antichrists are unwilling to see. That is why, when they see others always lay themselves bare in the church and say they have been negative and rebellious against God, and in what matters they erred yesterday, and that today, they are suffering and in pain for not having been an honest person, the antichrists think these people stupid and naive; they never say such things, but keep them hidden deep inside. There are some who speak little because they are poor of caliber and simple of mind, and do not have many thoughts. The antichrists’ ilk speaks little, too, but this is not why—rather, it is a problem in their disposition. They speak little when they see others, and when others speak of a matter, they would not offer an opinion lightly. Why do they not offer their opinions? First of all, they certainly do not have the truth and cannot see through to the heart of any matter; as soon as they speak, they make mistakes, and others will see them for what they are and will look down on them. So, they affect silence and depth, rendering others unable to gauge them accurately, and even making them think they are brilliant and exceptional. This way, no one will think them trivial. Moreover, seeing their calm, composed demeanor, people will think much of them, and not dare slight them. This is the slyness and evil of the antichrists. … They don’t want other people to see through them. They know their own measure, but they harbor a despicable intent: to make people think highly of them. Is there anything more disgusting?” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Six). God’s words revealed to me that antichrists don’t readily share their views. They’re afraid that as soon as they share their views, everyone will see them for what they really are and they’ll lose their status and image in other people’s eyes. As a result, they remain reserved so no one can see through them. This is the evil disposition of an antichrist. I realized that I had been acting in just the same way during that time. I was reluctant to share views upon discovering issues because I actually had a despicable goal in mind: I wanted to hide my deficiencies and disguise myself as a laudable figure that understood the truth. I wanted to garner the admiration and praise of the brothers and sisters. I always worried I’d make mistakes if I spoke too much, and then everyone would see my true colors, lose their respect for me and think I wasn’t cut out to be a supervisor. To maintain my status and reputation, when brothers and sisters ran into problems in their duties, I’d share very little or refrain from fellowshiping to hide my inadequacies, and not let others see me for what I really was. This was a truly deceitful disposition. The church assigned me to serve as supervisor so that I may seek the truth to resolve practical issues, and partner with brothers and sisters to fulfill our duties. But in order to maintain my status and reputation, and hide my inadequacies from others, I neglected to perform my duties and responsibilities and only sought to show off my strengths so that others would admire and worship me. I was walking the antichrist’s road of resistance to God! At the time, I felt a bit afraid, so I came before God in prayer, asking Him to guide me to find a path of practice.
Later on, I came across another two passages of God’s words. Almighty God says, “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 promptly, 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” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). “Whether they are those who are promoted, cultivated into leaders or workers, or those who hold various professional talents, they are all ordinary, have been corrupted by Satan and don’t understand the truth. So, no one should disguise or conceal themselves but should instead learn how to fellowship openly. If you don’t understand, then don’t pretend to understand. If you can’t do something, then admit that you can’t do it. Regardless of what problem or difficulty you have, you should fellowship about it with everyone and search for the truth to find a solution. Before the truth everyone is like a child, everyone is poor and pitiful and utterly lacking. What people need to do is be obedient before the truth and have a humble and yearning heart. They need to search and accept the truth, before practicing the truth and submitting to God. By doing this while performing their duties and in real life, people can enter the reality of the truth of God’s words” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). Through pondering God’s words, I found a path of practice. I should discuss what I understood and have the right attitude towards my deficiencies, refraining from disguising myself and pretending to understand. If I didn’t understand something, I should seek and fellowship with the others. Only through working together could we do our duties well. I always tried to hide my inadequacies and just couldn’t face the fact that I had a problem, nor did I seek the truth to resolve my problem. I would never improve this way, or be effective in my duty. I went through some setbacks and failures during that time that exposed my deficiencies, but they also made me aware of my own measure, so that in the future I could work and behave in a grounded way, learn to partner with others, seek the truth and handle affairs according to principle. These would all be great gains. After that, I was able to be much more open in my gatherings with all the teams.
During one gathering, I noticed that two sisters were vying for name and gain and I wanted to find some of God’s words to fellowship with them. But then I thought, “I have some experience in this matter, but I don’t have a deep understanding of it. Will they look down on me if my fellowship is too superficial and say I’m not qualified to be a supervisor? Maybe I shouldn’t fellowship with them.” Just then, I realized I was once again putting up a false front. I recalled a passage of God’s words I’d read a few days before: “Everyone who believes in God should understand His will. Only those who perform their duties well can satisfy God, and only by completing the tasks with which He entrusts them can one’s performance of their duty be satisfactory. … So, what is the standard that must be met in order to fulfill God’s commission, and to perform your duty loyally and well? It is to do your duty with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is It, Exactly, on Which People Rely to Live?). Given that I’d accepted this duty, I should perform it to the best of my ability. I had noticed that the sisters were in a bad state, so I should do everything I could to fellowship the truth and support them, allowing them to gain awareness of their corrupt dispositions, so that they could stop vying for name and gain and be able to fulfill their duties normally. Only in so doing would I be fulfilling my duty. I realized that fellowshiping on the truth to resolve issues is a good thing—it is testimony about God and brings people before Him—but I was just viewing it as a means of winning admiration. I had become so despicable and was disgusted with myself. I didn’t want to continue living that way. I only wanted to fulfill my duties and responsibilities and fellowship on everything I saw and understood, to give the sisters some practical help. Having made up my mind, I found a few passages of God’s words to fellowship with them. To my surprise, the sisters gained some awareness of their state after listening. Seeing how they had gained self-awareness and were ready to repent, I gave thanks to God. After that, we discussed some other issues they were having in their work and I offered my opinion on the matter. Several team leaders also went on to express their viewpoints. After fellowshiping, everyone had a clearer and more precise understanding and any aberrations were diminished. This way of practicing felt great and I was much more at ease and liberated. From that point on, my mentality at subsequent gatherings improved a lot: I no longer put myself on a pedestal as a supervisor and stopped putting up a false front. I would only discuss as much as I knew and say whatever I thought. This was incredibly liberating. I also realized that when I adopted the right mentality, not worrying about what others thought of me, and quieted my mind to ponder issues, I gained deeper insight into problems and fellowshiped more clearly. In some cases, certain fellowship just came out of me without my even thinking about it first. I knew that this was the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and guidance. Even though my opinions weren’t always right on the mark, I didn’t feel constrained and would just rectify my errors when they came up. It was all through God’s words that I was able to achieve this transformation. Thank God!