Why I Was So Arrogant
By Chengxin, South Korea
One day a couple of church leaders mentioned an issue to me. They said Sister Zhang, who was in charge of the gospel work, wasn’t principled in her actions, she didn’t discuss things with church leaders, but just randomly reassigned people to share the gospel, impacting the work brothers and sisters currently had in their hands, disrupting church work. I responded without a second thought, “Sister Zhang must have changed people’s duties that way to meet work needs.” One of the leaders said, “Sister Zhang is lacking caliber and isn’t competent in her job. Staffing arrangements weren’t done properly and the others weren’t happy about it. It put some people into a negative state and impacted our gospel work. Isn’t she unfit for managing this work?” I felt really annoyed when I heard that she was going to be dismissed, and I retorted, “What? If Sister Zhang isn’t in charge of the gospel work, are you going to be able to find anyone better? Do we have anyone suitable? These issues you mention are definitely present, but they’re nothing too critical. She gets results in gospel work—we can’t dismiss her over these little things! We need to safeguard the church’s work.” While refuting the church leaders I was thinking that they were nitpicking, and no one is perfect! We are all corrupt and flawed, so is it right to demand that people do everything right? Why wouldn’t they put work results first? What if we dismissed her and the work achievements slipped? That might make me look like I couldn’t do practical work, like a false leader. Then what would the others think of me? And would the upper leader dismiss me when he found out? The two church leaders, left speechless by my rebuttal, said, hands tied, “Let’s keep her in place for now.” A few days later, the upper leader got in touch with me online and asked me how Sister Zhang was doing in her duty. I said, “She’s doing okay. She’s accomplishing some things in her work, and really gets things done.” Then the leader asked me in return, “So what are these accomplishments you mention? Have you really looked into how many people she’s actually gained through gospel work? Do you know she’s been falsifying her numbers? She has low caliber and isn’t too competent. She can’t resolve problems. Are you aware of that? Do you know that she’s been assigning people without principles, disrupting the gospel work?” Facing one question after another, my heart was pounding and my mind went blank. Seeing I couldn’t answer a single question, the leader went on: “You’re awfully self-assured! People who are too self-assured all lack self-awareness. If you really knew yourself, why wouldn’t you forsake yourself? Why wouldn’t you deny yourself? Other people have clearly raised this issue, but you haven’t accepted it. Just how arrogant are you? Do you have the reality of the truth? Someone who really has the reality of the truth doesn’t believe in themselves. They are able to listen when other people are right. They can accept and submit to the truth. That’s someone with normal humanity. What sort of person is incredibly arrogant and self-assured? Can they accept the truth? Arrogant people don’t accept the truth, and they absolutely won’t submit to the truth. Arrogant, self-assured people don’t know themselves, they’re unable to forsake themselves, and they really can’t put the truth into practice or uphold the principles of the truth. They can’t get along well with others. Arrogant people are those whose dispositions haven’t changed. From these things we can see that arrogant people are all old Satans who have remained totally unchanged. You should do some introspection on whether you’re that sort of person.” I was stunned at the time—I felt like I’d been struck by lightning. I just sat there after I got offline, turning what he’d said over in my mind again and again: “don’t accept the truth,” “won’t submit to the truth,” “can’t get along well with others,” “dispositions haven’t changed,” and “are all old Satans who have remained totally unchanged.” The more I thought about this the worse I felt, and I couldn’t stop my tears. In my pain, I prayed through my tears, “Oh God! I never thought I was an arrogant, self-assured person who wouldn’t accept the truth. Please guide me to self-reflect and know myself.”
Then one day in my devotionals, I read this in (. God’s words were pretty enlightening for me. It’s true. Arrogance is the root of corruption. Being arrogant, I not only looked down my nose at others, but worse, I looked down my nose at God. When things came up I didn’t come before God and seek His will, or seek principles of the truth, but I went my own way, wanting everyone to listen to me. I thought back on the church leaders’ feedback to me on Sister Zhang’s issues. I refuted everything they said without giving it any thought. They said Sister Zhang was unprincipled, that she randomly reassigned people without talking to church leaders, disrupting things to the point that people didn’t know what duty they should do. I was entirely in denial about this issue and wouldn’t listen at all. I totally defended Sister Zhang, saying she acted that way because the gospel work urgently needed people, that it was called for. The church leaders said she lacked caliber and wasn’t competent in her job, and she wasn’t well-suited for managing our gospel work. I didn’t find out about the actual situation or consider whether she should be transferred based on principle. Instead, I was resistant and annoyed. I asked the church leaders why she shouldn’t be in charge, and if they could find a better supervisor than her. I rebuffed and stifled them. By raising this issue, the church leaders were being responsible and upholding the church’s work, but I always felt I understood the truth better than them, that I had more insight, that they had a shallow understanding of the truth and weren’t seeing things correctly, so I didn’t need to listen to them. I was so arrogant and self-assured! I stubbornly went my own way, refusing to accept the truth and wouldn’t accept a single true statement. I refuted every single thing they said, arguing until they stopped expressing their opinions. I was arrogant beyond all reason and didn’t have any reverence for God. I wasn’t using people according to principle and had already hurt the work of the church, and not only did I fail to acknowledge my mistakes, but I put the blame on the church leaders when they mentioned this. I reprimanded them for being nitpicky and treating Sister Zhang unfairly. Wasn’t I just an old Satan without any dispositional transformation, totally unchanged? How could I get along with others properly and cooperate harmoniously that way? I felt really guilty when I thought about it that way, and I prayed to God, willing to repent and get a handle on Sister Zhang’s situation right away. After actually looking into things I learned that Sister Zhang was being deceptive in reports on her work and making a mess out of things, and lots of new believers weren’t attending gatherings because she hadn’t assigned waterers. Sister Zhang had poor caliber, but she was arrogant and dictatorial, and didn’t discuss her work with anyone. When problems cropped up she couldn’t resolve them and didn’t take others’ suggestions, so lots of issues weren’t addressed for a long time, hindering the progress of gospel work. In the face of these facts I finally acknowledged I’d chosen the wrong person. When the church leaders suggested replacing her I didn’t agree, and even rebuked and suppressed them. I felt worse the more I thought about it, and I hated myself for being so arrogant and self-assured. I came before God in prayer, asking Him to guide me to understand the essence of my problem. , Vol. 3, Part Three): “Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more irrational they are, and the more irrational they are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God, and they have no fear of God within their hearts. Even though people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him. People who are arrogant and conceited, especially those who are so arrogant as to have lost their sense, cannot submit to God in their belief in Him, and even exalt and bear testimony for themselves. Such people resist God the most and have absolutely no fear of God. If people wish to get to where they revere God, then they must first resolve their arrogant dispositions. The more thoroughly you resolve your arrogant disposition, the more reverence you will have for God, and only then can you submit to Him and obtain the truth and know Him. Only those who gain the truth are genuinely human”
Afterward, I read a passage of God’s words that addressed my issue of arrogance. (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Only by Often Living Before God Can One Have a Normal Relationship With Him). The revelation of God’s words had a big impact on me. I saw the ugly corruption of my arrogance and self-righteousness. A couple of sisters made some suggestions about someone I’d selected that I didn’t remotely accept—I felt like I was right. I didn’t even give them a chance to talk, but kept scolding them and holding them back. I said so many arrogant things, I argued them down and they backed off. That wasn’t simply an error in my approach and behavior, but it was a satanic disposition of being sick of and hating the truth. Thinking about how I’d spoken and acted when I retorted against those leaders was as nauseating to me as eating a worm. I felt incredibly ashamed, humiliated like a buffoon. In God’s eyes, being sick of and hating the truth is hating God and being His enemy, and all enemies of God are devils. The upper leader exposing me as a totally unchanged old Satan was entirely accurate. That’s my nature and essence. Facing issues, I was just resistant, defiant, and wouldn’t accept the truth, doing my duty according to my corrupt, satanic disposition. How could I not resist God and offend His disposition? And how could I avoid criticism? At that point I realized that being pruned and dealt with that way was God’s righteousness. Although being exposed and criticized injured my pride and was hard for me, it helped me see my arrogant nature and gave me some reverence for God.says, “Arrogance and self-righteousness is the most obvious satanic disposition of people, and if they do not accept the truth, there is no way they can be cleansed. People have arrogant and self-righteous dispositions, they always believe they’re right, and in all that they think, say, and have opinions on, they always believe that their own view and mindset is correct, that nothing anyone else says is as good or right as what they say. They always stick to their own opinions, and do not listen to whatever anyone else says; even when what other people say is right, and in line with the truth, they don’t accept it, they merely seem to be listening, but don’t take anything in. When the time comes to act, they still go their own way; they always think they are right and justified. You might be right, and justified, or you might be doing the right thing, without issues, but what is the disposition you reveal? Isn’t it arrogance and self-righteousness? If you are unable to shed this arrogant and self-righteous disposition, will this affect your performance of your duty? Will it affect your ability to put the truth into practice? If you cannot resolve this kind of arrogant and self-righteous disposition, are you likely to encounter great setbacks in the future? There is no doubt that you will, this is inevitable. Can God see these things manifested in people? He can, extremely well; God not only surveys man’s innermost being, but is also always watching their every utterance and action. And what will God say once He sees these things manifested in you? God will say, ‘You are intransigent! Sticking to your guns when you do not know you are wrong is understandable, but if you still stick to your guns when you know full well that you are wrong, and refuse to repent, then you are a stubborn old fool, and you are in trouble. If, no matter whose suggestion it is, you react with a negative and antagonistic attitude, and do not accept the truth at all—if, in your heart, there is nothing but antagonism, closedness, refusal—then you are ridiculous, an absurd fool! You are too difficult to deal with.’ What about you is so difficult to deal with? What is difficult about you is that your behavior is not a mistaken way of doing things or a mistaken kind of conduct, but rather that it reveals a certain kind of disposition. What kind of disposition does it reveal? You are sick of the truth and hate the truth. Once you have been defined as hating the truth, then as God sees it, you are in trouble; God spurns you, and pays you no heed. With people, the worst that could happen is, they might say, ‘This person’s disposition is no good—they’re pig-headed, intransigent, and brash! They’re hard to get along with, and they neither love the truth nor will they ever accept or practice it.’ The worst that could happen is that everyone will give you this kind of an assessment, but would such an assessment be able to decide your fate? People wouldn’t be able to decide your fate by giving you an assessment, but there’s something you shouldn’t forget, and that is, God sees into the human heart, and at the same time He also watches everything that a human being does and says. If God has made this determination about you and says that you hate the truth, rather than merely saying that you have something of a corrupt disposition and are somewhat disobedient—is this a serious problem? (It is.) In that case, there’s trouble in store for you. This trouble has to do, not with how people see you or how they assess you, but with how God sees this corrupt disposition of yours that hates the truth. Well then, how would God see you? Will God merely classify you as someone who hates and does not love the truth, and nothing more? Is it that simple? Where does the truth come from? Who does the truth stand for? (It stands for God.) Well then, you have a go at delving into this, if someone hates the truth, how would this look to God? (That they are an enemy of God.) Wouldn’t this be a serious matter? A person who hates the truth would in their heart hate God”
Later, I read some of God’s words that gave me some understanding and discernment toward my own state. Almighty God says, “No matter what it is they’re doing, antichrists always have their own aims and intentions, they are always acting according to their own plan, and their attitude toward the arrangements and work of the house of God is, ‘You may have a thousand plans, but I have one rule’; this is all determined by the nature of the antichrist. Can an antichrist change their mentality and act according to the principles of the truth? That would be absolutely impossible, unless the Above forces them to, in which case they are able to do a bit, unwillingly and with effort. It is only when they would be exposed and replaced if they did nothing that they can do a bit of practical work. This is the attitude that antichrists have toward practicing the truth: When it is beneficial to them, when everyone will praise and admire them for it, they are sure to oblige, and will make some token effort for appearances’ sake. If practicing the truth is of no benefit to them, if no one sees it, and the superior leaders are not present, then at such times there is no question of them practicing the truth. Their practicing of the truth depends on the context, on the time, on whether it is done in public or out of view, on how great the benefits; they are extraordinarily savvy and quick-witted when it comes to such things, and not gaining any benefit or putting themselves on display is unacceptable. They don’t do any work if their efforts are not recognized, if no one sees no matter how much they do. If the work is arranged directly by the house of God, and they have no choice but to do it, still they take into consideration whether this will benefit their status and reputation. If it is good for their status and can improve their reputation, they put everything they have into this work and make a good job of it; they feel they are killing two birds with one stone. If it is of no benefit to their status or reputation, and doing it badly could discredit them, they think of a way or excuse to get out of it. No matter what duty they perform, they always stick to the same principle: They must glean some benefit. The kind of work antichrists like most is when there is no cost to them, when they don’t have to suffer or pay any price, and there is a benefit to their reputation and status. In sum, no matter what they’re doing, the antichrists first consider their own interests, and they only act once they’ve thought it all out; they do not truly, sincerely, and absolutely obey the truth without compromise, but do so selectively and conditionally. What condition is this? It is that their status and reputation must be safeguarded, and must not suffer any loss. Only after this condition is satisfied will they decide and choose what to do. That is, antichrists give serious consideration to how to treat the principles of the truth, God’s commissions, and the work of God’s house, or how to deal with the things they face. They do not consider how to fulfill God’s will, how to keep from damaging the interests of God’s house, how to satisfy God, or how to benefit the brothers and sisters; these are not the things they consider. What do antichrists consider? Whether their own status and reputation will be affected, and whether their prestige will be lowered. If doing something according to the principles of the truth benefits the work of the church and the brothers and sisters, but would cause their own reputation to suffer and cause many people to realize their true stature and know what sort of nature and essence they have, then they will definitely not act in accordance with the principles of the truth. If doing practical work will cause more people to think highly of them, look up to them and admire them, or enable their words to carry authority and make more people submit to them, then they will choose to do it that way; otherwise, they will never choose to disregard their own interests out of consideration for the interests of God’s house or of the brothers and sisters. This is the nature and essence of antichrists” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Three)). God’s words showed me that being resistant and irritable when others mentioned Sister Zhang’s issues, and not agreeing to replace her wasn’t just because of an arrogant disposition. Hidden behind that were my selfish, vile motives. I refused to accept the leaders’ suggestions so I could protect my reputation and status. Those two leaders were right about Sister Zhang’s issues. She clearly wasn’t well-suited to be a supervisor and was already holding up the gospel work. I should have dismissed her right away, but I found all sorts of reasons to stand in the way of that so I could maintain my name and status. As a result, the two church leaders didn’t know how to arrange things properly, so this impacted our gospel work for a while longer. My arrogance, my failure to uphold the work of the church, and only considering my own name and status impacted our gospel work and the brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I was disrupting the work of the church. I gave lip service to upholding the work of the church, but in fact, I was just upholding my reputation and status. As long as I could protect my standing, even if someone I’d selected had issues and the church’s work was hindered, I turned a blind eye. I was ready to see the church’s interests suffer if it meant I could protect my own status. Isn’t that antichrist behavior? Through the judgment and revelation of God’s words I saw my anti-God nature and essence, and clearly saw my despicable, evil motives. At that point I felt kind of afraid, and was willing to repent to God, to stop doing evil and resisting Him out of arrogance.
In my devotionals once, I read a passage of God’s words that gave me a path of practice. “When other people voice dissenting opinions, what practice can you put in place to keep from being arbitrary and rash? You must first have an attitude of humility, set aside what you believe to be right, and let everyone have fellowship. Even if you believe your way to be correct, you should not keep insisting on it. That is a kind of step forward; it shows an attitude of seeking the truth, of denying yourself, and of satisfying God’s will. Once you have this attitude, at the same time that you do not adhere to your own opinion, you should pray, seek the truth from God, and then look for a basis in God’s words—determine how to act on the basis of God’s words. This is the most suitable and accurate practice. When people seek the truth and hold up a problem for everyone to fellowship together and seek an answer for is when the Holy Spirit provides enlightenment. God enlightens people according to principle, He takes stock of your attitude. If you stubbornly stick to your guns regardless of whether your view is right or wrong, God will hide His face from you and ignore you; He will make you hit a wall, He will expose you and reveal your ugly state. If, on the other hand, your attitude is correct, neither insistent on your own way, nor self-righteous, nor arbitrary and rash, but an attitude of seeking and acceptance of the truth, if you fellowship this with everyone, then the Holy Spirit will set to work among you, and perhaps He will lead you to understanding by means of someone’s words. Sometimes, when the Holy Spirit enlightens you, He leads you to understand the crux of a matter with just a few words or phrases, or by giving you a sense. You realize, in that instant, that whatever you have been clinging to is erroneous, and, in the same instant, you understand the most appropriate way to act. Having reached such a level, have you successfully avoided doing evil and bearing the consequences of a mistake? How is such a thing achieved? This is only attained when you have a heart that fears God, and when you seek the truth with a heart of obedience. Once you have received the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and determined the principles for practice, your practice will be in line with the truth, and you will be able to satisfy God’s will” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Part Three). God’s words gave me a path of practice. To not commit evil in my duty or disrupt the work of the church, what’s key is having a truth-seeking attitude when issues crop up, a heart of reverence for God, cooperating with the others, and to first put myself aside, pray, and seek, when I encounter different opinions. That’s the only way to gain the work of the Holy Spirit, to do things correctly, and minimize errors. Understanding this was enlightening for me, and I knew how to proceed. I dismissed Sister Zhang after that and chose a new supervisor. After a little while, the gospel work noticeably improved. But I felt even more regretful and guilty when I saw these results. I hated my earlier arrogance, and how I’d willfully kept Sister Zhang in place, disrupting the work of the church and committing a transgression. I said a prayer, hoping to seek the truth in all things and no longer go my own way and live out of arrogance.
I encountered another situation before too long. I made some suggestions in a work discussion with a few gospel deacons, and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, everyone chimed in to shoot them all down. I was feeling a little humiliated and was wondering, was everything I said totally off base? Are you guys right about everything? What will the others think of me, as a leader, if all my opinions are rejected? They’ll certainly think I don’t understand the truth and lack practicality. Will they listen to me after this? Will I still have the prestige of a leader in everyone’s eyes? At this thought, I wanted to speak for the sake of my face and deny the others’ views again. Then I felt really guilty, realizing I wasn’t in the right state. I silently prayed to God in my heart, “Oh God, I know they’re right, but my pride is wounded and I want to protect my reputation and status again. Please watch over me and help me accept their correct suggestions, follow the principles of the truth and not live out of corruption.” I read these words from God after my prayer: “One must discuss everything they do with others. Listen first to what everyone else has to say. If the majority view is right and accords with the truth, you should accept it and submit to it. Whatever you do, do not resort to bombast. Bombast is never a good thing, in any crowd. … It is your duty and liberty to participate and cooperate, to offer suggestions, and to express your views. But when the final decision is made, if you alone issue the ultimate verdict, making everyone do as you say and act according to your will, then you are violating the principles. … If nothing is clear to you and you have no views, learn to listen and obey, to seek the truth. This is the duty you should perform; this is an attitude of candor. If someone has no views of their own yet is always afraid of looking foolish, of not being able to distinguish themselves, of being humiliated; if they fear being dismissed by the others and having no status in their hearts, and so they always try to stand out and are always bombastic, making absurd assertions that do not correspond with reality, which they would have others accept—is that person performing their duty? (No.) What are they doing? They are being destructive” (The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Part Three). God’s words were enlightening. Participating in work, expressing opinions and suggestions were part of my duty and my responsibilities, but getting everyone to do what I wanted and listen to me was just arrogance. In work discussions, everyone has the right to express their opinion, and we should go with what is in line with principles of the truth and benefits the work of the church. That’s a truth-accepting attitude. After that I started focusing on practicing the truth, and when different opinions came up in work discussions, I’d inquire further into people’s ideas to reach a consensus that we could then implement. I remember once, I finished doing something on my own and I felt a little uneasy. Through prayer and reflection, I realized that I hadn’t spoken with my partners to reach a consensus, and that wasn’t the right approach. I opened up to everyone in fellowship that I was arrogant, hadn’t discussed things before making a decision, I’d been unreasonable in that way, and I’d change and stop doing things that way after that. I also asked everyone to keep an eye on me. I felt like putting myself aside and practicing the truth this way gave me peace of mind.
I practiced doing that in the next few work discussions, and things ended up going better without any real mishaps. I was so grateful to God. Through this I experienced that by not being arrogant in a duty and cooperating well with others, you can gain the Holy Spirit’s work and you’re more likely to get things done. Now I have some understanding of my arrogant, self-righteous corrupt disposition. I can practice the truth and I’ve changed a bit. This is God’s love and salvation. Only God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning and dealing can change and cleanse people.