Why Do I Worry About Making Mistakes?
By Qian Yi, the Philippines
Working in art design for the church, I initially had some difficulties, but through relying on God and partnering with brothers and sisters, my performance improved. Later on, I was informed unexpectedly that Sister Lisa was reassigned to a new duty because her designs were full of errors and often had to be redone. Despite brothers and sisters’ frequent reminders, fellowship and support, she didn’t improve, which severely impacted the church’s work. After Lisa was reassigned, I told myself that I needed to be more cautious in my work and avoid making mistakes. If I made a bunch of mistakes and proved to be unfit for the job, it would only be a matter of time until I was reassigned. I’d only ever worked as a designer in the church and had no other skills—if I were reassigned and was unable to do other duties, could I still be saved? After that, for each design I made, I would provide three or four versions, but each version was too crude and basically unusable. Actually, two versions are enough, but I was trying to be smart, thinking if I gave them several versions, there’d likely be one they’d find acceptable. As a result, the more cautious I became, the more mistakes I made in my designs. The team leader reminded me that I should be more serious and diligent in my work, put the time in to ensure the quality of each design and not go through the motions. When the leader told me this, I didn’t reflect on my issues or take stock of the aberrations in my work, I just worried about whether the leader would find me unfit for the work and reassign me. Later on, I became even more fearful of making mistakes in my designs. Sometimes when I didn’t agree with other brothers and sisters’ suggestions, I’d want to talk over with them how to do a better job, but I felt like if I ran my mouth, people might think I was being perfunctory and didn’t want to make revisions. If I gave people a bad impression, I’d be on my way to being reassigned. I felt I had to be more cautious and show everyone that I could take suggestions and was diligent and responsible. So I just kept my mouth shut. During that time, the more I worried about being reassigned, the more mistakes I made. One design was sent back several times and delayed our work. I was only able to produce about a quarter of what I normally did in one week. Seeing that my performance was clearly suffering, the team leader dealt with me, saying: “Your designs have been subpar recently, they’re always getting sent back and you’re quite inefficient—are you concentrating on your work or not? What is the issue? Have you reflected?” The team leader’s criticism really hit me hard. I realized that I was slowing down our work progress and now my true colors were being exposed for all to see. It seemed I would certainly be reassigned, given how many issues I was having. I became depressed and I couldn’t get motivated in my work. I was just waiting for the day when the leader would come and tell me I’d been reassigned.
I reached out to God in prayer and seeking: Why did I always worry about making mistakes and being reassigned? One day, I saw these passages of (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Twelve). “Judging from an antichrist’s attitude and perspective regarding a change in their duty, where does their problem lie? Is the problem here a big one? (It is.) Their greatest mistake is that they should not link a change in duty with receiving blessings; this is something they should definitely not do. In fact, there is no connection between the two, but because the antichrist’s heart is full of desires to be blessed, no matter what duty they perform, they connect and relate it to whether or not they will be blessed. As such, they are incapable of performing their duty properly, and can only be exposed and cast out; this is their own fault, they embarked upon this desperate path by themselves” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Twelve). God’s words exposed how antichrists have a particularly evil disposition and an absurd understanding of truth. They think of something as normal as reassignment through the lens of gaining or losing blessings and worry that if they’re reassigned or dismissed, they’ll lose their final destination. As such, they do everything they can to secure their futures. Pondering over God’s words, I reflected on myself. My own behavior was similar to that of an antichrist’s. I thought of my duty in terms of gaining blessings and worried if I were reassigned, I would lose my chance at salvation. When I heard that Lisa had been reassigned, I worried that I would also be reassigned. I viewed my duty as my aegis and thought that if I lost it I wouldn’t attain salvation. After that, I became calculating, and would provide several versions of each design so they wouldn’t all be rejected. But I failed to focus on improving the quality of the designs and as a result, more and more issues cropped up in my work and the number of approved designs I produced nosedived. I became more reticent in my interactions with brothers and sisters and wouldn’t open up and discuss my ideas with them, worrying they’d think I wasn’t accepting their suggestions and would rate me poorly, which would get me reassigned. I was constantly wary of brothers and sisters and put up a false front. Because I was constantly worrying about gaining blessings, I couldn’t concentrate on my work, and didn’t bother to take stock of my issues and seek the truth and principles. As a result, I made mistake after mistake, became inefficient and impeded our work. I also became increasingly depressed. After being dealt with and pruned by the team leader, I didn’t bother to reflect on myself, but just became negative and resistant. I thought: “Now I’m done for—the team leader thinks I’m not diligent in my duty and always making mistakes. I’ll definitely be reassigned.” I broke down in negativity, sending the helve after the hatchet, and was unmotivated in my duty. God had bestowed me with the opportunity to do my duty so that I would seek the truth, work according to principle, and be able to attain His salvation. But I didn’t walk the right path—I didn’t place importance on seeking the truth and acting on principle. Whenever a problem arose, I would only worry that I’d be reassigned and lose my chance at gaining blessings. I viewed my duty as a means for gaining blessings: I thought that as long as I didn’t make mistakes in my duty and wasn’t reassigned, I could easily attain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven when God’s work concludes. I saw that I only did my duty to attain blessings. I thought of my duty as a “life preserver,” using and cheating God. This all made God abhor and despise me. I felt guilty and regretful, and so I prayed to God and was ready to repent.. “An antichrist sees being blessed as greater than the heavens themselves, greater than life, more important than pursuing the truth, dispositional change, or personal salvation, and more important than doing their duty well, and being a created being that is up to standard. They think that being a created being that is up to standard, doing their duty well and being saved are all paltry things that are hardly worth mentioning, while gaining blessings is the only thing in their entire life that can never be forgotten. In whatever they encounter, no matter how great or small, they relate it to being blessed by God, and are incredibly cautious and attentive, and they always leave a way out for themselves. So when their duty is adjusted, if it is a promotion, an antichrist will think they have hope of being blessed. If it is a demotion, from team leader to assistant team leader, or from assistant team leader to a regular group member, or if they have no duty at all, they feel this is a major problem and they think their hope of gaining blessing is slim. What sort of outlook is it? Is it a proper outlook? Absolutely not. This view is absurd. Whether or not someone gains God’s approval is not based on what duty they perform, but on whether they possess the truth, whether they genuinely obey God, and whether they are loyal. These are the most important things. During the period of God’s salvation for humankind, people must suffer many trials. Especially in the performance of their duty, they must go through many failures and setbacks, but in the end, if they understand the truth and have genuine obedience to God, they will be someone who has God’s approval. In the matter of being transferred in their duty it can be seen that antichrists do not understand the truth, and that they do not have the ability to receive the truth at all”
Later on, I saw more of God’s words. “Tell Me, if someone who has made a mistake is capable of true understanding and is willing to repent, would God’s house not give them that chance? As God’s six-thousand-year management plan draws to a close, there are so many duties that need to be performed. But if people have no conscience or reason, and are derelict in their work, if they have gained an opportunity to perform a duty but do not know to treasure it, do not pursue the truth in the least, letting the optimal time go past, then they will be revealed. If you are consistently careless and perfunctory in performing your duty, and you do not submit at all when faced with pruning and being dealt with, will God’s house still put you to use in the performance of a duty? In God’s house, it is the truth that reigns, not Satan. God has the final say over everything. It is He who is doing the work of saving man, He who rules over everything. There is no need for your analysis of what is right and wrong; it is yours only to hear and obey. When faced with pruning and being dealt with, you must accept the truth and be able to correct your mistakes. If you do, God’s house will not strip you of your standing to perform a duty. If you are always fearful of being cast out, always giving excuses, always justifying yourself, that is a problem. If you let others see that you do not accept the truth in the least, and that you are impervious to reason, you are in trouble. The church will be obliged to address you” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). “Antichrists keep these things at the pit of their heart, and they admonish themselves: ‘Caution is the parent of safety; the nail that sticks up the most gets hammered down; and it’s lonely at the top.’ They do not believe that the words of God are the truth, and they do not believe that His disposition is righteous and holy. They regard all this through human notions and imaginings, and they approach the work of God with human perspectives, human thoughts, and human guile, employing the logic and thinking of Satan to delineate God’s disposition, identity, and essence. Obviously, the antichrists do not merely neither accept nor acknowledge God’s disposition, identity, and essence, but are full of notions, resistance, and rebelliousness toward God and have not the least shred of real knowledge of Him. The antichrists’ definition of God’s work, God’s disposition, and God’s love is a question mark—dubiousness, and they are full of skepticism and full of denial and denigration for it; so what, then, of His identity? God’s disposition represents His identity; with such a regard of God’s disposition as theirs, their regard of God’s identity is self-evident—direct denial. This is the essence of the antichrists” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Ten (Part Six)). God’s words reveal how antichrists don’t believe God’s words are the truth and never view things in light of His words. Instead, they weigh all things in terms of their own treacherousness and satanic logic. Their disposition is truly evil. Considering myself in the light of God’s words, I realized that my way of viewing things was no different than an antichrist’s. When Lisa was reassigned, I didn’t view the matter in terms of the truth and principles, instead adopting the satanic idea that “Caution is the parent of safety,” and thinking that I’d better be more cautious and shouldn’t make any mistakes. If I made too many mistakes and was reassigned, I thought I’d be thoroughly exposed and cast out. When doing my duty, I was even reticent to express my thoughts during regular exchanges with brothers and sisters and wouldn’t open up and fellowship about my ideas, worrying that if I said or did anything wrong, I’d be reassigned. After the leader dealt with me and reminded me to be diligent in my duty, I became wary, thinking that my being dealt with was a sure sign I’d be reassigned and would lose my chance of attaining salvation. I realized that I’d practiced faith for quite some time and read many of God’s words, but I didn’t seek the truth and didn’t view things according to God’s words. Instead, I judged God’s work using satanic logic and beliefs, thinking that God was just like world leaders that lacked fairness and righteousness. In my duty, I felt like I was on a razor’s edge and might be exposed, cast out and have no chance to repent if I ever did or said anything wrong. In my beliefs, I was denying God’s righteousness and blaspheming Him! In the church, God and the truth wield power. Casting out and reassigning people is always done according to principle. The church will never condemn and cast out people based on an isolated incident, but, rather, based on that person’s attitude to the truth, their overall behavior and their nature and substance. Lisa always went through the motions in her duty, which was damaging to the church’s work. Brothers and sisters fellowshiped the truth with her, supported, exposed and dealt with her, but she didn’t show any signs of repenting and was ultimately reassigned. Also, her being reassigned didn’t mean she’d be thoroughly cast out. If she reflected on herself, sought the truth and truly repented and transformed, she’d still have an opportunity to attain the truth and God’s salvation. But if she still didn’t repent and accept the truth after receiving fellowship and support and being dealt with multiple times, then she’d be thoroughly exposed and cast out. I was reminded of how God dealt with Nineveh. When God became aware of the corruption, evil and sin of the people of Nineveh, He sent Jonah to warn them and gave them forty days to repent. The people of Nineveh then put on sackcloth, sat in ashes and truly repented. God saw their sincerity and pardoned them of their sins. This story shows how not all who transgress are cast out—God sees if people repent and are sincere. I didn’t seek the truth and view this matter according to God’s words, opting instead to adopt a wary and misunderstanding attitude. I was resisting and struggling against God and if I didn’t repent, I would be exposed and cast out.
Later on, I saw two other passages of God’s words that gave me a better idea of His intentions. God’s words say, “Some people will end up saying, ‘I’ve done so much work for You, and though I may not have made any celebrated achievements, still I have been diligent in my efforts. Can’t You just let me into heaven to eat the fruit of life?’ You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy, then it will be intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and who are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—this is an unalterable truth!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks). “Man’s performance of his duty is, in actuality, the accomplishment of all that is inherent within man, which is to say, that which is possible for man. It is then that his duty is fulfilled. The defects of man during his service are gradually reduced through progressive experience and the process of his undergoing judgment; they do not hinder or affect man’s duty. Those who cease to serve or yield and fall back for fear that there may be drawbacks to their service are the most cowardly of all” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man). Pondering God’s words, I realized that God determines people’s final destinations based not on their duty, how much they’ve suffered or how much capital they’ve amassed, but rather if they are loyal in their duty, submit to God, have testimony of practicing the truth, and have achieved transformation of their disposition. Also, God’s demands of people in their duties are all practical. He doesn’t ask that people achieve perfection and never make mistakes, but rather that they put their abilities into full play in their work, do their utmost and refrain from going through the motions and being slippery. This way of fulfilling one’s duty satisfies God. I thought of how despite how some people always perform their duties without making any major mistakes or being dealt with and pruned, they don’t seek the truth, go through the motions, are irresponsible in their duties and fail to get results over the long run. Ultimately, such people are exposed and cast out, and in serious cases may even be cleared out from the church. But some brothers and sisters betray corrupt dispositions in their duties, or certain aberrations crop up in their work due to failing to grasp the principles, and so they’re pruned and dealt with. Yet, they focus on reflecting on themselves, seek the truth to resolve their corrupt dispositions, take stock of their mistakes, seek the principles of truth and ultimately, their performance improves and they make progress in life. These facts showed me that attaining salvation has nothing to do with what duty one performs. The most important thing is that in the course of a duty, one must focus on seeking and practicing the truth to be able to act according to principle. This, and only this, is the right path. I thought of how I outwardly seemed to be doing my duty, but when I was exposed and met with failure, my response was just to worry. I never really sought the truth to resolve my issues. I realized I was in a precarious place. After that, I hurriedly came before God to reflect—why did I always make mistakes and slack off in my duty, and why was I ineffective? I ultimately realized that I didn’t value my partnership with brothers and sisters. If, before starting my design, I had been able to communicate my thought process with the others, reach a consensus, and decide upon a clear direction for the design based on principles, I would have had a clearer idea and could have avoided having my work sent back and delaying progress. What’s more, I didn’t seek to improve in my duty and was content with my current level. I didn’t focus on taking stock of my issues in the work I did, seeking the principles and identifying areas for continued study. So some issues kept cropping up and the quality and efficiency of my design work was compromised. Reflecting on all of this, I finally realized how many problems there were with my approach to work. The team leader only pointed out issues and assisted me so that I’d recognize my issues and rectify them quickly. But, instead, I was on tiptoes with my brothers and sisters and not only failed to recognize my issues, but also became negative and resistant. I was being so unreasonable! I felt so regretful and guilty and I resolved to fix my issues as quickly as possible.
After that, I came across this passage of God’s words. “If someone is open-hearted, they are an honest person. This means that they have opened up their heart and spirit completely to God, with nothing to hide and nothing to hide from. They have fully delivered and shown their heart to God, which means that they have given their whole self to Him. Will they still be estranged from God? No, they will not. In this way it is easy for them to submit to God. If God says they are deceitful, they will admit it. If God says they are arrogant and self-righteous, they will admit that too. And they won’t just admit these things and be done with them—they are able to repent, to strive for the principles of the truth, and to recognize their errors and rectify them. Before they know it, they will have corrected many of their erroneous ways, and they will become less and less deceitful, tricky, careless and perfunctory. The longer they live this way, the more open and honorable they will become and the closer they will be to the goal of becoming an honest person. That is what it means to live in the light. … Are those who live in the light able to accept God’s scrutiny? Might they still hide their hearts from God? Do they still have secrets they cannot tell God? Do they still have any shady, little tricks up their sleeves? They do not. They have completely opened up their hearts to God, and hide nothing whatsoever. They can confide in God, fellowship with Him about anything, and let Him know everything. There is nothing they will not tell God and nothing they will not show Him. When people are able to attain this level of openness, their lives become easy, free and liberated” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). God’s words showed me that one must have an honest attitude to do a duty well. The most valuable aspect of an honest person is their ability to accept the truth and God’s scrutiny. No matter how they’re exposed or meet with failure, they’re able to recognize their deficiencies, seek the truth, reflect on themselves and rectify the mistakes in their work. Such people are more likely to attain God’s enlightenment and guidance, and their results in their duties continually improve. When people begin investing energy into the right path, they see themselves improve, and all worries and fears naturally disappear.
After understanding God’s will, I consciously practiced that way in my duty. Then once when I was partnered on a design with Alicia, my draft was sent back because I didn’t have a grasp of principle and I became worried again that if I made too many mistakes I’d be reassigned. But, as soon as I felt this way, I immediately realized that I was once again thinking about my future prospects, and so I quickly prayed to God and was ready to set the right attitude, not be guarded against God, take up the proper perspective on my inadequacies, take stock of my aberrations and seek the principles I should enter into. After that, I opened up to Alicia about my state and she not only didn’t chide me, she even fellowshiped on some specific paths to implement for my deficiencies. My designs greatly improved. Going forward, this problem occurred in my work much less frequently. When I took a positive approach to entry, I became much less wary of God, stopped worrying I’d be reassigned, and was able to focus on seeking the truth and reflecting on myself. Over time, I progressed in my duty and made fewer and fewer mistakes. I also gained a lot in my life entry and felt peaceful and at ease.