13. The Heart’s Deliverance
By Zheng Xin, USA
In October of 2016, my husband and I accepted God’s work in the last days while we were abroad. A few months later, Sister Wang, who accepted God’s work with me, had been progressing quickly, and everyone was praising her for good caliber. Once after one gathering, I heard Sister Lin say, “Everything Sister Wang has fellowshiped today, about her acceptance and understanding of God’s words, was spoken from the heart. What she said also has some light to it, and for me it’s very helpful.” Actually, at first, hearing everyone say this made me feel quite envious of her. But a while later, I started to feel disgruntled: How come everyone was praising her, and not me? Had I not grown at all? Was there something wrong with my fellowship? Gradually, I was unwilling to accept the fact that she was better than I, and started to secretly set myself against her. I thought to myself, “You can fellowship on God’s words, but I can too. The day will come when I’ll surpass you. I’ll save the understanding and knowledge that I gain from God’s words and only share it when in gatherings. That way, everyone will see that my fellowship is quite good and practical, too.”
For a period of time after that, I wrote down in a notebook everything I had gained and understood from God’s words. When it was time for the gathering, I had to ponder them carefully in my heart, to see how I could share them in fellowship in a way that would be just as clear, organized, and methodical as Sister Wang. But for some reason, the more I tried to show off in front of my brothers and sisters, the more I made a fool of myself. As soon as it was my turn to fellowship, either my mind would go blank or my words would come out in a total jumble. I was unable to clearly state the perspectives I had wanted to articulate. The gathering ended up being very embarrassing for me. After I got home one day, I said to my husband, “Whenever I hear there’s light to Sister Wang’s fellowshiping about God’s words during the gatherings, I feel really uncomfortable—” But before I finished speaking, my husband glared at me and said to me in all earnestness, “Sister Wang’s fellowship does have light, and is helpful to us. We should thank God for this. This discomfort you feel—isn’t it just jealousy?” His words were like a slap in the face. I quickly shook my head in denial: “No, that’s not it. I’m not like that.” My husband went on to say, “Our brothers and sisters have all gained enjoyment from Sister Wang’s fellowship, but hearing it makes you feel uneasy. That just means you’re jealous because she’s more capable than you.” Hearing this made me feel even more upset. Could it be that I was really such a jealous person? I said to him, “Stop talking now. Let me calm down, and I’ll give it some thought by myself.” After that, my husband told Sister Liu in the church about what was going on with me, hoping she would help me out. When I heard about that, I reproached him: “How could you speak to her without checking with me first? If she tells everyone about this, how are they gonna look at me?” The more I thought about it, the more upset I became. I prayed silently to God: “Oh God! Please grant me guidance. Please help me.”
The next day, I reflected upon what I had revealed over that period of time. It occurred to me that ordinarily when I read God’s words, I would keep any light that I gained to myself, and then share it during our gatherings. This was actually just a desire to talk about things that other people didn’t know about so that my brothers and sisters would have a higher opinion of me. When I saw that Sister Wang had light in her fellowship, I always felt uneasy and wanted to surpass her. I used to think that I was really easygoing with others and never tended to fuss over every little thing, that I was a simple person at heart. But now it turned out that I could be jealous of someone, and that I could even secretly set myself against and compete with them. How could I be such a person? I called a sister on the phone and asked her, “Sister, do you ever feel jealous during gatherings after hearing light in other brothers’ and sisters’ fellowshiping about God’s words?” She replied, “No, I don’t. If our brothers and sisters have light in their fellowship, that’s helpful to me. It makes me really happy, and I very much enjoy it!” Hearing her say that made me feel even worse. I felt acutely just how intensely jealous I was being. No one else was jealous of the sister; only I was. Living in such a state, I prayed to God. I said to Him, “Oh God! I don’t want to be a jealous person, but every time I hear this sister’s wonderful fellowship, I involuntarily get jealous of her. Oh God! I don’t know what to do. Please, may You lead me to cast off my bonds of envy.”
Later, Sister Liu from our church came to see me. She fellowshiped with me in accordance with my state, and also read a passage of God’s words: “Some people are always afraid that others will steal their limelight and surpass them, obtaining recognition while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only of oneself, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others, and thinking only about one’s own interests and not the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). When I heard these words of God, I felt that this was exactly the state I had been in. Sister Wang’s fellowship on God’s words was enlightening, but I didn’t try to understand the truth or to seek a path of practice from what she had said. On the contrary, I felt envious of her. When my own fellowshiping was no good, and when I couldn’t show off and, instead, ended up disgracing myself, my mind would be in a whirl, and I would get very negative and upset. I would be deeply afraid that my brothers and sisters would look down on me. I was so selfish and contemptible, and all I thought of was being able to stand out—I absolutely was not able to bear the sight of someone doing better than I. Wasn’t that being jealous and envious? There’s not a speck of normal humanity in that! Thinking back, I was also like that before I believed in God. When I was interacting with my friends and relatives, neighbors, and colleagues, I was constantly wanting others to speak well of me. Sometimes, when a colleague praised someone else’s work in front of me, I would get to feeling uncomfortable, and in order to get others to speak highly of me, I would dedicate myself to doing my work well, and I was happy to do it no matter how difficult or exhausting it was. I used to have no awareness of that, but just thought of it as a sort of desire for advancement. Only then had I realized that those were manifestations of Satan’s corrupt disposition. After that, I came before God frequently and prayed to Him about my difficulties. During gatherings, I focused on quieting my heart and listening to the fellowshiping of others. When it was my turn to fellowship, I no longer thought of how to fellowship better than Sister Wang did. Instead, I calmly pondered God’s words and shared in fellowship what I understood of them. As I practiced this way, I really did feel a lot more relaxed and liberated.
After a period of time, I truly felt that my jealousy had ebbed compared to what it had been, but satanic corrupt disposition is really deeply rooted, and it reveals itself whenever a fitting circumstance arises. Later, during a few gatherings, whenever I saw that the other brothers and sisters were praising Sister Wang’s fellowship, I again began to feel some jealousy. After that, I felt some distance between me and her. However, living within that state, I didn’t dare open up to others. I was afraid that if I did, they would look down on me. So, during several gatherings, I felt very inhibited.
One evening, Sister Liu gave me a call. Concerned, she asked me if I had been experiencing any difficulties lately. I responded vaguely, “Am I too corrupt? Will God refuse to save a person like me?” Afraid she would look down on me, I didn’t say anything further. Then Sister Liu read a passage of God’s words for me in light of my state: “When some people hear that to be an honest person, one must open up and lay oneself bare, they say, ‘It’s hard being honest. Do I have to tell everything I think to others? Isn’t it enough to commune the positive things? I don’t need to tell others of my dark or corrupt side, do I?’ If you do not tell others these things, and do not dissect yourself, then you will never know yourself; you will never recognize what kind of thing you are, and other people will never be able to trust you. This is fact. If you wish for others to trust you, first you must be honest. As an honest person, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can look into it, see all that you are thinking, and glimpse your true face; you must not try to disguise or package yourself to look good. Only then will people trust you and consider you honest. This is the most fundamental practice, and the prerequisite, of being an honest person” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days). After reading those words from God, she fellowshiped with me, “We must open up and fellowship in order to seek the truth; this is one way to attain spiritual release. It is also a way to practice the truth and be an honest person. By doing so, we can receive help from our brothers and sisters. This allows our corrupt dispositions to be resolved more quickly, and gives us a sense of release. If we are not willing to lay bare our difficulties, we will easily fall for Satan’s trickery, and our lives will be liable to suffer losses.” After listening to Sister Liu’s fellowship, I plucked up my courage and told her what I had been going through. Sister Liu then read another passage of God’s words: “The people God saves are those who have been corrupted by Satan and thus came to have corrupt dispositions. They are not perfect people without the slightest blemish, nor are they people who live in a vacuum. For some, as soon as their corruption is revealed, they think, ‘Yet again, I’ve resisted God; I’ve believed in Him for so many years, but I still haven’t changed. God surely doesn’t want me anymore!’ What sort of attitude is this? They have given up on themselves and think that God does not want them anymore. Is this not a case of misunderstanding God? When you are so negative, it is easiest for Satan to find chinks in your armor, and once it has succeeded, the consequences are unimaginable. Therefore, no matter how much difficulty you are in or how negative you are feeling, you must never give up! While people’s lives are developing and while they are being saved, they sometimes take the wrong path or go astray. They exhibit some immature states and behavior in their life for a while, or sometimes grow weak and negative, say the wrong things, slip and fall, or suffer a failure. From God’s point of view, such things are all normal, and He would not make a fuss over them” (“Entry Into Life Is Most Important to Faith in God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days).
The sister shared this fellowship with me: “We’ve all been deeply corrupted by Satan. We’re arrogant, crafty, evil, and vicious. These satanic dispositions are deeply entrenched within all of us, and have even become our very natures. For this reason, our behavior and attitudes reveal corruption at every pass. It used to really irk me: I had some understanding of my corrupt disposition and felt remorse after revealing it, so why would I do it again the next time? After reading God’s words, I finally realized that my satanic disposition was really serious, and it dawned on me that a change in disposition isn’t something that happens overnight. People can’t just change after gaining a little self-awareness. Without the long-term judgment and chastisement of God’s words, without being pruned and dealt with, and without trials and refinement, true change is impossible. The purpose of God’s coming to perform judgment and chastisement is to purify and change us. He knows how deeply Satan has corrupted us, and He is aware of our stature and the difficulties we encounter with trying to change our dispositions, so He’s forgiving and patient with those who pursue the truth. God hopes we have the resolve to pursue the truth, and that we wholeheartedly seek to change our dispositions. So, we must treat ourselves correctly. We have to eat and drink of God’s words more, accept their judgment and chastisement, forsake the flesh, and put the truth into practice. Then one day, our corrupt dispositions are bound to change.”
We then read another passage of God’s words: “As soon as it touches upon position, face, or reputation, everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and each of you always wants to stand out, be famous, and be recognized. Everyone is unwilling to yield, always instead wishing to contend—even though contending is embarrassing and not allowed in God’s house. However, without contention, you still are not content. When you see someone stand out, you feel jealous, hatred, and that it is unfair. ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why is it always that person who gets to stand out, and it’s never my turn?’ You then feel some resentment. You try to repress it, but you cannot. You pray to God and feel better for a while, but then as soon as you encounter this sort of situation again, you cannot overcome it. Does this not display an immature stature? Is not a person’s falling into such states a trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans. … You must learn to let go and set aside these things, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage the moment you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain glory. You must learn to back off, but must not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity, and who does not show off to others while you loyally perform your duty. The more you let go of your prestige and status, and the more you let go of your own interests, the more peaceful you will become, and the more space will open up within your heart and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will be. If you do not believe it, try it and see! If you want to turn this sort of state around, and not be controlled by these things, then you must first set them aside and give them up. Otherwise, the more you struggle, the more darkness will surround you, and the more jealousy and hatred you will feel, and your desire to obtain will only grow stronger. The stronger your desire to obtain, the less capable you will be to do so, and as you obtain less, your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases, you will grow darker inside. The darker you are inside, the more poorly you will perform your duty; the more poorly you perform your duty, the less useful you will be. This is an interlinked, vicious cycle. If you can never perform your duty well, then, gradually, you will be eliminated” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days).
The sister’s fellowshiping about God’s words made me realize that my jealousy had arisen from having too strong a desire for name and status, and that my disposition had been too arrogant. I had been instilled with the Chinese Communist Party’s education and all kinds of satanic life philosophies and poisons from childhood, such as, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards,” and “Stand out above the rest, and bring honor to your ancestors.” These satanic poisons had been planted deep within my heart, causing me to be arrogant, self-conceited, selfish, and contemptible. I had grown especially ambitious and aggressive; no matter what I did, I felt compelled to surpass others. I had been that way in society, and I had been that way in the church as well. Even while fellowshiping and praying during gatherings, I still just wanted to be better than other people, and the only times I had been happy were when others praised me. As soon as someone else proved to be better than I, I couldn’t accept it, and would become jealous. Deep down, I would resist and work against that person. When I really couldn’t surpass them, I would just dwell within negativity and misunderstanding, unable to treat myself properly. I would even misunderstand God, and thought that I couldn’t be a target for God’s salvation. I saw that Satan’s corruption had made me arrogant and fragile, selfish and despicable, and my life became unspeakably miserable. From these words of God, I also found a path of practice: I must learn to let go, to set things aside, and to practice according to God’s words. I must learn to forsake my own flesh and put aside my ego and status, and learn more from Sister Wang’s strengths, and compensate for my own weaknesses. This is the only way to understand and gain more truths.
Later, I read this passage from God’s words: “The functions are not the same. There is one body. Each does his duty, each in his place and doing his very best—for each spark there is one flash of light—and seeking maturity in life. Thus will I be satisfied” (“Chapter 21” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Once I had read these words from God, I understood that because the caliber and the gifts that God bestows are different for each person, His requirements for each person are different. Actually, as long as we do everything in our power to fulfill our duties, God’s heart will be consoled. Sister Wang is of good caliber and is so quick to understand the truth. Today God arranges for us to gather together, and His purpose is for us to learn from each other’s strengths and compensate for our own weaknesses so that we can understand the truth and enter the reality of God’s words together. I should properly handle my own strengths and shortcomings. No matter what kind of caliber God has ordained for me to have, I must submit to His rule and arrangements, rectify my motives, and pursue the truth with all my heart. I should fellowship however much I understand, and practice however much I know. I should do my utmost, and in this way, God will enlighten and guide me. To this end, I made the following resolution before God: From now on, I am willing to put effort into pursuit of the truth, stop being narrow-minded and jealous of people more capable than I, and live out the likeness of a true human being so as to fulfill God’s will.
The next church gathering came around very quickly. I wanted to open up to my brothers and sisters about how jealous I had been of Sister Wang, and what aspects of my corrupt disposition that I had revealed, but as soon as I thought of it, I became afraid of how they would see me, and what Sister Wang would think of me if she knew how envious I had been of her. Deep down, I felt a bit reluctant to face the situation. Silently within myself, I prayed to God. I said, “Oh God! May You give me faith and courage. I am willing to put aside my vanity and status, share in fellowship openly with my brothers and sisters, and dissolve the barriers between us. May You, God, be my guide.” After praying, I felt much more at peace, and so I spoke of what state I had been in and about all I had been going through. After hearing me out, not only did my brothers and sisters not look down on me, but they all actually admired my courage at having been able to practice honesty. They said that my experience made them realize that only by practicing according to God’s words could they cast off their own satanic corrupt dispositions and gain release and freedom. They also said they now knew what to do the next time they encountered such a situation. During subsequent gatherings, I discovered many of Sister Wang’s strengths: When eating and drinking of God’s words, she was able to integrate her own state in her fellowshiping. Whenever she encountered a problem, she was able to focus on coming before God and seeking His intentions, and on finding a path for practice from within His words. Only after seeing these strengths of hers did I understand that she was not my rival, but someone who could help me. Only then did I sense, from the bottom of my heart, that the purpose of God’s arrangement for us to work together is for us to learn from each other’s strengths in order to compensate for each other’s weaknesses. When I thought of it that way, I felt completely emancipated. Now I feel that every gathering is a kind of enjoyment. I am no longer influenced by jealousy, but am able to draw on others’ strengths to offset my own weaknesses, live in harmony with them, and feel released in spirit.