Be Strict With Oneself to Discipline Others
I had a close work partnership with an elderly sister in general affairs. After working with her for some time, I found her to be careless in her work and that she did not accept the truth. As such, I formed an opinion about her. Gradually, the normal relationship between us was lost, we couldn’t get along well, and were unable to partner up in work. I felt that it was mostly her fault that our relationship had come to this point, and so I tried to figure out all kinds of ways to communicate with her so that she could get to know herself. But all my attempts to communicate with her ended in vain or were even counterproductive. In the end we parted ways, our issues unresolved. This made me even more assured that she was not a person who accepts the truth. After that, the church arranged for me to stay with a different host family. Soon after, I discovered many problems also existed with the host family brother and sister, and I again “labored” to communicate with them, but all my attempts were ineffective, and they began to hold prejudices against me. Faced with these circumstances, I was very troubled and puzzled: Why do the people I meet not accept the truth? Until one day, I found the source of the problem when I ran up against a wall at work.
One day, the leader had arranged for me to send her the work arrangement, and I entrusted the elderly sister to deliver it to her. Who would have known that a week later, the package would be sent back to me intact. Faced with this situation, I was stunned and poured blame on the elderly sister for her careless mishandling of the matter, which had resulted in the package not being delivered to the leader. There was also no contact from the leader for a few days after this, and I was beginning to feel unsettled: Usually if something is not delivered or sent late, the leader will call to inquire about the situation. Why hasn’t she contacted me this time? Is she trying to stop me from performing my duty? I grew more and more fearful—my thoughts were filled with worry and regret. I couldn’t help but fall in front of God, “God, I feel so very sick and conflicted in my heart. The work arrangement has been sent back to me intact. I don’t know what is happening, and I am unsure what aspect of me will be perfected in meeting with this situation. Please lead and enlighten me and help me to understand Your will.” Right after the prayer, one of God’s phrases kept flashing in my head, “When, as soon as you begin working, you make mistakes and run up against a wall, this is God’s discipline” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I suddenly realized that the issues I had run into during work, the bad partnering with the elderly sister, and the opinions of the host family brother and sister; were these not God’s way of dealing with me through my circumstances? I silently called out to God, “God, I know that You deal with and discipline me because You love me, but I don’t understand what aspects of me You wished to address in creating these circumstances. I pray You to lead and enlighten me.” Later, when I was eating and drinking the word of God, I saw these two passages, “Trust in God to resolve the difficulties within yourself, get rid of your fallen disposition, know your true state and what you ought to do, and communicate more on things you don’t understand. It is imperative that you get to know yourself. Get your illness treated first. Live and act by My words through eating and drinking more and figuring them out. Let God reign within you, whether at home or in any place” (“The Twenty-second Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “When things happen, you need to make a choice, deal with the matter correctly, and be calm. You will only need to use the truth to solve problems when things happen. What is the point of you understanding some truth under normal circumstances? It is not for filling your stomach, or for armchair philosophizing. It is not for you to use these things to solve other people’s problems, but to resolve your own difficulties. You can only solve other people’s difficulties once you solve your own problems” (“The Muddled Can’t Be Saved” in Records of Christ’s Talks With Leaders and Workers of the Church). God’s words were like a flash of lightning. Yes, when things happen we should first know ourselves, and use the truth to resolve the difficulties within us. By improving our condition, we solve our problems, thereby making it possible to solve other people’s problems. But I never knew myself when things happened, and fixated my eyes on others, finding fault with them whenever possible. When coordination wasn’t smooth, I attributed it to someone else, and tried to figure out ways to communicate with them, getting them to learn their lesson and know themselves. When the host family brother and sister were not willing to listen to me communicate, I believed it was because they were not pursuing the truth, and not able to accept the truth. When the work arrangement was sent back to me intact, I shifted blame and responsibility onto others. When all this happened, I failed to examine what corruption I had revealed, and which truths I should enter. It was as if I had no corruption, and did everything right. Instead, I made demands of others according to my own standards, and if someone could not meet my standard or refused to accept my communication, then I jumped to the conclusion that the person must not be seeking the truth and accepting the truth. I was truly too arrogant and had no self-knowledge. I had no knowledge of the corruption I revealed, nor did I seek the truth to solve my own problems, but always found fault with others. How could I partner harmoniously and get along with others? It was then that I realized: The reason I don’t get along with anyone is not because they don’t seek the truth, or accept the truth, but because I have no self-knowledge, and don’t emphasize the use of truth to solve my own problems.
After realizing all of this, I began to pay attention to my own entry and solving my own problems first when things happened. When communicating with brothers and sisters subsequently, there were components of self-knowledge in my communication. This was when I found my brothers and sisters to have changed. They began to show some knowledge of their own corruption, and we gradually developed a harmonious partnership. Faced with facts, I was finally able to see that when issues arise, it is extremely important to get to know oneself and solve one’s own problems first. Only then can we live out our normal humanity, have a harmonious partnership with others, and profit from our life experiences.