By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
The Criteria of a Truly Good Person
Moran Linyi City, Shandong Province
Since I was a child, I always attached a great deal of importance to how other people saw me and their assessment of me. So that I could get praise from others for everything I did, I never argued with anyone whenever anything cropped up, so as to avoid destroying the good image other people had of me. After I’d accepted God’s work in the last days, I continued in this way, upholding in every way possible the good image that my brothers and sisters had of me. Previously, when I was taking responsibility for the relative work, my leader would often say that my performance was like a “yes-person,” and not the performance of someone who put the truth into practice. I never took it to heart, but on the contrary if other people thought of me as a good person, then I felt satisfied.
One day, I read this paragraph in The Manual of Principles for Church Work: “… If in your belief of God you do not seek the truth, then even if you do not appear to be transgressing, you are still not a truly good person. Those who do not seek the truth certainly have no sense of righteousness, nor can they love what God loves or hate what God hates. They absolutely cannot stand at God’s side, much less be compatible with God. How then can those without a sense of righteousness be called good people? Not only do those that are described by ordinary people as ‘yes-people’ have no sense of righteousness, they have no goals in life either. They are merely people who never want to offend anyone, so what are they worth? A truly good person indicates someone who loves positive things, someone who seeks the truth and yearns for the light, someone who can discern good from evil and who has the correct goals in life; only this kind of person does God love” (“To Serve God One Must Learn How to Be Discerning With People” in Annals of the Fellowship and Arrangements of the Work of the Church (I)). After reading these words, I suddenly saw the light. Now I saw that a good person was not someone who has friendly exchanges with ordinary people and who doesn’t argue or quarrel with them, or someone who is able to give their brothers and sisters a good impression and get a good assessment from them. A truly good person is someone who loves positive things and seeks the truth and righteousness, someone who has real goals in life, who has a sense of righteousness, who can discern between good and evil, love what God loves and hate what God hates; someone who is willing to give their all in the performance of their duties and who has the will and the bravery to devote their life to truth and righteousness. As for my own actions, where was there any sense of righteousness? Whenever a brother or sister returned from spreading the talking about how difficult it was, I couldn’t help feeling conflicted starting to complain, feeling that spreading the gospel was not easy, that it really was too hard, unknowingly taking the side of the flesh of man and not wanting to fellowship any longer. When I saw disturbances at church involving such things as the dissemination of conceptions toward God, if they were serious, I would fellowship using tactful words to resolve the issue; if they were not serious, I would pass by the issue by turning a blind eye, fearing that the other person would have an opinion of me if I didn’t speak properly. When I saw my co-worker doing some things that had nothing to do with the truth or not considering her surroundings, I wanted to raise the issue with her, but then thought, “Could she bear it if I raised this issue? It’s not worth it to hurt our good relationship over such a small matter. I’ll just wait until next time and raise it then.” In this way I found excuses for myself so that I could muddle along past it.
Now I saw that I merely matched Satan’s criteria of a good person, which was just a “yes-person” in the eyes of ordinary people: someone who never wants to offend anyone and nothing like the good person of God’s joy who loves positive things, seeks the truth and has a sense of righteousness. I saw other people’s impressions of me as more important than obtaining the truth and was satisfied just by getting others to praise me; how could I possibly have been someone with the correct goals in life? Could the praise of others represent my obtaining the truth? Could the good assessment of others represent that I had life? If I believed in God but was not seeking truth or righteousness, was not seeking a change in my disposition, but instead was always pursuing my own reputation and saving my own face, what was this worth when following God? What could I possibly obtain if I followed this way to the very end? I was a corrupt creation, through and through. If I really had obtained the high regard of all and had held status in their minds, then hadn’t I become that archangel that struggled for God’s position? Hadn’t I become the genuine enemy of God? Wasn’t this kind of person one who had committed a mortal sin in God’s eyes? Those whom God saves and perfects are those truly good people who seek truth and righteousness. They are not those unreasonable people who cannot tell good from evil, who are unclear about love and hate and who have no sense of righteousness, much less those evil people who only care about their own reputations and who are hostile to God. If I continued to take what ordinary people think of as a good person as the criteria for my own conduct, I would be doomed to be an object for God’s elimination and punishment.
Oh God! I give thanks for Your guidance and enlightenment that allowed me some recognition of what it is to be a truly good person, and that furthermore allowed me to see my own mistaken presumptions and ignorance, and to recognize my own rebellion and resistance. Oh God! From today, I wish to take the phrase “seek the truth and have a sense of righteousness” as the criteria for my conduct, to seek to enter deeper into the truth, to seek a change in my disposition and to strive to soon be a truly good person who is clear about love and hate and who has a sense of righteousness.