I Have Known What the Genuine Affection for Each Other Is
When I was young, I often heard my grandfather say, “The Lord has said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mat 22:37-39). The Lord loves the world and hopes that people love one another. So we, as believers in the Lord, should not only love the Lord, but also love others as ourselves. This is the Lord’s requirement for us. We should keep the Lord’s teaching and love brothers and sisters, and practice more patience and tolerance…” Since then, I had firmly followed the teachings of the Lord Jesus all along and practiced them accordingly. After accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days, I also kept the Lord’s words. When I associated with brothers and sisters, no matter how much I disliked a person, I would still try my best to forbear them, and rely on love and patience to associate with them.
This year I was chosen to be a church leader and continued to “love” my brothers and sisters as usual. One day, I went to attend a new believers’ small group meeting. Because these new believers had believed in God for only a short time and hadn’t understood the meaning of the meeting yet, they often went off the topic when fellowshiping about God’s words. Seeing that, my heart couldn’t calm down. So I wanted to fellowship the relevant principle with them. But when I thought that they were new believers, what if they could not accept what I was about to say? What I should do is practice patience and tolerance to them. So, no matter how many times they went off the topic, I always put up with it. Though very angry, I tried to control my temper, tireless in bringing them back to the topic time and again. In our meetings that followed, three or four of them always interrupted others: When others were speaking, they cut them off and started to talk. There were quite a few times when I was half-finished speaking, they cut me off and began to talk what I was about to say, and their words went far from the main topic. However, at the thought of loving my brothers and sisters as myself and being patient with them, I held back my temper. Just like that, our meeting each time achieved no result. I lost in a bad condition after each meeting, and felt fretful about it.
Afterward, I talked to a sister about my condition. The sister said, “You’re not helping brothers and sisters with love.” Hearing her word, I thought: I have shown so much tolerance of brothers and sisters, but why did she say that I am not helping them with a loving heart? I just couldn’t figure it out. Then I cried out to God again and again, and sought His will. After my prayers, I read such a passage of God’s words, “All have said that they would be considerate of God’s burden and defend the testimony of the church. Yet, who has really been considerate of God’s burden? Ask yourself: Are you someone who has shown consideration for God’s burden? Can you be righteous for God? Can you stand up and speak for Me? Can you steadfastly put the truth into practice? Are you bold enough to fight against all of Satan’s deeds? Would you be able to put your emotions aside and expose Satan for the sake of My truth? Can you allow My will to be fulfilled in you? Have you offered up your heart when the crucial time comes? Are you someone who carries out My will? Ask yourself and think about it often” (“The Thirteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading God’s words, I started to examine myself: I love others that much, then why does it have no positive result, but instead make me dark in spirit? Am I considerate toward God’s burden when I practice like this? Do I offer up my heart before God? I pondered them and continued to read God’s words. His words say, “Are your goals made with Me in mind? Do your words and actions stand in My presence? I examine all your thoughts. Do you not feel guilty? You put on a false front for others to see and you calmly assume an air of self-righteousness; this is done to shield yourself. … You must diligently examine yourselves to see why there was no eating and drinking in the last few meetings and who caused this trouble. You must fellowship one by one until it is clear. If such a person is not severely constrained, the brothers and sisters will not understand, and then it will just happen again. Your spiritual eyes are not open and too many of you are blind! And those who do see are careless about it. They do not stand and speak up and they, too, are blind. Those who see but do not speak up are mute. There are many here with handicaps” (“The Thirteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s severe words of judgment urged me to reflect on why there was no result in the meetings and what impurities I had in me. Through reflecting, I came to realize something. The reason why I don’t point out brothers and sisters’ deviations is not because I love brothers and sisters, but because I fear. I fear that after I speak what I think, they will get annoyed and be weary of me, and my “perfect image” will be influenced. It turns out that I’m protecting my own face, which means standing on the side of Satan. I am exactly the handicapped as revealed in God’s words who is blind and mute; I cannot stand on God’s side to benefit the church. I don’t fellowship about relevant truth with brothers and sisters and as a result, they only observe rules in the meetings, bearing no fruit; and our meetings become a religious ritual loathed by God. I often say that I love others as I love myself. However, the “love” that I have shown is absolutely not love but an outward behavior, and it is an evil deed of harming others.
After that, I talked about my condition with my wife. She read to me a passage of God’s words, “Those who genuinely believe in God are those who are willing to put God’s word into practice, and they are those who are willing to practice the truth. Those who can genuinely stand witness for God are also those who are willing to put His word into practice, and they are those who can genuinely stand on the side of the truth. Those who employ trickery and who do injustice are all people who have no truth and they all bring shame on God. … those who belong to Satan are incapable of standing on the side of the truth, whereas those who search for the truth can stand on the side of the truth. Those who do not practice the truth are unworthy to hear the way of the truth and unworthy to bear witness to the truth. The truth is basically not for their ears but rather it is spoken for the ears of those who practice it” (“A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). And then she fellowshiped with me, “Believing in God is practicing the truth and going by God’s words in all things. However, there are Satan’s cunning schemes hidden in man’s practice of loving others as himself. They are living their lives according to Satan’s philosophy of ‘targeting a person but not their reputation and exposing them but not their shortcomings.’” Hearing her fellowship, I quieted my heart to examine what I had done. Exactly, when brothers and sisters got off the subject constantly in the meetings, God had guided me to think that I should fellowship the principles for communicating God’s words at meetings with brothers and sisters. But I relied on my satanic philosophies of life to live, so that I couldn’t uphold justice and practice the truth. I was afraid that if I pointed out their shortcomings, they would be unhappy and think ill of me. So I tiptoed around to maintain the relationship with them. I was totally manifesting Satan, relying on satanic poisons to live, and serving and upholding Satan under the banner of believing in God. No wonder that there was no result in our church life. God upheld me and allowed me to perform this duty, hoping me to take the lead in exalting God and bearing testimony to Him, so that God could reign in the church and the truth could reign among brothers and sisters. But I didn’t care for God’s will, and I was always protecting my own face and status.
Later, I read God’s words, which say, “These relationships aren’t established on the flesh, but on the foundation of God’s love. There are almost no interactions based on the flesh, but in the spirit there is fellowship as well as love, comfort, and provision for one another. This is all done on the foundation of a heart that satisfies God. These relationships aren’t maintained by relying on a human philosophy of life, but they are formed very naturally through the burden for God. They don’t require human effort—they are practiced through the principles of the word of God” (“Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words I understood what it means to love one another. The true love for brothers and sisters is not outward actions, not maintaining flesh-based relationships using satanic philosophies, or outward patience and tolerance for others. It should be built on the foundation of a normal relationship with God, and it is to help and sustain brothers and sisters in the spirit, to solve their practical difficulties with my own experiences and knowledge, to exalt and testify God’s words among people, and to practice God’s words in everything. This is the true love for one another. Having understood that, I felt very clear and bright. I’m willing to be someone who has a normal relationship with others, practices the truths, and has a true love for brothers and sisters. After I had such a knowledge and was resolved to practice the truth, God set up another environment to test me.
Once in a meeting, a sister frequently talked about how many roads she had traveled, and how much pain and humiliation she had endured when fellowshiping God’s words. Brothers and sisters all liked to listen to her experiences. I realized something wrong with the sister’s fellowship: Her manifestation was exalting herself and making others look up to her. If man doesn’t exalt and testify God but shows himself off in meetings, God detests this the most. I felt that I should talk with the sister, because her situation was too dangerous. However, my vanity and face was troubling me within. I was afraid: If I point out what she was doing, will she get angry with me or hate me? But if I don’t do that, brothers and sisters will look up to her. In that way she will go down Paul’s path, which is hostile to God. At that moment, I thought of the words in the Fellowship and Preaching About Life Entry, “For example, when you are a leader, you should be responsible for brothers and sisters. If some brothers and sisters do not pursue the truth or walk the right path, what should you do? You should help them. This help may include pruning and dealing with them, rebuking, or criticizing them. You should do so, and this is love. Do you have to coax them or consult with them? That depends. When necessary, you need to deal with them or expose them. For you are the leader, you are the worker. Who will help them if you don’t? This is the duty that you should perform.” I realized that pruning and dealing was also a way of helping others. If I don’t take the responsibility to help the sister, I’m entrapping her. And I was also doing evil if I discovered her problem and just turned a blind eye to it. This was a lesson that God arranged for us both. So I nerved myself to point out the sister’s situation. Unexpectedly, hearing what I said, the sister didn’t get angry, but said, “My situation is dangerous indeed. If no one helped to point it out, I wouldn’t know it.” At her words, I thanked God unceasingly in my heart. Thereafter, I started to have a closer relationship with brothers and sisters. Only then did I experience that my relationship with brothers and sisters was not maintained by the flesh-based philosophies of life; it was built on the foundation of God’s words and the loving help in our spirits. I tasted that only practicing helping and loving others according to God’s words is truly loving others as ourselves. Thanks for God’s enlightenment and guidance. All the glory be to Almighty God!
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