One day, I read a fable in a book. Its general content is this: There was a donkey, which was called “stupid donkey” by people for the reason that it was very silly. After hearing that, the donkey was unconvinced and always wanted to find an excuse to prove that it was not silly. Afterward, it made an article of clothing dripping with gold and wore that, fully believing that the piece of clothing could cover its foolishness and salvage its reputation. Against its expectation, when it walked on the street wearing the piece of clothing, people not only did not praise it but instead said that it became more stupid.
After reading the fable, we all can imagine the embarrassment of the stupid donkey when it was laughed at by people in public. Think about it: If it had faced the fact that it was silly, been willing to admit and accept the fact, and then thought about how to change its foolishness, then would the ending have become different?
The fable made me think of myself. Most of the time, I had the same attitude as the stupid donkey, being unwilling to face my flaws, and wanting to find various reasons to repair my image. Once, my roommates and I did a project together. I had always played a leading role in our group work. That time was no exception. I took a lot of time to finish the work. However, unexpectedly, after we showed the fruit of our labor with a PowerPoint presentation, our teacher pointed out many deficiencies and asked us to redo it.
After we got back to our dormitory, my roommates all expressed understanding toward me. In spite of their kindness, I, seeing their sympathetic look, felt ashamed, and could not help saying many reasons for not doing good work. For example, there was not enough time; I did not put my heart into the work. And so on. In a word, I did not admit that I in fact lacked the ability. After that, my roommates all still smiled at me. However, I felt like I embarrassed myself by saying so many excuses, like a clown. I thought back carefully and found that things like this often happened. For example, sometimes when others gave me a suggestion, saying that I was an armchair strategist, I knew what they said was correct, but I could not treat that correctly and always vindicated myself. When my classmates said that as the class president, I lacked righteousness and so could not convince the whole class, I frequently could not admit my shortcoming with a good grace nor remedy it but defended myself to let my classmates know that I was not so bad. However, as a result, my behaving this way not only did not change others’ view of me but instead made me become more ridiculous. I was just like the stupid donkey, which did not face the fact that it was foolish, nor have the courage to accept the reality and change its flaws, but did everything that it could to cover up its flaws, thus making itself become more stupid.
Though I wanted to change my actions of never saying uncle, when faced with such matters I still wanted to defend myself, not wanting others to think that I was very stupid. As a result, I was troubled by this and did not know what to do. Afterward, I read a passage of God’s words, which made me know the source of the problem. God’s words say, “Within mankind’s corrupt disposition is a practical issue of which you are not aware; it is a most serious problem, and one that is common to every single person’s humanity. This is humanity’s weakest point, as well as an element of the essence of human nature that is most difficult to uncover and change. People themselves are objects of creation. Can objects of creation achieve omnipotence? Can they achieve perfection? Can they achieve flawlessness? Can they achieve proficiency in everything, come to understand everything, and accomplish everything? They cannot, right? However, within humans, there is a weakness. As soon as they learn a skill or profession, people feel that they are capable: ‘I’m someone with status, a person of worth; a professional.’ No matter how capable or incapable they might be, before this even comes to light, they want to package themselves up and disguise themselves as important figures, and become perfect and flawless, without any defects. They just want to arm themselves so that in the eyes of others they will become great, powerful, fully capable, and without anything they cannot do; they wish to appear incapable of nothing. If they needed to seek help from others, they believe they would appear incapable and weak, inferior to others, and be looked down upon; as such, they keep wanting to pretend. … What kind of problem is this? What sort of disposition is this? Arrogance to the extreme, right?”
From God’s words, I found the source of the problem and understood the reason why I always concealed my inadequacies and shortcomings and could not accept appropriate advice. It was all because of being dominated by my arrogant disposition that I always wanted to disguise myself as a perfect person without any defects and did not want others to see my problems and look down upon me. And so when my shortcomings were exposed before others, I did my utmost to cover them; when others pointed my problems out to me, I felt very uneasy and would argue and plead. In short, I was unwilling to admit or face my shortages, so I kept disguising myself. So I was just like the stupid donkey in the fable; in order to avoid being called stupid donkey, it paraded on the street wearing the piece of clothing dripping with gold, only to appear more foolish.
Just like what God’s words say, there are no perfect people, no one can understand everything, and no one is flawless. Everyone has shortcomings and inadequacies. Whether I admit that, it is an objective fact and also can be seen by everyone. If I acknowledge and accept my shortcomings and inadequacies, others will not judge me. Rather, if I do not respect facts and am unwilling to admit and accept them, not only will I appear especially ignorant and ridiculous, and be laughed at and resented by others, but also the problems will always exist in me and never be resolved. In the end, only I myself will be the one who suffers. From these facts, I realized that living within a satanic disposition, I was so pathetic. What a pity! in the past, I thought too highly of myself and did not accept others’ suggestions; I always sought perfection and was unwilling to face my shortcomings and acknowledge my inadequacies; I always loved to put on airs and enjoyed being honored, feared that my shortcomings would be revealed, only wanted to hear adulation, liked falsehood, and coveted glory. All of this was dominated by my arrogant nature. And it was because of living within a corrupt disposition that I was toyed with by Satan dancing to its tune and did not live out the likeness of man at all.
So, how should I solve the problem? Then I saw a few more passages of God’s words, “You cannot evade or escape your corrupt disposition. You must face it. Your corrupt disposition is like a bitter enemy that you face one-on-one. You cannot escape it, and it will control you if you cannot defeat it. If you can control it, if you can defeat it and not be controlled by it, then you are free.”
“How should we act toward ourselves? We should take responsibility for our disposition and for our pursuit, we should take responsibility for every one of our actions, and we should take what we do seriously, being serious, and not lax, in all things, and being able to hold it up for dissection in everything. Each time you do something, the things you think you did right must be held up for dissection—and, more than that, the things you think you did wrong must be held up for dissection. This requires that the brothers and sisters spend more time together communing, searching, and helping each other out. … Regardless of which truths and reality you have heard, as long as you hold them up against yourself you will surely grow. If you carry out these words in your own life, and incorporate them into your own practice, you will definitely gain something, and will definitely change.”
God’s words tell us that if we want our corrupt disposition to be changed, we need to face up to our shortcomings and inadequacies and treat our strengths and weaknesses correctly. When our shortcomings are revealed, we should not cover or evade them but should take the initiative to open up and expose them and fellowship with brothers and sisters about and dissect our problems. Only in this way can we make progress in our life. When others point our problems out to us, we should put aside our vanity, humbly accept their suggestions, and pay attention to resolving our problems. The more we practice being anthis way, the more liberated our life will be, and the more we will become like what a real human being should be.
Afterward, I began to try to face my problems properly. When others gave me recommendations or pointed out my shortcomings, I learned to acknowledge them without talking back, and paid attention to reflecting on the issues others raised with me. Gradually, I found that not only did I not lose face but, on the contrary, I gained more from others’ suggestions and many of my shortcomings were made up for. Although I had some difficulty in practicing like this in the beginning, through praying to and relying on God, I had the faith in practicing the truth. After practicing like this, I was filled with comfort, and I gradually felt that it is really relaxing to live this way.
Having experienced these things, I finally understand: When facing adversities or our shortcomings on our life journey, if we are frustrated and choose to shrink, we can only struggle painfully in darkness; only if we choose to advance and courageously face up to our true selves can we become better.
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