Xiaochen Zhengzhou City, Henan Province
Arrogance is my fatal flaw. I used to frequently reveal my arrogant disposition, always thinking that I was better than other people. Especially when I amended articles or communicated about work with a partner, I was always opinionated and did not modestly listen to other opinions. My inability to cooperate harmoniously with my partners often caused problems for work. Brothers and sisters raised this issue with me many times, and I also regularly read about God exposing people’s arrogant nature. But since I still had not achieved true understanding of my own nature and essence and also could not truly hate it, whenever I encountered a suitable environment I would lose control. Afterward, I would also feel quite disgusted, but since what’s done has been done, all I could do was to keep trying to understand it. And so it happened again and again. This made me feel very embarrassed and helpless.
I once saw the following words of God when practicing spiritual devotion: “How can you resolve your nature? First, you must have some knowledge of your nature, and some understanding of God’s word and intentions. How can you grasp the greatest extent of your ability to not do bad things and only do things that are in line with the truth? If you want change then you must study this. In regards to having a bad nature: What corruption you have, what are things you might do, what measures can be adopted, and how to implement control—these are the key questions. … Lin Zexu[a] had a bad temper. In accordance with his own weaknesses, he wrote a motto in his room: ‘Control your temper.’ This was man’s method, but it was actually effective. Everyone has their own practicing principles, and so you should also formulate a set of principles for your own nature. You must have these principles and you can’t do without them. These should also be your mottos for believing in God and for your conduct” (“Resolving Nature and Practicing Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks With Leaders and Workers of the Church). God’s words gave me an immediate path I could take. I understood: To change a rebellious disposition, on the one hand you must often eat and drink words about God exposing man’s corrupt essence, and on the other you have to focus on a motto for controlling your nature so you can consciously control revelations of your nature and thus forsake yourself to practice the truth. Hence, in accordance with aspects of my corruption such as my arrogant nature, self-righteousness, and unwillingness to listen to the opinions of partners, I formulated a motto: “There’s nothing for a handful of dung can be arrogant about except for a bit of stench.” Whenever I communicated on a question with my partners, I would first use this motto to warn myself, remembering firmly that my essence is dung and that my entire body is covered in stench. I would also remember how I had caused too many problems for work because of my arrogance and ego, and that there was nothing to be arrogant about. That way, I wouldn’t maintain that I was always absolutely right, and it would also give me a sliver of a seeking heart, making me willing to humble myself and listen to the opinions of others. I sometimes still wanted to refute others’ views, but as soon as I thought of the motto, I would consciously forsake myself and practice the truth of harmonious coordination.
After a while, I surprisingly discovered that, when I humbled myself, I would receive some of the ’s enlightenment and illumination from my partners’ communication, and see some of the absurd aspects in my receiving of the truth. At the same time, I also discovered some of the strengths of others, and I was willing to draw on them to complement myself. I also did not think I was better than other people at everything and lowered my conceited head too. Betraying myself did not feel as painful as it did before, and I felt from the heart that humbling myself and modestly listening to the opinions of my partners was quite nice, not only benefiting the progression of my own but also improving the results of our work through making up for each other’s deficiencies and coming together as one.
Through this experience, I tasted the sweetness of practicing the truth and saw that formulating a motto could make myself consciously control revelations of my corruption, not only reducing my transgressions but also earning more opportunities to understand the truth. At the same time, I also realized that the past revelations of my arrogant nature were too ugly and disgusting. Thank God for leading me to know these things. From now on, I will formulate corresponding mottos to the various aspects of my corruption and restrain myself so I can practice the truth. I will also often read God’s word to know the essence of my own nature so that I can truly hate myself and get rid of my corruption as soon as possible to satisfy God.
a. Lin Zexu (August 30, 1785–November 22, 1850) was a Chinese scholar and official of the Qing dynasty.