How Did a Brash and Arrogant Youngster Change?
My name is Owen. I’m 17 years old. When I was six or seven, my elder brother and I followed my mother to Singapore to study there. In 2014, my mother accepted God’s kingdom gospel. Under the guidance of her, my elder brother and I also accepted it. However, I only knew of God’s existence and believed that there is an Almighty One being in command of the entire universe; as for God’s will and His demands toward people, I all didn’t understand.
As I have been intelligent since childhood, I could learn everything very quickly and therefore, my parents often praised me. Under such an environment, I became very proud and self-righteous, thinking I could do anything. When I first came to Singapore, as I’m a Chinese, I was often discriminated against by my classmates at school—they often jeered at my English being not good. I felt very angry by this. Therefore, I made a resolution in my heart: With my ability, I’ll surely surpass you in the future, not letting you look down on me. Afterward, I started to study hard. As expected, my grades were always among the best in every exam. So my teachers and classmates all admired me, no longer jeering at or discriminating against me.
After getting to middle school, when I saw the grades of my classmates around me were all not as good as mine, I had little regard for them, feeling very pleased with myself in my heart: You’ve studied so hard yet your academic grades are not as good as mine while I didn’t study hard but can surpass you. I’ve naturally been bright and talented! Hence, I became prouder and prouder, feeling that even if I didn’t listen to the teachers attentively, I could get good marks. Later, I began to not listen carefully and also often talked with my classmates in classes. Once, when my teacher saw this, he asked me to answer a question on purpose. As I didn’t listen carefully, I couldn’t answer it at all. Being unable to answer the question in front of the whole class made me feel it was very shameful, so in order to take revenge on him, I gave him a nickname, letting the whole class laugh at him. Seeing they all did like that, I felt very pleased, thinking: Now you’ve seen how awesome I am. I dare you to pick on me from now on! Gradually, I became more and more aggressive. As long as any teacher told me of my mistakes, I would talk back to them and even scold them. In order to educate me to learn to be good, a teacher sent me to the educational section. However, I still refused to be instructed, had no regard for the dean of students and even treated getting in and out of there as an achievement; moreover, I used it to show off for my classmates. As a result, I even more felt that I was a big shot, thinking that the teachers all could do nothing to me.
In this way, I became a “famous person” in my teachers’ eyes. Later on, they used many ways on me, but none worked. Hence, a teacher told my mother all the performances I made at school. After knowing I had become so bad and made waves at school, my mother felt very disappointed, so she often persuaded me to listen properly and not to make waves at school. But at that time, I couldn’t listen to her no matter what she said; instead, I felt she nagged very much, thinking: Though I’m naughty, my grades are not poor. Now I’m still young. Am I wrong in doing something I want to do? Why are there people who reason with me every day no matter whether I’m at school or at home? Bother! But I didn’t dare to be in direct opposition to my mom, so I dealt with her before her in order that she could stop nagging me earlier. After returning school, I would continue in my ways and did whatever I wanted, not keeping her teachings in my heart at all.
After I got to middle school, I became more and more arbitrary and willful; besides, I also organized my classmates to stir up trouble together and bully the weaker classmates in class. Seeing there were so many classmates obeying my orders in class, I felt I was very dignified and had leadership abilities; meanwhile, I also liked this feeling of being the boss very much.
One day, when I came back from school, my mother called me to the dinner table. I thought: She must nag me again. Oh! Bother! Though I was extremely unwilling to do that, I still sat at the table. What I didn’t expect was that she didn’t lecture me as she did before but said to me patiently, “In the past, I didn’t understand the truth, so I didn’t know how to educate you. Now through reading God’s words, I understand only the truth can change us. Besides, God’s words have revealed the fact of our corruption by Satan. Let’s read them together.” Then, she read some God’s words to me: “What kind of condition is this brashness and arrogance of young people? What kind of disposition is it? (They don’t listen to what other people say. They always think that they are the best.) (They don’t want to listen to others.) They don’t want to listen to others—this is one aspect of their behavior. Say it in a more detailed way and relate it to actual people, with yourself or with the people you see. What word can we use to describe the disposition this kind of person has? Arrogant. This is a kind of disposition and expression that all young people in this age group have. They are all the same. No matter what their living environment or background is like and no matter to what generation they belong, this is a representative disposition of the people in that age group. As soon as one knows your age, it is pretty much known you have this kind of disposition, and what phase you are in with your age what age group you are in. What aspect of disposition does the manifestation of ‘the brashness and arrogance of youth’ refer to? Why do I say those of about 16 or 17 and those in their twenties are young, brash and arrogant? Why do I use these words to describe the young people in this age group? It’s not because I am prejudiced toward those in this age group, or that I look down upon them. It’s because the people in this age group have a certain kind of disposition within them. Because the people in this age group are inexperienced in the matters of the world and have little understanding of the affairs of human life, when they just begin to come into contact with the affairs of the world and of human life, they think, ‘I understand. I understand thoroughly. I know it all! I can understand what adults talk about and I can keep up with all the fashionable things in society.’ … Then there is ‘they can’t tell a four from a six.’ This is a dialect expression. Have you heard it before? (Yes.) Explain to Me the literal meaning of these words. (It means that they cannot discern between good or bad. Whatever they think is good is always good. Whatever they think is bad is always bad. No matter how you explain something to them, they don’t listen.) (It means that they are unable to know what is good for them, they have no discernment, they have no understanding about anything and are all mixed up.) This is roughly the literal meaning, that is, not being able to know what is good for them, not knowing what is positive or what is negative and not being able to tell good from bad. Because they are young, brash and arrogant, they don’t listen to anything anyone says. ‘Anything anyone else says is wrong, what I say is right. Don’t anyone try to say anything to me, I won’t take anything in. I know I’m right. Even if I am wrong, I’ll still stick to my guns. Though I know perfectly well that I’m wrong, I’ll still persist with my opinions.’ They have this kind of disposition, of not being able to tell a four from a six. From the outside it is hard to tell whether the child is being clever or stupid; they can put forward ordered arguments. When arguing something, they know better than anyone and they understand more than anyone else, so how come they always do things in such a befuddled way? Though they know perfectly well that a certain way of doing something is right, they don’t listen, they do as they wish and do things however they want—they are willful and muddled.”
After reading, she smiled and fellowshiped with me: “God’s words have revealed the disposition of modern young people very clearly. Young people today are all like this. No matter what their parents say, they all don’t listen. If their parents speak a little more, they’ll blame them for being nagging. They do whatever they want—following trends and pursuing personality at will, and no one can control them. This is all because of the corruption of Satan’s evil trends, causing the young people to become more and more arrogant, indulgent, self-righteous and unreasonable. Look, you don’t study carefully at school but stir up trouble with your classmates and bully your teachers and classmates; when we teach you to correct your mistakes, you don’t listen but think you are not wrong; besides, you have become more and more insolent in your disposition. Aren’t these the manifestation of ‘the brashness and arrogance of youth’ and ‘not being able to tell a four from a six?’ We are Christians, so our actions should have the likeness of a Christian. Your performances now are even not as good as an unbeliever’s. Do you think God will be pleased?”
After listening to God’s words and my mother’s fellowship, I couldn’t help recalling my performances in the past two years: At school, I didn’t study carefully but always went against the teachers; moreover, I led my classmates to make troubles and bully weaker classmates—doing whatever I wanted, which caused no one to be able to control me. Besides, I also thought that that young people pursued to live out their own egos was not wrong. Therefore, when my mother and teachers taught me to learn to be good, I blamed them for being too long-winded and controlling me too strictly. I was really not able to tell a four from a six—being unable to discern positive and negative things! I really hadn’t had even a bit of the likeness of a believer; besides, I was even worse than the unbelievers. Thinking of this, I felt very ashamed within, so I lowered my head.
Seeing I lowered my head miserably, my mother comforted me and said: “In fact, young people today are all like this. You made these mistakes and this is very normal because we are all corrupted by Satan. We need to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and practice according to God’s demands. Only then can we live out the manner of a proper person.”
Hearing her words, I realized: The reason why my disposition became so arrogant, arbitrary and willful was because I was corrupted by Satan. If I want to cast aside my corrupt disposition, I have to read God’s words and go to meetings often. Only when I have the truth as a foundation within can I live like a genuine human being. Thinking of this, I said to my mom, “I’ve recognized my corruption. Afterward, I’ll certainly practice according to God’s words to cast aside my corrupt disposition.” Hearing my words, she was at ease and nodded.
Once, in class, I talked with my classmates again, not listening to my teacher attentively. After seeing this, my teacher asked me to go out of the classroom to be stood. Standing up in front of the whole class, I felt ashamed and very unhappy within, thinking: I just talked in class, why did the teacher ask me to be stood? If I go out to be stood and am seen by the schoolmates of other classes, won’t I lose my face? At that moment, I wanted to talk back to my teacher again, but I suddenly thought that if I did so, it was the revealing of arrogance. Thinking of this, I kept my temper under control and then went out of the classroom quietly. When I stood outside, I was still out of balance in my heart, feeling that I did nothing wrong. So I quickly quieted my heart and prayed to God: “O God, today I am stood, but I feel unconvinced, so I can’t truly obey this. May You lead and help me so that I can obey this.”
After my prayer, I calmed down and realized that I did wrong in this matter because I didn’t obey the classroom discipline in class and didn’t respect my teacher. I made nothing of my teacher’s lecturing. This was not the manner a student should have! Hence, I made a resolution secretly: From now on, I must obey the discipline in class. I can’t speak randomly. To my surprise, before long, my teacher allowed me to return to the room. Then, I started to listen attentively, no longer talking with my classmates. I knew that was God’s protection and guidance; meanwhile, I realized when I encountered things, praying to God was very important.
One noon, my classmates and I were having meals in the cafeteria. As our voices were too loud, which affected other schoolmates who were having meals or having classes, the dean of students came up to us in a rage and said with his finger pointing at me: “Owen, shut up! Speak lower. Don’t bother other students. And you beside Owen. Hold your tongue.” After saying that, he left. Hearing his words, my classmates all felt very unhappy, so they started to call his nickname to laugh at him. At that time, I, who was sitting aside, also felt very upset, and I thought to myself: Why could the tone of the dean of students not be a little better? I did nothing wrong but only spoke a little louder. Thinking about this, I also wanted to call his nickname to express my dissatisfaction. But the moment I wanted to call him, I suddenly realized in my heart that God didn’t like my such behaviors, thinking: “I’ve made a resolution before God to seek to repent. Now I can’t live relying on my corrupt disposition anymore. I must practice God’s words when encountering things. Previously, when I encountered things, I would never examine myself; instead, I always thought I was right and others were wrong. Now I need to learn to recognize my own corrupt disposition.” I thought of the following words of God: “If you believe in the dominion of God, then you must believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, don’t happen accidentally. It is not that someone doesn’t get on with you or opposes you on purpose; it is actually all arranged and orchestrated by God. What does God orchestrate these things for? It is not to reveal your shortcomings for everyone to see or to expose you; exposing you is not the final aim. The aim is to perfect you and save you. How does God perfect you and save you? Firstly, He makes you aware of your own corrupt disposition, your own nature and essence, your own shortcomings and what you lack. Only by knowing these things and understanding them in your heart can you cast them off. This is an opportunity for you, you must learn to seize this opportunity and know how to seize it; don’t lock horns and don’t resist. If you are always competing with the people, matters, and things that God has arranged around you, if you are always trying to extricate yourself from them, always feeling dissatisfied, always harboring a disagreeable mentality and always misunderstanding, then you will find it very difficult to enter into the truth. Through obeying, seeking, praying more, retreating to your spirit and coming before God then, unbeknownst to you, a change will happen in your inner condition.” Then, I realized: Yes, everything befalls me being arranged by God, not happening by accident. So there are surely lessons I should learn. When I quieted my heart, I thought that the reason why the attitude of the dean of students toward me was so bad was because I always made troubles, so he felt annoyed at me. I thought: My behaviors in the past were so awful, so how could others not loathe me? Moreover, the reason why the dean of students scolded me today was just because our speaking has affected other schoolmates. Being criticized was the consequence of my actions. Thinking about this, I felt very ashamed, feeling that, previously, my behaviors toward him were going too far and I was really too brash, arrogant and ignorant, and didn’t have the manner of a true person in the slightest. Therefore, I just ate meal, not following them to call his nickname.
At that time, my classmates next to me all felt confused about my such quiet behavior. They shouted and asked me to join them. Hearing their words, I felt bored and didn’t want to do that; instead, I really wanted to ask them not to laugh at the dean of students anymore. But then I also thought: The nickname of him was given by me. If I tell them not to call it anymore, how will they see me? Will they think I’m timid and scared of him? In hesitation, I realized: This is Satan’s temptation. I can’t fall for it. Now God is also testing me, seeing whether I choose to practice according to His words or follow my classmates to sin to protect my face. Previously, I didn’t know those behaviors were without normal humanity; now through reading God’s words, I’ve possessed discernment. If I continue to do that, I commit this violation knowingly. Then I’ll be loathed by God and also allow Satan to have a handle on me and ridicule me. Won’t I lose the witness? Thinking of this, I felt a bit afraid. So I prayed to God secretly within: “O God, now I feel very conflicted inside. I know if I follow my classmates to make fun of the dean of students, you won’t be pleased. But I’m also afraid if I don’t do that, they will gossip about me behind my back. May You protect and lead me so that I can overcome Satan’s temptation. O God, no matter how they will see me, I’ll do in accordance with Your words. May You give me strength to practice the truth.” After praying, my heart quieted slowly and I was no longer worried about whether they would laugh at me. Then they all looked at me in surprise. Right after that, they began to laugh at me, saying I was timid and scared of the dean of students. However, I didn’t care about that in my heart and thought: As long as God likes me, that’s ok. Not long after, they no longer laughed at me and also stopped making fun of the dean of students. Seeing these, I knew these were all God’s deeds and that it was God who helped me overcome Satan’s temptation. I thanked God very much in my heart.
Afterward, I readsaying: “Eyes that are full of deceit and prejudice for people are not what young people should have, and those that carry out destructive, abominable acts should not be young people. They should not be without ideals, aspirations, or a temperament of enthusiastic advancement; … They should not be without the truth, nor should they harbor hypocrisy and unrighteousness, but they should stand firm in the proper stance. They should not just drift along, but they should have a spirit of daring to sacrifice and struggle for justice and the truth. Young people should have the bravery to not succumb to the oppression of the forces of darkness and to transform the significance of their existence. … You should practice according to My words. Particularly young people should not be without the resolve for discernment in issues, and for seeking justice and the truth. What you should pursue is all things beautiful and good, and you should obtain the reality of all positive things as well as be responsible toward your life—you must not take it lightly.”
Compared to God’s words, I thought: My previous behaviors were full of arrogance, self-righteousness, dissoluteness and willfulness, thus bringing harm to my teachers and classmates. This was caused by my living according to the satanic disposition and having no correct goal in my pursuit. Now I should pursue according to God’s required standards, carefully study, do the right thing often, and live out the normal humanity when getting along with others to glorify; meanwhile, I should believe in God properly and walk on the correct path of life. Though I’ve followed my mother to believe in God long ago, I never pay attention to His words. However, God still takes mercy on me and uses His words to lead me to learn to conduct myself. I won’t fail to live up to God’s expectations for me. From now on, I’ll certainly , read His words often and pursue the truth to live like a genuine human being.
Afterward, through reading God’s words and gathering in fellowship, I understood some truth and began to focus on putting theinto practice and conduct myself according to the demands of God’s words. Now I listened to my teachers attentively and attended to them patiently, no longer talking back to them. When my classmates wanted to pull me to bully the weaker classmates, I would refuse them. Besides, I would persuade them not to do that anymore. Gradually, my bad ways were gone. I became a good student and an obedient child. When seeing my changes, my teachers all felt very surprised, but I knew it was God’s words that changed me and that this was the authority and power of God’s words.
Without God’s love and, I would surely become more and more willful, arrogant and degenerate, and be swallowed by Satan at last. It was God’s words that led me to live out the manner of a proper person and changed my corrupt habits. I truly tasted that God’s word is the truth, the way and the life, which can change our corruption and show us the right life direction. Just as God’s words say: “The truth is related to the life of normal humanity. It can correct all kinds of your bad tendencies and habits, bad and negative thoughts. It can change your satanic disposition and all sorts of things in you that belong to Satan, become your life, and allow you to become proper and have humanity. It will change you so that your thinking and your heart are proper, you possess reason, and you are proper in every aspect. With the truth as your life, what you live out and every aspect of what is revealed in your humanity will become normal.” Thank and praise God. May all the glory be to God. Amen!