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.