After breakfast, I came to the gathering spot, and Sister Zhang followed. As soon as she came in, she started complaining with a gloomy look, “Recently, I feel disgusted with Sister Li, and even don’t want to say a word to her.”
“What’s wrong?” I asked with concern.
“She always criticizes others in their words and actions, as if she knew more and pursued more actively. I really frown upon this. When she talked to me, I secretly disdained her and didn’t want to respond. Afterward, however, I felt guilty inside, for my attitude toward her was not in line with the Lord’s will. But once I saw her, I still couldn’t help but treat her that way,” said Sister Zhang with a sad face. “I really don’t know how to get along with her.”
Hearing these words, I lapsed into silence: Recently, I’ve been in the same difficulty. There’s one of my colleagues whose speeches and deeds are not to my liking; whatever she does or says, I always want to pick on her flaws. Though I’ve been keeping the Lord’s words in my mind, knowing that I should be patient with and tolerant of others, I still feel uncomfortable and suppressed, and unable to bear her. And I can do nothing about it.
Then I smiled with bitterness, “To be honest, I’m in the same difficulty and also confused about how to solve it.”
At that moment, Sister Su walked in with a bright face. I thought she should know more than us, for she often went out to listen to the sermons these days. So I suggested, “How about asking Sister Su for her advice?”
Sister Zhang nodded and said, “All right.”
We two went near Sister Su, and told her about our states simply.
“Thank God,” Sister Su smiled. “These days, I’ve been listening to the sermons about the principles of treating people with fairness, which could solve these problems you’re faced with. Let’s fellowship about and enter the principles together.”
Both Sister Zhang and I agreed and couldn’t wait to hear her sharing.
Then Sister Su took out a notebook from her handbag and said, smiling, “Actually, the reason why we can’t get along with others and even frown upon and detest them is that we’re still controlled by our arrogant nature. In order to treat people fairly, it requires an understanding of principles, and here I took down some of them: Firstly, treat all people, matters and things according to. Only treating people in accordance with the principles of the truth conforms to . All of God’s words are the truth, which should be our code of conduct. I saw these words in a book, ‘What does God’s word require as the principle for treating others? Love what God loves, hate what God hates. That is, the people loved by God who truly pursue the truth and who carry out God’s will, are the people you should love. Those who don’t carry out God’s will, hate God, disobey God, and are despised by God, are people we should despise and reject. That’s what God’s word requires.’ God is a holy and righteous God, and He treats people with different attitudes and principles according to their substances. For those who love the truth and are able to carry out His will, like Noah, Abraham, and Job, Jehovah God gave blessings and promises to them; and for people like Peter and John, the showed His love and mercy, as well as tolerance and forgiveness to them. But for those who resist God and loathe the truth, like the two hundred and fifty leaders who resisted Moses, Jehovah God destroyed them in hell; and for those chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees who resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, God displayed His curses and condemnations to them. In a word, God treats different people with different attitudes. And also God demands that we treat people according to His words and truths, loving what He loves and hating what He hates. This is the basic principle of treating people. Only in this way can we satisfy God’s intentions.”
“Love what God loves and hate what God hates? Could you tell us how to practice it in detail?” asked Sister Zhang with eagerness.
Sister Su smiled and said, “Thank God! As far as I’m concerned, ‘Love what God loves and hate what God hates’ means that we should treat others the way God treats us. For instance, when we experience friction with the brothers and sisters who truly, we should treat them with love, tolerance and patience according to the Lord’s words, instead of making a fuss over every tiny detail or bearing a grudge against them. If we can’t let go of the prejudices toward them, then we need to come before God and pray to Him, reflecting upon ourselves why we can’t treat others based on the truth, and which corrupt disposition we’re still under the control of obstructs us from practicing the Lord’s words. We need to know our corruptions, and ask God to enlighten us and help us with understanding the truth. In this way, we can gradually let go of our prejudices against others and stay in harmony with them. Besides, as for those unbelievers, we should treat them in accordance with their humanity. For those who are of good humanity and don’t obstruct us from believing in God, we should treat them with love. When they’re in need, we should help them; even though they may treat us with bad attitudes or do something harmful to us sometimes, we should also take it fairly, giving them our understandings and tolerance; and if possible, we can spread the gospel and testify the Lord to them. Only when we practically live out the Lord’s love can we bear witness to Him and glorify Him, and can we be blessed by Him. However, for those evil unbelievers who resist and loathe God, we should reject them and keep away from them, practicing fearing God and shunning evil. This is in accordance with the Lord’s intentions.”
After Sister Su finished speaking, we both nodded with approval. Sister Zhang said, “Sister Su, what you’ve just fellowshiped is really enlightening, and we’d never heard that before. In the treatment of Sister Li, I haven’t followed any principles at all. She is a true believer of God, but I can’t treat her properly; I’m narrow-minded, and always grasp on her shortcomings and cannot let them go, even bearing a grudge against her. Although I know my deeds defy the Lord’s will and make Him disgusted, I still can’t let go of my opinions about her. Thank God. What you’ve said just helps me find the way.”
At that time, I felt deeply moved and said, “Yes. After listening to your fellowship, I’ve gotten it clear about how to treat the unbelievers. I think of one of my colleagues. Although she doesn’t believe in the Lord, she has a good humanity and is a preachable subject. And actually, my prejudices toward her are the results of the differences in our characters and habits. In some trivial matters, I bear no love or tolerance toward her, but rather hold a grudge against her, which can’t glorify or witness the Lord indeed. From now on, I must treat her in accordance with the Lord’s will.”
Then Sister Zhang asked, “Sister Su, are there any other principles?”
Sister Su smiled, saying, “There is another principle of treating people fairly: Treat the strengths and defects of others correctly, do not make excessive demands of others and don’t force people to do what is beyond their capabilities. Do not think too highly of others or belittle others. The book says, ‘Don’t be self-righteous; take the strengths of others and use them to offset your own deficiencies, watch how others live by God’s words and see whether or not their lives, actions and speech is worth learning from. If you regard others as less than you then you are self-righteous, self-conceited and are of benefit to no one.’ All these words reveal our true states properly. We’ve been corrupted by Satan to the utmost and aren’t perfected yet; all of us have both defects and strengths, so we shouldn’t detest others but should treat them correctly and learn from their strengths to offset our deficiencies, which is most beneficial to our life entry. Besides, it’s been preordained by God whether one is of good caliber or bad, rich or poor, smart or clumsy. Thus, we should learn to respect others, not treating them with individual preferences or arrogance, nor forcing them to do what is beyond their capabilities; we should learn to care for others’ interests, not just for ours, and learn to be considerate to them and let them reap benefits. In addition, if someone is kind to us, we should repay him instead of being indifferent to him with personal intentions. You know what? After hearing the sermons, I put these principles into practice when interacting with others, and I felt there was more space opening up within my heart. Now I am living in happiness and can form normal relationships with others.”
Upon hearing these words, I said joyfully, “This fellowship has helped me know how to get along with my colleague. Looking back, I found that though she is careless in working sometimes, she has good character, and is responsible for work and considerate toward others. But I always compared my strengths with her shortcomings, making excessive demands of her, and thus often detested her. How lacking in rationality I am!”
Sister Su smiled, “That’s true. When we grasp the principles of practice, we’ll naturally know how to act to adhere to the Lord’s will. There’s another principle in treating people fairly: Do not be swayed by emotions for others and do not harbor prejudices, and do not delimit others by your own self-will, but view others with an eye for development. This item is also very important. The Lord Jesus said, ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ (Matthew 6:14-15). ‘Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:21-22). From the Lord’s words we can see that the Lord Jesus doesn’t treat us according to our temporary transgressions or defects but rather offers us opportunities to repent and transform. However, when we get along with someone, we first think of his shortcomings and problems. In this way, by no means will we get along with him normally. Therefore, it is necessary that we turn around our point of view. We should see his strengths first; even though we find that he does something wrong, we shouldn’t be swayed by emotions for him or delimit him, but should view him with an eye for development; this is after God’s will. Supposing a sister occasionally deceives us in her words or deeds, then should we define her as a treacherous person? No. We should judge upon her consistent behaviors as well as her attitude toward the truth. If she is a true believer of God, as long as she pursues the truth, she is bound to achieve transformation in this aspect of corruption someday. So we should treat her with an eye for development, and never focus on her shortcomings, defining her by saying she is a treacherous person and will never change. That’s unfair for her. If we believe that our defects and corruptions can be transformed someday through us seeking after the truth, then we should have faith in others’ changes as well. That is fair, isn’t it? When we treat people fairly, it will no longer be hard for us to stay in harmony with them; what we do will be in line with the Lord’s heart, and we will be released and free in spirit, and suffer no more.”
After hearing the fellowship, Sister Zhang felt ashamed and said, “You’re right. It is true that whoever doesn’t understand the truth won’t be able to treat others fairly. When measuring Sister Li again, I find that she is a person who pursues the truth and can practice the Lord’s words. Once knowing her faults, she can apologize immediately and is willing to change. Several days ago, because of my carelessness, Sister Li had to rush all around; after coming back, she lost her temper and dealt with me, but later, she realized her wrong behavior and apologized to me right away. However, I ignored her practicing the truth and always seized her shortcomings, judging and defining her, saying that she would never change. Now I finally know that it’s I who have a lot of defects and cannot treat people fairly, and I do need to quickly equip myself with the truth and seek after changes in disposition.”
I said happily, “Thank God! Through today’s fellowship, I’ve gained a lot. I think of the Lord Jesus’ words, ‘And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? … first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye’ (Matthew 7:3-5). Actually, it’s our own problem that we always focus on others’ shortcomings. If we had understood these truths earlier, wouldn’t we have had a path in treating others rightly?”
Sister Su said, “Yes. We are all lacking in terms of treating others fairly, and now we have a practical path. If we practice in accordance with these principles, it’ll be much easier for us to get along with people.”
“Well, Sister Su, it seems that you’ve gained a lot from the sermons these days. Shall we go together with you next time?” I asked with expectation.
“Why not? Let’s go together by then,” Sister Su agreed at once.
We nodded at each other, and laughed heartily.