By Li Yang, United States
Thesaid, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:35).
Sister Lu is responsible for our work in the church. The night before last, she sent a document to Sister Yu and me, telling us to learn it to improve our professional knowledge and make our church website better and better. Hearing this, I thought: In the past, Sister Lu never cared about our work or study; but today she actively found learning materials for us to improve our professional skills. This is a good thing. So I replied happily, “OK.” But when I opened the document, I found it was the material we had learned three months before. My face darkened; then I raised my voice and said to Sister Lu, “We’ve already learned it, and recent copies are all finalized based on the key points within it.” Then I showed those points to her. Seeing that, Sister Lu said nothing. At that moment, I didn’t take any notice of her countenance or whether my behavior and speaking tone were proper.
The next day, we several co-workers chatted together, and Sister Lu was also there. Then she opened up her heart to us and said to me, “Last night I was restrained by your countenance and speech, so much so that I tossed and turned, unable to sleep, and was still controlled by them this morning. At that time, I just felt it very hard to get along with you. But later, it occurred to me that I should have the spirit of forgiveness when associating with others, so I let go of my prejudice toward you.” Only then did I realize that my behaviors and words hurt Sister Lu, and I felt quite distressed.
I listened quietly to Sister Lu’s sharing, and meanwhile looked into myself: When I learned that Sister Lu found some learning materials for us, I felt very pleased; but when I saw it was the material we had learned, I was greatly disappointed, thinking that she didn’t care about our work or study. As such, I formed an opinion about her.
Just then I suddenly thought of these words in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life, “Do you have this thought in your heart? When thinking of a person, you first think of his shortcomings as well as his corruptions. Is this correct? If you think this way, then you can never normally interact with others.” The words were talking about me. In my treatment of Sister Lu, I first looked at her shortcomings, thinking that she was never concerned about our work or study, and neglected her duty. Thereby I took a bad attitude toward her. Not until that moment did I see my disposition was too wildly arrogant. In dealing with others, I always saw the shortcomings of them, rather than their good points; how unfair it was to them! If I continued to assess others in this way, I would never be able to get along with them and I myself would also feel miserable.
Then I pondered: Only acknowledging my arrogance does not solve problems; then how can I treat others fairly and have a normal interpersonal relationship? Another passage in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life came to my mind, “When thinking of a person, you should first consider whether he truly believes in God and what advantages he has. For example, a person can accept the truth; when you speak rightly, he is very happy to accept what you say and harbors no hatred. This is a strong point. It proves that he has tolerance. If he can properly treat your right words, then he is able to pursue the truth and is an honest person. … Since he is willing to pursue the truth, it won’t take long before his corruption is changed and eliminated. So you should look at things with an eye for development, and never focus on the shortcomings of others or look down upon them, saying that they are over or they are such persons. If you do that, aren’t you judging and defining people? God never says such words; He never says that we have no possibility of salvation because we’ve been so corrupted. Now, we’re all pursuing the truth, or at least, are willing to pursue the truth; we believe that if we continue to pursue like this, in a few years we’ll achieve some changes, and in the end we’ll completely be able to attain a change in disposition and be perfected by God.”
This passage showed me the way of practice, and then I recalled how the Lord Jesus treated us corrupt humans. He was full of mercy and love for mankind. As long as people were willing to accept Him as their Savior, confess and repent, the Lord would pardon them and save them from their sins. The attitude with which the Lord Jesus treated people is the attitude which we should adopt in our treatment of brothers and sisters. When interacting with them, I should first see whether he is a person who can accept and practice the truth; if he is, then I shouldn’t belittle or delimit him, but should view him with an eye for development. Even though he still has corrupted dispositions, and can’t act upon the will of God, he is able to reverse and change when others help him improve his shortcomings; this is someone who pursues the truth. Then I thought of Sister Lu. Actually, there was a reason why she didn’t care about our work and study. She had much work to do and was so busy that it was inevitable for her to neglect some work. But after Sister Yu and I pointed the problem out to her last month, she was able to regret herself, and set aside time to join us as possible as she could; when we met with difficulties at work, she also came to seek the truth with us for resolution; all of this showed that she is a person who seeks after the truth and is willing to practice the truth, and this is her strength. So I should treat her fairly and view her with an eye for development, rather than define her according to her previous faults. This is the path to practice establishing normal interpersonal relationships and getting along with others.
When I thought about this, I felt liberated in my heart, and meanwhile, I also realized God’s intention. God’s arranging this environment was for me to enter the principle of treating people with fairness: In interacting with a person, I should look at his good points rather than his shortcomings, and look at whether he truly believes in God, and whether he can accept the truth and put the truth into practice. If I could assess people according to these aspects, I would be able to treat them fairly and get along with them. At that moment, I changed my opinion of Sister Lu. After she finished speaking, I also spoke out my understanding, and apologized to her for my wrong behaviors and words. Finally, we eliminated the misunderstanding of each other and recovered our relationship. In an atmosphere of harmony, we finished our chat and continued our work.
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