In our life, we always feel we lose face on account of others’ words or looks. And sometimes, we develop prejudices against them for this reason, with our hot blood flaring up, even resulting in a conflict between them. In the face of such a circumstance, as a Christian, how should we treat it in accordance with God’s heart? As regards to this, I’ve found out a path to practice and I want to share it with you.
After I arrived in America, I began engaging in nursing in an old couple’s home. There, the following scene was an everyday occurrence …
Grandpa shouted: “Xiaomiao, help me make the tea.” While I was going to do it, grandma shouted: “Xiaomiao, give me a cup of juice.” When I was making the juice, grandpa said: “You haven’t poured tea for me.” As I was pouring tea, grandma said: “You haven’t mopped the floor.” When I was cooking, they called me to fetch letters and newspaper. … I worked unceasingly like a spinning top. When I was way too busy, I would reply impatiently: “Could you wait a moment?” At my words, the grandma got angry and lost her temper with me, calling me a blockhead. On hearing what she said, I was filled with rage, thinking to myself: You’re so arrogant and you don’t respect me in the slightest. I really wanted to vent my anger on her by talking back to her. However, I started to have second thoughts: “Forget it. Don’t argue over trivial matters with her. I won’t have face either if I talk back to her. Moreover, I’m a Christian. Well, I’ll suck it up. All I need to care about is doing my own work well.” However, as days went by, this scene still always played itself out, and I harbored deeper and deeper prejudices against them. So every time I went to their home, I hurried to do the work. Then, I left as soon as everything was finished and I wanted to say nothing else to them.
One day, I had just put rice in the boiling water when grandma asked me: “Have you cooked the rice?” I replied: “It’s being cooked.” She said: “What do you mean by saying that? Have you really cooked it or not?” Then I thought about how to respond to her. After a while, I replied: “It has been cooked.” Because I failed to answer her in time, she said angrily, “Since it has been cooked, why do you say it is still being cooked. Why do you find excuses?” She again scolded me unreasonably. I thought: You are going too far. I work in your home. This doesn’t mean that you can order me around, treating me as you wish. I also have dignity. The more I thought, the angrier I got. I really wanted to reason with her. But I calmed myself down and thought: “As a believer in God, I shouldn’t do that. If I did, there would be no difference between my actions and the actions of unbelievers. Despite having such thoughts, I still couldn’t bear it in my heart and I even did not say goodbye to them before I left their home.
On my way home, recalling the scene that had just taken place, I felt terribly wronged, thinking: How come I have to be bullied by you? At most, I will quit this job. After getting home that night, I came before God and prayed: “O God, I feel very upset and suppressed. I always feel that they are toying with me and not treating me as a person. Therefore I really want to reason with them, giving vent to my dissatisfaction. However, my doing this way is revealing hot blood and isn’t in accordance with the truth, but dishonors Your name. I should obey and learn a lesson. God, my stature is so small. May You lead and enlighten me so that I can understand Your will and act according to Your requirements.”
After praying, I saw: “You say that someone offended you, stepped on your toes, or pushed you aside, and you’re going to find a way to confront him, pit yourself against him, fight with him, and in the end you’ll rely on tactics and formidableness, on your ability to defeat him, to shame him. Is that okay? Is that putting the truth into practice? This is hot blood, and revealing a corrupt disposition. As believers in God, we can’t do that. Behaving that way hurts God. There is no bearing witness; it shames God! If non-believers do that and you also do that, then what difference is there between you?” The Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life also says: “If someone does wrong by them or says some things they shouldn’t have said, such as words that judge them or doubt them, or offend them, they will be unforgiving, they will want revenge and to go tit for tat. Isn’t that vicious?” These words left me feeling ashamed. In the past, I always considered myself to be friendly, never haggling over every penny whenever anything cropped up. However, as the fact revealed, looking at the way that I revealed myself and lived my life and reflecting on God’s words, I realized: I uphold in every way possible my face and vanity when I speak or do things. Also, due to the nature of my own arrogance, I don’t let anyone else have a say. Once others sounded harsh or have a bad attitude toward me, I will think that damages my self-esteem, and then I resist it and reveal my hot blood. I even want to take “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” and reason with them. From this, I see I’m narrow-minded and petty and that there is also viciousness in my nature. If I take revenge on others for their bad attitudes toward me, isn’t this tit for tat? What difference is there between me and unbelievers? Having reached this point, I did not want to live by these Satan’s corrupt dispositions. Accordingly, I pondered: When I encounter such an environment in the future, how should I practice and enter?
In my search, I saw God’s words say: “So what should you do? How can you stand witness? What should a person who follows God do? Isn’t this something you should think about? If he’s oppressing you and he’s not fair to you, what should you do? (First come in front of God to pray and seek.) You must first come in front of God and not rely on your hot blood. You must quiet your heart. In fact, frequently the appropriate course of action is clear. You give it some thought: ‘God has said that all things and events are in His hands. All of this is within His orchestration—I believe that this is not incidental. Even though he has a corrupt disposition and he’s bullying me now, he’s giving me a hard time, I believe that everything is in God’s hands. I will accept this thing from God and treat it properly. I will pray to God and not confront him. I won’t pay any attention to him, take him seriously, or lower myself to his level. I’ll perform my duty as I should, and give thanks for God dealing with me and pruning me, for arranging this kind of environment to deal with my corruption and hot blood.’ When you have this kind of practice, often Satan will just retreat in shame.” And the Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life says: “Kind people don’t have evil in their hearts. If you owe them, they won’t mind, but they won’t owe you anything because for them that’s definitely unacceptable. Plus, it’s not a problem if you offend them, but they would never want to offend you, let alone harm you. Isn’t that kind-hearted? When anyone does something unfavorable toward them, they can also put themselves in that person’s shoes and be considerate toward them, can forgive them, and understand them. This is also the expression of a kind heart.”
After I read these words, my heart opened up a lot: Yes, I. No matter what environment comes upon me, first, I should know that everything is in God’s hands and there are His good intentions behind it. Of course, this environment is also controlled by God. Though the old couple’s actions always damage my self-esteem, leaving me humiliated and making me feel distressed and in pain, God uses such an environment to deal with my vanity and arrogant disposition so that I can cast off my corrupt dispositions and be purified and transformed. Meanwhile, God makes me learn to forgive, tolerate, forbear and understand others in this environment, and thus I can live out the likeness of a Christian. Yet, my resistance to this environment is because when I come across things I don’t accept them as being from God. Instead, I feel that the old couple aren’t kind, that they’re going too far and that they disrespect me. Therefore, I always fix my gaze on them and see the moat in their eyes, but don’t see the beam in my own eyes. Now, I realize when I encounter environments I should pray to God first and quiet myself before Him, seeking out His will in these environments, how to know my own corruption, and how to practice in accordance with . Having understood this, I was resolved to accept them as being from God when I encounter things in the future and to glorify God with my practical actions.
After that, when what the old couple said impinged on my face or vanity, I still couldn’t help wanting to expose hot blood, but at the thought of God’s words I had read, I called out to God in my heart quickly and hoped for Him to help me put myself aside so that I could live out the likeness of a Christian. After my prayer, my heart calmed down and my tone became much gentler. While I was doing work, if they called me to do something else, I would reply: “OK. Grandpa, grandma, if you want me to do something, please calm down and tell me slowly. I’ll do them one by one.” Seeing my manner became mild, they did not say anything else. Sometimes, when they lost their temper with me, I learnt to put myself aside, reflecting on whether I had done something wrong. Then I would say: “Grandpa, grandma, I heard wrong. I’m sorry.” When I practiced this way, I felt more and more liberated and my relationship with the old couple became more and more harmonious.
Gradually, I discovered that the grandma always asked her family to do things in advance. Her family always said: “Mom, there is still half a month left. How come you are so anxious?” Grandma always replied: “I’m afraid I may forget it.” Then, I understood that the reason why the old couple always urged me to do this or that is that they were afraid that they might forget these things. Though they were a little stiff in manner, God used this environment to make me learn to be tolerant and patient, and understand other people’s difficulties instead of seizing their shortcomings without letting them go.
In the blink of an eye, five months has passed. Their attitudes toward me have changed a lot. They didn’t speak to me as loudly as before, but more courteously. Sometimes when I was busy, they would do some of the things by themselves. More miraculously, they began to care for me. In winter, they asked me if I felt cold in my rented house. Once, my glasses were broken, and the grandpa repaired them for me. Plus, they always sincerely said “Thanks” and “Sorry” to me. I truly experienced that when I changed myself, they also changed. I know all of these are God’s deeds.
During my experience, I understand when we run into things, if we live by God’s words, we can change our abnormal relationships with others. In the end, we can help each other and live in harmony with one another and in God’s light.
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By Hanxiao In this complex society, we have to deal with all kinds of people every day. Each person’s personality, hobbies, habits, temperament, etc. are all different, so in our interactions some conflicts and misunderstandings will inevitably arise. Getting along well with others is not easy—this brings great difficulties to our work and life, and can be physically or mentally damaging to various degrees. Though this is very distressing for many people, they also feel like their hands are tied, and there are quite a few Christians who are no exception. So what exactly should we do to achieve harmony in our interactions? Here we will share simple fellowship on four principles. If our practice is in line with these four principles below, these headache-inducing interpersonal issues will surely be resolved. The first principle of getting along with others is to love each other. The Lord Jesus taught us: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39). It is recorded in Matthew 18:21–22, “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.” From these verses we can see that the Lord requires us to love each other, have a forgiving heart, and be tolerant of others’ mistakes. Since we’re all of different ages, of different calibers, we have different hobbies and backgrounds, plus we all have some weaknesses and shortcomings, if the foundation of our interpersonal relationships is built upon mutual love and we consider things from others’ perspectives, we will encounter fewer conflicts and misunderstandings and will be able to get along well with others. Some people have love for others and a compassionate heart; they love to help others and are able to comfort those who are suffering and experiencing hardships. People like this please God and others are fond of them as well. However, those who lack love for others and always think of their own interests cannot possibly get along well with others. Even if they do have love for others, it is temporary and conditional, and they only help and are tolerant of those who are kind to them and have never hurt them. Once someone hurts them or infringes upon their interests, though they may appear tolerant on the outside, in their heart they are filled with dissatisfaction and hatred. They can’t practice the Lord’s way. They are detested by God and disliked by people. Therefore we should practice the Lord’s words in our interactions, and love others as we love ourselves, as the Lord requires; only then will we be able to interact harmoniously with others. But perhaps there will still be times we’re unable to willingly be tolerant of, patient with, and forgiving of others. What’s required of us in this sort of situation is to pray more to the Lord and ask Him to give us a heart of genuine tolerance and love for others. When we truly rely on the Lord to practice tolerance and patience, our prejudices and dissatisfactions with others in our hearts will gradually disappear. However, there are also principles for loving others as we love ourselves. God does not want us to love others blindly. It’s just like how the Lord Jesus was full of mercy and love toward His believers and followers, while He was full of condemnation and curses for those hypocritical Pharisees who opposed God. The Lord’s different attitudes toward these two kinds of people embody God’s righteous disposition. Therefore, we should treat brothers and sisters who truly believe in God and practice the Lord’s words with great sincerity; we should be loving and helpful. As for Satan’s forces that oppose and condemn God, we should draw clear boundaries and clearly distinguish between love and hate. The second principle of harmonious interactions is to have wisdom. In Matthew 10:16–17, the Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will whip you in their synagogues.” Being wise in interactions with others is an indispensable principle of practice for Christians. This is because among the people that we interact with, there are Christians who pursue the truth, and there are some who belong to enemy forces that oppose God and hate the truth. They are specially sent by Satan to interrupt and disturb God’s work. If they learn of the business of the church or the personal information of brothers and sisters, they will make use of these things to attack, judge and condemn us, or even report us to the police to have us arrested. Therefore, we should have discernment with people like this and employ wisdom with them. In addition, we will inevitably encounter many difficulties in our interactions with others; wisdom is also called for at these times. Being wise is not about saying things contrary to our convictions to deceive others, but is for the sake of benefiting others as well as doing no harm to others, ourselves, or the church. For example, if we are going to do or say something, we must first take the other person’s personality into consideration, and what kind of action or speech will be beneficial to them, and ensure we will not harm them. These are some of the practices of dealing with people with wisdom. Only by behaving this way can we achieve harmony in our interactions. The third principle is to treat others properly. The Lord Jesus said, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, 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). When we are in conflict with others, we always feel that the other person is wrong or the problem is with them. In fact, at these times we are living within our satanic disposition of arrogance and self-righteousness; we’re being entirely self-centered and looking down on others. We’re unable to treat others objectively and fairly. This is why we should first resolve our own corrupt dispositions, reflect on and know our own shortcomings and deficiencies, and seek the truth that we should enter into; only then can we treat others properly. If we always fixate our gaze on others’ shortcomings, we will never be able to get along well with anyone. For example, we tend to see our family members’ shortcomings when we spend time with them; we feel like our spouse doesn’t know how to take care of others, they are inconsiderate, the food they make isn’t to our taste, our child is temperamental and hard to discipline, and so on; when we are with our colleagues and friends, we find that one of our colleagues is selfish, another one tends to judge others behind their backs, or some friend likes to take advantage of others, etc. This is often distressing for us because we do not know how to get along with them. In fact, regardless of whether others’ personality and behaviors are compatible with our preferences or not, we should not be prejudiced against them and just treat them however we like. We are all people who have been corrupted by Satan; we ourselves possess quite a few problems just as others do, so how are we qualified in any way to make demands of others? Additionally, God has bestowed different strengths and advantages upon every one of us in the hope that we can absorb the strengths of others to make up for our shortcomings. Only by doing so can we progress more quickly. Once we have this kind of understanding, when others do something that we do not like, we can deny ourselves, not ask too much of others, and not force what we think is right on others. Instead, we can consciously discover others’ strengths and absorb their positive qualities—this is how we can treat others properly. Furthermore, in our actions we should not only think of ourselves, but we should also be considerate toward others, learn to care for others more often, and let others benefit. Only then can we get along well with others. The fourth principle of harmonious interaction with others is to not focus on life philosophies, but instead, focus on establishing a proper relationship with God. In real life, we often use satanic philosophies of life to maintain our relationships with others, such as, “Think before you speak and then talk with reservation,” “One more friend means one more path; one more enemy means one more obstacle,” “Keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes for a long and good friendship,” and so on. When we base our interactions with others on these life philosophies, we curry favor and engage in flattery with others so that we can maintain a good relationship with them. We only talk about their good points and dare not point out their shortcomings; we protect our interpersonal relationships even if it means going against the principles of the truth. The Lord detests this kind of behavior, because what we exalt are Satan’s philosophies, not the Lord’s words. What the Lord requires of us is the ability to have a proper relationship with Him and do everything in accordance with His words, such as being honest people in line with His requirements, and not saying anything false in our interactions or ingratiating ourselves with others. He also requires that when we see brothers and sisters do things that are not in line with or violate the Lord’s teachings, we should help them out of love; we should not be afraid to offend them but instead point out their mistakes and help them resolve their problems. In short, all of our interactions should be established on the foundation of the Lord’s teachings. We should put into practice whatever the Lord requires of us. No matter who we are interacting with, we must be able to directly face the Lord and accept His scrutiny. Only with this kind of practice can we have a proper relationship with the Lord. Once we have a proper relationship with the Lord, our relationships with other people will become proper as well, and then we’ll get along harmoniously with others very naturally. Above are the four principles of practice regarding harmonious interactions with others that we as Christians should enter into. If we are able to frequently put these four principles into practice, many of our difficulties with others will be easily resolved, what we live out will gain the Lord’s praise, and we will become people who bring joy to the Lord. You may be interested in: 4 Principles by Which We Christians Easily Interact With Others How to Get Along With Others Easily 3 Tips for Church Leaders to Help and Support Brothers and Sisters
A must for Christians: 3 paths of practice to help and support brothers and sisters.
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