When the Lord returns, how can we recognize His voice and welcome Him?
By Titie, United States
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.