Living in a Shared House, I Learned to Love One Another

By Jiejing, Australia

Stars are twinkling in the dark blue sky, insects are buzzing in the grass, and along the light breeze came bursts of laughing and talking. Looking in the direction of the voice, you will find a small house with a warm light. This is my home.

warm light at home under blue sky

I live in a shared house with several sisters in the Lord, and we cook in shifts according to the schedule we made. My sisters were always busy not only in serving in the church but also in working, so I decided to do more housework when available, allowing them to see that although I was young I was still considerate and thoughtful of others. Therefore, in the following days, whenever I found a sister cooking in the kitchen, I would ask her whether she needed some help, and if she did, we would cook together. Sometimes when the sister on duty was busy with other things, I would do the cooking instead. Doing one good deed was easy, but yet as I did things like this more, unwillingness crept up within me.

One day it was not my turn to be on duty, but I still helped a sister with cooking for a long while. After it was finished, I went out to deal with something urgent. When I came back finding the kitchen was in an awful mess, my anger welled up instantly and I thought: This is too much. I just came to give a helping hand, now you leave this mess for me to clean up. All of you are busy; am I not busy? … My heart was full of misgiving and complaint although I was doing the cleaning.

In the following days, sometimes when my sisters passed by the kitchen but didn’t care about me, I felt uneasy in my heart. So sometimes when I was chopping vegetables or washing dishes, I intentionally made a big noise to vent my dissatisfaction: We are equal, but why do I always have to do these things? What’s more, I didn’t receive any praise for my efforts. The more I thought about it the more I felt wronged and really thrown off balance, living in pain. One day, the oppression I had held for a long time finally burst out …

That day, I made pancakes for breakfast, but we didn’t eat up, so we continued to have them for lunch. In the afternoon I still made pancakes and when we had them for supper, a sister said in joke, “Today we have pancakes for three meals.” Once I heard this, my anger rose and I said with a long face, “Whatever you want to eat, cook by yourself!” As soon as my voice subsided, the whole room became quiet all of a sudden and the air seemed frozen; other sisters all turned their eyes toward me, and the smile of Sister A got stiff on her face. I dared not to look at them again. Bowing my head, I hurriedly finished my meal and went into my room, feeling very miserable. In my pain I prayed to God: “O God, the words I’ve just said may hurt my sister. I always feel wronged, because I’ve expended much more efforts than them. God, I know this is at odds with Your will, but I can’t betray myself. Please lead me to understand what lesson I should learn from this.”

Later, when I was practicing spiritual devotions, I saw a passage of God’s words that says: “If you don’t have a proper relationship with God, no matter what you do to maintain your relationships with other people, no matter how hard you work or how much energy you exert, it will still belong to a human philosophy of life. You are maintaining your position among people through a human perspective and a human philosophy so that they will praise you. You do not establish proper relationships with people according to the word of God. If you don’t focus on your relationships with people but maintain a proper relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, very naturally, your relationships with all people will become proper.” As I tried to figure out God’s words, my heart gradually lit up. So, man’s normal relationship with people is based on his normal relationship with God. If man can practice according to God’s words in everything, and harbor right intentions without any adulteration of selfish desires, then he can naturally get along well with others.

Through reflecting, I thought about how I got along with my sisters in those days. In the beginning I would like to put God’s requirements—loving one another and loving your neighbor as yourself—into practice. After a period of time, however, I felt I did much more for them while they neither helped me, nor gave me any compliment or praise; I became unhappy, and even spoke with anger to hurt them. This exactly revealed that my intentions of doing things were wrong and with adulteration: I was not willingly putting God’s words into practice, but rather attempting to use my efforts to earn my sisters’ admiration and appreciation. Was this not making a trade? My sisters were busy with the work of the church, and yet I still made a fuss over every tiny detail with them—I was really too deceitful, too selfish and despicable. Thinking of this, I felt very ashamed. At the same time, I felt it was also God’s love for me that I faced such a revelation, or else I would never have come to realize my impurities in the things I did. For this, I offered thanks and praise to God from my heart.

After I understood God’s will and came to know myself instead of focusing on my sisters, the door was gently pushed open. It was Sister A coming to apologize to me. I was surprised and very ashamed, and I also laid bare my own corruption to her. We spoke heart-to-heart with each other, feeling very close in God’s love.

Afterward, I consciously changed myself in this regard. When I was about to expose corrupt disposition in cooking meals or doing housework, I would remind myself that I should do things before God and should no longer continue with my selfish ways. When I thought like this, the complaints inside me became much less than before, and I felt very relaxed. When I felt contented after having gained some entry, God quietly stretched out His hands of salvation toward me once again.

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