By Wang Zihan
For many people, dealing with people is the biggest problem they have. In real life, we will encounter many people. Some are to our liking, but some just rub us up the wrong way. As Christians, how should we treat the people around us? What kind of the Lord’s requirements should we practice to conform to His will? … I found the answers to these questions in a book of truths and, moreover, when acting according to what the book says, my own relationship problems were thoroughly resolved. Therefore, I want to share my understanding based on my experiences with everyone.
First, we should be fair and equitable in our treatment of everyone without resorting to emotions and preferences.
Thesaid: “For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same? And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:46–48). The Lord’s words clearly tell us that as Christians we shouldn’t be honest with people only when they offer benefit to us, while ignoring them when they harm our interests. But actually, we like to be with those who are like-minded, while we discriminate against and shun those who we don’t see eye to eye with; we fawn upon those in high positions and the powerful but exclude and belittle those without status or influence. If we do this, we, just like non-believers, are not worthy to be called believers in the Lord.
For example, when someone who is like-minded mentions our defects to us, we can generally accept it, but if it’s a person we don’t like who does that, we will justify ourselves, disagree with them, and sometimes we will feel so disgusted and conflicted that we might even attack them. This shows that we act based on emotions and preferences, and that we are basically unfair to people. This is at odds with the Lord’s will. Since we believe in the Lord, we should follow Jesus and love others as ourselves. Regardless of whether others are like-minded, and no matter whether they are ordinary brothers and sisters or church leaders, we should treat them with sincerity and fairness, and have tolerance, patience and love instead of lying to them or having prejudices against them. Only by doing so do we conform to the Lord’s will.
Second, we should treat the failings and corruptions of others correctly, and shouldn’t delineate or judge others arbitrarily.
The Lord Jesus said: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1–2). The Lord Jesus taught us that if others have transgressions or corruptions revealed we shouldn’t judge or delineate them arbitrarily. We should treat the failings or corruptions of others correctly and believe they will improve in the future. This is only fair. If we treat others based on our own satanic corrupt disposition, and make harsh demands of others, trifle over minor matters, and arbitrarily judge and delineate others, this is not in keeping with the will of the Lord, and we will absolutely not have normal relationships with others.
For example, there was a sister in our church who never attended meetings on time because she was passive and weak. I fellowshiped with her many times, but it didn’t work. I felt really angry over this and decided that she was not a sincere believer in God. So, I didn’t want to support her anymore or pay any more attention to her. Afterward, I saw thesay: “Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him which eats not judge him that eats: for God has received him. Who are you that judge another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand” (Romans 14: 3–4). When I read this I felt quite ashamed. I remembered how God moved the brothers and sisters to support me when I was negative, weak and defeated so that I could stay standing. Likewise, when I saw that the sister couldn’t attend meetings on time because of family and secular entanglements, I ought to have given her loving support. However, I did not feel worried or anxious for her, and even gave her the cold shoulder and delineated her as a believer who wasn’t sincere to God. I was so wicked, and had no compassion for her. My actions were fundamentally inconsistent with the Lord’s intention. After realizing this, I came before God to confess my sins and repent, and decided to continue supporting the sister, fellowship with her out of love, and share my practical experiences with her. After several times of fellowshipping, she started to attend meetings regularly and even to do some church work. Through this experience I understood that during the period that God works to save us, no matter what weaknesses and failings we believers have or what kind of corruptions we reveal, as long as we are sincere believers in God and can repent before God, God will give us opportunities to change. Therefore, we should also help and tolerate others out of love, and treat everyone according to God’s requirements. We must not arbitrarily delineate or judge others. Treating others this way is fair and conforms to the Lord’s will.
Third, we should neither overestimate nor underestimate anyone else, and should learn to discover the strengths of others to make up for our own shortcomings.
The Bible says: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also inJesus” (Philippians: 2:3–5). When we interact with the brothers and sisters, if, because we have a certain level of ability and possess a little caliber and talent, we look down upon those who are not talented and gifted, or those who are foolish and of poor caliber, this reveals our arrogance, which is the disposition of Satan. The Lord Jesus said: “And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew: 23-12). We should humble ourselves and modestly draw on the strengths of others to make up for our own shortcomings. Only then will God be pleased with us and will our lives develop continuously.
Besides, we should know that no matter whether others are stupid or smart, of good caliber or bad, poor or rich, we should not have prejudices against them or be affectionate when dealing with them. Whatever kind of appearance we have, whatever caliber and strengths and gifts we possess, these are predestined by God, so we have no reason to find fault with others. Whether God saves a person does not depend on these external things, and therefore, we should not care about these things. Rather, we should treat the failings of everyone correctly and learn to respect others.
Fourth, when seeing others doing things in a way not in keeping with our own ideas, we shouldn’t fixate on their issues but should first learn to know ourselves.
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). In interacting with others, it is impossible to avoid some minor friction. We shouldn’t get fixated with other people’s affairs, be obsessed with right and wrong, or find fault with others but should learn to find the problems in ourselves. When we know ourselves, then we will naturally put aside our prejudices against others.
I have deep experience of this. For example, a sister I was paired with brought up my defects with me many times, saying I didn’t shoulder enough of the burden in the work of the church. Not only did I not see this as coming from God, but I thought that she picked on me purposely and was making things difficult for me. Because of this, I developed preconceived ideas about the sister and didn’t want to do church work with her. Later, by seeking I came to know that my refusing others’ advice was dominated by my satanic arrogant nature. At the same time, I recognized that actually the people, events, and objects that I encounter on a daily basis are set up by God for changing and saving me. It was not that the sister made things difficult for me. I realized I should accept that it came from God, learn to put myself aside, accept the sister’s right advice, and actively open up and reveal my corruptions to her in order to achieve harmonious coordination. This would be beneficial to the church work and allow us to gain the truth. So, I started to practice according to God’s demands and unexpectedly the sister also revealed her own deficiencies. Finally we were able to communicate spiritually and became as harmonious as before.
The above four principles are some understanding based on my own experiences. Only by treating everyone fairly according to God’s teachings, and being able to benefit people around us can we live out the manner of a true person and glorify and bear witness for God.