by Chenmo, United States
I have seen a short story from a book: Three scholars went to the capital for the highest imperial examination and stayed in the same roadhouse. These three scholars are named A, B and C. On one night, Scholar A asked the owner of the roadhouse to predict who will pass the imperial examination. The owner said C will get it, B will pass next time, and A will never get it. The result was predicted correctly by the owner. Years later, Scholar A came back to the roadhouse and asked the owner how he came up with that prediction at that time? The owner’s reply is thought-provoking: That year, when the three scholars walked into the roadhouse, Scholar C was the only one who bowed deeply to the owner, Scholar B made a slight bow, while Scholar A only greeted the owner with a smile. From the attitude of these three people, the owner saw people who have more talent can bow down more, just like the ancient saying, “The ripened ears of rice bow deeply as they ripen.”
After reading this story, I couldn’t help thinking of what Jesus had said: “For whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luk 14:11). Indeed, we can see from the people around us: People who have genuine ability are humbler when they speak and do things; Some people only have little talent, but they think they know everything. In reality, they have no genuine talent to accomplish anything.
Most of the time I am just like Scholar A in the story. I look down on others, thinking I am higher and better than everyone else. I even have no regard for anyone else. But something happened recently brought me to shame.
After last week’s Sunday Service, we, a few deacons had a meeting. At the time, I was in charge of one task. We had a discussion about that, but we couldn’t reach a conclusion. What’s more, one brother put forward a lot of suggestions. Hearing that the brother talked about his suggestions one by one systematically in a stiff tone, I felt angry and thought his suggestions were not much better, not likely better than mine. So I refused to adopt whatever suggestion he said, which cost us a lot of time with no decision made in the end.
I came home with the frustration from the meeting, seething with anger at that night. So I shared about it with a sister over Facebook. After hearing my experience, she sent me a passage of God’s word: “they don’t have any harmonious partnership. Why don’t they have any? (They are relatively self-righteous and are unwilling to relinquish themselves.) Being unwilling to relinquish themselves and being self-righteous—what kind of disposition is this? (Arrogance and self-righteousness.) Arrogance and self-righteousness are corrupt dispositions” (“If You Wish to Attain the Truth, Then You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You”). After reading these words, she said, “The Lord once said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Mat 5:3). ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled’ (Mat 5:6). In these words we see that God loves people who are humble and who are willing to seek the truth and obey God. Those who seek the truth believe everything is arranged by God with His good will in it, so they will accept it, seeking humbly, not living by self-arrogance, not being opinionated and disdaining others. They think since brothers and sisters raise other different opinions, that means their own ideas are not perfect, so they accept others’ opinions and enhance their own ideas based on others’ opinions. Those who hold onto their own opinions refuse to acknowledge any idea from the outside, even though others’ opinions are reasonable. Such people are shown to be arbitrary and arrogant in all things, and will have difficulty making a good mark.”
While listening to her fellowship, my brain was reflecting what had happened that afternoon. When I heard the brother gave his advice constantly, I did not humbly seek, but refused it with anger. I thought my proposal has no problem and his views are simply unreasonable. I even thought if you want to vote against my proposal, then you must provide a better proposal than mine, otherwise, don’t bother. Based on God’s words, I saw my thoughts were all arrogance and self-righteousness! Thinking of that because I wasn’t able to accept any proposals in the meeting, our meeting ended with no result. I just realized my stubbornness had affected the work of the church. At that point, I felt scared about my behavior, and didn’t know what to do.
The sister sent me a passage of God’s word: “If someone says, ‘This is unacceptable,’ then don’t you have to change it? Are stubborn people good people? (No.) It is inadvisable to be that way. You must listen to others’ suggestions, and when you hear them say this, you say, ‘You’re right. I must change it.’ After you change it, some people say: ‘You’re pretty much there, I feel good about it. It’s okay, it passes.’ This is great! By doing things this way, one aspect is that you are able to gradually get deeper into the professional aspect, and you become mature and seasoned; another aspect is that you are also able to study more things; and yet another aspect is that you have learned a lesson. When you encounter issues, you mustn’t be self-right, thinking, ‘I have the final say. You are not qualified to speak. I understand the principles, what do you understand? You don’t understand, I do!’ This is being self-right. Being self-right is a corrupt satanic disposition; it is not something within normal humanity. So, what is not being self-right? (Getting suggestions from everyone, and everyone measuring them together.) When everyone approves of it, and everyone agrees with it, then you have done great. As long as some people or a group of people raise objections, then you must be more particular about the professional aspect. You mustn’t turn a blind eye and say: ‘Who? Raised what? What’s up? Is it you who understand this or me? Do you understand this better than I do? What do you understand? You don’t understand!’ This is a bad disposition, right? Even though the one who raised the objection may not understand too well and may be a layman, and you may be justified and what you’ve done may be right, the problem here is your disposition. So what are the correct expressions and actions that conform to principles and conform to the truth? You say: ‘What’s the problem? Let me take a look. Not just me, but everyone takes a look. Those who have some suggestions about this aspect or some insight into it, or who have some experience of this aspect, let’s all look together and we can all talk about it.’ If everyone really believes that doing something in this way is bad, that there is a bit of a problem here, and you look once and can’t see the problem, you look twice and still can’t see it, then you look three or four times and the more you look the more you feel there is a problem, then this really is a problem. And you must put it right, make it better and solicit everyone’s ideas. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? (It’s a good thing.) You solicit everyone’s ideas, everyone talks about it, you fellowship together and the Holy Spirit enlightens you; you follow that, and the problem is corrected accordingly. Everyone looks and says, ‘That’s right, and it’s so much better than before!’ Isn’t this God’s guidance? This is a great thing! When you do things this way, when you’re not self-right, when you relinquish your own imaginings and your own thoughts, and when you practice the truth, get off your high horse and listen to the ideas of others, then what happens? You gain an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work on you and the Holy Spirit enlightens you. What happens when the Holy Spirit enlightens you? You have learned yet another professional thing. Isn’t this a good thing?” (“Those Who Cannot Live Always Before God Are Unbelievers”). Thank God! His words made me suddenly see the light and I knew what I should do next.
Later, I quieted down to think over the nature of the work, and I found that some of my original proposals were indeed unreasonable. When I thought about that brother’s suggestions, I found some are correct. But there were some parts I couldn’t understand. I didn’t know whether it was right or wrong. At that time, I thought of a passage of God’s word that sister sent me, “let’s all look together and we can all talk about it.” Thereupon, I asked other brothers and sisters to take a look at the brother’s proposal, and they all thought the brother’s suggestions were reasonable. What they have said convinced me completely in the end.
The next day, I found the brother and asked him why he proposed the work should be arranged in that way? He patiently explained his thoughts and told me how he came out the idea. After hearing his thoughts, I realized that some of them were much better than mine and some were that I had never thought of. All of sudden my prejudiced mind was gone.
Unexpectedly, we still had some different ideas in other church affairs in the following two days. This time I did not deny his views according to my conception like before, but learned to communicate with him, asked him more about his opinion, and shared my perspective with him. We complemented each other, which made our proposal solider than before.
Through this event I learned no matter how smart we are, we can never make things perfect by ourselves. We all need a partner. Furthermore, I’m not smart but silly because I am arrogant and always hold to myself when doing things. Only if we learn to be humble, forsake ourselves and listen to different voices can we grow up in all kinds of surroundings!