By Han Xue
Being Full of Hope for Cooperation
Not long ago, due to the need of work, the church arranged for a sister to be my partner. Learning that she was Sister Guan I had known, I felt very happy and thought: To work with Aunt Guan will be an absolutely pleasure cooperation. On the one hand, we have been acquainted with each other earlier; on the other hand, despite not being so familiar with our work, she has believed in God for a long time and therefore she has gone through a lot and had a deep knowledge of the truth. And I, although believing for a short time with a shallow understanding of the truth, was proficient in the professional knowledge. If we two partner up in work, we will certainly complete the work of the church better.
Afterward, whatever difficulties Aunt Guan was confronted with in our work, I was willing to help her and actively explained the professional knowledge to her. But after a while, problems came up.
One day, when I was carefully reading a document that needed modification, Aunt Guan, sitting opposite, said to me, “Xiaoxue, you should read more references before modifying. Or, it will bring loss to the work of church because of your mistake.” She repeated this word for three times within a few moments. Hearing that, I made no response, but thought: Why are you talking endlessly like my mom? It has been such a long time since I begin to cooperate on this work. I have been long familiar with the professional knowledge. Is there any material I haven’t seen before? They are all in my head. I know them all even if I don’t read. As such, I hemmed and agreed outwardly, yet dominated by my arrogant nature, I didn’t take her reminding seriously but finished modifying the document very quickly without consulting references.
A few days later, I was going to carry out the work of a church. Before I left, Aunt Guan said to me, “Xiaoxue, last time I went to the church, I found some brothers and sisters were not so familiar with the professional knowledge. Do teach them more this time. And …” I packed my stuff and responded her impatiently. I thought to myself: Why are you nagging me again? As for the situation of the brothers and sister, don’t I know better than you? You’re telling me! Since you came, you have interfered in everything I do as if I understood nothing. From then on, I was unwilling to listen to any of her words or to chat with her to the point of getting fed up with her in my heart. Aunt Guan also perceived that I was unhappy, and gradually, she stopped nagging before me.
That day, when I was reading references in front of my computer as usual, I noticed that a document which Aunt Guan reminded me to read. Contrasting it with the one I modified, I found there were several errors in it. I was shocked and thought: That’s done it. If only I had read this material before I modified it. Now I made mistakes, and what shall I do? The more I thought about it, the more awful I felt. Afterward, a sister brought the document and came fellowship with us. Although she didn’t blame us but pointed out the errors and deviations in the documents patiently, I felt distressed and suffocated inside as if my heart was blocked.
Realizing the Root Cause
Afterward, I read a passage of God’s word, “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” (“Those Who Cannot Live Always Before God Are Unbelievers”).
Through the revelation of God’s word, I came to realize that the reason why I committed such great mistakes was because I was so arrogant and self-conceited that I didn’t listen to Aunt Guan’s advice, paying no heed of her exhortation over and over. I then thought about how I often insisted on my own opinions when in association with my brothers and sisters. They had pointed out my problems and read God’s word to help me, but I still hadn’t had a profound knowledge of myself. Consequently, this time when I worked together with Aunt Guan, I relied on my arrogant nature again to stubbornly cling to my own opinion and excluded her advice. I thought: I have mastered the professional knowledge, while Aunt Guan, a newcomer, was unfamiliar with all of that. She had less knowledge and worse memory than mine, could she give me a right direction? She should listen to me on all aspects of professional knowledge.
It was just because of my arrogance and self-conceitedness, and a mentality of judging people according to their seniority that when I cooperated with Aunt Guan, I was conceited and self-important, flaunted my seniority, and looked down my nose at her. And I more detested her and was more unwilling to listen to her advice, and I even refuted her with my experience, especially when she asked me to attend to this and that. This resulted in many problems arising in our work and in us not being able to get on harmoniously with each other. Later, I read the words in the Proverbs, saying, “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:18-19). The arrogant people always thought that they were capable of anything, and that they were abundant with the truth, so they neither sought nor accepted the truth. In this way, they would stumble because of arrogance sooner or later. On the contrary, the humble people thought they were most ordinary and always had a heart to seek and thus they would attain great abundance. In the past, I thought I was a humble person but now I was ashamed before the fact.
Seeking the Way to Practice
Reflecting on all of this, I didn’t want to rely on my corrupt disposition to get with Aunt Guan again. In order to find the way to practice, I presented the problem of our unharmonious partnership to God and prayed to Him. Afterward, I read God’s word, “Regardless of whether you are a younger or an older brother or sister, you know the function you ought to perform. Those in their youth are not arrogant; those who are older are not passive and do not regress. And they are able to use each other’s strengths to make up for their weak points, and they are able to serve one another without any prejudice. A friendship bridge is built between younger and older brothers and sisters. Because of God’s love you are able to better understand one another. Younger brothers and sisters do not look down on older brothers and sisters, and the older brothers and sisters are not self-righteous. Is this not a harmonious partnership?” (“On Everyone Performing Their Function”).
God’s word pointed out a clear way of practice to me: Everyone, the old or the young, has his own merits. And thus if we all perform our duties and learn from each other’s strong points to offset our weaknesses, we will do better and better on the work of the church. Having understood, I took the initiative to communicate with Aunt Guan and she also told me what she had thought. The fact was that she felt she couldn’t understand the professional knowledge, so she thought what she could do was asking me to put my heart into my work. And this was why she would often remind me to avoid making mistakes once finding I did my work roughly. Only then did I come to know her nagging at me before came from her help and love to me. However, I was so unreasonable that I misunderstood her, strayed from her, as well as harmed her. Thinking of this, I was full of indebtedness and self-blame within my heart.
From then on, I practice according to God’s word. We found relevant references to read and discuss together while we are working. Sometimes, when we encountered something about fellowshiping the truth, if I didn’t know about it but Aunt Guan could handle it easily, then I would leave it to her to take charge of; sometimes, when she couldn’t understand the professional knowledge, I would teach her how to deal with it in patience. Sometime, when I was careless in my work, she would frequently remind me to use my heart to do my work. Even though she was garrulous as my mom, I could understand her doing this was for my own good and thus I gradually became much calmer in my work. And other times, when she was in trouble at work, I would help her and unwittingly, she could be active to cooperate. It was God’s love that built a bridge between us so that the more we cooperated, the more we could obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, and the more effectiveness our work was. We both tasted the sweetness of living on God’s word.
Being Close as a Family
God’s love made us more and more harmonious in our coordination, and allowed us to care for each other and look after each other as if we were family. One day, I went to a church to cooperate with some work. When I came back, it was too late. The road was dark and remote and without street lights. Just as I was worried and didn’t know what to do, I saw the faint light was flickering at the end of the lane, with two figures moving in the shadows. I was alert and kept walking along the roadside until I went near to them and heard them saying, “Why are you back so late? We waited for you here yesterday.” Only then did I recognize they were Aunt Guan and another sister. With smiles, they continued, “It’s so dark; you must be scared, so we come out earlier to meet you.” At that moment, I knew Aunt Guan and the other sister specially went out to meet me since they worried about my safety. However, they were not sure when I would return, so they were waiting for me for two successive days. It was the depth of winter at that time. The weather was extremely chilly that the two sisters stood there shivering with cold. At the sight of this, I was so moved that tears burst from my eyes and a wave of warmth surged in my heart. I knew it was God’s love. It was God that not only let us learn to cooperate with each other at work, but also through practical environment, He transformed our corrupt disposition and made us become connected in the spirit the real family. Thank God!