By Mo Yan
Recently Yi Fan felt browned off. Every day she constantly complained at home after work: “My new partner speaks too candidly, and her words sound stiff. She always acts as if she was a leader who was teaching someone a lesson. She doesn’t do anything to save others’ faces, which harms others. Today she made me lose face again in front of others and I was embarrassed. …” When Yi Fan’s roommates heard what she said, one of them persuaded her to let it go, because she had no choice; another advised her not to be angry, for it was bad for her health; and the third talked about the way of dealing with others from books. However, they could console her for a short time but couldn’t help her solve the problem from the root. When facing her new partner, she still had the sulks. Sometimes, she even thought resentfully: What makes my partner talk with me like this? If she still does so, I won’t be bullied easily.
As a matter of fact, Yi Fan also wanted to get along well instead of having frequent quarrels with her new partner. Especially when thinking of the’ words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39), she knew she should often not dispute with her partner, but that she should practice according to the Lord’s words. However, every time when she heard her partner’s hard voices, She could not bear it and wanted to lose her temper, and sometimes even said some words that made her partner harmed. It made Yi Fan much sadder and she felt she didn’t uphold the Lord’s commandments but sinned with her lips harming her partner. Yet, she didn’t let go of her prejudice against her partner. As a result, there came resentment in her heart: If she didn’t speak to me in such a stiff accent all the time, then I wouldn’t have a prejudice against her, there wouldn’t be so many conflicts between her and me and I wouldn’t offend God because of failing to keep the commandments. Thinking that all of this was due to her partner, Yi Fan even more blamed her partner in her heart. For that reason, she was in low spirits all day, feeling quite oppressed and depressed.
One day, seeing Yi Fan keep sighing since she came back after work, Luoluo asked Yi Fan whether she met with trouble. Yi Fan poured out a pile of sufferings to her. Then she said to Yi Fan earnestly: “I quite understand your feeling. I also underwent the same thing before.” On hearing that, Yi Fan seemed to meet a bosom friend and asked hurriedly: “How did you deal with it? Please tell me.” Luoluo said blandly: “In the beginning, I couldn’t adjust and formed an opinion of someone as well. I didn’t know why I met such a person. Later, a passage of God’s words turned my opinion. God says: ‘People live for so many years, and are unhappy with eighty or ninety percent of what they encounter. You frown upon this and disapprove of that, but what do you dislike? Some of these things are actually your own problems, so you should not make a big deal out of them. When people get older, they realize that they are not noble, and that they are no better than others. Do not think that you are superior to other people, or more dignified and distinguished than they are; you must learn to adapt to your environment. … Furthermore, God has arranged such a fantastic environment for you. You have too many personal issues; you must learn to adapt, and not pick at the bad habits of others. Moreover, you have to be able to get along with them based on love, and get close to them; you need to see their strengths, learn from their strengths, and then pray to God and overcome your own problems. This is the attitude and practice of submission’ (‘The Five Conditions People Have Before They Enter the Right Track of Believing in God’). After reading God’s words, I felt greatly relieved. It turned out that there were lessons to be learned from these people, events and things that came upon me. Therefore, first I should obey and seek for, not fixating on others’ issues. I remembered 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?’ (Matthew 7:3). When I felt someone was not pleasing to my eyes, in fact, it was time for me to introspect. Others have shortcomings, so do I. I am no better than others. I didn’t allow anyone to have a say and offend me. Wasn’t this because of my arrogant disposition, pride and vanity? Maybe someone said something unsuitable or did something unacceptable, but did she not have her points？Why couldn’t I broaden my sight and mind to try to see her good qualities? Thinking of these, I abandoned my complaint and prejudice against her a little. I considered carefully when I was calm: My friend had a direct way of speaking so it was difficult for me to accept. Even sometimes she made me feel very awkward before others, but what she said were really the problems that existed within myself. If I accepted what she said and treated it seriously, then I would change. Wasn’t it a good thing for me? In addition, if I always made demands of anyone else and let her act according to my requests, then I would be too unreasonable and think too highly of myself. God doesn’t make high demands of man. I am just a tiny created creature, so I’m not qualified to request things of others. Afterward, when I obeyed and learned lessons, I found my friend wasn’t like who I before thought she was. On the contrary, she was easy to get along with. Through this experience, finally I got a lot and saw the environment God arranged for me was wonderful.”
Luoluo’s words made Yi Fan lose herself in thought. It kept Yi Fan’s perspective that these words spoke to her heart, and she thought of a passage of God’s words she read before: “People do not require much of themselves, but they require much of others. They must be patient and forbearing of them, cherish them, provide for them, smile at them, be accommodating to them, and yield to them. They must take care of them in many ways, and they cannot be strict with them, provoke them, or do anything that they would not like. Man’s reason is so lacking!” (“People Who Always Have Requirements for God Are the Least Reasonable”). Only then did Yi Fan realized that the fundamental reason why she couldn’t get along well with her partner was that she required much of her. She hoped her partner welcomed her with smiles all the time, said to her in a gentle and mild way, and didn’t allow the partner to pull a face or get a big mouth. If not, she began to criticize the partner inwardly, thinking that the partner had a difficult personality and many problems, but not seeing her own problems. As a result, when she didn’t get on well with the partner, she did not examine herself and not submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements either, just being overly-critical of the partner. She believed that she was really too arrogant and so senseless. Just as a passage of Preaching and Fellowship About Life Entry says: “Men always believe they are extraordinary, they are very lofty and untouchable. They are just like a king, not allowing anyone to offend, bully or judge them. Is this not a kind of expression of self-magnification? Take some people for example, they can’t accept being dealt with, or pruned and exposed by anyone; and it’s unacceptable to them to be given a dirty look or said to something that hurts their feelings. This is called ‘The tiger’s behind should not be prodded.’ They are those who magnify themselves!” (“Questions & Answers” in Preaching and Fellowship About Life Entry).
Yi Fan thought: I have long regarded myself as too honorable. Associating with others, as long as they said to me with a little harsh tone, I would feel as if I got a great grievance. I didn’t self-reflect through it, but blamed others for all the faults. I was really arrogant and completely without human sense! Thinking back to when I got along with my partner, she said to me in a straightforward manner, which made me lose face, but it couldn’t be denied that my partner’s words were mostly right, including my problems she pointed out. However, my disposition was so arrogant that I couldn’t accept such advice. Instead, I came into conflict with her and didn’t seek the truth or learn lessons within the environment, people, matters, and things arranged by God, wasting too many opportunities to attain the truth. If God didn’t arrange such an environment, when would I find my problems that exist within myself and my shortcomings? And when would I shed my arrogant and conceited disposition of Satan? Now I realize that it is so good for me that God has arranged this new partner, because I need this environment.
At the moment, Yi Fan felt released instantly. So many days of annoyances and her prejudice against and conflicts with her partner all disappeared. She shared what she had gotten with Luoluo. Luoluo was happy after hearing that and saw that it was wonderful what God had arranged and that God loves and cares about everyone in every possible way. Then they read a passage of God’s words together: “If you are always competing with the people, matters, and things that God has arranged around you, if you are always trying to extricate yourself from them, always feeling dissatisfied, always harboring a disagreeable mentality and always misunderstanding, then you will find it very difficult to enter into the truth. Through obeying, seeking, praying more, retreating to your spirit and coming before God then, unbeknownst to you, a change will happen in your inner condition. … You must learn to seek the truth. You mustn’t look for external causes, mustn’t always look for the troubles of others, and you mustn’t always look for faults in others. … If you see things from that point of view, then you won’t be able to attain anything. If you see things from this point of view then that’s great, your viewpoint and your state of mind will be straightened out and you will then attain the truth. What possible reason could there be to not proceed? Why do you resist? If you don’t resist, then you will attain the truth. If you resist then you won’t attain anything, and you will also hurt God and disappoint Him. How is God disappointed? This amounts to you pushing away the bowl of food that God Himself has brought to you, the bowl of food that He has fed you straight from His mouth. You don’t want it, and you say, ‘I’m not eating it. I’m not hungry. I don’t need it!’ God tries again and again to dissuade you from this course of action, but you still don’t want it, and would rather go hungry. You think that you are full, when really you have nothing at all. This is the situation” (“To Attain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You”).
God’s words made Yi Fan understand: To change my corrupt disposition, God painstakingly sets up all kinds of situations every day. If I always try to extricate myself from the environment, people, events, and things, then I will get nothing finally. Yet, when I changed my attitude to experience, I gained a surprising harvest and saw God’s love is hidden within situations. God’s will is good and He has no ill intention toward me. His arranging this environment was not for making me embarrassed or endure suffering, but for purifying and saving me. God has done a lot in obscurity for me, but I was numb and dull-witted in the past, not feeling a little. I only felt I had suffering and then displayed rude behavior before God, not understanding God’s kind intentions.
Meanwhile, Yi Fan gained a principle of getting along with others: Examining myself is better than blaming others. Thinking back to when she dealt with others, if someone’s behavior or eyes made her uncomfortable, she would get him to blame and never examined herself. Every time the more she found fault with others, the darker and more depressed she felt in the spirit. Only now did she know all of that was because she was unable to experience God’s work. Aware of her problems, repenting and admitting her errors before God, she felt God’s leadership and guidance again, and had a little simple understanding of her corrupt disposition. In addition, she didn’t feel upset and had no prejudice against her partner. Thence she became released and free, with peace and joy in her spirit.
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