Hello brothers and sisters of Grow in,
Everything that has happened makes me very depressed. I’m a company’s leader, and whenever I see my colleagues don’t work enthusiastically and their poor efficiency, I unwillingly scold them and require them to accomplish the tasks within the allotted time, so they don’t like to associate with me and even evade me. I think of how thetaught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and get along peacefully with others, but I cannot practice them no matter what. These things bother me so much and I don’t know how to improve my frosty relationships at work. I hope my brothers and sisters can give the answer and help me come out from my plight.
Hello! I understand how you feel. I had the same problem as you in the past and I had deep experience of the misery of it. Now I’ll communicate some of my own experience and knowledge and hope they help.
I’m a teacher and also a middle-level leader of our school, and I manage the group of liberal arts. In the past, when I took charge of the work, I always felt other teachers were not dedicated, that their professional skills improved very slowly, and that they never completed the assigned tasks with high quality. In order to have them actively cater to the school work and improve their professional skills as soon as possible, I compelled and regulated them and sometimes even slashed them. As a result, when seeing me, every one of them was nervous as a mouse when it sees a cat, intentionally or unintentionally avoided me, and had nothing to say to me. In addition, in an open class, the principal reproached me in front of everyone present and said that I was impatient at helping teach and did not teach young teachers rational teaching ways but just reproached them for their bad lectures, and that my regulating and compelling them caused some of them to be stifled and get fed up with studying and teaching. Hearing this, I even more felt wronged and argued with the principal, saying that I was doing this to improve their professional skills and that I had no ill intent…. During that period, I always felt that people around me all made things difficult for me, my interpersonal relationships went horribly wrong, and I was incompatible with anyone else. I was very depressed and in a lot of emotional pain.
Accepting Everything as Being From God and Seeking
In my pain, I thought about how I’m a Christian and everything I encounter contains God’s intentions, so I should seek the truth from it. Later, I saw God’s words saying, “Whenever you are faced with something, be it good or bad, you should benefit from it and it should not cause you to become passive. No matter what, you should be able to consider it by standing on the side of God, and not analyze or study it from the perspective of man (this is a deviation in your experience).” Pondering these words, I understood that, no matter how unfavorable people or matters I encountered were, they were always sanctioned by God and there was a lesson for me to study. I should not complain or get negative, but should first stay calm and obey God’s sovereignty. Nothing was more important than learning the lessons I was supposed to learn and gaining the truth. Thinking like this made me feel much calmer and I could face it with an obedient heart.
Seeing the Root Cause of My Own Problem—Wild Arrogance
I came before God and sincerely prayed to Him, “God, now I know You are using this environment to let me learn a lesson. I’m willing to learn it and willing to repent. May You lead me to know myself.” After praying, I saw these words from God, “Did you ever realize what you are doing today—namely, rampaging through the world, scheming against each other, deceiving each other, behaving treacherously, secretively and shamelessly, not knowing the truth, being crooked and deceitful, practicing flattery, considering yourselves as always right and better than others, being arrogant, and acting savagely like wild animals in mountains and rough like the king of the beasts—is this the likeness of a human being? You are rude and unreasonable. You have never regarded My word as treasure, but instead you have adopted a contemptuous attitude.” The words of God have fully exposed the ugliness of us mankind after being corrupted by Satan. We are arrogant and self-righteous, honor ourselves above all else, and always want to take the lead in a group of people and to make others look up to and worship us. If someone doesn’t listen to us, we’ll argue with them and judge right or wrong, and we’re totally lacking tolerance, patience, and loving hearts, like wild animals in mountains, and lose any semblance of a human being. As I carefully contemplated God’s words, I recalled all of my interactions with my colleagues. I thought that, I had worked for a longer time than them, gained much work experience, and was qualified somewhat, so I used these as capital to place myself in a very high position while interacting with them. In the process of my spurring them on, I always made strict demands of them according to high standards, and as long as they didn’t meet my demands and standards, in my heart I didn’t really regard them highly, disliked and degraded them, and even pressed and pestered them. Moreover, when I saw that any of them had made some mistakes in the work, I would immediately correct them in front of everyone to show off my capability and show that I could find problems, and I never considered their feelings. My acting like this not only didn’t help improve their skills, but also harmed them and attacked their positivity, and so our relationships became frosty. When the principal pointed out my problems, I felt wronged and discontent, made excuses and argued on my own behalf, and lost my normal humanity and reason. Wasn’t my being unrestrained and arrogant exactly like wild animals in mountains? Who liked to interact with someone like me? As it turned out, it was my arrogant nature that had led me to be unable to get along with my colleagues. Without this exposure, I wouldn’t have known how arrogant and conceited I was and wouldn’t have thought of how to change. God arranged this kind of situation to purify and change me, and to allow me to live out a normal humanity and to be able to get along peacefully with others. All the things God arranged for me were truly wonderful. Coming to this realization, I felt ashamed for my actions and was willing to change. Following that, I prayed to God to find a path toward resolution.
Understanding God’s Will and Practicing the Truth to Satisfy God
Afterward, I read God’s words, “Don’t be self-righteous; take the strengths of others and use them to offset your own deficiencies, watch how others live by God’s words and see whether or not their lives, actions and speech are worth learning from. If you regard others as less than you then you are self-righteous, self-conceited and are of benefit to no one.” Also, a passage from a sermon came to mind, “Be able to approach others properly. That is, don’t look up to them, but don’t look down on them. Whether another person is foolish or intelligent, if they are of high or low caliber, if they are rich or poor, you should not be biased and rely on emotions. Don’t force your own preferences on others and particularly do not force your own dislikes on others. This is not forcing someone into something they don’t want to do. When doing things do not just look at yourself; you must also look at the other person and learn more about how to be considerate of others so that others may benefit.”
God’s words gave me a path to treat people correctly. I shouldn’t be arrogant and self-important, focus my gaze on the other person, or unreasonably require them to obey me. Instead, I should learn to treat people fairly, understand others more often, and help others with a loving heart. Besides, I should look at others’ advantages more often because everyone has his strengths though they aren’t perfect. I recalled when I was just selected as the person in charge of my grade and I was impotent in many matters at that time and didn’t know the starting point of so much work, the older colleagues in my grade group helped me and told me what to do; whenever I got in difficulties in the making of presentations, the younger colleagues who were good with computers always made an effort to help me, so I gave fascinating slide shows when delivering lectures…. Thinking of this made me feel my colleagues’ love. However, normally I rarely saw their strengths but always saw their shortcomings and so despised them. With this in my mind, I felt even more ashamed for my arrogance and lack of love. I understood I should treat others according to God’s words and couldn’t do things relying on my arrogant disposition, that I shouldn’t compare my strengths with others’ weaknesses and certainly shouldn’t look down on others, and that in the interactions with my colleagues, I should learn from their strengths and help them. Only in this way can my frosty relationships be improved.
After realizing all of that I prayed aof repentance to God and then turned on my cell phone and edited a text message, “My colleagues, I was so lacking in sense and acted too haughtily. I didn’t interact with you with a kind and forgiving heart. I pressed and pestered you in teaching, had no care or understanding of you, and didn’t help you. Now I solemnly offer a frank apology to you. I won’t act in that way in the future and I hope we can get along peacefully with each other. Please forgive me.” After finishing sending it to several colleagues, my heart was filled with apprehension and I thought: “What will they think of me? Will they laugh at me?” Unexpectedly, several minutes later, I received their texts one after another in which they comforted me. At that moment, I was moved to tears and couldn’t help but quietly thank God.
After that, my relationship with my colleagues became much better. Sometimes, when I saw my colleagues’ deficiencies in doing things and again wanted to scold them, I would pray to God and ask Him to lead me to treat others according to God’s words, and then my heart could become calm and I could help my colleagues with a loving heart. Slowly, under the guidance of God’s words, I reduced my arrogant airs and had more tolerance, patience, and understanding. This was all because God’s words had enabled me to live out the human likeness a little, to learn to conduct myself humbly and respect others, and to get along harmoniously and happily with people around me.
Allowing God’s Love to Bring Us and Others Together
After reading some spiritual books, I’ve summarized the four principles of practice that we should have in establishing normal interpersonal relationships.
1. Every person has weaknesses and deficits; we all need others’ understanding and help. We should learn to be forgiving of others and love each other.
2. We should consider how to be beneficial to others and how not to cause trouble for others when speaking and doing things.
3. We should properly address others’ strong or weak points and look at others’ advantages more often. We cannot have too high demands of others, or force someone into something they don’t want to do. We should learn to be respectful of others.
4. We should be trustworthy in our words and deeds, open up and speak from our hearts more often, and be frank in our interactions.
Dear Sister Xiaolu, I believe as long as you practice according to God’s words, you can also feel the happiness and joy of practicing God’s words. I hope that soon you will gain the leadership and guidance of God’s words and establish a normal relationship with your colleagues! All the glory belongs to God! Amen.
Liu Yan of Grow in Christ