Bible Reading Made Easy

When I Was Misunderstood as a Thief

By Lin Ying

In the kitchen of a restaurant, some staff gathered together talking excitedly.

“You’d better return her cellphone,” said someone, while the others all looked at Lin Ying.

“I didn’t see her cellphone, let alone steal it,” Lin Ying said immediately. “If I had found it, I would have definitely returned it to her.”

“I’m sure you found my cellphone. It’s just that you don’t want to give it back to me. Anyway, it isn’t worth much,” said Hu in a sarcastic tone.

Hotel

Hearing her words, Lin Ying felt so aggrieved. Here’s the thing: Last night, Hu came to have dinner in the cafeteria. Soon after she left, she came back to find her cellphone and asked Lin Ying whether she had seen it. Lin Ying shook her head and said, “I didn’t see your cellphone.” The next afternoon, out of concern, she asked Hu whether she had found her cellphone. Unexpectedly, Hu’s face darkened and she said harshly, “Yesterday I was the last one to have dinner. At that time, there were only you and me in the cafeteria. My cellphone must be stolen by you.” Hu’s words caused a discussion among the staff present. At that moment, Lin Ying felt so ashamed and kept explaining, but Hu ignored her explanation and protested that her cellphone was stolen by Lin Ying. Hu’s behaviors, especially her sarcastic tone, filled Lin Ying with anger; she thought: “How could she be certain that I stole her cellphone without any evidence and slander me before my colleagues? Isn’t it an insult to me? How will I be able to lift my head in front of others?” The more she thought, the more wronged and worried she felt. “My colleagues have a good impression of me all along. Today, I’m wrongly accused and my reputation is damaged. I won’t tolerate it.” Hardly had she wanted to retort when she realized that it was of no use to argue with Hu, for there were only she and Hu in the cafeteria yesterday and no one could prove her innocence. At that moment, Lin Ying was entirely helpless, feeling no matter how she explained, nobody would believe her. Thinking of how she was stigmatized as a thief for no good reason, she could hardly bear it.

When she was about to argue with Hu, she had a second thought, “God teaches us believers that we should show tolerance and patience and quiet down before God rather than lose temper at will when encountering things; as a Christian, I should seek God’s will first, for it is not by chance that such a thing happened.” At these thoughts, Lin Ying calmed down a little and then prayed to God, “Oh, God! Hu wronged me, saying that I stole her cellphone. Only You know that I didn’t do it. Now I’m so miserable and angry, but I know there’s Your intention in the circumstance. What lessons should I learn? May You enlighten me and guide me.” After prayer, a passage of God’s words came to her mind: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men, and the interference of men. … and when there is a battle within you, thanks to your actual cooperation and actual suffering God works within you. Ultimately, inside you are able to put the matter aside and the anger is naturally extinguished. Such is the effect of your cooperation with God. … Everything that happens to people is when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God.” God’s words made Lin Ying have a clear mind. She knew: Outwardly, I was misunderstood by others, but it’s Satan’s wager with God in the spiritual realm; God wants me to act according to His words and stand testimony for Him rather than deal with this thing relying on my flesh. When Job lost his possessions and children, and was misunderstood by his three friends, he didn’t rely on flesh to deal with them, but quieted down before God, submitted to Him without saying a word of complaint, and still praised God’s name; because of his true reverence and obedience of God, he defeated Satan and stood testimony for God, gaining His approval. Thinking of these, Lin Ying realized that the matter she encountered was also Satan’s temptation to her. Satan used it to damage her reputation, trying to provoke her hot blood and make her act according to the philosophies of Satan “All lay loads on the willing horse,” “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Satan’s final goal was to make her do things that brought shame to God’s name. Seeing through Satan’s trickery, Lin Ying determined to put aside her face and live out the likeness of a Christian instead of acting according to her flesh.

Then Lin Ying remembered a sister’s experience: Once the sister killed a goose to eat. It was a coincidence that her neighbor lost a goose. Her neighbor went to her home to look for the goose. Seeing the feathers on the ground and the goose in the pan, she wronged the sister, saying that she had stolen her goose. Through praying to God and seeking God’s will, the sister acted according to His words rather than argued with her neighbor. She said to her neighbor, “When the goose is ready, I will take it to your home.” To her surprise, the neighbor’s goose was found the next day. Because of this matter, the sister’s living out was looked upon with admiration by her neighbors. Thinking of the sister’s experience, Lin Ying was encouraged greatly and thought: “God is righteous and observes everything; regardless of how others misunderstand me, the truth would be revealed one day. Now when I encounter this environment, God is observing my attitude towards it.” Then she remembered that there was a spare cellphone at home and she intended to give it to Hu.

Then, Lin Ying plucked up courage and said to Hu, “I have a cellphone lying idle at home. You can use it.”

Hu said rudely, “You should have acted like this. I’ll buy a new SIM card.”

On the way home from work, Lin Ying was distracted by the noise in the street. With the scenes of Hu’s aggressive manner replaying in her mind, she began to waver within: “How stupid I was! I shouldn’t have said that I would give my cellphone to her. Won’t that make my colleagues think that I really stole her cellphone? Then how will I be able to face them? Even worse, I could get fired. But since the word was out, it’s too late to regret. What should I do?” Lin Ying slipped into embarrassment.

very beautiful house

Returning home, Lin Ying poured out her grievance, discontent and troubles to her husband. Hearing her, her husband said, “Since you have remembered God’s words and the sister’s experience, you should believe that God is righteous and that He observes everything. No matter what others think of us, we should act according to God’s words and give the cellphone to her.” After hearing her husband, Lin Ying knew that it was God using him to give her comfort and encouragement, so she felt a little relieved and had some faith and strength to act according to God’s words and stand testimony for God. But she was still confused: When the sister was wronged by her neighbor, how could she put aside her face and accept that environment so easily? Why is it so hard for me to set aside my face and act according to God’s words when I encounter the similar environment? What am I restricted by?

Then, Lin Ying sought the root of the problem in prayers. Later, she read a passage of Preaching and Fellowship About Life Entry, “Why is man restricted by vanity, status, and face? Because he has been poisoned by Satan in life. There is a philosophy of Satan saying, ‘As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face.’ A man needs prestige, so there’s nothing more humiliating than losing face for him. But what exactly is the thing that really makes man humiliated and live in shame and that is most unbearable for man? (Having no truth.) No. It is that man does evil things, isn’t it? For example, you are beaten up because you do good things; is it a shame? No. It shouldn’t be regarded as a shame, because you haven’t done any silly or shameful thing. You steal something or a lot of money from others and are caught; is it a shame? Yes, it is. It is great humiliation and you should even feel too ashamed to live, because that is something reprehensible. Then since you have not done such shameful things, why do you feel you have lost face or have been humiliated? So, when we do the positive things, even if we suffer the slander, judgment or persecution of the wicked, should we feel ashamed within? No. We should feel confident and proud and never be afraid of it. … You should focus on the truth and learn to submit to the truth. Face and vanity is not the positive thing, nor is it the reality of the truth. So it is of no use to pay attention to it. Is it a big deal to put it aside? Regardless of how you are humiliated, as long as you pay attention to the truth, you will be able to get through it. It is only temporary suffering and not an everlasting one. As long as you handle it correctly, you’ll be fine.”

From these words, Lin Ying finally realized: “Because I am influenced by the thoughts and views of Satan ‘As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,’ I focus on reputation and face too much and fear that my reputation would be damaged; when I was wrongly accused of stealing Hu’s cellphone, I felt it made me lose face and damaged my reputation. To maintain my image, I wanted to argue with Hu to prove my innocence. Though I clearly knew that God observes everything and that it was unnecessary to argue with them, thinking of how Hu misunderstood me and how my reputation and good image were destroyed, I felt too ashamed to see people, full of pain in the heart. Turns out that the reason why I am living so tiredly is that I’ve paid too much attention to my worthless face and what others think of me. Actually, as a creature who is corrupted deeply by Satan, I am nothing more than dust and have no honor to speak of. Isn’t it irrational of me to pay much attention to my status in others’ heart? Actually, face isn’t a positive thing, and living for face and vanity is of no value or meaning at all.” At this thought, Lin Ying felt enlightened.

Then, Lin Ying read a passage of God’s words: “Job’s true self: Despite his prestigious standing and status, he had never loved nor paid them any attention; he cared not how others viewed his standing, nor was he concerned about whether his actions or conduct would have any negative effect on his standing; he did not indulge in the riches of status, nor did he enjoy the glory that came with status and standing. He only cared about his value and the significance of his living in the eyes of Jehovah God.” From God’s words, Lin Ying saw that when Job was tested with sore boils all over his body, his three friends thought that he had offended God; however, Job didn’t avoid them for the sake of his face and vanity, but took a potsherd to scrape away the sore boils sitting among the ashes; regardless of what others said and how they laughed at him, he didn’t care about them at all. He didn’t live for his face but rather lived to satisfy God and walked the way of fearing God and shunning evil, so he lived easily and freely. Finally, Lin Ying understood: When we encounter things, it doesn’t matter what others say or how they think of us, the most important thing is that we can practice the truth to satisfy God; only when acting like this can we truly have joy and peace within. Since I didn’t do evils, there is nothing I should be afraid of; even if I will be judged by others because I give the cellphone to Hu, it’s not a dishonor to me. After understanding God’s will, Lin Ying prayed to God and resolutely put the cellphone into her handbag.

The next day, Lin Ying went into the restaurant with a smile. When she handed the cellphone to Hu, her colleagues began to wag their tongue. One of them said with sarcasm to Hu, “This cellphone is exactly the same as the one you lost except in color. Perhaps she’s ashamed to return your cellphone, so she used another one with different color as a substitute.” Another colleague said to Lin Ying, “Auntie Lin, if you didn’t steal her cellphone, you needn’t give a cellphone to her. Now others definitely think that you are the thief who stole her cellphone.” Lin Ying wasn’t disturbed by these words but said calmly, “Say as they want. It’s their freedom.” Seeing she was so calm, some of her colleagues were surprised, some confused, some laughed at her, and some admired her. But Lin Ying knew well that she was not being stupid but was practicing the truth according to God’s words; though she was misunderstood by her colleagues, she gained the enlightenment and guidance of God and understood some truth, which was most precious.

Later, Hu’s cellphone was found under the sofa in the cafeteria on the fifth floor. The truth came to the light and Lin Ying was proved innocent. At that moment, Hu was both guilty and embarrassed and other colleagues were stunned. Seeing this, Lin Ying shed tears of excitement, and was overflowed with gratitude and praise to God, because she knew it was all God’s deeds; it is God who led her to see through Satan’s deceit and act according to His requirements instead of arguing with her colleague to maintain her face.

After that, Lin Ying earned the approval and trust of her boss. And the account of the restaurant was handed over to her. Lin Ying knew that it was God’s words that led her to live out the likeness of a man and earn her boss’ trust.

Obedience to GodGetting Along With Others

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