By Liang Xin
Thesaid, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).
Tired with working, I stood up and stretched. Suddenly, a green potted cactus on a colleague’s desk came into my eyes, bringing the fresh scent of nature. Then I came before it. After observing it for a moment, I found that each stem was covered with strong sharp spines, feeling like trying to protect itself with needles. It’s so characteristic that I couldn’t help but touch it. However, when I just touched it, I felt the pain in my hand as if a needle poked me. I muttered to myself angrily, “Cactus, cactus, why do you have so many spines all over that I can’t touch you? If only I could cast out all the spines on you! Then I could get closer to you …”
At that time, my colleague gave a little chuckle. “What are you chuckling about?” I asked curiously. “The words you said to the cactus today are in accordance with what you’ve behaved these days …” said she, smiling.
My colleague’s reminder made me lapse into meditation. I couldn’t refrain from thinking of the recent brushes with another colleague: When I saw that the problems emerged frequently because of her being irresponsible with her work, I pointed out her faults angrily, and asked her to change her attitude toward the work. But she evaded the crucial point, and even changed the subject. Looking at her treating me in a perfunctory manner, I was really angry, but I still communicated with her patiently. Nevertheless, she was not willing to talk with me. As a result, we were all embarrassed, and the relationship between us went wrong rapidly. Although I knew I should love my neighbor as myself, and be tolerant of and patient with her, yet seeing that she was lukewarm toward me, I felt really awful, thinking: You are so difficult to get along with! Evidently, it is you that didn’t do your work well. That I pointed out your faults is to help you, but how could you take this attitude with me? How do you have a spine about you like a cactus such that no one dares to touch you!
Looking at the potted cactus and recalling my states during these days, I couldn’t help but think of God’s words, “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 … What does it mean to not mind your own business? ‘I will change that bad habit of theirs, or I will have my surname changed!’ What kind of person are you if this is the way you conduct yourself? Insolent, aggressive, and ignorant. Do not be such a person. We are ordinary people, each with two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. People use their mouths to eat, so you, too, must eat with your mouth. If you try to use your nose to eat, it will get irritated. People use their legs to walk, so you, too, must walk with your legs; you cannot possibly fly. People work with their hands, so you, too, must work with your hands; you cannot do it with your feet. There is nothing special about you; you do not have any supernatural powers, and you are not superior to others in any way. We are common people; we are ordinary people. Do not think of yourself as being so noble or great. Even if you possess some special talents, skills, or strengths, they are nothing to brag about.” Only after reading God’s words, did I realize that I couldn’t get on well with my colleague not because of her faults, but because of my arrogant nature. I thought about my behavior: When I saw her deficiencies during the work, instead of treating her fairly, I demanded her to accept my suggestions at once, thinking that I did better than her and used this as my principal; when I saw her feel bad and not want to talk about her faults, I neither considered whether my tone was high and attitude was too severe, nor was understanding of her weaknesses and difficulties, but rather expressed my view blindly, forced my own opinions upon her, and persisted in turning around her thoughts. I believed that I had been helping her selflessly, yet I never dreamt that I had been exposing my arrogant and egotistical disposition, with the result that far from being helpful to her, I harmed her. God sets up the environment, the people, events, and things every day in order to give us lessons to study. However, I fixated my eyes on others, and didn’t examine myself or resolve my own corrupt disposition. I was so conceited that I was devoid of reason, and didn’t have a heart that reveres God at all. Then I thought about all things created by God: Regardless of those which have life or those which don’t have, they are all good in God’s eyes; they each perform their own functions and manifest God’s glory under God’s authority. I am a tiny creature, how am I worthy to give out pointers to the people, events, and things designed by God, and to cast out the “motes” in others? Today, it was just because of God’s sovereignty and arrangement that I could work together with my colleague. God hoped that we could make up for each other’s deficiencies, but I couldn’t treat my colleague’s problems properly and also have high requirements of her, I really didn’t live up to God’s care and thought.
Then I read another passage of God’s words, “When you fellowship the truth and speak the words in your heart, and describe something clearly and understandably, so that it can edify and benefit others, make them understand, and help them escape misunderstandings and fallacies, is there any need to stand on high? Is there any need to use a lecturing tone? You don’t need to scold them, you don’t need to speak loudly, or shout at them, much less use words, or a tone, or an intonation that are blunt. You just need to learn to use a normal tone, commune from the position and status of an ordinary person, speak calmly, speak the words in your heart, endeavor to pour out what you understand, what other people need to understand, and speak clearly and understandably. When what you say is understandable, other people will understand, your burden will be released, they will cease to have misunderstandings, and you will see what you say more clearly; isn’t this edifying both of you? Is there any need to harangue them? In many cases, there is no need to force this upon them. So what should you do if they don’t accept? Some of what you say is the truth, and things really are as you say, but could people accept them as soon as you say them? What do they need in order to accept these words and to change? They need a process; you must give them a process by which to change … You require them to change by saying these words once—but how many times did you have to be told before you changed? You, too, didn’t change after being told once, nor were you able to understand and accept after being told once, so you must allow your parents a process of change.” Through reading God’s words, I felt shame. I thought: In order to save us, the supreme God speaks utterances to patiently lead us to understand His will and practice His words. Every sentence uttered by God reveals His humbleness, beauty and goodness, and loveliness, allowing us to feel that He takes responsibility for, cares about, and cherishes our lives. However, I am just a tiny created being, and shouldn’t have high requirements of my colleague arrogantly. I should act in accordance with God’s words, and tolerate, forgive and help her. This passage of God’s words showed me the path of practice. I secretly resolved in my heart: From now on, I will turn away from my arrogance and stand on an equal footing when I talk to my colleague. And I won’t force my own opinions upon her any longer or fixate my eyes on her. Regarding some work issues, I can propose them calmly, but can’t make demands of her according to my own standards. When she hasn’t yet to turn around the attitude toward her work, I need to forbear with her and help her finish the work together.
My heart was perfectly clear after understanding these. The previous depression inside and the bias against my colleague were all gone. At that time, when I saw that big potted cactus beside the computer, I no longer felt it was difficult to approach, but felt it possessed the distinguishing feature and mission that the Creator had bestowed upon it. When God helped me cast out the beam from my eye, I finally understood the words that Jesus had ever 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? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).