Christian Life | How to Appropriately Deal With Other People?
One day, Brother Chen in the church came to me. He said he wanted to practice spreading the gospel in his spare time and offer some of his strength to the gospel work. Due to my past interactions with Brother Chen, I knew that he had a very arrogant disposition. I had some prejudices and biases against him. Furthermore, I thought that those that spread the gospel must have a certain level of knowledge of the Bible. They must be able to communicate the truth clearly and be able to answer the questions of the gospel targets. I felt that he did not possess these qualities, and so I did not agree to it. When he saw this, he said, “Based on my abilities, do you think that I can be trained to spread the gospel? Wouldn’t I be wasting my talent if I do not spread the gospel?” When I heard this, I felt very fed up and I thought, “Do you think that spreading the gospel is something that is very easy? If you do not have genuine talent, do you think that you can fulfill this duty well? You think too highly of yourself. You simply do not have an accurate evaluation of yourself!” Afterward, I talked about Brother Chen’s situation with a few other brothers and sisters so that they had discernment of him. Some of the brothers and sisters, after hearing what I had to say, also said how Brother Chen had manifested some arrogance in his behaviors. This confirmed for me that the opinions I had of Brother Chen were indeed accurate. I was never aware that because I did not seek the truth and clearly see Brother Chen’s condition, I was blindly making comment on him. I was basically judging him and colluding with others.
One time, when I was attending a meeting with Brother Chen, after we had finished reading the work arrangement, he said, “I think that the leaders and co-workers do not have much reality of the truth. Their fellowship is quite blind and they are unable to resolve the practical difficulties that our brothers and sisters face. It is great that we can watch a movie in the meetings. This will be beneficial for us to understand the truth.” He continued to say, “When I was fulfilling this duty in the beginning, because I did not understand the principles, I had many difficulties. However, now that I have a grasp of the principles, I feel fulfilling this duty is going much more smoothly. The result of my work is particularly good. …” When I heard him say this, I was very disgusted and contradicted him in my heart. I thought, “You are really good at seizing the opportunity. You are using the fellowship of the man used by the Holy Spirit to belittle us leaders and co-workers. At the same time, you haven’t forgotten to bear witness to yourself and show yourself off. You are truly arrogant and irrational. …” Then, we discussed how we would communicate the five questions in the next meeting. At this moment, Brother Chen offered to be in charge for three of the questions and he even proposed a certain person to be responsible for the remaining two questions. When I arranged for the group leader to take charge of the next meeting, he quickly asked the group leader in a suspicious manner, “Do you think you can handle it? Can you do it?” From the tone of his voice, it seemed like he thought that only he could take charge of the meeting. In regard to his behavior, I thought, “You are very irrational. Can you do this? You just want to use this opportunity as a platform to show yourself off to the brothers and sisters. You want to get all the attention but I won’t allow it.” In order to prevent him from achieving his objective, I used my “authority” to rearrange it so that he would not be in charge. Thinking about all of Brother Chen’s manifestations, I disliked him very much in my heart and my prejudices toward him became even more intense. Especially when I remembered that after I had communicated with him several times about his arrogant manifestations he only verbally acknowledged it and afterward he did not change, I felt that he was not ordinarily arrogant. He was excessively arrogant to the point that I felt he could never change and that he was beyond hope. And I even thought that he was so arrogant that he was basically not suited for fulfilling his present duty. I’d just replace him with somebody else.
After the meeting ended, when I reflected on each of the thoughts and ideas that I revealed during the meeting, my heart felt some reproach and great pain. I prayed to God, “O God! I have many thoughts and biases toward Brother Chen. I feel that he is very arrogant. Now, right when I hear him speak, my heart feels conflict and disgust. I even want to replace him. O God! I know that I am in a wrong state. However, I do not understand Your will and I do not know what aspect of the truth I should enter. O God, please enlighten and guide me.” After I finished praying, I thought about the contents of a sermon: “Does this sort of thinking exist in your hearts? When you think of someone, you first think of their weaknesses, and first think of the ways in which they are corrupt. Is it right? If you go on thinking this way, you will never be able to get along with others normally. … he genuinely believes in God, however, and desires to pursue truth. It won’t be long, therefore, before this corrupt aspect of him begins to change, and disappear. This is the way we must see the issue, we must see issues with a vision for growth. We must not see a person’s weakness, then condemn him forever, saying that the person will be this way lifelong, that he is this sort of person. To do this would be judging people. This action of yours would be to define other people! In saving people, God has not spoken this way, saying, evidently humans are corrupted to this extent, it is pointless to save them. This would be the end of the human race. Even God does not see it this way. So we are all pursuing truth now. We all desire to pursue truth, and we believe that, at a minimum, if we keep on with our pursuit, within a few years, we will certainly be able to change somewhat, and ultimately be completely able to achieve change of disposition and be perfected by God. You all have this kind of faith, don’t you? Since you have this sort of faith, you therefore ought to believe that other people also have this kind of faith” (“How to Establish Normal Interpersonal Relationships” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (I)). This sermon revealed my condition and I started feeling shame. I saw how arrogant and conceited my disposition was. I acted as if I had the truth and I was able to judge a person accurately at one glance and see through to his essence. By relating the words in the sermon to myself, I realized: From my interactions with Brother Chen, I felt that he was young and proud when I saw him expressing his arrogant disposition in the words he was saying and the things that he was doing. I felt that he had absolutely no self-knowledge. I even judged in my heart that he was an arrogant person that was completely irrational and had no hope of change. That was why I would never treat him fairly or appropriately. God saves people to the greatest extent possible, yet I have judged Brother Chen in every respect. Today God’s revelation of me has caused me to see my arrogance and conceitedness clearly. Using my perspectives and beliefs as the truth and the standards by which I weigh people is very irrational. Do I have the principles and correct standards by which to view and judge others? Is my method of viewing and judging people in accordance with the truth? I am lower than a maggot. How am I qualified to judge and condemn other people? God’s words say: “The people God saves have corrupt dispositions; they were corrupted by Satan, and are not flawless or perfect human beings, nor do they live in a vacuum” (“Life Entry Is Most Important to Believing in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). We all have not yet been perfected and we are still in the process of changing through our experience of God’s work. Even though we have expressed our corrupt dispositions or committed some transgressions when we fulfill our duties, as long as we sincerely believe in God and pursue the truth, we will be able to change. However, I do not see others through a lens of development. Instead, I judge others with my own perspectives and corrupt disposition. I am indeed very arrogant.
And I read another passage of God’s words: “For example, in relation to the aspect of getting along with others, what is the principle behind how one treats one’s brothers and sisters, whether it be those with status or those without status, ordinary brothers and sisters, or all levels of leadership? You cannot treat your brothers and sisters in the same way as the unbelievers treat others; you must treat them fairly and reasonably. You cannot be close to this one, but not that one; you cannot form cliques or collude with others; you cannot bully someone because you have taken a dislike to them, and fawn on those who are strong—this is what is meant by this principle. You must be principled in the way you deal with other people; you must treat them all fairly. To bring those who you think are pretty good over to your side and exclude those who are hard to approach—isn’t this an unprincipled way of going about things? What method is this? This is the life philosophy of the unbelievers and it is the principle behind how unbelievers treat other people. This method is of a satanic disposition, and it is satanic logic. What should the principle be of the way people treat each other in God’s family? (To fairly treat each and every brother and sister.) How do you treat them fairly? (To help others with a loving heart, to be tolerant and to be patient.) Yes, everyone has small faults and foibles and they all have some things that are characteristic to them; they can all be self-righteous, weak and lacking. You should therefore help others with a loving heart, be tolerant, be forbearing and don’t be too harsh or make a fuss over every tiny detail. If someone is young, or they haven’t believed in God for very long, or they have only recently started to perform their duty, or if they have some special requirements and all you do is obsess over it and not let it go—what is this called? This is called being harsh. You ignore the evil done by those false leaders and antichrists, and yet when you see the small shortcomings and small faults of your brothers and sisters you don’t help them, but instead you exclude them, make a fuss over those things and judge them behind their backs, making more people oppose them, exclude them and ostracize them—what kind of way is this to do things? This is not treating people fairly, but acting based on one’s personal preferences. Being unable to treat people correctly—this is a corrupt satanic disposition and it is a transgression! When people do things, God is watching. However you do things and however you think in your heart, God is watching! If you are to master principles, you must first understand the truth. Once you have understood the truth which tells you how to treat people, you will then know what way to treat people is God’s will; if you don’t understand the truth, then you will certainly not understand God’s will. How you are to treat people is clearly told, clearly shown and pointed out in God’s word; the attitude with which God treats man is the attitude which people should adopt in their treatment of one another. How does God treat each and every person? Some people are of immature stature, or they are young, or have not believed in God for very long. As for some people, the essence of their nature is not bad or malicious, it is only that they are somewhat ignorant or lacking in caliber, or that they have been affected too much by society. They haven’t entered into the reality of the truth and have not yet crossed the threshold, and so it is difficult for them to avoid doing ignorant things or expressing their ignorance. But God doesn’t see these things—He sees only their hearts. If they have resolved to enter into the reality of the truth, they take this correct direction and have this objective, then God watches them, waits for them and gives them the time and the opportunities to allow them to enter. It is not that God knocks them down with one stroke or beats them the moment they make a mistake. God has never treated people like this. This being said, if people treat each other like this, isn’t it their corrupt disposition? It is their corrupt disposition. You must look at how God treats ignorant people, how He treats those with immature stature, how He treats the common expressions of man’s corrupt disposition and how He treats those who are malicious. He has different ways of treating different people and He also has different ways of managing different people’s different conditions. You must understand the truth of these things. Once you have understood these truths, you can then know how to experience them” (“To Attain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words have described the principles and ways to properly treat people very clearly. They have also described how to approach antichrists, evil people and that God’s attitude toward these people is full of hatred, curses and punishment. As for those whose stature is tiny, who are of poor caliber and have all sorts of corrupt dispositions and deficiencies, as long as they truly believe in God, are willing to pursue the truth, can accept the truth and can put the truth into practice, God’s attitude toward them is one of love, mercy and salvation. From God’s words, I can see that God has principles and standards in regard to how He treats each person. God demands that we love those whom God loves and hate those whom God hates. We must be tolerant and forgiving to the brothers and sisters who truly believe in God. We must give them an opportunity to repent and change. We cannot knock them down with one stroke when they have expressed their corrupt disposition. This is not consistent with God’s principles and methods of treating people nor is it in accordance with God’s will. I started to think of how Brother Chen was normally burdened in fulfilling his duties, how he had a sense of responsibility and how he was able to do some practical work. I never considered his strengths. Instead, I grabbed hold of his corruption and did not let go of it and I judged him and condemned him. My humanity is truly malicious!
At this time, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “The attitude and way in which God treated Adam and Eve is akin to how human parents show concern for their own children. It’s also like how human parents love, look after, and care for their own sons and daughters—real, visible, and tangible. Instead of putting Himself in a high and mighty position, God personally used skins to make clothing for man. It doesn’t matter whether this fur coat was used to cover their modesty or to shield them from the cold. In short, this clothing used to cover man’s body was personally made by God with His own hands. Rather than creating it simply through the thought or miraculous methods as people imagine, God had legitimately done something man thinks God could not and should not do. This may be a simple thing some might not even think as worthy of mentioning, but it also allows all those who follow God but were previously full of vague ideas about Him to gain an insight into His genuineness and loveliness, and to see His faithful and humble nature. It makes insufferably arrogant people who think they are high and mighty bow their conceited heads in shame in the face of God’s genuineness and humbleness” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Each verse of God’s words warmed my heart. I could feel God’s concern and empathy for people and that His care and solicitude were real. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God did not lecture them, scold them or even get angry at them. Instead, He was considerate of their immature stature and personally made clothing out of skins for them to wear. God is truly lovely and His disposition is truly good. His attitude toward corrupt people and people with transgressions is waiting with patience. Due to His mercy, He is considerate of man’s ignorance, weakness and immaturity. He gives man time and the opportunity to repent. While He waits, He continuously provides man with truth so that he can enter into it. God’s salvation for man is so real. He is faithful and His love for man is actual, not fake or pretentious at all, tangible and appreciable. When I thought about this, tears welled up in my eyes and started to flow. I started to reflect on all my experiences. In the work of adjusting the leaders and workers, since I was not abiding by principles, I did some things that interrupted and disturbed the work of the church. However, God did not eliminate me or punish me. Instead, He used the report that my brothers and sisters wrote to make me reflect upon myself, repent and change so that I could fulfill my duties according to principles. When I was negative and weak, God used His words to comfort and support me. He also moved the brothers and sisters who were at my side into communicating God’s intentions with me. This strengthened me. During times when I committed transgressions or when I made mistakes in my work, I lived in misunderstanding and guarding against God and I became negative and slacking in my work. At such times, God enlightened and guided me with His words so that I could understand His intentions, see His love and see His salvation. This rescued me from the midst of negativity and misunderstanding. … Hasn’t God already done this on me a long time ago? When I saw God’s limitless love for me, my obstinate and numb heart was melted by God’s sincere love. I prayed a prayer of repentance to God, “O God! I have disobeyed and resisted You time and time again. However, You still treat me with love and tolerance and You show understanding for my weaknesses. Time and time again, You used words to enlighten me, guide me, support me and nourish me. You have led me step by step up to today. I am not worthy of You expending so much care and effort in saving me. O God! Your love for me is inexpressible. At the same time that you wait patiently for me to change, You also give me opportunities to repent. All I wish is that from now on, I will practice in accordance with Your will and demands. I hope to rely on the truth and principles to treat each brother and sister that truly believes in You.”
Then, I read another sermon which said: “For example, you are a leader, and you should be responsible for the brothers and sisters. Suppose there is a brother or sister who does not pursue the truth, and is not going the right way. What should you do? You must help this person. This help includes pruning them and dealing with them. It includes censure and criticism. This is the way to help. All of this is love. Is it necessary to coax them along or use a consulting tone? Not necessarily. If there is a need for pruning and dealing with them, do it. Expose what should be exposed. This is because you are a leader and a worker. If you don’t help, who will? This is the duty that you should fulfill” (“How One Must Experience God’s Work in Order to Achieve Salvation and Be Perfected” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VI)). From this sermon, I learned that a leader or a worker who truly has the reality of the truth treats his brothers and sisters with principles. He knows what his responsibility and commission are. He is able to rely on the principles and the truth to deal with people according to their nature and essence. He is able to practically help people based on their corruptions and deficiencies. He knows when he should help them with a loving heart, when to strictly deal with and prune them and when to rebuke them. He is able to behave appropriately, have principles and will not haphazardly treat the brothers and sisters who have expressed corruption as enemies. I began to think again of how I treated Brother Chen. When I saw him reveal his arrogant disposition, I did not help or support him in a practical manner. I did not dissect his arrogant nature in order to help him achieve a knowledge of the essence of his nature or help him see clearly the dangerous consequences if his arrogant disposition did not change. Instead, I haphazardly judged, excluded and condemned him. I even disseminated biases against him behind his back. I did not exhibit any tolerance or patience nor did I treat him with a loving heart. At this moment, I became clearer about God’s will and the path of practice. As a result, I went and found Brother Chen. I pointed out his problems and offered my help and support. At the same time, I also dealt with and pruned him. I dissected his incorrect perspectives on pursuit and the wrong path he was taking. I also fellowshiped about God’s holy essence and His disposition that cannot be offended. Thank God for His guidance. Through my communications with him, Brother Chen gained some understanding of his own arrogant nature and the corruption that he had expressed. He said, “Even though I also know that I am very arrogant, I often just verbally acknowledge it. I have never dissected my own arrogant nature in depth nor have I truly despised it. Today you have pointed these things out to me. Only now do I discover that my own condition is very terrible and dangerous. I do not have God within my heart and I do not respect anyone. I always feel that I am correct. Especially when the work produces results, not only have I stolen God’s glory, I am even more arrogant and conceited because I feel that I am a terrific person. I am on the path of the antichrist. I am doing evil deeds and resisting God. Today, thanks to your warning and help, it urges me to do self-reflection and offers me an opportunity to repent and change. …” When I heard him say this, it really touched my heart. I deeply felt that I had not fulfilled my duties well and that I did not have a compassionate heart. I had not given help or support to my brother. Instead, I seized upon his corruption and condemned him. It is God’s work that has saved me, making me see clearly that I have an arrogant and malicious nature. God’s work has also reversed my absurd perspective. I read a sermon of the above, which said: “It can be said that those people who really love the truth and who have the will to pursue being perfected all have a wildly arrogant and self-righteous disposition. As long as they are able to accept the truth and to accept pruning and dealing and are able to absolutely obey the truth, no matter what the circumstances, then this type of people can achieve salvation and be perfected. In fact, there are no people who are not wildly arrogant who are truly of good caliber and really have the will. This is a fact. God’s chosen people must be able to differentiate. They must not establish that someone is not a good person and cannot be saved and perfected because they are extremely arrogant and self-righteous. No matter how wildly arrogant the person is, as long as they are of good caliber and can pursue the truth, then they are people whom God wants to perfect. The conditions for God perfecting people are mainly that one is a good person, of good caliber and in pursuit of the truth. If a person’s caliber is too poor and from start to finish they are unable to understand the truth, then even if their disposition is extremely meek and not at all arrogant, they are good-for-nothing and not worth perfecting. On this point, one needs to understand God’s intentions. If a person’s caliber is good, and they have the will and are not arrogant and self-righteous, then that is absolutely a guise or a sham surface appearance, for there is no such person. One must know that corrupt mankind has a wildly arrogant and self-righteous nature. This is an undeniable fact” (“Only People Who Really Accept and Obey God’s Judgment and Chastisement Are Truly Pursuing the Truth” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life). The sermon helped me understand clearly how I should deal with people who have arrogant disposition. I learned that it is possible for those who have an arrogant disposition to change. The key is whether they are able to pursue the truth and accept the truth. If they are able to accept the truth, accept God’s judgment and chastisement and accept dealing and pruning, they can absolutely change and be perfected by God. Now when I took another look at Chen’s condition, I realized that since he was young and he had not believed in God for very long and had not experienced much of God’s judgment and chastisement, his expressing an arrogant and conceited disposition is quite normal. We have been corrupted by Satan and we are under the control of an arrogant disposition, so we love to seek fame and to show off. This is a common characteristic of corrupt humanity. Haven’t I also frequently expressed arrogance and conceitedness? Why do I feel that I myself can change yet he cannot? Why are the standards I have set for myself lower than the standards that I have set for him? Doesn’t this mean that I am even more arrogant than him? This is not a fair way to treat him. When I realized this, I was able to let go of my biases and prejudices that I had against Brother Chen. I felt that the essence of his nature was not bad. He had the resolve to pursue the truth, and it was just that his arrogant disposition was a little bit more serious. I should help him with a loving heart and should allow him an opportunity and time to repent and change.
Thank God for His enlightenment and guidance. From this experience, I learned that those who live in corrupt disposition and do not treat others in accordance with the principles of God’s words and who are unable to properly treat the strengths and weakness of other people cannot treat others in a fair manner. Not only will they bring harm to their brothers and sisters, they will also delay their entry into life. They can even give others a hard time or punish them, taking the path of the antichrist. Thank God for the judgment and chastisement work that He performed on me during this time. When I was living in my rebellious disposition and was unable to treat my brother in accordance with the truth and the principles, God promptly exercised His judgment and chastisement to save me and caused me to recognize my own arrogant and malicious disposition. When I turned back to God, put myself aside and sought the truth, I gained God’s guidance and leadership—I understood from God’s words how to deal with people with principles. When I treated Brother Chen in accordance with God’s words, I truly experienced spiritual peace and stability. Furthermore, I was able to discover and learn from the brother’s strengths to make up for my deficiencies. I tasted the sweetness of putting God’s words into practice. It was God’s work and guidance that allowed me to understand some truths and to gain some understanding of my own corruption and deficiencies. At the same time, I truly feel that dealing with other people in accordance with the truth and principles is very important. I only wish to continue putting God’s word into practice when I fulfill my duties. I will treat each of my brothers and sisters in accordance with the truth of God’s words.