72. I Learned to Work With Others
Liu Heng Jiangxi Province
Through the grace and exaltation of God, I took on the responsibility of being a church leader. At that time, I was very enthusiastic and I set a resolution before God: No matter what I encounter, I will not abandon my responsibilities. I will work well with the other sister and will be someone who seeks after truth. But I was merely resolved, and didn’t know how to enter into the reality of a harmonious working relationship. When I first started associating with the sister whom I was working with, and when we had differing opinions or disputes, I would consciously pray to God asking Him to protect my heart and spirit that I might not blame my partner. However, I only paid attention to controlling my actions so that I wouldn’t have conflicts with my partner, so I had not entered into truth. Therefore, over time, I had more and more disagreements with the sister. One time I wanted to promote a sister to the watering work and the sister I was working with said the sister was no good. After I switched my candidate, she still said it was no good. I quickly became upset and angrily said: “No one is good, only you are good!” Consequently, I never brought up the matter again. When she asked about it, I said in a rage: “Select whoever you want! I don’t care!” After this, regardless of what she said, if there was any dissent, I wouldn’t say anything, I would bottle it up thinking that I could thereby avoid conflict. Sometimes holding it in became unbearable, so I would hide somewhere and cry, feeling that I had been wronged. Finally, I became indifferent about progression; I thought: Aren’t you capable? Then do it yourself! I’ll let you perform to your heart’s desire, and watch you make a fool of yourself! I carried this malicious attitude of wanting to sit and laugh at her. One time later on, I let a sister rent an apartment for the use of the district. After seeing it, I believed it would work. I also brought a sister of the district there to see it and paid all of the rent deposit. The entire matter was decided on and arranged by myself, and I felt quite satisfied with it. I thought the sister I was working with would praise me and comfort me. Unexpectedly, my partner rejected it like a pot of cold water was being poured on me, saying: “Absolutely not! It is not on the ideal floor!” This really irritated me. I thought: You didn’t even look at the whole apartment and you flat out reject it. That is really conceited! Consequently, we each held to our opinions and neither of us was willing to submit to the other. Afterward, I wouldn’t even listen to the communications of the word of God. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that she was wrong. It was she who took advantage of her seniority to intentionally make things difficult for me. I also thought about how I had tolerated her again and again, yet she still treated me this way. … The more I thought about it the more I felt wronged, until I was completely left in darkness and had lost the work of the Holy Spirit. From that time on, I wasn’t willing to work with her. I thought: Since it is difficult to deal with, I will just hide from it. At the time I was also aware that this type of situation was quite dangerous. I thought it would be better to request switching responsibilities as soon as possible to avoid doing something bad, and let her work with someone else. Consequently, I used my small stature and incompetence as an excuse to write my resignation letter, and then I delivered it to the group of affairs. Not long after, when I saw a sister from the district, I told her about my resignation. She then communicated to me about the principle of admitting failure and resigning as well as the great consideration God has put into saving people. But I had hardened my heart and wouldn’t soften up.
The next morning after I got out of bed, my head was completely blank. I felt like God had abandoned me—that God didn’t want me! I was afraid and panicked; certainly it was my conduct that made God detest me. Consequently I began to examine myself. After I had thought about everything that had happened, I was able to see that my disposition had made God detest me. My thoughts and my actions were completely like that of an unbeliever. I lived like Satan, the old devil, who remained unchanged. The word of God was not in my conduct and I had no reverence toward God. I was simply not a person who accepted truth. As a result, I had been tricked by Satan and I had given up on my responsibilities unawares. After becoming aware of this, I immediately prostrated myself before God and repented: “Oh Almighty God, I am wrong. I have believed in You, but I have not been willing to experience Your work. You arranged my environment and I have not been willing to accept it; I wholeheartedly wanted to avoid Your chastisement and judgment, and when Your love came to me, I was not only ungrateful, I also complained to You and misunderstood You. My conduct has hurt You. Oh God, I thank You for revealing me in Your work and allowing me to recognize the disposition of Satan that is within me. If it was not so, I would still think that I was not bad and wouldn’t be willing to come out of this life of self-appreciation. Now I see that my stature is truly so small. I can’t handle even the smallest setbacks. By only thinking about betraying You, I have discarded the oaths I have made with You. Oh God, I am willing to repent; I am willing to know myself through Your words and accept the judgment and chastisement of Your words. I am willing to not stiffen my neck again against You. Now I am willing to submit to You in this environment and work well with the sister. Oh God, regardless of whether You want me or not, whether You use me or not, I am no longer willing to live under the control of Satan’s influence. I have made up my mind to retract my resignation letter. I am no longer willing to live for my own dignity, but am willing to satisfy You once!” After praying, I became tearful. I washed my face and went to the group of affairs; I retracted my resignation letter and tore it to shreds on the spot. When we gathered that day, a few of us were reading the word of God together: “Your reputations are ruined, your demeanor is ignoble, your manner of speech is lowly, your lives are deplorable, even to the point that all of your humanity is lowly. You behave yourselves narrow-mindedly, and you trifle over minor matters. You quarrel over your reputation and position to the point that you would rather go to hell and enter the lake of fire” (“Your Characters Are Too Base!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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” in Records of Christ’s Talks). The word of God had completely brought my disgraceful situation and devil-like appearance to light. I was so ashamed that I couldn’t help but wish for a crevasse in the earth to crawl into. Through the revelation and enlightenment of God’s word, I was able to see that the disposition of Satan within me was so serious. I had such an arrogant and conceited nature that I felt I was better than other people. I didn’t have the slightest amount of self-awareness; I didn’t realize that I was no better. Therefore, when I was working with the sister, I always thought that I was in charge, that I was the leader. I was eager for the sister to follow me in everything and listen to me. I always thought that I was the head. When the sister’s opinions conflicted with my own, I didn’t seek truth to resolve the conflict or reach a common understanding. Rather, I would lose my temper and cop an attitude because I had lost face to the point that I would leave my work to vent my frustrations. I developed preconceived ideas of the sister and never thought to take the initiative to improve our poor relationship. When we were working together, I would always put on airs. I didn’t require myself to change, I disdained to speak heart-to-heart with the sister and didn’t have the least amount of love for her. I would focus on her and require her to change herself. I considered myself to be the master of truth and saw other people as corrupt. Throughout the process of working together, I did not examine myself. When the sister had a bad attitude, or when there was a difference of opinion between us, then I would take all the blame and place it on my partner. I believed that she was wrong and I was right, so I belittled her in my heart and discriminated against her to the point that I treated her just like an enemy, wanting to see my partner make a fool of herself. In seeing my arrogance, barbaric pride, senselessness, and deplorableness, as well as my narrow-minded behavior, how could there be any normal human sense left in me? I was remarkably alike Satan! I was truly unreasonable! God exalted me and gave me the opportunity to take on the responsibility, but I didn’t think about working well with the sister on our duties to satisfy God. All day, I wouldn’t engage in honest work, I would scheme against her, and would have jealous disputes with her. All day I only knew to bicker about my own grievances and incessantly fight over my own dignity and vainness. Did I have a rational conscience? Was I a person who sought after truth? Since the beginning, the sister and I didn’t submit to each other nor support each other in our work; rather, we took charge on our own and did our own thing. Was I not on the path of the antichrist? Was not going about things this way leading to self-destruction? Today, I am able to see that my conduct was all about the selfish desires of the flesh. My nature was too selfish and deplorable. I never sought after truth to the point that my many years of believing in God did not bring me anything real and there was not a thread of change in my disposition. If God had not taken pity on me, if God had not reached out to me with His loving hand, and if things continued the way they were going, then surely I would be the one to fall into the lake of fire! God requires us to put His word into practice in our lives, yet I distance myself from it in fulfilling my responsibilities. I really am an unbeliever! I couldn’t go on like this, I was willing to seek truth and transform myself.
Afterward, I read God’s word saying: “If you people who coordinate to work in the churches do not learn from each other, and communicate, making up for each other’s shortcomings, from where can you learn lessons? When you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other, so that your life can benefit. … You must achieve harmonious cooperation for the purpose of the work of God, for the benefit of the church, and for spurring the brothers and sisters onward. You coordinate with him and he coordinates with you, each amending the other, arriving at a better work outcome, so as to care for God’s will. Only this is a true cooperation, and only such people have true entry. … Each of you, as people who serve, must be able to defend the interests of the church in all things you do, rather than looking out for your own interests. It is unacceptable to go it alone, where you undermine him and he undermines you. People acting this way are not fit to serve God!” (“Serve as the Israelites Did” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It was said in the man’s fellowship: “In working together, do not distinguish seniority; the two people have equal positions and should communicate truth so as to reach a common understanding. This requires mutual submission; that is, the one who speaks correctly and in accordance with truth should be submitted to in accordance with the principle of submitting to truth. Truth is authority and whoever is able to communicate truth and see things correctly should be the person who is submitted to. Regardless of what is being done and what duty is being fulfilled, everything should be done according to the principle of submitting to truth” (“The Meaning and Explanation of the Ten Principles of the Church Life Established by God’s Family” in Annals of Fellowship and Work Arrangements II). From the fellowship and God’s word, I saw how coordination in service should be put into practice. That is, being considerate of God’s will and protecting the interest of God’s family while working together. Regardless of what is being done or what the work is, it should all be done in submission to truth by communicating truth to reach a common understanding. You cannot be so arrogant and conceited as to maintain your own opinions and make others listen to you, and you cannot sell truth to protect your interpersonal relationships. Moreover you cannot follow individuality to create independence, you must humble yourself and take the initiative to deny yourself, learn from each other, and make up for each other’s weaknesses in order to obtain a harmonious working relationship. Only by entering this kind of true working relationship, satisfying God in everything with one heart and one mind, and making up for each other’s weaknesses can you have God’s blessings and guidance, thus allowing the church to reach better results in its work while also benefiting your own lives. On the contrary, if you are arrogant while working together, if you don’t seek after the principle of truth and make a dictatorship to control others, or if you operate alone and rely on yourself to do things, then you will suffer God’s loathing and cause losses for God’s church. Yet I was arrogant and always wanted to have the final say. How did I not know that the work in God’s family was not something that a single person could accomplish? All people have no truth and lack far too much. Relying on oneself to do something makes accidents very likely to happen. Only through cooperative work can more work of the Holy Spirit be obtained to make up for our shortfalls and prevent mistakes. At the time, I couldn’t help but feel guilt and self-blame for the disposition of Satan that was exposed in my arrogance and selfishness, and in not having the slightest bit of consideration for God’s will, as well as for only focusing on not losing face to the point of displaying shocking and rude behavior. I believe that I was too blind and foolish, and I didn’t understand God’s intent to arrange an environment for me to practice coordination in service—even to the point that I didn’t have the slightest understanding of how to learn from my partner’s strengths to compensate for my shortcomings, or how to learn what I needed through working together. As a result, it caused losses for the church and delayed my own growth in life. Today, without God’s pity and without the light of God’s word, I would be unable to let go of myself and I wouldn’t have known that I wasn’t any better. I would still want others to listen to me, as if I could rely on myself to do the work of the church well. In the end, who knows what disasters would have broken out? Consequently, I established a resolution: I am willing to act according to the word of God, I am willing to work harmoniously with the sister for the work of the church and for my growth in life and won’t think about my own interests anymore.
Afterward, I opened up to the sister whom I was working with about how I knew myself. We truly communicated and entered the principle of serving together. After which, our work was much more harmonious. When we had differing opinions, we prayed for truth and sought God’s will. When we saw each other’s shortcomings, we were understanding and forgiving; we treated each other with love. Unwittingly, we felt God’s blessings and the fruits of the gospel work were revealed much more than in the past. At this time I hated the corrupt nature I had even more; I hated that I did not seek truth and had let God down too much. I finally experienced the sweet taste of putting truth into practice and have felt more power to fulfill my duties and comfort the heart of God. From now on I am willing to enter the reality of more aspects of the truth and seek to have principle in everything I do.