Workplace Relationships for Christians: How to Get Along With Others in a Relaxed Manner, I Found the Way
By Sun Yun
Editor’s Note: Still stressing about how to get along with your co-workers in the workplace? Sun Yun used to be the same way: When she observed how her co-worker took all the easy work for herself but received the same salary, she felt this to be incredibly unfair and became unhappy with her. She had come to an impasse in her relationship with this co-worker. Later on, however, she was able to easily resolve these issues, and not only established a good relationship with her co-worker, but even earned her praise. Do you want to know how she achieved all this? Read on to hear her story.
So This Is What’s Going On!
In September of 2017, I was working as a dishwasher in a large hotel. There were two dishwashing stations and most of the time there would be two dishwashers working at station one. If the hotel was hosting a big reception, one of the workers from station one would be reassigned to station two. From what I had heard from other work units in the hotel, dishwashers were always vying to be assigned to station two. They would constantly fight over assignments, which made for a discordant atmosphere among co-workers. As a result, the hotel was always having to hire new dishwashers as old ones quit. Yet, I didn’t know any of this when I first arrived.
My work partner was a long-time employee named Ms. Wang. Whenever I had any questions on the job she would always fill me in. At first, Ms. Wang and I both worked at station one. This station had a very high volume. Not only did we process all the guests’ tableware, we also had to wash all of the equipment used by the kitchens for food preparation and cooking, including large and small pressure cookers and square and circular plates. Tableware with leftover oil, seasoning, foods, soup and rice would often be covered with plastic wrap and would be particularly difficult to clean. It was a hard day’s work, but we got along very well and were always chatting and laughing.
One day, the hotel was holding a big reception and Ms. Wang said to me, “You’ve just started here and aren’t up to speed yet. Station two is a lot busier. I’ll take it easy on you and let you work at station one, I’ll go over to station two.” I found it heartwarming that Ms. Wang would do this for me and so I smiled and thanked her for her consideration. In this way, every time there was a big reception, Ms. Wang would go to station two to wash dishes. When Ms. Wang left and it was just me working at station one, I’d be so busy cleaning all those dirty, oily plates that I’d barely have time to eat or go to the bathroom. My back would ache, my legs would be sore and I’d feel as though it were almost too much stress for my body to take. Yet, when I got off work, I’d find that Ms. Wang seemed full of energy, and didn’t look at all like I did at station one, tired to the point of utter exhaustion. As time went on, I began to have my reservations. “Why does she always want to go to station two? Isn’t it even busier at station two? But why does Ms. Wang always look all relaxed after working a whole day at station two? What was the work like at station two anyways? Was it much easier than working at station one?” I began to have all kinds of questions and became particularly curious about the nature of work at station two. I thought to myself, “Next time there’s a reception, I’ve got to go see station two for myself.”
One day, when the hotel was holding another reception, I asked Ms. Wang, “Ms. Wang, would it be alright if I went to station two today?” Ms. Wang calmly agreed. When I went to station two, I was surprised to find that the work there consisted of just washing tableware like wine glasses, regular glasses, and fruit platters. Also, the tableware there was not at all oily or dirty—just a light rinsing would suffice to clean most things. The work barely took any energy and was far easier than the work at station one. The longer I was there, the angrier I became—my heart was nearly boiling over with rage. I thought, “So all this time Ms. Wang has been leaving all the hard work at station one to me and even dressed it up by saying she was taking it easy on me. Being the idiot I am, I believed her lies and even thanked her, but she was tricking me all along. How selfish Ms. Wang is, taking all the easy work for herself and leaving all the dirty and tiring work for me. How unfair! Hmph! I can’t keep getting the short end of the stick. Next time I’m going to take station two again and let her experience what it feels like to work alone in station one.” The next time the hotel was hosting a reception, as soon as I heard about it, I went directly to station two without even saying anything to Ms. Wang. However, after I had done this twice, Ms. Wang started having a gloomy, somber look on her face and wouldn’t pay any attention to me. Sometimes she would completely close herself off and not say a word to me the entire day. Slowly, our relationship grew cold and distant.
Why Can’t We Get Along Well With Our Co-workers?
One day after work, as I was walking home I thought about how my relationship with Ms. Wang had turned sour and I became very sad. Given that I had gotten the upper hand these two times, it stood to reason that I should have gotten out all of my frustration and should be happy. So why was it that I still felt awful? Before, Ms. Wang and I had gotten along great, but now, just for a little personal benefit, our relationship had become strained, alas! However, whenever I thought about how we received the same pay even though I had to do all the dirty and tiring work at station one while Ms. Wang was sitting pretty with the light loads at station two, it just seemed so unfair. I couldn’t help but sigh to myself, saying, “Why is it so hard to get along with others? What can I do to repair my relationship with this co-worker?”
When I got back home, I prayed to God, “Oh God, I find it very unfair how I have to work much harder than Ms. Wang for the same pay. Sometimes we even fight over who will get the easier work. Now I’ve grown very distant from Ms. Wang. Dear God, I feel awful and don’t want to go on in this way. I pray that You enlighten and guide me to know Your intention.” After finishing my prayer, I found the following passage of God’s word: “Before people experience God’s words and gain the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates within them. What specific things are within that nature? … Right now you all have understood that this is mainly because of Satan’s poison contained within. Satan’s poison can be fully expressed with words. For example, if you ask some evildoers why they do something, they will answer: ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This one phrase expresses the root of the problem: The logic of Satan has become people’s lives, and no matter what they do, whether it’s for some purpose or other, they are only doing it for themselves. People all think that ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents man’s nature. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ this statement of Satan’s is precisely its poison, and when internalized by man it becomes man’s nature. Satan’s nature is exposed through this statement; it completely represents it. This poison becomes man’s life and becomes the foundation of his existence; corrupted humanity has been consistently dominated by this for thousands of years” (“How to Take the Path of Peter”).
Through God’s words, I came to understand that the reason it is so hard for people to get along is that we have all been corrupted too deeply by Satan. Satan tempts and corrupts us, going through the words of the famous and influential and our school educations to instill us with logic and principles such as, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” This idea leads us to believe that all people should live for themselves alone and that this is perfectly acceptable behavior. If people don’t act on their own behalf they’re just getting the short end of the stick and are being stupid. We’ve accepted Satan’s fallacious and absurd notions and live by its logic and principles. As such, we have become selfish, lowly, calculating and speak and act according to the maxim, “Take advantage of others, but never be taken advantage of.” Everything is done in the name of profit. We only consider our own profit and never think of how others will feel. There are even those that resort to conniving and mutual slaughter to protect their own interests. In this way, we lose our good conscience and reason and become devoid of humanity. There remains not a sliver of love or support between people. This is the consequence of our living according to satanic logic and principles.
Was this not exactly the issue between me and Ms. Wang? When we worked in station one together, we were doing the same work and earning the same wage, neither of us infringed upon the interests of the other and so we got along great and had a very good relationship. However, when the hotel held receptions, Ms. Wang intentionally deceived me in order to get the easier workload at station two. When I found out what she was up to, I was extremely offended and thought that I had been had, working so much more than Ms. Wang. As a result, I carried around this hatred of Ms. Wang with me every day and even fought with her over who would get station two. Because of this, our relationship came to an impasse and neither of us was happy. Were our attitudes toward personal profit not the result of being deeply corrupted by Satan and living by the principle “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” fighting and fussing for our personal benefit? Reflecting on my attitude and behavior during this period, I felt very ashamed. I’m a Christian, but I was living according to Satan’s logic and principles just like an unbeliever, fighting with others for personal benefit. How selfish and lowly I was! I had not the slightest semblance of a real Christian. Having realized all this, I decided to put aside my personal profit and stop fighting with Ms. Wang.
Putting Aside Personal Profit, I Adopted a New Way of Living
One day at work, there was a light load of dishes and so Ms. Wang and I were able to take a short break. In order to finish work early, I only rested for a little bit and then went right back to the dishwashing station and continued working. However, after working for a whole hour, Ms. Wang still hadn’t returned and so I became angry, thinking, “I’ve been working for this long and you still haven’t shown up? How could someone be so inconsiderate?” As soon as I thought of this, it was as if “unhappy” were written across my face—when Ms. Wang returned from her break she saw the look on my face and blew up in anger. “I just can’t take it when someone does a little extra work and then makes faces at everyone else.” With that, she angrily took up some tableware and began cleaning, not paying me any mind. There was an unbearable tension in the room and the whole atmosphere became terribly repressed and awkward. I was also very mad and thought to myself, “We’re all here to work, how can you be so self-righteous sitting there not doing a thing!” I was just about to fire back at Ms. Wang when I suddenly remembered that I’m a Christian and shouldn’t act on my emotions, so I immediately called out to God, saying “Dear God, I ask that You protect my heart and allow me to quiet myself before You and that all that I do and say may be in keeping with your intentions.”
After praying, I thought of a passage of God’s word: “Your reputation has been destroyed, your bearing is degrading, your way of speaking is lowly, your life is despicable, and even all of your humanity is lowly. You are narrow-minded toward people and you haggle over every little thing” (“Your Character Is So Lowly!”). God’s words brought me instant enlightenment and guidance and allowed me to realize that I had just manifested my selfish and lowly satanic disposition. Just because I had worked just a little more than my co-worker I became unhappy and had to fuss about it and give her dirty looks to vent my dissatisfaction. I didn’t have even the slightest semblance of a Christian. With this kind of satanic disposition, I was unable to get along with people normally, much less bring honor and glory to God’s name. What a selfish and lowly nature I had!
As I washed dishes, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to live anymore according to my selfish, lowly, and corrupt disposition—so how should I interact with others?” I thought of yet another passage from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “In order for people to interact normally with one another, they must possess a few principles of practice. These principles should not only include not taking advantage of others, not harming others, but having some love. They further include having a conscience and rationality, helping one another, showing tolerance to one another, caring for others, letting others benefit in all situations, considering others, not just caring about yourself, showing compassion for others’ weaknesses, and forgiving the transgressions of others. If we have these few principles, we will be able to build a normal relationship with others and we will be able to live in harmony with each other.” After thinking of this, I realized that if you want to build a normal relationship with someone, you have to live out normal humanity. One can’t just consider one’s own personal profit, but should be compassionate, understanding and should lovingly help others. God only delights in this kind of person. I thought also of how, when I first started on the job, Ms. Wang had been very helpful. She was not young and so the hard physical labor must have been very tiring for her. It made sense that she would need to rest a little more. By contrast, being young and full of vitality, it only made sense that I should work more. Once I had realized this, my raging emotions settled down and I began speaking calmly with Ms. Wang, offering to help her with her work. Gradually, a smile once again appeared on Ms. Wang’s face and the awkward atmosphere was erased by the sounds of our laughter and chatting.
From then on, whenever the hotel was hosting a reception, Ms. Wang would head to station two early and station one became my own personal “headquarters.” One day, looking around at the stacks of dirty plates and silverware piled about the dishwashing station, so crowded and disarrayed that you could barely get in or out of the room, I wanted to sob in self-pity and once again felt reproach toward Ms. Wang. I thought to myself, “I’ve been saddled with a hard, heavy workload and you’re there sitting pretty, taking all the easy work for yourself and thinking only how to lighten your own load. All this and you still get the same amount of pay. What a bully you are!” Just when I was about to complain, I remembered that all the people, situations and things that we encounter in our everyday lives are invested with God’s intentions and all have lessons to teach. My selfish, lowly, and satanic disposition had gotten out of hand—only this kind of situation could expose my corrupt disposition and allow me to be purified, transformed and live out normal humanity. Having realized this, I prayed to God in my heart, saying, “Dear God, I pray that You guide me to put aside my own interests, betray my selfish and lowly satanic disposition, stop being so rigid with Ms. Wang about how our work is split up and truly submit to this environment.”
Later on, I remembered a passage of God’s word that says: “When you reveal yourself to be selfish, you realize this, and ponder, ‘What should I do to stop being selfish? Okay, I’ll begin by setting my own interests aside.’ As you are setting them aside little by little, the longer this goes on, the more at ease with it you will feel, and the more you set your interests aside, the more you will feel that in doing so, you are being a straightforward, upright person, that such behavior makes you worthy of the word ‘person,’ that living this way on earth is an open and honest way to be, and that conducting yourself this way you are being a genuine person worthy of the life God has given you and worthy of all the things bestowed upon you by God. The more you live like this, the more at ease and brightened you will feel” (“You Can Obtain Truth After Turning Your True Heart Over to God”).
God’s word pointed out a path of practice for me. If you wish to rid yourself of your selfish and lowly satanic disposition, you must put aside your personal interests in every real situation you encounter, have the resolve to endure suffering, and practice according to God’s word. Only in so doing will you feel grounded and serene, live in a straightforward and upright manner and with a greater and greater semblance of humanity. If I’m always haggling over every last dime and cent in defense of my personal interests, attach great importance to every loss and gain, and cannot accept when things don’t go my way, not only will I feel psychologically repressed and agonized and incapable of normal relations with my peers, I will, more importantly, always guard my own interests instead of practicing the truth and, as such, my corrupt disposition will not be purified. Once I had understood God’s intentions, I no longer felt so agonized and was willing to submit to this kind of environment. I also became determined to use my behavior in real life to shame Satan and bring comfort to God’s heart. After that, I quieted my heart and focused on washing dishes. Unwittingly, I began to work faster and with greater ease and my mood lightened—I felt great. It was clear to me that my new-found happiness and enjoyment was all the result of practicing God’s word. In no time at all, I had washed all the dishes in station one. Thanks be to God!
In Practicing the Truth, My Greatest Attainment Has Been Spiritual Joy
Just as I was happily preparing to finish work and go home, a food runner told me, “Ms. Wang still has a lot more dishwashing to do.” When I heard this, I thought to myself, “I seldom get to leave work on time. Today I have the rare opportunity to leave a little early, so should I still go and help her? In the past, when I was busy she never helped me, so should I really give up my time to help her? It wouldn’t be unreasonable to not go help her, so I guess I’ll head out.” Yet, just as I had this thought, I remembered a passage from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life, which said: “Kind-hearted people have forbearance, mercy, forgiveness, and endurance in their hearts, and even more so they have love and sympathy. That is why everyone loves to be in contact with someone like this and is willing to make such a friend” (“The Truth One Must Enter Into to Achieve Dispositional Change and Expressions of Dispositional Change” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (IV)).
Indeed, kind-hearted people don’t consider how others treat them, but are always willing to lend a helping hand whenever others are in need. Such people don’t haggle over every last dime and cent in defense of their personal interests—they are truly good people. As a Christian, I shouldn’t be so stingy about personal loss or gain, I shouldn’t live in service of my own interests, but should treat those around me with love. Only by living in this way does one have a semblance of humanity. As such, I turned right around and casually strode over to station two. When Ms. Wang saw me, she was embarrassed and said, “You’ve already finished your work, you should head home.” I replied, saying, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll help you finish up here. When we’re done we can clock off together.” So we continued working, laughing and chatting as we went, and very soon we had finished washing all the remaining dishes.
After that, whenever Ms. Wang and I saw each other, she was particularly kind and warm and she would split all the easy work with me. When the food runner saw how well the two of us got along, she laughed saying, “Ms. Sun, you have a good temper. I’ve never seen you get angry with Ms. Wang or fight with her. The last two dishwashers that came through here got in such heated disputes with her that they both quit.” Ms. Wang nodded, saying, “That’s right, Little Sun is good-tempered, kind, honest and dependable. I like spending time with this kind of person.” Upon hearing their compliments, I thought to myself, “It’s not that I’m any good, it’s God’s word that has transformed me. I’ve learned how to get along with people, am no longer so stingy about my personal gains and losses, and have begun living out some amount of normal humanity. These results were all achieved through God’s word. Thanks be to God for all that He has wrought!”
Through this experience, I’ve come to understand that God’s word is our real guide in life, the principle by which we should act and that we should never stray from the guidance of God’s word. No matter whom we are dealing with, no matter how hard they may be to get along with, as long as we come before God and practice His word, we can easily resolve any problems we may have in our interactions with others and build harmonious relationships.
Editor’s Note: Have you encountered the same kind of problems that Sister Sun did at work? Are you agonizing over interpersonal relationships? As long as we accept God’s words and practice God’s words in our everyday lives, our relationships will improve and we’ll feel more relaxed and happy.
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