By Zhang Jie
In a fine afternoon in early summer, the sun was high in the sky and roasting the earth. It was almost time for students to leave school. The murderous heat didn’t mean to fade away and the air was thick with heat, so that the normally active leaves on the both sides of the road lolled their heads.
When Zhang Jie returned to her workplace after meeting, she saw a pile of unwashed bowls and chopsticks sitting out there, the napkins on the floor, the grease marks on the tables, and the dirty rag lying there in plain sight. Everything was at sixes and sevens. At this moment, Zhang Jie got extremely angry and her face changed at once, her delight of having a meeting with brothers and sisters thoroughly wiped away. She was very unhappy and complained inside, “This colleague is too irresponsible. You think you’re the boss’ relative, so you can usually shirk your duties or take a stroll? Every time when picking vegetables, washing vegetables, washing the bowls and other cleaning, I did more than you. This time I was just on leave for several hours, but you’ve gone away, leaving me to do these work. It’s okay for me to do more work on ordinary days, but why did you still wait for me to do these work instead of washing them yourself in my absence?” The more Zhang Jie thought, the angrier she became. She thought: Even if I do more work, my wages won’t be more than others’, nor will you appreciate it. From now on, I’ll just do my own share of work and never do more. Though Zhang Jie thought this way, yet when she saw so many dirty bowls and chopsticks, she just ate humble pie and finished washing them.
Then one day, when Zhang Jie came back to the restaurant from her business, she again saw that there lay some unwashed bowls and chopsticks. Because of her delay, she immediately began to wash them. But halfway through washing, she thought inside, “Well, I went out on business, but you should do your share of work. Why do you see so many unwashed bowls and chopsticks but don’t wash them? Every time I worked more but the boss didn’t pay me more money. Today I’ll only do my own work and leave you the remaining part.” She was full of complaints inside but somewhat hesitated over whether she should do so or not. Then she thought she was a believer in God and shouldn’t calculate so much like the unbelievers but should have the likeness of a Christian. Hence, she reluctantly washed all the bowls and chopsticks, yet still had a bit of complaint toward her colleague in her heart.
When Zhang Jie got home after a busy day, she ached all over, as if every bone had scattered apart. She, harassed and fatigued, lay on the sofa and couldn’t help but think of what had happened between her colleague and her those days. Then she came before God and prayed, “God! My colleague always shirks her duties and leaves me lots of work to do, so my heart was filled with complaints toward her. I also have prejudices against her and don’t want to talk to her. God, I want to tolerate and forgive her, but I can’t do that. May You lead me to understand the truth and not to live in satanic corrupt disposition.”
After prayer, Zhang Jie read God’s words that say, “Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense. It is precisely because these fundamental things of man have been corrupted by Satan, and are utterly unlike how God originally created them, that man opposes God and does not understand the truth. Thus, changes in man’s disposition should begin with changes in his thinking, insight and sense that will change his knowledge of God and his knowledge of the truth.” Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life also says, “Now, the interpersonal relationships of all people are not normal. This is mainly because they have been deeply corrupted by Satan. Their character is extremely low: People all seek only profit and only focus on taking advantage of others when handling things; there are their own intentions and purposes in all things. People all live for themselves and for their flesh; they have no slightest care or love for others, and even no affection or love which man should be equipped with. People intrigue against each other, guard against each other and fight both openly and in secret, being unable to get along normally; the conscience and reason people should be equipped with has completely disappeared. People aren’t of one heart and mind with others; if they don’t have a little bit of patience, they will be arch-enemies. With their hearts filled with evil and fighting, people are opposed to each other and sworn enemies of each other, without the slightest likeness of a man. Their hearts have totally been occupied by Satan, and full of Satan’s philosophies.”
Zhang Jie realized that God’s words and the sermons and fellowship were saying exactly her behaviors and deeds. She thought, “In my interactions with others, I often quibbled about everything and calculated my own personal benefit; once I did more work, I would complain about it, and didn’t accept, care or understand others, so my interpersonal relationships weren’t normal. Since I worked in the gourmet kitchen with my colleague, I always did more work than she. On the outside, I didn’t openly dispute with her, but in reality I was unsatisfied with and belittled her, thinking she was too lazy. Even when I saw she didn’t work, I wanted to leave work behind. Was it not because my efforts were not rewarded that I had hatred for her? Would I make so much fuss, if the boss offered me more wages because of my doing more work? The definite answer is no. It was because my interests were infringed upon, I suffered more in the flesh, but my wages were not more than my colleague’s, that I had prejudices against her. Was it not the dominance of satanic philosophy—“Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost”—that caused this? Satan is using the principle of survival—“Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost”—to harm people, which causes people not to have true love or help in dealings with others, but to plot against each other for their profit. Now, I’m a believer, so I can’t live by satanic philosophy; instead, I should act according to God’s words. In all of my words and actions, I should bear witness to and glorify God. I can’t be like the unbelievers who shirk their duties for their profit and don’t do their own work.” At that point, Zhang Jie understood God’s will and determined to forsake her own satanic dispositions, rely on God and ask Him to guide her to interact harmoniously with her colleague.
Later, Zhang Jie read the following passage of God’s words, “If you want to have a proper relationship with God, your heart must turn to God, and on this foundation, you will also have a proper relationship with other people.” She also read a passage of 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 reading God’s words and the fellowship from the above, Zhang Jie’s heart suddenly became cheerful. She thought, “God’s words have pointed out the correct way to practice. It turns out that if one wants to maintain a normal relationship with others, he must practice according to God’s words, establish a normal relationship with God first, pray before God and rely on Him in all things, and accept all the situations, people, matters, and things that befall him from God. What’s more, he must follow the principles while practicing the truth: having a loving heart, tolerating and helping others, not doing things just for his own benefits but thinking more about others, learning to sympathize with and understanding others.” Thinking of this, Zhang Jie stopped frowning and smiled more and more. She deeply knew this environment was set by God for changing her corrupt dispositions, that this was God’s love and salvation of her, and that she couldn’t fixate her eyes on her colleague, but should treat her properly, and live out the likeness of a real person to glorify God and shame Satan thoroughly.
Work was busy as usual. Every day Zhang Jie prayed to God and entrusted her difficulties to God. She pondered God’s words in her heart and hummed hymns of God’s words from time to time, feeling very happy.
One day, the business was very good. Both the cooks and waiters were tied up. Meanwhile, Zhang Jie and her colleague also had their hands full. Just then, a friend of her colleague’s came to invite the colleague to play. Without thinking, her colleague was gone with her friend. Then Zhang Jie thought inside, “Even when we both do these work, we’re so busy. Now I’m left alone. When will I finish so much work? Working with you, I really lose out.” When Zhang Jie was thinking this, she was dying not to wash the bowls and chopsticks, but thought of these words of 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.” At that moment, Zhang Jie calmed herself and mulled over God’s words, “Everything that happens to me relates to the testimony. God arranges perfect people, matters, and events for me to experience and practice according to His words. Though I have the will to interact with my colleague harmoniously, God wants me to truly forsake my flesh, to live it out in reality, and to stand witness for Him before Satan.” After understanding God’s intentions, Zhang Jie had strength in her heart. She was willing to obey God’s arrangements and do what she should do, no longer calculating her own personal benefit. When she put God’s words into practice, she finished all the work unconsciously and didn’t feel tired.
One day, her colleague asked her, “Zhang Jie, our business was very busy that day, but I went out with my friend. Were you angry with me?” Zhang Jie replied with a smile, “Yes, I indeed got angry then, but on second thoughts it was just that I needed to wash more bowls and chopsticks. We all have our own difficulties. What’s the use of haggling over every penny?” Hearing her words, her colleague felt embarrassed and then blamed herself, “Ever since you worked with me, I always neglected my duties every day, but you forgave me and did my work silently. It’s very kind of you and I want you as my elder sister. From now on, I’ll do my own work myself.” After hearing these words, Zhang Jie was very moved in her heart, thinking: Today, it’s not that I’m broad-minded, but that God’s words have changed me.
One day, something came up, so Zhang Jie needed to go out. Her colleague said to her, smiling, “Go. I’ll wash the remaining blows.” These simple words warmed Zhang Jie’s heart and she couldn’t help but offer thanks and praises to God, for she knew that was God’s love. When she had a little knowledge of God and was willing to rely on God, the environment surrounding her immediately was changed. After this experience, Zhang Jie deeply sensed that having a normal relationship with God naturally results in normal relationships with other people, and that all things are established on the basis of understanding the truth. She also tasted God’s earnest intention in saving her: God made her see His deeds through unfavorable people and matters she encountered, and more than that, God made her realize that when she truly repented and practiced in accordance with God’s words, God’s smile was revealed to her.
Zhang Jie was walking on a straightforward road which was stretched into the distance. The rain-washed leaves on the roadsides were shining in the sunlight, becoming more verdant. Recalling what had happened just now, Zhang Jie not only was somewhat touched, but also felt an inexpressible peace and joy in her heart. She strode forward with a firm look in her eyes.