Effective Way to Resolve Interpersonal Conflict

From now on, I will do my own work myself.” My colleague, an older woman, said to me graciously. Looking at her, I smiled knowingly. At this point, I couldn’t help but think of the previous “war” between us, scene after scene appearing in front of me …

I Didn’t Like the Way My Colleague Shirked Her Duties

I work in a breakfast diner. In the early mornings, the older woman in the kitchen is in charge of packing the breakfasts in boxes, and I, at the counter, package and sort them. When the customers order breakfasts, I tell her and then she packs and passes them to me. Every day she does her work while I do mine, and I have no need to enter the kitchen. But occasionally, we also help each other.

However, I don’t know why but she started to leave her station and do other work when the customers were giving their orders. In the beginning, I didn’t complain about her actions. After all, she had once done me a favor. Moreover, I believe in God and so I couldn’t quibble about everything. Thus, I was able to be patient with her at first. But as time went on, I found as soon as customers came, she would busy herself with other things and wouldn’t pack the breakfasts into the boxes in time. This way, her work was secretly dumped on me. I was upset by this, and complained to myself that she was lazy and sneaky. I thought: “It’s okay that you do this once or twice, but I can’t always help you. What’s more, even if I work more the boss won’t pay me more. So it’s not worth my while.” Although I had many opinions about her in my mind, I endured her sneakiness.

Unable to Contain Myself, I Also Became Crafty

One time, there was wave after wave of customers, some ordering single items and some ordering set meals. I was way too busy. Seeing her still wiping here and there without haste, I got extremely angry. Being busy working, I had no choice but to suppress my anger and remain silent, and stepped into the kitchen to fetch what the customers needed myself. But that day I couldn’t find a condiment the older woman had placed somewhere so I had to ask her with a reluctant smile, “Auntie, where is the condiment?” Pointing to the place where the condiment was, she said to me rudely, “There, get it yourself.” Seeing her attitude, I felt anger surging inside me. I suppressed my anger and said nothing, but stared at her viciously and thought: “You’ve gone too far. I am so busy and you look like you have nothing to do. Moreover, you spoke rudely. I didn’t start a dispute with you about the work you should do but you showed no respect for me. My silence doesn’t mean that I’m easy to bully. It is just that now I have no time to argue with you.” And then I had to hurry to fetch things and serve the customers.

I was so tired that I had a sore back all day. After getting home from work, as soon as I thought of these things again I couldn’t calm myself. I struggled inside again and thought: “If you had met a colleague who had no faith in God, you would have argued with them much earlier. God asks that I should be accepting, patient, and loving toward others, so I didn’t confront you or I would have had it out with you.” But then I thought: “During this period, I always tolerated you, said nothing and never argued with you. So why did you become more out of line the more I tolerated you? Anyway, tomorrow I will tell the boss about your being lazy at work. He will get a bad impression of you and might even severely rebuke you. See if you still dare to be lazy in the future. This way, I won’t need to be so busy because of you in the future. Ok, that’s what I’ll do…”

Interpersonal Conflict

God’s Word Guided Me to Give up My Trickery

But the moment I had such thoughts, I was reproached. I remembered a sentence of God’s words, “If the speech and conduct of a believer is always as casual and unrestrained as an unbeliever, then this believer is even more evil than the unbeliever.

I suddenly realized: If I carried out my intentions and told on her secretly in order to protect my own interests, wasn’t I the same as the unbelievers? Getting back at others in private is displeasing to God. I couldn’t do this. But my heart was doing somersaults and I was depressed. I didn’t want to harm the older woman. But if I didn’t tell the boss about her, I would be upset and I couldn’t bear that. So I came before God to pray: “O God! I want to practice Your word and be the one You like, but I cannot restrain myself. How should I deal with the conflict between the older woman and me? May You guide me!”

I read another passage of God’s word, “The corrupt nature of all people is the same; only the way it is expressed varies. Some people say not a word but have thoughts in their hearts. Some people reveal it when they speak. Some people struggle. Some contend. Some neither struggle nor contend, but secretly cause mischief. Some complain and grumble in secret, throwing things. The ways in which they manifest themselves differ, but their natures are all the same, without any difference, and most people’s natures are filled with these things.” “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. You quarrel over your own reputation and status, even to the point that you’re willing to descend into hell, into the lake of fire.” Reading these words, I saw that God looks deep into everyone’s heart and that my thoughts and ideas couldn’t escape God’s searching eyes. Especially when seeing these words of God “secretly cause mischief,” which directly revealed my ugliness, I felt very ashamed. So, I came before God and reflected upon my behavior: It was just because the older woman didn’t pack the breakfasts into the boxes and so worked less that I thought I worked more and lost out. At first, I was able to tolerate her. However, as time went by, she harmed my interests so much that I came to detest her very much. But I didn’t wish to offend her or openly be in conflict with her, so I sought to tell on her to the boss behind her back in order that the boss would reprimand her. This way, I wouldn’t need to do her work anymore in the future, and moreover I could take revenge. Otherwise she would think I was easily bullied. Wasn’t I being controlled by Satan’s poisonous ideas, such as “Every man for himself, and the devil takes the hindmost,” “If you’re not kind, I won’t be just,” “Everyone’s patience has its limits,” and so on? Wasn’t it that I wanted revenge on the older woman to protect my own interests? I was really possessed of low integrity; I was narrow-minded toward people and haggled over every little thing. I was extremely cunning and evil. After I came to understand these things, I was willing to forsake my flesh and make a resolution before God: I will change my abominable conduct of tattling on her to the boss. I would rather do more work than make contemptible or shady deals.

I Took Losing Out Very Personally

Although I didn’t tell on her to the boss, when I saw she still did other tasks when the customers came in, I was still angry. One time, when the boss was present, she was happy to do something I had asked her to do. I thought: “Ah, it turns out that you are one of those who behave differently toward different people.” Afterwards, sometimes, when the boss was present, I ordered her about on purpose or I did other things intentionally so that the boss would order her about. That way, I didn’t need to be angry with her or work more.

Once, when there were many customers in the diner. and the boss was present, I saw that she was still slack about doing what she should do. Having learned from experience the previous time, this time I confidently yelled: “Auntie! One congee, to go!” Unexpectedly, she changed her attitude and yelled: “I’m busy. You do it!” Her response was a shock to me. So I did some self- reflection while serving the customers: “O God! The things that happen every day are part of Your orchestration and so are not accidents. That task should be done by her and my request is not excessive, so why did she suddenly treat me like this? During this time, I think I’ve been good with her. I changed, I’ve not been angry with her, and I’ve put aside my prejudice toward her and not argued with her. Why did such an embarrassing scene happen today?”

Wakened by God’s Words, I Then Lived Out a Normal Humanity

Thinking back to my attitude toward the older woman those days, I realized I didn’t really put aside my prejudice toward her, but only found another way: I used the boss to command her to work so I could do less and wouldn’t damage my relationship with her. Was I not very sinister and mean? This wasn’t normal humanity! I hadn’t changed at all. Thinking of this, I no longer focused on her, but did my own work contentedly.

After I returned home, I saw God’s words, “In the dispositions of normal people there is no crookedness or deceitfulness, people have a normal relationship with each other, they do not stand alone, and their lives are neither mediocre nor decadent. So, too, is God exalted among all, His words permeate among man, people live in peace with one another and under the care and protection of God, the earth is filled with harmony, without the interference of Satan, and the glory of God holds the utmost importance among man. Such people are like angels: pure, vibrant, never complaining about God, and devoting all their efforts solely to God’s glory on earth.” “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. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony.

God knew the scheme in my heart and used the older woman’s dissatisfying response to remind me so that I could quickly return to Him and examine my conduct. Although I didn’t tell on her behind her back, God knew I’d only put aside the matter but hadn’t completely put aside my own interests. I was still disturbed by her working less and my working more. In order to protect my own interests, I took advantage of the boss to get her to work; I was so manipulative! When my interests were harmed, I didn’t quarrel with her or tell on her, but I plotted and schemed inside. I was just so despicable. Such behavior was totally not a testimony to God, and it really dishonored Him. As a believer, my every word and action and my each and every move should win the respect and approval from my family and the people around me, and I should live out a normal humanity. Only in this way will I be conforming to God’s will. I was willing to live by God’s word in the future, and would no longer make a fuss over every tiny detail for my own interests. Even if I worked more and was more tired, I was willing to practice God’s word and satisfy Him. I wished for nothing except to live out the reality of truth and to be a person possessed of normal humanity.

So, I prayed to God: “O God! I’m willing to put aside completely my prejudice toward the older woman, and I won’t live by Satan’s poisonous ideas, nor play tricks in order to protect my own interests. Whether or not she works properly, I will do what I should do, with a good conscience. The extra work I do is also what I should do, and I’m willing to practice Your word and live out a normal humanity.” In the following days I was very busy. When there was much work to do, she still did what she wanted to do. Faced with this situation, when I felt I was getting angry I prayed to God at once. Through prayer, I had the confidence to forsake my flesh and I was not preoccupied by her behavior. When I saw her, I was no longer angry and could work normally. When I encountered the same problem again, I adjusted my own attitude through praying to God. Gradually, I let go of my prejudice toward her and wasn’t constrained by it any longer.

Practicing God’s Word, I Saw God’s Blessings

One day, several customers came in at once to buy breakfast. I didn’t care about what the older woman was doing and went in to fetch an order. Unexpectedly, I saw her holding the same order. We looked at each other, and both of us smiled. What made me feel more amazed was that she said to me kindly, “From now on, I will do my own work myself.” The following days, whether the boss was present or not, we both resumed our own responsibilities. If there was a problem, we were able to help each other. We talked and laughed together. She praised me for working carefully and cleanly. Hearing her words, I was very happy. I knew it was through the guidance of God’s words that I was now living out a little normal humanity, and so the older woman praised me. The “war” between us was finally over. All the glory be to God!

By Jiang Yuan

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