By Jianxin, Malaysia
People often say that there is no affection for others in the face of interests. It’s really true. In today’s society—where people consider interests greater than everything—be it familial affection, friendship or love, all are seen as nothing before interests. There was a time when the protagonist and her colleague were good friends who could talk about anything, but later their relationship became rigid because of protecting their own interests. Yet, how did the protagonist make up with her friend? The following article “Who Balanced the Scale of Friendship and Interests” will show you who it is that can resolve broken relationships due to fighting over self-interests.
Considering Myself a Generous Person at One Time
I work as a salesperson in a communication store. I always believed that I was generous and that I could get along with anybody. I remember one time, at a meeting, a sister asked me whether or not I would argue with my colleagues in my work in order to protect my own interests. Without hesitation I said in an assured manner, “Absolutely not! Whoever a customer walks toward is who serves him or her. We won’t bicker with each other about that. In addition, I’m not a person who only cares about my own interests but neglects friendship.”
Originally, only a male colleague and I did the selling in the shop. In those days, our shop had so many customers that we had problems coping, so the boss took on a temporary worker—Hannah, a breezy and talkative girl. Then the boss asked me to guide her and I happily agreed to it. In the days that followed, I was careful and earnest in explaining professional knowledge to her; when she got customers, I would also teach her how to deal with them. So it didn’t take long for her to become familiar with the essential work, which let her feel a sense of gratitude to me. Since then, we became friends who kept no secrets. But unexpectedly, what happened next completely overturned my assessment of myself.
My Sales Declining Drove a Wedge Into Our Friendship
Hannah made rapid progress and she could almost always make a deal. Gradually, she surpassed me in sales, which made me feel uncomfortable.
One day, Hannah stepped out with the male colleague. Soon after, a couple entered the shop and I served them. When I was searching for mobile information for the man, his wife went around looking at other products. Just at that time, Hannah and the other colleague got back, and then she began to deal with that lady. With the help of the male colleague, Hannah quickly reached a deal. I felt angry seeing that, and thought to myself, “She was my customer but was taken away by you. You don’t have any sense of professional ethics. You’ve gone too far! No, I have to get the customer back. I can’t afford to lose anymore sales.” But since the customers were there, for the sake of saving face I had to suppress my anger. However, from then on, I felt prejudiced against Hannah. As a result of losing this customer, I didn’t reach my sales target that month, and she had more sales than me. I couldn’t reconcile myself to it, thinking, “If I had gotten back my customer, my sales figures wouldn’t be so low. I will never again let you have any of my customers.”
After that, I actively passed out fliers outside of the shop to drum up business every day. As long as I saw customers come in the shop, I would immediately step forward and greet them for fear that they would be taken away by Hannah. After a while, my sales went up. But, I was not as warm toward Hannah as before. When she asked me questions, I seldom replied to her, because I thought that my answers would help her improve performance and this would jeopardize my own interests. So from then on I only cared about improving my own sales, and thus our relationship became rather tepid. Worse still, an event that happened later made our relationship even more strained …
One day when Hannah and I were on duty, a female customer entered the shop, and then I came forward to serve her. After learning that she wanted to restore her out-of-service mobile number, I inquired the number and her personal information. When I was just about to continue dealing with the customer, Hannah told me that the customer was hers because she had attended to her before. Hearing what she said made me angry. I thought, “If she’s your customer, why didn’t she go to you? Well, even if it’s true, it’s okay that I receive her because you took away my customer before. How could I let you have her?” When I wanted to argue with her, there was another customer entering the shop, so I had to become busy with him. After I finished the work, Hannah came and told me that she had forgotten to ask for her customer’s mobile number and asked if I could give it to her. I said unhappily, “She’s your customer, how come you ask me?” She said unpleasantly, “I’m just asking. That’s all. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know.” I couldn’t help shouting at her, “The customer is yours. You should ask her yourself!” She was unwilling to show any weakness, saying, “She is my customer. I won’t let you receive her!” When I heard what she said, I became very angry and really wanted to bring up the matter of her taking away my customer before. But when I was going to argue with her, she said impatiently, “I don’t want to talk to you,” and then walked away. Looking at her leaving, I got mad. I thought, “You’re really ungrateful and unreasonable. I won’t speak to you again.”
Finding the Source of the Problem and Determining to Practice the Truth
After we packed up, we didn’t say goodbye as before and simply went back to our own homes. After we separated, I felt very pained and upset. I kept thinking, “Why can such a little thing affect our friendship?” After getting home, I told this matter to a sister while attending a meeting online. Then she sent me a passage of God’s words, “Cruel, brutal mankind! The conniving and intrigue, the jostling with each other, the scramble for reputation and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? … How many do not act for the sake of their own interests? How many do not oppress and discriminate against others for the sake of maintaining their own status?”
The sister fellowshiped, “We can know from God’s words that, after mankind was corrupted, we all put interests above everything else. In our speech and actions, we always consider and protect our own interests, so much so that we fight with others over interests. As a result, we have no proper relationships with others. From ancient times to the present, no matter whether they are emperors or ordinary civilians, the old or the young, no matter what occupation people take up, when things are of no personal interest to them, they will be friendly with others. But once something involves directly benefiting them, they will immediately turn on others. Father and son can fight each other, and brothers can become enemies and even kill the other for the sake of family inheritance. From this, we can see that in the face of interests, man has completely lost humanity and sense. This is the result of Satan corrupting us.”
Hearing this made me feel some pain. I thought, “Wasn’t it for the sake of my own interests that I plotted and struggled against Hannah during this time? Because Hannah received my customer and thus caused my lower sales, I held this against her, and several times I wanted to quarrel with her and even always hoped for an opportunity to take her customers. In spite of our friendship, I vied with her and haggled over every penny to profit myself. I really didn’t have even a little likeness of a Christian.” I thought of how I had previously shamelessly boasted and said that I wouldn’t have disputes with my colleagues over personal benefit, yet through the revelation of God’s words and the facts, the truth of my corruption by Satan was fully exposed. I felt quite humiliated.
Afterward, the sister read another passage of God’s words, “In the past, when the words of God have not become people’s lives, it was Satan’s nature that took charge and dominated within them. What specific things were within that nature? For example, why are you selfish? … 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 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” in Records of’s Talks).
Through God’s words, I came to understand that the reason why I was only concerned with benefiting myself and vied with Hannah for customers, was because I always acted on satanic laws for living, such as “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and “Fight for every inch of land and seize every bit you can get.” Controlled by these satanic philosophies, I associated with others for my own sake and with the intention of benefiting myself. No matter what I did, I would protect my own interests and couldn’t take any losses. That was why I became selfish, despicable, and only out for profit. I thought of the time when Hannah had just joined the shop. At that time, she didn’t impose on my interests, so I could get along with her in a normal fashion and did all I could to teach and help her. But when her sales exceeded mine, I began to envy her, and when she got my customer, I became angry and started to hold biases against her. For these reasons, when she encountered difficulties and turned to me, I didn’t want to help her. Later, in order to vie for a customer and get them to buy from me, I ignored our friendship, quarreled with her and refused to give in. As a consequence, our relationship fell apart and we both lived in a pained and stifling state. I thought about the fact that Hannah hadn’t worked in the shop for very long and that the boss asked me to guide her, so I should have helped her as much as I could, but instead, I envied her good sales performance, left her in trouble and even vied with her for customers. At that moment, I finally saw that my whole being had been completely clouded by interests and that I was too selfish and despicable. But at the same time, I was very thankful to God from the bottom of my heart. If not for what these circumstances arranged by Him revealed, I never would have realized my selfish nature or consciously pursued the truth to cast off my corrupt disposition. Realizing all this, I resolved to conduct myself in accordance with God’s requirements and live out the likeness of a true person.
Reaping the Harvest From My Practicing the Truth For the First Time
A day later we still didn’t speak to each other again, which made the atmosphere quite awkward. I felt very uncomfortable and wanted to make up with her, but I was at a loss what to do. During lunch break, I prayed to God, “God! My relationship with Hannah is very awkward. I don’t want to keep it this way, but I don’t know how to deal with it. God, I’m willing to set aside my own interests and put the truth into practice. May You lead and help me. …”
Thank God for listening to my prayer. One day, a man and his mother came into the shop. While Hannah was attending to the man, I began to talk with his mother about which plan was suitable for her. After Hannah saw this, she got involved. I thought, “This customer is mine. You’ve received my customer before, so it’s not unreasonable that I receive her.” When I was going to tell Hannah about this, I suddenly realized that I was infighting over my own interests again. Then I said a prayer to God in my heart, “O God! I’m not willing to live selfishly anymore. I must forsake my own motives, put aside my own benefit and live out a true human likeness.” By relying on and drawing near to God, I felt somewhat moved, thinking, “Even if the customer doesn’t buy from me, I can act according to God’s requirements and practice the truth to satisfy God, instead of living by my corrupt disposition of selfishness. This way, I’ll feel release and at ease in my heart. Isn’t this more valuable?” At the thought of this, I gave the customer to Hannah.
Seeing that I let her have the customer, out of her own initiative, Hannah started to help me persuade another customer I was talking with to make a deal. Seeing this scene, I was deeply moved and smiled from the bottom of my heart. That evening before getting off work, as I had trouble calculating my sales, she also took the initiative and helped me deal with the problem. At that moment, I felt our relationship became harmonious again and that the atmosphere turned much more joyful, which gave me particular delight. I knew this was completely the result of practicing the truth.
God Again Arranging a Circumstance to Test Me, I Stand Testimony to God and Shame Satan
In the blink of an eye, Hannah’s last day on the job had arrived. The customer Hannah had forgotten to ask for the mobile number came to the shop to inquire whether we had reserved the number she wanted. It just so happened that Hannah was absent, so I thought, “Shall I serve the customer first or wait for Hannah to do it? Shall I make a deal with her right now so as to increase my sales?” Just as I was wavering, a passage of God’s words occurred to me, “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’s words allowed me to realize that everything that happens to me touches upon the testimony I should bear for God. It was the same for this incident. However, when I saw Hannah was not present, I again thought about vying for a customer. I was too selfish, base and mercenary. “No, I must forsake my selfish nature, act in accordance with God’s requirements, and bear testimony to God with my living out, thus shaming Satan.” Thinking of this, I asked for the customer’s mobile number and then gave it to Hannah when she returned.
When it was time to leave work, Hannah took the initiative and told me that some things that she had done were not correct and asked me for forgiveness. And then she hugged me and took her leave. That moment when we hugged each other, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart. It was God’s guidance that defused our conflict. Though Hannah and I would be separated, we were reconciled.
My Understanding From the Experience
On the way home, when I looked back on how I interacted with Hannah during from beginning to end, I was really moved. After this experience, I came to realize that God’s work to save man is too practical. God employed the people, matters and things around me to reveal my satanic nature, enabled me to understand the root cause of how corrupt dispositions came into being through the judgment and revelation of His words, and then pointed out to me the path of practice and entry. This was God’s practicalof me! Thank God! I’m willing to use my heart to experience the environments God creates for me in my life, so that I can have my dispositions changed as early as possible, and comfort God’s heart.