How a Christian Established a Good Work Relationship With Her Colleague
By Jianxin, Malaysia
Editor’s Note: People often say there is no friendship between people where our interests are concerned. It’s true. In modern society, where individual interest comes before everything, family ties, friendship, and love are difficult to sustain in the face of our interests. It’s the same for Sister Jianxin, whose relationship with the friend she can talk about anything with sours and turns to deadlock thanks to her consideration of her own interests. But later, Jianxin and her friend are able to resolve their conflicts and can finally get along as they once did. How did Jianxin do it? Let’s read about her experience.
Once I Believed I Put Others Before Myself and Could Get Along With Anyone
I work as a saleswoman in a telecommunications goods store, and I primarily sell network accessory packages for mobile phones. I have always considered myself to be a generous, broad-minded person who can get along with anyone. I remember once, at a meeting, a sister asked me if I ever argued with my colleagues at work because of my interests, and without thinking I said confidently, “No! When customers enter the shop, whoever they walk toward receives them. We never have disputes about that, and I’m not that kind of person who only cares about my interests and puts myself before everyone else.” I didn’t expect that not long after I said this, a series of things took place with my colleague that completely overturned my evaluation of myself.
Some time ago, our store was busier than usual, and when the boss saw it was too busy for the regular staff to handle, he hired a temporary worker, Hannah. She was cheerful and talkative. The boss asked me to train her in the business, and I happily agreed. Next, I very seriously taught Hannah about the ins and outs of the business, and when she received customers, I taught her how to deal with them. Before long, she was familiar with the basics. Hannah was very grateful to me, and soon we became good friends who could talk about anything.
As Sales Decline, Cracks Appear in Our Friendship
Hannah made rapid progress, and soon was successfully closing almost every sale. Slowly, Hannah’s sales exceeded mine, and I began to get a little uncomfortable.
One day, after Hannah and another colleague went out, a couple came to the store and I received them. I helped the male find the package suitable for his mobile phone, and told his wife about our other offerings. This is when Hannah came back. She took care of the customer’s wife, and another colleague helped Hannah to make the sale. Very quickly, the sale was closed. When I saw that, I was very angry, “That was originally my customer, but you stole her. That’s completely unethical, and it’s completely over the line! No, I can’t just let this go. I have to steal my customer back!” I was too embarrassed to fight over a sale in front of the customer, so I suppressed my anger, but I developed a prejudice against Hannah. My sales volume was much lower than hers that month. Discontented, I thought, “If I hadn’t let what should have been my sale go, my sales total wouldn’t be so low. I’ll never let Hannah steal another one of my customers again!”
After that, I distributed flyers outside the store every day, trying to attract business. As soon as I saw customers enter the store, I immediately greeted them, afraid they would be taken away by Hannah. I wasn’t as enthusiastic about Hannah as before, and when she asked me questions, I very rarely told her the answers, because I was afraid that telling her would help her improve her performance, which would be bad for me, so I only paid attention to my own sales. After a while, my sales volume improved, and I was happy about that, but my relationship with Hannah had become very cold. Soon after that, something happened that soured our relationship even further …
One day, as I was on duty with Hannah, a female customer came into the store. I went to receive her and learned that she wanted to reactivate an expired number. I asked her for the number and her personal information, and just as I was about to continue processing her, Hannah said she had previously taken care of this customer. I was furious, and thought, “If she is your customer, she should have gone directly to you. You stole my customer in the past, so now, even if this counts as stealing your customer, it’s only fair. How can I just let you have her?” I was just thinking about arguing with her when several more customers came in. I had no choice but to go receive the new customers. Just when I had finished, Hannah came over and said she forgot to ask for the female customer’s phone number. I said rudely, “She’s your customer, why are you asking me for it?” She said unhappily, “I was just asking. If you don’t have it, never mind.” I couldn’t bear to hold my temper in anymore. I exploded at her, “She’s your customer, so you should ask her for it!” Not wanting to look weak, she said just as angrily, “She is my customer, and I won’t let you take her!” I was very angry. I wanted to tell about all the things she did to steal my customers in the past, to let my colleagues know about her unethical behavior and warn them to avoid her in the future. But before I could speak, she said impatiently, “I don’t want to talk to you.” Then she walked away. As I watched her go, I was very angry. I felt that she was ungrateful and unreasonable. I had helped her so much in the past, and this was how she treated me. I decided not to care about her anymore.
Discovering the Root of the Problem, Swearing an Oath to Practice the Truth
After work, Hannah and I went home without even saying “goodbye.” On my way home, I thought about what happened during the day. I felt particularly miserable and tormented, and I couldn’t help but think, “How did our relationship get so bad over this little thing? I’ve revealed so much corruption, and the way I’ve acted doesn’t meet God’s requirements of Christian behavior.” At the meeting with my brothers and sisters that night, I explained all these things, and a sister showed me a passage of God’s words “Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? … How many people do not act out of their own interests? How many do not oppress or ostracize others in order to protect their own position?” (“The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished”).
She then fellowshiped, “God’s word reveals the state of mankind after being corrupted by Satan. After Satan corrupted us, the idea of interest is first in our minds. In all we say and do, we strive to further and safeguard our own interests, and even struggle, fight, and steal amongst ourselves for it. Since ancient times, everyone from kings to commoners, relatives, friends, and colleagues, no matter how old or in what industry, can get along peaceably and amicably where interests aren’t involved. But once our personal interests are involved, we turn about and become ruthless, to the point that even fathers and sons can fight and become rivals. From this, we can see that we completely lose our humanity and reason where our interests are concerned. For the sake of our personal interests, we can do things that betray our consciences and morality, we forget any friendship that was originally there, and we lose our normal humanity. These are the results of our corruption by Satan.”
When I heard this, I thought back and realized my own interests were exactly the reason I was scheming and squabbling with Hannah. When Hannah took my customers, my sales went down, and that made me very worried. Several times, I had wanted to argue with her, and even wanted to steal her customers to improve my performance. For the sake of my interests, I had disregarded our previous friendship and begun bickering tit-for-tat with Hannah, both openly fighting and secretly plotting. I wasn’t acting in a Christian manner at all. Realizing this, I couldn’t help but feel miserable. I thought of how I had openly declared that I never squabbled with my colleagues over my own interests, but after seeing the revelations in God’s words and what was exposed in me by the facts, I understood that I put interest before everything else too. I was no better than anyone else. I felt very ashamed.
Then, my sister read another passage of God’s word, “Until people have experienced God’s work and gained the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates them from within. What, specifically, does that nature entail? For example, why are you selfish? … [T]hey will answer, ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. The logic of Satan has become people’s lives. They may do things for this purpose or that, but they are only doing it for themselves. People all think that since it is every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, they should live for their own sakes, doing everything in their power to secure a good position and what food and clothing they need. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’—this is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. This statement is precisely Satan’s poison, and when internalized by people, it becomes their nature. Satan’s nature is exposed through these words; they completely represent it. This poison becomes people’s lives as well as the foundation of their existence, and corrupted humanity has been consistently dominated by this poison for thousands of years” (“How to Walk the Path of Peter”).
Through reading God’s word and my sister’s fellowship, I realized that the reason I bickered and fought with Hannah over customers for my own interests was because I was living by the satanic poisons of ideas like, “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and “Fight for every inch of land and seize every bit you can get.” Driven on by these satanic toxins, my interactions with others were all conducted by the principle of “for myself and my interests.” No matter what I did, I always tried to protect my own interests. I didn’t want to suffer even the tiniest loss, which made me selfish, despicable, only interested in furthering my own interests, and ready to fight tit-for-tat over every slight and offense. I remembered how when Hannah first came to the shop, she didn’t know the business, her sales totals were lower than mine, and she didn’t steal my customers, so we got along normally, and I did my best to teach and help her. But after her sales totals exceeded mine, I started to be jealous of her, especially after she received my customers and began to threaten my interests. I felt that was unfair, and began to be prejudiced against her. After that, when she had problems and came to me, I didn’t want to tell her the answers, because I was afraid she would use that knowledge to steal more of my customers. In the end, to improve my own sales results, I completely disregarded my past friendship for her, started to steal her customers, and refused to help her, leading to a complete break in our relationship and forcing both of us to live in torment and anxiety. I thought of how she had just come to the shop to work, and was unfamiliar with almost everything, so by all rights I should have helped her, but because of my own interests and my jealousy that she performed better than I did, I refused to help her when she was having difficulties and even tried to steal her customers. My own interests had completely overtaken my mind. I was truly too selfish and despicable! And as I realized this, I saw that I had been too deeply corrupted by Satan, that I didn’t have a shred of normal humanity, and that I didn’t have much conscience or reason. At the same time, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for His guidance. Only through what this environment revealed was I able to have some understanding of my selfish, despicable satanic nature, and to know that living by these satanic poisons could only make me ever more corrupt, make me bicker over every little bit of my interests, and make it impossible for me to have normal relationships with people. When I understood these things, I silently swore an oath that I would no longer live by these satanic notions and always consider my personal interests. I would seek the truth, escape these satanic dispositions, and live out normal humanity.
My First Time Practicing the Truth Partially Repaired Our Awkward Relationship
The next day, when I came to the store, I really wanted to say hello to Hannah when I saw her. But when I thought about her stealing my business before, that desire completely disappeared, and I couldn’t say the words when they came to my lips. She pretended not to see me when I looked at her and worked on the task at hand instead. That was how Hannah and I spent the day, each busy with our own work and ignoring each other. The whole shop seemed to be shrouded in a smog of awkwardness. Being in such an environment made me very uncomfortable. I wanted to be kind to Hannah, but I didn’t know how to do it. So, I prayed to God and asked for His guidance to practice the truth, let go of myself, and live out normal humanity.
One day, a mother and her son came to the store. While Hannah took care of the son, I chatted with the mother about what kind of package was suitable for her phone. Hannah noticed, and before long joined the conversation. I thought to myself, “This sale should go to me. In the past, when I took care of your customers, I let you keep those sales, so listing this sale as mine isn’t too much to ask.” Just when I was about to say this to Hannah, I suddenly realized I was fighting for my own interests, so I quickly prayed to God, “God, I don’t want to be so selfish again. I want to betray myself and let go of my interests.” The prayer brought me closer to God, and I felt very moved. I thought that even if this doesn’t turn out to be my sale, I can practice the truth according to God’s requirements, not live by my corrupt disposition of selfishness, and find release, freedom, security, and peace in my heart. Isn’t that more valuable? So, I gave this customer to Hannah.
After a while, I was taking care of another customer, and Hannah proactively helped me convince the customers to make the purchase. When I saw this, I was very touched, and smiled in my heart. When it was time to settle accounts that evening, I noticed that mine were a bit off. Hannah saw that I was having trouble and voluntarily came to help me find the reason. At that moment, I felt that our relationship had improved, and that the atmosphere in the shop had eased a lot. I was especially happy, because this was the result of practicing the truth.
When the Circumstances Returned, I Stood Witness for God and Humiliated Satan
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, it was Hannah’s last day of work. The customer whose phone number Hannah had forgotten before returned to the store and asked if the number was recovered. Hannah wasn’t there at the moment, and I thought to myself, “Should I handle this customer, or wait for Hannah to come back and do it? Should I steal this customer?” As I hesitated, I suddenly remembered a passage of God’s word, “Everything that happens to people happens when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Though nothing major is happening to you at the moment and you do not bear great testimony, every detail of your daily life is a matter of 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” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”).
The enlightenment I found in God’s word made me realize that in all the things that happen to us every day, no matter how large or small, we should always stand on God’s side, practice the truth, live out normal humanity, and use the way we live out our own realities to glorify and testify God. Also, the fact that God allowed these circumstances to come to me was God’s inspection of me, to see if I lived by satanic toxins like “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and acted to protect my own interests, or if I practiced the truth according to God’s word and lived out normal humanity. I reflected on the idea and thought I had just exposed, using the opportunity of Hannah’s absence to steal her customer, and saw that I was truly selfish and despicable, and still wanted to struggle for my own interests. No! I had to betray my own selfish nature, be someone who acted with the reason and character God requires, and humiliate Satan. When I realized this, I simply asked for the customer’s phone number, and when Hannah returned, I gave the customer’s number to her.
As we left work, Hannah took the initiative to ask me to forgive her for anything she had done wrong in the past. I used the chance to open up and tell her what I felt, after which we embraced and said goodbye. I was very grateful to God, because it was God’s guidance and the enlightenment I found in God’s words that allowed us to resolve the conflict between us.
Powerful Realizations After My Experience
On the way home, I thought back on all my interactions with Hannah over this period, as well as the truth I had come to understand through this process, and I felt very touched. I saw that God’s work is very practical. God uses the environments, people, matters, and things around me to reveal my satanic nature, and uses the judgment and revelations in His words to make me understand my corrupt dispositions, give me a path to practice, and allow me to live out a little normal humanity. This was all God’s practical, real salvation for me! Thanks be to God! In the future, I hope to conscientiously use my life to experience and feel the environments God arranges for me, and from them learn to reflect on and understand my corrupt dispositions, seek the truth to resolve them, and one day, achieve dispositional change, live out normal humanity, and console God’s heart!