Two of a Trade Can Now Agree (Audio Essay)
I was self-employed. Mainly I sold all kinds of textiles, and I also made clothes for my customers part-time. After a few years, my business became more and more popular, and people around me were all very envious. Later, a neighboring household opened the same kind of shop as mine and became my competitor. Naturally, the business in my shop was affected. The popular proverb says two of a trade never agree, but my peer was not just anyone, but my most trusted pupil, Xiaochen.
Not only did Xiaochen open the same store next to my house, she even waited outside of her shop to intentionally steal my business. Whenever she saw somebody pass by the shop, she approached them and greeted them enthusiastically, guiding them into the shop, and she even purposefully said awful things about me. Seeing Xiaochen do everything she could to steal my business, I regretted taking her as my pupil and started hating her from my heart. When I saw her, I was unwilling to approach or talk to her, and sometimes I would even say some bad things about her in front of customers, or I would intentionally give customers a discount to bring back repeat customers, so that I could reduce her clients. But because we were neighbors, we could not avoid running into each other. As time passed, I became more and more pained and repressed in my heart, and my hate for her became deeper and deeper. It reached the point that whenever I looked at her, my heart became awfully choked, and my whole mind was occupied with thoughts of how to deal with her. Even when I dreamed, I dreamed I was fighting her. I was living so painfully at that time!
In 2002, I heard my schoolmate say that believing in Jesus could bring peace and happiness, that it could broaden our hearts so that we no longer harbored hatred, so I believed in the Lord Jesus. I saw that the Lord Jesus said: “But I say to you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which spitefully use you. And to him that smites you on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that takes away your cloak forbid not to take your coat also” (Luk 6:27-29). From the Lord’s words I saw that the Lord has an unlimited and boundless love for us. He has unlimited tolerance, patience, and forgiveness for us. Didn’t the Lord already practice out these things that He required us to do? The Lord’s love deeply encouraged me, so I wanted to follow the Lord’s teachings, and I tried to tolerate Xiaochen, and not to quarrel with her. But in real life, I still hated her uncontrollably, and I could not practice the Lord’s word at all. When I thought that the Bible said that hating somebody is like killing them, I felt even more pain. I thought: I want to forgive Xiaochen, but why is it that I simply could not do it? I believe in the Lord and I know His demands, but why can’t I put the Lord’s word into practice? I lived in pain, and I could not extricate myself.
Soon, in 2003, I had the fortune to accept God’s work in the last days. In a gathering, a sister read a part of God’s word directed toward my difficulty: “Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not taken away and still remained within him. … This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). She also fellowshiped to me: “During the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus did a step of redemptive work. The sin of us humans was only forgiven, so that we were no longer sentenced by the laws. However, our sinful nature still remained, and it had not been resolved. It is like you living in hatred to Xiaochen, you can only control your external behavior to not insult her, but you have not resolved the source of hatred in your heart. We humans have been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years, and we have been completely taken over by all kinds of satanic poisons. Satanic philosophies and laws such as “Heaven destroys those who are not for themselves,” and “A man dies for money; a bird dies for food” have become our life and our nature. We uncontrollably rely on these things to live, so we have all become selfish, self-interested, and only interested in profit. We fight and argue over our own interests and become jealous and hateful, causing us to uncontrollably commit sins and oppose God. Although in our heart we want to practice the Lord’s word, because we are bound and limited by satanic nature, we cannot put them into practice and we live in unbearable pain. In the last days Almighty God comes to resolve the root problem of us corrupt humans committing sins, to completely rescue us from Satan’s domain. For this purpose, God speaks words to perform the work of judging and purifying man, so that, through the judgment and chastisement of God’s word, we recognize our own satanic nature, come to understand that God’s righteous disposition is beyond reproach, gradually come to revere God, no longer live by Satan’s poison, seek the truth in all things, live on God’s word, and replace our own corrupt disposition with practicing the truth. In this way, we can live out a normal humanity, we can know how to act and how to conduct ourselves in contact with others. When we have left the bondage of Satan’s authority and are no longer controlled by our corrupt disposition, then we are living in release and freedom. Sister, if you often read the word of the Almighty God, experience God’s judgment and chastisement, often pray to God, ask God to protect your heart, then you will surely be able to let go of the hatred in your heart, break away from Satan’s corrupt disposition, and live relaxed and free. So, you must have confidence in God….”
After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I understood that the reason I was never able to resolve the hatred in my heart while believing in the Lord Jesus is because the Lord Jesus only performed the work of redeeming sin, but not the work of casting away sin. This is why the satanic nature and corrupt disposition within me have not yet been removed. Only Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days can fully cleanse and transform me, rescuing me from sin! Having understood this, I became confident again about how to resolve the hatred between Xiaochen and me, and I made up my mind to properly pursue the truth and shed the satanic corrupt disposition soon.
One day, I saw God’s word saying: “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” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading God’s word, I began to self-reflect. Why is it that I keep living in hatred to Xiaochen? Isn’t it just because she stole my business and this affected my own interests? In order to get more money and have one less competitor, all I thought about was how to exclude her and resent her, and I even had dark thoughts about her. In the past, I thought that my hatred of her had a reason. She offended me first, so that’s why I hated her to this extent. Now, I know that this is caused by my own selfish nature. Having recognized these things, I quickly prayed to God: “God, only now do I know that I hate Xiaochen because I have a selfish nature within me. God, I am willing to rebel against myself, I am unwilling to live by my satanic nature. I hope that You can help me, so that I can let go of my hatred to Xiaochen and live out a normal humanity.”
In order to help me walk out of hatred, God arranged a situation for me. One day, Xiaochen was refurbishing her kitchen, and it took up the stairwell passageway shared between our two houses. Looking at this, I felt angry in my heart, that she was really pushing it too far. After stealing my business, now she was coming to take over my territory. This was really getting more and more out of hand! When I wanted to argue with her, I suddenly remembered that God said: “God is forever supreme and ever honorable, while man is forever base, forever worthless. This is because God is forever making sacrifices and devoting Himself to mankind; man, however, forever takes and strives only for himself. God is forever taking pains for mankind’s survival, yet man never contributes anything for the sake of the light or for righteousness. Even if man makes an effort for a time, it is so weak that it cannot withstand a single blow, for the effort of man is always for his own sake and not for others. Man is always selfish, while God is forever selfless. God is the source of all that is just, good, and beautiful, while man is he who succeeds to and makes manifest all ugliness and evil” (“It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Yes, God’s love is too selfless. God is incarnated into flesh twice only to save us humans. God has paid the absolute price so that we can achieve salvation. In the past, He sacrificed Himself on the cross for the salvation of humanity, and now He is incarnated into flesh again, enduring people’s resistance, condemnation, persecution, and defamation to perform work and save people, all without complaints or regrets and never asking us to repay Him. God’s life substance is so beautiful, so lovable, so worthy of our admiration and worship! And I have been corrupted by Satan to be too selfish and despicable, too cunning and evil, and I lived by Satan’s poison, “Fight for every inch of land and seize every bit you can get.” As long as it relates to a bit of my profits, I would fight with others, haggle over every penny, and I cannot take any losses. I see what I live out is exactly the same as Satan’s, as if I am a living demon. Now, God has pointed out a path to changing my life disposition. I ought to practice it in accordance to God’s word, rebel against Satan, and no longer live by Satan’s poison. So, I prayed to God: “God, the matter that I encounter today is set up by You for me. I am willing to live out Your word, and no longer live by Satan’s poison. I hope that You will grant me confidence and strength, so I will no longer be fooled by Satan and let go of my hatred to Xiaochen in my heart.” After praying, my heart gradually became calmer, and I felt incomparably secure in my heart. At that moment, I felt for the first time that letting go of hatred could be so relaxing and releasing.
Having had this experience, I was more willing to live my life in accordance to God’s word, and I was no longer willing to be fooled or corrupted by Satan. One morning, Xiaochen’s shop hadn’t opened yet, and I heard somebody yelling outside, “Miss Tailor! Open the door quickly!” I opened it up and had a look, and it turned out to be Xiaochen’s customer coming to pick up clothes from her shop. The customer saw that I opened the door, asking me if Xiaochen was at home. At this moment, I remembered something that happened before: One day, I was cleaning upstairs, and a customer came to look for me downstairs. Even though he knew I was at home, Xiaochen’s husband didn’t tell the customer. Thinking of this, I felt angry, and I didn’t want to tell the customer about the fact that Xiaochen’s at home. Then I remembered God’s word said: “[You] ought to know that God likes those who are honest. … [T]o be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man” (“Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “When you rebel against the flesh, there will inevitably be a battle within you. Satan will try and make people follow it, will try and make them follow the notions of the flesh and uphold the interests of the flesh—but God’s words will enlighten and illuminate people within, and at this time it is up to you whether you follow God or follow Satan” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The enlightenment of God’s word allowed me to see that what I had just thought was still living by Satan’s poison. I wanted to treat Xiaochen as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Isn’t this still living within Satan’s corrupt disposition? God asks us to be an honest person and not lie or deceive people, but Satan allows me to act in accordance to the corrupt disposition of the flesh. Should I follow Satan and satisfy the flesh, or should I rebel against Satan, practice the truth, and satisfy God? At this moment, I felt God observing my every word, every act, and each and every movement. No, I must rebel against the flesh and practice the truth to satisfy God. Thinking of this, I told the customer calmly, “If you’re looking for Miss Xiaochen, she’s at home, just wait for a bit and she’ll come out.” When I practiced this, I felt very secure in my heart.
Later, when repeat customers came to my house to make clothes but I was too busy and couldn’t manage it, I would introduce them to Xiaochen’s shop. When she found out later, she was also very touched. Finally, one day, when she saw me, she deliberated for a long time, and then called excitedly out, “Master!” This “Master” made me feel extremely warm inside. Ever since she opened her shop next to my house, she had never called me Master once. I knew at that moment that the reason we could resolve our hatred was because of the effect achieved by God’s word. Otherwise, the hatred between us could only get deeper and deeper. Thank God! All glory and praise be to Almighty God!