Who Was to Blame When Roommates Cannot Get Along Well With Each Other?

March 20, 2020

By Jiejing, Australia

Stars are twinkling in the dark blue sky, insects are buzzing in the grass, and along the light breeze came bursts of laughing and talking. Looking in the direction of the voice, you will find a small house with a warm light. This is my home.

I live in a shared house with several sisters in the Lord, and we cook in shifts according to the schedule we made. My sisters were always busy not only in serving in the church but also in working, so I decided to do more housework when available, allowing them to see that although I was young I was still considerate and thoughtful of others. Therefore, in the following days, whenever I found a sister cooking in the kitchen, I would ask her whether she needed some help, and if she did, we would cook together. Sometimes when the sister on duty was busy with other things, I would do the cooking instead. Doing one good deed was easy, but yet as I did things like this more, unwillingness crept up within me.

One day it was not my turn to be on duty, but I still helped a sister with cooking for a long while. After it was finished, I went out to deal with something urgent. When I came back finding the kitchen was in an awful mess, my anger welled up instantly and I thought: This is too much. I just came to give a helping hand, now you leave this mess for me to clean up. All of you are busy; am I not busy? … My heart was full of misgiving and complaint although I was doing the cleaning.

In the following days, sometimes when my sisters passed by the kitchen but didn’t care about me, I felt uneasy in my heart. So sometimes when I was chopping vegetables or washing dishes, I intentionally made a big noise to vent my dissatisfaction: We are equal, but why do I always have to do these things? What’s more, I didn’t receive any praise for my efforts. The more I thought about it the more I felt wronged and really thrown off balance, living in pain. One day, the oppression I had held for a long time finally burst out …

That day, I made pancakes for breakfast, but we didn’t eat up, so we continued to have them for lunch. In the afternoon I still made pancakes and when we had them for supper, a sister said in joke, “Today we have pancakes for three meals.” Once I heard this, my anger rose and I said with a long face, “Whatever you want to eat, cook by yourself!” As soon as my voice subsided, the whole room became quiet all of a sudden and the air seemed frozen; other sisters all turned their eyes toward me, and the smile of Sister A got stiff on her face. I dared not to look at them again. Bowing my head, I hurriedly finished my meal and went into my room, feeling very miserable. In my pain I prayed to God: “O God, the words I’ve just said may hurt my sister. I always feel wronged, because I’ve expended much more efforts than them. God, I know this is at odds with Your will, but I can’t betray myself. Please lead me to understand what lesson I should learn from this.”

Later, when I was practicing spiritual devotions, I saw a passage of God’s words that says: “If you don’t have a proper relationship with God, no matter what you do to maintain your relationships with other people, no matter how hard you work or how much energy you exert, it will still belong to a human philosophy of life. You are maintaining your position among people through a human perspective and a human philosophy so that they will praise you. You do not establish proper relationships with people according to the word of God. If you don’t focus on your relationships with people but maintain a proper relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, very naturally, your relationships with all people will become proper.” As I tried to figure out God’s words, my heart gradually lit up. So, man’s normal relationship with people is based on his normal relationship with God. If man can practice according to God’s words in everything, and harbor right intentions without any adulteration of selfish desires, then he can naturally get along well with others.

Through reflecting, I thought about how I got along with my sisters in those days. In the beginning I would like to put God’s requirements—loving one another and loving your neighbor as yourself—into practice. After a period of time, however, I felt I did much more for them while they neither helped me, nor gave me any compliment or praise; I became unhappy, and even spoke with anger to hurt them. This exactly revealed that my intentions of doing things were wrong and with adulteration: I was not willingly putting God’s words into practice, but rather attempting to use my efforts to earn my sisters’ admiration and appreciation. Was this not making a trade? My sisters were busy with the work of the church, and yet I still made a fuss over every tiny detail with them—I was really too deceitful, too selfish and despicable. Thinking of this, I felt very ashamed. At the same time, I felt it was also God’s love for me that I faced such a revelation, or else I would never have come to realize my impurities in the things I did. For this, I offered thanks and praise to God from my heart.

After I understood God’s will and came to know myself instead of focusing on my sisters, the door was gently pushed open. It was Sister A coming to apologize to me. I was surprised and very ashamed, and I also laid bare my own corruption to her. We spoke heart-to-heart with each other, feeling very close in God’s love.

Afterward, I consciously changed myself in this regard. When I was about to expose corrupt disposition in cooking meals or doing housework, I would remind myself that I should do things before God and should no longer continue with my selfish ways. When I thought like this, the complaints inside me became much less than before, and I felt very relaxed. When I felt contented after having gained some entry, God quietly stretched out His hands of salvation toward me once again.

One afternoon, I needed to transfer money through internet banking, but I didn’t understand English, so I asked Sister B for help. Yet I never thought that she should say, “Take notes when I perform the transfer so you needn’t depend on me in the future.” Hearing her words, my anger rose again. I thought to myself: “How could you be so selfish? Doing this takes you only about three to five minutes. It’s not too long. I don’t understand English, so learning this is too hard for me.” With my heart full of anger, I refused to follow her instructions although she taught me patiently; instead, I learned to transfer money by using the translation software. I thought: Humph! I can do it myself! Next time I won’t help you with cooking, and that really saves me a lot of trouble.

Having finished the transference, I realized that I had exposed my selfish nature again in this situation. I thought I should be able to live out a little like a human, make some efforts with willingness relying on God’s love, and no longer pursue to gain other’s praise. But I hadn’t thought that unknowingly I still took these efforts as bargaining chips or stock for asking others to help and satisfy me. Actually what my sister said was right and good for me: If I learned how to transfer money, I could do it whenever I needed to. Moreover, she had always helped me with these things, but just because her words didn’t conform to my expectations this time, I could get so angry that I even wanted to stop helping her with cooking. How narrow-minded and petty I was! Seeing my ugly face, I felt very sad, and felt that I had been too deeply corrupted by Satan. I had to come before God to pray, seeking a solution.

One day, I saw God’s words that say: “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.” From God’s words I understood God’s essence is beauty and goodness: He has paid all for mankind but never asks for man’s repayment; He has endured all sufferings and pain to save mankind but never thinks for Himself in the slightest degree. Two thousand years ago, when the Lord Jesus performed His work, that was, when the most honorable King of the universe humbled Himself as a person, He sat at the table with sinners, He even washed the disciples’ feet, and in the end He offered His life for the whole mankind. That God did everything is not before men to earn their praise, but comes out of His true love for mankind.

Think about us corrupt mankind: After we were corrupted by Satan, in nature we have become selfish and despicable, crooked and deceitful. We all live by being self-serving and self-interested, and we scheme against each other, without any consideration for others. Just as a passage of the words in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life says: “Presently, everybody’s interpersonal relationships are abnormal. The main reason for this is that people have been corrupted by Satan very deeply and their integrity is extremely flawed. Men seek nothing but profit and try to benefit at other people’s expense in everything that they do. They are guided by their own individual intentions and goals in all matters. People live for themselves and for their flesh. They are absolutely not concerned at all about others and they do not even have the loving emotions that they should possess. Men fight and scheme against each other and they do so both openly and covertly. There is no way for mankind to get along with one another in a normal fashion. The conscience and rationality that man should possess has vanished from the face of the earth. There is no spirit of cooperation amongst mankind. Without a little bit of patience, people would be enemies with one another. Man’s heart is filled with evil, conflict, hostility and irreconcilable differences. It’s as if man does not have the image of human being at all. He is completely possessed by Satan and his inner heart is filled with Satan’s philosophy.”

These words were so practical and they were exactly saying my condition. I recalled that all my actions were for my own sake, full of selfishness and despicableness: When I paid more efforts than others, I often kept them in my mind; every time my sisters’ words and actions didn’t conform with my will, I would compare my efforts with theirs. My selfish and despicable satanic nature constantly dominates my thoughts, words and actions, making me become cold and without humanity. Thinking of God’s selfless devotion and affection for us mankind, I really felt that I didn’t deserve them, and I also hated my corrupt nature even more.

I saw another passage of God’s words that says: “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.” Through God’s words I understood: When we get along with others, we should live by God’s words, get rid of the crookedness and deceitfulness and the adulteration of trades; we should use practical living out to exalt God and bear witness to Him. Only by living before God at every turn like that can we receive His care and protection, and gain true peace and joy. In the past when I got along with my sisters, I always lived in my selfish corrupt disposition, and thus not only I suffered myself but also my sister felt restrained. Now God’s words have given me a clear path to follow and I will practice according to God’s words.

Thanks be to God! After I understood God’s will, I went to my sister’s room, I shared my ugliness with her, and sincerely apologized to her. Afterward, when I encountered something disagreeable to me, I no longer fixed my gaze on others, but instead I focused on reflecting on myself and seeking the relevant truths to enter into.

Several days later, I went to the vegetable garden in the backyard to pick some fresh vegetables for lunch, and found there were many weeds in the garden. I wanted to weed it after lunch, yet a selfish idea occurred to me instantly: They rarely come here, and they will not see it even though I do this work. It’s thankless work. Just let it alone. At that moment I realized that I was about to rely on my corrupt satanic disposition to do things again, so I hurriedly prayed to God, asking Him for help. After the prayer, I felt somewhat liberated. I thought: Doing this work has nothing to do with whether or not others will see it or say I’m good. I am a member of this family so I have the responsibility to weed the garden, and this is the normal humanity that I should live out. Then after the lunch, I came to the backyard and finished weeding only in a while. Seeing the clean garden, though tired, I felt especially sweet in my heart. From then on, every time when I saw there were weeds in the garden or some other work ignored by other sisters, I would take it upon myself to do it.

In the beginning I trifled over minor matters, but now I am willing to fulfill my responsibility: this is the result of the leadership of God’s words. When my views changed, I found that my sisters had been doing things for our home. For example, they emptied the waste-baskets every morning; they put the newly-picked vegetables in the kitchen before I knew it; sometimes when it was my turn to cook but I got home late after work, they had already cooked dinner for us; when I was weak and negative, they fellowshiped with me timely and gave me thoughtful looks; … I was just too selfish in the past so that I only thought of my own gain and loss, but never saw all these things they did for me.

Now we often have heart-to-heart talks together. When someone’s conditions are not good, we fellowship the truth together to resolve them; and in daily life we help each other. Gradually I taste more and more of the support, love, as well as the connection in spirit among us.

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