By Fang Hui
One Friday evening, my colleagues and I worked overtime to finish up formulating an advertising proposal, the sound of tapping keys filling our office. Thinking of how ordinarily I received praise from my leaders and colleagues for doing work seriously and responsibly, I told myself that I could not fall behind this time. I racked my brains and kept researching, wanting to do a good proposal in short order.
Suddenly, my partner Lisa rebuked me and said, “Fang Hui, have you not finished yet? You’re working at a snail’s pace. Your work efficiency is too low! At this rate, we’re able to turn in the proposal tomorrow? I really regret partnering with you. If I worked with Linda, perhaps I would already finish it and wouldn’t be held back …”
Hearing her say this, I felt as if I had been slapped for no reason and my face turned red. I was completely wracked with turmoil, thinking, “How could you say such unpleasant things? Am I not doing work a little slowly just this once? Besides, isn’t this because I want to do a good proposal? How could you not clarify the situation before rebuking me? This really is too much! What will other colleagues think of me after hearing your words?” So I replied angrily, “Anyway, I bet I will finish it tomorrow!”
After hearing this, Lisa didn’t say another word, but her eyes were filled with disdain. At that moment, I became really upset and didn’t want to spend another second in this gloomy office, much less face her expression of scorn. So I quickly put away my laptop and stormed out of there after taking the day off.
Although the proposal was finished on time, Lisa’s words of reproach kept lingering in my mind in the following days. The thought of that got me to seethe with anger, and I did not want to talk to her and even deliberately stayed far away from her. She seemed to realize that and so every time she would quickly pass by my computer desk. Except necessary communication in our jobs, we almost did not talk to each other.
I had thought my ignoring Lisa could be a way to let out my resentment, yet this did not make me happy but very upset, as if there was a knot in my heart. Because I could not avoid running into her every day, I felt very embarrassed and had no idea how to face her. I thought, “Will this stalemate between us go on?” In my pain, I called on the Lord, “O Lord, as soon as I think of how Lisa treated me that day, I’m filled with resentment. Though I know that it is wrong, I’m incapable of forgiving her actively. I beg You to help me escape all this pain and act in accordance with Your will.”
After praying, I read these verses: “And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25–26). “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31–32).
From them I understood that the Lord requires us to learn to forgive others and that no matter how other people offend or hurt us, we should always have a compassionate and forgiving heart. If we become filled with negative emotions such as resentment and anger, are obsessed with right and wrong, and live by the idea of “If you’re not kind, I won’t be just,” we will be bound by sin and live inextricably trapped in torment with no hope of release. I thought about how, just because Lisa’s censure caused me to lose face, I then became full of dissatisfaction and resentment, and intentionally ignored her. This left me living every day in pain and also brought harm to Lisa. It turned out that it was due to my failure to practice the Lord’s words and be tolerant with her that my heart was full of lingering bitterness.
Just then, I thought of how when the Lord Jesus was crucified as a flesh without sin, He still begged the heavenly Father, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). From the Lord’s principles of treating people, I saw that the disposition of the Lord is beautiful, and He is filled with mercy for us humans and can forgive our sins. As Christians, we should keep the Lord’s teachings and glorify His name. When we learn to forgive others, the Lord will surely forgive our mistakes and allow us to regain joy. Coming to this realization, I was willing to actively practice according to the Lord’s words and learn to forgive Lisa.
One day, I met Lisa on my way to work and I mustered up my courage and purposefully waved my hand to her. She seemed very surprised to see this and greeted me as well.
And she also said, “Fang Hui, I’m sorry for reproaching you brusquely that day and causing you to lose face. I shouldn’t do that. It’s already an obvious fact that you have a sense of responsibility in formulating proposals, but I treated you that way just because your progress was slow for a time. It’s not fair to you. I offer my sincere apology to you. Can you forgive me?”
Faced with Lisa’s sudden apology, I no longer believed it was right and proper. Instead, I felt calm in my heart because I knew that the Lord was guiding me to learn to forgive others through that experience.
I replied, “Don’t mention it. You shouldn’t blame yourself. This time, I indeed did the proposal a little slowly and so we failed to finish the task as soon as possible. That was disturbing to you. Actually, your pointing things out to me has given me a boost, and I’ll make improvements in the future.” After those words left my mouth, I immediately felt a great deal of relaxation and release.
Lisa and I looked at each other in contentment, and our conflicts were thus resolved.
I deeply felt that when we tolerate others, it is actually gaining us the Lord’s forgiveness. When I acted in accordance with the Lord’s words, my heart was filled with peace and joy. Thank the Lord!