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How Should Christians Treat Rowdy Tenants?
By Youxin, Canada
In our three-story building there only lived my family of four: my husband and I, as well as our two children. So I rented out the apartment on the first floor to a girl who engaged in gardening. In the beginning, we got along well with each other. She took good care of the room and the kitchen. Sometimes after work, she brought some flowers to decorate her room or for us to plant. Seeing me getting in the clothes downstairs, she greeted me actively. And when I had something delicious to eat, I would share some with her. We often talked and laughed together, living in peace and harmony. But soon such life was broken.
Three months later, the girl asked me whether her boyfriend was allowed to live here for three weeks. Without a second thought I agreed. More than ten days later after her boyfriend’s moving in, one day at past 1 a.m., my husband and I were woken by the noise of quarrel. Listening carefully, then I knew that the noise was coming from the downstairs. We went downstairs in a hurry to see what was going on. On our arrival, we smelt the odor of alcohol, and came to know that the girl had drunk some alcohol and quarreled with her boyfriend. At the sight of this, I tactfully reminded them: “It’s so late. Don’t quarrel anymore. That will hinder our sleep.” They agreed and I thought starting then they would not quarrel. But unexpectedly, less than an hour after we went back upstairs, they started to quarrel again. I could not but take up the phone and sent them a message to remind them not to quarrel again and they replied, “Ok.” Nevertheless, afterward they still continued their quarrel, and gradually I fell asleep accompanied by the noise of their quarrel since I was too tired. Every other week after that, such a “farce” would reoccur between them. Whenever my husband and I really couldn’t bear it, we would go downstairs to warn them. But they just promised us to our face and quarreled again once we left. Such “farce” was repeated again and again, making us feel upset. Considering her boyfriend had stayed in my house for over three weeks, I asked him to move out. But he refused to leave.
One night, there came the rat-a-tat from the downstairs, as if someone was forcefully knocking at the door and the window, and the sound was accompanied by big noises. Against the silent night it was especially resounding and even my children were woken up by it. I thought: How come they are quarrelling again? Why cannot they let us have steady sleep? Could it be that they broke the door and the window when quarrelling? Then, my husband and I quickly rushed to the downstairs, and saw there was blood on the man’s forehead and on the door. I assumed that it was caused by a fight. They couldn’t go on like this! Because if so, not only would they disturb our sleep, but one of them might be killed. At the thought of this, I warned them, saying: “If you keep fighting like this, I’ll call the police.” Having drunk some alcohol, the girl said casually: “Mind your own business.” Then she closed the door and went on quarreling with her boyfriend. At her words, I was fretful and angry. While going upstairs, I thought, “You two are too unreasonable. This is my house. You have severely affected our sleep, yet you didn’t listen when we advised you, and you even told us to mind our own business after our many warnings. You simply cannot be reasoned with! If you quarrel again, I’ll call the police.” Because of this matter, my husband, an unbeliever, having no place to vent his anger, scolded me. Because of these things, I couldn’t sleep well all night, but I didn’t know how to deal with them. For I had urged them, yet it didn’t work at all and our relationship was strained.
The next day, at the meeting, I laid bare to brothers and sisters that I was upset at the quarrels of my tenants. A sister read a passage of words in Fellowship and Preaching About Life Entering In. It says: “There are lessons for us to learn from various people, matters, and objects, right? They are all our lessons. Remember: Various people, matters, and objects all are our lessons. Never miss a single one. If we, from kinds of people, can learn something, broaden our horizons, add to our wisdom, and ultimately, we can gain transcendence and suffer no restraint, this is amazing. If you really learn how to seek the truth, practice the truth, and enter into reality, then you can be perfected by God and live out a real human life. When one day you truly gain the truth, people around you will all come to congratulate you and compliment you, saying: ‘You are a good person. I admire you. I’m inferior to you and I want to make friends with you.’ ‘I’m proud that you are my family.’ At that time, you’ll have learned your lessons, and you will graduate. Only when we really understand what seeking the truth is, what practicing the truth is, what gaining the truth is, and what on earth living out the likeness of a real man is, will we truly break free of Satan’s influence. Despite that we still live with Satan, we can resist their disturbance.”
Then the sister fellowshiped with me: “Every day the people, matters, and objects we will encounter are what we cannot imagine or expect. But they all are in God’s sovereignty and within them there are lessons we should learn. This requires us to come before God in quietness and pray to Him to seek His will and seek how we should enter in. When we learn the lessons, the environment will be moved away.”
At that moment, I understood that there were lessons I should learn in everything happening around me. And I thought: Today with such a thing coming upon me, what lessons should I learn? Think back to the time when the girl first moved into my house. She was quiet, and whatever she did confirmed to my will and wouldn’t get me in trouble. I was happy within and could get along well with her. However, after her boyfriend moved in, they often had rows, disturbed our sleep, and ignored our reminding and warning time and time again. I felt annoyed in my heart, complaining that they were unreasonable and did not listen to our words. I felt so angry that I went downstairs to blame them together with my husband who was an unbeliever. I treated them according to my hot blood rather than coming before God to seek the truth to resolve the problem, and I saw I was too numb. After understanding God’s will, I was willing to live out normal humanity, set aside the hatred toward my tenants, learn to forgive them, and try to get along normally with them. Though I had such a resolution, I found it difficult to practice when another thing happened to me.
In September, when my husband was tidying the backyard, he found signs of barbecuing and some cigarette butts on the ground. He then went to argue with the girl. The girl said: “These cigarette butts are not left by us. They are left by our friends.” On finishing her words, she slipped into her room. Seeing this, my husband was enraged and called me, saying: “I’ve never seen such shameless people. Seeing their manner, I’m in a bad mood and I’m so furious that I even want to beat them.” Hearing his words, I hurriedly persuaded him to be calm and not to be impetuous, and I told him to wait for me to come back and deal with it together. Hanging up the phone, I recalled the tenants’ behavior of these days, feeling enraged and helpless. I thought, “How come I live with such kind of people? You two are too unreasonable and you even don’t put yourselves in our shoes. Even if these cigarette butts are left by your friends, you’re obliged to clean them up.” But soon I realized this matter was arranged by God for me to learn lessons. I shouldn’t get entangled in the matter, but how should I enter in then? Was it because I hadn’t truly learned lessons that such things occurred repeatedly? At the thought of this, I came before God and prayed to Him: “O, God! In these lessons You arranged for me, I have revealed much corruption. I can’t grasp Your intention and don’t know how to learn lessons. May You enlighten me so I can understand Your intention and know how to practice the truth.”
After the prayer, I saw the following words of God: “You must see through these things that surround you; if you are truly unable to submit, you find them too upsetting, and they are affecting your life, then pray and implore God to act. Allow God to make arrangements; allow God to do His work. We humans should not do it ourselves. If it’s God’s intention to hone us in such an environment, then we should submit, and we should allow ourselves to be honed until a result is achieved; we should allow ourselves to be honed until we are as humans should be and can show this to God and satisfy God. First, though, you must have this resolve to suffer. … You do not merely come across people with bad habits; there are even more things, such as issues to do with disposition, issues to do with personality, and issues to do with how things are done. When you do and handle things, or have some thoughts while encountering things, do not rely on your own intentions or your hot blood.and come before Him. This, first of all, is a submissive attitude; it is the first psychological quality you should possess. We implore God to do His work, but if He does not do it or open up a way out, then we just need to keep enduring it and continue living in this environment. We must submit to God’s arrangements and not rush ahead and try to walk in front of God. Only then will our lives have value.”
Pondering God’s words, I reflected on the thoughts and actions I revealed in dealing with the tenants, and found they were all driven by my corrupt disposition. When they quarreled fiercely and threw rubbish willfully, they involved my interest. Controlled by Satan’s philosophy “We will not attack unless we are attacked; if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack,” I revealed hot-bloodedness, blaming and detesting them without tolerance and patience. I always wanted them to act according to my thoughts, and when they went against my will, I wished to throw them out. From it I saw I was very malicious and didn’t have any normal humanity. Actually, God’s intention in arranging these environments was to transform my corrupt disposition, letting me not rely on hot blood or arrogant disposition to blame others or make demands on them, but be more understanding, considerate, and tolerant to them. This way, we could get along well with each other. We were all people corrupted by Satan, it is inevitable that we had deficiencies. But I always wanted to change them; was I not too captious and too arrogant? I should treat various people around me according to God’s words, reconcile the conflict between us with God’s words, and get along with others according to God’s words. With this thought, I felt a great release. No matter how they behaved, I should live out the likeness of a Christian. I would still do what I could to remind and to persuade them, but not do it according to my corrupt disposition.
After understanding God’s will, I no longer resisted or held any views against the tenants. Instead, I was willing to submit in such environment, experience the work of God and live out the likeness of a man. Later, when the downstairs neighbors quarreled again, I consciously came before God and prayed to Him. Gradually, I could quiet my heart and didn’t feel they were too noisy. Sometimes, when my husband wanted to argue with them, I stopped him. When I met the girl, I actively talked to her and seeing this, she rewarded me with a smile. One day, I saw her hair was dyed. I said to her, “Nice hairstyle.” She then smiled joyfully and we chatted with each other for a while, feeling the relationship between us gradually got closer.
After I practiced like that for a period of time, unexpectedly, the girl’s boyfriend moved out. I knew that was God’s deed. I saw that all things and all beings, as well as man’s heart and spirit are in God’s control and God’s sovereignty. Though sometimes the girl’s boyfriend still came, they were not that noisy as before. Seeing this, I offered my thanks and praise to God, and I resolved: From now on, no matter what people, matters, and objects I encounter, I am willing to submit to God’s orchestration and arrangement; to experience His work practically and learn lessons; and to cast off my corrupt dispositions and live out the likeness of a real man. All the glory be to Almighty God!
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