How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
The Story of How I Get Along Harmoniously With My Competitor
Everyone says that two of a trade never agree, and in order to avoid getting to that point, I once treated my competitor as a friend; however, with profits in front of us, it was inevitable that we two became bitter enemies. In seeking, I found the way to get along with competitors like friends.
I treated my competitor, who just set up a shop, as a friend.
I’ve been running the grain and oil business for several years. In April of last year, Wang Juan and her husband, who are my husband’s former workmates, opened a new vegetable shop next to mine. My shop mainly sold rice, flour, oil, coarse grain, and eggs, Wang Juan’s mainly sold vegetables among other groceries, so there was no conflict of interest between us. As the saying goes “Better good neighbors near than relations far away.” In order to get along well with Wang Juan, I bought everything I needed from her shop since its first day of opening; I did not care whether her things were good or bad and tried my best to support her business. She also bought what she needed at my shop and we two got along very well with each other. I remembered that time when Wang Juan’s shop needed the security grilles for windows to be installed, she did not come to open the door and calls to her were unanswered, so the workers who came for installation were quite anxious. Seeing this, I allowed them to use my electricity to work. I thought our relationship would always be very good, but later it actually underwent a change.
When my competitor stole my business, we became enemies.
Not too long before, I lived in my house, which was a bit far from my shop, so sometimes it could not open in time and the customers who came to buy things had to wait for me at Wang Juan’s shop. One day, Wang Juan said to me, smiling, “You see, the customer has waited for you here for over half an hour. Even I feel sorry for this. Why don’t you sell a box of eggs to me? This way, if you don’t come I can first sell them to the customers.” Hearing this, I thought, “Are you not stealing my business?” But if I did not sell eggs to her, I was afraid of hurting her feelings and destroying our relationship, so I sold a box of eggs to her. I’d never have imagined that she would push her luck by buying another two boxes of eggs when seeing that they sold well. Then I became annoyed and thought, “You’re so greedy! Your big shop has so many kinds of goods, while my small one sells only a few kinds of grain and oil and eggs; you start selling what I sell. Is this your wanting to exclude me? Now because of city planning many residents have moved; if you buy a box of eggs from me, then I’ll sell less to other customers. This way, you will steal all my customers, how can I earn money?” Although I was angry, in order to maintain our relationship, I had to swallow up my anger.
Two days later, Wang Juan came to my shop, walked over to the counter where I sold cooking oil and said to me, smiling, “How much is this peanut oil?” I replied, “I can’t remember it. My husband has written down the prices on the lids. You can see and get the right one.” She smiled without saying anything. I saw that she looked at each and every lid and then left. I thought she wanted to buy oil but unexpectedly, a week later, she got the cooking oil covering the same brand as mine. Seeing this, I felt very angry and thought, “You’ve gone too far now. By stocking the same goods, isn’t this just obvious stealing my business?” I developed a prejudice against Wang Juan; I was so angry that I no longer bought things from her shop and was unwilling to get along with her. This led to our relationship becoming distant. Following that, things went from bad to worse: Wang Juan simply stood outside the door to stop the customers and guide them into her shop. Sometimes when I opened the shop late in the morning, Wang Juan would guide the customers who were waiting for my service outside the door into her shop to buy hers. And if she did not have that goods, she would keep the customers’ phone numbers and then deliver the goods to them after she stocked them. Seeing her doing business this way, I was furious and regretted treating her in a well-intentioned manner.
Seeing that a lot of my regular customers of many years were stolen by Wang Juan and thus my business apparently got bad, I was filled with hatred for her. I really wanted to gossip about her and make up some rumors about her in front of customers, and I also wanted to give her a good telling off and get the customers back, but I knew that I was a Christian and that I could not do anything which shames God. Seeing my business increasingly stagnant, I thought, “If things continue this way, my shop will close down. When will I pay off the debts of 110,000 yuan?” Thinking of this, I could neither eat nor sleep; I was anxious but had no way. So I even more hated that Wang Juan had stolen my business. In this kind of situation, every day that went by felt like a year and I felt pain and helplessness.
God’s words guided me every step of the way and enabled me to know the truth about my corruption.
Facing my business’ difficult circumstances, I prayed to God in tears, “O God, these days, when I see Wang Juan blatantly steal my business, I hate her in my heart and ponder every day on how to take revenge and save my business. I’m living in great pain. God, I’m unwilling to live in suffering. May You lead me to walk out of the hatred toward my neighbor.” After praying, I read something written in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “In order for people to interact normally with one another, they must possess a few principles of practice. These principles should not only include not taking advantage of others, not harming others, but having some love. They further include having a conscience and rationality, helping one another, showing tolerance to one another, caring for others, letting others benefit in all situations, considering others, not just caring about yourself, showing compassion for others’ weaknesses, and forgiving the transgressions of others. If we have these few principles, we will be able to build a normal relationship with others and we will be able to live in harmony with each other.” These words showed me the path of practice and I realized that in my interactions with others I should have more consideration for them, help them, be tolerant of them, and forgive their transgressions. Only in this way could I get along harmoniously with others. I thought of how, Wang Juan just started her business and there were few customers, so it was forgivable that she stole customers to help get her business going; I should forgive her. Moreover, I was a Christian and I could not bicker over every little bit of my interests. Also, the Lord Jesus taught us to love our enemies and love others as we love ourselves. I should first put myself aside, rectify my own motives, and get along with her normally. Thereupon, I started consciously forsaking myself, interacted with her as before, and when I stocked goods I would ask her whether she needed or not.
One afternoon, when I was busy weighing various coarse grain for a customer, a female customer entered and said, “I’ll buy five yuan worth of pancakes.” Hearing this, I handed her a packet of pancakes. Soon after that, Wang Juan brought the pancakes just bought by the customer back to me and told me that the customer did not want this kind of pancakes. At that moment, I didn’t think too much of it and gave the money back to her, but when turning my head, I saw Wang Juan selling her shop pancakes to that lady. I thought, “We stocked the goods together, so how could it be that yours are better than mine?” The more I thought about it, the angrier I got, and I was unwilling to face her; in a fit of rage, I closed the door and went home. Not long after that, I received a call from someone who wanted to buy eggs, so I hurried back to the shop by bike. Wang Juan and the customer were standing outside of my shop, and on seeing me, Wang Juan said, “You’re really good at doing business. This customer is only willing to buy from you. I tried my best to advise her to buy from me but I failed.” The customer said to Wang Juan, “Your goods are not good. I don’t like them.” I felt the customer happened to help me vent my anger by saying this and I felt good in my heart. Just then I suddenly realized that my idea was unsuitable, so I silently prayed to God, “O God, I again become mired in a state of resentment toward my competitor. I ask that You keep my heart from being disturbed by this matter. Please help me, so that I can forsake myself and practice Your words.” After praying, I was able to calm myself.
When I got home I read some 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?” “In the past, when the words of God have not become people’s lives, it was Satan’s nature that took charge and dominated within them. What specific things were within that nature? … For example, if you ask some evildoers why they do something, they will answer: ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This one phrase expresses the root of the problem: The logic of Satan has become people’s lives, and no matter what they do, whether it’s for some purpose or other, they are only doing it for themselves. People all think that ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents man’s nature. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ this statement of Satan’s is precisely its poison, and when internalized by man it becomes man’s nature. Satan’s nature is exposed through this statement; it completely represents it. This poison becomes man’s life and becomes the foundation of his existence; corrupted humanity has been consistently dominated by this for thousands of years.” The revelation of God’s words made me cower in shame. Was this not actually speaking of me? I had believed in God for many years but had not pursued the truth, so I achieved no change in my disposition at all and still conducted myself by satanic philosophy of “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” I lived within my corrupt disposition of selfishness and despicableness, and for the sake of my own interests, I schemed against and vied and fought with my competitor. I was still a natural living Satan. I thought of how, when at first my neighbor and I sold different goods and there was no conflict of interest between us, I was willing to help her and get along well with her. But when her selling the same things as mine infringed upon my interests, I completely changed my former attitude toward her, couldn’t stand her, and was unwilling to get along with her or buy things from her. When she stole my customers, I became filled even more with resentment for her and spent the whole day figuring out how to retaliate against her. Although I knew as a Christian I should consider others and show them tolerance and love, because Satanic philosophy of “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” had become my life, I still couldn’t help but resent my competitor once my personal interests were involved. Not only did I not consider her difficulties or forgive her transgressions, but instead I lived within my corrupt disposition of selfishness and despicableness, was narrow-minded and petty, and bore no likeness to a Christian. Through God’s revelation, I saw that I had been so deeply corrupted by Satan that all of my thoughts were for myself, that I was no better than her, and that I, too, kept only my own interests in mind. I acted not like a believer in God at all. With this in my mind, I hated that I was so selfish and despicable.
Feeling God’s love, I removed the resentment in my heart.
I saw more of God’s words, “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. God will never alter His substance of righteousness and beauty, yet man is perfectly capable, at any time and in any situation, of betraying righteousness and straying far from God.” Yes, God’s revelations are absolutely right. After mankind was corrupted by Satan, selfishness became our nature. No matter how hard we try, it is all for our own benefits; once our interests are harmed, we display shameful behavior. Only God is selfless, beautiful and good, and everything that God does is for the benefit of mankind. God gives mankind sunshine, air, and all the pleasurable things, but He has never demanded anything in return. In order to save mankind—we who are filthy and corrupt—He has become flesh and come to walk among us and endures our rejection and defiance, but He never asks for anything in return. Today, God has bestowed the way of truth and life upon me and asks me to be a person with normal humanity according to His words, but I time and again rebelled against God and could not practice the truth. In order to protect my own interests, I schemed against my competitor, manifested Satan, and retained no true semblance of a human being. Realizing this, I felt self-reproach and became willing to abandon my own interests, pursue the truth to be a person with consciousness and humanity, and no longer fight openly and maneuver covertly with my neighbor.
When I lived out witness, I saw God’s blessings.
Not long after that, seeing the flour and dried noodles in my shop were popular, Wang Juan stocked online the same ones. And when watching people passing by, she guided them into her shop and said that she had a good and new assortment of goods. Seeing the customers were stolen by her again, I felt pent-up and wanted to give her a stern talking-to. Just then, I hurriedly said a prayer to God, “O God, the people, events and things I encounter every day all have Your permission. Today, when Wang Juan again comes up with ways to steal my business, I still feel some resentment for her in my heart and want to give her an earful, but I know doing this is at odds with Your will. May You lead and help me so that I can forsake my corrupt disposition of selfishness and despicableness and live out a normal humanity.” After praying, I felt much calmer.
After returning home, I read God’s words, “Your practice and revelations in real life are the testimony of God, they are man’s living out and the testimony of God, and this is truly enjoying God’s love; when you have experienced to this point, the due effect will have been achieved. You are possessed of actual living out … these are the people who have testimony, and are the manifestation of God.” God’s words were a reminder for me. Yes, the things we encounter in our real life are connected to testifying God, and only by living by God’s words can we live out the semblance of a Christian, be admired by others, and humiliate Satan. Today, faced with my neighbor stealing my business, I cannot keep on fighting with her for the sake of my own profits; I must live out the reality of God’s words in order to testify to God and bring shame to Satan. When I thought of this, my anger melted away. In the following days, when I saw that Wang Juan stole my business again, I would pray and look to God for His guidance, so that I could treat her properly, no longer fight with her in secret, but instead do my own business well.
One morning, two women walked into my shop as they talked, and one of them said, “I always buy things at this shop, because its owner is honest and her attitude is good.” “So do I. Her shop provides good quality goods and fair prices,” said the other. Hearing this, I was very moved inside. This allowed me to see that whether my business was good or bad did not depend on my struggling. When I lived in accordance with God’s words and let go of my prejudices against Wang Juan, I saw that all things are under God’s sovereignty and arrangements and the business in my shop was not affected too much.
My competitor and I changed from enemies to friends.
Incredibly, when I changed, the people, events and objects around me also changed. The past few days, Wang Juan seemed to have changed into another person. She not only did not steal my customers but instead recommended her customers buying rice at my shop. Unknowingly, our relationship became as harmonious as before. I started again buying things I lacked at her shop and she also began buying from me. I came to truly appreciate that only by living by God’s words can we get along harmoniously with others and that even enemies also can become friends. I thank God for pointing the way for me to get along with my competitors!
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