January 8, 2018 Monday Cloudy
Recently, my mother’s health has not been good. It is not very convenient for her to leave the house. Our church leader was afraid that this would interfere with her attending meetings. As a result, he asked me to have meetings with my mother at home. Even though I did not say anything when I heard him say this, inside, I was not very happy. In a flash, the unhappy incidences between my mother and me that occurred in the past appeared in my mind like scenes from a movie.
My mother is old now and her memory is poor. She is often forgetful when she does things. Sometimes, she forgets what I told her to do and thus, I have to repeatedly remind her. I am a very neat and tidy person, yet, I do have quite a temper. My mother is a relatively sloppy and messy person. After she finishes eating, she frequently forgets to clear the crumbs of food from the table and the floor. I find this particularly hard to bear. Since I disapprove of my mother’s habits, I frequently get peeved off and am involved in a cold war with her, and at times I even lose my temper at her, but she never changes.
Each time we eat, my mother nags a lot. If this goes on for a long time, I get a bit impatient. Sometimes, just as I am about to start eating, my mother begins to nag. When this occurs, I cannot help but become agitated. I try to repress my temper but the result is that I end up saying something quite cold: “Eat your food. Don’t talk so much.” After many of these exchanges, I started to believe that no matter how much I say, my mother will not change. In my heart, I firmly believe that my mother is someone that is just hard to get through to. Previously, I was secretly very happy that I did not need to have meetings with my mother because I no longer needed to listen to her talk endlessly. I never would have thought that this situation would change today. This was something that I really did not want to face, and it’s really hard to obey. However, I then thought, “My mother is sick and she is unable to go out by herself to attend meetings. I cannot just leave her behind and not take care of her. I have to have meetings with her.”
After we finished eating lunch, we said a prayer and then we started our meeting. After finishing reading God’s words, my mother only talked about some shallow understanding of these words. She did not talk about any knowledge of them in light of her practical experiences. I reminded her, “When we communicate God’s words, we should relate them to some of the things that we experience in our own lives, and we need to reflect on our own corrupt dispositions that we have revealed, and understand God’s intentions and God’s demands for us.” Upon hearing this, my mother started speaking endlessly. She rambled for a long time but wouldn’t speak to the point. I couldn’t stand it when she talked about all these unimportant things. All I could do was interrupt her, “Mother, you have believed in God for many years. Yet, you do not even know how to grasp the key points when communicating about God’s words. I think you do not understand anything. How can you be so silly?” My mother was so embarrassed by my attitude that she had nothing to say. The more my mother remained silent, the more I became angry. In a fit of rage, I said, “Look, all I did was point out your mistakes and you do not give me a reply at all. How are we to continue our meeting? From now on, you can do this yourself!” As a result, we parted on bad terms. Thinking of my mother’s helpless expression at that time, from the depths of my heart I now feel embarrassment. It is particularly painful. My mother is old and her caliber is poor. My demands for her should not be so high!
January 15, 2018 Monday Cloudy
Each time my mother finishes eating, the crumbs of food from her bowl end up all over the floor. After we walk back and forth and step on them a few times, the floor becomes dirty. Today, I finally came up with a solution to this: From now on, we will eat in the kitchen. That way, it would be very difficult for her to make the floor dirty. I moved a small table to the kitchen before our next meal. The result, though, was that, when it came time for the meal, my mother simply brought her food into the living room. When I saw this, I felt very helpless and I also felt angry. However, when I thought about how I was a Christian and how I was not living out even a very basic level of tolerance and patience, I felt ashamed. As a result, I reigned in my temper and gave my mother a reminder, “Mother, can you stop dropping the crumbs of food onto the table and floor?” It seemed like my mother did not detect the anger that I was trying to suppress when I gave her that reminder. She replied casually, “If it’s dirty, just clean it a bit and it should be fine.” When I saw how obstinate my mother was, I blurted out, “Mother, I have told you many times already. You never listen to my suggestions!” At this point, I suddenly thought of another matter over the past few days and I could not help but say, “Also, it was raining the day before yesterday. You came back from the vegetable fields and tracked mud all over the place. You did not clean off your shoes outside before you entered the house. You ended up making a mess of the entire house. I have told you many times to promptly take off the clothes you wear after you finish gardening and I will wash them, yet, you stubbornly do not listen.” My mother replied, “I frequently go out to do gardening work. Even if I were more diligent with removing those clothes, they wouldn’t be much cleaner.” When I heard this reply, I basically had nothing left to say. I thought, “Why is it so hard for you to do such a trivial thing? It seems like the older you get, the more stubborn you get. I don’t think I can live with you.” I quickly went to my room in order to get away from her. My mother also wanted to keep her distance from me. She stopped talking to me as much. Now when I think back of how I lost my temper at my mother during the day, my conscience feels guilty. As a daughter, I shouldn’t have treated my mother this way. As a Christian, I feel very distressed that I did not treat her with tolerance and patience.
January 16, 2018 Tuesday Clear Skies
At 5 a.m. in the morning, I was fully awake and ready to get up for spiritual devotion. When I recalled the things that had just recently happened, I thought it’s best that I bring these things before God. I prayed, “O God! These days, there is a lot of friction between my mother and me. I feel like my mother is becoming more and more obstinate. There are some matters where it seems that no matter how I communicate with her, nothing gets through. No matter how I tell her about her bad habits, she does not change. When I see her acting this way, I cannot help but dislike and avoid her or get angry at her. This hurts her, and there is a distance between her and me. O God, I do not want to rely on my corrupt disposition to live. I want to live out the normal humanity that You demand. However, most of the time, I am only patient externally. I can be tolerant for a little while but for long stretches of time, when the situation infringes on my fleshly interests, I cannot help it. O God, please guide and lead me so that I can recognize and despise my own corruption and find a path of practice. Amen!”
After I finished praying, I saw a passage in a sermon that said: “Some people do not get on with anyone and always want to be the boss, control and command others in coordination, make people listen to them and put them at the center. What disposition is this? This is satanic disposition” (“Compulsory Conditions for Entering Onto the Right Track of Believing in God” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)). Suddenly, I became conscious of the fact that I was always wanting to change my mother’s habits and have her meet my demands. When my mother did not do what I asked her to do, I would start shouting at her. I was so arrogant and irrational. What I was revealing was a corrupt satanic disposition. When I thought back to that day when I scolded my mother, I remembered that she had a helpless expression. I could see that I was relying on my arrogant disposition to live and made my mother feel constrained, and at the same time, I was hurting her. My heart began to feel even more guilty.
Then, I read a passage of God’s words which said, “When you fellowship the truth and speak the words in your heart, and describe something clearly and understandably, so that it can edify and benefit others, make them understand God’s will, and help them escape misunderstandings and fallacies, is there any need to stand on high? Is there any need to use a lecturing tone? You don’t need to scold them, you don’t need to speak loudly, or shout at them, much less use words, or a tone, or an intonation that are blunt. You just need to learn to use a normal tone, commune from the position and status of an ordinary person, speak calmly, speak the words in your heart, endeavor to pour out what you understand, what other people need to understand, and speak clearly and understandably. When what you say is understandable, other people will understand, your burden will be released, they will cease to have misunderstandings, and you will see what you say more clearly; isn’t this edifying both of you? Is there any need to harangue them? In many cases, there is no need to force this upon them. So what should you do if they don’t accept? Some of what you say is the truth, and things really are as you say, but could people accept them as soon as you say them? What do they need in order to accept these words and to change? They need a process; you must give them a process by which to change. If you say, ‘I told you yesterday, why are you saying this again today? You don’t listen to or take in anything I say! You really are old, you’re useless.’ How about these words? What do you think about this kind of child? What do you think about doing this when you say that your parents have no sense? Could your parents approve? You require them to change by saying these words once—but how many times did you have to be told before you changed? You, too, didn’t change after being told once, nor were you able to understand and accept after being told once, so you must allow your parents a process of change. Tell them this: ‘It’s actually very simple. You don’t always think of yourselves as my parents, and I won’t think of myself as your child. The relationship between us will be that of ordinary brothers and sisters. If something’s up with you, tell me. Don’t suppress it or hide it. I won’t laugh at you. If you see something wrong with me, you can point it out to me. Tell me what you understand, so that I can put it into practice and not walk the wrong path.’ What’s it called when two people confer in this way? It’s called speaking heart-to-heart. And what is the purpose of speaking heart-to-heart? Is it to maintain a proper relationship between parents and children? Let Me tell you, narrowly speaking, the purpose of speaking heart-to-heart is for there to be normal human communication, having an exchange of minds. That’s narrowly speaking. Broadly speaking, it is for people to understand each other’s state, learn from each other, support each other, and help one another—that’s the effect. And thus, isn’t the relationship by which people interact with each other normal?” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity” in Records of Christ’s Talks).
Thank God for His guidance. Through carefully pray-reading and contemplating this passage of God’s words, I finally understood where my problem came from: I have never treated my mother the way I treat my brothers and sisters. I always wanted her to listen to me. When we encountered a situation, I did not calmly communicate the truth with her. Instead, I relied on my satanic arrogant disposition and stood on high to say some harsh words to her. This caused my mother to no longer want to be near me or open her heart to me and communicate. This also led to our relationship becoming more and more distant. When we communicated God’s words and I heard her say something that was not suitable, I did not share the light that I had received with her. Instead, I persistently demanded that she talk about her own experiences, and I never sincerely listened to her talk about what she wanted to talk to me about. God has expressed so many words, yet He has never demanded that we practice them all immediately. Instead, He has given us many opportunities to change. Yet, I was unable to treat my mother in the same manner. I always said she couldn’t do this or that and turned my back on her. I always wanted her to listen to everything I said. I insisted that she change after I finished telling her to change. I can see that I did not have any normal humanity or rationality and that I did not know to show her any tolerance and understanding. I would be angry at her all day and nitpick her on every little thing. This was all the revealing of an arrogant and conceited disposition! At the same time, I came to understand: Communicating the truth requires me to let go of my pride and to place myself on the same level as my mother and speak some words from my heart. Likewise, I have to understand her heart and her thoughts. I also have to learn to understand her practical difficulties and to use the same love that I have for my brothers and sisters in order to help her. As I pondered over God’s words, I could feel that God’s love for man is so real: He provides me with the practical solutions for the real life problems that I am facing, and He helps me to learn how to conduct myself according to the truth and establish a normal relationship with my mother so that we can support and help each other in regard to entry into life and be after His heart. I thanked God for His guidance that I finally found some paths of practice. I decided to read God’s words with my mother and to apologize to her and have a heart-to-heart talk with her.
January 19, 2018 Friday Clear Skies
When I thought about my interactions with my mother during this time, I realized that because of my corrupt disposition, I had suffered quite a lot and also made her feel restrained in all respects. I felt it was time to resolve this situation. Today, I went up to my mother’s side and finally had the courage to tell her something straight from my heart, “Mother, these days I have not properly communicated God’s words with you. I have relied on my corrupt disposition to interact with you. I have not treated you as a sister. I have always treated you as my mother. I thought no matter what tone of voice I used to tell you things, you would not take it to heart, you would not become angry at me, you would not hold a grudge against me and you would not turn your back on me. I was not considerate of your feelings when speaking to you. I have hurt you. Only after I had read God’s words did I realize that I was lacking in humanity. I know I was wrong. From now on, I will not demand that you listen to me. I must forsake my flesh, put the truth into practice and live out a normal humanity. Let us treat each other as if we were sisters. When we encounter a situation, we should seek the truth and principles. We should point out each other’s problems and help each other …” The more I said, the more my heart felt guilt. I could see that I was really lacking the rationality of a normal humanity. My mother also said some things that were from her heart, “I’m also corrupt. I stubbornly maintained my own perspective and ways of doing things. Even if I knew what you said was correct, I would not do it. I thought that I had been like this almost my entire life. You always requested that I pay a little more attention to hygiene, yet I did not take it seriously. That was not correct. We are mother and daughter in terms of our flesh. But, in terms of our spirit, we are siblings. I should accept your suggestions when they are right.” When I heard my mother say these heartfelt things to me, I could feel that our relationship had gotten a little better. My heart felt peaceful and happy. I could not help but be grateful, “Thank You God! O God, it’s so wonderful to have Your guidance!”
January 26, 2018 Friday Cloudy
Today, when I came back home, I pushed open the door and saw vegetable baskets, vegetable scraps for feeding the chickens, etc. scattered everywhere on the floor. There was not even space to walk. I could not help but say to my mother, “You have made a complete mess here. It looks like a vendor’s stall. There isn’t even space for me to walk through. Do you find this comfortable? The room has only been clean for two days since I last tidied up. Why did you mess it up yet again?” After I finished complaining, I did not even wait for my mother to reply before I turned around and left. A little while later, after my temper had cooled down, I felt self-reproach. I felt that I should not have been so grouchy. I quickly knelt down and prayed to God, “O God! Today, I had another temper tantrum. When I saw that my mother had made a mess, I just couldn’t take it. Yet again, I revealed my arrogant and conceited satanic disposition. I did not help my mother with love. O God, I do not want to live by my satanic nature and get carried away with my temper. Please guide me so I can learn how to put the truth into practice and no longer do things as I please.”
After I finished praying, I read God’s words, “After being corrupted by Satan, man’s original sense, conscience, and humanity grew dull and were impaired by Satan. Thus, he has lost his obedience and love toward God. Man’s sense has become aberrant, his disposition has become the same as that of an animal, and his rebelliousness toward God is ever more frequent and grievous. Yet man still neither knows nor recognizes this, and merely blindly opposes and rebels” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Having read this passage of God’s words, I felt pricked in my heart. I thought, “Due to Satan’s corruption, I have lost the conscience and sense of a normal humanity. I frequently cold-shouldered my mother. I was unable to live out true love. In whatever I did, I always wanted to control her so that she would conform to my preferences and habits. I had no understanding or tolerance toward her. What I was living out was completely a brash and arrogant corrupt disposition. We are so corrupt and disobedient, but God has not turned His back on us. His demands are not too high for us, and He all along does the work of saving man. I, on the other hand, have such unreasonable demands for my mother. I am truly irrational!”
Now that my reflections had reached this point, I began to think about which truths I needed to practice and what I should do to have a change in myself. In my seeking, I read a passage of God’s words, “People live for so many years, and are unhappy with eighty or ninety percent of what they encounter. You frown upon this and disapprove of that, but what do you dislike? Some of these things are actually your own problems, so you should not make a big deal out of them. When people get older, they realize that they are not noble, and that they are no better than others. Do not think that you are superior to other people, or more dignified and distinguished than they are; you must learn to adapt to your environment. To adapt to your environment, you must first realize something: There are all kinds of people out there, with all sorts of living habits. Living habits do not represent a person’s humanity. Just because your living habits are disciplined, normal, and dignified does not mean you possess the truth. You need to get this fact through your head, and gain a positive appreciation for it. Furthermore, God has arranged such a fantastic environment for you. You have too many personal issues; you must learn to adapt, and not pick at the bad habits of others. Moreover, you have to be able to get along with them based on love, and get close to them; you need to see their strengths, learn from their strengths, and then pray to God and overcome your own problems. This is the attitude and practice of submission. … We are common people; we are ordinary people. Do not think of yourself as being so noble or great. Even if you possess some special talents, skills, or strengths, they are nothing to brag about. You must first stand in the right position, the proper position. In this way, you will not make a mountain out of a molehill when you encounter problems or find yourself in various situations, and you will be able to submit. You must see clearly 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. … When you do and handle things, or have some thoughts while encountering things, do not rely on your own intentions or your hot blood. Pray to God and come before Him. This, first of all, is a submissive attitude; it is the first psychological quality you should possess” (“The Five Conditions People Have Before They Enter the Right Track of Believing in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After I read this passage of God’s words, I realized: One’s living habits does not represent one’s humanity. This period of time when I am living together with my mother and need to have meetings with her, God’s will is for me to live by His words, absorb the good qualities of my mother, and not pick up her bad habits but learn to treat her fairly. If it were not for this environment, where would I learn about my own corrupt disposition and where would I obtain the truth? Now I know that God’s will is not for me to change or avoid this environment. Instead, He wants to use this environment to change my corrupt disposition. At this moment, I thought, “Even though my mother has some shortcomings in regard to the way she lives, and she does whatever she wants when she wants, and is lacking a little in terms of understanding God’s word, she is still someone who truly believes in God. When my mother previously did her hosting duty, regardless of how many brothers and sisters came to our house to eat, she would never be stingy or fed up. Afterward, since the environment of our house was not appropriate for hosting brothers and sisters, my mother had to go to other people’s houses to attend meetings. Regardless of how tired she was, or how hot or cold the weather was, she would always go. She would never miss a meeting. Even though she is so old, each day, she wakes up very early to read God’s words or listen to sermons or hymns. Whatever arrangements the church has, she would proactively participate in them and never shirk. She even practiced writing about her individual experiences and testimonies regardless of the depth of her understanding of the truth; she was not afraid that brothers and sisters would probably disapprove of her writing. …” After considering the situation in this manner, I discovered there were certain aspects in which I could learn from my mother. Moreover, during the times when I was feeling negative or weak, I remembered, my mother would try to help me out and encourage me to come before God more often, tell God about my difficulties, rely on God and look up to God. … I could see from this that my mother’s humanity is a lot better than mine. Even though I am better than her at certain external life habits and lifestyle, these areas are not representative of life nor are they representative of a change in my disposition. In fact, when it comes to the many other aspects, I am inferior to my mother.
I thanked God for His guidance. Now I understood: The reason that God has arranged for my mother and I to live with each other is to train me to live out a normal humanity so that my mother and I can use each other’s strengths to make up for our own weaknesses, and thus I can throw off my corrupt disposition and attain God’s salvation sooner. After my condition completely reversed, I suddenly discovered that my mother was quite lovable and a lot easier to live with, and that there were many things that I could learn from her. I am determined to pursue the truth more diligently and put God’s words into practice in regard to my practical life with my family members. I thank God for leading and guiding me with His words so that the gap that used to exist between my mother and me has gradually been mended.
All the glory be to!