By Zhang Li, Japan
I was born into a poor family. In order to pay the school fees of me and my younger brother, my mother managed the household industriously and thriftily and struggled to make money. Years of hard work made my mother, who was in her thirties, looked well over forty. Every time when I saw her grey hair, deep wrinkles, deformed fingers, and her old and withered face, I would make a resolution inwardly: I must treat her with filial respect when I grow up. But, when I tested into college, found a good job after graduation, wore gorgeous and fashionable clothes, I disliked my mother for her provincial air.
When I was in high school, every time when there were parents coming to see their children, my classmates would discuss: Wow! So-and-so’s mother is young and elegant. So-and-so’s father is a dean. It’s said that So-and-so’s parents run a company…. Whenever I heard this, I would envy them in my heart. How I wish that my parents were rich and had a good temperament, so that they would be admired and thought highly of by my classmates. Dominated by vanity, I really feared that I would lose face when my mother appeared before my class.
One day, during noon break, a boy in my class told me that I had visitors downstairs. I came out and saw from a distance that my mother, who wore a countrified yellow scarf, and an auntie in my village stood over there. I subconsciously looked around and didn’t see any acquaintance, so I hurried to them, asking nervously, “Mom and auntie, what brings you here?” My mother said, “Your auntie wanted to buy clothes and insisted that I go with her.” While saying this, my mother handed me my favorite dishes and told me, “It’s still warm. Go back and eat with your classmates. We have nothing else, and we get going now.” When I returned to my classroom, the boy asked me in surprise, “Zhang Li, is she your mother?” I blushed at his words, and felt greatly humiliated. I said yes and then immediately buried myself in my homework. But I was at sixes and sevens in my heart and couldn’t concentrate on it at all. I thought: It’s done now! All my classmates know that I have a countrified mother. They must think that my family is poor. How can I raise my head before them in the future? At this thought, I felt so bad in my heart, and really wanted to crawl into a little hole. Then I observed the reaction of my classmates. Thank goodness! They didn’t seem to notice me, and I breathed a sigh of relief. After that, I made up my mind inwardly: I must study harder to test into college and find a good job in the future. Then I could hold my head high. Through hard work, I successfully tested into college.
After graduating from college, I found a decent job—being a teacher, and I obtained status, money, and fame and gain. To repay my mother, I often bought her nice clothes and something that she had never eaten or been willing to eat. My neighbors all praised me as a filial daughter. But I only treated my mother well at home and didn’t want her to appear before my friends for fear that she would cause me to lose face. So, I seldom went out with her. And I even didn’t want to stay together with my mother when we paid a visit to my grandparents or our relatives. Whenever something happened at home and my mother expressed her opinions or had different viewpoints from me, I would retort directly with harsh words, and my mother would just keep silent. Every time when I harmed her with harsh words, I would feel very painful and remorseful in my heart. Nevertheless, once encountering some matters, I still involuntarily disliked my mother because she was plain-looking, not good at making herself up, uneducated, and ignorant.
At the end of 2006, my mother accepted God’s kingdomand preached it to me. Since then, I began to attend meetings. In my association with my brothers and sisters, I saw that they were all honest and natural and treated everyone fairly. They neither flattered the rich nor looked down upon the poor. In the church, my brothers and sisters did not treat people according to their appearance, dress, or status, but according to whether they could live out God’s words. However, as I understood too little about the truth, sometimes when I met the sisters who were around my mother’s age but looked elegant and beautiful, I would think: How good it would be if my mother were elegant and beautiful like them. If so, I would surely bring her to see my friends proudly. That would be so honorable!
Once, later on, I saw God’s words saying, “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience.” “Each and every person will think of how imposing the manner is of the officials in the world, how lofty, hidden or nontransparent their philosophies of life are, how accomplished they are, how dressed up they are, how they have presence…. The majority of people envy these things in their hearts. Isn’t this right? All people have these things within them and they can be overwhelmed and tempted by these things…. Through dissecting these things within people we will discover that the things they yearn for are not righteous, are not of the light, not of the truth and do not conform to facts. Instead, they yearn for those things that are worldly, for things that belong to Satan, and for things that people consider to be good. … Within these things that people worship, which of them brings God joy? None of them! Knowledge, status, fame and gain, wealth, power—which of these does God like? Which of them are positive things? Which of them conform to the truth? None of them!”
Reading God’s words, I came to know that after we were corrupted by Satan, the satanic poisons were instilled into us and made us live by them involuntarily. Thus, our dispositions became more and more corrupt, and we especially loved vanity and admired fame and gain, and status, losing the conscience and reason that normal humanity ought to possess. I started to reflect: I have always looked up to and admired those who have charm and cultivation, wear gorgeous clothes, and are with great eloquence. I tremendously envy those whose parents have a good temperament, live with dignity, and have a lot of money and position; while when I saw that my mother was plain-looking and simply dressed, I felt disgraceful before others and feared that I would be looked down upon by others, so that I even often worried that my mother would appear before my classmates and friends. Now, I understood that I had such manifestations all because of the prevailing viewpoint of pursuing things that are “High-end, Grand, and Upscale.” Dominated by it, I pursued vanity, and fame and gain, and pursued to be looked up by others. I racked my brains for this, and even disliked my mother because of this. Do I still have the likeness of normal humanity? I have lost the morals, sense, and conscience that should be present in normal humanity. Not only did I myself feel depressed in my life but I also caused pain and harm to my mother. Now, look at how many people are living in the same situation like me. They admire the gorgeous appearance and heroic bearing and pursue things that are “High-end, Grand, and Upscale,” but lose their real face, living a hypocritical and painful life. Our pursuit and viewpoints have all been twisted, and we are no longer the original likeness God created us. That we are reduced to such a condition is all because of the affliction of the social trend, which is detested by God. Thank God! God’s words revealed the substance of this evil trend, so that I could find the root of my disliking my mother. After understanding this, I was no longer willing to live by Satan’s thoughts, and I would change the direction of my pursuit to live out the likeness of a person.
Once, our work unit required us to provide the photos of our parents for doing something, so I took my mother to take photos. Although the staff dressed her up, she was still without temperament. Returning home, I was a little angry while looking at my mother’s photo. But my mother said with satisfaction, “A very nice photo!” I said angrily, “Nice? Others will say that you’re a rustic while seeing it.” I realized that I was wrong as soon as my word came out. My mother sat there and said nothing, and I didn’t dare to see her. I went to my room quietly, and knelt down and prayed to God with tears, “O God! I’m wrong! I must have harmed my mother with my words just now. I don’t want to be like this, but I just can’t control myself. O God, may You help me!” After the, I picked up the book of God’s words and happened to see God saying, “In the thoughts of God, He intended to give each and every appearance…. Can you say which is the best looking, and which is the ugliest? Can you say which is the most useful, and the existence of which is the least necessary? … In short, when it comes to all things, man should defer to the authority of the Creator, which is to say, defer to the order appointed by the Creator to all things; this is the wisest attitude. Only an attitude of searching for, and obedience to, the original intentions of the Creator is the true acceptance and certainty of the authority of the Creator. It is good with God, so what reason does man have to find fault?”
While reading God’s words, I understood that God has different original intentions in all the things He created. There’s God’s authority and His thoughtful kind intention. Everything created by God is good with God. The appearance and temperament of my mother was ordained by God, but I measured them according to my perceptions and always disliked my mother because she was plain-looking. I really had no reason. Thinking carefully, although my mother did not have a high status, was plain-looking, and dressed simply, she did not pretend or perform. No matter how I treated her, ignored her, or even sometimes vented my anger on her, she always kept silent and her love for me never became less because of this. The most important thing was that she could accept the salvation of God’s words, pursue the truth, and also brought me before God and let me walk the path toward salvation. It was so good that God arranged such a mother for me. However, I not only did not feel grateful but always disliked my mother’s appearance. While thinking of this, I felt painful and self-condemned, so I came before God and prayed, “O God! You created all things and love and cherish them. You consider the people created by You as the apple of Your eye. But I, a corrupted person, only adore the grand and elegant stature and look down upon those who have no status and are modest. O God! I know that my heart and soul are so dirty and sordid. I even dislike my mother who gave birth to me and raised me up. I really don’t have the likeness of a person. O God! I want to change my distorted viewpoints on things and view things according to the truth, betraying my vanity and pursing to live out the likeness of a genuine person.” After the prayer, I went out and said to my mother with tears, “Mom, I am wrong.” Hearing my words, my mother also couldn’t help crying. Then she said to me sincerely and earnestly, “Sweetheart, I know your thoughts and understand your mood. But we shouldn’t judge people by the appearance. I have such an ordinary appearance, but God does not detest it….” Hearing my mother’s words, I felt very ashamed. I thought of the passage of God’s words I read just now, so I fellowshiped it with her. We all understoodand our heart became closer.
Once, I went out of town to do something with my mother. My mother had never gone far from home, and it was the first time for her to take a train. When my mother found me on the train and took her seat, she began to look around with curiosity and said, “Oh, I didn’t know that we can go back and forth on the train. I thought it was like the bus, and we couldn’t move once it started….” At my mother’s words, all the people around turned their eyes to her. Some looked at her with arrogance and some with disdain. I felt hot pain in my face and was too embarrassed. I really wanted to stop her: Oh, my gosh! Please stop. Hearing your words, all people will know that it’s the first time for you to take a train. How do they think of you and me? They may think: How come such a fashionable girl has such a countrified mother? Nevertheless, my mother still kept talking. I really wanted to leave her so as to escape such an embarrassing occasion. Right when I was upset in my heart, I thought of God. Then I immediately prayed to God in my heart, “O God! The things I encountered every day are ruled and arranged by You. May You quiet my heart. O God! What’s Your will for me in such an environment? How should I do?” After the prayer, I calmed down a lot and remembered a passage of God’s words which says: “My kingdom requires those who are honest, not hypocritical, and not deceitful. Aren’t the sincere and honest people in the world unpopular? I am completely opposite as it. It is acceptable for the honest people to come to Me; I delight in this kind of person, I also need this kind of person. This is precisely My righteousness.”
Yeah! God likes the simple and honest people and detests those hypocrites who love vanity and like to disguise themselves. God does not look at how good our outward temperament and appearance is, how knowledgeable we are, or whether our dressing is fashionable and gorgeous, but looks at whether our heart is honest and whether we can live out His words. The honest people are simple and open, and their words fit the reality. But I always tried to disguise myself and also wanted my mother to learn to disguise herself like me. What I thought about in my heart was without any likeness of an honest person! I couldn’t continue to pretend like this, and I should be an honest person. While thinking of this, I was much relieved in my heart, feeling that only being an honest person in God’s eyes can I have self-respect and dignity and be open and aboveboard. At this moment, I suddenly felt that my mother was lovely and honest, for she spoke what was in her heart, and she neither packaged her disadvantages nor cared what the people around thought of her. While thinking of this, I no longer disliked her but admired her in my heart. Then, I also did not care how the passengers around would think of us, but explained to her the basic knowledge of taking a train. The passengers around all looked at us. It was not until I finished it did I notice that an uncle sitting opposite, who seemed to be years elder than my mother, kept gazing us. In his eyes, I read admiration and approval. I was full of emotion at that moment, and couldn’t help thinking how disgusting the attitude I had toward my mother was in the past. Today, I could put aside the viewpoint of pursuing things that are “High-end, Grand, and Upscale,” and sit together with my mother in such an occasion and talk to her with such an attitude, which was all because God’s words changed me. I really thanked God! Through my real experience, I tasted the sweetness of practicing God’s words. For the first time, I felt relaxed and released in my heart.