To an outsider, Zhang Zhong and Li Ying have been accompanying each other for over 50 years, and they are an old and happy couple. However, the fact is not like what its surface suggests. Zhang Zhong, as a husband, never opens up to his wife, which make her feel very painful and depressed. His wife always feels there is an invisible partition between them. But their relationship takes a turn for the better through a meeting in their later years …
By Xiang Wang
It was a day for meetings, Zhang Zhong and his wife Li Ying, who had just believed in God for a few days, came to the gathering place early. At the beginning of the meeting, a sister read a paragraph of , “There are some proverbs or sayings in the world, which are the ways of life and practices that have been summarized by people in their lives, or they are the self-protective logic of Satan and life philosophies. The ways of demons are within these, and they are not the truth. People always combine these life philosophies, demonic ways, and poisons of Satan with the truth. No matter how you get a taste of them, they always have a nauseating flavor, don’t they? That kind of person does not understand the truth. What other things can you think of? Generally, don’t you also have quite a few of those things? Anyone who has lived for forty or fifty years has quite a few, and at twenty or thirty people also have some. People have some from the time they begin to have some sensibleness; then they start to have ways. What kind of ways are those? (Demonic ways.) They’re demonic ways, aren’t they? They say you shouldn’t let anything slip—you shouldn’t allow others to know. And what is it that some other people say? ‘Wherever you are, don’t speak carelessly.’ There’s a saying: ‘Wherever you go, be a receiver, not a loudspeaker.’ Have you heard this? Why do they say to be a receiver? (Listen more and speak less.) What’s the goal of listening more and speaking less? Aren’t there demonic ways in this? (Yes.) What are they? (It’s to not reveal yourself, and also not to offend others.) This is called a demonic way and a satanic philosophy. ‘Don’t speak carelessly, don’t lightly reveal your weaknesses or strengths allowing others to get a sense of who you really are.’ That’s what it means. ‘You always listen, observe, watch, and see who is in the same group as who, who is capable, who has what strengths, who will be a high-up official, and then you get close to those people.’ This is being a receiver. And how about not being a loudspeaker? ‘If you’re always speaking carelessly so that everyone can see right through you, they’ll bully you.’ Is that true? There is a person whose father always told him: ‘When you go out you must be a receiver!’ He told him that from the time he was small, and after always telling him that, what happened? That person never talks. Someone says: ‘Why don’t you ever say anything?’ ‘I don’t have anything to say. It’s been a habit since I was little. I’m not a big talker, I’m an introvert.’ He doesn’t speak, and he doesn’t tell the truth. Someone says: ‘What did you think of this thing that happened today? How do you plan to handle it?’ ‘Wait and see, just wait and see.’ In fact, he does have an opinion but he doesn’t say what it is—he doesn’t want to be a loudspeaker, so he holds tightly to those words. He has a very good grasp on that principle and is just a receiver under any circumstances, never a loudspeaker” (“What the Reality of the Truth Is”).
Hearing these words of God, Zhang Zhong’s hooded eyes suddenly widened, and he couldn’t help blurting out, “Wow! Isn’t it me they are talking about?” Instantly, everyone held their breath and looked at him, hoping he could continue to say something. But when seeing everyone, he swallowed back the words on the tip of his tongue. At that moment, Zhang Zhong’s heart was in tumult: God’s word reveals the secret he has held to for his lifetime, and the path to live as man he has kept to for his lifetime turns out to be a demonic way …
At this point, Zhang Zhong sank into contemplation, thinking that in his lifetime, no matter where he is, and no matter whom he meets, he always chose to listen but not speak. Even his wife who has been living with him for over 50 years, he never opened up to her. Sometimes, when his wife saw that he had something on his mind, she came to ask him with concern. However he guarded against her and was suspicious of her, unwilling to talk with her; sometimes, when his wife asked him something, he would think over whether he should tell her. He always considered it for a long time and then replied coldly: Mind your own business! His wife was very dissatisfied with this, and as time went on, she was naturally unwilling to talk with her husband even if she wanted to say something. To an outsider, Zhang Zhong and his wife lived in peace for their lives, without wrangle. And people all praised their happy life and that they were truly committed to each other. However, only they themselves knew clearly the sufferings in their hearts.
After believing in God, they often hear the fellowships of brothers and sisters, “God loves honest people. No matter what difficulties we encounter, or what corrupt disposition we reveal, we can open up to fellowship with others, together seeking the truth to solve them. Only in this way, can our corrupt disposition be changed and can we fulfill the desire of God.” Then his wife always practices according to God’s requirements, opening up to brothers and sisters no matter what happens. Therefore, with more help of brothers and sisters, she can understand a lot of truths and have some knowledge of her own corrupt disposition, and find the way to practice as well when facing all kinds of difficulties in her daily life. There is always a smile on her face. To be honest, Zhang Zhong feels much admiration for his wife and hopes to live like her. But each time when having meeting, Zhang Zhong sits on the chair upright and listens to the fellowships of others, and he never opens his mouth to say. Brothers and sisters often tell him, “Old brother, you can also fellowship in connection with your own experience.” However, Zhang Zhong just chuckles and says routinely, “You can continue to talk. It’s ok for me to listen to your fellowship.” Once, Li Ying could not control herself and complained to her husband, “Hey, it’s nothing that you don’t talk with me even if you want to say something, because I have become accustomed to this. But we have believed in God now, aren’t you willing to fellowship with brothers and sisters?” Then, she turned around with anger, not staring at her husband any more. Hearing these words, Zhang Zhong felt embarrassed and shouted at her, “You are already over 80 years old, how can you say so much. Humph!” Then he also turned around and no longer looked at Li Ying, even sat on the chair upright with his legs crossed. Just as nothing had happened, Zhang Zhong sat there and waited for brothers and sisters to fellowship.
Recalling the past, Zhang Zhong sighed ashamedly.
At this moment, it seemed that the air in the house suddenly gathered together. Seeing this scene, Sister Zhang Lan responded to the issue and said, “This passage of God’s word also makes me very touched. Since my childhood, my parents often told me the phrases ‘think before you speak and then talk with reservation,’ ‘silence is golden, speech is silver,’ and ‘he who talks a lot errs a lot.’ And they also taught me to listen more and speak less when I am outside. They said, ‘If you have something to talk, go home and then talk with us. For good news, we can enjoy by ourselves at home. If bad news, we cannot speak out, or others will laugh at us.’ Therefore, I always act according to my parents’ teachings. Later, I also educated my children in this way for fear that my children lose out.” Aren’t these old wisdoms handed down from generation to generation until today? What on earth have these old wisdoms brought to us? It only teaches us to guard against and harbor suspicion about others, causing us to become more and more sly and cunning, so that we never open up to or have sincerity to others. It closes off us so tightly, however we believe ourselves to be wiser. If we didn’t come before God, we would have thought these words instilled in us by Satan to be famous saying and the survival strategy of protecting us. In truth, all of these words are nonsense and fallacies with which Satan intends to bind us.
Zhang Zhong nodded, sighed heavily, as if he had made a great determination. Slowly, he opened his mouth and said, “Right! For these years, I am always a receiver, never a loudspeaker, just like what God’s word says. Since my childhood, my mother told me the phrases, ‘one should never intend to do harm to others, but should always guard against the harm others might do to him’ and ‘while the speaker is careless, the hearer is attentive’. She also taught me, ‘When outside, you cannot say superfluous words; even someone who gets along well with you, you cannot trust him either, for he will not treat you with a true heart; just to be a receiver whatever anyone says, you can come home to tell us if you indeed have something to say; when you are married, you cannot say everything to you wife, and keep in mind: we are your parents, only we treat you with true hearts, yet others are unreliable.’ I believed what my mother said was good for me, and thus no matter what things I encounter or what words I want to say, I only talk to my parents. For my lifetime, I lived according to these words, and I never opened up to others, so that I even harbored my intentions when facing my family, as if there stands a partition between us. I lived specially painful and depressed. Now, I do understand that all of these old wisdoms are Satan’s life philosophy and demonic ways, but not the path to live as man.”
Originally, here is the reason why Zhang Zhong is not communicative for his lifetime! It is the satanic poison instilled by his parents that has controlled and influenced him for his lifetime, so that he dare not to sincerely treat everyone around him.
Sister Zhang Lan said, “The experience of the old Brother reminds me of a paragraph of God’s word. God says, ‘Is forceful indoctrination done by man’s own choice? Is it done with man’s consent? (No.) It does not matter if you do not consent to it. In your unawareness it pours into you, instilling in you Satan’s thinking, its rules of life and its evil essence. In fact, all that Satan instills in you are lies, specious fallacies and are indeed heresies and fallacies that Satan uses to corrupt man. These satanic poisons are planted in people’s brains and in their minds, and this truly does brainwash people. Once someone has accepted these satanic poisons, they become neither man nor ghost, without one shred of humanity’ (‘God Himself, the Unique VI’).”
After reading God’s word, Zhang Lan fellowshiped, “God’s word is too practical! Unknowingly, we have accepted all sorts of poisons from Satan. Because of having no discernment, we treat these satanic poisons and philosophy of life as the principles of our existence and guard against and harbor suspicion about others. As a result, we grow farther and farther from others. This is totally violating God’s will. God loves man who is innocent, lively and cute, just like a pure child. When interacting with others, we should not be crooked and deceitful. We should open our mutual hearts and treat each other with our sincerity to establish an intimate relationship with them, living in a free and relaxed and happy life, all of which should be possessed by a genuine person. However, for these years, we didn’t understand how to become a genuine person, yet we have thought that the words handed down from ancestors will not be wrong, and that it is right to do in accordance with these words. We even thought they are what we should hold to for a lifetime. As a result, we could not even say some heartfelt words whom we are in contact with morning and night. Isn’t such life very hard and tiring?”
Li Ying nodded constantly, with her eyes filled with tears, and said excitedly, “That’s the case! We have lived together for a lifetime, but I cannot read his mind all the time. Sometimes, seeing he has something weighty on his mind, I want to care for him. However, if I ask him, he will not say to me, if not, I will be worried about him, with my mind full of guesses. Oh, living together with him makes me very tired! There is no intimate relationship between us! From God’s word, I finally understand the reason why we cannot open up to others is totally because we have accepted the viewpoints of existence instilled by Satan. The aim of Satan is to break up the relationship between us and make us harbor suspicion about others. Therefore, we can’t get along well with others. Satan is really hateful! We must rebel against it! In the past, we hadn’t read God’s word and didn’t understand these truth, so we lived according to the words of Satan. As a result, we lived in grievances and pain. From now on, we should pursue to become honest people according to God’s requirements, living purely and openly!”
Zhang Zhong looked at Li Ying with tears in his eyes, and said regretfully, “Oh dear, I really should say sorry to you! For these years, I haven’t treated you as my family but always guarded against you! Having lived my whole life, now I do know it’s satanic poison that deeply harms me and makes me become suspicious of anyone, unable to live as man with an open and upright heart. Thinking it over, I am really depressed to live like this, feeling like my heart was bound by innumerable ropes. And I haven’t established an intimate relationship with anyone for a lifetime. From today on, I will practice to be open and pure, and no longer live by the fallacy of Satan!” After hearing what Zhang Zhong said, Li Ying held his hands and said excitedly, “Thank God! Thank God!”
Seeing that the barriers between them for a lifetime were finally settled, brothers and sisters could not help offering gratitude to God!
Zhang Lan said excitedly, “God’s word reveals to us the fact that we are afflicted by Satan. Therefore, we can have some discernment of the ways of Satan corrupting us. God’s word also tells the way to solve these problems. Let’s read together! God’s word says, ‘Look, at the beginning, it is possible that a husband and wife might not understand each other very well, because they haven’t ever lived together and didn’t grow up in the same family. After living together for several years, they will have gotten used to each other, and locked horns a few times. But if you are both of normal humanity, you will always commune the words within your heart to him, and he to you. Whatever difficulties you have in life, the problems in your work, what you’re thinking in your heart, how you plan to sort things out, what ideas and plans you have for your work or children—you’ll tell him everything. In that case, are the two of you especially close to each other, and especially intimate with each other? If he never tells you the words within his heart, and does nothing but bring a paycheck home, and if you never speak to him of the words within your heart, and never confide in him, then is there not a distance between the two of you in your hearts? There surely is. He is distant from you, and you from him, because you don’t understand the thoughts or intentions in his heart. Ultimately, you cannot tell what kind of person he is, nor can he tell what kind of person you are; you don’t understand his needs, nor does he understand your requirements. If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide to each other or help one another. Do you have such a feeling? If your friend says everything to you, saying all of what they’re thinking in their heart, and what suffering or happiness they have in their heart, then do you not feel particularly intimate with them? That they are willing to tell these things to you is because you have also spoken of the words in your heart to them—you are especially close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along with them and help each other out’ (‘To Be Honest, You Should Lay Yourself Open to Others’).”
After reading God’s word, Zhang Zhong said in great excitement, “God’s word is crystal clear. Openly telling the practical difficulties and intentions as well as thoughts in our hearts, and laying our hearts bare and being close to brothers, sisters and families without any defense against, we will live in freedom and liberty! I will practice according to God’s word in future, and open up to all of you!”
Seeing the smile on their faces coming from their deep hearts, brothers and sisters cannot help applauding. They thank for God’s salvation and then continue to fellowship about God’s word …