Before I got married, I always saw the sisters-in-law in my neighborhood argued with each other over trivial family affairs, and even created a widespread uproar. I thought: It is often said, “A tree lives with its bark; a man lives with his face,” and “Don’t wash your dirty linen in public.” When I later live my married life, I will never let myself be pointed at by others.
Soon after my marriage, my father-in-law died and then my mother-in-law married again. There are six brothers in my husband’s family. My husband is the firstborn, and his three youngest brothers were then in school, the last of whom was only 9 years old at that time. In this way, the three elder brothers, the second sister-in-law and I had to undertake the difficult burden of supporting this family. As the big sister, I felt it my duty to maintain the family, and I would not allow myself to be laughed at by others.
As we live together, our family and the second brother’s family split living expenses fifty-fifty, and our shared living expenses were paid out of a joint checking account. However, my husband earned very little money outside the home, while the second brother earned quite a lot. Thus the whole family mainly relied financially on the second brother. After a discussion with the second brother’s family, we made a decision that they could help to pay more than their share of the family expenses when we were short of money, and then we would put it on our tab and pay back the money we owe them in the future. At the same time, I even undertook all the heavy and tiring housework on my own initiative, while the second sister-in-law did all the cooking. But not long afterward, she mistakenly believed that I had some money but secretly kept it, and she said to my face, “My husband pays all the living expenses of the whole family, thus we will have no money to pay the tuition for my son in the future.” Hearing this, I became extremely upset inside. I thought: Now we indeed have no money. But when we do, we will surely pay it back. Moreover, I do the most family affairs, both inside and outside. How can you say so? You are really too conscienceless! What will outsiders think of me when they hear these words? The more I thought about it, the worse I felt.
It was so awful that what I was afraid of came to me. One day, one of the villagers actually said to me, “I heard that it is your second brother that pay all the living expenses of your family. You have such a good fate that you can count on them to support your family. …” When I heard these harsh words, my face burned. I felt very ashamed and at the same time I was very angry. I thought: I’ve worked so hard, yet she spreads the word to the village. How can she do this?
From that point on, both of us spoke very little to each other. When we had meals, I never ate the meat she bought, but only the green vegetables I grew. When we entered our respective rooms from the living room, we would slam the door behind us to express our dissatisfaction. When hearing her son crying sometimes, I was upset and thus complained in my room, “Noisy child! Can’t you just let me sleep?” In order to avoid such an embarrassing situation, she often went to her mother’s. When she came back, I then left home to work so as to meet her less constantly. Even if we met, we didn’t speak anything but maintained a straight face. Such a life went on for a year until eventually we had to live separately.
After the third brother-in-law got married, I had another sister-in-law. Later, she stood by the side of my second sister-in-law, and said that I took advantage of my second sister-in-law. At that moment, I became very indignant: The second sister-in-law spread the word everywhere. Obviously, she is trying to turn others against me so as to dishonor me. The more I thought about it, the more I hated her. One day, after coming home from work, I happened to see her son throwing a chair at my son. Fortunately, my son dodged in time so that he didn’t get hurt. The two sisters-in-law, however, were watching TV with relish. At this time, all my old grievances erupted uncontrollably. I scolded my second sister-in-law and ultimately we parted on bad terms. As a result, we did not talk to each other much for three years since the quarrel.
We live under the same roof yet we are like enemies. Why? Living like this is too painful! These things kept replaying in my mind like a movie, and tortured me so much that I suffered from insomnia frequently. My weight went down from over 60 kilos to 45, and I was very haggard, looking ten years older than I was.
By 2005, God’s gospel came upon my two sisters-in-law and me. The church arranged for us three to gather together. It was an awkward meeting. We three felt embarrassed, and none of us communicated during the meeting. Then the sister, who came to meet with us, knew that we had problems with each other, so she fellowshiped, “Nowadays, why do people have so much trouble in getting along with others? The root cause is that we men have no truth. And after being corrupted by Satan, we are full of Satan’s corrupt disposition, and thereby we involuntarily develop prejudices against others and are filled with hatred of others. Only if we have the truth can our corrupt disposition be resolved, And only in this way can we live in harmony with others.” Then she found a passage of God’s words and asked me to read, “Only each person’s soul knows how they have undergone Satan’s temptations, affliction, and corruption. Man’s flesh cannot know this. Accordingly, mankind is unwittingly becoming more and more filthy, evil and dark, while the distance between Me and man grows farther and farther, and mankind’s days become darker and darker” (“A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (2)”). After reading, she went on to fellowship about it, “After being corrupted by Satan, we men are arrogant and haughty by nature and do not know ourselves. We all think of ourselves as good persons, and believe that in everything, we are right, while others wrong. Living according to our corrupt disposition, as soon as something touches upon our personal interests, we will fight with each other, and demand from each other a tooth for a tooth. We have not even the basic love, patience, and understanding, so that we cannot get along with others and family members become enemies. This is the result of our corruption by Satan.” After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I understood that my hatred toward my second sister-in-law was due to Satan’s corruption of me. No wonder I had lived in great bitterness.
One day, I saw these words from God, “The Chinese nation which has been corrupted for thousands of years has continued on until today. All sorts of viruses continue to expand and are spreading everywhere like the plague; just looking at people’s relationships is enough to see how many viruses are in people. … everything they express in their lives and their interpersonal relationships are all broken beyond belief…. Therefore, the greater the corruption of the people in a place, the more improper their interpersonal relationships will be” (“The Path … (6)”). The Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life says: “If a person doesn’t seek the truth, then it’ll be quite difficult for him to cope with those domestic trivialities. … Having no truth, he suffers in his life. All food seems void of flavor to him and he sleeps badly. Having no truth, he also suffers when contacting others. He is incapable of getting on well with anyone else. Having no truth, he can even give himself a hard time and constantly blame himself. …Lacking the truth, he is unable to socialize with others, as he always finds fault with others, thinking others have this fault or that fault. Over time, he starts fighting with others. Tell me, if a person is without the truth, will he suffer? He’s really suffering. He can’t get along with anyone for long, and is constantly in conflict with everyone around him. That’s quite a disturbing thing.” From this I could see that after we men had been corrupted by Satan, we are all filled with satanic poisons. As a result, everyone lives for his personal benefits, face, and position. We scheme against one another, have jealousy and strife with one another, and make a fuss over every little thing, without any humanity and reason. I thought back to the past. When there was no conflict of interests between my second sister-in-law and me, we could get along well with each other. But when it came to our personal interests, we were not okay. It was due to the household expenses that there was a conflict between us. She misunderstood me and thought that I kept the money secretly, so she had an opinion of me and spread it to our village. And I, who had always gone by the phrases, “A tree lives with its bark; a man lives with his face,” and “A wild goose leaves behind a voice; a man leaves behind a reputation,” resented her because my face and reputation were tarnished. What’s more, I formed a stubborn enmity to her, and I even seized upon the very small matter—our children’s fighting with each other, to vent my wrath on her, and was unmerciful to her with my words, completely losing my reason. For such a long time, I was so tortured by these trivial matters every day that I was exhausted both mentally and physically. I sank into the abyss of suffering, unable to extricate myself. The satanic corrupt disposition really did a great deal of harm to me! Accordingly, I went before God in prayer, “Oh, Almighty God! I’m willing to put aside my hatred to my second sister-in-law. May You help me….” After the prayer, feeling much released and gratified in my heart, I went to sleep easily at night. When I had meetings with her again, I no longer felt so embarrassed.
Later, however, she did not come to the meetings. I thought, “Could it be that she doesn’t come because of not wanting to face me? If I actively go to fetch her, maybe she will come. So I prayed to God, “God! I want to gather together with my second sister-in-law, but I cannot put aside my self-respect to fetch her. I’m very afraid that she will ignore me and my face will be harmed. May you give me faith, so that I can have courage to face her….”After the prayer, I saw the following words of God, “People have a normal relationship with each other, they do not stand alone, and their lives are neither mediocre nor decadent. So, too, is God exalted among all, His words permeate among man, people live in peace with one another and under the care and protection of God, the earth is filled with harmony, without the interference of Satan, and the glory of God holds the utmost importance among man. Such people are like angels: pure, vibrant, never complaining about God, and devoting all their efforts solely to God’s glory on earth” (“Interpretation of the Sixteenth Utterance”). Through God’s words, I understood that God wants us to maintain a normal relationship with each other, to come together and communicate the truth, and to practice the truth. He hopes that we can conduct ourselves and do things according to His words, put down our personal prejudice to live in harmony together, that we can love, forgive and understand each other, help and support each other and not go it alone, and that we can live out a normal humanity rather than act according to the satanic poisons. Only when we act in this way can we bear witness to God and put Satan to shame.
My second sister-in-law failed to turn up again in the subsequent meetings. I silently prayed to God to give me strength, so that I could let go of myself and practice the truth. After praying, I came to her door and said to her, “We have started our meeting, but you’re not there yet, so I come to call you.” “I’ll be right there,” answered her. I never thought when I was willing to go call her, she didn’t take no notice of me as I had expected. At this moment, I felt a great release in my heart.
From then on, whenever I had time I would go to talk with her, and tried to understand her difficulties. Therefore, our relationship got much closer. When it was time to have meetings, we three sisters-in-law would actively sit together, read the words of God, and communicate our understanding and knowledge of the truth. During a meeting one time, we read two passages of words, “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. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God”). “This kind of person is so selfish and self-interested that he cares about nobody but himself. … With a petty mind, he is always arguing over his own personal gain and loss, and once he stands to lose little, he will be shamed into anger and start railing against Heaven and earth. This is the manifestation of those who are with low integrity.” (The Fellowship From the Above). After reading them, I said to my second sister-in-law with shame, “Only through these words do I realize that I am a selfish person, who is narrow-minded and always fuss over things. Because I always lived by the thinking of ‘A tree lives with its bark; a man lives with his face,’ and ‘A wild goose leaves behind a voice; a man leaves behind a reputation,’ I felt distressed and rarely could forgive once my nature was touched. I always haggled over every penny, and even developed a hatred for you. I was also unmerciful to you with my words. …” Then she also fellowshiped, “Actually, I was also living in reliance on satanic poison, such as ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ I only counted my money and considered my personal gains and losses. Consequently, my prejudice against you increased by the day. … Today, if it were not for God’s work of salvation that He has done upon us, we would never set aside our prejudices against each other. This is really the salvation of God.”
Afterward, our relationship grew a lot further closer. She knew I didn’t have much money, so she took good care of me in daily life. Sometimes when she went out early, I would do more housework, such as doing laundry, cooking meals, watering vegetables, and so forth. And so would she if I went out early. Later, we three also went out together to perform our duty and then gathered together sharing with each other what we had gained after returning home at night. Our relationship was getting better and better.
One day, one of our neighbors asked me in puzzlement, “Xiaoyi, hasn’t there been any bad blood between you and your second sister-in-law? How could you get along so well now?” “The past is the past, but the present day is not like the past,” said I, smilingly. While I was talking, another neighbor also said with a smile, “In our village, only they three sisters-in-law get along well with each other.” Hearing this, I smiled and thought: All of this is for us. My son also said, “Mom, you’ve changed a lot since you believed in God. You don’t maintain a straight face as you did in the past. And now you smile more.” Thank God! The changes I have attained today are the fruits of God’s words. Just as God says, “Though the word ‘word’ is simple and ordinary, the word from the mouth of God become flesh shakes the entire universe; His word transforms the heart of man, the notions and the old disposition of man…; He does not work wonders or perform miracles; He merely does His work through the word. Because of the word, man is nourished and supplied; because of the word, man gains knowledge and true experience. Man in the Age of Word has truly received exceptional blessings” (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word”).
When associating with others, we should learn to open up to others and reflect upon ourselves as well as practice the truth. And only in this way can we establish a normal relationship with others and live together harmoniously. You might be interested in: Three Secrets to Easily Improve Interpersonal Relationships
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