By Liu Hua
The day before the high school entrance examination, Liu Hua received a parent-teacher conference notice from her son’s school. The school asked that all the second years and their parents must come to the official opening day of the direct-entrance class. On the opening day, students and parents filled the school meeting place. The school leader, standing on the stage, proudly introduced to the students and parents the information about the students in the direct-entrance classes entering the universities.
The so-called direct-entrance classes are the best class, where the second year who are selected through examinations can directly go to high school without needing to take the high school entrance examination. The classes are taught by the most outstanding teachers in the school, and the students in this class can enjoy special treatment, free food and lodging. The students who are enrolled in these classes need to complete all the third-grade courses in two or three months, so their study intensity is very heavy. Normally, the students in general classes can’t finish their homework until the midnight. Then you can imagine how hard the students in the direct-entrance classes study. After school, Liu Hua’s son often said to her: “My seniors in the direct-entrance classes all are eager beavers and ‘sleepless iron men.’ Their classroom lamps are alight 24 hours a day.” Liu Hua couldn’t help signing: They study so hard like this. Could they bear that? Young as they are, they all have worn thick glasses and lost youthful strength, looking like adult children. In spite of this, parents still rack their brains to send their children to the direct-entrance classes.
With the parents’ applause, Liu Hua’s thoughts returned to the past …
Liu Hua’s son was introvert since childhood, and wasn’t so clever. However, Liu Hua was persuaded that “A slow sparrow should start early,” “Early birds catch the worm” and “If people exert themselves, then there will be rewards.” In order not to let her son lose at the starting line, Liu Hua had never been careless and negligent since her son was in Grade 1. At the beginning of each new term, she would develop a learning plan for her son; besides, she would buy several versions of review materials and test papers for him to practice in every lesson, and in every week and in every month. Every night, after her son finished the homework, she would accompany her son doing his test papers, and when seeing his handwriting wasn’t neat, she would patiently rub out what he had written and order him to rewrite; if missing a question, he would be asked to copy it many times, and even though he gave Liu Hua a resentful look every time, she would think nothing of it. Besides, he had no weekends, and wasn’t allowed to watch TV and play with his friends. The only thing that needed him to do was the endless homework and exercises. Whenever he pouted and protested against the situation, Liu Hua would coax him, saying: “Baby! If you complete this paper, I’ll have you play and buy you goodies.” However, after this paper was done, there was still another. He thus no longer believed her, and often cried: “You’re a liar. I hate you!” Every time she heard these words, she would feel a dull pain in her heart. But thinking her son was still young and immature, she believed that he would understand her painstaking care when he grew up and became outstanding. In this way, with the “help” of Liu Hua, her son’s academic grades were among the best. The papers with full marks made her feel her efforts were repaid. In parent-teacher conferences, when other parents looked at her with envy, she felt more proud and thought what she had paid was worth it.
However, what Li Hua didn’t expect was that her son’s academic grades improved while he became more and more distant from her. Besides, there was no smile on his face and every day after school, he looked sour. Although she wanted to get close to him, he would avoid her and not let her touch him, and he didn’t speak to her, either. When she forced him to do exercises, he would even glare at her with hatred. Liu Hua was at a loss because of her son’s estrangement, and didn’t know why her relationship with her son turned like this. She felt miserable and confused, not knowing who could help her …
Later, Liu Hua accepted God’s work in. Through reading God’s words, she discovered the root of her suffering and helplessness. She saw God’s words saying: “Satan uses knowledge as bait. Listen closely: It is just a type of bait. People are enticed to ‘study hard and improve every day,’ to arm themselves with knowledge, as with a weapon, then to use knowledge to open the gateway to science; in other words, the more knowledge you gain, the more you will understand. Satan tells people all this. Satan tells people to foster lofty ideals as well, at the same time as they are learning knowledge, telling them to have ambitions and ideals. Unbeknownst to people, Satan conveys many messages like this, causing people to unconsciously feel that these things are correct, or beneficial. Unknowingly, people walk this kind of road, unknowingly led onward by their own ideals and ambitions. … In fact, no matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for is inextricably linked with two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and these are things Satan intends to instill in man. Which two words are these? One is ‘fame’ and one is ‘gain’: They are fame and gain. … People willingly, albeit unknowingly, take their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies and hand them all over to Satan in order to attain the fame and gain they desire. People do this without ever a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover it all. Can people still have any control over themselves once they go over to the side of Satan in this way and become loyal to it? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They are also completely and utterly unable to free themselves from the quagmire they have sunk down into” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”).
What God said deeply moved Liu Hua. She thought that she could only make a living at the lowest depths of society just because of her failure to test into a university. So, in order that her son would have a future and not take her old path when growing up, she racked her brains to improve her son’s grades. Not only did she keep a strict eye on his studies, but she also put pressure on his mind, which resulted in her son often being unable to breathe and gradually becoming antagonistic. As a result, the relationship between them was broken. Only at the thought of these did Liu Hua realize that she was corrupted by Satan and had already gotten sucked into the vortex of fame and gain, and her son became a sacrifice on her road to fame and gain. Recalling every scene of treating her son, she was full of remorse and guilt. She then decided not to force her son to study, but to give him a life belonging to himself.
Hereafter, Liu Hua no longer exerted pressure upon her son, and she also allowed him to play outside in his spare time. The burden of his studies became lighter, and thus he had time to relax. He no longer wailed to or lost temper at her to express his dissatisfaction. Instead, each day he was as happy as a bird that just flew out of its cage, and a brilliant smile emerged on his young face again. Every weekend, he, together with Liu Hua, would read, listen to hymns of God’s word and watch movies and MVs, bathing in . Under God’s care and protection, he grew happily and freely. The relationship between her and her son became close as before, and even closer than before. Also, Liu Hua felt long-awaited happiness.
However, after Li Hua’s son started middle school, his academic grades were not very ideal in comparison for his classmates were all top students from different schools. In every parent-teacher conference after the monthly examinations, Liu Hua would receive his teacher’s criticism instead of proudly waiting for the teacher’s praise as before. Every time the teacher criticized her son, others parents would all gaze at her, and she would feel bitterly humiliated. Consequently, she began to dislike to attend the parent-teacher conference. How she wished someday her son’s grades would be the best once more, and this way, she could get the teacher’s praise and other parents’ envy again.
So, after a parent-teacher conference, Liu Hua inwardly planned how to help her son with his studies to improve his grades as soon as possible. Later, on a weekend, after her son’s homework being done, he habitually asked to read God’s word and watch videos and movies, but Liu Hua gently refused him. Instead, she took out the test paper and demanded that her son not have a rest until he finished several sets of exercises. Looking at his disappointed face, Liu Hua felt a little unwell. But to improve his grades, she thought she should be strict with him, or else he wouldn’t have good prospects in the future. Back to her room, she felt even more distraught. Although she knew what she did was not in line with, she couldn’t help herself. In distraction, she silently prayed to God: “Oh God, now I am very painful. Though I know I can’t put pressure on my son to study, I feel very embarrassed when seeing other children are better than my son in study. God, please guide me and help me lay down my pursuit of fame and gain….”
After praying, Liu Hua thought to a passage of God’s word and then went to find it. God said: “People all hope that their children can be successful. Everyone hopes their children can go to a famous university, then take up advanced studies, earn a degree, and afterward stand out among others and gain a firm foothold in society. People all have this viewpoint and all want their children to pursue higher education because of the saying: ‘The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all.’ Furthermore, competition in this modern society is especially intense. If they don’t have a university degree or have a firm foothold in society, making a living becomes a problem in the future. This is everybody’s thinking and point of view. That is, what you learn and what kind of educational background you can achieve will decide your livelihood, your future. In other words, people intend to rely on this thing to survive throughout life, and they see it as especially important. That’s why everyone sees receiving a high-level education and getting into a top university as the number one most important thing for their children” (“Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views”).
Liu Hua realized that she exactly was poisoned by this viewpoint “expecting my child to become an outstanding personage,” and hoped her son could be successful. Controlled by this poison, she often instilled in him the thoughts that “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all,” that “Through studying you will gain success, and fortune will follow,” and that “Study hard and make progress every day.” Meanwhile, she used these thoughts to force and oppress him by ordering him to study hard, which cast a shadow in his childhood that ought to be shining and brilliant. Also, a note of indelible discord crept into their relationship. She deeply felt guilt in her heart, and the sadness of her living under Satan’s domain. This poison—expecting my child to become an outstanding personage—already became her life so that she always tried to control her son’s fate and bring him a successful future by her own efforts. Deeply poisoned by the satanic ideas and viewpoints, she only wanted her son to stand out among his peers, without the slightest regard for whether he lived or died. Her love for her son became a hurt. As she thought about this, the pain she felt was more heartrending.
She then saw it said in God’s words: “There is a simplest way to free oneself from this state: to bid farewell to one’s former way of living, to say goodbye to one’s previous goals in life, to summarize and analyze one’s previous lifestyle, philosophy, pursuits, desires, and ideals, and then to compare them with God’s will and demands for man, and see whether any of them is consistent with God’s will and demands, whether any of them delivers the right values of life, leads one to a greater understanding of the truth, and allows one to live with humanity and human likeness. … After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). God’s words made her released: In fact, the fate of everyone is controlled by the Creator’s hands. Whether her son will have a bright future when growing up, what kind of job he will do, what life he will lead—all of these are predetermined by God. No matter how much effort she puts, she is unable to escape the Creator’s arrangements. Only by obeying God’s sovereignty and arrangements can she calmly and steadily face the future. She should get her son toand pursue the truth, and that is his real future that a creature should have. However, now she is forcing her son to walk the path of seeking fame and gain. Isn’t she pushing him into fire? She has been pursuing fame and gain half her life. Not only does she not gain a spiritual peace and ease, but she brings herself and her son so much pain. She came to realize that she couldn’t continue putting her son under pressure to study, and that no matter what her son’s future fate would be, God had His own proper arrangements. In the future, she would let her son believe in God well and walk the true path of life, and she just willingly submitted to God’s sovereignty and predestination.
After that, Liu Hua and her son frequently read God’s word and praised God together. Again, he wore a brilliant smile, and their life became especially happy because they worshiped God. To Liu Hua’s surprise, when she gave up forcing him to study, his head teacher sent her a message which said: “Your son has great progress this term. And I also grow very fond of him.” Seeing the teacher’s praise, she offered sincere thanks and praise to God.
In the parent-teacher conference, the exciting voices of the parents cut off Liu Hua’s thoughts. She came back to her senses, and saw that the activities of the opening day had already come to the subject. As the school administrators ordered, the parents were divided into two groups, and then they started to enjoy the performance of the students. Watching the wonderful performances of the direct-entrance classes on the stage, the parents, below the stage, gave them a look of admiration and envy. However, this scene made Liu Hua feel a little sorrow and even more the wretchedness and sadness of the people living under the domain of Satan because of not knowing God’s sovereignty. At the same time, she realized how lucky she as well as her son was. Besides, she was more thankful to God for His salvation in her heart.
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