By Zhou Min
There was an ornate picture of the whole family hanging on the wall of the living room, and in which Zhou Min’s family of five all had a brilliant smile on their faces. Looking at this picture, Zhou Min was deeply touched because it had not come easily. She thought: “Without the guidance ofstep by step, this blended family which was full of conflicts would not be as happy as it is today.” Thinking of this, she couldn’t help being filled with gratitude and praise to God within!
- Reorganizing a Family, She Carefully Managed It
- Conflicts Arising, She Felt Pain within
- Gun Smoke Drifted; the Conflicts Rose
- In Pain, She Encountered the Gospel
- After She Practiced the Truth, the Harmony of Her Family Was in Sight
- After She Bore Witness for God, the Conflicts Ceased
- Her Family Becoming Harmonious, She Gave Thanks for God’s Grace
Reorganizing a Family, She Carefully Managed It
One winter, Zhou Min’s husband died in a coal mine accident, leaving her and her two young children. Later, a good-hearted man introduced her to Ding Qiang, who had a thirteen-year-old son. After a period of interactions with each other, they built a family soon. Ding Qiang moved to Zhou Min’s home, his son being temporarily cared for by Ding Qiang’s mother.
After marriage, as for this family which was reorganized, they both cherished it very much. Ding Qiang promised Zhou Min in all sincerity and seriousness that he would surely raise her two children as his own and take good care of her and them. His words moved Zhou Min very much. She thought: “As the saying goes, ‘Treat others as you wish to be treated, and you’ll get more when you give of yourself.’ As long as you treat us three well, I’ll also well treat you and your son with all my heart.” Hence, she also promised Ding Qiang that she would surely treat his son as her own and let him also get the maternal love.
At first, their life was sweet. Ding Qiang was shrewd and cared for Zhou Min and her two children very well; Zhou Min was wise, kind and considerate and moreover she gave every care to Ding Qiang. They loved each other. Every rainy day, Ding Qiang would personally ferry her two children to and from school. Besides, he would buy many snacks for them now and then. Seeing these, Zhou Min was very happy within. She also always asked his son to live with them on his son’s holidays and kept coming up with ways to cook delicious food for his son; moreover, when his son’s clothes were dirty, she would change and wash them hurriedly and she often bought clothes for his son—she bought almost everything her children had for his son. Seeing all these things, Ding Qiang felt very happy and often said that that he could have such a good wife was a reward of his self-cultivation in morals in his previous life. In this way, under their careful management, the three children lived with each other peacefully and their whole family lived harmoniously, which made the villagers envy them very much.
Conflicts Arising, She Felt Pain within
However, though they managed their family so carefully, this happy life only lasted one year. Afterward, Ding Qiang listened to his friends’ and mother’s words, thinking that, no matter how well he treated Zhou Min’s children, he couldn’t count on them when he was old; he had to be nice to his own child more. When he thought like this, he was out of balance in his heart unknowingly. From then on, he was without the patience with them, which he had in the past and began to nitpick at inconsequential details; sometimes he even scolded them in front of Zhou Min because of some little things. Zhou Min, who was careful, saw his change, but for the harmony of their family, she didn’t want to ask him the reason; she just thought within: “Adults scold children and it isn’t such a big thing. Even the real father also often quarrels with their kids. Maybe he is really for the good of them.”
However, what came next made Zhou Min feel the gravity. Once, her naughty son poured the flour soup into a cup. Seeing that, Ding Qiang shouted at him unrelentingly. Though he was so scared by Ding Qiang’s action that he kept crying, Ding Qiang didn’t stop but still kept scolding. Zhou Min couldn’t bear to see that anymore, so she said to Ding Qiang crossly: “He’s still young. It’s enough that you’ve scolded him so much, but why do you still keep scolding?” Ding Qiang said in a huff: “Still young? He has already been eleven-year-old. I’m educating him while you just know to take his side!” In this way, they gave each other tit for tat and started to quarrel. This was the first time that they had quarreled with each other since they had been married for more than one year.
Then, they continue to quarrel again and again. Every time the reason that they quarreled was because of the children; besides, their quarrels gradually rose and a note of discord began to creep into their relationship. Seeing Ding Qiang’s attitude toward her children became worse and worse and thinking of his promise to her at first, Zhou Min simply felt that no matter how beautiful the promise was, it couldn’t withstand the test of reality in the end. Hence, she felt much pain in her heart. Besides, she also often thought within: There’s still a long way ahead and life goes on. Now we’ve often quarreled; then how can we spend the days in the future? … The more she thought, the more she felt pain.
Gun Smoke Drifted; the Conflicts Rose
The summer vacation came. According to the practice, Ding Qiang picked up his son here. He looked after him meticulously, washed his feet and watched TV together with him. Seeing their intimate manners and thinking of Ding Qiang’s giving black looks to her kids, Zhou Min couldn’t help developing a hatred for him. In order to take her revenge against him, she began to expose his son’s various bad manners before him, saying that his son was stupid and liked sniffing when eating meals … Hearing these, Ding Qiang didn’t look well. However, because his son was in front of him, he resisted the impulse to argue.
One day, Ding Qiang went out to work. His son sat alone on the sofa watching TV and giggled now and then. Seeing his happy looks and recalling that Ding Qiang once turned off the TV when her kids were at the top of watching many times, Zhou Min couldn’t help having an unreasonable anger in her heart. Then, she went forward and turned off the TV. Immediately, Ding Qiang’s son lost his smile and then lowered his head, not daring to say a word, as if he had made a mistake. Seeing this, she felt remorseful within: “He’s innocent. I have a bias against his father, but why did I take it out on him? I’m so petty.”
After hearing about this thing, Ding Qiang got absolutely furious with Zhou Min’s action. In order to avenge his son, he found an opportunity to scold Zhou Min and her two children in front of his son. For the purpose of not letting her children feel indignant, Zhou Min started to quarrel with him. Their quarrels brought the neighbors around. Some mediated between them, some quietly whispered and some shook their heads with a smile … This quarrel made Zhou Min feel rather embarrassed and her hatred for Ding Qiang increase more.
From then on, the laughter in Zhou Min’s house was gradually replaced by aggressive quarrels. Though she and Ding Qiang lived under the same roof, they both had had estrangement and prejudices in their hearts. The situation was something that she didn’t wish to see. Several times, she tried to open her heart and talk with Ding Qiang, but they could only say a few words. When it came to their own kids, neither of them would give in and they would start to quarrel again. Living in such an aggressive home environment, Zhou Min felt very depressed and exhausted physically and mentally and lived in painful torment. She didn’t want to live such a life anymore so she thought of divorce. However, the moment she thought that, she had been married twice; if she got married again but the situation was still like this, it would only bring the second harm to her and her children, she chose to endure first. But how would she go through the days in the future? She was full of confusion of the future life …
In Pain, She Encountered the Gospel
One day after several years, God’s kingdom gospel came upon Zhou Min, which brought a favorable turn to her life. She started to partake in church life. She saw that when brothers and sisters in the church encountered things or got along with others, they all dealt with and solved problems according to God’s words. Though they also had friction with each other, as long as they read God’s words together to know God and themselves in God’s words, the estrangement and misunderstandings between them would be removed. She truly felt the authority and power of God’s words and that only God’s words could let people get along with each other harmoniously. At that point, thinking of the difficulties of her family, she suddenly had hope in her heart. She believed that as long as she sought the truth in God’s words, she would surely discover accurate paths of implementation and then the family’s conflicts which had bothered her for many years would surely be resolved because of God’s words.
In the following days, she often prayed to God to entrust her difficulties to Him. Sure enough, in God’s words, she found the source of her pain. She saw God’s words say: “Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of the national governments and the famous and great. Their lies and nonsense have become man’s life and nature. ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone and become the human life. There are some other words of life philosophy that are also like this. … There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives and in their conduct and dealings with others—they are almost without a shred of truth—for example, their life philosophies, their maxims for success, or their ways of doing things. Every person is filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. So, what flows through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan.”
The Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life says: “Now, the interpersonal relationships of all people are not normal. This is mainly because they have been deeply corrupted by Satan. Their character is extremely low: People all seek only profit and only focus on taking advantage of others when handling things; there are their own intentions and purposes in all things. People all live for themselves and for their flesh; they have no slightest care or love for others, and even no affection or love which man should be equipped with. People intrigue against each other, guard against each other and fight both openly and in secret, being unable to get along normally; the conscience and reason people should be equipped with has completely disappeared. People aren’t of one heart and mind with others; if they don’t have a little bit of patience, they will be arch-enemies. With their hearts filled with evil and fighting, people are opposed to each other and sworn enemies of each other, without the slightest likeness of a man. Their hearts have totally been occupied by Satan, and full of Satan’s philosophies. All these are disclosed in God’s words without the slightest issue. These practical states exist in everyone. … We should have several principles of practice if we want to get along with others. We cannot be satisfied with nothing more than not taking unfair advantage of and not harming others. Besides, we should have love and have conscience and reason even more; we should tolerate and help each other and care for others so that others benefit in all things; we should think about others but not only think about ourselves, should sympathize with others’ weaknesses and pardon others’ transgressions. Only with these principles can we establish the normal relationship with others, and be on friendly terms with others.”
Only then did she realize: After being corrupted by Satan, human beings have been full of various satanic poisons and all become more and more selfish and deplorable. So when their own interests are infringed on by others, they will treat them according to the satanic laws of survival—beginning to become guarded with them and even attack and take revenge on them. As a result, they can’t get along with each other normally. Just like she and Ding Qiang, they just got along with each other according to these satanic poisons, such as “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Treat others as you wish to be treated, and you’ll get more when you give of yourself,” “If you’re not kind, I won’t be just,” and “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” These absurd satanic viewpoints could only sharpen the conflicts between them. She recalled: When they first got married, they both carefully managed the family. However, because the satanic poisons and the selfish nature haunted Ding Qiang, at the instigation of others, he felt even if he raised her son, he had no hope of him when he was old and that the fatherly love his son got was too meager. Then he was out of balance in his heart and began to lose his patience with her children and treat them with cold-heartedness and malicious words. Similarly, in order to not let her children feel wronged, she started to use the same way to treat Ding Qiang and his son. Though she knew his son was innocent and that she shouldn’t vent her resentment against him on his son, she still couldn’t control her own satanic nature, being angry with his son unknowingly. In this way, they both lived relying on their selfish satanic nature—quarreling for their own interests all day long and refusing to give in to each other, thus living in Satan’s snare and feeling very distressed. Their kids became the immediate causes of their quarreling with each other and the innocent victims. The conflicts of their family were getting even more intense and gradually rose and their feelings also reached to such a point that it was in the imminent danger. This blended family was in the danger of breaking up at any time. Only then did she awaken: Actually the source of all suffering was Satan’s harm!
At the same time, she also clearly realized: If she wanted her family to receive peace and the feelings of her and Ding Qiang to recover the state as in the past, she must seek God’s will in everything and handle all things, whether big or small, following God’s way, based on His words, giving Him complete control and letting Him be the Master. Only in this way could she break away from the bondage and harm of Satan’s poisons. She also realized: She had already been a Christian, so she should live out the true form of a human being. No matter what happened, she couldn’t only consider herself, but instead, she should learn to conduct herself according to the principles of the truth and pardon and forgive others a little more. At that time, she determined to practice the truth. Of course, she knew: Satan’s poisons had been deeply rooted inside her. It was a very difficult thing for her to put aside all things. If she didn’t rely on God and look up to Him, she would be utterly incapable of practicing that. Therefore, she entrusted her family to God and prayed to God earnestly to ask Him to give her the will and courage to practice the truth.
After She Practiced the Truth, the Harmony of Her Family Was in Sight
Zhou Min’s son acted up at school and cut classes many times. Once, with a leaded face, Ding Qiang called her son over, scolded him and even beat him. This scene was seen by Zhou Min, who was just coming back. Seeing her son standing there and sobbing, Zhou Min, who was fairly fond of him, felt so heart-broken that she kept shedding tears. She really wanted to make a scene for Ding Qiang, feeling that, it was not necessary to treat her son like this because of his cutting class; after all, he was young!
At that time, she suddenly thought of God’s words: “Thus, in everything there is a battle, and when there is a battle within you, thanks to your actual cooperation and actual suffering God works within you. Ultimately, inside you are able to put the matter aside and the anger is naturally extinguished. Such is the effect of your cooperation with God. Everything you do requires you to pay a certain price in your efforts. Without actual hardship, you can’t satisfy God, it does not even come close to satisfying God, and you are just saying empty slogans!” “Everything that happens to people is when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony.”
Then, she understood God’s will: When she encountered this situation, outwardly, it was her husband beating her son, but in the spiritual world, Satan was making a bet with God, seeing whether she quarreled with her husband according to her selfish nature or betrayed herself and practiced according to God’s words. Thinking of this, her anger dissipated a lot. She knew she must not follow Satan; instead, she should forsake the flesh to satisfy God, consciously pardon and forgive her husband more and live out the manner of a true person. Only thus could she bear witness for God. Hence, she comforted her son: “Son, your dad beat you for your benefit. He wants you to study hard and grow up with prospects for your future. Don’t bear a grudge against him.” Ding Qiang never thought that Zhou Min, who loved her son all the time, could speak out such words, so he stood there embarrassed, his hard voice immediately softened a lot and he no longer scolded her son.
Later, Zhou Min saw the following passage of God’s words: “Only the Creator has pity on this mankind. Only the Creator shows this mankind tenderness and affection. Only the Creator holds a true, unbreakable affection for this mankind. Likewise, only the Creator can bestow mercy on this mankind and cherish all of His creation. His heart leaps and aches at every one of man’s actions: He is angered, distressed and grieved over man’s evil and corruption; He is pleased, joyful, forgiving and jubilant for man’s repentance and belief; every single one of His thoughts and ideas exist for and revolve around mankind; what He is and has is expressed entirely for mankind’s sake; the entirety of His emotions are intertwined with mankind’s existence. For mankind’s sake, He travels and rushes about; He silently gives forth every bit of His life; He dedicates every minute and second of His life…. He has never known how to pity His own life, yet He has always pitied and cherished the mankind He Himself created…. He gives all that He has to this humanity…. He grants His mercy and tolerance unconditionally and without expectation of recompense. He does this only so that mankind can continue to survive before His eyes, receiving His provision of life; He does this only so that mankind may one day submit before Him and recognize that He is the One who nourishes man’s existence and supplies the life of all creation.”
Reading God’s words, she mulled over: When she lost the hope in life and lived in suffering and torment, not knowing what to do, God’s hands of salvation came to her, allowing her hurt heart to gain comfort and showing her the direction of progressing forward. Though she was still deeply bound by Satan’s poisons and revealed corruption many a time, God always pitied and tolerated her unreservedly and guided her by His words, hoping she could break away from the bondage of corrupt disposition and live as a true human being to glorify Him and shame Satan … Her heart was deeply moved by God’s love. She thought: “God’s attitude toward mankind is always selfless. Even if He has expended all that He has for us, he has never asked us to repay him with anything. However, in treating my family, I was so selfish and deplorable. No matter whether I thought that I treated them sincerely when I first got married or I was ‘forced’ to attack and take my revenge against them later, all that I did was for my own interests.” Then She didn’t want to enjoy God’s love selfishly any more but wanted to use practical living out to repay God’s love for her. Under the encouragement of God’s love, her will and courage to practice the truth increased somewhat. She also thought: “Actually Ding Qiang is also a victim who is bound by Satan’s poisons. He is also very agonized when living with his corrupt disposition. I shouldn’t bear a grudge against him; instead, I should cooperate with God to overcome my own corrupt disposition.” At that moment, she seemed to have seen the hope of the harmony of her family.
After She Bore Witness for God, the Conflicts Ceased
Later, one noon, Ding Qiang scolded Zhou Min because of a few family trifles once again. Hearing his words, she was very angry. However, because of the guidance of God’s words, she chose to be silent and then entered into the bedroom without a word. At that time, Ding Qiang’s son came back and it was the time to make the lunch. In the past, she would surely take revenge against Ding Qiang: In addition to not being in a mood for cooking for him and his son, she would also expose him in front of his son, because she thought he shouldn’t have bullied her first. But this time she didn’t do in that way, because she thought of God’s words: “People say they will contribute this and that, but a few words are not enough, you truly have to forsake! Being truly able to forsake when it is time to forsake—that’s what the true reality is. When the crucial moment truly arrives and you are asked to forsake—to give up this and that—not being able to forgo these things is unacceptable; you’re still not serious about God. If, the more it is at a crucial moment, the more you are able to obey, and surrender your own interests and your vanity and pride, then this will be remembered by God, these are good deeds. … How does Satan look upon this? What does Satan think when it sees all this? If you practically do this—if you really take practical actions to bear testimony to God and turn your back on Satan, and don’t just say slogans—then there is no better way to bring shame upon Satan and testify to God. Using every means to testify to God, and every means to show Satan your determination to turn your back on it and forsake it—that’s good!”
God’s words made Zhou Min realize: Satan was just through making her protect her own interests of the flesh to disturb the relationship between her and her husband, causing her to have conflicts with him. She was a believer in God, so she should use practical living out to bear witness for God and honor God, and shouldn’t return evil for evil, doing things that brought shame on the name of God. Though her husband angered her, she couldn’t bring the hatred for him to his son. He was not kind but she had to be just and live out the manner of a believer. When thinking like this, she took off her hatred for him. She also thought: His son lacked motherly love from childhood. As a step-mother, she should even more love him, letting him taste the warmth of the family. This was her indispensable duty as a mother. Therefore, under the guidance of God’s words, she didn’t care about Ding Qiang’s harm for her; besides, in order to make up for the harm she brought to his son because she didn’t understand the truth and was controlled by her satanic nature in the past, she chose to give up protecting her own interests of the flesh to practice according to God’s word. Very quickly, with her heart, she skillfully made dumplings and soup with shredded pork Ding Qiang and his son fancied well. At table, she also asked his son various questions concernedly. After finishing all these things, she felt at ease a lot within. Ding Qiang thought she would surely take her revenge against him like before, but when he saw her actions, he felt she became a totally different person. He was very curious: What made her have such a big change on earth?
Her Family Becoming Harmonious, She Gave Thanks for God’s Grace
In the following days, Zhou Min learned to bring God’s word into real life. When Ding Qiang scolded her children once again, she didn’t only protect them blindly but looked at things from the perspective of educating them; in this way, she could gradually understand him. No matter how he angered her, she would place requirements on herself in accordance with the truth, and not treat him relying on hot blood or human methods, much less bring her anger for him to his son. When she needed to help his son wash clothes, she would do that; usually when his son came back, she would also often improve the life, cooking some meals he fancied; when she bought some delicious food, even if his son was not at home, she would leave some for him. … Having seen her efforts, Diang Qiang’s attitude toward her children became much better. When they made mistakes, he could also educate them patiently. As a result, the relationship among her two children and him became better and better and his son and her were also like real mother and son. Ding Qiang and Zhou Min both felt satisfied by this. During the Spring Festival, Ding Qiang suggested their whole family go to a photo studio to take a picture of their family and they all went there with delight. A picture of the whole family brought their life of quarrels to an end and also testified to their happy life’s taking a fresh start.
Now, though Zhou Min and Ding Qiang still had conflicts more or less, due to the guidance of God’s words, she was no longer that selfish and they lived a pleasant and sweet life. Zhou Min thanked God in her heart unceasingly. It was God’s words that changed her and saved the blended family which was on the verge of breaking up.
All the honorableness and glory be to the almighty and one true God!
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