How to Regard the Nurturing Kindness of Our Parents

April 4, 2024

By Xiaoxin, Japan

In 2012, our whole family accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. From God’s words, I understood what it meant to truly believe in God, and also understood that each person has a mission in this world. In life, people must pursue the truth and do their duties as created beings. So, I gave up my job and came to the church to do my duty.

At that time, I was going out to spread the gospel every day, and I only went home to see my father occasionally. When I saw my father in poor health, I knew that his asthma was flaring up again. Before, all he had to do was just take some medicine or receive an infusion. I thought that this time, he’d get through it without a hitch just like in the past, but not long after that, I got the news that my father had passed away. My brother spoke to me through the phone, saying, “Dad’s gone.” Hearing these two words broke my heart, and the tears flowed nonstop. When I got home, my aunt said reproachfully, “You studied medicine. You knew your father had asthma, so why didn’t you get him to do oxygen therapy? Then maybe he wouldn’t have died so early.” Hearing this, my heart became even more tattered, and it was full of indebtedness toward my father. If I had thought about him a little more, would he really not have passed away so early? My aunt took my hand and said, “Out of all their children, your parents paid the greatest price for you. Now your father is gone, and you didn’t have the chance to be filial toward him. In the future, you’ve got to properly look after your mother.” I nodded silently, thinking of how my parents brought me up, gave me an education, and thought of me as a source of pride. However, before I could do anything for either of them, my father passed away. I had to take up my responsibility of caring for my mother; I couldn’t let her suffer. After that, even though I was doing my duty every day, whenever I had free time, I would think, “If I don’t get a job and make money, how will my mother live in the future? If I can’t look after my mother and give myself another thing to feel remorseful about, I’ll regret it my whole life.” So, I started looking for jobs every day after I finished doing my duty.

In March of 2013, I had found a job and was getting ready to go to work, but right when I was leaving the house of the sister who had been hosting me, I became extremely sad. A hymn echoed over and over in my head: “I fell into sin, but rise in the light. Receiving Your exaltation, how grateful I am. God incarnate suffers, how much more should I, a corrupt person! Should I yield to dark powers, how would I see God? When I remember Your words, they make me long for You. Whenever I see Your face, I fill with guilt and respect. How could I abandon You, seeking so-called freedom? …(Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, Awaiting God’s Good News). Humming this song, I was overcome with sadness, and when I got to the line, “How could I abandon You, seeking so-called freedom?” my face was already covered in tears. In the past, I was living in emptiness and pain, without a direction in life or a purpose to my existence. It was God who chose me from this vast sea of people, and made me lucky enough to hear His words and understand the meaning of life. This was God showing me His grace. But I gave up my duty so quickly to get a job and earn money, and I felt very indebted to God. Crying, I called out to God, “God, I am too weak, and I cannot rebel against myself. Please stop me from walking this path.” Just then, from far away, I saw a sandstorm blowing in my direction. Soon, I was enveloped in the storm. I couldn’t breathe or see anything. I heard the sound of flapping, as if something had been sucked up into the air. At that time, there was a single thought in my head: “Run.” Immediately, I threw down my e-bike and ran forward. I had only made it a few yards when I heard a loud noise behind me. I was covering my eyes and didn’t dare to look. All I could do was continue to pray in my heart and ask God to protect me. After a while, the sandstorm died down. Only then did I see my e-bike lying not too far away, and notice that a concrete roadside telephone pole had been broken in half by a flying colored steel roof. The telephone pole had been blown more than ten yards away, and its cables had also snapped. If my mind didn’t tell me to run just then, I could have been crushed to death. At that time, a sentence of God’s words echoed in my mind: “I have even shown you the flames of heaven, but I have not had the heart to burn you. …(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Are All So Base in Character!). I knew that God had protected me and that this was His way of speaking to me and showing me His will. I prayed silently to God in my heart, “God, I won’t work to earn money anymore; I won’t leave You.” But when I woke up the next day, I wavered again. Looking ahead, I still had a long path to walk. If I didn’t have a job, then how would my mother live in the future? My parents had raised me, and I should provide for them in their old age. But giving up my duty and getting a job to earn money would also make me very sad. I knew that hospital work was extremely busy, so if I went to work there, I might barely even have time to attend gatherings. Later on, I went off to do my duty. However, I would still think about my mother from time to time. Even though I knew my brothers were with her and she shouldn’t have any difficulties in her life, I still often felt remorseful and indebted to her for not being able to look after her.

In the blink of an eye, ten years passed. One time, under some unusual circumstances, I thought of how my mother must look living alone after my father’s passing. There was a pain in my heart that was hard to control, as if all of this had just happened yesterday. My father had been gone for 10 years, but my sense of indebtedness toward my parents was still buried deep inside my heart. I wanted to completely rid myself of this state, so I came before God to seek the reason why I’d always lived inside this feeling of indebtedness to my parents.

I read some of God’s words and gained a bit of knowledge about my problem. Almighty God says: “There is a saying in the world of unbelievers: ‘Crows repay their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneel to receive milk from their mothers.’ There’s also this saying: ‘An unfilial person is lower than a beast.’ How grandiose these sayings sound! Actually, the phenomena that the first saying mentions, crows repaying their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneeling to receive milk from their mothers, really do exist, these are facts. However, they are simply phenomena within the animal world. They are merely a kind of law that God has established for various living creatures, and by which all kinds of living creatures, including humans, abide. The fact that all kinds of living creatures abide by this law further demonstrates that all living creatures are created by God. No living creature can break this law, and no living creature can transcend it. Even relatively ferocious carnivores like lions and tigers nurture their offspring and do not bite them before they reach adulthood. This is an animal instinct. No matter which species they are, whether they are ferocious or kind and gentle, all animals possess this instinct. All kinds of creatures, including humans, can only continue to multiply and survive by abiding by this instinct and this law. If they didn’t abide by this law, or didn’t have this law and this instinct, they wouldn’t be able to multiply and survive. The biological chain wouldn’t exist, and neither would this world. Isn’t that true? (Yes.) Crows repaying their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneeling to receive milk from their mothers demonstrates precisely that the animal world abides by this kind of law. All kinds of living creatures have this instinct. Once offspring are born, they are cared for and nurtured by the females or males of the species until they become adults. All kinds of living creatures are able to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations to their offspring, conscientiously and dutifully raising the next generation. This should be even more the case for humans. Humans are called higher animals by mankind—if they cannot abide by this law, and lack this instinct, then humans are lower than animals, aren’t they? Therefore, no matter how much your parents nurtured you while they were raising you, and how much they fulfilled their responsibility to you, they were only doing what they ought to within the scope of the abilities of a created human—it was their instinct. … All kinds of living creatures and animals possess these instincts and laws, and they abide by them very well, carrying them out to perfection. This is something that no person can destroy. There are also some special animals, like tigers and lions. When these animals reach adulthood, they leave their parents, and some males even become rivals, biting, contending, and fighting as necessary. This is normal, it is a law. They are not very affectionate, and they do not live amid their feelings like people do, saying: ‘I have to repay their kindness, I have to recompense them—I have to obey my parents. If I don’t show filial piety to them, other people will condemn me, berate me, and criticize me behind my back. I couldn’t bear that!’ Such things are not said in the animal world. Why do people say such things? Because in society and within groups of people, there are various incorrect ideas and consensuses. After people have been influenced, corroded, and rotted by these things, different ways of interpreting and dealing with the parent-child relationship arise within them, and they ultimately treat their parents as their creditors—creditors that they will never be able to repay their whole lives. There are even some people who feel guilty for their whole lives after their parents die, and think themselves unworthy of their parents’ kindness, because of one thing they did that didn’t make their parents happy or didn’t go the way their parents wanted it to. Tell Me, is this not excessive? People live amid their feelings, so they can only be encroached upon and disturbed by various ideas stemming from these feelings(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (17)). “In any case, by raising you your parents are fulfilling a responsibility and an obligation. Raising you into an adult is their obligation and responsibility, and this cannot be called kindness. If it cannot be called kindness, then is it not something that you ought to enjoy? (It is.) This is a kind of right that you should enjoy. You should be raised by your parents, because before you reach adulthood, the role that you play is that of a child being brought up. Therefore, your parents are just fulfilling a kind of responsibility toward you, and you are just receiving it, but you are certainly not receiving grace or kindness from them. For any living creature, bearing and looking after children, reproducing, and raising the next generation is a kind of responsibility. For example, birds, cows, sheep, and even tigers have to take care of their offspring after they reproduce. There are no living creatures that do not raise their offspring. It’s possible that there are some exceptions, but there are not many of them. It’s a natural phenomenon in the existence of living creatures, it’s an instinct for living creatures, and it cannot be attributed to kindness. They are just abiding by a law that the Creator set out for animals and for mankind. Therefore, your parents raising you isn’t a kind of kindness. Based on this, it can be said that your parents are not your creditors. They are fulfilling their responsibility to you. No matter how much effort and money they spend on you, they should not ask you to recompense them, because this is their responsibility as parents. Since it is a responsibility and an obligation, it should be free, and they should not ask for compensation. By raising you, your parents were just fulfilling their responsibility and obligation, and this should be unpaid, and it should not be a transaction. So, you do not need to approach your parents or handle your relationship with them according to the idea of recompensing them. If you do treat your parents, pay them back, and handle your relationship with them according to this idea, that is inhumane. At the same time, it is likely to make you restrained and bound by your fleshly feelings, and it will be hard for you to emerge from these entanglements, to the extent that you might even lose your way(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (17)). From God’s words, I understood that parents nurturing their children is not a sort of kindness at all. It is a law and instinct that God has ordained for all living things. Any kinds of animals, whether they are gentle or ferocious, do everything they can to nurture their offspring based on environmental conditions. This is their responsibility and obligation, as well as an instinct given to them by God. Only if living creatures abide by this instinct and law can they continue to multiply and survive. Humans are like this too. It is parents’ responsibility and obligation to nurture their children, and it is something innate that God has bestowed upon them, something that humans do instinctually. From birth, my parents had nurtured my siblings and me. My younger brother liked to learn trades, so my mother let him study to be a chef. I rather liked studying, and my grades were always good. My parents helped to cultivate my studiousness, and so they spent a fair amount of energy and money on me. My mother had said that they would support any of us if we wanted to study. This was my mother normally fulfilling her responsibility of nurturing her children and cannot be seen as a transaction. My parents had always supported me believing in God and doing my duty. Even though my father had passed away, my mother had not required that I take care of her. She only hoped that I could believe in God and do my duty wholeheartedly. However, all along I had let traditional culture affect how I saw my relationship with my parents. Ideas such as “Filial piety is a virtue to be held above all else,” “Children hope to provide for their parents when they’re old, but time does not wait, just as a tree craves calm but the wind does not stop,” “Crows repay their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneel to receive milk from their mothers,” and “An unfilial person is lower than a beast” had been instilled in me from a young age, and I believed that my parents’ love was the greatest love in the world. Only if I was filial to them and repaid them materially and spiritually would I be a filial daughter and a good person. Father’s sudden passing made me understand even better the irreparable guilt expressed in the phrase “Children hope to provide for their parents, but time does not wait.” So, after my father passed away, I wanted to get a job and make money, provide for my mother, and show my filial piety to her. Even though I was fully aware that I couldn’t leave my duty behind and betray God, I still wasn’t able to struggle free from these ideas that bound me. If God hadn’t used the sandstorm to warn me, I may already have dropped my duty and shunned Him. These ideas from traditional culture seem quite noble, but in essence, they are actually invisible chains that Satan wraps around people. These ideas warped the relationship between parents and their children. They have made people see the parental responsibility of nurturing one’s children as a kindness that must be repaid. If people are unable to repay their parents or the conditions to do so aren’t met, they’ll think that they’re unfilial and have no conscience, and will even spend a lifetime feeling indebted and reproaching themselves. Satan uses these traditional ideas to poison and bind people, to make them shun God and betray Him, thus achieving its goal of harming people. With God revealing the relationship between parents and children, I gradually became clear-headed. My parents expending themselves for me is not a weight that I need to carry on my shoulders. I shouldn’t look at my relationship with my parents based on satanic traditional culture and treat their love and care for me as a kindness to repay. This is not in line with the truth. Recognizing this, my heart became much lighter and liberated.

Later, I read more of God’s words: “The parental relationship is the most difficult relationship for someone to handle emotionally, but in fact, it’s not entirely unmanageable. Only on the basis of understanding the truth can people treat this matter correctly and rationally. Do not start from the perspective of feelings, and do not start from the insights or the perspectives of worldly people. Instead, treat your parents in the proper manner according to God’s words. What role do parents actually play, what do children actually mean to their parents, what attitude should children have toward their parents, and how should people handle and resolve the relationship between parents and children? People should not view these things based on feelings, nor should they be influenced by any wrong ideas or prevailing sentiments; they should be approached correctly based on God’s words. If you fail to fulfill any of your responsibilities to your parents in the environment ordained by God, or if you do not play any role in their lives whatsoever, is that being unfilial? Will your conscience accuse you? Your neighbors, classmates, and relatives will all berate you and criticize you behind your back. They will call you an unfilial child, saying: ‘Your parents sacrificed so much for you, invested so much painstaking effort in you, and did so much for you ever since you were little, and you, being the ungrateful child you are, just disappear without a trace, not even sending word back that you’re safe. Not only do you not come back for New Year, you don’t even give a phone call or send a greeting to your parents.’ Every time you hear such words, your conscience bleeds and weeps, and you feel condemned. ‘Oh, they’re right.’ Your face flushes with heat, and your heart trembles as if being pricked by needles. Have you had these types of feelings? (Yes, before.) Are the neighbors and your relatives right in saying that you are unfilial? (No. I’m not unfilial.) Explain your reasoning. … First of all, most people choose to leave home to perform their duties in part because of the overarching objective circumstances, which necessitate them leaving their parents; they cannot stay by their parents’ side to take care of them and accompany them. It’s not that they willingly choose to leave their parents; this is the objective reason. For another thing, subjectively speaking, you go out to perform your duties not because you wanted to leave your parents and escape your responsibilities, but because of God’s calling. In order to cooperate with God’s work, accept His calling, and perform the duties of a created being, you had no choice but to leave your parents; you could not stay by their side to accompany them and take care of them. You didn’t leave them to avoid responsibilities, right? Leaving them to avoid your responsibilities and having to leave them to answer God’s calling and perform your duties—aren’t these of two different natures? (Yes.) In your heart, you do have emotional attachments and thoughts for your parents; your feelings are not empty. If objective circumstances allow, and you are able to stay by their side while also performing your duties, then you would be willing to stay by their side, regularly taking care of them and fulfilling your responsibilities. But because of objective circumstances, you must leave them; you cannot remain at their side. It’s not that you don’t want to fulfill your responsibilities as their child, but that you can’t. Isn’t this different in nature? (Yes.) If you left home to avoid being filial and fulfilling your responsibilities, that is unfilial and lacks humanity. Your parents raised you, but you can’t wait to spread your wings and quickly go off on your own. You don’t want to see your parents, and you don’t pay any regard when you hear about some difficulty they’ve encountered. Even if you have the means to help, you don’t; you just pretend not to hear and let others say whatever they want about you—you simply don’t want to fulfill your responsibilities. This is being unfilial. But is this the case now? (No.) Many people have left their counties, cities, provinces, or even their countries to perform their duties; they are already far away from their hometowns. Furthermore, it’s not convenient for them to stay in touch with their families for various reasons. Occasionally, they inquire about their parents’ current situation from people who came from the same hometown and feel relieved when they hear that their parents are still healthy and getting by okay. In fact, you are not unfilial; you haven’t reached the point of lacking humanity, where you don’t even want to care about your parents or fulfill your responsibilities toward them. It’s because of various objective reasons that you have to make this choice, so you’re not unfilial(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (16)). From God’s words, I understood that always living inside my feelings of indebtedness toward my parents these years was because I had been influenced and poisoned by traditional culture. I thought that I had not lived up to the sayings “Crows repay their mothers by feeding them” and “A kindness received should be gratefully repaid.” I believed that I was an unfilial daughter. My conscience was heavy, and I couldn’t hold back tears. From God’s words, I finally recognized that one should not judge a person’s conscience and humanity based on their external behavior, but rather on the essence of their actions. It’s just like how over these years, I was only concerned about my mother and wanting to show filial piety to her because believing in God and doing my duty meant that I couldn’t often be by her side. Also, the pursuit and persecution of the Communist Party meant that I had to flee from home and wouldn’t have the chance to be filial toward my parents. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be filial, or that I wanted to evade my responsibility. This problem was different in essence from meeting the conditions for being filial but still not doing it, so I shouldn’t confuse the two. I had to view myself correctly based on God’s words; only by doing this could I shake off Satan’s deception and harm.

After this, I read some more of God’s words, and I saw more clearly how to correctly regard my relationship with my parents. Almighty God says: “When dealing with your parents, whether you fulfill your obligations as a child to take care of them must be entirely based on your personal conditions and God’s orchestrations. Doesn’t this explain the matter perfectly? When some people leave their parents, they feel that they owe their parents a lot and that they do nothing for their parents. But then when they do live together, they are not filial to their parents at all, and they do not fulfill any of their obligations. Is this a truly filial person? This is saying empty words. No matter what you do, what you think, or what you plan, those things are not important. What is important is whether you can understand and truly believe that all created beings are in the hands of God. Some parents have that blessing and that destiny to be able to enjoy domestic bliss and the happiness of a large and prosperous family. This is God’s sovereignty, and a blessing God gives them. Some parents don’t have this destiny; God has not arranged this for them. They are not blessed to enjoy having a happy family, or to enjoy having their children stay by their side. This is God’s orchestration and people cannot force this. No matter what, ultimately when it comes to filial piety, people must at least have a mindset of obedience. If the environment permits and you have the means to do so, then you can show your parents filial piety. If the environment does not permit and you lack the means, then do not try to force it—what is this called? (Obedience.) This is called obedience. How does this obedience come about? What is the basis for obedience? It is based on all of these things being arranged by God and ruled over by God. Though people may wish to choose, they cannot, they do not have the right to choose, and they should obey. When you feel that people should obey and that everything is orchestrated by God, don’t you feel calmer in your heart? (Yes.) Then will your conscience still feel rebuked? It will no longer feel constantly rebuked, and the idea of not having been filial to your parents will no longer dominate you. Occasionally, you may still think about it as these are some normal thoughts or instincts within humanity, and no one can avoid them(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Truth Reality?). “In the presence of the Creator, you are a created being. What you should do in this life is not just to fulfill your responsibilities to your parents, but to fulfill your responsibilities and duties as a created being. You can only fulfill your responsibilities to your parents on the basis of God’s words and the truth principles, not by doing anything for them based on your emotional needs or the needs of your conscience(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (16)). From God’s words, I understood that when it comes to the relationship between parents and children, within the environment that God has ordained, both parties should fulfill their responsibilities based on their own abilities and conditions. As far as man’s fate, God has already ordained how much one suffers and how much blessing they enjoy in their lifetime. Parents cannot decide which paths their children follow in the future, and children cannot change their parents’ fates through their own hard work. Some people have a certain blessing, while others do not have that blessing. None of this can be changed by human willpower and affection. It’s like how my parents groomed me to study medicine, and although they spent lots of money, I didn’t work in that industry in the end. In the same vein, I wanted to be filial toward my parents, but my father passed away too soon, and I wanted to be filial toward my mother, but I was never able to be by her side. In the past, I feared that my mother was suffering and always wanted to work hard to help her be happier in the latter part of her life. To put it bluntly, I wanted to exhaust all my strength to change my mother’s fate and create happiness for her. The fact is that I’m not even in control of my own fate, of what I do in this lifetime, or of whether or not I can be happy. How could I change my mother’s fate? I saw how foolish and arrogant I was. I had learned that when it came to regarding my mother, I just needed to take things as they came and fulfill my responsibilities according to my own conditions. If I was living with my mother and the conditions were met for taking care of her, then I could be filial to the best of my abilities. If I could not be next to her, I didn’t need to feel indebted because of it. Since I am a created being, I only need to do my duty well in the environment that God has arranged for me. This is what’s most important.

Not too long ago, I got in touch with my mother. She told me that the greatest happiness in her life was being chosen by God and hearing His voice, and that her greatest wish was that she could do her duty well and be worthy of God’s salvation. She also told me to do my duty as best I could. After reading my mother’s letter, I cried. What I had believed about being filial toward my mother and giving her a superior material life would not necessarily have made her happy. In fact, when it came to material things, my mother didn’t have such high demands. She only wanted me to properly follow God, pursue the truth, and do my duty well—that was her real greatest wish. In the past, I thought that I ought to take on the responsibility of being filial toward my mother, seeing as she and my father had paid a greater price for me compared to my siblings, but things always turned out different than I wished. Later, I thought that even though I couldn’t be by my mother’s side, my elder brother was quite filial and would often look after my mother. However, it turned out that he was unable to stay by my mother’s side. My younger brother typically isn’t good at saving money, and I used to think that if he even just had enough money for himself, he’d be doing great. Now he’s the one providing for my mother. God truly holds sovereignty over and arranges things in a way that people could never imagine or anticipate, but it is really God who holds sovereignty over and arranges each person’s fate, and fate is something no one can choose or change. Now, I no longer feel sad due to all the seemingly miserable circumstances my mother has experienced, and I no longer worry about her future. I know that our fates are all in God’s hands, and each person will experience both good and miserable circumstances, including myself. This is something that no person can escape or change. All I can do is hand my mother over to God and ask Him to guide us to pursue the truth within the circumstances that He has arranged for us, and to guide us to do each of our duties well and to repay His love. Thank God!

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