A Christian’s Diary: The Misunderstanding Between My Mother and Me Has Finally Been Resolved
January 8, 2018 Monday Cloudy
Recently, my mother’s health has not been good. It is not very convenient for her to leave the house. Our church leader was afraid that this would interfere with her attending meetings. As a result, he asked me to have meetings with my mother at home. Even though I did not say anything when I heard him say this, inside, I was not very happy. In a flash, the unhappy incidences between my mother and me that occurred in the past appeared in my mind like scenes from a movie.
My mother is old now and her memory is poor. She is often forgetful when she does things. Sometimes, she forgets what I told her to do and thus, I have to repeatedly remind her. I am a very neat and tidy person, yet, I do have quite a temper. My mother is a relatively sloppy and messy person. After she finishes eating, she frequently forgets to clear the crumbs of food from the table and the floor. I find this particularly hard to bear. Since I disapprove of my mother’s habits, I frequently get peeved off and am involved in a cold war with her, and at times I even lose my temper at her, but she never changes.
Each time we eat, my mother nags a lot. If this goes on for a long time, I get a bit impatient. Sometimes, just as I am about to start eating, my mother begins to nag. When this occurs, I cannot help but become agitated. I try to repress my temper but the result is that I end up saying something quite cold: “Eat your food. Don’t talk so much.” After many of these exchanges, I started to believe that no matter how much I say, my mother will not change. In my heart, I firmly believe that my mother is someone that is just hard to get through to. Previously, I was secretly very happy that I did not need to have meetings with my mother because I no longer needed to listen to her talk endlessly. I never would have thought that this situation would change today. This was something that I really did not want to face, and it’s really hard to obey. However, I then thought, “My mother is sick and she is unable to go out by herself to attend meetings. I cannot just leave her behind and not take care of her. I have to have meetings with her.”
After we finished eating lunch, we said aand then we started our meeting. After finishing reading God’s words, my mother only talked about some shallow understanding of these words. She did not talk about any knowledge of them in light of her practical experiences. I reminded her, “When we communicate God’s words, we should relate them to some of the things that we experience in our own lives, and we need to reflect on our own corrupt dispositions that we have revealed, and understand God’s intentions and God’s demands for us.” Upon hearing this, my mother started speaking endlessly. She rambled for a long time but wouldn’t speak to the point. I couldn’t stand it when she talked about all these unimportant things. All I could do was interrupt her, “Mother, you have believed in God for many years. Yet, you do not even know how to grasp the key points when communicating about God’s words. I think you do not understand anything. How can you be so silly?” My mother was so embarrassed by my attitude that she had nothing to say. The more my mother remained silent, the more I became angry. In a fit of rage, I said, “Look, all I did was point out your mistakes and you do not give me a reply at all. How are we to continue our meeting? From now on, you can do this yourself!” As a result, we parted on bad terms. Thinking of my mother’s helpless expression at that time, from the depths of my heart I now feel embarrassment. It is particularly painful. My mother is old and her caliber is poor. My demands for her should not be so high!
January 15, 2018 Monday Cloudy
Each time my mother finishes eating, the crumbs of food from her bowl end up all over the floor. After we walk back and forth and step on them a few times, the floor becomes dirty. Today, I finally came up with a solution to this: From now on, we will eat in the kitchen. That way, it would be very difficult for her to make the floor dirty. I moved a small table to the kitchen before our next meal. The result, though, was that, when it came time for the meal, my mother simply brought her food into the living room. When I saw this, I felt very helpless and I also felt angry. However, when I thought about how I was a Christian and how I was not living out even a very basic level of tolerance and patience, I felt ashamed. As a result, I reigned in my temper and gave my mother a reminder, “Mother, can you stop dropping the crumbs of food onto the table and floor?” It seemed like my mother did not detect the anger that I was trying to suppress when I gave her that reminder. She replied casually, “If it’s dirty, just clean it a bit and it should be fine.” When I saw how obstinate my mother was, I blurted out, “Mother, I have told you many times already. You never listen to my suggestions!” At this point, I suddenly thought of another matter over the past few days and I could not help but say, “Also, it was raining the day before yesterday. You came back from the vegetable fields and tracked mud all over the place. You did not clean off your shoes outside before you entered the house. You ended up making a mess of the entire house. I have told you many times to promptly take off the clothes you wear after you finish gardening and I will wash them, yet, you stubbornly do not listen.” My mother replied, “I frequently go out to do gardening work. Even if I were more diligent with removing those clothes, they wouldn’t be much cleaner.” When I heard this reply, I basically had nothing left to say. I thought, “Why is it so hard for you to do such a trivial thing? It seems like the older you get, the more stubborn you get. I don’t think I can live with you.” I quickly went to my room in order to get away from her. My mother also wanted to keep her distance from me. She stopped talking to me as much. Now when I think back of how I lost my temper at my mother during the day, my conscience feels guilty. As a daughter, I shouldn’t have treated my mother this way. As a Christian, I feel very distressed that I did not treat her with tolerance and patience.
January 16, 2018 Tuesday Clear Skies
At 5 a.m. in the morning, I was fully awake and ready to get up for spiritual devotion. When I recalled the things that had just recently happened, I thought it’s best that I bring these things before God. I prayed, “O God! These days, there is a lot of friction between my mother and me. I feel like my mother is becoming more and more obstinate. There are some matters where it seems that no matter how I communicate with her, nothing gets through. No matter how I tell her about her bad habits, she does not change. When I see her acting this way, I cannot help but dislike and avoid her or get angry at her. This hurts her, and there is a distance between her and me. O God, I do not want to rely on my corrupt disposition to live. I want to live out the normal humanity that You demand. However, most of the time, I am only patient externally. I can be tolerant for a little while but for long stretches of time, when the situation infringes on my fleshly interests, I cannot help it. O God, please guide and lead me so that I can recognize and despise my own corruption and find a path of practice. Amen!”
After I finished praying, I saw a passage in a sermon that said: “Some people do not get on with anyone and always want to be the boss, control and command others in coordination, make people listen to them and put them at the center. What disposition is this? This is satanic disposition” (“Compulsory Conditions for Entering Onto the Right Track of Believing in God” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)). Suddenly, I became conscious of the fact that I was always wanting to change my mother’s habits and have her meet my demands. When my mother did not do what I asked her to do, I would start shouting at her. I was so arrogant and irrational. What I was revealing was a corrupt satanic disposition. When I thought back to that day when I scolded my mother, I remembered that she had a helpless expression. I could see that I was relying on my arrogant disposition to live and made my mother feel constrained, and at the same time, I was hurting her. My heart began to feel even more guilty.
Then, I read a passage of God’s words which said, “When you fellowshipand speak the words in your heart, and describe something clearly and understandably, so that it can edify and benefit others, make them understand God’s will, and help them escape misunderstandings and fallacies, is there any need to stand on high? Is there any need to use a lecturing tone? You don’t need to scold them, you don’t need to speak loudly, or shout at them, much less use words, or a tone, or an intonation that are blunt. You just need to learn to use a normal tone, commune from the position and status of an ordinary person, speak calmly, speak the words in your heart, endeavor to pour out what you understand, what other people need to understand, and speak clearly and understandably. When what you say is understandable, other people will understand, your burden will be released, they will cease to have misunderstandings, and you will see what you say more clearly; isn’t this edifying both of you? Is there any need to harangue them? In many cases, there is no need to force this upon them. So what should you do if they don’t accept? Some of what you say is the truth, and things really are as you say, but could people accept them as soon as you say them? What do they need in order to accept these words and to change? They need a process; you must give them a process by which to change. If you say, ‘I told you yesterday, why are you saying this again today? You don’t listen to or take in anything I say! You really are old, you’re useless.’ How about these words? What do you think about this kind of child? What do you think about doing this when you say that your parents have no sense? Could your parents approve? You require them to change by saying these words once—but how many times did you have to be told before you changed? You, too, didn’t change after being told once, nor were you able to understand and accept after being told once, so you must allow your parents a process of change. Tell them this: ‘It’s actually very simple. You don’t always think of yourselves as my parents, and I won’t think of myself as your child. The relationship between us will be that of ordinary brothers and sisters. If something’s up with you, tell me. Don’t suppress it or hide it. I won’t laugh at you. If you see something wrong with me, you can point it out to me. Tell me what you understand, so that I can put it into practice and not walk the wrong path.’ What’s it called when two people confer in this way? It’s called speaking heart-to-heart. And what is the purpose of speaking heart-to-heart? Is it to maintain a proper relationship between parents and children? Let Me tell you, narrowly speaking, the purpose of speaking heart-to-heart is for there to be normal human communication, having an exchange of minds. That’s narrowly speaking. Broadly speaking, it is for people to understand each other’s state, learn from each other, support each other, and help one another—that’s the effect. And thus, isn’t the relationship by which people interact with each other normal?” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity” in Records of Christ’s Talks).
Thank God for His guidance. Through carefully pray-reading and contemplating this passage of God’s words, I finally understood where my problem came from: I have never treated my mother the way I treat my brothers and sisters. I always wanted her to listen to me. When we encountered a situation, I did not calmly communicate the truth with her. Instead, I relied on my satanic arrogant disposition and stood on high to say some harsh words to her. This caused my mother to no longer want to be near me or open her heart to me and communicate. This also led to our relationship becoming more and more distant. When we communicated God’s words and I heard her say something that was not suitable, I did not share the light that I had received with her. Instead, I persistently demanded that she talk about her own experiences, and I never sincerely listened to her talk about what she wanted to talk to me about. God has expressed so many words, yet He has never demanded that we practice them all immediately. Instead, He has given us many opportunities to change. Yet, I was unable to treat my mother in the same manner. I always said she couldn’t do this or that and turned my back on her. I always wanted her to listen to everything I said. I insisted that she change after I finished telling her to change. I can see that I did not have any normal humanity or rationality and that I did not know to show her any tolerance and understanding. I would be angry at her all day and nitpick her on every little thing. This was all the revealing of an arrogant and conceited disposition! At the same time, I came to understand: Communicating the truth requires me to let go of my pride and to place myself on the same level as my mother and speak some words from my heart. Likewise, I have to understand her heart and her thoughts. I also have to learn to understand her practical difficulties and to use the same love that I have for my brothers and sisters in order to help her. As I pondered over God’s words, I could feel that God’s love for man is so real: He provides me with the practical solutions for the real life problems that I am facing, and He helps me to learn how to conduct myself according to the truth and establish a normal relationship with my mother so that we can support and help each other in regard to entry into life and be after His heart. I thanked God for His guidance that I finally found some paths of practice. I decided to read God’s words with my mother and to apologize to her and have a heart-to-heart talk with her.