Oppressed by My Family: A Learning Experience
By Wuwen, Canada
My husband didn’t stand in my way when I was new to the faith, and I shared the gospel with him, too. But he was too focused on making money, so he didn’t want to join the faith. Then he noticed that my entire demeanor had changed and I was much more even-tempered, so he became really supportive of it. But a year later, he started standing in my way. One day when he came home from work, he asked me, “It’sthat you believe in, isn’t it? I gave Mike a ride home today, and he told me that his church’s clergy all say that it’s not the true way, that its sermons are profound and it’s easy to be misled by them. Mike warned me that you shouldn’t listen to its sermons.” Mike was his boss, and a long-time believer in the Lord. He was really talented—my husband had a lot of respect for him. I saw that my husband thought Mike was right, so I told him that he didn’t understand matters of faith and he couldn’t just parrot what other people say. He seemed to hesitate for a moment, then didn’t say anything else.
Then another time, he said to me seriously, “I did some online research, and youris being cracked down on by the Communist Party. Plus people are saying a lot of things about Almighty God, that He’s just a person, not God, and that is milking people for money. I can’t let you attend gatherings with people from the Church anymore. I’m afraid you’re going to be conned.” I was really angry to hear this and responded, “You haven’t read Almighty and you don’t understand the Church. How can you just arbitrarily judge based on some online rumors? You know that Christians all believe in the and know that He is the true God. 2,000 years ago, when the Lord Jesus was working, He was also condemned and denied by lots of people. They said He was just a regular person, the son of a carpenter. The Lord Jesus looked like a regular person on the outside, but He had a divine essence, and He could express the truth and redeem mankind. He was God’s Spirit clothed in the flesh, the Redeemer of humanity. If we listen to the Communist Party and say anyone who looks like a normal person from the outside isn’t God, wouldn’t that also be denying the Lord Jesus Christ? Just like the Lord Jesus, Almighty God looks unremarkable, but He can express the truth, express the voice of God. I’ve read so much of Almighty God’s words now. They reveal all sorts of mysteries about the Bible, and tell us how Satan corrupts mankind, how God saves mankind, the root of all the darkness and evil in our world, and the truth about human corruption. They also show us the path to be freed from sin, be saved by God, and enter the kingdom of heaven. No one could express these truths, no matter how famous or great. What human being could express the truth? Who could do the work of redemption and salvation? Nobody can. This proves that Almighty God really is God incarnate come to mankind.” I also told him that The Church of Almighty God has never made appeals for offerings. All the books of God’s words are given out free of charge. The CCP’s claim that the Church just wants people’s money is pure slander. I told him he absolutely couldn’t be taken in by those lies. He walked off without a word.
Then once when I came back from sharing the gospel, he said to me, really irritated, “I just saw online the Party says people in your Church are abandoning their families. You’ve been going out a lot lately. Are you getting ready to take off?” I said, “I take great care of our home. How could you say that? I’m going out to share the gospel, so people know the Savior has come and they can accept His salvation. You’ve seen how people are becoming more corrupt all the time, following evil trends and living in sin. Look at your friends—they all either gamble or go to prostitutes. Is there a single one that’s moral? The world has gotten so evil. Everyone denies and resists God, and corruption is at a peak. The Bible prophesies great disasters in the last days that will wipe out all of corrupt humanity. Disasters are growing now. Only if people accept Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement, and cast off sin and corruption can they be protected by God through the disasters and enter into His kingdom. Believers in Almighty God understand how urgently God wants to save people, and we’re willing to let go of fleshly pleasures, to try to share and bear witness to God’s kingdom gospel. This is doing God’s will—it’s righteous and is doing good deeds! But the Communist Party doesn’t let people have faith, share the gospel, or bear witness to God, and it’s arresting and persecuting Christians like crazy. That’s forced lots of Christians away from their families, unable to return. Some are even arrested and imprisoned, or persecuted to death. Isn’t this all from the Communist Party’s persecution of Christians? But they’re blaming the victims, saying believers are abandoning their families. Isn’t that distorting things, turning the truth on its head? Having faith is right and proper. There are so many believers all over the world. Where is faith destroying families? The CCP is evil, it does nothing but lie. But you don’t despise it—you even believe its lies. You’re just going along with it, saying we’re deserting our families. That’s confounding right and wrong.” He’d been taken in by the CCP’s lies, so he just wouldn’t listen to me. He said angrily, “I don’t care. Believe in anything, just not Almighty God.” Seeing he was so set on this, I suddenly felt some panic. We’d been married for over a decade and we’d been through a lot together. We always discussed everything and supported each other, without any major conflicts. Seeing him so irate with me because of my faith in Almighty God was really upsetting. I said a silent prayer, asking God to guide me to understand His will. I remembered this quote from God’s words after my prayer: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God). This helped me understand that on the surface it looked like my husband was standing in the way of my faith, but Satan’s interference was actually behind it. Satan wants to rule over and possess people forever. It didn’t want me to come before God and worship Him, so it was trying everything to stop me, using the lies and rumors online to mislead my husband, trying to use him to get in my way, so that I’d give up the true way and betray God because of my feelings for him. Satan is so sinister and wicked! Knowing this, I resolved that no matter what Satan did, I would keep my faith and follow God, and never give in to Satan! So I told him, “I believe in and follow God. It’s the right path. This is my choice, and you have no right to interfere!” He walked out without a word, furious.
One day he found me listening to hymns of God’s words. Pulling a long face, he said angrily, “I told you, don’t believe in Almighty God. Why don’t you ever listen? Mike has been a believer for ages, he’s a really devout Christian. He told me Eastern Lightning isn’t the true way, so if you’re going to believe in God, go to Mike’s church. It’s big and well-known. I’ll attend service with you every week, and Mike can get his pastor to talk with you.” I told him, “Why are you so sure of what Mike says? Why look up to the pastors? You just see that the pastors have qualifications and are well-known, but you don’t care what they actually preach. Without accepting Almighty God, they won’t have the sustenance of the truth. They just talk about Bible knowledge, the same old stuff. They have nothing to say about how to put the Lord’s words into practice or resolve people’s sinfulness. Attending that church won’t do anything for me. I enjoy The Church of Almighty God’s gatherings; they’re nurturing. I understand more truth with every gathering and I learn about how to live out normal humanity. You yourself said you’d seen some changes in me since I gained faith. So why can’t you go by the facts, but insist on believing the CCP’s lies and standing in my way?” He couldn’t argue against that, so he just threatened me: “You just refuse to listen to me. If you insist on this, you’re going to hand over all of your money and bank accounts to me, and you must transfer the house to my name.” Hearing him say this was like a knife to the heart for me. All our years of marriage, I’d been really frugal and worked hard to earn money. Getting a down payment together to buy a house wasn’t easy. I hadn’t even been allowing myself a single item of new clothing. I’d spared nothing for our home. I was shocked that he would say something so heartless to me. How could our relationship be at an impasse after all these years just because of my faith? If I didn’t have any money or property, what would I do if he kicked me out? It felt like a knife being twisted in my heart. I went into the bedroom and started crying, praying to God through my tears, “God, I’m in pain and feeling really weak. I don’t know how to get through something like this. Please guide me to understand Your will.”
Then I thought of some of God’s words, “In the past, people would all come before God to make their resolutions, and they would say: ‘Even if no one else loves God, I must love Him.’ But now, refinement comes upon you, and since this does not align with your notions, you lose faith in God. Is this genuine love? You have read many times about the deeds of Job—have you forgotten about them? True love can only take shape from within faith. You develop real love for God through the refinements you undergo, and it is through your faith that you are able to be considerate of God’s will in your practical experiences, and it is also through faith that you forsake your own flesh and pursue life; this is what people should do. If you do this, then you will be able to see God’s actions, but if you lack faith, then you will be unable to see God’s actions or to experience His work” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement). God’s words gave me some strength. In the face of oppression and hardship, what God wants is genuine faith and love. No matter what we’re going through or how much we suffer, we can’t stray from Him. I knew I was very lucky to hear God’s voice in the last days. Being able to welcome the Lord’s return, witnessing God’s appearance, and enjoying the sustenance of all those truths expressed by God was entirely His love for me. Suffering in order to follow Christ had value and meaning. It was for righteousness’ sake. I thought of the Lord Jesus’ apostles and disciples, who followed God and gave testimony for Him. They were brutally persecuted by the Roman government, and condemned and oppressed by the religious leaders. Some were even martyred for the Lord, giving their own lives. The little bit I was suffering today was nothing in comparison to what saints through the ages have gone through. I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself, but learn from them. I had to follow God till the end, no matter what. At this thought, I dried my tears, left the bedroom, and said to my husband, “We’ve been married for more than a decade and I’ve done a lot for our home. Now you want to take all my money and property away, controlling me financially to make me give up the true way. I’m not listening to you. I’m following God!” He flew into a rage when he heard me say this. As if he’d lost his mind, he snatched my MP3 player away from me and then tore through all of my personal belongings. He took all of my identifying documents and jewelry, and my bank cards and cash. Then he grabbed my phone, threw it really forcefully onto the floor, then picked up a stool and smashed the phone to bits. He was trying to cut off all my contact with the outside world that way.
Then he called my parents, sisters, and brother-in-law to our place, and they all ganged up on me. My sisters had seen all sorts of slander online that the Communist Party made up about The Church of Almighty God, and showed me stuff about the Zhaoyuan case that the CCP fabricated. I said, “I know all of that. The Zhaoyuan case was tried by the CCP’s court, and those suspects didn’t say they were part of The Church of Almighty God. They clearly said in court that they’d never had contact with the Church, but the Communist Party judge insisted on saying they were church members. Isn’t that just framing the Church? Isn’t it clearly a false case they made up? You know that the Communist Party is atheistic, and it’s persecuted religious beliefs ever since taking power. How can you believe anything it says against The Church of Almighty God?” But my two sisters had been taken in by its lies, and they didn’t apply any critical thinking to the rumors the CCP had spread. They said, “This is what all the major news outlets are saying. How could it not be true?” I told them, “All the Chinese media outlets are controlled by the Communist Party, they’re the CCP’s mouthpieces. They have to say whatever the CCP tells them to say and they don’t dare report on the truth. Lots of foreign media are also bought off by the CCP and say what it wants. Can’t you see that’s what’s happening? The facts speak for themselves and the wise don’t listen to rumors. I advise you to open your eyes and stop blindly listening to those rumors.” They didn’t have anything to say to that. My mom said angrily, “You just won’t listen to us. Is it really that hard for you to give up Almighty God? The whole family is worried about you because of your belief. Why do you refuse to listen to our advice?” Then she started crying. Seeing my mom so sad was really hard for me. She’d raised all three of us herself, and it wasn’t easy for her. Now that she was old, I didn’t want her to be worrying about me. This thought left me on the verge of tears. Then my little sister said, “Just look what you’re doing to our mom. Do you want her, or Almighty God?” My other sister said coldly, “If you want to keep your religion, you can’t blame us for not treating you like family. We’ll report you to the police for a crime, saying you’ve defrauded someone, and they’ll extradite you to China. Don’t forget, I was the one that sponsored you to come to Canada.” I was incredibly angry to hear them say all of this. I’d never imagined they’d try to force me to give up my faith and even threaten me with such malicious, despicable tactics. I couldn’t fall for it. I was already a naturalized Canadian citizen, so they couldn’t arbitrarily slap me with charges and get me deported. I’d never imagined that my flesh-and-blood sister would say something like that to me. I felt awful and I couldn’t stop crying.
Then I thought of one of the church hymns. “You’re With Me All the Way”: “Your words and work guide me, and Your love draws me to follow You. I relish Your words every day. You are my constant companion. When I am negative and weak, Your words are my sustenance and my strength. When I suffer setbacks and failures, Your words are the hand helping me up. When I am besieged by Satan, Your words give me courage and wisdom. When I encounter trials and refinement, Your words guide me to stand witness. Your words accompany and guide me, and my heart is warm and at ease. Your love is so real, and my heart is full of gratitude” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). I knew that even with oppressive family who couldn’t understand me, God was always by my side. With the enlightenment and guidance of His words, I could see through Satan’s tricks, and God comforted me, and gave me strength and faith with His words. I didn’t feel so miserable when I thought about it that way. There was another passage I remembered: “Do not be discouraged, do not be weak, and I will make things clear for you. The road to the kingdom is not so smooth; nothing is that simple! You want blessings to come to you easily, do you not? Today, everyone will have bitter trials to face. Without such trials, the loving heart you have for Me will not grow stronger and you will not have true love for Me. Even if these trials consist merely of minor circumstances, everyone must pass through them; it’s just that the difficulty of the trials will vary from one person to another. … Those who share in My bitterness will certainly share in My sweetness. That is My promise and My blessing to you” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 41). Pondering this, I understood that the path to the kingdom of heaven is full of difficulties that no one can avoid. This oppression and bombardment from my family was a chance for me to stand witness before Satan. It was God elevating and blessing me, something I’d never get from a comfortable environment. That suffering had value and meaning. Being sure this is the true way, that it’s God’s work, no matter how much oppression and misery I faced, I was ready to keep following God.
Seeing I wouldn’t back down, his eyes were glowing with rage, and he said aggressively, “I know it was your friend that converted you. She just wanted to get money out of you. I despise her. Whether believe or not, I’m going to kill her even if it means prison time.” Hearing him say this was a complete shock to me, and really frightening. I couldn’t help but start trembling. I’d really never imagined that the man I’d lived with all those years could suddenly become so brutal. What kind of a husband was he? He was clearly a demon who hated God and hated the truth! He said something so horrible just to keep me from my faith. I saw his savage side then and I really was afraid he’d kill my friend. I hadn’t had a chance to recover before my mom said to me, “It looks like you two are going to be fighting. Get some clothing and come stay at my place for a few days. You can’t have outside contact or go to work, but stay at home and think about what you’ve done.” Hearing her say this was worrying for me. My husband had lost his mind—who knows what he’d do. He’d smashed up my phone so I couldn’t warn my friend. Now they wouldn’t let me contact anyone or even go to work. Wasn’t that house arrest? I didn’t know how I’d get in touch with the church, and lead a church life. I urgently called out to God in my heart, asking Him to guide me. Then I remembered that religious rights are protected in Western countries, that people have freedom of belief. My sisters wanted to go report me to the police, to slander me, so I also could file a report with the police. For one, it would be for my friend’s protection, and for another, with the police involved, they wouldn’t dare mess around. So I said to my mom, “I don’t want to go to your house, I want to go file a police report.” They were left stunned at this and didn’t say anything. I left right away to go to the police station. When I got there, I told them briefly about my family persecuting me for my faith. They could hardly even believe that something like that would happen in a Western country. They were really sympathetic, and took me back home. They warned my husband and family, “We have freedom of religion in this country. You cannot interfere with her faith or restrict her personal freedom. If she wants to go to work, you can’t stand in her way. Additionally, identifying documents are personal property. Return them to her.” They didn’t dare try to force me after hearing this from the police. I was so grateful to God, and thanked Him for opening up a way out for me.
My husband was reined in by the law, so he didn’t dare take direct action against me, but he didn’t give up and he kept trying to think of ways to force me to give up my faith. Two days later, he started pushing me to transfer the house into his name. I was concerned when he said this. Just two days before, he’d taken away all my cash and jewelry, and now he wanted me to transfer the house into his name. If he did kick me out, I’d be left with nothing. Plus my parents and sisters wouldn’t take me in. I started to get upset again when I thought of all that, but just then I remembered God’s words: “God does His work, God cares for a person, looks upon this person, and all the while Satan dogs His every step. Whomever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ploys to tempt, disrupt and wreck the work God does, all in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is this objective? It does not want God to gain anyone; all those that God wants it wants for itself, it wants to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they join it in committing evil acts. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive?” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IV). “If people wish to be saved, and wish to be completely gained by God, then all those who follow God must face temptations and attacks both great and small from Satan. Those who emerge from these temptations and attacks and are able to fully defeat Satan are those who have been saved by God. This is to say, those who have been saved unto God are those who have undergone God’s trials, and who have been tempted and attacked by Satan an untold number of times. Those who have been saved unto God understand God’s will and requirements, and are able to acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and they do not forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil amid Satan’s temptations. Those who are saved unto God possess honesty, they are kindhearted, they differentiate between love and hate, they have a sense of justice and are rational, and they are able to care for God and treasure all that is of God. Such people are not bound, spied upon, accused, or abused by Satan; they are completely free, they have been completely liberated and released. Job was just such a man of freedom, and this is precisely the significance of why God had handed him over to Satan” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II). The reason Job made it through Satan’s accusations and temptations was that he had genuine faith, obedience, and reverence for God. He believed in God’s absolute rule and that everything he had was given to him by God, so he was able to accept it and submit, whether God gave or took away. When Job lost his property, his children, and he even broke out in boils all over, he still didn’t blame God, but praised His name. His wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). And he rebuked her, saying, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Job’s testimony was really inspiring for me. I wanted to be like him. No matter how much my husband oppressed me or how much property he took from me, even if he kicked me out and left me with nothing, I would still follow God in faith, stand witness and humiliate Satan.
The next day, when we went to the bank to transfer the mortgage, the bank employee told us that it was a new loan, so if we wanted to get a new mortgage, it was a really complicated process and the loss involved would also be considerable. She suggested that if at all possible, we switch it after five years. My husband’s hands were tied, so he gave up. I thanked God from my heart and really felt how true God’s words are: “Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, everything of his life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Is the Source of Man’s Life). I got back in touch with brothers and sisters after that. When he found out, my husband asked if I was going to keep going to gatherings. I asked in response, “Are you planning on standing in my way again? If so, I can move out and live somewhere else. Aren’t you worried that the Church is going to swindle me, and that I’ll abandon the family? Over all my years with the Church, have they cheated me out of any money? Are the rumors true that we believers are abandoning our families?” He was stunned, and said after a little bit, “You’re right. I haven’t seen the Church cheat you out of any money, and you’re not abandoning us. I was too gullible with those rumors. I wanted to keep you from being defrauded. You can believe whatever you want.” I was so happy. I hadn’t been to attend gatherings normally since he’d started standing in my way, and I knew I wouldn’t be held back by him anymore. Later on, he started feeling like managing our finances was a real headache and not his strong suit, so he handed everything over to me to manage. He never brought up putting the mortgage in his name again.
This experience of my family oppressing me showed me how evil the Communist Party is. It’s not just insanely persecuting and arresting Christians in China, but it’s spreading its lies online, slandering The Church of Almighty God, trying to fool the whole world into going against the Church, into fighting God along with it so all will end up punished in hell. The Communist Party is an evil demon that resists God, that misleads people and swallows them whole. Satan is incredibly evil, but God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s schemes. Satan wanted to use that oppression to get me to betray God, to lose my chance at salvation, but it never imagined that this allowed me to develop discernment and really see its ugliness. I’ve cursed it and rejected it from my heart, and my faith in God is stronger. Thank God!