The “Rural” Mom Meets the “Urban” Daughter-in-Law
Liu Jie, Hunan
Different Viewpoints, Constant Conflicts
I am a typical housewife, a good wife and a loving mother, I take good care of my husband and children, I’m hardworking and thrifty in running my household, and I’ve never recklessly spent my money. But something unimaginable happened to me. My son married a fashionable girl who really loved to have fun and dress up and follow the trends of the world. She pursued and purchased whatever was popular in the world, she threw away money by the handful, and however much she made each month was however much she spent. Since there was such a huge difference in our ways of thinking and living, my daughter-in-law and I often would be at loggerheads, we got into angry arguments, and our problems continued to get more and more intense.
One day I saw my daughter-in-law come in carrying a bag, so I hurried over to ask her what she had bought, and how much money she had spent. She lit up and said: “I bought a dress, it wasn’t expensive, just 400-something yuan.” When I heard this, I got extremely angry: How could she be so relaxed, she was acting like she was someone with a lot of money. When I buy a dress, it’s less than 100 yuan, and I wear it for several years. However, the clothes she bought were expensive, and once they became outdated she’d stop wearing them, while her wardrobe got stuffed full of clothes; the more I thought about it the angrier I got, and it started to wear on my face. When my daughter-in-law saw that I wasn’t happy, it wiped the smile off of her face, she turned around and walked into her bedroom, and I heard the sound of the door slamming shut.
Advice Unheeded, Distance Widening
Later on, whenever I saw her get back from shopping, I would scold her: “Lili, look at our family, we are not very well-off, soon your child will be grown up, and then there will be lots of things we will need to spend money on, so we cannot keep on spending money so recklessly. If we have clothes and shoes that fit, then that’s good enough; we can’t continue throwing away money like this. You need to consider your future.” But my daughter-in-law responded by saying she and my son knew how to live their lives and said that I needn’t worry too much about it. Seeing that she didn’t understand where I was coming from made me feel full of resentment toward her, and we would often get into disagreements over these things. Later on, when she returned from another one of her shopping trips, she avoided me, taking advantage of me not paying attention. She stepped quietly into her room and didn’t come out until after she had hidden her things away. After I found this out I got very upset, but I knew that it would be of no use to speak of it, all I could do was turn a blind eye and put up with it. But as time went on I really couldn’t bear it, and I would often whine to my son. It was difficult for my son, who was wedged in between us, and one day he unexpectedly asked me: “Ma, when Lili goes shopping she doesn’t ask you for money, so why do you mind so much?” Seeing that my son was also on her side I felt especially hurt and saddened inside. I got so angry that I ignored them for several days. But afterward my daughter-in-law carried on as if nothing ever happened, which made me even angrier.
With the Word of God Leading the Way, I Found the Root of the Problem
One day, when my son told my daughter-in-law that they were going to go to his coworker’s house to eat, she went to her room to put on makeup, and after an hour went by she still hadn’t come downstairs. Seeing her like this, I came up and angrily lectured her: “Every time you put on makeup for so long, it really is a waste of time! I’ve never worn makeup in my entire life, and I’ve managed to get by, and I don’t look any uglier than other people, I just go with my natural look.” When my daughter-in-law heard me say this she started fighting with me, and I got so angry that I wanted to immediately leave the house and live on my own, away from her. I thought to myself: “What I can’t see can’t hurt me.” But I looked at my son and granddaughter and knew that I couldn’t be so heartless, so I was forced to abandon this plan. But the resentment I held in my heart for my daughter-in-law grew deeper and deeper, and we would often get in fights over small things. We were not keeping a peaceful home.
Living in this kind of a quarrelsome household made me feel very tired and bitter, so I thought that as a believer in God, I was revealing my corrupt disposition in quarreling with my daughter-in-law like this all day long and that it didn’t conform to the will of God. In my suffering all I could do was pray to God: “Oh God! I know that I shouldn’t argue over trivial matters with my daughter-in-law, but I just can’t help it. Oh God! I’m asking You to enlighten me, please get me to understand how to treat my daughter-in-law in a way that conforms to Your will, I am willing to practicein order to satisfy You.” After praying to God, I opened up the word of God, and read where God says: “What do social trends include? (Style of clothing and makeup.) This is something people often come into contact with. Clothing style, fashion, and trends, this is a small aspect” (“God Himself, the Unique V” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through the revelation of the word of God I finally understood this: The trend of the world is a means for Satan to corrupt man. Satan takes advantage of social trends to control us and dupe us, it teaches us all kinds of erroneous viewpoints such as, “The love for attractiveness is native to humans,” “Clothes make the man, a saddle makes the horse,” and “Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short.” Once these mistaken viewpoints enter into our minds, we believe that: our lives ought to be about pursuing beauty and paying attention to how we dress, and this is natural and normal. How you dress is a symbol that proves your status and worth; if you wear pretty and fashionable things and put makeup on to make yourself pretty, then you will not be outcast by society, then you will be valued by others; if not, you will be disparaged and looked down upon by others. Because of this mistaken viewpoint we unwittingly get swept up and carry on in evil trends. Looking at society today, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, everyone keeps up with the latest fashion and chases current trends, everyone wants to wear extravagant clothing and pretty themselves up with makeup, whoever is on the front-line at a given time is who is chased after by everyone, and no one believes that this is a negative thing stemming from Satan; on the contrary, they are under the impression that pursuing these things is reasonable and as it should be. My daughter-in-law doesn’t , she does not understand the truth, she doesn’t have discernment, so how can she not be affected by living her life under these kinds of circumstances? She has a love of beauty, she loves to dress up, and she loves to waste her money because she is affected, influenced and corrupted by Satan’s evil trends. To be spurred on by these kinds of evil trends makes her especially vain, she is always comparing herself to others, and she believes that the clothes and makeup she wears is her bargaining chip for raising her self-worth. Really, my daughter-in-law is without the freedom to act independently. By coming to understand these things I came to find the root of the problem, and I felt that everything had suddenly become clear.
Afterward, I came before God and prayed: “Oh God! I am willing to let go of my prejudices toward my daughter-in-law. May You guide me so that I can put myself aside and do and view things in accordance with Your word.” From then on, whenever I saw my daughter-in-law spent money recklessly on shopping and it made me feel bad, I would pray to God and seek God’s protection so that my heart might be at peace in His presence. Slowly but surely, I didn’t have as much hate in my heart for my daughter-in-law, and through the word of God I became aware: We are all a part of the corrupt human race, we all live under the domain of Satan and are duped by Satan, we all live involuntarily on the basis of our corrupt dispositions. My daughter-in-law is also a victim of these evil trends, I should not resent her, and I certainly shouldn’t treat her on the basis of Satan’s corrupt disposition. Satan is the main culprit of all of these things, Satan is more detestable than anything else.
I carried on in this way for a period of time, thinking that I had already set aside my prejudices toward my daughter-in-law, but since I did not have true knowledge of my corrupt nature, since my life disposition had not changed, when I came across things that weren’t in line with my desires, my corrupt disposition was once again revealed.
The Word of God Led Me to Self-Awareness
One month, after my daughter-in-law spent all the money she had to spend, we didn’t even have money to pay our social insurance. After I discovered this, I was filled with so much rage that I really wanted to immediately kick my daughter-in-law out. Just when I wanted to get angry at her, I suddenly realized that I was again living in a wrongful state, so I hurriedly calmed myself down and prayed to God, seeking His protection over me, so that I would be able to not treat my daughter-in-law according to my flesh.
When I opened up the book of the word of God, I read where it says: “Don’t be self-righteous; … If you regard others as less than you then you are self-righteous, self-conceited and are of benefit to no one” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). The judgment and chastisement of the word of God made me recognize that I had always disliked my daughter-in-law because none of her actions conformed to my expectations, she did not meet the standard of what I thought a daughter-in-law should be. I am a frugal housekeeper, and I demanded that my daughter-in-law be the same, to be a good wife and loving mother. When I saw that she was not only not diligent and thrifty, but that she spent her money recklessly, I despised her and thought that she didn’t understand things and that she just threw away her money. In addition, I also wanted my daughter-in-law to obey me in anything I asked of her and live according to my lifestyle. Whenever my daughter-in-law did not do what I asked I got angry, criticized her and gave her dirty looks. But in this moment I finally saw that I had been completely controlled by the satanic nature of “putting oneself above all else,” always wanting to hide the truth from the masses and having the final say. All that exuded from me was an arrogant and self-righteous corrupt disposition, and it was of benefit to no one. “What’s more, my daughter-in-law and I are from different generations, we are not affected and influenced by society in the same way, but I’m always using my own standards to ask things of her; is this not being arrogant and conceited? Am I not being a controlling person? I thought about how supreme God is, how He even appeared in the flesh to hide with humility and obscurity among us to carry out the work of saving man, how God has never used His position to suppress people, and hasn’t forced people to put His word into practice, how all along He’s only expressed the truth to supply man, and used His love to move man and make man repent. But whenever we rebel against and resist God, even though He uses His word to expose and judge us, at the same time He is patiently guiding us, supporting us and providing for us, and with great patience and tolerance He waits for us to turn back to Him. God is so humble and so good! However, I, who am so deeply corrupted, behave so arrogantly and without reason, I always force my daughter-in-law to listen to me in my position as the mother-in-law, and all that I live out is corrupt disposition.” The more I thought about this, the more ashamed I felt. I saw that I had been so deeply corrupted by Satan, that when I was confronted with things I couldn’t quiet my heart in God’s presence. My naturalness was very strong, and I had too many personal wishes, and many times I had lost witness. I really was not fit to live in the presence of God.