What Lay Behind My Relatives’ Attacks
By Lingmin, China
My father was a school principal, and often talked about materialism at school and at home. He taught us that happiness relied on our own hard work, that we had to apply ourselves to stand out and bring honor to our ancestors. Led by our parents’ words and the example they set, my siblings and I always worked hard. We went into business, or became officials, and had some modest success. In the spring of 2007, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. I read God’s words every day, fellowshiped with my brothers and sisters regularly, and gained some understanding of God’s sovereignty. These words were especially impressive: “God created this world, He created this mankind and, moreover, He was the architect of ancient Greek culture and human civilization. Only God consoles this mankind, and only God cares for this mankind night and day. Human development and progress are inseparable from the sovereignty of God, and the history and future of mankind are inextricable from the designs of God. If you are a true Christian, then you will surely believe that the rise and fall of any country or nation occurs according to the designs of God. God alone knows the fate of a country or nation, and God alone controls the course of this mankind. If mankind wishes to have a good fate, if a country wishes to have a good fate, then man must bow down to God in worship, repent and confess before God, or else the fate and destination of man will be an unavoidable catastrophe” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 2: God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind). God’s words brightened my heart. God is the Creator, and it is He who has guided and sustained man to this day. What’s more, He rules over our fates. Only by worshiping God, repenting to Him, and accepting His salvation can we have a good destiny. I also learned that the Savior, Almighty God, has come in the last days to express the truth and do the work of judgment, to fully cleanse and save mankind, to lead us out of Satan’s influence and into the beautiful destination God has prepared for us so we can have a good fate and outcome. I felt so blessed that I could accept Almighty God, and I swore to myself to practice my faith well, pursue the truth, and do a created being’s duty to repay God’s love.
But then, when I was throwing myself into my duty, I was arrested by the Communist Party. One day in March 2009, at noon, the police came to our gathering, took three of my sisters and me, and illegally detained us at a police station. The Public Security chief yelled at me ferociously: “Tell us what you know! Who converted you? Who’s the leader of your church? If you talk, I’ll let you go home right away. But if you don’t cooperate, with all the religious books we found at your place, we could put you away for five or six years!” Seeing the fierce look on his face made my heart start pounding. I didn’t know how they were going to treat me. I quickly said a prayer, asking God to watch over me, to give me faith and strength, and let me stand strong. I thought of these words of God after praying: “Those in power may seem vicious from the outside, but do not be afraid, for this is because you have little faith. As long as your faith grows, nothing will be too difficult” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 75). God’s words gave me faith and strength. Absolutely all things are in God’s hands. That Public Security chief looked scary, but he was in God’s hands, too. He was a tool serving God. He didn’t have a say over whether I’d be sentenced—only God did. I couldn’t cower before his abuses. They saw I wouldn’t talk, so they locked me and three others in a detention center with the charge of disrupting social order.
One morning, out of the blue, I heard someone yell my name. My heart leapt into my throat. Were they going to interrogate me again? They’d questioned me before, and I hadn’t said anything. I wondered if they would use even crueler tactics against me. Feeling afraid, I silently prayed to God, and I was able to gradually calm down. The police brought me into a large room. The moment I walked in, I saw my father, and my heart dropped. Why did they bring my father in? He had always opposed my faith, so how would he treat me now that I’d been arrested? Before I could say anything, my father raised his hand and smacked me on the head three times. I was dizzy and seeing stars. He said sternly: “I forbade you to have faith, but you insisted, and now that you’ve been arrested, my name has been dragged through the mud! Tell them everything about your belief. The police said they’ll let you go as soon as you confess, but you’ll get a heavy sentence if you don’t!” Seeing my dad’s aging face, I felt a pang of heartache. He was nearly 80, and his reputation had always mattered most to him. How could he bear it if I were sentenced? Then, suddenly, he got on his knees. With tears in his eyes, he said: “When your mother found out about this, she fell ill. She’s bedridden at home, on an IV line. Tell them what you know and come home with me!” Faced with all that, I couldn’t hold my tears back. Since ancient times, only children kneel to their parents, not the other way around. I thought of the hardships my parents had endured raising me, how they helped me with my own children. They still had to worry about me, at such an old age. They wouldn’t be facing such pain and torment if I weren’t a believer. I felt that I owed them—I felt awful. Then, I realized I wasn’t in the right state. I said a quick prayer, “God! This situation is painful for me. I feel weak. I feel indebted to my parents. I don’t know what to do. Please enlighten and guide me so I can understand Your will and stand strong.” After my prayer, I immediately thought of what I’d resolved to do before God—to be strong in my faith, follow God, and always seek to love Him. At that moment, I came to my senses. I also thought of God’s words: “Are people incapable of putting aside their flesh for this short time? What things can cleave the love between man and God? Who is able to pull apart the love between man and God? Is it parents, husbands, sisters, wives, or painful refinement? Can the feelings of conscience wipe away God’s image within man? Are people’s indebtedness and actions toward each other their own doing? Can they be remedied by man? Who is able to protect themselves? Are people able to provide for themselves? Who are the strong ones in life? Who is able to leave Me and live on their own?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Interpretations of the Mysteries of “God’s Words to the Entire Universe”, Chapters 24 and 25). God’s words filled me with self-reproach. This very breath was given to me by God, and God provides me with everything I need to survive. God silently caring for and protecting me was the only reason I’d lived to that day. He put everything in place to guide me to come before Him and accept His salvation. God’s love is so great! I couldn’t betray God out of the fear of hurting my parents. Also, their health was in God’s hands, and any worrying on my part was useless. They were sad and in pain because of the Communist Party’s oppression. If they could see the Party’s evilness, they wouldn’t feel like they’d lost face, and Satan wouldn’t be able to fool them. Thinking about it this way, I didn’t feel so upset. I swore to stand firm in my testimony, even if I were put in prison. I wiped away my tears and helped my dad stand up. Then five or six officers came and surrounded me. I said to them, “I don’t know a thing.” One stared at me and said, “You have five minutes left.” My dad was so mad. He smacked me a few more times, knelt down and said, “If you don’t talk, I’ll kneel here in front of you till I die! The Party doesn’t allow religious beliefs—how dare you go against it? Hurry up and confess! Then we can go home.” I realized, then, that this was a trick on the part of the police. They wanted my dad to pressure me into being a Judas and selling out the others. Those cops are so treacherous! I felt angry, and resentful. I helped my dad back up, and five or six officers surrounded me again, to get me to talk. I looked at them and said, calmly: “I don’t know a thing.” Just then, my dad’s phone started ringing, and he told me to answer. I could hear my mom on the phone, swearing and saying, “You’ll be the death of me! The government doesn’t allow faith, but you insist on it. You can’t hope to fight them! Just tell them what you know and come back! What will we do if you’re convicted? How will your son ever find a wife? We’ll all be humiliated as well. Think of us!” In tears, I hung up the phone and watched my dad walk out, dragging his feet. When I got back to my cell I thought again of my ill mother, lying in bed. If something terrible happened to her, I would be failing her. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I couldn’t hold my tears back. That’s when I realized that my affections were my Achilles’ heel. I threw myself into praying to God. I asked Him to guide me to take a stand, to not live based on emotion. I remembered something God said: “Why is it so hard for people to separate themselves from emotion? Does doing so surpass the standards of conscience? Can conscience accomplish God’s will? Can emotion help people through adversity? In God’s eyes, emotion is His enemy—has this not been clearly stated in God’s words?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Interpretations of the Mysteries of “God’s Words to the Entire Universe”, Chapter 28). God’s words opened my eyes. Emotions are the enemy of God and the greatest barrier to practicing the truth. When we live by emotion, we grow distant from God and betray Him. I was stuck in my feelings for my parents. I thought that being unfilial to them was a terrible offense, and made me a bad daughter. When I saw how sad and upset they were because of my arrest, I felt indebted to them. I felt like they had worked so hard to raise me, but I hadn’t repaid them, and even made them suffer for me. I thought highly of my parents’ kindness, but forgot that it’s God who gives us life. God is the source of human life, and it’s His breath of life that has sustained me to this day. It’s thanks to God’s guidance and provision that I have what I have. God has given us so much without ever asking for anything in return. In the last days, God has incarnated again to save mankind, enduring great humiliations, as well as the Communist Party’s pursuit and oppression. God has given everything for mankind—His love is so great! The One we should worship and obey is God. My parents’ care for me might have improved my material life, but they couldn’t offer me the truth. They couldn’t save me from Satan’s corruption or give me a good destination and outcome. If I sold out the others and betrayed God just to go along with my parents’ wishes, I wouldn’t be indebted to them, but I’d be spurned by God, and lose His salvation forever. At that point I saw that Satan was using my love for my parents to lure me into temptation, eventually getting me to grow distant from God, betray Him, lose my chance at salvation, go down to hell and be destroyed along with it. I couldn’t fall for Satan’s trick. It reminds me of Peter, who had principles and took a stand against his parents. He was strong in his faith and followed the Lord Jesus no matter how they tried to stop him. In the end, his love for God overcame everything and he gained God’s approval. It’s really motivating for me!
On the fifth day, the police brought three letters for me to read, written by my mom, my daughter, and my son. My son wrote: “Mom, these last few years in the army, I’ve been looking forward to the whole family reuniting. It wasn’t easy for me to get transferred and come back, and now you’re under arrest. Without you at home, I feel like the sky’s come crashing down. Mom, just tell the police about your religious stuff! If you go to prison, that’ll impact my prospects for work and marriage. Even if you don’t think of yourself, you should think of me….” At this point in the letter, I couldn’t help but start crying. If his future really was going to be ruined because I did prison time, I wouldn’t know how to face him. He’d be sure to hate me. It felt, to me, like the road of faith was full of stumbling blocks, and each and every step required making a choice. I prayed to God in my heart: “Oh God, I’m really in pain, and feeling weak. Please watch over my heart and strengthen my faith.” Back in the cell, a sister found out what I was going through and reminded me not to fall for Satan’s trick. That was a wake-up call for me. I thought of how, at every moment, Satan uses all sorts of means to entice and deceive us into betraying God. We can fall into Satan’s net the moment we let down our guard. We have to continue to quiet our hearts before God, and pray and lean on Him to see through Satan’s tricks, gain God’s protection, and stand strong. That night I lay in bed, unable to sleep, and silently prayed to God. I remembered this from His words: “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to fulfill your duty. For God’s plan and for His ordination, you perform your role and start your life’s journey. Whatever your background, and whatever the journey ahead of you, no one can escape the orchestrations and arrangements of the Heaven, and no one is in control of their own destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Is the Source of Man’s Life). That’s right. For our entire lives, our destinies are arranged by God, and no one can change them. I couldn’t control what kind of job or marriage my son would have in the future. No matter how much consideration I gave my children, I couldn’t change their fates, and whether I would go to prison or not was also determined by God. I couldn’t get out of that just because I wanted to. What I needed to do was entrust everything to God and submit to His sovereignty. After that, I thought of another passage of God’s words. “You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and you should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). God’s words gave me faith and strength. As a believer, the only way to gain God’s approval is by pursuing the truth and doing the duty of a created being. Only that can be considered a life of value, and any amount of suffering is worth it to gain the truth. If I sold out my brothers and sisters and the church just to satisfy my family, I’d be a Judas betraying God. That would be the greatest humiliation, and I would be cursed by God for it. Even with a happy family and a comfortable life, it would be empty and meaningless, and I’d be no more than a walking corpse. At the thought of this, I felt even more resolved to follow God. No matter what tactics the cops used, I’d bear witness and shame Satan!
The police called me into the main hall on the sixth day, where I saw my uncle, my husband, my son and my daughter. My kids hugged me and cried, saying: “Mom, come home!” My husband stood off to the side crying. Then my uncle said, in tears: “Lingmin, the police said you can come home as soon as you tell them something, and you won’t have to do time. Your son’s future will be ruined if you go to prison. It’ll destroy the family! Listen to me, and talk to them!” At that moment, my heart was clear. I knew that Satan’s ploy was behind my family’s exhortations, and that if I even just gave them a little, the police would force a lot more out of me, and many others would be arrested. With this in mind, I said: “As a believer, I’m walking the correct path in life. I haven’t done anything illegal, so I don’t have anything to confess. Go home.” On my way back to my cell, I thought of the police using my loved ones over and over to tempt me, to force me to sell out my brothers and sisters and betray God. The Communist Party is so vile! They’re anti-God demons! After that, an officer called me into the office and said smugly: “How was the visit with your family?” Seeing him reveling in this awful situation, I got so mad I took those three letters out of my pocket, tore them up, threw them on the table, and said: “I’m a believer and an upright person. I haven’t done anything bad. Why did you have them exhort me? What law have I broken?” Then I walked right out. Being able to calmly face the police’s questioning was all thanks to the strength God gave me.
On the morning of the 14th day, the Public Security Bureau chief called me into the office. He wasn’t fierce like before, but acted concerned, and asked me about my family. He tried using flowery speech to lure me into selling out my brothers and sisters. I prayed to God in my heart nonstop, asking Him to protect me from falling for Satan’s trick. The bureau chief said a lot. Finally, seeing I wasn’t saying anything, he became infuriated and yelled viciously, “I’ll be straight with you. We found so many religious books in your house, it’s the biggest case in town. You’re sure to get prison time if you don’t talk!” But no matter what he said, I silently prayed to God and swore that I’d never share information on the others and would never betray God, even if I were sentenced. After fifteen days, they saw that they wouldn’t get anything out of me, and sent me back home. After going back home, my family still opposed my faith. I knew it was all because of the Communist Party’s lies and oppression. I prayed and swore that I’d follow God till the end, no matter how hard it was. Then, a hymn of experience came to mind: Advancing Along the Path of Loving God.
1 Not concerned about how arduous the path of faith might be, my only mission is to carry out God’s will; much less do I care whether I receive blessings or suffer misfortune in the future. Now that I am resolved to love God, I will be faithful to the end. No matter what dangers or hardships lurk behind me, and no matter how I will end up, in order to welcome God’s day of glory, I follow closely His footsteps, striving ever onward.
—Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs
I sang that hymn over and over, and felt so inspired. I knew that the path of faith would always be accompanied by the Party’s persecution, and that I’d probably be arrested again or even sentenced in the future. But I was certain that this was the true way, and I was ready to follow God until the end. For a while, I couldn’t contact any other church members or live the life of the church. So, I ate and drank God’s words, equipped myself with the truth at home, and shared the gospel with my family. My husband and daughter became believers. We gathered, and ate and drank God’s words as a family. A year later, I was back in touch with the brothers and sisters, and began doing a duty. I was really grateful to God.
This whole time, through the Communist Party’s oppression and arrest, and my family’s attacks, it was the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words that got me through it, step by step. No matter how hard the path ahead of me is, I’m going with God until the end.
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