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Christian Experience – I find the new way to get along with my niece
By He Jing
I used to be a very arrogant person. Whether in my family or among my relatives and friends, I always liked to be in charge of everything, wanting others to listen to me and do as my will. Not long ago, I lived with my niece in her house for a period of time. Before I went there, I heard from many people that she was willful and disobedient. She always went her own way, and regardless of what others say she turned a deaf ear to it. Even her families didn’t want to live with her. Certainly, I didn’t believe that, because my niece grew up in my family ever since her babyhood. She had been dear to me as my own daughter and fully listened to me. But little had I expected that during my staying with her, I really couldn’t bear her living habit, which led to my frequent conflict with her.
One night, my niece said to me, “Auntie, I go to work tomorrow morning. Please prepare breakfast earlier.” At her words, I kept it in mind. The next morning, I made the breakfast early for fear that she was going to be late for work. But I waited and waited until it was over 10 a.m., yet she didn’t come out from her bedroom. So I went to her room only to find her playing with her mobile phone in the bed. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by an unreasonable anger and scolded her with a straight face, “Didn’t you say you have to go to work this morning? How come you’re still in bed? Is playing with the phone your job? What will you rely on to live if you continue like this?” No matter what I said, she seemed as if she hadn’t heard me, and was still engrossed in her phone, without the slightest intention of getting up from bed. This made me much angrier. Then I went back to my bedroom and sat on my bed, thinking, “Why is she being this way? She listened to me in the past, but now she has no regard for me.” I was so angry that I didn’t eat my breakfast. I even had no desire to do anything.
Later, I found that she didn’t sleep until 2 a.m. every day and get up at almost 10 a.m. At the beginning, I tried my best to control my temper, but in the end I couldn’t do it, so I criticized her strongly, “You’ve grown up, don’t you know how to live a regular life? Don’t you know you should sleep at night and work in the day? Even your life is abnormal. You say, what is still normal in your life …” Before I could finish my words, she shouted at me, “I knew, I am no longer a child. But you nag at me all day long. That is nasty!” As soon as I heard the words “that is nasty,” I felt as if a needle were piecing me, and thought that she was humiliating me. I was so angry that tears almost welled up in my eyes. After I tried to calm down, I thought, “How does she get that way? Am I not speaking for her good? Why does she not listen to me in the least but feel bored with me? This is so intolerable!” The more I thought that she played with her phone all day long and didn’t have a regular life, the more annoyed I would become.
At that moment, I turned on my computer and read a passage of God’s words, “What do many think? The parent is always right. They have the point of view that “As long as it’s for the child’s sake, what I’m doing is right.” How is it you don’t have mistakes? You too are a corrupted human being, how can you be without error? How can you determine that you are without error? As long as you admit that you do not possess the truth, that you are a corrupted human being, then you have errors and you can make mistakes. You can make mistakes, yet at every turn how is it that you try to take charge of others, take charge of your children, and have them at every turn listen to you? Is this not an arrogant disposition?” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity?”). I pondered these words carefully: Is my relationship with my niece not like what God has said? Since she was born, her parents had put her in the care of my family. Although I had treated her as my own daughter, yet at every turn I took charge of her, and she was obedient to me all along. But now, she grows up and don’t take my words seriously. Sometimes she even grows weary of me. Gradually, a barrier between us arises and our relationship is not close like mom and daughter. I’ve always thought that it is caused by her immaturity. But through reading God’s words, I realize that the reason why I can’t get along with her is because I am too arrogant and always assume my place as a parent to lecture and discipline her. No matter what she says or does, I regard her as a young, dependent, erratic, and unreliable girl. So I could not help exhorting her; and not until she does as I have told her will I feel assured. Aren’t I too arrogant to lose my reason? I’ve always thought that my niece doesn’t respect or understand me. But have I ever listened with patience to her thoughts or asked her for advice when I encounter something? No! Never！Is this not just as the Lord, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?” (Mat 7:3–4). Not only do I not look for the reason within myself, but I often fixate my eyes on her. So I can’t stand the sight of her and always find fault with her. What’ more, I think I am her aunt, her elder, so I have the qualification and the right to lecture her. Over time, she feels bored with me. In her heart, she must be unhappy too. Now I realize that if I hadn’t relied on my corrupt disposition to lecture her at will, and instead I could have practiced God’s words in everything and treated her properly, then our relationship would not be as bad as now. At the same time I understand from God’s words that regardless of what happens to me, I should not fixate my eyes on others. I should first compare myself according to God’s words and examine whether my action is in accordance with God’s will. This is the rationality that should be possessed by normal humanity.
Afterward, I put myself aside consciously and solicited her ideas in many things. After I practiced doing so for a period of time, my relationship with her became a little more harmonious. But sometimes when something against my will befell me, I would still get pretty uncomfortable. That was one noon when we were having lunch. My niece pulled a long face, saying, “This food you make today is really terrible. You’ve lived so long, don’t you know how to cook? You can’t even do the most fundamental thing well.” Hearing that, I felt very uncomfortable. I thought: How come this little girl offends me with such harsh words? What is “really terrible”? And what is “lived so long”? She doesn’t respect me even a little. I’ve almost undertaken all the housework and covered all the living expense, but she is still choosy with me. That’s too unreasonable. At that time, I really wanted to teach her a lesson, but I knew it did not fit with God’s will. Then I put down my bowl and went back to my bedroom. I knelt on the ground and prayed, “God! I’m very depressed now. Please keep me from living based on my corrupt satanic dispositions. I’m willing to act according to your requirement. Amen!”
After my prayer, I saw God’s words say, “Treat your children, treat those in your own family the same as you would an ordinary brother or sister. Although you have a responsibility, a relationship, nevertheless the position you occupy, your point of view is the same as with friends or ordinary brothers and sisters. As long as it’s the same, things will work. That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have control of their every aspect. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things, but, no matter what happens, sit down and calmly chat with them, talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and status.) The letting go of the position of a parent, the air of a parent; as far as the parent goes it means letting go of all one’s responsibility to their children, letting go of the responsibility one thinks one should assume, everything that one thinks they should be doing; instead, it’s enough that one does the best they can in terms of their responsibility as an ordinary brother or sister. It will be fine if one lets go of a parent’s airs, a parent’s position, and a parent’s status” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity?”). God’s words showed me the way of practice. I should learn to put myself aside, associate with her in an equal position, chat with her and listen to her opinions more often, and learn to think from her perspective. I should no longer force her to do what I want, but offer my ideas and let her make her own choice, and give free space to her. And I recalled: During the process of her development, I always occupied a parent’s position and asked her to obey me. Whenever I caught something wrong with her, I controlled her and lectured her. Sometimes, when I saw her squander money, I told her off and even wanted to control the way she used her money. I’ve never put aside the airs of an elder and treated her as a friend. Although we are two different generations, both of us are the creatures of God and stand equal before Him. Everything she does is in God’s hands, then why do I occupy a position to control her? What I should do is chat with her and speak heart-to-heart with her peacefully whatever happens, and help her recognize her shortcomings and change them. Fulfilling my responsibility to her is enough for me.
In the following days, when I tried to chat with her heart to heart, I truly saw God’s blessing. Every time we talked about things that happened between her and her friends, about her job, or something between us, our hearts grew closer gradually and we got along well with each other. Once, when we talked about our previous argument, I said in shame, “Well, I’m to blame because I couldn’t throw off my airs but rely on my arrogant disposition to treat you. That made us all uncomfortable.” My niece shook her head and said, “No, I’m too willful. From now on if what you say is right, I’ll accept. I won’t boldly resist against you.” After that, we smiled heartily.
Presently, at times there is still something unpleasant between us, but I have God’s words to guide me. When I put myself aside, I can treat her properly. And in this way, I get to have a more relaxed and released life every day. Through my experiences, I taste that my happy life is not bought with money or gained through power, but is brought by all the truth expressed by Christ of the last days. God’s words have changed my arrogant disposition much. I thank God for His salvation to me from the bottom of my heart. All the glory be to Almighty God! Amen!
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