By Xing Jia
“Good rain knows its time right; It will fall when comes spring.” (translated by Xu Yuanchong). Unknowingly, drops of spring rain fell on the earth. It was drizzling. Soon, the whole county town was shrouded in a veil of mist and rain.
At the moment, in YuCai Experimental Primary School, the students in Class 6, Grade 2 were having an art class. The teacher, Lin Lifang, was giving them classwork on the platform, “OK. So much for the lesson. Now, everybody please imagine the world under the sea and draw your sea world on the paper, OK?” “OK,” the students answered in chorus. Then they bowed their heads to imagine and construct their pictures. Ms. Lin left the platform and walked among the students. Suddenly, she perceived that someone left behind her snuck a peek at her and then bowed his/her head from time to time. So she turned around and found it was Sun Li, a famous troublemaker in the class. Her years of teaching experience said that there was something fishy about him.
Pretending nothing had happened, Ms. Lin crept round behind Sun Li without disturbing him. It turned out that Sun Li was busy with a verbal-exercise book, with his left hand holding a piece of white draft paper as a cover. Ms. Lin frowned and thought: How dare he do math homework in my class? He’s challenging my dignity. At this thought, she wrested the paper from Sun Li. Unexpectedly, Sun Li held it so tightly that the paper was torn immediately. Then Sun Li raised his head, frightened. The other students turned to look at them, wondering what had happened.
“What are you doing, Sun Li?” asked Ms. Lin seriously. “I’m … uh … not doing anything.” Sun Li began stuttering, his head bent down. “What’s this?” Ms. Lin quickly pulled out his verbal-exercise book. With this evidence, Sun Li had to confess, “I … Last night I … didn’t finish my homework. And the math teacher punished me with 100 verbal exercises. And I must get them done before noon.” “Ms. Lin,” several students around Sun Li interrupted, “he could have done them at break times, but he went to play beanbag instead.” “Yeah, it’s true.” Hearing their words, Ms. Lin was a little angry and said sharply, “Sun Li, is it right to do verbal exercises in art class instead of at break times?” To her surprise, Sun Li didn’t take her words seriously but made a face instead. With her dignity being challenged, Ms. Lin was deeply offended, so she took his exercise book and went back to the platform. When she looked at Sun Li again, she found that he was glaring at her hostilely like “an angry bird.” “Ring …” The bell rang for the end of the lesson. With the exercise book in her hand, Ms. Lin stared at Sun Li and said seriously, “If you want it back, come to my office.”
Ms. Lin was walking in the campus. With Sun Li’s hostile expression lingering in her mind, she had an indescribable feeling. So she prayed to God in silence to seek His will, “O God! I feel a little perplexed. Just now, I stopped a student from doing his math homework in my class, but he didn’t apologize. Then my anger was aroused and I took away his book. I know I have overreacted a little and have hurt him, but if I didn’t do that, he would not take me seriously and will not listen to me in future. O God! I want to satisfy Your will in this thing, but I just don’t know how. Please enlighten me and guide me.”
At night, sitting in the study room, Ms. Lin thought over and over the thing happened in the morning. Then she opened the book of God’s word and saw the following words: “Regardless of whether one becomes angry in the sight of others or behind their backs, everyone has a different intention and purpose. Perhaps they are building up their prestige, or maybe they are defending their own interests, maintaining their image or keeping face. Some exercise restraint in their anger, while others are more rash and flare up with rage whenever they wish without the least bit of restraint. In short, man’s anger derives from his corrupt disposition. No matter what its purpose, it is of the flesh and of nature; it has nothing to do with justice or injustice because nothing in man’s nature and substance corresponds to the truth.” “Once a man has status, he will often find it difficult to control his mood, and so he will enjoy seizing upon instances to express his dissatisfaction and vent his emotions; he will often flare up into rage for no apparent reason, so as to reveal his ability and let others know that his status and identity are different from those of ordinary people. Of course, corrupt people without any status will also frequently lose control. Their anger is frequently caused by damage to their individual benefits. In order to protect their own status and dignity, corrupt mankind will frequently vent their emotions and reveal their arrogant nature. Man will flare up in anger and vent his emotions in order to defend the existence of sin, and these actions are the ways with which man expresses his dissatisfaction. These actions brim with defilement; they brim with schemes and intrigues; they brim with man’s corruption and evil; more than that, they brim with man’s wild ambitions and desires” (“God Himself, the Unique II”). Recalling her behaviors in the morning in God’s words, Ms. Lin thought: Aren’t my behaviors the same as God says? The reason I became angry was that Sun Li didn’t listen to me. To maintain my “lofty” image as a teacher and keep my face and status, I took away his book, believing that by doing this I could retain my dignity and the students would listen to me obediently in future. Wasn’t it precisely the revelation of the arrogant disposition of “Those who submit will prosper; those who resist shall perish”? I really didn’t live out the likeness of a Christian. At this thought, Ms. Lin was filled with remorse and guilt. Then she saw another passage of God’s words: “Against a certain background or in a certain environment, you felt it was wise, or that there was a good reason to do so, or that you had ample reasons to do so, and ultimately acted…. When evening came and you reflected upon what you did, or else one day when you gained enlightenment or were reproached, you then felt that the reason for saying those words at that time was not a reason, and that you should have behaved in another way. How should you practice at such times? For example, you did something to someone, you cheated them, or you spoke words that were either inaccurate or contained your own motivations, and so you should go and find that person to dissect what you did, and say: ‘The words I said at that time contained my personal motivations. If you can accept my apology, please forgive me.’ Thus you dissect yourself, and lay yourself bare” (“To Be Honest, You Should Lay Yourself Open to Others”). The passage of God’s words pointed out the way of practice: Once realizing his fault, one should bravely acknowledge it and apologize to others and dissect himself. After understanding the way of practice, Ms, Lin prayed on her knees beside the bed, “O God! I was wrong. I shouldn’t lose my temper with the student so as to maintain my status. Tomorrow, when he comes to get his book, I will practice being an honest man according to Your requirements and apologize to him.”
The next day, when Ms. Lin was preparing the lessons in her office, she heard a voice outside the door, “May we come in?” Then she saw two students pulling Sun Li into her office. “Ms. Lin, the math teacher asked him to fetch his exercise book, but he didn’t want to come, so we bring him here.” Ms. Lin smiled and said to them, “Thank you! You two go back first. And Sun Li, wait for a minute, please.” Then, the two students left. Sun Li looked around and seemed to look for his book. “Take a seat.” Ms. Lin pointed at the chair before her. Sun Li suddenly felt a little ashamed, his hand scratching his head, saying, “I … will just stand.” Ms. Lin held Sun Li’s hand and said, “I’m sorry for the thing yesterday. I shouldn’t have lost my temper.” Sun Li raised his head, being open-eyed, as if he couldn’t believe his ears. And Ms. Lin continued, “Everyone understands crimes of passion. Yesterday I took away your book to keep my dignity as a teacher. What I did was thoughtless and inconsiderate, so I apologize to you.” Bowing his head with shame, Sun Li shook his hand to show it was not a big deal. Ms. Lin said, “However, as a student, you should finish your homework on time, shouldn’t you?” Then she gave the book back to Sun li. Holding his book, Sun Li raised his head and said seriously, “Ms. Lin, actually, it was my fault. I shouldn’t do math homework in art class.” Ms. Lin was surprised and moved by these words. Not knowing what to say, she just clapped him on the shoulder.
At noon, when class was over, Ms. Lin was walking in the campus with her handbag, feeling at ease. Suddenly, she heard someone shouting, “See you, Ms. Lin!” She turned back and found it was Sun Li waving to her. In the bright sun, his eyes narrowed and his innocent smile seemed brighter than the sunlight. Ms. Lin also smiled and waved back to him. At that moment, it seemed that all things were frozen: The willow branches were dancing with the wind slightly, bright flowers were in full blossom and Ms. Lin and Sun Li were giving knowing smiles, which formed a most gorgeous scene in the school.
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