By Zhu Hua, China
Introduction: In this age where everyone is acting for themselves, it’s common to hear about fathers and sons becoming enemies because of struggling for interests, and there are also countless brothers and sisters who slaughter each other for properties. Once, Zhu Hua’s fighting for a share of her father-in-law’s death benefit caused a family storm. Later, how did she calm the family storm? Read on to find out …
There was actually no my family’s share of a death benefit of over 100,000 yuan.
My father-in-law was a teacher and died of an illness one month ago, and then my mother-in-law received a death benefit of over 100,000 yuan. She decided to give all of it to her younger son’s family but didn’t give my family any of it. After I knew this, I became very angry and thought, “It is too unfair! Why won’t my mother-in-law give my family part of the death benefit? The family of my brother-in-law has been working elsewhere; whenever something cropped up in my in-laws’ family, it was my husband and I who usually helped and worried about them, and especially when my father-in-law was in the hospital, it was my husband and I who waited on him … But now, my mother-in-law actually treats us like this. She is showing marked favoritism to my brother-in-law.” The more I thought about it, the angrier I became, so I lost my temper with my husband and asked him to go and find his brother to negotiate with him, but my husband’s doing so was of no use.
One day, I heard that brothers in someone’s home disputed over even several hundred yuan, and then I thought, “The death benefit is over 100,000 yuan. If I don’t fight for a part of it, won’t I lose too much?” Therefore, I went to find my mother-in-law in a rage and question why she wouldn’t give part of the money to my family. After hearing what I said, she didn’t say a word as if she was going through some unspeakable sufferings. At that moment, I suddenly thought about how she once told me, “Your brother-in-law is heavily in gambling debts. If he has no money to pay off his debts, his wife will divorce him, and it is possible that he’ll be taken to court and imprisoned.” Thinking of this, I realized that maybe it was this that put her in a tough spot. I couldn’t find anything else to say and all I could do was return home full of anger.
God’s words allowed me to let go of some of the resentment I harbored in my heart.
That night, I rolled to and fro in my bed, unable to sleep. I got angry when thinking of how my mother-in-law didn’t treat my family fairly. In the past, every month my father-in-law’s salary of two or three thousand yuan was given to my brother-in-law to support his family. One time, my in-laws clearly said they would divide their savings of tens of thousands yuan equally between my family and my brother-in-law’s family, but in the end they gave all of it to my brother-in-law’s family. This time, my mother-in-law still would give all of the death benefit to my brother-in-law. Is this reasonable? The more I thought about it, the angrier I became, so much so that I even thought that it was best if I could never see my mother-in-law again for the rest of my life. But then I thought that I was a Christian and that in the Bible it says, “Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). I realized that my living in resentment because of struggling for a part of the death benefit like this didn’t accord with God’s will. So I prayed to God, “O God, I feel much pain because my family won’t receive a share of the money. I feel that what my mother-in-law did is not being fair to my family. I just can’t let go of it. I beg You to lead and enlighten me so that I can set aside it.”
The next morning, I thought of a hymn of God’s words, “Those who are smart should quickly wake up to the truth! Relinquish all those things you are unwilling to part with. I tell you once again that these things really are harmful to your life and are of no benefit!” Pondering over this hymn, I felt much calmer as if the rope binding me was untied. I thought, “God asks me to be a smart person and relinquish those which cause me to suffer physically and mentally. Only in this way will I feel released from suffering in my heart. In order to fight for a part of the death benefit, I live in unbearable pain. Is it worth it?” I also thought of what it says in the Bible: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:8). Yes. This is so true! Now my family’s standard of living is alright. I should be content with sufficient food and clothing. I wish to be a smart person and no longer fight for the death benefit. With this in mind, my heart was so much freer and was not as depressed as before, and I no longer hated my mother-in-law so much in my heart.
I understood the source of my unwillingness to take care of my mother-in-law.
One day my mother-in-law fell ill and couldn’t even make food. My husband’s second sister ran over to me and said, “Our mother is sick. Could you go to take care of her? She was senile in the past, and now she’s willing to give part of the money to your family.” Hearing what she said, I became angry with my mother-in-law again, and thought, “Now you’re sick and nobody takes care of you, so you thought of me. At that time how did you treat me? I won’t take care of you.” But then I thought, “Although my mother-in-law did some things that were not quite correct, if I don’t take care of her when she is ill, this isn’t normal humanity.” Then, I had no choice but reluctantly agreed, yet I was still angry with my mother-in-law in my heart.
The next day, when I attended a church meeting, I told about this, and then my sisters found two passages of God’s words for me to read, “Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? Despite the hundreds of thousands of words God has spoken, no one has come to their senses. People act for the sake of their families, sons and daughters, for their careers, future prospects, position, vainglory, and money, for the sake of food, clothing, and the flesh, but is there anyone whose actions are truly for the sake of God? Even among those who act for the sake of God, there are but few who know God. How many people do not act out of their own interests? How many do not oppress or ostracize others in order to protect their own position?” “When you watch historical dramas about ancient times, whether they’re about the imperial court, the Jianghu,[a] or the common people, and whether the main story line of the show is a battle between justice and evil, a struggle over authority, or the struggles of the Jianghu, what is the general plot full of? What kind of thing does it expose? (Intrigue and fighting.) Whether it’s about a regular family, a small household, or about the Jianghu, or the larger affairs of the imperial courts, their plots are chock-full of conflict. This is human nature, a genuine side of human nature—it is full of conflict.”
By reading God’s words I came to know that, after we humans were corrupted by Satan, the essence of our nature is selfish; we view interests above all else, and can do anything in order to struggle for interests. Though I believed in God, I still lived by Satan’s life axioms like, “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and “Fight for every inch of land and seize every bit you can get.” Then I reflected, and realized that all that I had done during that period was for the sake of money and interests. In order to get tens of thousands of yuan, I asked my husband to find my brother-in-law to negotiate with him. When my brother-in-law didn’t compromise, I complained about my mother-in-law and questioned her, causing her to live in pain. Later, even though I knew that there was a good reason she favored my brother-in-law, I still couldn’t set aside my own interests and couldn’t even sleep well because of this. When she was ill and needed me to help take care of her, I still couldn’t let go of the past and didn’t even want to take care of her. I then thought of many brothers, sisters, relatives and friends I had heard and seen who schemed against one another, even fought each other, became enemies because of their striving for properties, money, and interests, and thus had little human kindness. I had always felt dissatisfied with my mother-in-law just because she would give all the death benefit to my brother-in-law. As a daughter-in-law, it was natural for me to take care of my mother-in-law, and there should be no supplementary conditions or my own requirements. However, with interests in front of me, I found it hard to do so. Even if later my mother-in-law was willing to give part of the money to my family, I remained unwilling to take care of her. I really had no tolerance, forgiveness, or love. Thinking of all this, I sighed deeply, “In the past I believed that I could forgive people, devoted to my parents, and was a person with conscience. But now through being exposed by God’s words and the revelation of the facts, I finally see clearly my own ugliness. I was selfish and despicable, and quarreled for money and interests.” Realizing this, I felt very ashamed. I didn’t want to live selfishly like this any longer, and decided to be a person with conscience and reason according to God’s words.
I practiced God’s words and thus lived out some likeness of a real man.
Afterward, I read a passage of God’s words, “In believing in God, if man desires transformation in his own disposition, then he must not detach himself from real life. In real life, you must know yourself, forsake yourself, practice the truth, as well as learn the principles, common sense and rules of self-conduct in all things before you are able to achieve gradual transformation. If you only focus on the knowledge in theories and only live among religious ceremonies without going deep into reality, without entering into real life, then you will never enter into reality, you will never know yourself, the truth, or God, and you will always be blind and ignorant.”
Through reading God’s words I came to understand that if I wanted to achieve transformation in my disposition and rid me of my corrupt disposition of selfishness, I needed to actively set aside my own interests and practice God’s words in my daily life. When I came across things that weren’t in line with my desires, even if my fleshly interests were infringed upon, I still needed to act in accordance with God’s words. Only by practicing God’s words could I gradually get rid of my corrupt disposition of selfishness and being self-serving, and become a person with conscience and reason. Coming to this realization, I truly let go of the resentment of my mother-in-law from the bottom of my heart, and began to be willing to set aside my own interests to take care of her. As for whether she would give part of the money to my family or not, I didn’t care anymore.
I thought about how my mother-in-law lived alone in a tile-roofed house of my brother-in-law, so I took her to my home to live. I also bought medicines for her, took her to visit doctors, and showed concern for her food and clothing. Seeing there were smiles on my mother-in-law’s face, I felt very happy too. During Chinese New Year, I also bought clothing for her. In front of my neighbors and our relatives, she said that my family was really good. Hearing what she said, I thought to myself: “How is this my being good? This is the fruit attained through.” If it weren’t for the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, I wouldn’t have been capable of this by myself.
Later, though I received a share of the money, it couldn’t compare to the truth I had gained from God. God’s word is the foundation of my conduct. I am willing to practice the truth more, seek to change my dispositions, and live out the likeness of a real human being soon to satisfy God. This is how under the guidance of God’s word the storm caused at home by struggling for a death benefit finally subsided. Thank God!
- The Jianghu refers to the world where people of martial arts fought and struggled in the past.