Twenty Years Later, I Forgave My Mother Who Abandoned Me
In the darkness of the night, I scramble down a seemingly endless lane, looking every which way, but unable to find my way home and wracked with anxiety. All of a sudden, my mother appears in the distance walking toward me and I’m overtaken with a sense of elation. Just as I’m about to call out “Mom,” she disappears. I cry out for my mother in a loud voice, but she doesn’t respond to my calls and I become enveloped in darkness and fear …
I awoke suddenly and sat up in bed, covered in sweat and breathing heavily. It was all just a dream! All the noise had startled my wife into wakefulness. She wiped the cold sweat from my brow and softly said, “Did you have another nightmare? After all these years, why don’t you stop torturing yourself? It’s too tiring and painful. After all, you can’t hate your mother for your whole life, right?” I thought to myself, “Of course I want to let go of my resentment, but I just can’t do it!”
Mom, Why Did You Abandon Me?
I had originally had a happy and loving family, but when my sister drowned when I was four, my life was turned upside down. My father couldn’t take the pain of losing his daughter and so he drank excessively and, after drinking, he would become violent, breaking things and hitting my mom. As my father’s psychological health continued to decline, my mother just couldn’t take the abuse and eventually decided to file for divorce.
When I was ten, my mother called me on the phone and told me that she was now working in a different city. I decided to go visit her, but in the end I couldn’t find her. From then on, I felt only blame for my mother. I blamed her for being so heartless and abandoning me when I was only four years old and showing not the least bit of care or concern. I swore to myself that I would never try to go visit her again. Only later did I learn that she had moved to another city for financial reasons.
When I was fourteen, I was forced to quit school and begin working. I was bullied and scorned to no end. Yet, during this time, I didn’t receive the slightest bit of help or support from my mother and I pinned all of my suffering on the fact that she had abandoned me. At that time, I wanted a warm, loving household more than anything. I wanted to live a happy and joyous life under the care of my mother, but this simplest of dreams never became a reality.
Unable to Let Go of Resentment for My Mother
Two years later, my mother suddenly contacted me and told me that for financial reasons and to make money that she could give me to start a family, she was heading to Korea for work. When I heard this, I didn’t try to persuade her to stay. After that, Mom would often call me to see how I was doing, but I had already been hurt too deeply and so I was always curt in our conversations.
When I was twenty, my mother returned, but instead of showing caring, she was strangely critical of me. In the end, we parted on bad terms after a big fight. My mom was only in China for a week before leaving once again. My resentment toward my mother grew even stronger and I even thought that I never wanted to see her ever again. However, I could never bring myself to finalize such a decision, given that my mom had, after all, raised me for a time. Blood runs thicker than water, so who was I to cut family ties so arbitrarily?
Seemingly in no time at all, I had arrived at the age when I should marry and settle down. I found a partner that really understood me and was highly empathetic, but my mother didn’t like her and strongly opposed our marriage, which only drove a deeper divide between us. After that, whenever I spoke with my mother on the phone, we would always be at each other’s throats. When my wife saw how strained my relationship was with my mother, she urged me on multiple occasions to put aside my resentment, but I just wouldn’t listen to her.
Later on, my wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl and, to provide a good living environment for our child, we decided to move to Korea. When we first arrived in Korea, my mother would often call us, but whenever she called I wouldn’t answer or I’d tell my wife to answer—I didn’t want to hear her voice and didn’t want to have any verbal communication with her. On multiple occasions I had tried to convince myself to let go of my resentment and try to get along with her, but as soon as I remembered all of the pain and humiliation of my youth, I would be unable to let bygones be bygones. My resentment for my mother had ensnared me like an invisible net, making me feel repressed and unable to open up and let go. Because of this, I often even had nightmares.
With God’s Pity and Concern, I Didn’t Feel So Alone
My wife saw how much I was suffering and urged me saying, “Come put your faith in God with me. Only by leaving all your worries to God will you be able to open up and let go. God has expressed many truths in the last days and if we come before God, reading God’s word and understanding the truth, all of our pain and troubles will be resolved.” My wife had accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days half a year ago and had spread the gospel to me several times, but I had always turned her down by saying that I was too busy with work. Yet recently, when I noticed the worried look in my wife’s eyes, I thought of how even though my mother was very disapproving of my wife and often made very disparaging remarks about her, my wife had never made a single negative comment about my mother since joining the church. To the contrary, she was always helping me think through things and urging me to make up with my mom. Thinking of this, I suddenly became very curious—what was it about God’s word that allowed my wife to feel no resentment toward my mother? Thus, I decided to listen to God’s word.
My wife said to me, “Each one of us is alone and God has concern, pity and care for all of us. God created mankind and prepared for us all that we need to survive. After God brought us into this world, He prepared suitable family for us, a suitable environment to grow up in and suitable life path for us. Throughout our lives, during the good times and the bad times, God is always by our side to care for and protect us. As long as we listen closely to God’s voice, we will feel God’s love for us. God’s words say: ‘The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply; at the same time, He is fed up with these people who lack consciousness, as He has had to wait too long for an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time. He is keeping watch by your side, waiting for you to turn back around. He is waiting for the day you suddenly recover your memory’ (“The Sighing of the Almighty” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
After hearing God’s word, I was like a child who had suddenly been reunited with his mother—I felt moved in a totally indescribable way and tears came streaming down my face. Thinking back on my experiences through these years, though I hadn’t put my faith in God, and didn’t know God, He had always been protecting and caring for me and only as such had I not succumbed to all the unhealthy trends affecting society at present. Though I hadn’t enjoyed much love from my parents, the challenges I faced had made me stronger and more resolute and had given me the ability to live independently. God had also given me a caring and understanding wife and a beautiful little daughter, allowing me to enjoy the warmth of family. All that I had was a blessing from God. Though I had rejected God’s saving grace several times, He was always waiting for me to turn back toward Him and receive His salvation. At that moment, I felt God’s love and care and decided to put my faith in God.
After that, I entered into The Church of Almighty God with my wife. Seeing how the brothers and sisters treated each other with such sincerity, encouraging each other whenever they ran into trouble, and fellowshiping on the truth to resolve problems, The Church of Almighty God seemed to me like a big, warm family and brought me great comfort. As well, through meeting with brothers and sisters and reading God’s word, singing hymns praising God, and watching all kinds of movies and videos, I began to open up and feel free. I was most moved by the play Xiaozhen’s Story and the movie Where Is My Home. I don’t cry easily, but these two movies had me wiping the tears from my eyes. The experiences of the main characters of the two films, Xiaozhen and Wenya, were so similar to my own, but they later both were lucky enough to come before God and live happily under His care and protection. I was deeply moved and rejoiced in the fact that I had been chosen by God and had come before Him. Especially while watching the part in Where Is My Home when the main character Wenya’s father dies of liver cancer and she is sobbing and in utter despair, I couldn’t help but think of my mother. My mother was only getting older and older and was one who would one day leave me for good. She had already lost a daughter and only had me, her son, left among her children. If I continued to resent her and one day she really did leave me, I would certainly also be very sad, but it would be too late for my regrets. When I had realized this, my hardened heart began to soften just a little. However, my resentment for my mother had taken root in my heart over the course of twenty years—as soon as I thought of everything that had happened in the past, it was hard to let go. What could I do to stop resenting my mother?
As It Turned Out, I Couldn’t Forgive My Mother Because …
One time, my wife found the following passage of God’s word to fellowship with me. God says: “Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of national governments and of the famous and great. Their devilish words have become man’s life nature. ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone, and that has become man’s life. There are other words of philosophies for living that are also like this. Satan uses each nation’s fine traditional culture to educate people, causing mankind to fall into and be engulfed by a boundless abyss of destruction, and in the end people are destroyed by God because they serve Satan and resist God. … There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives, in their conduct and behavior; they possess almost no truth at all. For example, their philosophies for living, their ways of doing things, and their maxims are all filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. Thus, all things that flow through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan. All of those officials, those who hold power, and those who are accomplished have their own paths and secrets to success. Are such secrets not perfectly representative of their nature? … Mankind has been profoundly corrupted by Satan. Satan’s venom flows through the blood of every person, and it can be seen that man’s nature is corrupt, evil, and reactionary, filled by and immersed in the philosophies of Satan—it is, in its entirety, a nature that betrays God. This is why people resist God and stand in opposition to God. Man can easily come to know himself if his nature can be dissected in this way” (“How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks).
Pondering God’s word, I came to understand that after being corrupted by Satan, we take phrases like, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” and “Give others a taste of their own medicine” as our principles and philosophies of life and so we become ever more selfish and evil. Whether in our speech or in our actions, we always take self-interestedness as our operating principle. Our first priority is our own personal benefit and no matter whom we’re dealing with, our interaction is always predicated on our personal interests, even in dealings with family. When we don’t get what we want, we blame, resist and even feel hate for others. We don’t have the least amount of understanding, forbearance or compassion. I thought that in all those years when I had been unable to let go of my resentment for my mother, had I not been controlled by Satan’s philosophies and principles, considering only my own profit and loss? I believed that the reason why I had had to start working at such a young age and had felt so much pain and humiliation was all because my mother had abandoned me. I also thought that it was a matter of course that, as my mother, my mom should protect, care and provide for me and that I ought to be able to enjoy my mother’s love. Thus, when I didn’t receive my mom’s love and care, I resented her and didn’t want to see her anymore. Through the exposition of God’s words, I saw how selfish I was to only think of my own interests and never consider or empathize with my mother’s feelings and troubles. My sister’s death was an enormous blow to my mom, and, when taken along with my father’s violent outburst, I could see that she really had no alternative but to leave. Thinking back on it, what parents don’t want to provide and care for their kids? What’s more, my mother hadn’t had it easy working and providing for herself alone all these years, and, on top of that, she had to deal with being abandoned by her only son and with no one to comfort her when she was in pain. Having thought of all this, I felt very guilty and no longer wanted to live with this resentment toward my mother.
In the following days, whenever I had time I would read God’s word and my wife would often fellowship with me, saying, “If you want to let go of your resentment toward your mother, relying on your own will power alone will not be enough. We must pray to God and find a path of practice in God’s words, only then can we slowly let go of our resentment.”
I Found a Way to Let Go of My Resentment for My Mother
One day, I came upon a passage in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life which said, “Kind people don’t have evil in their hearts. If you owe them, they won’t mind, but they won’t owe you anything because for them that’s definitely unacceptable. Plus, it’s not a problem if you offend them, but they would never want to offend you, let alone harm you. Isn’t that kind-hearted? When anyone does something unfavorable toward them, they can also put themselves in that person’s shoes and be considerate toward them, can forgive them, and understand them. This is also the expression of a kind heart. Some people committed a lot of evil in the past, but they now have faith in God and can pursue the truth, and further they can forgive others and treat them correctly and fairly. This type of person is classified as a kind-hearted person. Kind-hearted people have forbearance, mercy, forgiveness, and endurance in their hearts, and even more so they have love and sympathy. That is why everyone loves to be in contact with someone like this and is willing to make such a friend” (“The Truth One Must Enter Into to Achieve Dispositional Change and Expressions of Dispositional Change” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life IV). Indeed, kind-hearted people don’t hold on to grudges, are always considerate of others, understand and love others and even when people do them wrong, they are considerate and forgiving. This sermon gave me a path of practice—I could no longer live in resentment. I had to let go of my resentment for my mom and learn to understand, empathize with and forgive her. If I didn’t, not only would I be in pain, my mother would be in even greater pain and my wife would be concerned for me.
“Ding-a-ling …” My mom was once again calling my cell phone and, out of habit, my hand went for the “hang up” button, but this time I thought of God’s word: “In believing in God, if people desire transformation of their disposition, then they must not detach themselves 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” (“Discussing Church Life and Real Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). That’s right, if I wanted to rid myself of the selfishness and self-interestedness of my satanic disposition, I would have to consciously practice God’s word in real life, practice letting go of resentment and try to interact with my mother. Once I had understood God’s intention and demands, I hurriedly prayed to God, saying, “Oh, Almighty God! I ask that You give me the strength to practice Your word.” After I had finished my prayer, I gradually felt a sense of serenity and so I pressed the “call back” button. When my mom picked up the phone and realized it was me, I could hear the surprise in her voice and the sound of crying and sniffing. My heart was warmed. Even though we didn’t speak with each other for very long, I could tell this was a good start.
Speaking Openly With My Mom, Our Relationship Grew Closer
One night nearing dusk, before I had time to get dinner, I suddenly felt a terrible stabbing pain in my stomach and large drops of sweat poured from my face. My wife took one look at me and immediately rushed me to the hospital. The doctor informed me that my appendix had burst and I would need immediate surgery as this was a very dangerous condition. Thanks be to God, my surgery went very smoothly. After the surgery, I remained in a deep sleep due to the anesthesia. In this deep and restful sleep, I had a dream in which I had returned to my childhood and was holding hands with my mom, walking in the sunlight. When I awoke, I found that there were two pairs of hands tightly gripping my own—one pair was my wife’s, the other was my mother’s. With tears in her eyes and with obvious heartache, my mother asked me, “Are you alright? Does it still hurt? Son, you are my everything. If anything ever happened to you, what would I do? Forgive your mother, it’s all my fault. In all these years, I never gave you my loving care and as a result you’ve endured so much pain….” In that moment, I felt so loved—looking at my mother’s kind face, hearing her caring words, the tears welled up in my eyes. I gripped my mother’s hand and said to her, “Mom, I was also wrong to always be saying such hurtful things to you and never sympathizing with your troubles. Mom, forgive me!” After I had spoken, we hugged and this time the tears running from my eyes were tears of joy. During my hospital stay, my mother came to visit me every day and I got better very quickly. Getting sick brought me closer to my mother, and from then on our relationship changed for the better.
Now, my mom and I are back on good terms and my mother is very caring and kind to me, my wife and our daughter. She comes to see us often and we’ll eat and chat together. We finally have that warm family feeling once again. One time when we were chatting, I offhandedly mentioned that I like fishing and wanted to buy some fishing equipment. To my surprise, my mother transferred 100,000 (about 80 US dollars) Korean Won to my account. When I realized what she had done, I hurriedly told her, “Mom, why are you giving me money? I have my own money.” With a kind smile, my mom replied, “I have money too, and your mother should buy things you like for you.” In that moment, I was truly moved. In these twenty years, I never, ever imagined that I could get along with my mom like this. If I did entertain the thought, it was usually only in a dream. I knew it was God that had undone that knot in my heart, allowed me to see how my selfish and despicable satanic disposition was the source of my resentment, helped me find a path toward living out normal humanity, let go of my resentment for my mother and improve my relationship with her after twenty years of discord.