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Gospel Reader

How Can My Young, Brash, and Arrogant Self Get Along With My Grandmother?

142

An Qi

human relationship, happy family

My name is An Qi. Before the age of six, I was living at my grandmother’s house. At the time, my grandmother was the person with whom I felt closest to. Each day when I went to the kindergarten, my grandmother decided which clothes I would wear and how I would comb my hair. I felt that my grandmother did these things the best. Gradually, I grew up and I started to disapprove of some of the things that my grandmother did. My grandmother also started to disapprove of me as well. Each time I went to her house, she would scold me. If she wasn’t nagging me on one thing, she would be nagging me about something else. I felt very upset.

In 2016, it became very popular to wear a necklace around one’s collarbone. I had also bought one of these necklaces. One day, after school, I went happily to my grandmother’s home. When I got there, she squinted at me and disapprovingly said, “Look at what kind of gadget you have around your neck. It’s like a dog collar. Do you feel comfortable with it so tight around your neck?” Originally, I was feeling quite happy but after hearing her say this, I was no longer happy at all. I disgruntledly replied, “You’re so old. What do you understand? This is called fashion. Even if I explained it, you would not understand!” For this reason, I was still moody in the evening.

The next day, I told my grandmother, “Grandma, you haven’t combed my hair in a long time. Can you comb it?” When she heard me say this, she happily combed my hair for me. After she finished combing my hair I took a look: My goodness! My hair was bunched up so tightly that it was lifting my eyes up. On top of that, she moistened my hair with water, so it started to look greasy.” I could not help but yell, “What did you do? Who combs their hair like this now? It’s hideous! Look how when you comb it with water, it looks like a cow licked my hair.” My grandmother said, “This doesn’t look great? A young girl looks good when her hair is combed neatly and elegantly! In the past, you used to be happy with the way I combed your hair. Now, you just seem to have your own notions about what is fashionable!” When I heard my grandmother say this, I became even more angry. I thought: “How can you keep up with the times if you look at things with your old eyes? In the past, you did not even have a cell phone, but now you can use one. Can your past compare to the present time?” I left my grandmother’s house in a fit of fury.

From then on, I did not like going to my grandmother’s house because each time I went, she would find something to nag about. One time, I wore baggy jeans when I went to my grandmother’s house. When she saw me, she said, “Look at those pants. They are so baggy. And you rolled up your pant legs. You look like a little hoodlum!” Another time, I put on beggar pants and went to my grandmother’s house. When she saw that my pants were a little dirty, she washed them for me. The result was that the next day I put on those pants, I saw that the hole in the pants was missing. Puzzled, I asked, “What happened to the hole in these pants?” My grandmother unhappily grumbled, “I sewed it up! There was a hole in your own pants, but you did not even know to give it to your mother to sew. How can you wear worn out pants so enthusiastically?” At that time, I was furious and I angrily told my grandmother, “These pants were originally like this. When I bought them, there was already a hole. They are called ‘beggar pants’!” My grandmother said, “Do you think it is easy for your mother to make money? How can you spend money on worn out pants? You have money yet you do not know what you should spend it on. If it’s not your entire ankle then it’s your entire knee….” Afterward, she started to rant a lot. Before she could finish, in a huff, I said, “Are you finished yet? Whenever I come over to your house, you will nag me. Perhaps I won’t come over from now on. Look at some of the people on TV. Aren’t they wearing the same thing? You really should change your old-fashioned view, otherwise I won’t have anything to talk to you about!” When my grandmother heard this, she was angry. She mumbled to herself, “You only know how to give me a nasty look.”

When I returned home, I told my mother, “From now on, I will no longer go to my grandmother’s house!” My mother asked, “Why? Didn’t you use to like going to your grandmother’s house?” I told my mother what happened at my grandmother’s house. My mother said, “You’re so picky. Now, you start ignoring your grandmother. When you were twelve years old, you started attending gatherings and reading God’s word. You have already believed in God for a few years. You must view this situation in accordance with God’s words. Do not always look down on your grandmother.” I did not say anything, yet, in my mind, I thought, “You two are the same. Your thoughts are outdated!”

Afterward, I opened up God’s words and read what God said: “What aspect of disposition does the manifestation of ‘the brashness and arrogance of youth’ refer to? Why do I say those of about 16 or 17 and those in their twenties are young, brash and arrogant? Why do I use these words to describe the young people in this age group? It’s not because I am prejudiced toward those in this age group, or that I look down upon them. It’s because the people in this age group have a certain kind of disposition within them. Because the people in this age group are inexperienced in the matters of the world and have little understanding of the affairs of human life, when they just begin to come into contact with the affairs of the world and of human life, they think, ‘I understand. I understand thoroughly. I know it all! I can understand what adults talk about and I can keep up with all the fashionable things in society. Now mobile phones are developing quickly, with functions that are so complicated—I know how to use it all! You bunch of old women don’t understand anything. You even can’t turn on the TV, and if you do manage to turn it on, you can’t switch it off again.’ There are some young people, when their grandmothers speak to them and say: ‘Do this for granny,’ who reply: ‘Humph, you can’t even do this. Old people really are useless!’ What kind of way is that to talk? Don’t forget, you will also grow old one day. Can being able to do some things like this be considered a skill? Can it be considered an ability? People may say no, but when they encounter some issue, they will express this kind of disposition. What is this? This is what is meant by ‘the young are brash and arrogant.’ This is what people express” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After I finished reading God’s words, I thought: Aren’t these words of God describing me? This is exactly how I am. I always ignore my grandmother and think that she is stupid. She gets me to help her do many things. When she can’t find a number on her phone, she needs me to help her find it. When she puts her phone on silent, she makes a big fuss and gets me to check whether her phone is broken or not. I remember one instance that made me even more embarrassed. I wanted to connect to the neighbor’s WiFi but I did not know the password. I asked my grandmother to go and ask. In the end, she asked the neighbor, “What is the password for your take-out[a]?” When my grandmother came back, I scolded her. Also, my grandmother has no clue about society’s popular trends and as a result, I view her as foolish. … In fact, this is the manifestation of the brashness and arrogance of youth! If I did not read God’s words, I would still believe that what I was doing was correct and that my grandmother’s thoughts were too outdated and that she was unable to keep up with the times. Today, I believe in God. I cannot be as arrogant and unruly as I was in the past. I must change! Thereupon, I prayed to God, “God. I always look down on my grandmother and think that she is foolish. When she nags me, I become angry. I always feel that my grandmother is unable to understand my thoughts. God, I do not want to be like this. However, I really cannot rely on myself to change. God, please help me!”

Afterward, there was another time when I went to my grandmother’s house and since there was nobody there to play with me, I played with my cell phone. However, the battery level of my smart phone was very low and after a while, it ran out of power. As a result, when I wasn’t playing with my cell phone, I would charge its batteries. Who would have thought that after charging my cell phone for only ten minutes that my grandmother pulled the plug. At first, I believed that perhaps my grandmother thought the cell phone was already fully charged. I did not say anything and I simply plugged it back in. The result was that my grandmother pulled the plug once more. This happened two or three times. Finally, I became impatient and angrily told my grandmother, “My cell phone hasn’t finished charging. Why do you keep unplugging it?” My grandmother grumbled, “I know that it hasn’t finished charging. How much electricity do you need to waste in order to fully charge it? What’s more, why do you always have to charge your cell phone? My cell phone can last an entire week on a full charge!” After I heard my grandmother say this, I could not help but shout at her, “Your cell phone is for old people and it is completely outdated! Mine is a smart phone. Can you even compare your cell phone to mine? My cell phone does not require a lot of electricity to charge. What’s more, your living expenses are paid by my mother, so I am not wasting your money! You are so miserly!” After my grandmother heard me tell her off, she unhappily said, “You truly are an ungrateful brat! How dare you talk back to me! When you were little, I carried you and held you. Have you forgotten?” After she finished saying this, my grandmother left in an angry rage. After my grandmother left, I felt a little unwell. Meanwhile, I became very depressed: I did not want to yell at you, but why do you always try to make me conform to your generation’s rules? You are so outdated!

After I went home, I told my mother about this situation. My mother said, “You must not always rant at your grandmother. She is very old and you should speak to her nicely. Moreover, you are a Christian. You must not be so arrogant that you lose your sense. You can only honor God by living out a normal humanity!” My mother spoke at the same time as she opened up God’s words, “Take a look at what God has said about it!”

I took the book of God’s words and started reading what God said, “When some young people are talking, they keep rolling their eyes, they hold everyone in contempt, and everything they say is filled with a note of disdain. If you have a word with them but it’s not to their liking, they will just ignore you. It is rather hard to be a parent nowadays and very hard to get to know the mentality of young people. If they say one wrong word, their child will throw a tantrum and storm off, and it is very difficult for them to communicate with adults. This is to say that there are problems with the thinking of many young people today. Is this situation not created by evil trends and this evil society? The things of people’s normal humanity are becoming fewer and fewer” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After I finished reading God’s words, it was very difficult for me to bear. I felt like I was receiving chastisement. God’s words were referring to me. This was the way I interacted with my grandmother. When she said that I was wrong, I would throw a tantrum. When she did something that was not to my liking, if I did not rant at her, I would embarrass her. My temper is quite bad. I thought about how my grandmother loved me all along. When there was something good to eat, she was not willing to eat it. She would wait for me and let me have it. However, if I was not hostile toward her about this, I would be hostile toward her about that. If we switched positions and I was the grandmother and my granddaughter treated me like this, I would feel very awful! The more I thought about this, the more I felt regret. At this time, my mother said to me, “People nowadays follow the trends of the world. They seek material enjoyment. They seek whatever is popular in society. The trends of society are not the truth and they are not positive things. If we become influenced and manipulated by the trends of society, our life perspectives and the way we see things will become seriously distorted. It would be in complete violation of God’s words, the truth and normal humanity. This would cause God to loathe us. However, we believe that we are following precisely with society’s trends and that we are standing in the forefront of our age. It is as if we understand everything. We know everything and there is nothing that can stop us. We believe that we ourselves are very capable. Gradually, our dispositions become more and more arrogant, conceited and condescending. We look down upon everyone and nobody dares to provoke us. These are the consequences which result when people nowadays are secretly influenced by societal trends.” After my mother said this, I could see that my own manifestations were exactly the same as that which God’s words revealed. Just as God said, “The things of normal humanity are becoming fewer and fewer.” I felt it extremely difficult to bear. I started hating myself: How could I be so wretched? My grandmother was correct when she said that I was an ungrateful little brat! When I thought back to how I talked to my own grandmother, I started to wonder whether it made her very sad. I really am corrupt and ignorant! Consequently, I prayed to God, “God, I feel really awful about getting angry at my grandmother this time. I no longer want to be this kind of a child. I must change my arrogant disposition, live out a normal humanity and be a well-behaved and sensible child. God, please guide me!”

During that time, I frequently prayed about this situation. When I went to my grandmother’s house, I would pay particular attention to putting this aspect into practice. At times when my grandmother talked with me in a wordy way and made me feel bothered, I prayed to God in my heart. After I finished praying, I did not feel as angry. There was one time when I was getting ready to go out with my grandmother. My grandmother was searching through her wardrobe but could not find anything she likes to wear. She asked me, “What should I wear?” I wanted to say: You’re so old that it doesn’t matter what you wear! Right as I was about to blurt it out, I became aware that this was wrong and that I was revealing an arrogant disposition. At that moment, I recalled God’s words regarding “the brashness and arrogance of youth.” As a result, I said, “Actually, these clothes look quite good. However, today’s weather is quite hot. Perhaps you shouldn’t wear too much. Wear this, it is thinner.” From then on, each time I wanted to throw a tantrum in front of my grandmother, I would recall God’s words of revealing and judgment. Consequently, I consciously forsook the flesh and put the truth into practice. When I started to put the truth into practice in this manner, I felt very relaxed. I was no longer felt as stifled as I did in the past when I was angry at my grandmother. In the past, because of some small matter, I would get angry at my grandmother. I seldom got the opportunity to return to her house, but when I was back, both of us were unhappy because of my anger. Especially when I reflected on my grandmother’s helpless eyes each time I finished ranting, I felt a lot of grief. I saw that I was so arrogant that I no longer had humanity. From now on, I must no longer be so incredibly arrogant. I must live in accordance with God’s words. I must live out a normal humanity and please other people and God!

Afterward, as long as I was together with my grandmother, my heart would not dare leave God because I knew that if I relied on myself, I would not be able to conquer my corrupt disposition. There was one time when my grandmother came over to my place to visit. During lunchtime when we were cooking, she added too much rice. The three of us basically could not eat so much rice. I thought: You’ve cooked for so many years. You do not know how much rice to put in? Just as I was about to give my grandmother an earful, suddenly, I thought of God’s words: “Don’t forget, you will also grow old one day. Can being able to do some things like this be considered a skill? Can it be considered an ability?” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks). At this moment, I knew that my arrogant nature was a recurring disease. In my heart, I said to God, “God, once again I want to throw a tantrum and scold my grandmother. I know that this is my arrogant nature flaring up and that it is wrong. This is not Your intention. Please, help me let go of my arrogance and live out a normal humanity!” After I finished praying, my heart quieted down and I half-jokingly said to my grandmother, “You put too much rice. With so much rice in this pot, I do not know how much water needs to be added. If I add too much water, then we will just have congee.” When my grandmother heard me say this, she started to laugh. She praised me saying that I had changed a lot. Not only did I know how to do housework, my temper was no longer as foul as it used to be in the past. She said that I had now grown up and become sensible. I know that now, I no longer say things in accordance with an arrogant disposition. I am a little more wise and a little more sensible. This is all due to God’s words changing me. If I had to rely on myself, I would never have changed.

Afterward, I would frequently get my grandmother to tell me stories about her past. Gradually, I began to understand that my grandmother’s life habits in the present were related to her life in the past. If I were born during my grandmother’s time, I would have been the same as her. When I thought from my grandmother’s perspective, I began to understand her. When I changed the way I viewed things, let go of my own arrogance and started to treat my grandmother appropriately, the generation gap between my grandmother and me disappeared bit by bit. Now, I no longer say that my grandmother is outdated. On the contrary, I can learn a few positive things from my grandmother that people of my generation do not possess. I am thankful to God for changing me. May all the honor be to Almighty God!

 

Footnotes:

a. In Chinese, WiFi sounds similar to “Wai Mai,” which means “take-out.”

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