Lu Daoming welcomes you on a journey of friendship and hope. Together, let's learn new ideas: how to live with real meaning and joy.
New Question from 中国人朋友: “So much pressure!”
November 1, 2011Posted by on
This question is about how 神 is different from the way people are – and so He’s very different from the way we would expect Him to be. Some of these answers are also very helpful when we think about raising a family. There are even a few pictures in this post! Keep reading!
Here’s what my friend said: “When I go to your gathering, I see followers from many countries – including 中国人. I feel warm, welcome, invited. When I go to a 中国人 gathering, I feel pressure! They’re always telling me I must do something, and they expect everyone to do it. This is strange to me, and makes me uncomfortable.”
There are several reasons why we do not pressure people to do what 神 wants them to do. Here are a few of them:
First, very many 中国人 grew up in a completely different culture, where they never heard about 神 – except when people said that it was unscientific or silly or mentally unbalanced to believe in Him. So for them to begin learning about Him now is all completely new and different. It’s not fair to expect people to make decisions about something they don’t know! It’s not right to force people to do things when they really don’t understand! Not even 神 tries to force people to do what they don’t understand!
神’s style is different – I think you will like it very much. Instead of criticizing us until we change our behaviour, He comes alongside us, understands us, helps us learn, helps us do new things, encourages us when we do well, is very patient with us when we fail – and in this way we change very deeply.
Second: people who are pressured and forced to do things that they don’t understand – or don’t want to do – will only do those things when the pressure is there! Only when their friends or family or gathering is there! Once they’re away from friends, family, gathering, guess what! They’ll quit doing the things they were pressured into doing! This is silly and dangerous, and makes people very weak. They don’t like the pressure, but they must have the pressure, or they can’t do what is right.
神 helps us in deeper ways than this. He wants us to get to know Him, so that we will trust Him. The more we trust Him, the more we will want to do what He says. Then, we will be strong! We will be able to obey Him and do good even if no one else around us does what is good – because our hearts are convinced, because our desire agrees with His desire – because we are secure in His goodness to us.
There are many wonderful things that 神 does to help us change and grow. One of them is in the very mysterious and very powerful way in which He lives with us, by His Spirit. We’ll talk more about that later. Another thing is by giving us all these new friends who also follow Him. We help each other in the same way that He helps us. We don’t criticize each other and force each other to do things. Instead, we learn to understand each other, to help each other, to encourage each other.
We’re not perfect! but we know the One who is perfect! And His heart is good to help us, not to hurt us. Click here for free audio to help you learn more about this.
By the way – this might surprise you: the way 神 treats us is the heart of the way followers of 神 raise our children. Yes, I know, the Asian way is to criticize your children to make them work harder and achieve more. But if you always do this, you will raise children who will do what you want when they know you’re watching them – but they won’t do it when you’re away. They will be afraid to tell you their failures. They will not expect you to come alongside and help – they know, you will criticize them. They will be glad that they can achieve very much – but they won’t know how to love another person! They’ll often have big problems with over-driven success, depression, failed relationships, much anger. They will put pressure on other people, too. All because they’ve learned to live by responding to pressure!
神 does it differently: He doesn’t start us from a place of emptiness, making us work hard to fill it. He starts us from a place of fullness, joy, peace, hope! Then the changes are much deeper, much more hopeful. Then when we raise our children, we learn 神’s ways for our own lives, and we teach our children the way 神 treats us. No one is perfect, like I said. But our children grow up joyful, loved, secure, peaceful. They learn with more peace, and they perform well at their work, because they aren’t always angry and afraid in their deep hearts. They know how to love their family and friends, because they have experienced love from their parents – and from 神.
No, 神’s way is not the Asian way. 神’s way not the self-centered Western way, either. 神’s way is much better than any human culture. That’s why people from all nations can come together with Him in our gatherings: we’re all being taught by Him, we’re all equal, we’re all learning from the One who is perfect. Do you like it?!
Third: this is my favourite part: in the word-pictures of The Library, 神 invites us to a wedding party! He invites us to give our burdens to Him! He is the larger, more experienced ox who helps us younger oxen to pull the plow of our lives, so that the right things can happen. He pulls with us, instead of standing over us criticizing us! The Teacher once said, “Come to me when you’re tired and worn out, and I will give you rest in your deep heart. Learn from me, because I am gentle, I have a humble heart, and you will find that even learning is restful for you!”
“Wait a minute: are you saying that 神 never deals with us in anger? that anger is always useless and dangerous?” Excellent question!! No, I’m not saying that. Sometimes humans know exactly what we’re supposed to do, and we’re simply too stubborn – or scared – to do it. Anger is sometimes helpful to motivate us to do what is right – but only for the moment, and not as a way of life! Do you understand the difference?
神 wants us to stop worrying about whether we’ve done enough to please Him, whether we’re good enough to be rewarded, whether we’re going to be punished for not doing enough. In fact, He wants us to stop thinking about ourselves so much, so we can find rest in Him. That’s the way He wants to help us raise our children, too. Do you know why?
Because there are many other people in your life who have never been loved the way 神 can love them. He would like for you to be at peace in your deep heart, so you’re not worrying about yourself so much – so that you can think about other people! So your heart can tune in to their heart, so you can feel their pain and hurt, so you can bring joy and life and healing and hope to them! How would you like to live like that?! How would you like to be the kind of person who makes other people come alive with joy and hope?! How do you think your children would like it if you were like that?!
Do these thoughts make sense to you? There’s a lot more to say! Reply with your questions and comments! Share us on Weibo! Let’s keep learning together!
Well, enough for now … more again soon.