I Am Freed When Practicing the Lord’s Words and Forgiving Others

By Xinmei

During the boundary survey in 2018, my neighbor said that the land distributed to him should have been 6 mu (0.988 acre) but it was actually 5.5 mu. I thought that maybe we occupied more land than we should, so we gave 0.5 mu of land to him. The neighbor then planted a line of small saplings near the boundary between our land and his, and grew crops on the rest of his land.

One morning after the vernal equinox in 2019, my husband and I had just arrived at our field when we saw many fruit tree branches on the boundary. I immediately realized it must be our neighbor who had cut off the branches and I became very angry. I specially picked up a branch, looked at its section and restored it to its original place. I found that the branch extended east and would never extend over his land. I thought: “It’s one thing to cut the branches extending north that might extend over his land, but he has also cut off the branches extending east and west. Without being cut off, so many branches would yield lots of fruit.” Seeing all this, my husband angrily said: “Now that he has cut so many branches from our trees, I’ll pull his saplings out of the ground.” As he said this, he began to pull his newly planted saplings. Seeing that he had pulled up five saplings, I hurried to stop him, saying: “Now that the branches have been cut, so be it! We can’t take revenge on him.” Hearing this, my husband stopped pulling, and he still said with anger: “The saplings I’ve pulled up are worth at most 7 or 8 yuan, while the fruit that the branches cut off would bear is worth far more. It is really infuriating. I really want to pull up all of his saplings one night.” Hearing his impulsive words that gave vent to his spite, I thought: “If he does this, others may not know, but the Lord will. I can’t let him do so, for this type of behavior is detested by the Lord.” So, I said to my husband: “Isn’t your pulling up his saplings essentially the same as his cutting off the branches of our trees? This is displeasing to the Lord.” After hearing what I had to say, he became a little less impulsive and replied in a low voice: “I just said that out of anger.”

When I was about to go home after finishing the farm work, I again saw the branches cut off and couldn’t help feeling very upset: According to the fruit price in last year, we will suffer at least two-thousand-yuan loss with so many branches cut off. Thinking of this, I became angry and I couldn’t help but conceive an evil idea: “My husband has pulled up too few of his saplings. We really have to teach him a lesson to seek revenge.” However, I knew straight away that my idea was wrong but I could not control my own heart. After getting home, I began to seesaw. Now I thought that our neighbor was terrible—we had given him 0.5 mu of land, but he still cruelly cut off so many branches of our trees—and that I had to reason with him when I met him; then I thought that by resenting and taking revenge on him, I didn’t have a testimony in the eyes of the Lord. So, I rushed to pray to the Lord: “Lord, I know that since I believe in You, I should not hate and exact retribution on others, but I can’t let go. May You cleanse my heart.” After praying, several passages in the Bible occurred to me: “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17–18). “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Yes, we believers in the Lord should not fight evil with evil but should do a lot of good deeds and peacefully get along with people around us. What’s more, the heavens and earth and all things were created by God; God gives and God takes away. As a fruit grower, what I could do was just take good care of my fruit trees; by doing so, I had fulfilled my responsibilities. How much fruit they would bear was in the Lord’s hands. I should emulate Job and whether I encountered good things or bad things, I must thank and praise God. Coming to this realization, I felt less upset and felt a great deal of relaxation and release.

However, afterward, I accidentally learned that the land distributed to my neighbor should have been 5.5 mu, not 6 mu. I felt really unhappy and I thought: It turns out that he has been occupying our land for such a long time. Then the matter of my neighbor cutting off the branches of our trees came floating into my mind. The more I thought about all this, the angrier I became—I really wanted to go seek justice. However, I then thought about how I was a believer in the Lord and I should quieten my heart and seek the Lord’s will when encountering issues. But my heart was still doing somersaults and I could only come before the Lord and pray: “Oh Lord, I feel such pain in my heart and don’t know what to do. Lord, what is Your will? May You enlighten me and help me understand.” I later read these Bible verses: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, said the Lord. … Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19, 21). I understood that the Lord’s will is that we not fight evil with evil but instead show tolerance with love to those who offend us. No matter how others treat us, it involves their relationship with God. In my situation, what I should do was practice in accordance with the Lord’s demands. If I kept living in hatred to my neighbor and fighting for every inch of land, then how was I different from unbelievers? Wasn’t I playing the role of Satan? I should learn to overcome evil with good and let go of my resentment of my neighbor.

In the blink of an eye, three months passed. One day, I ran into my neighbor in the street and I again wanted to calculate losses and gains with him. But I realized that was wrong and so I quickly prayed to the Lord. I then thought of the Bible verse: “And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Only then did my heart calm down a little. I thought: “If I fight with him, this will only result in both of us losing and being in pain. Learning to forgive others and put aside personal grudges is the only way to live in release.” So, I calmly said hello to him. I was no longer mired in the endless pain.

I thought that because the neighbor had cut off so many branches, our trees would surely bear much less fruit, but what surprised me was that the trees bore the most fruit that year since we grew them. I knew this was all the Lord’s grace.

During this experience, my greatest attainment has been that I have understood that when others do things that harm our own interests, we can’t rush ahead to resolve them based on our own intentions, but instead we have to come before the Lord, seek the truth and understand the Lord’s requirements. Only in this way will we not repay others with evil. I’ve also truly come to feel that God is by my side, observing my thoughts and acts. When I can’t practice the truth, as long as I’m willing to cooperate and pray and rely on the Lord, then the Lord will protect and guide me and will be a help to me at all times. I feel in my heart that it’s so wonderful to have the Lord’s leadership and guidance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *