Written By Jacob Wu, China, originally in Simplified Chinese
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)
For the past eight years, I’ve been living away from home. In 2007, l left Fuzhou, China, to pursue my studies; I now have a Master’s degree and a job in Shanghai. Save for the winter and summer breaks when I make short trips back home to visit my parents and younger sister, I’m not with them most of the time.
It also means that I have to rely on telephone calls to communicate with my parents. Naturally, every call from home is precious to me. I’m always overwhelmed by the deep concern and love they have shown and continue to shower on me all these years.
In the past, I used to feel guilty for not being by my parents’ side and not being able to provide for them financially. Over time, however, I’ve come to understand that there are other ways in which I can honor them.
The most obvious way is to take good care of myself, especially in terms of my health, everyday living, and finance. I need to ensure that my parents do not worry unnecessarily about me. After all, which parent isn’t concerned for the welfare of his or her children?
If I am able to manage my life well, my parents can be comforted despite my absence. They often say that as long as I take good care of myself, it’s enough. I guess most parents put their children’s needs ahead of their own. And as we mature and become more independent, our parents will naturally be more assured and able to let go.
On the other hand, I need to start taking on more responsibilities in the household as my parents grow older so that they know they will be taken care of in their old age.
Earlier this year, when I went home for the Spring Festival celebrations, I noticed some tension between my family and extended family. This episode made me realize that I could apply biblical principles to handle family conflicts and misunderstandings. Just like how He used Queen Esther to save the Jews, perhaps God has placed me in a position where my faith, education, and experiences could play a part in helping to resolve the problems confronting my family. And like Esther, I need to be courageous enough to take a stand.
Matthew 5:9 has always been an encouragement to me: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God ”. It reminds me that a true son of God is one who seeks to make peace.
Although I will continue to live away from my family I don’t feel lonely. I know that wherever I’m at, I can always find a family in the body of Christ. As for my parents and sister, I will continue to fulfill my duty to them. I believe I do not need to worry about them too much, because I know that our Father in Heaven will take care of us all.