Practices Of Our Parents: Baffled by Unconditional Love

Amy is a member of the post-80s generation. An only child, she grew up in China with parents who expected her to excel academically and had rigorous standards for who she would be and what she would accomplish. She became a believer while doing grad school in the States. When she finished and returned to China, her parents strongly opposed her new faith. They were also unhappy when she began dating Wang Xu, a fellow Christian who was involved in mercy ministry work.

This is the third and final part of the story of how Amy came to know Jesus; parts one and two of her story were posted earlier.


A Tense Relationship

China Partnership: Your parents were opposed to your relationship with Wang Xu?

Amy: They were against Wang Xu, against my job, and against my faith in God. What is more, they even came to Beijing. They rented a place in Beijing and lived there. That gave me huge pressure.

““I was very stressed, but at that time, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to have intense conflict with my parents.”

I was very stressed, but at that time, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to have intense conflict with my parents. They were against everything. I was an adult, and I had made my decision. I did not commit my crime, and I did not make a bad decision, but they did not give me freedom. As a result, there was great tension in our relationship.

They were against my job, and they were against Wang Xu, too. That is why I didn’t know if I wanted to continue the relationship with him. In my heart, I still wanted to continue, but my parents were so against it. I thought, if they absolutely would not allow us to get married, then what should we do? I didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, their attitude gradually started to change.

CP: Why were they against Wang Xu?

Amy: They knew he had a law degree, yet he choose to do a job like this. [He was involved in mercy ministry to the elderly and people with disabilities.] Why wouldn’t he be a lawyer? That was much better. My parents were probably worried about this.

However, my manager at that time was also a brother. He was very supportive of us. He asked me, “What kind of husband do you want?” I told him I wanted someone who cared about others’ souls, but that my parents were strongly opposed to our relationship.


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““Before, my mother felt miserable because, although she had raised me, I chose to believe in God. This made her feel rejected again. But when she came to the church, she felt that many people understood her.”


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He said, “This is really difficult, but think about this: many sisters in Beijing have a really difficult time finding boyfriends before they are 30. [There is strong societal pressure for Chinese women to marry by 30.] Tell your parents about that situation.”

So, I stuck out my neck and continued the relationship. Eventually, my parents agreed.

CP: So you got married?

Amy: Yes. After we dated for more than a year, we got married and moved. On our wedding day, my dad finally decided to give us his blessing, since he believed we were brought together by fate. My mom was still upset and a little dissatisfied. Later, they slowly changed their attitudes, after they saw we lived a happy life, albeit without much money. Eventually, we had a child.

Now they have changed a lot. They also visited our previous church. They attended a dumpling night we had on Chinese New Year. They got to know the leaders of our church, and thought it was very nice that all the people at church were so kind. Before, my mother felt miserable because, although she had raised me, I chose to believe in God. This made her feel rejected again. But when she came to the church, she felt that many people understood her.

The Practices of Our Parents

CP: What is going on in you and your husband’s life right now?

Amy: We have been having Christian gatherings at our home for six months now. This is what takes the most energy in our life right now. Through this, I have met some people who have had similar experiences to myself.

CP: Are you talking about other returnees? [Returnees are Chinese who studied abroad but returned to China after graduation.]

Amy: Yes. Many people went abroad and came to faith in the Lord, and then came back to China before long. Since they came back, they have faced a lot of challenges – as I had, at that time. There are many people – especially young, single people – facing tremendous pressure because their parents want them to get a certain kind of job, and do not want them to attend church. It is very much like the situation I was facing. We just want to encourage these people.

““I have been baffled by unconditional love, this idea of loving and accepting someone unconditionally. Even though I have been a believer for many years, I am still sometimes perplexed by this.”

Some of the people we know, friends of my husband, are very enthusiastic about doing charity work and helping the underprivileged. Many of them are not believers, so we hope to share the gospel with them. These people usually have some thoughts about religion. They think, whether Buddhism or Christianity, religion is a way of communication. Of course, what humans really need is to be reconciled to God.

CP: What are your long-term expectations?

Amy: I have been baffled by unconditional love, this idea of loving and accepting someone unconditionally. Even though I have been a believer for many years, I am still sometimes perplexed by this. I struggle with the feeling of rejection. I hope that, gradually, I can have true freedom in Christ, grow more in my faith, and truly love God. I do believe in God in my heart, but there are parts of me that have yet to fully believe. I did not realize this before. I need to grow in areas like family and life.

CP: Is there anything else important you would like to share?

Amy: Although many people in China have come to faith, we still need several generations to mature. Many people who have come to faith in Christ, including myself, still follow the ideas and practices of our parents, because we have been deeply impacted by them. Maybe we will get better generation by generation.

In my observation, in America, this kind of blessing has been passed down for many generations. Even unbelievers are impacted– their attitudes toward people, their compassion for others—are different than ours.

I really believe the Cultural Revolution has done a great deal of damage to China.


Amy is a pseudonym for a Chinese woman born in the 1980s. Some identifying details have been changed to protect her identity.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for Chinese Christians to believe and experience God’s unconditional love toward them.

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Further Reading

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The Internal Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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Qingdao: How to Pray
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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