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Adventist Mission

Charmaine Ku, 38

Forgiving Mother Part 1

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 12.

By Charmaine Ku


hen I surrendered my life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit convicted my heart about a sin that I had been struggling with for many years. This particular sin breaks one of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12, NKJV).

I realized the sin as I prayed the prayer of David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:23-24).

Perhaps the trouble started when I dated a non-Christian man in my homeland of Malaysia. Mother did not like my boyfriend, and she made no secret about it. She sometimes ignored him when he greeted her with a “hello.” She seemed to roll her eyes every time she saw him. This terrible tension went on for the eight years that I dated him.

I also am hard-headed. I never took my mother’s opinion into consideration, and I enjoyed giving her a hard time. It got to the point that I rarely came home except to sleep because I didn’t want to spend time with my mother.

I began to pray to God for forgiveness, and I asked Him to help me to keep the Fifth Commandment. But I failed daily for the next two years. I prayed in the morning, and the very moment I walked out of my bedroom and started talking to Mother, anger filled me. Mother and I just did not see eye to eye, and she really annoyed me. I prayed harder, but I began to even dislike the sound of her knocking on my door and telling me that the food was ready.

I was a very disrespectful daughter, and I just could not seem to help it. I stopped speaking to Mother for a couple months. When she tried to start a conversation with me, I completely ignored her. I did not know how to speak with her. Apparently, I would not be able to forgive her.

I prayed even more.

God answered me through the Bible. One morning, I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Then I read in Steps to Christ by Ellen G. White, “The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness” (page 43).

I realized that I was clinging to a dangerous sin. I had to learn to forgive Mother, but I really could not do it because I could not humble myself to accept and forgive her.

God continued working on my heart, and He helped me to start talking to Mother again. Praise God! It was a start. But I knew that I had a long way to go. Even though we were talking, our conversations lacked love and patience. In my human wisdom, I could list many reasons why she deserved to be treated rudely. Many times, I thought that she needed to be taught a lesson because our broken relationship was not all my fault.

I prayed for the Holy Spirit to change me but, if that was not possible, to change Mother. I remembered a well-known quotation from an unknown author, “Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He wants to change your heart.” I grew certain that God wanted to change me. But how?

Today Charmaine is a kindergarten teacher at the Adventist International Mission School in Korat, Thailand. Before she joined the school, she finally was able to make peace with her mother. Find out more next week.

Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago that helped Charmaine’s school, Adventist International Mission School, expand into a high school and to construct classrooms and other buildings on a new piece of land.