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守住一生的承诺 (A Promise Kept)

作者:蔡佩芬

中国人是个讲究信用的民族,我们可以从这个「信」字看出来,我们睿智的祖先造字时就以「人言为信」,意思是说「人所说的话就是信用本身」,不像西方文化怕口说无凭需要「白纸黑字」,所有的约定都必须有字为证;但是在现代人的文化里,到底「守信」值多少钱呢?记得从小到大,在国文、公民与道德及历史的课程中,常常学到一些古圣先贤们守信的故事,因此在小小的心灵中也曾暗下决心,以这些如云彩般的见证人为楷模,立志作个守信之人。

及至年纪渐长慢慢地发现,在学校所学的仁义道德与社会环境并不搭调,「守信」会被解读为「食古不化」、「不知变通的乡愿」等,再差劲点的人,就会讥笑你是个「笨蛋」,或者是脑袋出了问题。但是,活鱼总是逆水而游的,死鱼只能顺流而下,人活著总要有点原则,心安理得自然平安喜乐,能守住承诺总是件美事。

最近看一本书「守住一生的承诺」,简直是爱不释手,本来打算慢慢阅读的,结果一口气在一天之内完全读毕,老公看了好几遍并且买了十余本送给亲朋好友们,帮助他们做个信守诺言的丈夫。此书的作者麦肯金(Robertson McQuilkin)曾担任美国南卡罗来纳州哥伦比亚大学校长二十二年,在一九九0年,他为了照顾太太茱莉而辞职,因为他的太太罹患阿兹海默症(又称老人痴呆症),需要他一天二十四小时看护,虽然在他看来这是个极平凡的决定,竟持续引发各界强烈的回响,有人赞叹他对太太无怨无悔的爱,有人深为教育界英才之引退而感叹。

麦肯金博士曾在日本与茱莉担任全职的宣教士长达十二年,茱莉从事教育及广播及学生辅导多年。当麦肯金博士辞掉校长的职位时,正值他的人生巅峰时期,有接不完的演讲邀约,但是他却在众人讶异的叹息声中,毅然决然将功名、成就、收入都放弃,单单选择二十四小时陪伴他那痴呆的妻子,有人建议他应该花点钱请个看护、或者将已不太懂事的妻子送到安养院,但他都拒绝如此做,因为多年前当他与妻子走进结婚礼堂时,他曾在上帝面前承诺,说「不论富裕、健康或疾病、顺境或逆境,我都要爱她、照顾她、呵护她,直到永远!我的妻子需要我陪她走人生最后一段路。」

有一份权威的研究报告显示,当致命的疾病袭击配偶时,有九成的男人会选择离开他的妻子。但是,到底是甚么力量,帮助麦肯金博士胜过生命的风暴呢?他在短时间内经历了大儿子在意外中丧生,妻子得痴呆症,辞退人人称羡的工作,他大可选择怨天尤人,但是他却仍深爱著他的妻子,信守当年的承诺,从书中看到他有几个秘诀:

1. 存感恩的心。当他觉得神的手正在一点一点松开之时,他想到爱他的神,曾为他舍命死在十字架上,若是神如此爱他,怎会毫无理由地让他受苦呢?当他专注在神是信实的神,必定会保守他度过苦难之时,他沉重的心又能乘著赞美的翅膀在高空飞翔。

2. 接受别人的关怀。他散居在世界各地的朋友,以及家人儿女都真心的关心、支持、帮助他们,给他们带来继续奋斗的力量,这些亲友都不要求回报,因为麦肯金夫妇以前也是这样热心助人的人,智慧人生的结论是:「那些在春天、夏天不栽种友情的人,将会度过一个极孤单的冬天。」

3. 回忆别人的好处。当他在灰心丧志之时,他总是让又美丽又甜密的回忆来充满他的心田,思想与妻子的快乐时光给他带来喜悦,甚至令人泪流满面。朋友们,千万不要陷于苦毒与不满之坑,那只会带来更深的苦楚,我们可以选择忧忧愁愁地过日子或是快快乐乐的渡一生。

麦肯金博士的妻子有一位深爱她,愿意一生守候她的丈夫,也许,你很羡慕这样的真爱,多么盼望自己能拥有这样的真情。也许你还不知道,你是一个被上帝深爱的女人。你对上帝意义重大!神是那样地爱你,以至于 你 献出了他唯一的儿子。 神对我们的爱,比世上任何人都要深厚, 永远不会收回这种爱,也永远不会令我失望。的爱沈远超出我的想像。你正在追寻一份完美的真爱吗?你想知道怎样如愿以偿吗?藉著虔诚地祷告,你就可以立刻得到耶稣基督的爱。祷告仅仅是在与神交谈。你现在就可以凭信心藉著祷告接受耶稣基督。祷告就是跟 神说话。 神看重你内心的态度过于言语,下面的祷告可做参考:

「主耶稣,我愿亲自认识您。谢谢您为我的罪死在十字架上。我愿意打开心门接受您作我的救主和生命的主。求您管理我的一生。谢谢您赦免我的罪并赐给我永生。使我成为您所喜悦的人。奉主耶稣的名祷告,阿们。」

A Promise Kept
Written by Serena Wang , Translated by Henry Tung

The Chinese culture places a great importance on personal integrity. When our ancestors invented the Chinese character for the word integrity, they simply combined the Chinese character “Person” with “Word”. In other words, a man’s word spells his integrity. This differs greatly from the Western culture, where everything needs to have proper documentation to back it up. So how much is integrity worth in our modern society?

I recall all the way back when I was in grade school. My Chinese, ethics, and history classes all had different stories about heroes that always kept their promises. These great stories certainly had a positive influence in my childhood. I vowed to be a promise keeper for the rest of my life.

As I was growing up, I started to notice that the ethics and integrity stressed in the classroom weren’t really happening out in society. The “real world” can sometimes be cruel to people who keep their promises. Who cares about keeping promises these days? In fact, a promise keeper can even be viewed as a fool at times. Regardless of what our society has become, we need to stick by our principles and values. Keeping a promise is always a beautiful thing.

Recently I read a book called A Promise Kept. It turned out to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. My husband loved it so much that he read it several times and bought about a dozen more copies to give to family and friends. The author of the book is Dr. Robertson McQuilkin, who was the president of Columbia University in South Carolina for 22 years. In 1990, he decided to step down from his prestigious post in order to take care of his wife Julie. Julie had Alzheimer’s disease and required constant care 24 hours a day. Although he didn’t think much about his decision, the impact of his decision was tremendous around many parts of the world. Some people credited his paramount love with no regrets for his wife, while others felt his decision was a great loss for the academic world.

Dr. McQuilkin and his wife Julie were fulltime missionaries in Japan for 12 years. Julie also worked in the academics field, public broadcasting and student counseling for many years. When Dr. McQuilkin walked away from his position as the University president, he was at the peak of his career. Nevertheless, he chose to give up his fame, accomplishments, job and wealth solely to take care of his wife 24 hours a day.

Some people suggested that he should get a caretaker to do the job. Or consider placing her in a nursing home to free him up. But he refused to do either. It is simply because he made a promise before God at his wedding many years ago. That “For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and for better or for worse, he will love her, take care and protect her, for as long as they both shall live.” “My wife needs me to accompany her and walk by her side to complete the final stage of her life”, he added.According to research, when a wife is struck with a terminal disease, 90% of the husbands in that situation will choose to leave. So what power helped Dr. McQuilkin to win the battles against the tragedies in his life? In a short span of time, the life of his eldest son was lost in an accident, then his wife developed Alzheimer’s disease. That led him to walk away from a glorious career with unlimited potentials. He could choose to grumble and regret, but instead he chose to continue loving his wife and keep his vow before God. I’ve gained some useful insights from his book and would like to share a couple of points:
1. Have a thankful heart. When he was feeling God is becoming distant, Dr. McQuilkin remembered that God loves him, even sacrificed His only son on the cross to save us. If God loves him this much, he is confident that there is no reason for him to suffer without a purpose. He knew God is faithful and will guide him through the rough times.

2. Recognize the care and concerns of others. His friends all over the world, plus his family and children all cared, supported and helped him to have the strength and courage to continue the battle. These friends and family don’t expect anything in return, because the McQuilkins have done the same before in helping others. A conclusion from the Wisdom of Life: If you don’t plant friendships in the spring and summer, you’ll end up having a lonesome winter.

3. Remember the good qualities of others. When Dr. McQuilkin was feeling down, he always thought about the wonderful memories he had. Whenever he reflected back on the happy times he had with his wife, that brought him joy, and sometimes tears from the joy. My friend, don’t be trapped in bitterness and greed. That will only bring you more agony and grief. We can choose to live in misery or we can choose to live a life full of happiness and joy. It’s your pick.

Dr. McQuilkin’s wife Julie has this true love of the purest kind from her husband, who always loved her and always will. Who wouldn’t be envious of this kind of love? Maybe you hope to experience this genuine love yourself. You might not have noticed, but you are a woman deeply loved by God.

Are you looking for a place to fit in, somewhere where you are loved for who you are not what you can do for people? There is love like that in the world. You matter to God. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you. You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

We at Chinese Women Today would love to hear from you! If you prayed this prayer, please let us know. We will e-mail you some helpful information and respond personally to your questions.

~Serena Wang with MBA and MBS degree is the Director of China Internet Ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ, Canada . She is a mother of three lovely children and had been serving as principal of Greater Phoenix Chinese Christian School for more than ten years . Please visitwww.fhl.netto read more of her articles about family issues.

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