Think about this. No matter how successful a man is in business, he is seldom as smart as his mother thinks, or as dumb as his mother in law says he is.
Somebody asks this question: “What is the difference between outlaws and in-laws?” And here is the answer: Outlaws are wanted.
We lovingly call her “Auntie Carmen.” If you want to talk about being a “people person” then Auntie Carmen surely qualifies as one of them. We met in church a couple of years ago and have become friends. She sent me this beautiful story that is credited to anonymity.
Once upon a time in China , a girl named Li-Li got married & went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn’t get along with her mother-in-law at all. Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law’ s habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly. Days and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation worse was that according to Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li’s poor husband great distress.
Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law any longer so she decided to do something about it. Li-Li went to see Mr. Huang who sold herbs. She told him about the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve her problem once and for all. The wise Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, “Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you.” Li-Li said, “Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to.”
Mr. Huang gave Li-Li a package of herbs. He said, “Li-Li, you cannot use a quick-acting poison to kill your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspect you the day she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. “Don’t argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen.” Li-Li was so happy. She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her murder plot against her mother-in-law.
Weeks and months went by and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang said about avoiding suspicion so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had learned to control her temper and she hadn’t had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months. The mother-in-law now seemed a lot kinder and easier to get along. Her attitude toward Li-Li has changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in- law one could ever find. Li-Li’s husband was very happy to see what was happening.
So now Li-Li has a problem. The situation has changed but what about the poison inside her mother-in-law that would eventually kill her.
Li-Li rushed to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help. She said, “Mr. Huang, please help me to keep off the poison from killing my mother-in-law. She’s changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her.”
Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. “Li-Li, there’s nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her.”
Now I want you to think about this. You will be amazed at how people would change when the change starts with you. And couldn’t it be possible that God is using other people to work on you?
Never forget. Behind every successful man stands… a surprised mother-in-law.