Good Stories From China: Returning Good for Evil Melts Away Hatred

August 7, 2008 1:45 am Last Updated: August 7, 2008 3:02 am

During the Ming Dynasty, there was a person in Changzhou named Wu Zitian, whose wife, Sun, was very kind. Wu Zitian's stepmother was very cruel to him. Oftentimes, he could hardly bear the abuses. His wife, Sun, persuaded him to calm down again and again to prevent him from offending one of the elder generation. After his father died, his stepmother stashed away her husband's money and gave it all to her own son. She also gave all the good farmland to her own son and left only a small lot of infertile land to Wu Zitian, who was very angry and argued with his stepbrother. Sun again persuaded him not to offend his stepmother, despite her obvious favoritism toward her own son. She told her husband that even though they were very poor, they could become well off if they worked hard.

From then on, Wu Zitian and his wife worked very hard and cultivated their land carefully. In less than 10 years, they had become a fairly wealthy family. Meanwhile, his stepbrother had become addicted to gambling and sold all of his land. His brother had become so poor that he could not take care of himself. Sun did not feel happy about her brother-in-law's situation. She persuaded her husband to invite his brother to live in their house with them, returning evil with kindness.

The heavens reward good people. For Sun's kindness, all three of her sons succeeded in their studies.

There is a common saying, "When does it end if one returns evil for evil?" Returning evil for evil and punishing the wicked with wickedness does not solve any problems. It can only amplify the conflict and hatred. If one returns good for evil and is forgiving, misunderstandings will be cleared up and hatred will melt away. This behavior benefits both oneself and others. Why don't we do it happily?

Adapted from