By Xingwu, China
One time my husband took delivery of many defective brooms due to his carelessness. Seeing this, I mulled it over: “They certainly won’t sell; moreover, I’m a believer in God. I must accept God’s inspections and no longer go against the truth doing deceptive things to sadden God.” Then, I picked out the defective brooms and started to process them. But as there were too many defective brooms, I had a second thought: “If I continue doing so, it will be a bad trade for me. I might as well directly sell these brooms. Besides, it is others cheating me first, not me deliberately engaging in deception, so it shouldn’t be considered a trick.” After a struggle, to not suffer losses, I put one or two defective brooms into each bundle of good ones so that I could bluff my way through. Then I sold the brooms to the buyer Mr. Zhou. After that, I was always uneasy in my heart, fearing that he would find out the truth and settle with me.
One day, my phone rang. Upon seeing it was Mr. Zhou calling, I got flurried. The phone keeping ringing, I despondently picked it up and heard him saying, “After I delivered the brooms you sold me to a buyer, he said there are some defective ones, so he refused to pay me. Did you sell me the defective products?” When I heard this, my heart pounded. “I’m done for. He found it. But I can’t tell him the truth; otherwise, it goes without saying that we will have to pay compensation and compromise ourselves, and he will probably stop doing business with us.” Thus, I pretended to be calm, saying, “Mr. Zhou, is it possible that you are mistaken? The goods I’ve sold you always measure up, don’t they?” After saying this, I felt very uncomfortable. For the sake of my profits, I put God’s words to the back of my mind and told lies again. The following days, my mind was preoccupied and I often felt an inexpressible fear and uneasiness. In pain, I kneeled to the ground and prayed to God, “O God! I deceived You for the sake of my profit again. Now I’ve fallen into darkness and feel so pained. O God! I’m too deeply corrupted by Satan. Please save me from Satan’s affliction and allow me to live before You. Please enlighten me and enable me to understand Your will.” After prayer, my heart calmed down. Then I read in the word of God where it says: “Are your goals made with Me in mind? Do your words and actions stand in My presence? I examine all your thoughts and ideas. Do you not feel guilty? You put on a false front for others to see and you calmly assume an air of self-righteousness; this is done to shield yourself. You do this to conceal your evil, and even look for ways to push that evil onto someone else. What treachery dwells in your heart!” “You are in the same circumstances as I am, but you are covered with filth, there isn’t even a little of the likeness of the humans created in the beginning in you, and because every day you imitate the likeness of those unclean spirits and you do what they do and say what they say, every part of you and even your tongues and lips are soaked in their foul water. It’s to the point that you are entirely covered with those stains and there isn’t a single part that can be used for My work. It’s so heartbreaking!”
God’s words were like a double-edged sword that cut through into my heart. I felt pained and had no choice but to self-reflect: Why couldn’t I practice the truth despite being fully aware of it? It turned out that I accepted Satan’s rules of living, such as “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” “Doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice,” and so on. These thoughts were deeply rooted within my heart and had become my life. For the sake of money and interests, although I knew God is the truth and the source of all positive things, I couldn’t follow His demands. I recalled how I was restricted by the Lord’s words in the beginning, how I gradually lost my conscience, and how I racked my brains to do treacherous things and cheat others, and even thought it was a great ability and skill. As a slave to money and profit, I buried my conscience and lost my integrity. To save me so that I wouldn’t continue to fall, God arranged for the brother to preach to me His work of the last days, and clearly asked me to be an honest person with His words. However, with profit in front of me, I did things that cheated people and resisted God in spite of myself. God observes us from the bottom of our hearts; how could He allow me to cheat Him? God used the fact to tell me His will: He despises me for being treacherous and telling lies to cheat others. This time, I mixed the defective brooms with the good ones and took it for granted because I thought I was cheated by others first; when Mr. Zhou asked me, I didn’t admit my wrongdoing but shifted responsibility onto others. I totally lost my integrity and dignity and simply brought shame to God’s name. People didn’t know what I had done, while God observed my behaviors. As a result, I lost God’s guidance and lived in darkness and panic all day long. This was God’s warning and discipline, from which I truly experienced that God’s righteous disposition will not allow any offense. If I remained unrepentant and continued to play tricks to deceive others, I would ultimately be forsaken by God and be devoured by Satan, losing the opportunity for God’s salvation. At that moment, I developed genuine loathing for myself and came before God, praying, “Oh God! I am wrong. I don’t want to hatch schemes to cheat people anymore. I’m willing to practice being an honest person in accordance with Your words.”
Subsequently, I practiced according to God’s words when doing business and constantly reminded myself not to hatch schemes and hurt God’s heart anymore. Instead of buying brooms from the farmers, I hired workers to make brooms so that all the brooms would measure up. Once, Mr. Zhou came to my workshop. He was very satisfied with the brooms and decided to place regular orders with us. Hearing this, I was very happy. At that time, I recalled those defective brooms I sold him last time, which caused a financial loss for him. I felt self-blame, so I told him, “I’m sorry. Your loss last time was my responsibility, because I mixed one or two defective brooms with the good ones.” Unexpectedly, he didn’t get angry but patted my husband on the shoulder, saying happily, “This is the first time that I’ve ever met honest people like you. I want to make friends with you.” Hearing this, I couldn’t stop thanking God in my heart. I deeply knew this was not because I was a good person but rather because of the outcome of God’s words in me.
Now I practice being an honest person according to God’s words. Surprisingly, my business becomes increasingly brisk. When I took the brooms we made to the market, many tradesmen scrambled to buy our brooms. One tradesman even said, “I’d rather pay a high price for your goods than buy from other sellers for a song, because I don’t trust them. You are honest people; your goods are well made and your price is reasonable, so I only do business with you.” Hearing these words, I was moved and continuously thanked God in my heart. I just practiced a little according to God’s requirements, and to my surprise, I not only gained God’s blessing in business but also won people’s trust.
Afterward, I read God’s words: “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk the bright, right road through life; only through God can you know the meaning of life, only through God can you live out a real life, possess the truth, know the truth, and only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer: This is determined by the essence of God.” Yes. Only God can save me from Satan’s hands and completely free me from Satan’s affliction, so that I could no longer live according to Satan’s laws such as “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” “Doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” It was God that awakened my conscience and helped me restore my humanity. Now I know this: Only if I pursue being an honest person can I walk onto the right path of life; only if I live by God’s words, can I feel no more guilt in my conscience, live with integrity and dignity and win others’ trust, and can my path ahead become brighter and brighter.
Through experiencing God’s chastisement and judgment, I have turned my viewpoint around and tasted the happiness of being an honest person. Nowadays, I often read God’s words with my brothers and sisters, living a normal church life; meanwhile I am performing the duty of a created being in the church. It is God’s words that have led me to where I am today and allowed me to walk on the bright path of life and live out a valuable and meaningful life. All the glory be to God.
Part One: The Secret to Conducting Business (I)