Going Back to My Old Ways and Realizing How Deeply Satan Has Corrupted Me
After some time like this I was beginning to think that I was doing business in line with God’s requirements and that I had already become an honest person. But when faced with the temptation of larger gains, I went back to my old ways …
One afternoon, five women came into the salon. They had just come back from a trip and had heard from their taxi driver that I was a good hairdresser, so they came right over. One of them said forthrightly, “Money isn’t an issue as long as you make sure to give us good perms!” Hearing her say this, I thought to myself, “They all seem pretty well off. As long as they like the way I do their hair it’ll be no problem if I ask for a little more money. There’s no reason to refuse money to put in my pocket.” But then I thought better of it. “Wouldn’t that be cheating again? But when you put all five of them together, that’s no small sum. This kind of opportunity doesn’t come along very often! Besides, they don’t care about a little money, so I’ll make an exception just this once and charge a little more. God won’t blame me for that.” After I was done with their perms, I saw that they were all really happy with them, so I bumped the 160 yuan fee up to 260 yuan, and they didn’t say a word. I made an extra 500 that way—I was thrilled.
But that night in bed, I was tossing and turning and could not get to sleep. I felt really upset and I didn’t know why, so I kneeled down to pray. While praying it suddenly occurred to me that I had lied that day, and I suddenly felt a pain in my heart as if it had been pierced by a knife. I felt that I was a real scammer, that I could force myself to be honest when small profits were at stake, but when faced with a larger profit I caved in. I knew that doing that wasn’t in line with God’s will, but I still lied and cheated. Wasn’t that knowingly committing an offense? Once I reflected and realized all of this, I regretted my actions and tearfully prayed to God. “God, in the face of a large profit, even though I was clear on Your words, I still didn’t put them into practice. I can’t seem to be an honest person—it’s so frustrating. Oh God, I don’t want to violate Your requirements by lying and cheating, but why can’t I resist the temptation of money? God, I beg You to guide me to understand this aspect of the truth.”
I sought answers in God’s word, “‘Money makes the world go round’ is a philosophy of Satan, and it prevails among the whole of mankind, in every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled in the heart of every single person. From the very beginning, people did not accept this saying, but then they gave it tacit acceptance when they came into contact with real life, and began to feel that these words were in fact true. Is this not a process of Satan corrupting man?” (“God Himself, the Unique V”). “People in the past ran their business so that nobody was cheated; they sold items at the same price regardless of who was buying. Is not some element of good conscience and humanity conveyed here? When people conducted their business like this, in good faith, it can be seen that they still had some conscience and some humanity at that time. But with man’s ever-increasing demand for money, people unknowingly came to love money, gain, and pleasure more and more. In short, people came to view money as more important than before. When people view money as more important, they unknowingly begin to attach less importance to their reputation, their renown, their good name and their integrity, do they not? When you engage in business, you see others using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten, they become richer and richer. Though they may engage in the same business as you, their whole family enjoys life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying to yourself, ‘Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.’ You then do your utmost to ponder how to make lots of money. … Afterward, once man has been contaminated by this cheating, it is the same as someone who gets involved in gambling and then becomes a gambler. In your unawareness, you give approval to your own cheating behavior and accept it. In unawareness, you take cheating to be a legitimate commercial behavior and the most useful means for your survival and livelihood; you think that by doing this you can quickly make a fortune. This is a process: In the beginning, people cannot accept this type of behavior and they look down on this behavior and practice. Then they begin to experiment with this behavior themselves, trying it out in their own way, and their hearts begin to gradually transform. What kind of transformation is this? It is an approval and admission of this trend, of this idea instilled in you by the social trend. Without realizing it, if you do not cheat people when doing business with them, you feel you are worse off; if you do not cheat people, you feel as though you have lost something. Unknowingly, this cheating becomes your very soul, your backbone, and an indispensable type of behavior that is a principle in your life. After man has accepted this behavior and this thinking, has this not brought about a change in his heart? Your heart has changed, so has your integrity changed as well? Has your humanity changed? Has your conscience changed? (Yes.) Yes, every part of this person undergoes a qualitative change, from their heart to their thoughts, to such an extent that they are transformed from the inside out. This change pulls you further and further away from God, and you become more and more closely aligned with Satan; you become more and more alike to Satan” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”).
God’s words fully reveal the truth of our corruption by Satan. In the past, the vast majority of people used to conduct their businesses with integrity, upholding the belief of cheating no one no matter who they were, and selling everything at a fixed price; they relied on their conscience in doing business. But with the temptation and corruption of Satan, satanic philosophies such as “Money is first,” “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” and “Money makes the world go round” have all deeply sunk into people’s hearts and have become their basis for survival. Once they accept this kind of outlook, people see money as above all else and believe that having a lot of it is the only way to enjoy a great material life as well as be envied and looked up to by others. But without money, you simply can’t gain a foothold or live in this society; this is why everyone adulates money. Fewer and fewer people are willing to dutifully do their business every day and only earn conscionable money, so they start to use all sorts of other tactics. They lie and cheat for their own profiteering, becoming more and more selfish, despicable, slippery, deceitful, greedy, and evil. They lose the conscience, reason, character, and dignity that a proper person should possess and give up the principles of being a good person. This is how they are led by Satan into an abyss of depravity, step by step, and they become farther and farther from God. I have also been tempted and corrupted by Satan that way, gradually giving up on the baseline of being a good person. I thought back on when I had just started my business, when I relied on my conscience and operated with integrity, but ever since my mother became ill and there were so many medical bills to pay, I started to feel that not having money was a real hardship. Urged by my friend and that hairdresser, I also started to follow the evil trends of society. I started to rely on lying and cheating, and even though I earned some money, the debts were paid off, and I had a really comfortable life, I wasn’t experiencing any happiness. Instead, I felt even more emptiness and pain and I often felt really guilty. After gaining my faith, through gatherings with brothers and sisters and reading God’s words, I came to understand that God likes honest people and detests deceitful people who lie and cheat, so I resolved to be an honest person in line with God’s words. However, when I faced the temptation of a large sum of money, I couldn’t put the truth into practice even though I was totally aware of it. I just couldn’t help but be dishonest again. Only through what is revealed in God’s words did I realize that living by satanic philosophies and principles was the root of failing to practice God’s words. After that experience I really deeply experienced how deeply rooted in my heart those satanic philosophies and principles are, and that they have made me incredibly selfish, despicable, and self-seeking. I was capable of forsaking the truth and morality just to earn some money, and though I was clear on the truth I intentionally sinned and went against God. I realized that satanic philosophies and principles do nothing but corrupt and harm mankind, that they are all negative things, and they can only lead us to do evil and oppose God. If I live by those principles and continue to lie and cheat for my own benefit, I will only get farther and farther from God’s requirements and standards, and ultimately I’ll lose my chance at God’s salvation. After realizing all of this, I prostrated myself in prayer before God: “God, I was wrong! I know You require us to be honest people and I was able to do that when faced with a small gain, but as soon as I faced a large gain I once again chose to lie and cheat. I’ve seen that I’ve really been deeply poisoned by the satanic concept that ‘Money makes the world go round’ and I can’t consistently put Your words into practice and live out proper humanity. Oh God, I’ve seen how deeply corrupted by Satan I am, that I am so deceitful and rebellious. God, I wish to repent to You and I beg You to guide me to escape the shackles of Satan’s philosophy and principles so that I can put the truth into practice, be a good person, and live out proper humanity. Amen!”
Being an Honest Person, My Heart Feels Free
Afterward, I saw this passage of God’s word, “My kingdom requires those who are honest, those who are not hypocritical or deceitful. Are not the sincere and honest people unpopular in the world? I am just the opposite. It is acceptable for the honest people to come to Me; I delight in this kind of person, and I also need this kind of person. This is precisely My righteousness” (“Chapter 33” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning). I understood from God’s words that He is faithful and righteous, and He does not allow those who frequently lie and play tricks to enter into His kingdom. Only those who practice the truth and are honest people can attain God’s salvation and get into His kingdom. This is determined by God’s righteous disposition. The heart of an honest person is free of deceit and trickery. They have no need of racking their brains to come up with an even bigger lie to cover up the lie that they initially told, and they certainly don’t live on tenterhooks, afraid of being exposed by someone for a lie that they’ve told. There’s no darkness in the hearts of honest people, and there’s no suffering. Others can depend upon what they say, they are candid; they are open and aboveboard. Only they live out a human likeness. It was then that I realized how significant, how valuable being an honest person is. Thanks be to God! After understanding these things I had even more motivation to seek to be an honest person, and so I set my resolve that I absolutely would do that.
The following day around noon I was in the middle of cutting someone’s hair when the woman I’d recommended the hair thickening treatment for the previous month walked in, pulling a long face. I thought, “It looks like she’s going to cause some trouble. What if she says that the product was no good and other customers hear it? Wouldn’t that have an impact on my business? What can I do to get rid of her?” Just as I was trying to figure out how to deal with her, I thought of the words of God I had just read. I realized that if I continued to play tricks and cheat people for the sake of my own interest, this would just disgust God. I should be an honest person that is loved by God; I could no longer lie or cheat, and no matter what that woman had to say and no matter what other customers thought of me, I had to be an honest person and deal with her complaint correctly. Just as that was going through my mind, I heard her say angrily, “Didn’t you say that I would grow new hair with this hair thickening treatment? I haven’t grown a single new strand of hair. You were cheating me, weren’t you?” While calling to God for His guidance to help me tell the truth, I told her sincerely, “Some customers have said that this product is somewhat effective, and others have said that it isn’t. I haven’t used it myself, so I couldn’t say. If you feel like it’s not working, then don’t use it anymore and I’ll give you a refund.” Hearing me say this, she actually wasn’t angry anymore and said with a smile, “I just wanted to know the truth of the matter. Since you’re willing to be honest, there’s no need for a refund. But still, even though my hair isn’t any thicker from using this product, it is softer and shinier than before.”
Once she had gone I thought over what had just happened, and I felt that practicing the truth and being an honest person not only wins others’ respect and trust, but it also provides internal peace and ease, allowing me to live with dignity and character. I personally experienced what a treasure it is to put God’s words into practice. From then on, I started consistently reading God’s words every day and focusing on seeking God’s will in all things I encountered in my life, whether big or small; I started consciously forsaking my own deceitful disposition and no longer lied or cheated for the sake of money. Instead, I started working hard to be an honest, trustworthy person according to what God requires. My heart came to feel more and more free and light, and I gained even more confidence in being an honest person.
Doing Honest Business and Being a Happy Person
A customer came into my salon one day who wanted a perm. In the past, I would without a doubt have done as she asked because I could earn more money from that kind of treatment, plus it was fast and easy to do. Even though it wouldn’t end up looking good, it was the hairstyle that the customer wanted so she couldn’t blame me. But I saw that this customer had really thick hair, was on the short side, and wasn’t very slim, so I was certain that curly hair wouldn’t look good on her. Straightening it would certainly look much better than perming it, but not only did straightening hair take more time, but I couldn’t charge as much. Plus, if she didn’t like it, she’d make a fuss. Just as I was caught in this dilemma, I thought of God’s words: “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). It’s true. God likes honest people and requires us to say what’s really in our hearts. On top of that, I’m in the business of hairstyling, of bringing more beauty to each and every customer. For a customer getting a perm, ugly is ugly and beautiful is beautiful, and even if I didn’t earn much money that day I still had to be an honest person and be upfront. So, I said to her very genuinely, “Ma’am, you have a lot of hair and it’s really thick. If you get a perm, it’ll look like an explosion. It won’t look very good and it’ll be difficult to manage. I recommend against getting a perm. I recommend thinning it out a bit and straightening it—that’ll look a little better than a perm.” To my surprise, not only was she not upset, but she happily accepted my suggestion and said, “I went to quite a few other salons before coming here and all the other hairstylists said that a perm would look good on me and were even pushing for me to get one. I personally felt that my hair is too thick and it wouldn’t look good with a perm, but I just couldn’t decide. Then a friend of mine said that you’re really good with hair, you’re honest, and affordable, so I particularly sought you out. It turns out you’re just like my friend said. There aren’t many good businesspeople like you anymore!” Hearing her say this I felt both thrilled and ashamed, thinking of how I had deceived and cheated people in the past just to earn a little more cash. The fact that I had been able to say something honest without being bound by the thought of money was entirely the strength and courage given to me by Almighty God. It was the fruit of God’s words within me, and there was nothing for me personally to brag about. May all glory be to God!
One weekend my older sister came to the salon to get her hair washed and it just so happened that another customer was coming to get her hair dyed. When I looked at her hair, I told her frankly, “Your hair was dyed pretty recently and it’s a really nice color. I think you should wait a little while before getting it dyed again. Dyes have all sorts of chemicals in them, and getting your hair dyed often is not only bad for your health, but bad for the hair itself.” The customer responded with some surprise, “I just can’t believe that there are people like you doing business in today’s society! No wonder you have so many customers—with such good character, you’re obviously going to have a successful business!” After she left, my sister gave me a funny look and said, “Do you have a fever or something? That money was practically in your hands but you didn’t take it. How are you going to earn anything this way?” I knew this was one of Satan’s tricks and that God also uses these things to test whether I am willing to practice the truth and be an honest person. I refuted her by saying, “You know, we’re not just businesspeople, but we’re people. If we can’t be good people, how could we be good businesspeople? Stopping at nothing to earn money will make it come in fast, but what about the long term? I’d rather stick to my professional ethics and have some integrity. I can only be at ease and at peace if I earn more for my conscience.” My sister smiled and said, “That wasn’t your approach to doing business before at all. You’ve really changed. You’ve really changed!” Happily, I replied, “It’s thanks to God! It was God’s words that changed me.”
After that I continued to get more and more customers coming into my salon—every day was pretty much packed. Many of them were referred by someone else. My business grew by the day, and my salon is now the best one on the street.
I thought back on this road I’ve taken, and saw that with the guidance of God’s words, I gained some understanding of the truth of Satan’s corruption of mankind and I also saw into the damage and the consequences of living by Satan’s philosophies and principles. I understood that only by practicing the truth and being an honest person can I receive God’s praise. When I base my practice on God’s words, when integrity is my foundation and I act according to my conscience in my conduct, I can gradually escape a life of lying and cheating just to earn money; I live out a bit of a proper human likeness, and I also gain God’s blessings. I gave thanks for God’s salvation for me from my heart and a hymn, “It’s Such a Joy to Be an Honest Person,” rose up from within me: “Understanding the truth frees my spirit and makes me happy. I am filled with faith in God’s word and harbor no doubts. … I act according to principle in all things and satisfy God’s will. I practice the truth, submit to God, and try to be an honest person. I am open and upright, without deceit, living in the light.”
Part One: A Hairdresser’s Testimony: Doing Business With Integrity, She Gained God’s Blessings(I)