Why Is It Difficult to Be Honest in Real Life?
When I started my clothing business, it didn’t sell well. At that time, many people in my line of work had purchased house and car one after another. It really made me distressed: We do the same business. Why did others become rich while I fail? There must be a trick in it somewhere. Hence, I observed how they run their business for a time. Finally, I found out their ways of enriching themselves. Because there is no one who does not like flattery in this world, I should have my finger on the pulse of customer’s psychological and curry favor with them. Then they will buy my clothes. Just as the saying goes, “As swift legs make a good horse, a slick tongue makes a good man”, I couldn’t do business honestly but make more attempt to curry favor. From then on, I sweet-talked customers as long as I could sell the clothes to earn more money. Sometimes, the customers picked an unsuitable coat, I spoke with tongue in cheek, “This coat is perfect for you! It looks better on you than it ever did on others. You have a good dress sense.” Some of customers, who were soft touch, fell for it and bought the unsuitable clothes. My peers praised that I had become better and better at business. Hence, I spoke insincerely every day. Soon afterward, I indeed earned more money than before, but felt more and more conscience-stricken. Sometimes, I wanted to stop and started with a clean slate but couldn’t help cheating my customers. In quest of my own personal benefit, I had lost my conscience and integrity. I, after all, was a Christian. So I asked myself from time to time: Am I worthy enough to be called a Christian by living in this way?
One day, one paragraph of words caught my eyes, “God has the substance of faithfulness, and so His word can always be trusted. Furthermore, His actions are faultless and unquestionable. This is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him. Honesty means to give your heart to God; to never play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never cover the truth; to never do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and to never do that which is done merely to ingratiate yourself with God. In short, to be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man” (“Three Admonitions”). After reading these words, my heart was brightened. God has the substance of faithfulness, so He likes those who are pure and honest. If I had been honest and straightforward, God would be satisfied and I’d be certain to live in relaxation and liberation. Thinking of this, I made up my mind to no longer fall into such depravity. I would change my survival methods of seeking nothing but wealth and frequently lying and deceiving. However, when I tried my best to practice, I found it was not easy to be honest.
It’s Pretty Hard to Be Honest Because of Selfish and Despicable Disposition
Once, a regular came to my shop to buy clothes. He chose one of new arrivals and asked me how many this style of clothes were in my stock. I thought: Not telling the truth isn’t after God’s will, but wealthy customer like to wear unusual outfit. If I told him the number of the same style, maybe he wouldn’t take it. Only this time, and I will no longer tell a lie. So, I said to him, “Only one, this special one is for special you.” Hearing my word, he was very happy and footed the bill. After he left, the staff reminded me, “Boss lady, there’s still one in stock.” Hearing that, a blush of shame crept up my face. I prayed to God silently: Oh God! You must observe what I have done, so You reminded me through the staff. I wanna be an honest. But I’m all talk when it comes to facing profit. Why is it so hard to be honest?” Thanks for God’s enlightenment, I recognized that the reason why I have no courage and willpower to be honest was that I had been living under Satan’s influence of darkness and afflicted by Satan, always pursuing the principle of “a slick tongue makes a good man”. Therefore, blinded by greed, I tried to sell out the goods by lying through my teeth. At that moment, I realized that I was a despicable man and had been corrupted so deeply by Satan. I prayed silently again, “Oh God! It’s easier to say I wanna be honest than do. If I don’t despise and reject the former survival principle, I’ll never be an honest person. I’ve been corrupted deeply. May You give me strength so that I can betray myself. …”
Be Honest, God Blesses
One afternoon, a customer settled on one coat. But this one was a bit large for him. I took a small one instead of medium to him because there’s no medium ones in stock. He asked whether the size was fit, I answered without hesitation, “Of course it is”. After saying this, I started to reproach myself. It occurred to me that I had made a resolution before God to betray myself and to be honest, but still couldn’t help deceiving others. I felt negative for disappointing God. I told lies repeatedly. Couldn’t I change myself? I got home from work feeling blue without any strength at all. Even I didn’t have the courage to kneel and pray before God. At night, I opened the book and read one piece of , “Perhaps you will say: ‘I cannot change this situation.’ Unable to change? That is because you do not wish to change. If you are willing to practice truth, can you not change? People who say this lack the will. They are all contemptible wretches. They are unwilling to endure suffering. They do not wish to practice truth; instead they say that the truth cannot change them. Is not such a person highly deceitful? It is they who are unable to practice truth, their humanity is flawed, yet they never know their own nature. Instead they doubt whether or not the work of God can make man complete at every turn. I say that such a person never intends to give their heart to God, never plans to endure hardship. The only reason why they stay here is merely on the off-chance that they may gain good fortune in the future. We refer to this sort of person as bereft of humanity.” From these words I understood the reason of my repeated failure was that I was too stubborn and didn’t have the resolution to suffer for being honest. Actually, there are no unobtainable truths. God would help me live out His demands as long as I set my heart on satisfying Him. Thank God! I understood that there are no blessings from God if I don’t suffer hardships. I made up my mind before God: I don’t wanna dishonor any more from now on. I wanna accept His observation, break through myself and defeat Satan.
One evening after a few days, a young couple came to my shop. They settled on a western-style down coat. The young lady said, “It’s very beautiful. Warm enough?” I knew it was only good-looking but not warm. If I told the truth, they would probably not take it. If not, wouldn’t my resolution before God become empty words again? Thinking of this, I plucked up courage to say to her, “Well, it looks nice, but the bottom is a little bit baggy, not warm enough. We have another cheaper down coat for warmth. Would you like me to show you?” At that point, they looked at me with weird eyes, then left, saying nothing to me. I stood watching them gradually leaving my sight. I thought a lot: this society are full of lies, it’s easy to be treated as an alien when you’re honest. No one hates money. However, I sat and thought over what I had said to them, I had never felt more comfortable before. I didn’t make a deal, but I was not accused by my conscience. I experienced the satisfaction of being an honest person.
After about ten minutes, unexpectedly, the young couple came back. The girl said to me, “Boss lady, to tell the truth, we’ve been here many times. The down coat is our cup of tea. Though it’s a little bit overpriced, we’ll take it because of your honesty.” I went silent for a moment, thinking back to a paragraph of words I had read the night before yesterday: “The heart and spirit of man are held in the hand of God, and all the life of man is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear according to God’s thoughts. This is how God rules over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). God made me feel that one’s thoughts are held in the hand of Him. I had told them that this down coat didn’t keep warm, but they still took it. God was watching me whether I could keep my promise to be honest. When I did it, they came back to make a deal with me willingly. It was God’s arrangement. I experienced that God’s faithfulness and loveliness. God indeed loves honest person and blesses him.
Learn to Be Honest in the Business of Selling Clothes
From then on, I stuck to practicing being honest not only in business but also in daily life. I understand if I tell the truth I will lose something, but I will stick to it. I have deeply experienced that I was so beat and miserable to live according to the view, “As swift legs make a good horse, a slick tongue makes a good man”. Though I made some money, I lost my dignity and felt accused by my conscience. Now, when I see through and cast off the rules for survival through which Satan corrupts and harms human, I realize that being honest can satisfy God, gain His care and blessings. After that, my heart is full of peace and joy. Only in this way can I be just and honorable, and live confidently in righteousness with integrity and dignity. Afterward, I shared my experience of being honest with people around me. I said to the staff in my shop, “We should be honest in business. When the customers try on clothes, we should be straightforward in telling them whether they look good or not. We gotta let natural take its course in business. You may rest assured that I will pay you on time even though the clothes don’t sell well.” They all agreed with me completely that living a life as honest person isn’t tiring but carefree.
Nowadays, many shops have closed down in the mall because of the ailing garment industry. However, our sales revenues increase steadily. I often hear the customers who come to my shop chatting, “I’d like to buy something in this shop. The boss and staff are all honest. I can rest assured buying here.” Hearing these words, my staff and I look at each other with a knowing smile. I can’t help but thank God silently. It’s God who changes me. I’ve learned to be a true person in business.