By Bao’ai, South Korea
The words “It’s so hard to be a good person who speaks the truth” give voice to the thoughts of many of us, and views like “Nothing great can be accomplished without lies,” “Think before you speak and then talk with reservation,” and “As swift legs make a good horse, a slick tongue makes a good man” have become our codes of conduct, and we’ve gradually forgotten how to be honest. While we’re bemoaning that people are deceitful and cold toward each other in today’s society, a little Christian’s experience of being an honest person in this article shows us the long-lost innocence. The joy she gains allows us to appreciate how great it is to be honest. Please read on …
My name is Bao’ai, and I am eight years old. When I was six, I moved to South Korea with my parents, where they accepted Almighty God’s kingdom, and they also brought me before God. Since then, they often take me to the church where I met many brothers and sisters. We often read God’s words, sing hymns and pray to God together. Such kind of life is so happy!
One day when we were watching the song and dance video Those Who Sincerely Love God Are All Honest People, I asked a sister who is senior to me, “What is an honest person?” She answered, “As for this question, let’s look at what God’s words say. God says, ‘Honesty means to give your heart to God; never to play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never hiding the truth; never to do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and never to do that which merely ingratiates 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.’” After finishing reading, the sister fellowshiped this, “To put it simply, honesty means never to lie to anyone, much less to God, to speak what is in our hearts, and never to deceive others in our actions. As believers in God, we should be honest people. This is how we will be able to make God happy.” Hearing this, I came to understand that God likes people who are honest and do not lie, and I thought to myself: “I should be an honest person who speaks and acts in accordance with the facts. If I have done something, I should say I have; if not, I should say I haven’t. I mustn’t tell lies.” Though there were many God’s words that I didn’t understand, from this passage I came to know that God likes honest people, and I also wanted to be someone God likes.
One morning when I went to school, I noticed there were some snails crawling on a stone in the grass—they are my favorite animals! So as soon as the class was dismissed, I rushed out of the classroom to see whether they were still there. After a brief search, I found them on a stone. Wow, look at them, so laid-back and cute! What are they doing? Are they enjoying a sun bath? … I was so attracted by those snails that I totally ignored the bell for class. It was only after the snails crawled into the grass that I hurried back to the classroom. When my teacher asked me why I was late for class, my heart began to thump violently and I thought: “If my teacher finds out that I lost track of time because I was too absorbed in playing with the snails, will she criticize me? Will my classmates laugh at me?” I was very afraid, so I answered in a low voice, “I went to the toilet, and so came back late.” The teacher believed me and allowed me to enter the classroom. But somehow, I felt very uncomfortable in my heart as if I had been bitterly reproached. It felt even worse than being scolded by my teacher and laughed at by my classmates.
When my mom came to pick me up after school, seeing the glum look on my face, she asked, “What’s wrong, Bao’ai? Did you quarrel with your classmates? Or did the teacher scold you?” I lowered my head and didn’t say anything, while my heart was at war: “Today, I was late for class because I was too playful. What’s worse, I even lied to the teacher. Should I tell this to mom? Will she get angry with me? Ugh! I’d rather not say.” But I felt so bad that I couldn’t help shedding tears. Seeing this, my mom held my hand and said, “You are a child who believes in God, so you should be simple and open. Only if you tell me your difficulties can I help you.” Hearing mom mention God, I suddenly recalled God’s words: “To be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man.” Then I finally knew why I felt so awful—it was because I disobeyed God’s words; I told a lie and failed to be honest. I must repent to God and be an honest person God likes. So I told all that had happened to my mom.
After we got home, my mom read me a passage of Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “Why does God like honest people? The main thing about honest people is that they are trustworthy. First, honest people can get along with others in harmony, they can be bosom friends of others. They do not deceive you, they speak the truth; when you deal with these kinds of people, your mind is clear, relieved and at peace. Second, honest people are trustworthy and reliable; when you ask them to do something, or when they do you a favor, you can trust them. So, the conclusion is that when handling matters with an honest person, you feel relaxed, at ease, free from worry, and peaceful, you feel comforted, and you enjoy it. Only when you are an honest person can you become a bosom friend to others and gain people’s trust, thus only an honest person is the likeness of a real man. A deceitful person is not the likeness of a real man, because what deceitful people bring to others is deception, harm, suffering, mistrust, and tedium. They cannot get along with others, and people would hate, distance, and reject them. Thus, this kind of person is not the likeness of a real man. In a group of people, they cannot bring benefit to others, they can only bring suffering; this is in fact a devil, it is the likeness of Satan.” After finishing reading, my mom said to me sincerely, “Bao’ai, do you know why God likes honest people and hates deceitful people?” I shook my head. “Because honest people never lie to others no matter what happens,” mom continued. “They are trustworthy, and we feel relaxed and peaceful when interacting with them. Deceitful people, however, live by corrupt satanic dispositions and always lie to others. They do not act in a just and honorable manner and are unworthy of trust. So we don’t like them, much less does God like them. It’s OK that you went out to play, but you shouldn’t forget the time for class. And it was even more incorrect that you lied to your teacher. This is going againstand cheating others. You are a child who believes in God, so you should be an honest person who calls a spade a spade. Do you know? God is secretly inspecting us. We may be able to fool people, but we can never deceive God. You’re feeling bad now—this is God reproaching you. God doesn’t like it when we tell lies, so we can’t disappoint or sadden Him, right?” Hearing what my mom said, I felt a painful heat on my face, feeling as if I had done something unconscionable. Then I asked, “But what is a deceitful person? I don’t understand that.” My mom replied, “A deceitful person is someone who has a malicious heart, who hides the bad things he does from others, who pretends to be good to cheat those kind people.” “Oh, I see,” I said. “It turns out that deceitful people have bad hearts, and they even pretend to be good after doing something wrong. They are so horrible! I don’t want to be that kind of person.” Then my mom said, “If you don’t want to be one of those people, then you should pray to God and repent, never again tell lies from now on, but instead be an honest person.”
That night, I prayed to God and acknowledged my mistake, saying, “Dear God, today I was late for class because I was too fond of playing, and I also lied to my teacher. I know You don’t like children who tell lies. Please forgive me. I promise I’ll never do that again. I’m willing to listen to Your words and be an honest child.”
The next day, when I thought of theI made before God the night before, I plucked up my courage and apologized to my teacher for the mistake I had made. To my surprise, not only did she not criticize me, but instead she praised me, saying it was rare and precious that I could admit my mistake and speak out the truth. What she said filled me with happiness. That day when I got home, my mom told me, “Today your teacher called me.” On hearing this, I became very nervous and thought: “Is it because I did something wrong?” Seeing my worried expression, my mom smiled and added, “She applauded you and said you are an honest child who could voluntarily admit your mistake. She also asked me to praise you.” Only then did I feel relieved, and meanwhile my heart was overwhelmed with joy. After experiencing this thing, I became more eager to be an honest person.
One day after the dance class, I was bathed with sweat. As I sprinted down the stairs, I thought: “It’s so hot. I’m gonna go home and enjoy a glass of ice water.” Suddenly, something shiny in the corner caught my eye. I walked over and picked it up—it was a 500-won coin. “Maybe I can use it to buy myself a smoothie,” I said to myself. At the thought of the cool, sweet smoothie, I couldn’t help but lick my lips and slobber. Just then, I noticed a girl walking toward me. As she went, she glanced about as if in search for something. At the sight of this, my heart started pounding and I thought: “This coin must belong to her. Maybe I should give it back to her. But … what about my smoothie? …” Thinking of this, I involuntarily clenched the coin in my fist. However, it suddenly struck me, “Is it right to do so? This is not my money. If I don’t return it to that girl but spend it myself, then won’t that make me a child who is not honest? God says that those who are not honest are deceitful people He loathes. I can’t be that kind of person.” So I prayed to God in my heart, “Dear God, I don’t want to be a deceitful person. I want to be a child You like.” After the prayer, I walked over to that girl and asked, “What are you looking for?” “I lost my money.” “How much money did you lose?” I continued. “A 500-won coin,” answered she. Then I gave the coin to her and said delightedly, “I guess this is what you’re looking for. I just found it on the stairs.” “Thank you so much!” said the girl smilingly as she took the coin. She then told me her name and class and said, “You can come and play with me.” I was so happy that I had a new friend. When I came out of the school, I told my mom about how I had practiced being an honest person, which made her so happy that she not only praised me, but also bought me a smoothie.
Since then, I have been practicing being an honest person, and experienced the release and freedom in doing so. My mom also said I am much more sensible and mature. I’m willing to continue making efforts to be an honest person that God likes. All the glory be to God!
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