By Xing Yue, Italy
“Hello, please can I ask whether your restaurant is hiring any staff at the moment?”
“Can you speak a foreign language? Do you have work experience?”
“No, sorry, I don’t speak any foreign language and I don’t have any work experience.”
“In that case, I’m sorry. We need skilled workers, not interns at this time.”
When the telephone call ended, thoughts swirled through my mind: “Oh dear, this is the third call I’ve made today trying to find a job. If I can’t find a job, then I won’t be able to afford this month’s rent.”
My Roommate Gives Me Advice in My Fruitless Job Hunt
My roommate saw me sigh and came over. She said, “You’re too honest. Whenever you’re asked something, you always tell the truth, and you certainly won’t find a job that way. You have to learn to bend the truth a little. When someone asks you whether or not you can speak a foreign language, you say, ‘A little.’ When they ask you whether or not you have any work experience, you say, ‘I haven’t been working long.’ Wouldn’t that be better? Secure a job first and then think about honesty!” When I heard my roommate say this, I felt a little worried, and said, “But wouldn’t that be lying? I can only say simple greetings in a foreign language, and I’ve only worked in a restaurant for one evening, so I don’t really have any work experience at all. It’s not right to say things like that.” My roommate went on, saying, “Xing Yue, you’re too stubborn! You can learn languages and store up work experience gradually as you go along. Who would know that you’ve only worked in a restaurant for one evening if you didn’t tell them? You don’t have the money for rent right now, and if you don’t hurry up and find a job, then you won’t even be able to afford to live here at all.” My roommate’s advice began to sway me, and I thought: “She’s right. When I tell the truth, no manager wants to hire me. If I lied just once for the sake of providing for myself, surely that would be OK?” But then I thought of how God enjoins us many times in His words to be honest people, to always tell the truth and not to tell lies or try to deceive people. I am a Christian, and I knew I should take God’s words as the standards for how I live my life, for only in that way could I glorify and bear witness to God. “No,” I thought. “I’d best heed God’s words and be an honest person.”
And so, after I’d made my fourth call of the day looking for a job and had told them truthfully about my situation once again, the end result was the same as before, and I was rejected. I felt so disheartened and defeated. My roommate looked at me and, shaking her head, said, “I’ve told you what to do, but you still won’t believe me. How will you ever find a job when you don’t understand how to bend the truth?” I pondered what she’d said and thought again about how, whenever I spoke to a restaurant owner on the phone, as soon as they heard me say that I didn’t know how to do anything, they rejected me immediately, and wouldn’t even give me the chance to work a trial period. I thought to myself: “Oh dear, it seems as though I’ll really have to learn how to bend the truth if I want to find a job and support myself!”
I Reflect on Myself After Bending the Truth
Later, I called up another restaurant, and when the owner asked me whether or not I had any work experience and could speak a foreign language, I nervously said that I had some work experience and that I could speak a little of a foreign language. Once I’d said this, the owner immediately asked me to start work the next evening. I was ecstatic, but I was also very worried: “I can’t speak a word of the language they use in the restaurant and they’ll soon see through my ruse.” In order to keep this job, I got up the next day and began to practice the language they used in the restaurant. I don’t know what was going on with my brain, however, as the more I wanted to memorize the language, the emptier my brain got. I couldn’t even remember a single word, no matter how hard I tried. I felt a vague sense of disquiet and a feeling of self-reproach come over me, and I thought: “I’ve told a lie now, so won’t I have to keep telling lies in order to keep this lie going? I can’t speak a foreign language so the minute a customer orders something, the game will be up. When that happens, not only will I lose face, but it will have a negative effect on the restaurant’s business. But if I hadn’t lied, I wouldn’t have gotten the job at all, and then I wouldn’t be able to afford to live!”
In my pain, I said ato God, seeking the answer to whether I should keep the job or quit it. Just then, God’s words came to mind: “But deceitful people do not act this way. They live based on the philosophy of Satan and their deceitful nature and substance. They have to be cautious in everything they do lest others have something on them; in everything they do, they have to use their own methods, and their own deceitful and crooked manipulation, to cover up their true face, for fear that sooner or later they’ll give themselves away—and when they do show their true colors, they try to turn things around. When they try to turn things around, there are times when it’s not so easy, and when they can’t, they start getting anxious. They’re afraid that others will see through them; when that happens, they feel they’ve shamed themselves, and then they have to think of ways to say something to retrieve the situation” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person”). As I contemplated God’s words, I reproached myself greatly. Were my current state and behavior not exactly what God was talking about? I had lied and deceived in order to achieve my goal: I clearly had no work experience, but I had told the owner that I did; I clearly couldn’t speak a foreign language but had said that I could speak a little. In doing this, had I not cheated and deceived the owner? I’d now told lies in order to have the chance to work a trial period somewhere, but when the time came and it became clear that I didn’t know how to do anything, it would have a negative effect on the owner’s business—was I not harming people by doing this? I had engaged in deception and cheating for the sake of my own interests and had caused harm to another person for my own benefit—I truly had no integrity at all! The said, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). Lies and deception come from Satan and they are detested by God. As a Christian, I should conduct myself on the level, act in a down-to-earth way, always tell the truth, and not engage in falsity or deception. Only in this way would I be able to live out a genuine human likeness, and be able to live in a totally open, honest, grounded and just way. And so, I decided that when I got to the restaurant that evening, I would tell the owner the truth.
My Self-regard Raises Its Ugly Head, Causing Me to Hesitate to Tell the Truth
When I met the owner that evening, my heart was racing, and I couldn’t help but worry that the owner would be angry with me when I told him the truth, and that he would say I’d deceived him. As I hesitated, the owner asked me to go clean the place and set the tables. I thought I’d get to work first and then talk to the owner later. Unexpectedly, however, once I’d finished these tasks, customers began to come in one after another, and the owner was busy taking orders and bringing them coffee. I thought to myself: “The owner is so busy that he won’t have time to hear me out. I’d best keep working, and then I’ll tell him the truth when my shift is over.” The kitchen then began to send dishes out, so I hurriedly took them to the customers. When the customers asked the names of the dishes, however, I just stared blankly and looked at the menu, but I didn’t know how to answer. When the owner noticed this, he hurried over to tell them the names of the dishes and sent me off to bring the customers’ drinks. At first, the customers only ordered mineral water and cola. Looking at the labels, I could guess which ones the customers wanted, and I managed to cope OK with it. But later, the customers began to order all kinds of different drinks, and I just stared blankly at them again. I felt so anxious standing there that my whole body broke out in sweat. Listening to the customers pressing me constantly with questions, I knew I had to tell the owner the truth, otherwise I would surely have a negative effect on his business. When I saw how full the restaurant was, however, my courage dissolved. I worried that the owner would give me a dressing down in front of everyone, and that I would find especially hard to bear. I was at a loss as to what to do, so all I could do was to hurriedly call on God in my heart.
I then thought of a passage of God’s words: “It takes courage to dissect yourself and lay yourself bare. When no one else is around, whether you pray before God, or you admit your mistakes, repent, or dissect your corrupt disposition to God, you can say whatever you want, for with your eyes closed you can’t see anything, it’s like speaking to air, and so you are able to lay yourself bare; you can then speak about whatever you thought, or whatever you said at the time, as well as your motivations and your deceitfulness. Yet if you have to lay yourself bare to another person, you may lose your courage, and you may lose your resolve to do so, because you want to save face, and so it is very difficult to put these things into practice” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person”). God’s words allowed me to understand that the reason I was unable to put the truth of being an honest person into practice was because my vanity and self-regard were too strong, and because I always wanted others to think of me and see me in a certain way. I was afraid that, if I told the owner the truth, then he would say I had deceived him in front of everyone in the restaurant, and that he would embarrass me. So as to protect my position and self-regard, time and time again I avoided telling the owner the truth, openly and frankly. The result of that was that I was unable to handle the customers and I needed the owner to come over and help me. By doing this, was I not making things worse? If I’d not valued my self-regard so highly, then I would have told the owner the truth earlier, and he would have found someone else or given me other things to do, and then I wouldn’t have been in such an embarrassing situation as I was just then. Only then did I realize that, by protecting my self-regard and not practicing the truth or being an honest person, never mind causing myself to be all in a fluster, I had also had a negative impact on the restaurant’s business. When I saw clearly the root cause and the consequences of this issue, I became resolved to let go of my self-regard and practice being an honest person. No matter what the owner might think of me or how he might treat me, I knew I had to tell him the truth.
I Am Purely Open and Honest and My Spirit Feels at Ease
And so, I went to the owner and, mustering up my courage, said to him, “I’m so sorry! Actually, apart from simple greetings, I don’t know how to say anything in a foreign language. And I’ve only ever worked in a restaurant once before. I was afraid that you wouldn’t hire me, so I lied to you.” I’d thought the owner would give me a telling off, but to my surprise, he said calmly, “Oh, don’t worry about it. If you can’t speak a foreign language, then just clear and lay the tables and wash up the cups and glasses. I’ll get the waiters who can speak foreign languages to do the rest.” I was so moved when he said this to me, and the stone that had lain in my heart was gone at last. I then did as he had asked. When I saw that a customer had finished their meal, I hurried over to clear the table, and when I saw cups and glasses beginning to pile up in the kitchen, I rushed over to wash them…. Before I knew it, it was almost time for my shift to finish. The owner said to me, “Don’t bother washing up anymore. I’ll do it in a bit. There’ll be a bus at the door in a few minutes. Finish what you’re doing and get yourself home, otherwise you’ll have to wait 20 minutes for the next one.” The owner then paid me my wages for the evening and, much to my surprise, I saw that he’d paid me at the rate of a skilled worker. On the bus, a coworker said, “The restaurant was so full tonight and I saw you working the whole time without taking a break. You’re a real dependable person.” I felt so moved. I knew that God had caused this situation today to unfold; God was using this situation to make me see how strong my sense of self-regard was, and God had given me this opportunity to recognize my own corrupt disposition, to practice the truth and to be an honest person. Once home, I sent the owner a message, apologizing again for having lied to him. He replied, saying, “It doesn’t matter. I never thought someone as young as you could be so honest and dependable.” I felt so ashamed when I read this. In truth, it wasn’t me who was honest and dependable, but instead these were qualities I had only managed to achieve by understanding God’s words and then putting them into practice!
Through this experience, I saw that I had been corrupted so deeply by Satan. I knew perfectly well that God loves honest people and that He requires us to be honest, and yet I was still capable of lying and engaging in deception for the sake of my own interests—I’d caused such grief to God’s heart! It was only the revelations and guidance of God’s words that had enabled me to come to some understanding of my own corrupt dispositions and to have a clear path of practice. When I let go of my self-regard and vanity and I practiced being an honest person in accordance with God’s words, not only did I not lose my job, but I also obtained approval and praise from the owner and my coworker, and I knew these to be the fruit of God’s words. From the bottom of my heart, I came to appreciate that only by being an honest person could my spirit be truly peaceful and at ease.
Should I Be Honest When Another Job Comes My Way?
Not long after, I had cause to move to another city, and I began to look for a job so as to be able to support myself. As luck would have it, a woman I’d met when I was looking for a job before, who was the wife of a restaurant owner, called me up and said that they needed someone to work weekends, and that I could start immediately if I wanted to. After the call ended, it took a long time before I could figure out what just happened. “Did I hear right?” I thought. “I can’t speak a foreign language and I’m lacking in work experience, so why would this lady purposefully want me for the job?” In my seeking, I became clearly aware that this was one of God’s tests to see whether I would be able to practice the truth and be an honest person, and to see whether I would dare to tell the truth about my situation, and not pretend otherwise or deceive people. Thinking this, I said a silent prayer to God in my heart: “O God, although the lady didn’t ask me about my competency in a foreign language or my work experience, and I won’t be deceiving anyone by starting work there, I know that if I conceal the truth of my situation then I’m still not being honest, and neither would this accord with Your will. O God, I wish to let go of my interests, and I wish to practice the truth and be an honest person. Even if the lady chooses not to hire me, I will be left without regrets. O God, please give me the courage to practice the truth.”
After praying, I called the owner’s wife up and told her the truth about my situation and asked her to think it over again. To my surprise, the lady heard me out and then, laughing, said, “You’re so honest! And because of what you’ve told me just now, you’re hired. Come on over, and I’ll teach you anything you don’t know how to do.” Once the call ended, my heart filled with gratitude to God. Never had I thought that, by practicing being an honest person in accordance with God’s words, it would be so easy to get a job.
I Make Mistakes in My Trial Period but Get the Job by Telling the Truth
When I went to work that weekend, I met two girls who were working their trial periods like me. After we’d introduced ourselves, I found out that they were foreign students and, although they had no work experience, they could speak excellent English. This made me feel a little unsettled and I thought: “Their English is good, and they can communicate with the customers without any problem. I, on the other hand, don’t know how to speak any foreign language. Any restaurant owner would choose someone who can speak a foreign language over me. Oh dear. I think that maybe after today, it will be a case of ‘close but no cigar’ with this job.” Thinking this, I couldn’t help but feel a little down. While I worked, the more I wanted to do a good job, the more mistakes I made. When I took dishes out to the customers, I got two tables mixed up and gave them the wrong food, and it was really hard to sort out. When I was taking sushi to another customer, I was so nervous that my foot slipped and the sushi fell onto the floor. The customer frowned and looked unhappily at me, and all I could do was keep apologizing in my embarrassment. I wanted to tell the owner’s wife about it immediately and take another plate of sushi to the customer, but just as I turned around, I suddenly thought again about how I was nowhere near as good as those two foreign students. If I told the owner’s wife that I’d dropped a plate of sushi, wouldn’t she then be unhappy with my clumsiness and not want me to come back? If she scolded me in front of everyone, I would lose a lot of face, so I thought it best if I avoided the owner’s wife and instead spoke immediately to the kitchen staff about it; she didn’t see me drop it, after all. Just as I was thinking this, however, my heart felt uneasy, and I realized that I was once again trying to be deceptive for the sake of my own self-interest, and God’s words came to mind: “If you wish for others to trust you, first you must be honest. To be honest, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can see your heart, see all that you are thinking, and see your true face; you must not pretend or try to cover yourself up. Only then will people trust you and consider you honest. This is the most fundamental practice, and the prerequisite, of being honest” (“The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person”). God’s words showed me clearly the exact path of practice I should follow. If I wanted to obtain others’ trust, then I mustn’t deceive them. If I made a mistake, then I made a mistake, and I had to be brave and admit responsibility and not try to cover it up. Only by doing this would I be an honest person and someone worthy of trust. If I engaged in deceit in order to keep this job and was not truthful with the owner’s wife, then although I may get to keep the job, my actions in engaging in deceit and hiding the facts would be despicable and foul, I would be without normal humanity and I would make God loathe me greatly. Once I’d understoodand requirements, I went and found the owner’s wife. I told her honestly about my mistake and expressed my willingness to admit responsibility. To my surprise, she didn’t reprimand me, but just told me instead to be a little more careful. Just then, I felt incredibly happy and free from worry, and I knew that this was God blessing me for having put His words into practice.
Over the next few hours, I threw myself into the busy job. When I came across a word I didn’t understand, the owner’s wife would take it upon herself to teach me, and when I didn’t know how to communicate with a customer, my coworkers would come over and lend a hand without me even asking them. Before long, my busy shift came to an end. At the end of our shift, the owner’s wife gave us our wages, and said to me, “I’ll see you next time.” She then turned and said to the two foreign students that they didn’t need anyone else at present, and that she would contact them again when they got busy. I was amazed to hear her say this, and I thought: “I can’t speak a foreign language and I have no work experience. I kept making mistake after mistake on my first day, so why would she want to keep me on? Those two foreign students can speak a foreign language well, so why would she ask them to leave?” Seeing the look of surprise on my face, the owner’s wife said to me, “When we hire someone, we look mostly for someone of good moral character. Work experience can be gained over time. I don’t want people who can speak foreign languages but who slack off. You are a dependable worker and you are honest. I’m happy to have you working here.” As I listened to her, tears welled up in my eyes and I felt incredibly moved. I knew that the reason I had been kept on was not because I was better than anyone else, but because I practiced the truth and was an honest person in accordance with God’s requirements—this was God granting me His grace and His blessing!
In that job, I asked my coworkers when I didn’t understand a word, and they were always happy to teach me, and they said that I was really easy to get along with. When they saw I was busy, they would all come to help me, and we all got along great. Later, I moved to another place and could no longer work at that restaurant, but the owner’s wife still called me up several times to ask me to work there, and she asked me if I could introduce her to a trustworthy friend who could work at her restaurant. Seeing how the owner’s wife approved of me, my heart felt so warm, and I knew well that it had been God’s words that had changed me and enabled me to let go of my personal interests, practice the truth, be an honest person, and win the trust of others. I offered up my thanks and praise to God again and again!
My Firsthand Experiences Fill My Heart With Gratitude
These experiences allowed me to truly appreciate that everyone, no matter who they are, likes an honest person. This is because honest people do not deceive people, because they act in a grounded, reliable way and are worthy of trust. I also came to truly appreciate the fact that only honest people are able to live out a genuine human likeness, and live out a life of integrity and dignity; only honest people can win God’s praise and blessing! Thanks be to God. In my future life, I wish to continue practicing the truth of being an honest person, and I wish to continue to be someone who pleases both God and other people, and someone whom both God and other people can trust.