By Jiandan, America
April 24, 2018 Tuesday Sunny
Today, I was quite nervous because I was going to a senior citizens center to have a work trial. This job suited me well, if I could get it. The rhythm of life in America is much faster than that in China. Even the speed of eating and walking here is fast. So, it is necessary to be clever and be quick of eye and deft of hand to work here. I remembered that the last few times I wasn’t employed after the trial period was because of being unable to adapt to the fast-paced life in America. Therefore, I was especially nervous this time.
In the afternoon, I went to the senior citizens center and I was still quite jumpy. So I silently cried out to God to guide me. After an intense work trial that lasted a few hours, the boss kept me on. At that time, I was finally able to let go of my anxiety. Thank God!
April 26, 2018 Thursday Overcast
Today, I was totally in a bad mood. First thing in the morning yesterday, I went to a restaurant to get breakfast for the seniors. But the plastic bag got accidentally torn when I was pushing my bike and thus a couple of fried dough sticks got dirty. Looking at all of this, I was stumped and worried: I couldn’t even do such a simple thing well. Would the boss fire me on account of this? What should I do? It was too late to return to buy new ones. Never mind! I am a Christian. I should actively admit my mistakes no matter what she does to me. Returning to the center, I told the truth to the boss with trepidation and said that she could dock my wages to offset the loss of money. The boss replied, “It doesn’t matter. You can cut off the dirty parts of the dough sticks and the rest can be your breakfast.” Hearing this, I couldn’t help but feel kind of grateful to the boss, and thought she was quite magnanimous.
However, what happened next surprised me. Right before giving out the breakfast, the boss took out all the dirty dough sticks, cleaned them casually and then divided them out among the old people. On seeing this, I was very afraid and nervous that what the boss did would be discovered by them. I thought: “Aren’t I deceiving them together with her? What if they get a bad stomach after eating?” At that time, I wanted to say: “Please don’t do it, boss. I’ll pay for those dirty dough sticks.” But then I thought: “I’ve caused this. What if I get dismissed if I don’t obey her? Finding a job like this is not easy for me. Ah, forget it! It’s better not to say anything, then! To keep my job, I’ll just turn a blind eye to whatever she does.”
After I distributed the breakfast, as I was about to discard the plastic lunchboxes into the garbage can the boss came and said, “Pick these boxes up and wash them in the sink for use tomorrow.” I raised my head and looked at her in surprise. I wanted to say: “These boxes are dirty. What would we do if the seniors caught an infectious disease from using these unsterilized lunchboxes?” As I was thinking this, the boss added curtly, “Be careful not to be seen when doing this.” When I saw her hard attitude, my voice died in my throat. I thought: “I’m just an employee and I should do whatever the boss asks of me. This is the only way I can keep my job.” So, I picked up the plastic lunchboxes unwillingly and washed them in the sink in front of her.
After work, my heart was so heavy. Thinking back to what had happened those two days, I felt guilty because I knew I’d been deceitful and had done something God didn’t like. But what if the boss fired me because I didn’t follow her instructions? When I got back home, I read in the words of God: “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.” From God’s words I realized that a Christian should be an honest person. This is God’s expectations of us, and is also a basic principle by which we conduct ourselves. But I’d listened to the boss, and distributed the dirty dough sticks to the seniors and reused the unsterilized lunchboxes. I was blatantly deceitful, and it was against my conscience. This was exactly what deceitful behavior was. Although the old people who had been cheated didn’t know what we did in secret, God was observing my words and behavior, and such behavior was condemned by God. According to all of these, did I possess the slightest likeness of a true Christian? After reading God’s words of judgment, I had some knowledge of what I had done. I knew that I shouldn’t be deceitful anymore because this went against my conscience and was loathsome to God. Therefore, I decided to be an honest person according to God’s requirements.
Thereupon, I prayed to God: “God, no matter whether I can keep my job or not, I must tell the boss that I won’t do anything that goes against my conscience for her. As a Christian, I should always be honest and never deceitful in anything. I’d like to genuinely be an upstanding human being. God, I beg You to give me the resolve and guide me.” After praying, I was determined that I would tell the boss that I wouldn’t do things that went against my conscience.
May 3, 2018 Thursday Sunny to Overcast
Today, I went to work with confidence. I had made up my mind to be honest and to tell my thoughts to the boss. But when I got there, my workmate who was responsible for cooking, told me, “Yesterday the boss said to me that she planned to fire you and asked me to do this job on my own.” After listening to this, instantly I became disheartened, and the resolution to practice being an honest person vanished like smoke in the air. I thought: “I haven’t even talked to the boss and she intends to fire me. In this case, if I say that I don’t like to act according to her requirements, isn’t it asking for trouble?” At that time, my heart was quite heavy.
After breakfast, I looked at the disposable eating utensils in the sink and then looked out of the corner of my eye at the boss, who was playing cards. Over and over I struggled with the dilemma: If I do as the boss told me, I wouldn’t be an honest person and would lose my witness before God; if not, once the boss, who is right beside me, notices this I will be faced with the possibility of losing my job. What should I do? My heart was in turmoil. At that time, an idea struck me: Dump them secretly. This way, I will sin against neither God nor the boss. So when the boss wasn’t looking, I discarded the disposable eating utensils into the garbage can and covered them with other garbage. This way, she wouldn’t discover it. Though I had already done it, there were still all kinds of feelings in my heart: If the boss discovers what I have done, bawls me out for it and then fires me, would it be worth it? However, I will feel too ashamed to look upon God if I don’t practice the truth. Will I be deceitful in order to keep the job? At the time, I felt distressed and in pain because of my weakness.
After that, I knelt down and prayed: “God! I want to be honest, but I’m afraid that I would lose my job. I lack faith and courage to put the truth into practice. I beg You to have mercy on me and guide me again.” After praying, I read a paragraph of God’s words: “If you are truly willing to be perfected by God, then you will have the courage to cast aside your flesh, and will be able to carry out God’s words and not be passive or weak. You will be able to obey all that comes from God, and all of your actions, whether done in public or in private, will be presentable to God. If you are an honest person, and practice the truth in all things, then you will be perfected. Those deceitful men who act one way before the face of others and another way behind their backs are not willing to be perfected.”
I understood from God’s words that when making a choice between the truth and the interests of the flesh, an honest person won’t satisfy the flesh but will absolutely choose the truth. Their thoughts and their external actions are all to obey and satisfy God, to gain the approval of Him and then to live in His light. However, reflecting on myself, I cheated others by following the boss’ orders again and again, giving out the dirty dough sticks to the seniors and washing and reusing the disposable eating utensils repeatedly. I knew clearly that I was doing something against my conscience, but I still didn’t dare to refuse her orders. Though I’d read God’s words and understood the significance of being an honest person, I couldn’t put the truth into practice and be honest out of fear of losing my job, thus suffering spiritual pain and torture. My attitude of unwillingly putting the truth into practice disappointed and hurt God. Actually, whether the boss dismissed me or not was held in God’s hands. The result couldn’t be changed no matter how I worried about it. What I should do was put the truth into practice and be honest, and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements.
God’s words gave me the courage and strength to practice the truth: Even though I could lose my job, I would still tell the boss that I wouldn’t follow her orders and deceive others. So, I sent a text to the boss: “Boss, I’m a Christian. During these past few days, you asked me to distribute dirty dough sticks to the old people and wash and reuse the disposable eating utensils repeatedly. My conscience is suffering a lot, because I know God doesn’t like what I’ve done. I’ve thought it over. If you still ask me to do these things, I’ll quit this job; if not, I’ll continue working hard in this job.” After that, my mind was quite calm.
I never would have thought that the boss would give me a call and say she agreed. Such an outcome was beyond my expectations. Now, I’ve tasted the steadiness, release and freedom in my spirit from putting the truth into practice. And I thank God from my heart.
May 4, 2018 Friday Sunny
I had thought that after expressing her thoughts on the matter, the boss wouldn’t ask me to do deceptive things anymore, but …
For breakfast, the seniors had two choices: milk or soy milk. But seeing the profit from buying soy milk was higher than that of milk, the boss mixed the soy milk with water and asked me to frequently cajole the seniors into drinking the soy milk, or even to directly serve them it without asking them. I wasn’t at all keen to do what she asked. I practiced the truth and didn’t follow her instructions, so I was worried that she might get angry and dismiss me. Just when I finished distributing the breakfast, the boss called me aside, reminding me: “These old people don’t have views of their own, so you should be tough when serving them the soy milk and also cajole them into drinking it. Get it?” After listening to these words, in my heart there began a struggle: I know the boss is luring me to do things that go against the truth, but I don’t want to. What should I do?
I was thinking about this on my way home. I suddenly thought of a story in the: After Joseph was sold in Egypt, Potiphar’s wife seduced Joseph and even used her power and threatened him to force him to lie with her. But Joseph was a man who feared God and shunned evil, so he would have rather been thrown into prison than commit evil acts with her. But thinking about myself, when the boss asked me to get the seniors to drink soy milk for the sake of saving money, I knew clearly that doing that was not right, but I dared not be honest because of fear of being dismissed. I didn’t have a God-revering heart. I decided then not to just consider my own interests anymore. If I got fired, I could find another job; but if I still kept on cheating people, God would hate me. Thinking of all this, I had the resolution and strength to put the truth into practice once again.
After getting home, I sent a text to the boss again: “Boss, I know that as your employee, I should uphold your interests in every way possible. But I’m a Christian, so I should listen to God’s teachings even more. If your requirements are in conflict with God’s, I shall listen to God’s words. This is a principle by which we Christians act.”
Later, I read God’s words: “Behaving like a normal human being is to speak with coherence. Yes means yes, no means no. Be true to the facts and speak appropriately. Don’t cheat, don’t lie.” And Sermons and Fellowship on Entry into Life said, “Honest people are always straightforward, speaking and acting in accordance with the facts.” God’s words and the sermons made my resolve to practice being an honest person firmer. Even if I were dismissed this time, I would still put into practice being an honest person next time I worked in another place, while still trying my best to do my work duties well. If someone asked me to cheat or do wicked things in secret, I would absolutely refuse.
May 15, 2018 Tuesday Overcast to Sunny
To my surprise, the boss didn’t dismiss me. This made me see that whether I was dismissed or kept on was determined by God. Thus, my resolve to put the truth into practice became greater.
A few days ago when I was distributing the breakfast, the seniors all wanted to drink milk. But the boss wanted to sell more soy milk, so seeing I was pouring milk, she said, “Say there is no milk left.” But I saw that there was still a pitcher of milk left. At that moment, I knew clearly that she was inducing me to lie. However, whether she was pleased or not and whether I was dismissed or not, I had to stand on the side of the truth and practice being an honest person. Later, when some of the seniors wanted some milk, I served it to them as normal. I didn’t tell them we had no milk until there was really no milk left. Then, I caught sight out of the corner of my eye of the boss looking very angry. Nevertheless, I knew I absolutely could not be deceitful anymore.
Yesterday, the boss taught me another way to cheat the seniors by doing the cleaning perfunctorily. When I came before God and prayed to Him, I could tell that she was enticing me into doing things that went against my conscience. But I would never follow her. Just as God’s words say, “You must be awake and waiting at every moment, and you must come before Me more. You must recognize the various plots and cunning schemes of Satan, know the spirit, know people and be able to discern all kinds of people, matters and things.” Thus, I still did things in accordance with God’s words. When doing the cleaning, if I saw somewhere dirty I would clean it even though the boss didn’t remind me. Afterward, she said to another employee: “Among all the people who do the cleaning here, no one has ever cleaned that spot. She is not bad at all.”
In the afternoon, the boss patted me on the shoulder, saying, “Well, you’re terrific.” The seniors in the center often said to me, “Thank you very much! You clean immaculately here! The former employees who worked in the center never cleaned there.” Thank God! I knew it was not because I was a good person, but rather because God’s words showed me the principles of being a human being. Being honest is in accordance with, and only by practicing it can my heart be at ease and peaceful. Thanks to God’s guidance! Amen!