61. It’s Not Easy Being an Honest Person
Zixin Wuhan City, Hubei Province
Through eating and drinking God’s word and listening to preaching, I came to understand the importance of being an honest person and thus began practicing to be an honest person. After a period of time, I found that I gained some entry in being an honest person. For example: While praying or conversing with someone, I would be able to speak the truth and from the heart; I could also take fulfilling my duty seriously, and when I revealed corruption I could open myself up to other people. Because of this, I thought being an honest person was quite easy to practice, and not at all as difficult as it was made out to be by God’s words: “Many would rather be condemned to hell than to speak and act honestly.” It was not until later that I was able to appreciate through experience that it really is not easy for corrupt man to be an honest person. God’s words really are absolutely true and completely unexaggerated.
When I was editing articles one day, I saw that a sister from the editing team of a district was better than me, regardless of whether it was at writing or editing articles. I then thought: I must be stricter to the articles she edited, in case the leaders see that she edits articles better than I do and promote her, which would put my own position at risk. After this intention surfaced, I felt accused inside. After examining and dissecting, I recognized that this was a display of struggling for fame and gain, being jealous of real talent, and excluding those different to me. During a meeting, I originally wanted to openly declare my corruption, but then I thought: If I communicate out my own evil intentions, how would my partner and the host family sister see me? Would they say my heart is too malicious and my nature is too wicked? Forget it, I better not say it. It was just a thought, and it’s not like I had really done it anyway. And just like that, I merely casually mentioned how I was very nervous that I would be replaced when I saw someone else edit articles well, while hiding away my true dark side. Afterward, the blame in my heart increased significantly. I hence vowed before God that this would only happen once, and that next time I would definitely practice being an honest person.
A few days later, while I was chatting, I heard the host family sister say how good two sisters who used to live at her house (I knew them) were, but never said a word about whether I was good or not, making me very unhappy inside. To make her think higher of me, I then listed the flaws of those two sisters one by one, implying that they were not as good as me. After saying this, I also realized that what I said was not appropriate, and that my intent and purpose was to put others down to raise myself up. But I was too embarrassed to open up to them, so I said to the host family sister: “When I heard you praise those two sisters, I felt you have quite a few idols in your heart, and hence I must damage their image a little so you will no longer look up to people.” As soon as my voice subsided, the sister I was partnered with said: “This depends on whether you had any ulterior motives. If so, then that’s too treacherous. If not, then it can only be said to have been a revelation of corruption.” Hearing her say this, I became terribly afraid that they would get a bad impression of me, so I quickly tried explaining myself: “I didn’t have any ulterior motives. It’s just that I didn’t communicate it the right way….” After this specious reasoning, I became extremely upset inside, and when I prayed I felt especially accused: You are too cunning. You speak in roundabout ways, make up lies, and cover up the truth, always hiding and tucking away your evil intentions and arrogant ambitions. Isn’t this deceiving God? Even so, I still did not repent and only begged for God to forgive me. But God’s disposition is unoffendable, and God’s discipline would soon descend upon me.
The next day, I suddenly got a high fever, and every joint in my body ached. I initially thought I caught a cold while sleeping at night and that I would get better if I just took some medicine. But who knew that taking medicine would not help, and two days later I couldn’t even get out of bed. Further, my tongue swelled up and hardened, and my throat also swelled in pain, hurting so bad that I couldn’t speak. Swallowing saliva was hard enough, let alone eating. In the face of this sudden illness, I grew afraid, and repeatedly prayed to God in my heart. At that moment, a clear realization suddenly came up inside me: Who let you lie? If you lie you must be disciplined. This way, your tongue won’t commit any sins. Only then did I realize that God’s discipline had befallen me. I quickly apologized to God in my heart: “Oh God, I know I was wrong. Please forgive me. This time I will definitely open up.” After praying, I noticed the pain in my throat had gotten noticeably better. However, when my partner and the host family sister came to ask me why I suddenly fell ill, I initially wanted to spill out the whole truth, but then thought: “Once I open up, many of the things I said before would be contradicted. Would they say I’m too cunning? How are we going to get along in the future?” After thinking of these things, I still did not have the courage to divulge the truth, and just casually said I fell ill because I was homesick. When they left, the discomfort in my heart felt like a cutting blade. I never thought my deceitfulness could now come so easily and involuntarily. I lay in bed, feeling tightness in my chest and difficulty breathing, as though I was about to die. I was afraid I would be suffocated, so in spite of everything I dragged myself to open the room door and let the air circulate. Who knew that as soon as I arrived at the door, I felt the world spin. It grew dark before my eyes as my legs felt weak and my entire body broke out in a cold sweat. Carried by momentum, I leaned against the door frame. In this moment, a line of God’s word flashed in my heart: “How can I allow man to deceive Me so?” (“Your Characters Are Too Base!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In the face of God’s majestic and wrathful words, I felt God’s rage toward me, and my heart could not help but tremble in fear. God’s disposition is unoffendable, but for the sake of my own reputation, status, and vanity, I betrayed my vow time after time, brazenly deceiving God. How could God allow me to treat Him like this? I panted heavily and kept saying to God in my heart: “This time I will definitely open up, I will definitely open up …” Under God’s discipline and punishment, I finally had no choice but to divulge the whole story to the sisters.
It was only through this experience that I finally understood God’s words that “Many would rather be condemned to hell than to speak and act honestly” are indeed true and are targeted at cunning people like me. As my cunning nature was deeply rooted inside me and had become my life, being an honest person for me was harder than climbing up into the sky. I used to think being an honest person was easy, but that was because my practice did not involve things deep in my soul at all and was merely just some conduct on the surface done under the precondition that no personal interests would be affected. If today it affected my vital interests or impacted my prospects and destination, my status and face, my old nature would reveal itself and I would not be able to be an honest person. With the truth before me, I began to deeply appreciate that it really is not easy being an honest person. Especially for a cunning person like me, I could never be an honest person without shedding all pretenses and without God’s discipline and punishment. From now on, I will conscientiously pursue the truth, accept all of God’s words, understand my own cunning nature even more deeply, and shed all pretenses and be an honest person, so that I can live out the true form of a human being.