Christian Testimony: How to Maintain Friendships in the Face of Making a Profit
By Ye Qing, China
Monday, September 3, 2018 Clear sky
As of today, I’ve been working in the beauty parlor for a month. When I first started, the boss arranged for a girl named Xiao Jie to show me the ropes. She had a very upbeat personality, and she would tell me everything, whether it was things going on at home or problems she’d encountered at work, and we got to know each other pretty quickly. With Xiao Jie’s help, and through studying and training hard and learning from the strengths of my colleagues, my skills improved rapidly, and many customers began to ask for me personally. To express my thanks to Xiao Jie, I bought some make-up products and clothes just for her. We are becoming closer and closer, we confide in each other whenever we have an issue, and we’ve become friends that can say anything to each other. I’m so happy to have made such a good friend.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 Overcast
I’ve now been at the beauty parlor for two months. Because my skills are improving all the time, more and more customers are asking for me, and I often promote our shop products to the customers and introduce them to our membership scheme. The shop pays its staff based on how much work they do, so the more customers I serve, the more commission I make. I’m really happy.
But for the past few days, my relationship with Xiao Jie hasn’t been as close as it used to be. Sometimes when a customer comes in for a haircut, I take the initiative and go greet them, but every time I go to fetch the customer some water, Xiao Jie steals the customer, and when I come back, she just says that the customer asked for her personally. When she first started doing this, I didn’t think much of it, thinking that she had helped me before and we were like sisters, and that it wasn’t necessary to quibble over such things. Besides, I’m a Christian, and if I began to fight with someone over some tiny bit of profit then that would be completely at odds with God’s will. But because this has been happening, our relationship has undergone a subtle change. Although on the surface, we still talk and laugh together, our hearts have become estranged, and our friendship is in crisis …
Thursday, October 25, 2018 Light rain
I’m so mad about what happened today! When I started work this morning, Xiao Jie stole a customer right from under my nose, and I felt very uncomfortable. I thought to myself: “We are working under the same roof. By so blatantly stealing my customer, isn’t this just obvious bullying? My patience has its limits, and it looks as though I have to give you a reminder.” Just as I was wondering how to talk to Xiao Jie about this, an old customer whom I’d served before came in to the shop. I smiled and greeted her, and then hurried off to pour her some tea. To my surprise, Xiao Jie once again stole my customer, and when I got back with the tea, I saw her there chatting with my customer. Although I was really peeved by this, I couldn’t very well say anything in front of the customer, so I just gave the customer her tea, and walked sullenly from the room. I’ve felt really down all day and it was an effort to make it to closing time, at which time I just dashed off home.
The rain was lightly falling from the sky, and as I walked alone back home, I felt really irritable. The more I thought about what had happened today, the unhappier I was with Xiao Jie, and I thought: “You’re so disrespectful! It’s one thing to steal customers from me on a daily basis, but today you’ve even stolen one of my old customers. Isn’t this blatant bullying and cheating me out of my livelihood? If I keep tolerating this behavior from you, I’m afraid that I’ll lose my job. No, I must speak to you tomorrow, and if we can’t work it out, we’ll let the boss mediate.”
Friday, October 26, 2018 Heavy rain
Just as we opened the shop door this morning, that old customer of mine whom Xiao Jie had stolen from me the other day came in. She immediately looked for me and asked me to serve her. She also told me that, when Xiao Jie had served her the other day, she had waited for me to go fetch the customer some water and then she’d told the customer that I wasn’t very good at cutting hair and that the customer could change servers if she wanted. Xiao Jie had also told the customer that I was her apprentice, and she’d asked the customer to come find her next time she came in. When I heard this, I felt so angry, and I was so mad at Xiao Jie: “It’s one thing to steal my customers, but you’ve also badmouthed me to them. This really takes the biscuit and you’ve gone too far now! You’re such a disingenuous person!”
After I’d said goodbye to my customer, I couldn’t restrain my anger any longer, and I stormed over to Xiao Jie and said in a loud voice: “You’ve been serving my customers but why do you have to tell them that I’m not good at my job? Are you trying to destroy my livelihood? How do you expect me to go on working like this?” Xiao Jie knew she was in the wrong and, without saying a word, went downstairs. After that, I saw her go straight to the boss, gesticulating with her hands as she spoke. Just before we were due to finish for the day, other colleagues told me that Xiao Jie had been telling the boss about all my faults, and I instantly felt a rush of rage: “You’re the one who’s done wrong, but not only do you not admit that you’re wrong, but you also tell tales to the boss about me. Why are you doing this? It just doesn’t make any sense!” The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I thought I’d found a friend who could be considerate and care for me as I cared for them. I never expected her to become so neglectful of our friendship. I decided that I must have it out with her tomorrow and try to get rid of all this resentment. But then I thought of how we work under the same roof every day and see each other all the time. If I break our friendship openly, then neither of us could go on working there, but if I say nothing, then I’ll just feel so wronged. In my pain, I said a silent prayer to God in my heart: “O God! I feel so sad and I really can’t cope with Xiao Jie anymore. O God, what should I do? Please may You guide me and lead me through this predicament …”
Saturday, October 27, 2018 Clear sky
When I attended a church gathering today, I opened my heart and told my brothers and sisters about what has been happening between me and Xiao Jie. One of the sisters read two passages of God’s words to me, and she then patiently gave fellowship to resolve my problems. God says, “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him. Man’s disposition becomes more vicious by the day” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God”). “Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? … How many people do not act out of their own interests? How many do not oppress or ostracize others in order to protect their own position?” (“The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished”).
The sister then gave fellowship, saying, “God’s words expose the root cause and the truth of our corruption by Satan. Before we were corrupted by Satan, we possessed the conscience and reason that normal humanity is supposed to possess; we were loving, tolerant and forgiving of others, and we were able to get along peacefully with others. After we were corrupted by Satan, however, we came to have a selfish, despicable, profit-driven satanic nature. Over several thousand years, Satan has never ceased to use the opinions of the famous and the great and the contagion and influence of society to constantly indoctrinate us with such satanic life axioms as ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ ‘Man will do anything to get rich,’ ‘Fight for every inch of land and seize every bit you can get,’ and ‘We will not attack unless we are attacked; if we are attacked, we certainly counterattack.’ When we are influenced and poisoned by these toxins and axioms, we become more and more selfish and despicable, more and more driven by profits, we put profits first no matter what we do, and if there’s no profit to be made, then we don’t bother to do anything. In order to satisfy our personal interests, this is how we behave to our close friends and even to our family members. We’re good to each other when there’s something in it for us, otherwise we shun and split with each other. When something infringes upon our interests, we begin to quibble and fuss, so much so that we fall out with our friends and use any means at our disposal to fight, attack and retaliate against them. Then there no longer exists any concern or care between people, and the kinship and friendship of former days turn into hatred. In order to make profits, we lose our conscience and reason, our humanity and morality, and we lose any semblance of a human being. Isn’t this how it is?” I nodded in agreement.
She went on: “We have all been corrupted by Satan and we all live by Satan’s life axioms. Everyone struggles for the sake of their own interests; only their behavior differs. Xiao Jie has been blatantly stealing your customers for the sake of profit; you have become resentful toward Xiao Jie because your profits have taken a hit and, in order to recover your lost profits, you want to fight and argue with her, to the point where you even want to attack her out of hot-bloodedness. Actually, no matter how we behave or express ourselves, we all live by our satanic corrupt dispositions, and we all scheme against each other for the sake of profit; you vie with me, I vie with you, we are both controlled and duped by Satan, and ultimately we both end up living in a state of pain that we can’t escape. Luckily, however, we have come before God, and from God’s words we can see clearly the truth of Satan’s corruption of man and the means which it employs. We can also see our own selfish, despicable, profit-driven corrupt disposition, and if we practice God’s words, fear God and shun evil, forsake our own corrupt dispositions and live out normal humanity by relying on God’s words, then we will no longer be harmed by Satan.”
After listening to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, I suddenly saw the light. It turned out that Xiao Jie and I had developed prejudices about each other and had begun to ignore each other for the sake of fighting over customers, and it had all been caused by our selfish, greedy, profit-driven natures, and because we lived by Satan’s life axioms. I thought about how true this all was and that, when I first started work at the beauty parlor, I had often needed Xiao Jie to help me because I wasn’t very skilled. At that time, there was no conflict of interest between us, and we had gotten along together pretty well. When I became more skilled, however, I received more customers than Xiao Jie did, and she had become envious and jealous, she had started to pull away from me and had stolen my customers in complete disregard for our friendship. I hadn’t been willing to take it lying down either, because my profits were taking a hit, and it had gotten to the point where I had demanded that she own up to what she’d done in front of everyone and had put her on the spot. Xiao Jie had stolen my customers because she did not believe in God and did not understand the truth, and because she lived by her corrupt disposition. I, on the other hand, as a Christian, did not seek God’s will when I encountered this issue, but instead had gotten all hot-blooded and had fought with Xiao Jie both openly and in my mind for the sake of my own personal interests. How was that being a Christian? I then saw how deeply corrupted by Satan I was, and how deeply rooted my selfish, despicable, profit-driven satanic nature was. If it hadn’t been for God dissecting my inner satanic disposition today by means of that sister’s fellowship, I don’t know what else my satanic nature would have caused me to do. Thanks be to God’s guidance! I really gained a lot from today’s gathering; I came to know the root cause of why work colleagues can’t get along well together, and I found the path to resolve this problem. I now make a resolution to God: I will no longer live by my selfish and despicable satanic nature, but instead will learn how to let go of my own interests and glorify God with real action.
Friday, November 16, 2018 Clear sky
I went into work early today and, after I’d finished cleaning, I saw that Xiao Jie had arrived. I purposefully said hello to her, and she stopped for a moment, then immediately smiled and said hello back. I felt really happy. A while later, a customer came into the shop and I was just about to go up and greet them when, unexpectedly, Xiao Jie jumped ahead of me and stole the customer. Watching this unfold, the warmth of friendship in my heart was instantly extinguished by a pail of cold water. I felt like an animal caught in a trap—I felt furious, angry, resentful and bewildered; I didn’t know how to feel. I really regretted having been so slow and letting Xiao Jie beat me to the punch, and I felt sorry for having bothered to go out of my way to say hello to her this morning…. Just then, God’s words came into my mind: “What aspects does normal humanity include? Insight, sense, conscience, and character. If you can achieve normality in each of these aspects, your humanity will be up to par. You should have the likeness of a normal human being, you should resemble a believer in God. You do not have to achieve too much, or get involved in diplomacy; you just have to be a normal human being, with a normal person’s sense, to be able to see through things, and at least look like a normal human being. That will be enough” (“Raising Caliber Is for the Sake of Receiving God’s Salvation”).
God’s words soothed my agitated heart. God requires us to live out normal humanity and to be people with reason, conscience and integrity, for only then can we be called believers. I thought about the customer who had come into the shop today to buy a service and about how Xiao Jie and I had both wanted to serve her in order to make a little extra money. But there were no rules as to who should make this money—it was first come first served. If I resented Xiao Jie because she got there first and cheated me out of the money, would that not mean that I was still living by my selfish and despicable satanic nature and thinking only of my own profits? I had quibbled with Xiao Jie over insignificant things, and had even regretted going out of my way to say hello to her. Didn’t this show that I was without the slightest bit of reason or integrity? Thinking these thoughts, I felt a little ashamed.
I then thought of God’s words that say: “What occupation one pursues, what one does for a living, and how much wealth one amasses in life are not decided by one’s parents, one’s talents, one’s efforts or one’s ambitions, but are predetermined by the Creator” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). God’s words opened my heart to the light, and everything suddenly clicked into place. “Yes,” I thought, “how much money I make in a day and whether I am poor or rich in this life is all down to God’s predestination and sovereignty. This money cannot be gained through my own efforts or by vying with other people. I should entrust my work every day into God’s hands, let nature take its course as to how much I earn, and learn how to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements.” After coming to this understanding, I felt so liberated. I would no longer brood on Xiao Jie stealing my customers and would carry on with my work as usual.
Not long after that, another customer came in and they asked specifically for me to do their hair. I knew that this was God’s arrangement and blessing, and I felt so grateful to God. Just before midday, another customer came in and Xiao Jie and another colleague Xiao Gao went to greet them, but Xiao Jie once again got there first and took the customer. Unexpectedly, when the customer left, Xiao Gao raised her hand and slapped Xiao Jie. Being slapped really frightened Xiao Jie and, seeing this situation develop, I hurriedly pulled Xiao Gao to one side and tried to calm her down, and the storm subsided. Seeing Xiao Gao and Xiao Jie get into a fight over profit, I had a profound feeling that, by living by our satanic dispositions, we humankind would only become increasingly cruel and malicious, and would end up fighting over everything. Just then, God’s words came to mind: “Man is always selfish, while God is forever selfless. God is the source of all that is just, good, and beautiful, while man is he who succeeds to and makes manifest all ugliness and evil” (“It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition”). God’s words were so right! After we were corrupted by Satan, we became so incredibly selfish and despicable, we fought over everything for the sake of our own interests, no one thought about anyone else or showed consideration or concern for other people, and we began to live like animals. In the animal world, the strong feed on the weak, and animals often attack, fight and kill each other over territory and food, and isn’t the world of humankind exactly the same? From the individual to the state, we all contend and fight with each other for the sake of our own interests, without a shred of humanity or reason. Take me and Xiao Jie, for example: If it hadn’t been for the guidance and leadership of God’s words, I would have continued to vie with Xiao Jie for profit, until finally things would have developed to the stage where we would have gotten into a physical fight. God’s essence, however, is eternally selfless. God created the heavens and earth and all things, He created mankind, and moreover He continuously supplies us with everything we need to survive, as well as bestowing on us all the truths we need to attain true salvation. God does so much for us, and yet He has never asked for anything in return. He just hopes that we will return before Him and accept His salvation, live out normal humanity and live in light and bliss. There are no words to completely describe God’s selflessness and goodness. Thinking this, I had an even greater feeling that, by coming before God, I am truly receiving His great love and salvation.
Friday, December 7, 2018 Clear sky
Lately, Xiao Jie’s attitude toward me has undergone a great change. Perhaps she never realized that she was always stealing my customers but, when it really mattered, I was still able to extend a hand and help her, and now our relationship is slowly getting better. When customers come into the shop now, sometimes she will let me take them and she asks me to serve them, and she often introduces customers to me. Our other work colleagues have seen how I am with Xiao Jie and they admire me a little, and sometimes they too will recommend me to their customers. Having witnessed this outcome, I feel very clearly in my heart that this has all happened because I practiced in accordance with God’s words.
Thinking over my four months at the beauty parlor, my experiences over this period have brought me to understand that, only by praying to God in all things in real life and by seeking the truth and understanding the truth from God’s words can we understand things thoroughly and have a way forward; only by practicing the truth can we live out normal humanity, feel calm and at ease in our hearts and live being perfectly open and honest in our actions. People often say, “No matter how good friends two people are, they will become enemies when profit is involved.” But when we practice the truth, when we do not live by our selfish and despicable satanic natures and we live out the semblance of a Christian, we can then get along peacefully with other people. I know that in my future life I will come across all kinds of situations, people, events and things, and that I will still reveal some corruptions when under the control of my satanic disposition. But I believe that, so long as I pray and rely on God, so long as I have the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words and I practice in accordance with God’s requirements in all things, then I will certainly be gradually able to cast off my corruption and live out normal humanity. Thanks be to God!