It’s Not Easy Being an Honest Person
By Zixin, Hubei Province
After accepting’s end-time work, through reading and listening to sermons, I came to understand the importance of pursuing being an honest person in one’s belief, and that only by becoming an honest person can someone gain God’s salvation. Thus I began practicing to be an honest person in real life. After a period of time, I found that I gained some entry into this. 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 people would rather be condemned to hell than speak and act honestly” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Three Admonitions). It was not until later that I was able to appreciate through several experiences that it really is not easy for us, corrupt human beings, to be honest people. God’s words really are absolutely true and completely unexaggerated.
When I was compiling a document one day, I found that a sister from the church was better than me at compiling documents. I then thought: “I must handle the documents she compiles strictly, in case the leaders see that she is better than me and they promote her, putting my own position at risk.” After this thought surfaced, I felt accused by my conscience. After examining and dissecting this I recognized that it was a manifestation of struggling for fame and gain and being jealous of true talent, so I prayed to God and forsook myself immediately. In a gathering, I had originally wanted to openly declare my corruption, but then I thought: “If I share fellowship on my own evil intentions, how would the sister I was partnered with and my host family sister see me? Would they say my heart is too malicious and my nature is too wicked? Forget it, I’d better not say it. It was just a thought, and it’s not like I had really done that anyway.” And just like that, I merely casually mentioned how I was very nervous that I would be replaced when I saw someone else compile documents well—I hid away my true dark side. After that the sense of blame in my heart magnified. I hence vowed before God that this would only happen once, and that the next time I would definitely put being an honest person into practice.
A few days later while chatting with my partner and my host family sister, I heard the host family sister talk about how great two sisters who used to live at her house were (I also knew them), but she never said a word about how good I was. I felt very unhappy. In order to make her think highly of me, I then listed the flaws of those two sisters one by one to show her that they were not as good as me. After saying this, I realized that what I had said was inappropriate, and that my intent and purpose was to put others down to raise myself up. But I was too embarrassed to open up, 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, so I had to damage their image so you will no longer look up to them.” As soon as the words had left my mouth, the sister I was partnered with said: “This depends on whether you had any ulterior motives. If so, that’s really sinister. 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 develop 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 and felt particularly accused internally when I prayed: “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, so hardened, still did not repent and only begged for God to forgive me.
The next day, I suddenly got a high fever, and every joint in my body ached. I initially thought I had caught a cold overnight and that I would get better if I just took some medicine. But who knew—taking medicine was no help, and two days later I couldn’t even get out of bed. What’s more, my tongue swelled up and became harder, and my throat also swelled in pain, hurting so much that I couldn’t even speak. Swallowing was hard enough on its own, let alone eating. In the face of this sudden illness, I grew afraid, and prayed to God in my heart over and over. At that moment, I realized that this illness was not happening by accident, and so I came before God to reflect on all the things I’d said and done during this period. As I reflected, I understood that there had been several instances in which I’d spoken evasively and had concealed my own despicable motives. I had known perfectly well that I had been speaking nothing but lies and had cheated my sisters, and I had felt a sense of reproach, and yet I still had not had the courage to tell the truth. Little did I realize that my cunning ways had already become second nature, and I could no longer help it. For the sake of my own reputation and status, my vanity and prestige, I had brazenly tried to cheat God and cheat my sisters again and again. I had not volunteered to be open about my corruption and had not sought the truth to resolve my problems; if I’d carried on that way, wouldn’t I have been the one who would’ve suffered loss in the end? God scrutinizes the innermost heart of man, and no matter how I tried to conceal myself, I couldn’t cover up my despicable ugliness. Once I had come to some understanding of myself, I knelt before God and prayed: “O God! Only now do I see how corrupt I am. Being controlled by my deceitful nature, I find it so hard to say even one honest word. O God! I ask that You guide me to open up and lay bare my faults, and to be an honest person before You.” Under God’s guidance, I finally mustered up my courage and told my sisters the truth about the whole thing, from beginning to end. Only then did my heart feel a little peaceful and at ease.
It was only through this experience that I deeply understood God’s words that “Many people would rather be condemned to hell than speak and act honestly” are indeed true. After being corrupted by Satan, lying, cheating, and engaging in trickery became human nature and became deeply entrenched in mankind’s hearts. On top of that, people really treasure reputation, status, and all sorts of benefits; those who are constrained by these things find it very difficult to speak honestly. So for people, being an honest person is harder than climbing up to the sky. I used to think that being an honest person was easy. That was because what I opened up about were just inconsequential corruptions I revealed that everyone frequently shared in fellowship. They had nothing to do with the deepest things in my soul, so no one would look down on me for talking about those things. That kind of practice was under the precondition that they were superficial actions and would not touch upon my personal interests. If it impacted my vital interests, my status and my face, then my nature would reveal itself and I could no longer maintain my disguise. With the truth before me, I began to deeply appreciate that it really is not easy being an honest person. Especially for someone like me who considers reputation and status to be so important, if I don’t put aside all considerations of face, if God’s chastisement and judgment do not accompany me, I will be absolutely incapable of the reality of the truth of being an honest person in practice. From now on, I will conscientiously pursue the truth, accept all of God’s words, and understand my own deceitful nature even more deeply. I will put aside my own face and status and be a truly honest person; I will live out a true human likeness to repay God’s love.