The Pain of Telling Lies

October 17, 2022

By Ni Qiang, Myanmar

In October 2019, I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days. At gatherings I saw brothers and sisters were able to fellowship on their experiences and understanding. They were able to open up about all their corruption and shortcomings without any misgivings, and I was so jealous. I wanted to be an honest person too and to simply open up like they did, but when it actually came down to it, I just couldn’t speak honestly. One time, my brothers and sisters asked me, “You’re young, are you still a student?” The truth was I hadn’t been a student for quite a while, and I just cooked and cleaned at a restaurant, but I feared that the others would look down on me once they knew this, so I told them I was still a student. I didn’t think much of it once I’d said it, and I just moved on. One day, I saw a passage of God’s word in a testimony video that made me reflect on myself. “You ought to know that God likes those who are honest. In essence, God is faithful, and so His words can always be trusted; His actions, furthermore, are faultless and unquestionable, which is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him. Honesty means giving your heart to God, being genuine with God in all things, being open with Him in all things, never hiding the facts, not trying to deceive those above and below you, and not doing things only to curry favor with God. In short, to be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Three Admonitions). After reading God’s words, I understood that God likes honest people, that honest people can simply open up to God, that they are unequivocal in the things they do and say, and that they do not try to deceive either God or other people. But as for me, when others asked me “Are you still a student?” I couldn’t even tell the truth out of fear of being looked down on, let alone be an honest person before God. I wasn’t honest at all. So I wanted to come clean to the others, but I was scared they would mock me, yet, at the same time, not speaking up made me feel deeply uneasy. So I prayed to God, asking Him to help me practice telling the truth and being an honest person. At a later gathering, I opened up about my corruption and exposed my lies and deception. Not only did the others not look down on me, they even messaged me saying my experience was good. This gave me more confidence to be an honest person. Despite having practiced being an honest person and telling the truth on this occasion, I still had no awareness of my satanic disposition, and when it came to things concerning my reputation and interests, I still couldn’t help but reveal my deceitful disposition to disguise myself.

I was later chosen to be a preacher and I was responsible for the work of three churches. During a co-worker gathering, a leader wanted to know the specifics of how newcomers were being watered in each church, and why some newcomers hadn’t been supported properly. I started to get a little flustered, as I only knew how things were going in one of the churches and not in the other two. So what was I supposed to say? If I told the truth, what would everyone think of me? Would they wonder if I could be a preacher if I couldn’t even get this straight? Or would they say that I didn’t do real work and that I was incapable of this duty? It’d be so embarrassing if I were transferred or dismissed. I just wanted to run away, but if I signed off early, everyone would realize I was afraid of them finding out I didn’t do real work. So I had no choice but to stay and listen as other preachers talked about the work they were responsible for. I was like a cat on a hot tin roof and didn’t know what to do. When the leader called my name, I was so nervous, and pretended I hadn’t heard him, “What did you say?” The leader said, “We were just talking about watering newcomers, would you care to tell us about your newcomers?” It felt like my heart was about to burst from my chest. I had no choice but to talk about the church I did know about first, but I didn’t want to talk about the other two. However, I feared everyone would know I hadn’t done follow-up work, so I gritted my teeth and lied, “A lot of the newcomers in the second church aren’t being supported properly, and because of the pandemic, we can’t reach them. I’m not too sure about the situation in the third church because I’ve been following up on the work of the other two churches this whole time.” I felt very uneasy to have said this, and I was terrified of everyone seeing through my lie, which would have been even more humiliating. I was on edge for the whole gathering and was only able to breathe a sigh of relief after it ended. To my surprise, the leader then called me and asked, “About those newcomers that aren’t being supported properly because of the pandemic, have you asked the watering staff to phone them and check up on them?” I was stumped by the leader’s question. I didn’t know the specifics of the situation. If I told the truth, wouldn’t the leader realize I had lied? I couldn’t say I didn’t know. So I just kept on lying, “I’ve talked to them about it, but some of the newcomers aren’t answering their phones.” The leader then asked, “Which newcomers?” I thought to myself, “Does the leader keep questioning me because he found out I lied?” I replied hastily, “I think it’s some of those who have just accepted God’s work.” Seeing that I couldn’t explain clearly, the leader said, “Well, when you do find out, let me know.” When I got off the call, I felt a deep sense of guilt. I’d lied and deceived once again. So I had to use a whole string of lies to patch up the first lie. What a hassle it is to use lies to cover for other lies. Thinking back on the gathering, one preacher had said that of the three churches he was responsible for, he hadn’t looked into one of them. He’d been able to speak the truth, so why couldn’t I say a single honest word? Lying, deceiving, and putting up a false appearance like this couldn’t cover up the truth. God scrutinizes all, and sooner or later I would be exposed and revealed, so I prayed to God, “God, in the gathering today, when the leader was inquiring about the work, I didn’t tell the truth and lied instead. I feared that everyone would look down on me if they knew I didn’t do real work. God, please guide me to know myself and cast off my corrupt disposition.”

I later read a passage of God’s word. Almighty God says, “In their everyday lives, people say much that is pointless, untrue, ignorant, stupid, and justificative. At root, they say these things for the sake of their own pride, to satisfy their own vanity. Their utterance of these falsehoods is the outpouring of their corrupt dispositions. Resolving this corruption will cleanse your heart, and thus make you ever more pure and ever more honest. In fact, people all know why they tell lies: It is for the sake of their interests, face, vanity, and status. And in comparing themselves with others, they punch too far above their own weight. As a result, their lies are exposed and seen through by others, resulting instead in lost face, lost character, and lost dignity. This is the result of too many lies. When you lie too much, every word you say is contaminated. It is all false, and none of it can be true or factual. Although you may not lose face when you lie, you already feel disgraced inside. You will feel blamed by your conscience, and you will despise and look down on yourself. ‘Why do I live so pitifully? Is it really so hard to say one honest thing? Do I need to tell these lies just for face? Why is it so tiring to live this way?’ You can live in a way that is not tiring. If you practice being an honest person, you can live easily and freely, but when you choose to lie to protect your face and vanity, your life is very tiring and painful, which means this is self-inflicted pain. What is the face you gain from telling lies? It is something empty, something totally worthless. When you lie, you are betraying your own character and dignity. These lies cost people their dignity, they cost them their character, and God finds them displeasing and hateful. Are they worth it? Not at all. Is this the right path? No. Those who often lie live trapped in their satanic dispositions and under Satan’s dominion, not in the light or before God. You often need to think about how to tell a lie, and after you lie, you need to think about how to cover it up, and if you don’t cover it up well enough the lie will come out, so you need to rack your brains for a cover. Isn’t this a tiring way to live? It’s too tiring. Is it worth it? Not at all. What’s the point of racking your brains to lie and cover it up just for the sake of vanity and status? In the end, you will think about it and say to yourself, ‘Why put myself through this? It’s too tiring to lie and cover it up. Doing things this way won’t work. It’s easier to be an honest person.’ You want to be an honest person, but you can’t let go of your face, vanity, and interests. You can only lie and use lies to defend these things. … You may think that using lies can protect your desired reputation, status, and vanity, but this is a big mistake. Lies not only fail to protect your vanity and personal dignity, but, more seriously, also cause you to miss chances to practice the truth and be an honest person. Even if you defend your reputation and vanity at the time, what you lose is the truth, and you betray God, which means you completely lose the opportunity to gain God’s salvation and be perfected. This is the greatest loss and an eternal regret. Deceitful people never see this clearly” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Being Honest Can One Live as a True Human Being). God’s word revealed my state. The leader wanted to know about the watering situation in each church, which was clearly a simple matter, and it would have been fine just to tell the truth, but for me nothing could have been harder. I was filled with misgivings, and feared that after the leader and other preachers found out the truth, they would look down on me, say I didn’t do real work, and couldn’t even get to grips with this small matter. And if I was dismissed, that would be humiliating. To protect my reputation, status, and the good impression others had of me, I lied about having looked into two churches, when I only had a clear understanding of one. I even went into detail on the second church, saying that the newcomers there weren’t being supported because of the pandemic. Wasn’t this just a barefaced lie? When the leader asked me if I’d asked the watering staff to call the newcomers, I feared the leader finding out about the lie I’d just told, so I cooked up a second lie to cover for the first, and I made up an excuse to fob him off. To protect my name and status, I used one lie to patch up another. I was truly deceitful! I thought about a dialogue between God and Satan recorded in the Bible. God asked Satan where it came from, to which Satan replied, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7). Satan is so cunning. It didn’t answer God’s question directly and talked in a winding and meandering way. It’s impossible to tell where Satan came from. Its mouth is filled with only lies, it never speaks honestly, and it only ever talks equivocally and ambiguously. With my lying and deception, was I not the same as the demon Satan? Even though I gave an answer on the work the leader wanted to know about, it was all lies and deceit. Having heard my answer, the leader was still unclear on the exact state of the watering work I was responsible for, and he couldn’t judge if I was following up properly. In fact, my lying and deceiving like this only preserved my reputation and status temporarily, but what I really lost was my character, dignity, and the trust of others. If I kept going on like this, sooner or later, everyone would see that I wasn’t an honest person and was untrustworthy. Nobody would believe in me, and moreover, God would not trust in me. Wouldn’t I be completely bereft of character and dignity then? Wouldn’t this be stupid of me?

Later, I read a passage of God’s word: “That God asks for people to be honest proves that He truly loathes those who are deceitful, and that He does not like deceitful people. God’s dislike of deceitful people is a dislike of their way of doing things, their dispositions, their motives, and their methods of deceit; God dislikes all of these things. If deceitful people are able to accept the truth, recognize their deceitful dispositions, and are willing to accept God’s salvation, then they too have a hope of being saved, for God treats all people equally, and the truth treats all people equally. And so, if we wish to become those who are beloved of God, the first thing we must do is change the principles of our being: No longer can we live according to the philosophies of Satan, no longer can we get by on lies and deceit, we must leave behind all lies and become honest, and in this way God’s view of us will change. Previously, people always relied on lies, pretense, and trickery to live among people, and used satanic philosophies as the existential basis, life, and foundation by which they conducted themselves. This was something that God despised. Among unbelievers, if you speak frankly, tell the truth, and be an honest person, you will be slandered, judged, and rejected, so you follow worldly trends, live by satanic philosophies, become more and more skilled at lying, and more and more deceitful. You also learn to use insidious means to achieve your goals and protect yourself. You become more and more prosperous in Satan’s world, and as a result, you sink deeper and deeper into sin until you cannot extricate yourself. Things are precisely the opposite in God’s house. The more you lie and play tricks, the more God’s chosen people will tire of you and reject you. If you refuse to repent and still cling to satanic philosophies and logic, and use conspiracies and elaborate schemes to disguise yourself and put up a front, then you are very likely to be revealed and cast out. This is because God hates deceitful people, only honest people can prosper in God’s house, and deceitful people will eventually be rejected and cast out. All of this is preordained by God. Only honest people can have a share in the kingdom of heaven, so if you do not try to be an honest person, and if you don’t experience and practice in the direction of pursuing the truth, if you don’t expose your own ugliness, and don’t show your true face, then you will never be able to receive the Holy Spirit’s work and gain God’s approval” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person). Thinking over God’s words, I realized God does not like deceitful people, and He does not save them. This is because they belong to Satan. Deceitful people use treachery and tricks in all the things they do, and they speak without honesty all to protect their reputation, status, and interests. The intents these people harbor and the methods they use are odious and disgusting to God. Though I believed in God, I hadn’t gained any truth and still lived by satanic philosophies such as, “Every man for himself,” and “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face.” These satanic philosophies had already rooted themselves in my heart, misleading and corrupting me, and making me walk the path of pursuing reputation and status. I’d thought that people should live for themselves, stand out among others, and gain renown and profit, and that only then will a person not be looked down on. I’d thought that if a person only ever told the truth and never lied, then that person was a fool and a good-for-nothing. Because of this, I’d always deceived, and sewn a web of lies for the sake of my own interests, becoming more and more deceitful, fake, and lacking in normal human likeness. I’d viewed reputation and status as more important than the truth, and was willing to lie and go against the truth to protect my reputation and status. Satan is a liar, and when I lie and deceive like this, am I not the same? In this evil world, being an honest, frank person just doesn’t cut it. But in the house of God it’s quite the opposite. In the house of God, righteousness and the truth reign supreme, and the more a person deceives, the more likely they are to fall, and eventually, all deceivers are exposed and cast out by God. God says, “If people wish to be saved, then they must start by being honest” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Six Indicators of Life Growth). “Only honest people can have a share in the kingdom of heaven….” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person). God is holy, and filthy people are not allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven. When I realized this, I felt that God’s holy and righteous disposition does not tolerate offense, and I truly regretted lying to my brothers and sisters. I truly hated myself and I never wanted to lie or deceive again. I wanted to practice the truth, be an honest person, and speak honestly with everyone. I wanted to pull the lies from my mouth and the deceit from my heart, and thereby be worthy of God’s approval and of entry into the kingdom of heaven.

During one of my devotionals, I read a passage of God’s word: “Practicing honesty covers many aspects. In other words, the standard for being honest is not merely achieved through one regard; you must be up to standard in many regards before you can be honest. Some people always think that they need only manage not to lie in order to be honest. Is this view correct? Does being honest merely involve not lying? No—it also relates to several other aspects. Firstly, no matter what you are faced with, be it something you have seen with your own eyes or something someone else has told you, be it interacting with people or sorting out a problem, be it the duty you ought to be performing or something that God has entrusted to you, you must always approach it with an honest heart. How should one practice approaching things with an honest heart? Say what you think and speak honestly; do not speak empty words, official jargon, or pleasant-sounding words, do not say flattering or hypocritical false things, but speak the words that are in your heart. This is being someone honest. Expressing the true thoughts and views that are in your heart—this is what honest people are supposed to do. If you never say what you think, and the words fester in your heart, and what you say is always at odds with what you think, that is not what an honest person does” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Being Honest Can One Live as a True Human Being). God’s word gave me a path of practice. Whether it was interacting with others or handling my duty, I must have an honest heart in my approach. Since I had not done follow-up work, I should be honest about it. I shouldn’t be thinking about whether my reputation would be harmed. Practicing being an honest person is key.

At the next co-worker gathering, I wanted to take the initiative and reveal my corruption, but I worried about what everyone would think of me. I realized that I was wanting to safeguard my reputation and status again, and so I said a silent prayer to God, asking Him to guide me, give me strength, and grant me the courage to reveal my corruption. I remembered a passage of God’s word I’d read before: “If you do not practice according to God’s words, and never examine your secrets and your challenges, and never open yourself in fellowship to others, neither fellowshiping nor analyzing nor bringing to light your corruption and fatal flaws with them, then you cannot be saved” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person). I realized that if I wasn’t an honest person, kept covering up my corruption and shortcomings, didn’t open up, reveal, or dissect myself, then I would never cast off my corrupt disposition, and I would never be saved. I said another prayer to God, “God! Please give me strength so that I can simply open up and be an honest person.” After my prayer, I took the initiative to come clean to the others: “I lied at the last gathering when the leader was asking about the watering of the newcomers. The truth is that I only knew about one of the churches, and not about the other two. I feared that if I told the truth, you would look down on me, and so I lied and said I knew about two of the churches. I deceived you all.” Having said this, the others neither condemned nor looked down on me. On the contrary, they said it was good that I was able to simply open up and be an honest person. Having practiced like this, I felt much more settled and at ease. If I had kept concealing myself, I wouldn’t have made these realizations and gains.

Not long after, an upper leader asked me, “Do you currently have an understanding of the states of the church leaders?” I felt a little unconfident at this question, as I was only aware of the state of one church leader, but not of the states of the other two. I thought to myself, “If I tell the truth, will the leader say I haven’t done real work?” and so I wanted to say I did have an understanding. I then realized I was wanting to lie again, so I said a prayer to God and told the truth, “I only know of the state of one church leader, and not of the states of the other two.” At this, the leader didn’t criticize me, and gave me some suggestions instead, saying that I should call more regularly about the states of the church leaders, and help promptly resolve their difficulties, and he also gave me some paths to follow. I learned that the more I spoke the truth, was an honest person, and dared to reveal my corruption and shortcomings, the more I was able to be helped by my brothers and sisters and make gains. Before, I lied and deceived to safeguard my reputation and status, but after I said each lie, my heart felt burdened and my conscience felt accused, and most importantly, I lost my character and my dignity. Through this experience, I have come to understand that honest people are liked by both God and man, and that the more honest you are, the more harmonious your relations with others will be, and the more calmed and at peace you will be. Not only will others not look down on you, but you will be helped by your brothers and sisters instead. Being an honest person is truly great. Only by being honest people can we receive God’s blessing and salvation and enter into the kingdom of heaven!

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