To Be an Honest Person Is Truly Great! (Audio Essay)
By Wu Ming
One day in 2004 a friend said to me: “Every day you get up early and are busy all day cutting cloth, you exhaust yourself, yet you still don’t make money. Today’s society relies on the tongue to make money, like the popular saying goes: ‘It is better to have a slick tongue than to have strong arms and legs.’ You know that I’m now engaging in the direct sales business selling makeup products, not only does it make me beautiful, I also don’t need to exert too much effort each day, I just need to speak a few words with my customers and sell my products in order to make a lot of money. Why don’t you change jobs and come sell makeup products with me?” I looked my friend over, she really was prettier than before, and then I thought about how I had been a dressmaker for over 10 years, how I hadn’t really made any money at it, and how I wasn’t getting any younger. If it really was like what my friend was saying, if by switching to a job where I sold makeup products I could make easy money, and could even become younger and prettier and win the high praises of others, then that would be much better! As I thought about this, I told her right then and there that I was willing to become a part of the company. Later, after my inspection, I ordered over 3,000 yuan worth of products, and I started my job in the cosmetics industry as a beauty consultant for this company.
A coworker told me that after becoming a beauty consultant, if we are able to develop between 8 to 12 other beauty consultants then we can be promoted to work as a seller. But if we want to be a seller then we must have more customers ordering products as a condition of good performance. After this, I started to rack my brains to think of a way to increase my performance. I consulted other people, and studied marketing methods; frequently invited customers to our store to try out our products, and persuaded them to buy the products that I showed them; when I had time I would practice speaking in front of the mirror to raise the level of speech I used to express myself, so that I could interact with the customers better. Through my constant hard work I gradually got more customers. In order to stabilize the customer base, I had to keep up with the promotional sales activities at the company and make phone calls to invite customers to attend our workshops, where they could experience the effectiveness of our products for themselves, and at the same time I could introduce company products and our rewards system, sales promotions, etc., thereby attracting customers. I often would talk constantly for over an hour, not stopping until the customers were satisfied enough with buying the products. Looking down at the money in my hands that I had earned so easily made me feel so happy: Relying on my mouth to make money really was a lot more effortless compared to making money in my previous honest manual labor job, and I figured that so long as I continued working hard, then becoming a seller was just around the corner for me.
One time a girl with pimples on her face came into the store, and I thought to myself: This is an opportunity, I need to make this girl feel the need to appear beautiful and recommend to her some high-profit products, this way not only will I be able to make lots of money, but also I can turn her into my long-term customer, and when the time is right I will get her to bring me more customers, which will then increase my product sales volume, thereby naturally increasing my performance. I saw that the pimples on her face were not that serious, but in order to receive high profits, I said in an exaggerated tone: “Oh! If we don’t treat the pimples on your face right away they will grow deeper into your skin and damage it, and then there will be no products that can heal it, which will also affect the skin on your face in the future. It could get serious enough that your face will get bumpy and covered in zits. Not only will this affect your appearance, it will also have an effect on your future, that will be a problem!” When the girl heard this, she was scared out of her wits and immediately wanted me to give her any products that could help her. So I struck while the iron was hot, immediately taking out some products to show her, and she ended up leaving with over 1,000 yuan worth of products. I thought to myself: It seems that if I want to make money I can’t be that honest, and that I must take a customer’s weak points and exaggerate them based on their own preferences, because that’s what it takes to make them willing to buy our products. After that, I learned how to use different methods on different types of customers in order to sell our products, and as a result my performance at the company grew more and more.
I worked hard for four years, eventually being promoted to the level of seller, but it was not easy to hold on to this position. According to the company’s unwritten rules: Our performance is based solely on orders, the higher our performance, the higher our wages, and the higher our rank, the more rewards we will receive. In order to reach these targets and meet our performances as sellers, we used a rewards method to encourage beauty consultants to order products. Sometimes when beauty consultants didn’t place orders, we had to use our own money to purchase products so that we would pass in our performances. This would overstock many of our products, and after a long period of not being sold, these products would expire. In order to maintain our performance, we would discount these soon-to-be-expired products to sell to customers. One time, a colleague of mine sold a customer a product that was about to expire, and afterward the customer’s face turned red, like a blossoming flower. This annoyed the customer and they came looking for my colleague to make trouble for them, who was so scared that they didn’t know what to do. After talking it over, they ended up compensating the customer, which finally put an end to the ordeal. When this happened, I thought about how each month, in order to meet my own performance, I too would sell overstocked products that were about to expire, and how these soon-to-be-expired products had no company guarantees, so if by chance a customer developed a skin problem after using one of these products and came looking for me wanting to file a lawsuit, what was I to do? This made me feel more and more uncomfortable, it made me scared enough that my heart started racing, and I told myself that from now on I could no longer sell products that were about to expire. But then I thought about it some more: If I don’t sell out all the products then my performance will not pass, and then I won’t have my qualifications to be a seller, and before I know it I’ll be demoted to an ordinary beauty consultant. This would mean that the dream I had worked toward for so long of getting rich would just become a pie in the sky, and all the hard work I put in for so many years would be for nothing! As I thought about the past and the future I realized that in order to keep my qualifications to be a seller then I wouldn’t be able to change that much. If others could do it why not me? So, I kept going along with this unwritten business rule.
In 2012 a friend of mine got me into believing in Almighty God, and since then I have often read the word of God, prayed to God and fellowshiped together with brothers and sisters. During fellowships, brothers and sisters all openly speak from the heart, discussing what they know and have experienced from the word of God, and I really enjoy listening to them. One day, I read God’s word saying: “You ought to know that God likes those who are honest. In substance, 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” (“Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through God’s words I discovered that God is faithful and that He likes honest people. God also asks all of us to be honest people, to not tell lies, to not cheat others. I thought about all the dishonest words I’d used every day to cheat customers as I conducted my business and tried to make a profit, one that I gained by cheating the trust of my customers. I had used dishonest methods to make money. These were all expressions of dishonesty. If I kept going in this way, how could God like me? Now I believe in God I must be like my brothers and sisters and practice being an honest person and speak the truth. This is how I will be able to make God happy and obtain His approval.
But in real life, when facing profits, practicing being an honest person really wasn’t as easy as I imagined it would be. One day a customer came to me with a list of 7,000 yuan worth of makeup products that she wanted. I looked at the list and saw that we didn’t have all of the products that she wanted in our store, so I wondered what I should do. Should I tell her the truth, or … I felt an intense battle raging in my heart: I am now a believer in God, to tell a lie is to not fit with God’s will, I cannot go on cheating people like I did before; but if I tell the truth to this customer then it goes without saying that I won’t be able to make a sale with her this time, and perhaps she won’t come back next time, in which case I would no longer have an opportunity to make money from her. Alas, to tell a lie is to not fit with God’s will, but to not tell a lie is the same as letting go of over two thousand yuan that was about to fall into my hands, which, if my coworkers found out, they would surely laugh at me for, so I might as well do it this time, and then next time I won’t do it. So then I went over to the customer and said: “I am a skincare specialist, if you take my advice and use the products I recommend then I guarantee that your skin will get better.” I relied on my silver tongue, speaking with the customer for over an hour until she was finally willing to buy the products that I recommended. So I gathered together a random collection of 7,000 yuan worth of high grade products to give to her. After she left I looked down at the money in my hands but I didn’t feel the least bit happy. I felt very ashamed because I had not practiced being an honest person as God requires. After several days the customer gave me a call out of the blue asking to return the products. She said that she didn’t feel comfortable using the products that I had put together for her. I tried everything I could do to persuade her, but her mind could not be changed. After this incident, one customer after another wanted to return their products. As this series of unfortunate events fell upon me I started to mull things over: In order to profit myself I have always used dishonest words to cheat my customers into buying products. This doesn’t conform to the will of God, but I did it to hold on to my qualifications as a seller. In spite of being fully aware of the truth I deliberately went against it and continued using methods of deceit to conduct my business. God is pure and holy, how could He allow me to say one thing and do another? These events that have befallen me recently, for all of it, I only had myself to blame, I was reaping what I sowed. This was the dealing and discipline of God, and it was God saving me. But I didn’t understand, with profits in front of me, why I wanted to act according to the word of God but was unable to. All I could do was pray and seek before God.
Afterward I saw in the word of God where it says: “Once man has been contaminated by this cheating, it is the same as someone who gets involved in gambling and then becomes a gambler. In your unawareness, you give approval to your own cheating behavior and accept it. In unawareness, you take cheating to be a legitimate commercial behavior and the most useful means for your survival and livelihood; you think that by doing this you can quickly make a fortune. This is a process: In the beginning, people cannot accept this type of behavior and they look down on this behavior and practice. Then they begin to experiment with this behavior themselves, trying it out in their own way, and their hearts begin to gradually transform. What kind of transformation is this? It is an approval and admission of this trend, of this idea instilled in you by the social trend. Without realizing it, if you do not cheat people when doing business with them, you feel you are worse off; if you do not cheat people, you feel as though you have lost something. Unknowingly, this cheating becomes your very soul, your backbone, and an indispensable type of behavior that is a principle in your life. After man has accepted this behavior and this thinking, has this not brought about a change in his heart? Your heart has changed, so has your integrity changed as well? Has your humanity changed? Has your conscience changed? (Yes.) Yes, every part of this person undergoes a qualitative change, from their heart to their thoughts, to such an extent that they are transformed from the inside out. This change pulls you further and further away from God, and you become more and more closely aligned with Satan; you become more and more alike to Satan” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words uncovered the riddle in my heart, I understood that with my own benefits in front of me I could not put God’s words into practice, I could not live like the kind of honest man that God requires, and the reason was that I had been deeply corroded by the evil trends in society and had relied on the poison of Satan to live. “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” “Man will do anything to get rich.” “As a small mind makes no gentleman, a real man is not without venom.” Such poisons of Satan as these were already deeply rooted within me, which caused me to be unable to practice the truth despite being fully aware of it and to lose my innate sense of right and wrong when it comes to being a normal person, which made me grow further and further away from God. I thought about how I had blindly followed the societal trend of putting money above all else, and how I thought that being honest and willing to toil was not as good as using methods of deceit to make money quickly, which led me to change jobs and sell makeup products where from the start I pursued Satan’s life philosophy in a way where “it is better to have a slick tongue than to have strong arms and legs.” When conducting my business I relied on my silver tongue, always using dishonest words to deceive my customers, saying whatever it took to reach my goals. I told myself that this act of deception was normal, that everybody did it, that I would be at a disadvantage if I didn’t do it, which led me to disregard my conscience telling me what I should do and to not practice the truth even though I was aware of it. It was clear that the various poisons that Satan had instilled in me had become deeply rooted into my bone marrow and had become my life. In my heart everything that I wanted to do was to my own benefit, as long as something involved directly benefiting me then I started to go against my conscience and the truth to tell lies to people. All of these actions and behaviors of mine truly made God detest me, and it was plain to see that Satan’s rules for survival were in direct opposition to the truth, they resisted the truth, and they resisted God. God raised up this kind of environment to deal with me and discipline me so that I may change my corrupt disposition, get rid of my lying and deceiving ways, be able to live like an honest person, and no longer rely on Satan’s rules for survival to live. He roused my numb heart and enabled me to see clearly my ugly look of being corrupted by Satan. He made me able to despise myself and return to Him. God truly is righteous and holy! God is faithful. God likes honest people, and He blesses honest people. Only by pursuing being an honest person can we attain God’s salvation. Once I understood God’s intentions I prayed to Him to make a resolution: From now on I would no longer tell lies to deceive people, and I would no longer do things that go against my conscience. It was clear that the various poisons that Satan had instilled in me had become deeply rooted into my bone marrow and had become my life. In my heart everything that I wanted to do was to my own benefit, as long as something involved directly benefiting me then I started to go against my conscience and the truth to tell lies to people. All of these actions and behaviors of mine truly made God detest me, and it was plain to see that Satan’s rules for survival were in direct opposition to the truth, they resisted the truth, and they resisted God. God raised up this kind of environment to deal with me and discipline me so that I may change my corrupt disposition, get rid of my lying and deceiving ways, be able to live like an honest person, and no longer rely on Satan’s rules for survival to live. He roused my numb heart and enabled me to see clearly my ugly look of being corrupted by Satan. He made me able to despise myself and return to Him. God truly is righteous and holy! God is faithful. God likes honest people, and He blesses honest people. Only by pursuing being an honest person can we attain God’s salvation. Once I understood God’s intentions I prayed to Him to make a resolution: From now on I would no longer tell lies to deceive people, and I would no longer do things that go against my conscience.
One day a customer called saying that she wanted a case of VC products worth over 900 yuan, and I asked her to come to the store to pick it up. It wasn’t until she arrived that I realized we didn’t have the products that she wanted in stock, but I promised that if she waited a few days I would get the products and send them to her. After a few days she called again to ask me about the products and I thought to myself: When a customer asks about products I used to always sell them ones that were about to expire, but now I can no longer tell lies to deceive people. But then I also thought to myself: If I am unable to send these products to her quickly then it’s very likely that I will lose a customer, as well as the money! So what should I do? To send products that were about to expire would be deceiving, and God would not be happy. After hesitating for a while I prayed to God asking Him for guidance, to make me be able to practice the truth, and to make me no longer tell lies to customers. After praying I thought about God’s word where it says: “You ought to know that God likes those who are honest” (“Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “In all you do and all you say, be able to set your heart right and be righteous in your actions, and do not be led by your emotions, nor act according to your own will. These are principles by which believers in God must conduct themselves” (“How Is Your Relationship With God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Under the illumination and guidance of God’s words I came to understand God’s demands. He hopes that I can practice the truth and be an honest person, which is the principle that I ought to maintain as I conduct myself. I can feel God by my side examining my every move, and this time I will not disappoint God again, I must tell the truth to this customer. So, I gave the customer a call: “The VC products you asked for haven’t arrived yet, if you need them right away I have a case of VC at home that’s going to expire soon, I can give that to you at a discounted price, if you want them then tomorrow you can come to the shop to check them out.” The next day the customer came to check out the products, and she took them without saying another word. Since I betrayed my flesh and said the truth I felt very at peace and free from anxiety in my heart. After going through this incident I felt very moved in my heart, I saw that so long as I behaved according to God’s word, spoke with customers truthfully according to the facts, and conducted myself as an honest person then I could truly be happy, only then could I obtain true liberation and freedom! Thanks be to God!
After this I read God’s word where it says: “To have the speech and comportment of a normal human being is to speak coherently, saying ‘yes’ when you mean ‘yes,’ and ‘no’ when you mean ‘no.’ Stick to the facts and speak appropriately. Do not cheat, do not lie” (“Raising Caliber Is for the Sake of Receiving God’s Salvation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I also read the fellowship from the above, which said: “To conduct yourself as an honest person there are three principles: One, you must be a sincere person; two, do not resort to tricks; three, do not be treacherous. If you do these three things then you will be an honest person. To be a sincere person is to be upright and honest and to speak honestly and act sincerely, where one is one and two is two” (Sermons and Fellowship From the Above). The word of God and man’s fellowship showed me the path for how to be an honest man. Regardless of whether it is in our daily life or our work life or when we’re associating with other people, we need to always say what we mean and think and act as one, to not deceive others, to not tell lies, and to have one be one and two be two. These are the things that God demands people with normal humanity possess. So I made a resolution then and there, from that point forward, regardless of whether I was in the presence of brothers or sisters or my customers, I was going to live by relying on the word of God, practice being an upright and honest person and accept God’s observation.
One day I ran into a customer and she said to me: “Miss Wu, my skin is so dry, the products I’ve been using for a while haven’t changed anything, I heard that the products you put together are better at improving skin, can you please give me a set of high quality products? Money is not an issue.” When I heard her say this I thought to myself: A set of high quality products priced at 4,000-5,000 yuan could make me a profit of over 1,000 yuan, but if I put together a set of products suitable for her skin it would just cost 1,000-something yuan, and I would just make a profit of around 400 yuan. Just when I wasn’t sure which choice I should make I thought about God’s word where it says: “Today, you are able to satisfy God, in which you are attentive to the smallest detail, you satisfy God in all things, you have a heart that truly loves God, you give your true heart to God, and although there are some things that you cannot understand, you can come before God to rectify your intentions and seek God’s will, and you do everything needed to satisfy God” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “I am righteous, I am trustworthy, and I am the God who examines the innermost heart of man! I will reveal at once who is true and who is false” (“Chapter 44” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). That’s right! God is a righteous and faithful God, He is also a God who examines the innermost heart of man. I must act in accordance with God’s will, I can no longer do things that humiliate God’s name in order to protect my own interests. So, I said to her: “The highest quality products are not suitable for your skin, they will add a greater burden to it, the set that is most suitable to your skin that I would recommend is just over 1,000 yuan, it will start repairing your skin from the foundation, which will gradually make your skin better.” Upon acting in this way my mind felt much more at ease. The customer said to me: “Miss Wu, you’re such a good person, what you say is so honest, I will introduce other customers to come use your products.” I smiled, saying: “It’s not that I’m a good person, it’s just that we should act as honest people, only then will we have peace of mind.” Before long the customer returned to get the products, and she also brought some of her friends to introduce to me, and I put together products for them that were suitable for their skin. Gradually but surely, most customers put more and more trust in me, they all brought cash to me asking me to order them products, so there was no pressure for me to come up with the funds for these transactions. In this way I conducted myself as an honest person, one who truly acted in accordance with God’s demands, and business got better and better. I knew that this was God’s blessing, not only did God bestow material things upon me, more importantly He also taught me how to conduct myself. In the real world it truly is great to conduct myself as an honest person according to the word of God!
I thought back on my past, how I followed the evil trends of Satan for my personal interests and pursued Satan’s life philosophy in a way where “it is better to have a slick tongue than to have strong arms and legs.” I thought that I couldn’t get things done without telling lies, that without telling lies I couldn’t make a lot of money, and as a result I was toyed with by Satan until I lived as neither a man or a beast! I had changed more and more into someone without humanity, someone without a conscience and without reason, I had lost the integrity and dignity that one ought to have when conducting oneself. God was not pleased, I was not trustworthy as a person, every day I was behaving like a thief, in fear that any day I could get in trouble and pulled into a lawsuit by someone. My life was very strenuous and tiring. But God knew that I had been deeply corrupted by Satan, and in order to save me He put me in an environment that would discipline me, with words to lead me and guide me, so that I would be able to see clearly the ugliness of my own corruption, so that I could despise myself and turn toward Him, and practice the truth as an honest person. When I acted in accordance with God’s words, when I conducted myself as an honest person, when I played my part as I conducted my business, I received God’s guidance and blessing. In this experience I saw that it was God’s intention to save me and lead me to the right path of life. I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for this kind of love and salvation that God has given me. From this point forward, I will certainly conduct myself as an honest person in accordance with the word of God, living as a true person in order to satisfy God and testify to God！