To Be an Honest Person: A Christian’s Choice in the Workplace

By Yan Susu

God said, “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). “God has the substance of faithfulness, and so His word can always be trusted. Furthermore, His actions are faultless and unquestionable. This is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him.” God’s words told us that He likes honest people. So, from when I began believing in God, I had been practicing to be an honest person. Over these years, whether in interacting with my brothers and sisters or with my friends and colleagues, I always practiced speaking the truth. Because of this, I believed that I had walked on the path of being an honest person. However, a recent incident completely overturned my opinion and made me realize that being an honest person was not as simple as I had imagined.

think in the

Yesterday afternoon, when I was preparing to leave my office, my partner gave me a document she had arranged well to check. After glancing over it for the first time, I found the thinking was not very clear and there were some problems with it. And then when I read it the second time carefully, I found that there really existed several problems, yet I was not so sure about them. I then discussed with my partner, and ultimately we determined the direction of modification.

Today, as soon as I came in my office, my partner told me that she had finished modifying the document and asked me to check it again. Not having opened it up, I thought: The overall quality of her last document, after being discussed how to modify, was improved a lot. This one must be good too. So I clicked on the document with confidence and began reading it carefully. As I read, I suddenly discovered a very serious problem which we didn’t notice yesterday. And this problem seemed particularly obvious after being modified by my partner in accordance with suggestions we discussed yesterday. Thinking of how hard it would be to arrange a document, I hurried to search for some relevant reference to compare them with this document, lest I would do wrong because of my ignorance. At last, I found the part that I had thought went wrong turned out to be correct, but since the emphasis of this document was not placed on this part, and if it remained, the document would be superfluous. But the trouble was, these sections had already been modified as the essence of the document; so, if it were deleted, the document would be off-base. At this moment, I was dumbfounded. My heart churned at once: What shall I tell my partner? Yesterday, I had told her there was nothing serious in her document and it would be ok with some modifications; but today, if I tell her there is such a serious problem, will she possibly blame me for that? How would she see me and think of me?

The more I thought, the more I felt perplexed. In one moment, I didn’t know what to do. So I left a message to a sister on the Skype, seeking for her help. Later, she sent me back a sentence, “If there is something amiss in her document, you should tell the truth rather than maintain your own face. If you obviously know the document have problems but still turn a blind eye to them, it will harm the interests of your company.” The sister’s words touched a sore spot of mine. I couldn’t help but think of the similar thing happened two months ago. I obviously saw something wrong with the document of my partner, but in order to maintain the relationship with her, I betrayed the principle and didn’t point out them. Fortunately, just as she was about to send the document to a client, another colleague found the problem and stop her in time, which avoided a terrible blunder. Since then, that issue casted a persistent shadow over my heart.

At a distance of two months, the similar story played out again. How should I put into practice this time? As a Christian, I was very clear that I should point out the problems bravely, even if I would offend my partner by doing so, or even if this document must be killed and rearranged, I shouldn’t go against my own good conscience. However, I just couldn’t cross over this threshold at the thought of how it would make me lose face. I was afraid that my partner would think me abnormal because yesterday I said her document had no problems but now I changed my words. In reality, it was a quite normal thing. All people can make mistakes, and anyway, my partner wouldn’t blame me for this. But I was subject to the control and bondage of my vanity so much that I could hardly open my mouth. Having weighed again and again, I decided to search some references to modify this document by myself. But somehow, in the course of modifying, I got into trouble everywhere: I couldn’t find proper material, or I simply had no train of thought, or else I was so sleepy that my eyelids drooped.

I then stopped immediately and pray to God, pouring out to Him what I was thinking. Afterward I thought of God’s word, “First, for the sake of your fate, you ought to seek to be approved by God. That is to say, since you acknowledge that you are numbered among the house of God, you ought then to bring peace of mind to God and satisfy Him in all things. In other words, you must be principled in your actions and conform to the truth in them. If this lies beyond your ability, then you shall be detested and rejected by God and spurned by every man. Once you have fallen into such a predicament, you cannot then be counted among the house of God. This is what it is meant by not being approved by God.” “Behaving like a normal human being is to speak with coherence. Yes means yes, no means no. Be true to the facts and speak appropriately. Don’t cheat, don’t lie.

pray to God

I then also remembered what a preacher fellowshiped in a meeting, the fourth article of the four principles of being an honest person, saying, “We must be equipped with the reality of doing things according to principles and the truth, doing things in a just and honorable way, calling a spade a spade, and genuinely being a human being.” Just like when I was confronted with the incident, apart from whether the matter was right or not, what I revealed was deceitful disposition and doing thing without principles at all. Originally, the relationship between partners was to help and complement with each other, for example: A document must be written, modified and examined through different people who are concerned, this is a normal working procedure. I helped my partner check the document and found some problems, but I didn’t have a gleam of my personal vendetta to her; instead, I only wanted to do the work well. My intention was so reasonable, but why was it so difficult for me to put into practice? Through reflecting, I thought of the fact that when we both modified documents together before, we didn’t work well with each other due to some disagreement. After that, I was out for writing documents for months. So this document was a new cooperation between us after my return. I recollected that she ever said I was holier-than-thou and spoke to her with a tone, which looked superior to everyone else. I did entertain some apprehensions of our mutual relationship, and thus after coming back to our company this time, I told myself to get along well with my partner. And so, when facing the similar situation, in order to maintain the relationship with my partner, I dared not say the truth even though I had obviously found the problems in her document. This was not the behavior of an honest person. An honest person doesn’t lie or deceive others in his speech or his work. But I didn’t possess at all.

Through the enlightenment of God’s word, I saw that I didn’t act according to the principle, especially when something affected my face, I couldn’t even speak a single word of honesty. Instantly, I felt rather frustrated and didn’t know how to do it.

In my sorrow, I read a section of God’s word from the gospel web, which said, “Honesty means to give your heart to God; never to play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never hiding the truth; never to do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and never to do that which merely ingratiates yourself with God. In short, to be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. … If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, and if you are very unwilling to lay bare your secrets—that is to say, your difficulties—before others so as to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are one who will not receive salvation easily and who will not easily emerge from the darkness. If seeking the way of the truth pleases you well, then you are one who dwells always in the light.

After reading this passage, I was somehow aware that previously I thought being an honest meant nothing more than telling no lies outwardly but never found that in daily life when it involved my own face, status and interests, speaking a true word was so hard for me, even as if someone would ask for my life. This section of God’s word clearly told us the contents related to being an honest person and what the outcome for people who didn’t practice to be an honest person. God’s requirement for us was not hard to reach indeed. An honest person does all things by the principle of “one is just one and two is just two”, and he will feel relaxed if he acts according to this principle. Take the difficulty I encountered as an example, the problems were problems obviously but I said there were no problems, didn’t it harm the interests of our company? Additionally, I didn’t find the problem at first, which was because of my professional inadequacy. I just needed to admit it bravely. That was not a shame. Then why was it that what was easy for others to put into practice but was rather complicated and difficult for me? I thought it was all because I was too vain to practice being an honest person. Contrasting my behavior with the fact, I felt ashamed that I was simply not an honest person but a genuinely crafty person instead.

After receiving these benefits, I prayed to God and promised that I was willing to give myself up to God and act according to God’s word. Thank God for His grace. When I told my partner about the problems in her document, she didn’t show the attitude of refusal to my advice, but instead, she told me how she was thinking when she wrote the document, and the impurities within her and the shortcomings she had. Hearing her saying this, I was much touchedshe was striving hard to write her documents well.

This matter is trivial and has already passed away, but it is impressive and has brought me to deep reflection …

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