By Zhao Lei, France
In life, much of the time people can’t live without drink: When someone seeks help from others, he needs to treat them and drink with them; when subordinates dine their superiors, they need to drink; when the friends and relatives maintain their relationships with each other, they also depend on drinking. Drink almost becomes the necessity of our life and work.
As the saying goes, “If a man doesn’t drink, his life will be in vain,” and “If you don’t drink, you won’t have any future prospects.” After growing up, I went to town to work. Gradually, I discovered: If one wants to seek help from others, he has to treat them to dinner and give them gifts; if they are satiated with food and drink, then they will act in his favor.
My uncle was the manager of a company. Once, in order to ask him to help me find a job, my parents and I together went to his house to visit him. When we were eating, he took out the drink and asked me to have a drink with him. In fact, I didn’t drink at all and as soon as I smelled alcohol, I would feel uncomfortable. Seeing I just drank a little, he persuaded me, “You’ll come out to work, but how could it be okay that you don’t drink? When you go out on business in the future, if you don’t drink, that means you don’t give others any face. Then you’ll hurt their feelings. You have to practice drinking later. Think about it: Don’t I get all I have today depending on maintaining my relationships with others by drinking?” Under his persuasion, I reluctantly finished off the cup.
Afterward, I worked in a machinery company. Not long after, our manager invited us to dinner. A colleague of mine told me, “Our manager especially enjoys drinking, so this is a good chance to prove ourselves.” Hearing this, I thought to myself, “My own capacity is pretty limited. But if I don’t drink with the manager, what will he think of me?” When we were going to have meals, hardly had everyone sat down when a colleague poured out a mug full of liquor for every single one of us. Another colleague said to me quietly, “Today it’s our manager’s treat. So we have to give him face. If you can’t drink, then you just sip it.” Later, everyone drank a toast to our manager. Because I didn’t drink, our manager first drank a toast to me, which made me feel very embarrassed. I was afraid that if I didn’t drink, he would be unhappy, so I had no choice but to reluctantly take a sip.
Next, at this moment a colleague came to clink the glass with me; the next moment another colleague came to do it. After they all came to clinked glasses with me, I started to have a headache and my cheeks burned badly. With difficulty, I finished off the liquor in my cup. At that moment, a colleague was again going to pour me liquor. I had my hands over my cup and resolutely refused to drink. But another colleague said, “Everyone drinks; how could you not drink? If a man doesn’t drink, his life will be in vain. If we’re great friends, let’s swallow the drink in one gulp. If we’re on speaking terms, we just take a sip of the drink. If we have a deep friendship, we cannot drink enough. Drink it or not; it’s all up to you.” After finishing his words, he poured me beer into my cup. At that moment I couldn’t refuse anymore. However, no sooner had I taken a sip than I felt sick in my stomach. I forced myself to hold back and ran to the bathroom. After retching several times, I didn’t throw up anything. Then I stuck my finger down my throat and vomited. I threw my guts up, which made me miserable. When I went out of the bathroom, I saw that my colleagues were all drunk but were still exchanging toasts. I thought to myself, “In order to curry favor with the manager, these people still persevere in drinking even if that will do harm to their bodies. I don’t drink; will the manager think that I have no prospect of developing in the future?” Hence, I forced myself to finish off all the beer in my cup …
Soon, the squad leader of our department made mistakes in his work, causing our company to pay a compensation of more than one hundred thousand yuan to the client. So our company intended to fire him. But because he often drank with the manager, his relationship with the manager was very good. Therefore, the manager helped him solve this thing and our company just made an adjustment in his job. I thought to myself, “He had made such a big mistake, but the manager even helped him solve it. The ‘relationship’ is indeed too important. It looks like I have to properly practice my drinking capacity. If I don’t drink, I won’t have any future prospects!” In order to improve my drinking capacity, after work, I purposely went to the supermarket and bought a case of red wine, intending to take some of it every night. I thought, “After I practice in this way for a period of time, my drinking capacity will surely improve. Then when I drink again, I won’t suffer a lot.”
One time, a colleague called to invite me to go out for dinner. He said the manager was also there and asked me to go there quickly. At the drinking-table, I voluntarily toasted to the manager and he nodded with contentment. Then I drank a pony of liquor. Though my stomach was upset, I was very glad inside. Later, we toasted time and again, and I didn’t know how much I had drunk. After saying good-bye to them, I had not ridden much farther before I vomited uncontrollably. On my way home, I vomited again. After coming back home, I vomited once again. My stomach felt as if it were emptied and I felt very dizzy. I threw myself on my bed, tossed and turned but I couldn’t fall asleep, thinking, “I’m still young. If I continue to drink, will my health break down? I treat my body as a game in which I maintain the relationships with others by drinking. It is really nothing but suffering! If I don’t follow them to drink, do I really not have the future to speak of?”
Until later, I accepted God’s gospel and saw God’s words say, “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.” “For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist.”
Through reading God’s words, I came to have an awakening and realized that I was always influenced and affected by these erroneous ways of thinking, “If a man doesn’t drink, his life will be in vain,” and “If you don’t drink, you won’t have any future prospects,” thinking that drinking was the vital bonds of maintaining the relationships with others. So, in order to have a wonderful future, I wanted to use drinking to please my manager so that he could give me a pay raise and promote me; instead, I didn’t think how to work hard to improve my level. In order to build a good relationship with my colleagues, relatives and friends, I forced myself to drink, torturing myself to the point of being totally exhausted. I knew what drinking brought to me was nothing but suffering and really wanted to get rid of it, but I was afraid that other people would leave me out in the cold and look down on me. Now, I came to know that all my pain was because I was fettered by Satan’s thoughts and views, causing me to live in a way that became more and more exhausting. I thought: So many people around me drink in order to butter up their leaders, or discuss business with customers or not hurt their friends’ feelings at the cost of getting gastrorrhagia. Moreover, they say things like, “If we have a deep affection for each other, we’d rather drink to cause stomach bleeding.” “We would rather hurt our bodies than hurt our feelings,” and “We’d rather drink to cause perforation of stomach than break our relationship.” All of these even more made me see clearly that the way of living that Satan “bestows” on us is evil and only harms and ruins us. God’s words allowed me to set my mind: I’ll no longer torture myself relying on previous Satan’s life view.
Once, the staff of our company were on holidays. The squad leader of our department called me, saying, “Today it’s so nice that all the members of our squad have a day off. We all come out to have a drink or two. Others all have come and you’re the last one. Get here as soon as you can. We’re waiting for you.” Hearing these words, I thought inside, “I have decided I’ll drink no more. But if I say directly I’m not going, the squad leader will surely be unhappy, feeling that I don’t give him any face; if I follow them, then I’ll endure the painful taste after drinking. What should I do?” Then, I prayed to God in my heart, begging Him to give me confidence and strength so that I could no longer live by my former Satan’s thinking and point of view. Then, I said to him, “I’m a little tired of working for these days, so I want to have a good rest. Today I’m not going.” Hearing my words, he was disappointed and said, “Alright. But next time when we have a drink, you must come!”
After hanging up, I still felt uncomforted and unsure, thinking inside, “Though today I didn’t go drinking, they will ask me to go drinking the next time. If I always refuse to go with them, will they think I don’t give them any face? What will they think of me? If I go, then I’ll be still unable to break away from the pain of drinking.” Therefore, I prayed to God, saying my thoughts within and asked Him to guide me. Afterward, I saw these words of God, “If you don’t have a proper relationship with God, no matter what you do to maintain your relationships with other people, no matter how hard you work or how much energy you exert, it will still belong to a human philosophy of life. You are maintaining your position among people through a human perspective and a human philosophy so that they will praise you. You do not establish proper relationships with people according to the word of God. If you don’t focus on your relationships with people but maintain a proper relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, very naturally, your relationships with all people will become proper. … A proper relationship between people is established on the foundation of giving their heart to God; it is not achieved through human effort. Without God, relationships between people are merely relationships of the flesh. They are not proper, but are indulgent of lust—they are relationships that God detests, that He loathes.” God’s words made me understand: The relationship between people is established on the foundation of practicing God’s words; it cannot be maintained through drinking. In the past, I always wanted to use drinking to maintain my relationships with my colleagues and manager so that I could be given a pay raise and be promoted. However, the more I maintained them, the more tired I became. I not only didn’t be promoted but suffered a lot. Now I have believed in God, so I should look at things according to God’s words and establish a proper relationship with God. Besides, the relationships between people are not maintained through drinking. If their relationships with each other are good, even if they don’t drink together, their relationships will be still good; if not, even if they drink, their relationships will be still bad. No matter how others see me, my everything is all in God’s hands and cannot be decided by anyone. After I understood God’s will, my heart quieted.
The next day, when I went to work, everyone greeted me as usual and the squad leader also wasn’t angry with me. Everything went as usual. I felt very happy within, feeling that after I practiced according to God’s words, the result was not how I had imagined it—others would look down on me. After I experienced in this way several times, others no longer asked me to drink with them.
One time, after work, the squad leader went to drink again and had a car accident after drinking, thus needing to convalesce for two months. The manager said to me, “The squad leader always went out to drink and problems always emerged during his work. Moreover, sometimes, when he worked overtime, he still went out to drink. So it was only a matter of time before he had an accident. I see you don’t think much of drinking and that you’re down-to-earth in doing things. I want to make you the squad leader. Work hard in the future and be careful after work on your way home. Don’t meet with an accident.” I nodded my head repeatedly. I recalled that I didn’t drink with the manager for almost half a year. But he still asked me to replace the squad leader’s work. This made me truly experience that, though one could receive temporary benefits through giving dinners or sending gifts to others, if he didn’t work honestly, as time went on, he would not receive praise from people around him. I also saw that, after believing in God, I practiced according to His words, not currying favor with my leader with intention but being an honest person; in this way, not only did my heart settle but others also felt at ease.
God’s words say, “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk the bright, right road through life; only through God can you know the meaning of life, only through God can you live out a real life, possess the truth, know the truth, and only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer: This is determined by the essence of God.” At that moment, I even more experienced that only God has true love toward man. Before, although I was unwilling to follow the evil trends, because I didn’t understand the truth and was controlled by my face and future, I still unknowingly followed the great masses, being racked with pain. It was the revelation and guidance of God’s words that allowed me to rid myself of the restraints and bonds of Satan’s erroneous thoughts. Now I resisted the influence of my face and future and lived before God; the manager not only didn’t look down on me because I didn’t follow them to drink, but actually trusted and cultivated me, which made me truly feel God’s grace and blessings for me!
Now I often read God’s words and share the understanding of God’s words with my brothers and sisters, thus understanding many truths so that I stay far away from those evil trends and understand what is meant by true happiness. Now, I’m no longer distressed because of the interpersonal relationships; instead, I look at things according to God’s words and follow His guidance and sovereignty, thus obtaining true release and freedom. I give great thanks to God for saving me!
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