By Lin Qiang
I was born in a poor family. Since I could remember things, I had led a life of being discriminated against. So, I promised myself: In the future, I must make a lot of money and live a rich life above others, to let people look at me with new eyes.
After my marriage, I set up a barbershop. At that time, I charged three yuan for a haircut. Every day, I worked so hard that I had a sore back but could only earn tens of yuan at the very most, which could just maintain my family’s expenses. By the end of the year, I couldn’t save any money. I got anxious: If this continues, when can I live a good life above others? As the times progressed, people began to pay attention to food, drink, clothes, and beauty, especially women who sought fashion. Therefore, my eyes were fixed upon perming or straightening or dyeing the hair. I learned that a bottle of hair dye which only cost several or over ten yuan could be used to do the hair for five or six persons, and the price of perming and straightening the hair was from eighty to one hundred yuan at a time. When I saw the fraternity were all making money in this way, I was quite excited. Soon, I hung a sign with the words “Hair Perming, Hair Straightening, and Hair Dyeing.” As might be expected, not a few image-conscious people were attracted to my shop. I seized people’s psychology of liking to hear the flattery, and soon mastered an ability—speaking from both sides of my mouth. I also learned how to observe speech and behavior and size people up. As long as customers entered my shop, I could determine whether they were rich or not just by looking them up and down. And as long as I had a short conversation with them, I could determine whether they were yes-men or difficult ones. Then, I immediately did my own calculation in my heart: The rich care about their tastes but don’t care about the price, so I will try my best to recommend the high-priced service; to the image-conscious people who are not quite rich, I will recommend the low-priced service in order not to let them get away; the yes-men are easy targets, while the difficult people need to be dealt with carefully so as to avoid future trouble.
Once a customer arrived. I took a glance, finding that she was a lady in her fifties who dressed in fashion. By my experience, I knew she was a wealthy woman. So, I came up at once with a big smile and said: “Madam, have a seat, please. How would you like to do your hair?” “I just want to have it cut.” She replied. Hearing that, I thought: Though the charge for a haircut has increased, it only is seven yuan; why don’t I try to make more money from her? So, I pretended to stroke her hair, and then looked at her face and said with a smile: “Sister, you look so refined, but your hair is too soft; if you just have it cut, it will lie flat on your scalp, which looks neither beautiful nor matches for your face. If you have a perm, it will be fluffy and look more beautiful.” “Really? I have never permed my hair. I have no idea whether it will look nice.” She said. “I have seen and made many hairstyles. It must be beautiful….” I replied, and soon I convinced her. After everything was done, she happily paid eighty yuan and then left. I thought: It’s so easy to make money. Just speaking some more words, I can make more money. If I just do according to her original intention, I can only make seven yuan, while now I make eighty yuan at a time, ten times more than it.
Just like this, whoever came to my shop, I would try every possible means to earn money from them. Sometimes, some people just came accompanying their partners who have a haircut, but by my glib tongue I would persuade them to consume willingly. One day, a young girl and her elder sister came to my shop. But only her sister would have straight hair. I thought: Though two sisters come here, only one does her hair and I can only make one hundred yuan. If they two do their hair, won’t I make one hundred more? Then, I tried to persuade the girl: “Beauty, would you like to have your hair set?” “No, Thanks.” The sister refused at once. Seeing that she had no intention at all, I used a psychological tactic, saying, “Beauty, you are not quite high, and have a round face. If you have your hair straightened and dyed, you will be more charming and must look more beautiful.” But she still had no response. I knew women have a weakness that they don’t like others to say they are not beautiful, so I intentionally said to her: “Ah! Beauty, how nice your skin is! Your face is so fair and tender. But the only pity is that your hair is too messy. It really doesn’t look nice unless you have it set. As we all know, people first judge someone by the hair. So long as their hairstyles look good, they are sure to be beautiful.” “I don’t want to do it today. If my sister’s hair looks good after being done, I’ll come tomorrow.” She seemed a little swayed. Seeing the time is coming, I said: “It takes two hours to do your sister’s hair, and you have to wait in vain. Why don’t you do it together with your sister?” Finally, she also had her hair done. At the time, I just thought: “All businessmen are like this; as the saying goes, ‘None of the businessmen is honest.’ A businessman who doesn’t know to make money is a fool. This is the consistent law of the businessmen.”
Afterward, I was fortunate to accept the gospel of the kingdom of God. Once, I saw some God’s words in my spiritual devotion: “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.” God’s word is clear: God is faithful, so God’s words and actions are unquestionable, and He likes honest men. Honest men’s speeches and actions are conscientious; they act straightforwardly and don’t cheat others before or behind them. However, when I did my business, I made money by fair speeches and playing politics, and all I did couldn’t be laid bare. This was obviously not an honest person’s deeds, but was displaying the treachery; this was despised by God. From God’s word, I knew that God wants us to be honest men. But I thought: Now, the business field is like the battlefield. In such a competitive society, if I practice to be an honest person and don’t play tricks, I must make little money, and my shop will be shut down sooner or later. I was on the horns of a dilemma.
One day, a customer said to me the moment she came in: “I have thin hair. I have no idea how to make it look better.” “To firm the roots of your hair up. If it is fluffy, it will look beautiful.” I said. “OK, do it as you said.” She agreed readily. During the process of doing her hair, I thought: To firm the roots of her hair up can only bring me tens of yuan. If I persuade her to have her hair straightened, won’t I make some more? At that time, I clearly knew her hair was unsuitable for straightening, but in the face of interest, I still persuaded her: “If you just have your root firmed, the ends will be too light and messy. You’d better have it straightened.” She agreed. Two hours later, when I excitedly watched my work, I was dumbfounded instantly: The customer’s hair seemed to scorch, becoming curly and completely burnt. I was terribly afraid, thinking: What should I do? In order to make several tens of yuan, I ruined her hair. Alas! I might be scolded and asked for reparation. What should I do? I began to shuffle off my responsibility and said: “Ah, your hair is really not good. It becomes curly when being soaked in the hair dye. Well, I won’t charge you. How about cutting it off?” I had thought that she would complain against me, but unexpectedly, she agreed. Though this matter was a false alarm, I didn’t feel secure and peaceful in a long period, living in reproach and repentance. I knew it was a silent judgment from God. As a believer in God, I went against God’s demand, how could I feel secure?
Later on, I saw God’s words say: “You will be able to obey all that comes from God, and all of your actions, whether done in public or in private, will be presentable to God. If you are an honest person, and practice the truth in all things, then you will be perfected. Those deceitful people who act one way in front of others and another way behind their backs are not willing to be perfected. They are all sons of perdition and destruction; they belong not to God but to Satan. They are not the kind of people chosen by God! If your actions and behavior cannot be presented before God or looked upon by the Spirit of God, this is proof that there is something wrong with you. Only if you accept the judgment and chastisement of God, and care about the transformation of your disposition, will you be able to set foot upon the path to being perfected.” “Many people would rather be condemned to hell than speak and act honestly. Little wonder that I have other treatment in store for those who are dishonest.” From God’s word, I saw God’s righteous and majestic disposition: God likes and saves the honest men, while God hates the deceitful people, whose final ends will be destruction. Thinking about my words and actions, I was a true deceitful person who acts one way in public and another in private. In order to make more money, I didn’t consider whether the customer’s hair was suitable for straightening or perming, just trying my utmost to persuade her to straighten or perm it. And in order to get more money from them, I damaged the customer’s hair, profiting at others’ expense, without any humanity. Facing God’s judgment and dealing, I sank into the reproach and refinement, and felt that I was unworthy to be called a Christian, and that if I didn’t change myself, I would certainly be punished by God. This time, God reminded me by the matter that I damaged the customer’s hair; this is God’s salvation for me. After knowing God’s will, I determined my will before God to be an honest person.
To Be Continued …
Part Two: Being an Honest Person in Business, I Saw God’s Blessing (II)