Tearing Off the Mask, I Returned to a Peaceful Home

By Liangxin

When I finished college and began to make my way in society, I was a pure, innocent boy who was full of dreams about the future. I wanted to be an honest good person and lead a simple and peaceful life.

However, as time went by, I soon found the distance between my dreams and the realities in my struggle for a peaceful life. At first, I just wanted to be an honest person and do my job steadily, yet my inability to flatter and cheat brought me nothing but constant failures and cold shoulders. I was always oppressed and cheated by my bosses and had to degrade myself for the sake of eking a living. The cold splash of reality taught me a lesson: Being honest wouldn’t help me survive in this world. Gradually, without me realizing it, views like “Speak out of both sides of one’s mouth,” “A murderer must pay with his life, but he who coaxes one to death does not need to pay with life,” “A lie will become the truth if it’s repeated ten thousand times,” “How much is conscience worth?” planted themselves in my heart and became my code of conduct. Despite being unwilling, I had no choice but to go with the tide and force myself to embrace these views in order to have a place in society.

When conducting business, I overstated the quality of the products in order to gain high profits. At first, my conscience felt guilty when I did so, but later I gradually mastered the art of deception, to the point where I could cheat others without giving anything away. In order to have good relationships with the clients, I would often take them out eating and drinking, and learned how to butter up and fawn on those who benefited me. In the jungle of business, I acted by the rules “Nature selects, the fittest survives” and “The strong prey on the weak,” using both the carrot and the stick to defeat my fellow man. I racked my brains in order to maintain complicated personal relationships, ending up physically and mentally exhausted. … The heartlessness of people and the indifference of society, coupled with the cruel relationships of interests among people, turned everyone into smiling tigers who were all hypocritical with each other and used each other. Somehow and somewhere, simplicity and innocence vanished from my face, replaced by hypocritical and forced smiles. I flitted back and forth dealing with all kinds of people, saying things I didn’t mean and living under a facade, using lies to weave the invisible web to pursue fame and gain.

Later, I obtained fame, gain and money and was no longer that shabby boy who was always so obsequious and servile. However, material comfort, others’ admiration and flattery, and my success in business failed to bring me a shred of happiness. Instead, I was often engulfed by an unexplainable feeling of loneliness and emptiness.

One day, I stood on the top of the steps at the edge of a plaza, watching visitors coming and going, so bustling and lively. In the middle of the plaza was a stage, on which there were actors playing an ancient story. With a weary expression which couldn’t even be covered by the heavy make-up, they were singing hollow words, telling a story which had been repeated time and again. All of a sudden, a kind of indescribable emptiness welled up in me and I recalled these lyrics from a popular song “Sorrowful Actor”: “I can’t always do as I like; no one cares about me. I have to do my best to play for a living. … They each have to wear masks to play against their will.” Looking at the actors wearing cosmetics, I couldn’t help but think of all the ups and downs I had experienced over these years, and how I had spent every day cheating and scheming against others—what had I lost? And what had I gained? I had lost the purity I used to have in the beginning, the longing for light and being a good person, as well as my dignity and integrity. Yet what I had gained was nothing but condemnation of my conscience, physical and mental exhaustion, indescribable emptiness, and spiritual unrest caused by my degeneration. “Could it be that life is just about cheating and fighting against each other?” I wondered. “Ugh! Living like this is so painful!” I raised a hand and touched my face, which was no longer healthily pink but became stiff because I had flattered too much and said too many insincere words—it was as if I was wearing a mask. Then I came to realize that the old story of the role played by the actor was just like my story, while I was just like the actor. People of the past all lived wearing a mask, and for the various things they yearned for, such as money, fame, fortune, status or career, they fought each other, deceived each other, and even killed each other. Thousands of years have passed, and today we are still repeating the same story as them, over and over again. What on earth is the value and meaning of such a false life? Exhausted from playing this ancient story, I heaved a deep sigh—where would I go after the curtain dropped?

In the midst of my confusion, someone shared with me God’s kingdom gospel. I saw God’s words saying: “The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply; at the same time, He is fed up with these people who lack consciousness, as He has had to wait too long for an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time. He is keeping watch by your side, waiting for you to turn back around.” God’s words flowed into and moistened my heart like a warm current, so warm and comforting. All these years, I had been living a lie for the sake of profits, spending my days scheming against other people, leaving my heart riddled with wounds and unable to feel warmth. It turned out that God was the One I could truly depend on, who was there waiting for me to turn around when I was feeling the desolation and emptiness of this world. I seemed to see a ray of hope!

After that, I saw more of God’s words: “No one actively seeks out God’s footsteps and the appearance of God, and no one is willing to exist in the care and keeping of God. Instead, they wish to rely on the corrosion of Satan, the evil one, in order to adapt to this world, and to the rules of existence that wicked mankind follows. At this point, the heart and spirit of man have become man’s tribute to Satan and become Satan’s foodstuff. Even more, the human heart and spirit have become a place in which Satan can reside and its fitting playground. Thus does man unknowingly lose his understanding of the principles of being human, and of the value and meaning of human existence. The laws of God and the covenant between God and man gradually fade away in man’s heart, and he ceases to seek or pay heed to God. With the passage of time, man no longer understands why God created him, nor does he understand the words from the mouth of God and all that comes from God. Man then begins to resist the laws and decrees of God, and his heart and spirit become deadened…. God loses the man that He originally created, and man loses the root of his beginning: This is the sorrow of this human race.

God’s authoritative and powerful words reveal the mysteries of the world and allow me to know why our life in this world is so hard and tiring. This is because we have shunned God and are ignorant of the fact that God rules over the world and orchestrates the fate of mankind. We deny the existence of God and refuse His salvation, thus losing His care and protection. As a result, we involuntarily accept all sorts of Satan’s rules of survival, such as “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Money makes the world go round,” “A murderer must pay with his life, but he who coaxes one to death does not need to pay with life,” and “Speak out of both sides of one’s mouth,” becoming more and more degenerate and evil. For the sake of interests and money, for fitting into this evil society and, most importantly, for making a living, I threw away my character and dignity and began to engage in deception and intrigue. However, the money I gained through deceit couldn’t relieve the feeling of guilt in my heart, nor could the forced smiles cover my exhaustion of scheming for the sake of profits. The purity and simplicity that used to exist within me had been completely worn down by this cruel world. In the midst of my struggle, I finally came to realize that this evil, cruel society could never bring us peace or happiness. That is because we humans were created by God, and only if we accept God’s salvation and worship and obey God can we obtain His care, protection and blessings. I was willing to tear off the mask and turn back to Him!

Afterward, I also read these words of God: “My kingdom requires those who are honest, not hypocritical, and not deceitful. Aren’t the sincere and honest people unpopular in the world? I am just the opposite. It is acceptable for the honest people to come to Me; I delight in this kind of person, I also need this kind of person. This is precisely My righteousness.” I murmured to myself: “God’s kingdom requires those who are honest, not hypocritical, and not deceitful. Could it be that there is another kind of life apart from the hypocritical one I am leading? Could it be that there is a place where I don’t have to wear a mask but can live a simple and liberated life?” As I had been longing and seeking for such a place for so long, I then entered into the house of God …

Here in God’s family, I’ve tasted the sweetness of God’s words, which carry the fragrance of the lily. To me, every day is no longer a reprise of yesterday, but a whole new episode. God’s words tell us how to conduct ourselves as human beings and also show us the ways to resolving various difficulties we encounter. Every day, we perform our duties to repay God’s love, spread the gospel and bear witness to God’s deeds, and we have walked on the right path in life. Though there are moments where we reveal corruptions or get into conflicts when we get together, we are able to know ourselves through God’s words, understand and forgive each other, and be completely open with each other. Our corrupt dispositions have gained some transformations, and there is no more jealousy, disputes, estrangement, defense, pretense, duplicity, flattery or complicated personal relationships among us. Touched by their simplicity and sincerity, I feel a huge sense of relief when I am with them, and I can finally tear off my false mask to take a breath of the fresh air and sing a hymn in praise of God loudly. Here, we all pursue to become honest people, fellowship the truth together, help and support each other, grow and learn together. In God’s words and His love, we’ve built true friendship and each day is very fulfilling.

In God’s house, I found the Shangri-La that I had longed for for years, a pure land in this world. This is the kingdom ruled by Christ and truth, a peaceful home where our souls can rest, just like a hymn goes: “Christ’s kingdom is my warm home, it is so dear to God’s people. God’s words reign in the church, we act on the truth and exalt Christ in our hearts. There is no more infighting or intrigue, there’s no need for defense or fear. Christ is the resting place for man’s soul, I need not wander anymore. This is Christ’s kingdom people long for, it is mankind’s good destination….”

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