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  • My name is Zhen Cheng.

  • In 2001, I started an appliance repair shop.

  • In the beginning,

  • I just wanted to be a decent person and run an honest business.

  • I didn't want to rip anyone off.

  • I felt that it would bother my conscience.

  • But after being busy for a time,

  • the money I earned was enough to cover family expenses, but not any savings.

  • Sometimes my monthly income was no better than an average worker,

  • and so my wife often gave me a hard time about that.

  • We depend on trade for money,

  • but when it's time to get money from customers you only think of them.

  • If you won't ask for more money from them,

  • who's going to put money in your pocket?

  • Hey, Cheng,

  • you've got a lot of really great skills, you can fix things,

  • but it's your fault if you're not making much.

  • Now, I'm telling you

  • people always have money inside of their pockets.

  • And if you rob them, then that's illegal.

  • But if you find a way for them to voluntarily hand over their money,

  • that's called being skillful and smart.

  • You fix things with your skill,

  • you should understand your "skill" and how to apply it.

  • "A man without a second income will never get rich."

  • We live in the age of money;

  • you can do anything with enough cash.

  • Money doesn't solve everything, but without any, you'll solve nothing.

  • That's right.

  • People without a skill have a hard time scraping by.

  • You have a skill.

  • Why not apply yourself and make more money?

  • You're too set in your ways.

  • Jiaming, nudge him in the right direction.

  • I contemplated my wife's advice and my brother-in-law's "brilliant" idea.

  • They really had a point!

  • I was skilled but not making more money.

  • Was I just good for nothing?

  • But I was still dead set against ripping off customers,

  • because my conscience would never get past that.

  • There was an electronics repair shop run by Mr. Qian near my store.

  • He didn't have much of a grasp on repairs

  • and could only fix very simple problems,

  • but he always placed huge ads in front of his shop.

  • The ads said, "We fix all kinds of appliances; our skills are top notch."

  • It all seemed very impressive.

  • In this manner, many people had been fooled by him.

  • As he worked, he handled the easy stuff on his own.

  • But the tough jobs he sent to other repair shops,

  • making a tidy profit as a middleman.

  • He made a lot of extra income doing this.

  • One time, Mr. Qian and I were eating in a small restaurant.

  • We chatted about how to be successful in business.

  • Cheng, you and I both have repair shops,

  • but I'm making more than you.

  • And do you know why that is?

  • If the TV's high voltage connector cap was burned out,

  • how much would you charge to replace it?

  • That's an easy one. Twenty or thirty yuan would be enough.

  • Twenty or thirty yuan?

  • You can't do business that way!

  • No wonder you're not making more money.

  • I see you're a good guy, so I'll be honest with you.

  • For this sort of problem,

  • I'll swap out the entire high voltage assembly.

  • But the high voltage assembly is fine. (I'll swap it out anyway.)

  • It's not necessary! (I'll swap it out!)

  • If you don't swap out some parts,

  • how are you going to charge more money?

  • If you swap them out,

  • you can charge an extra tens or hundreds of yuan.

  • This trick goes a lot further than just technical skill, you know?

  • It is just a diversion.

  • Customers don't know our skill. They'll never know.

  • It's up to you to decide if you want them to pay you more.

  • This is a quick way to earn money,

  • but isn't it ripping off our customers?

  • I can't have that on my conscience!

  • Conscience?

  • How much will you get for a pound of conscience?

  • No one talks about conscience now.

  • Will conscience fill your belly?

  • Can you spend it like money?

  • You know, Zhen Cheng, you're not seeing the ways of the world.

  • Ours is a cash society.

  • "Money is everything."

  • Everyone focuses on making money.

  • The communists even believe this now,

  • "No matter if it's a cat white or black,

  • as long as it catches mice, it's a good cat."

  • So whoever's earning money is therefore worth their salt.

  • If you can't make any money,

  • being a good person won't get you anywhere.

  • No one will respect you.

  • Without money, everything is more difficult.

  • But with it, you just say the word,

  • everyone is more than happy to help.

  • So what do you think, am I right?

  • You're right!

  • After hearing Mr. Qian's "enlightening" views,

  • I thought deeply about it.

  • This is the type of world we live in now.

  • People run all kinds of scams to make a quick buck,

  • and no one talks about integrity.

  • What good would it do if I were the only honest one?

  • What's more,

  • my being honest in pursuing my business has not been advantageous.

  • People who are in the same business as me are living a good life.

  • Their families all live comfortably, eat well, and wear nice clothes.

  • It seems I have been too set in my ways.

  • I have to start thinking of ways to make more money,

  • to make life better for my family.

  • Okay, Mr. Qian,

  • one day I'll drop by your place and see how you do it.

  • From that point on,

  • I began to study the "success" others had experienced in my line of work.

  • I had my misgivings,

  • but in order to make more money, I couldn't dwell on so many things.

  • I just had to bite the bullet and put "theory" into practice.

  • One day, a customer came in to have an appliance repaired,

  • and when I took apart the piece that wasn't working,

  • I also opened up some parts that were working fine.

  • I did this in order to misdirect the customer

  • and to make her think that "So many things were wrong with it."

  • This way, I could use that as an excuse to charge her more.

  • The old saying "Guilty consciences make men cowards" is completely true.

  • At first I was nervous, my heart was beating very fast,

  • and I was worried that the customer would see through me.

  • I thought:

  • If she figures out that I've pulled such a stunt, and exposes it on the spot,

  • where would I hide my face?

  • I'd have to crawl to a little hole.

  • Customers don't know our skill. They'll never know.

  • It's up to you to decide if you want them to pay you more.

  • I forced myself to stay cool.

  • After I swapped out the "bad" parts, I plugged the device in and tested it.

  • It worked fine.

  • When the customer asked me how much for the repair,

  • I thought to myself: I can't be as soft-hearted as I was before.

  • And then, with hardened heart, I charged 50% more than before.

  • After saying that, I thought to myself:

  • Will she complain that I asked for so much money?

  • If she haggled over the price,

  • I'd give her all the reasons why the price went up.

  • If that didn't work, I'd give her a discount.

  • I never thought the customer would say nothing

  • and just hand the money over to me.

  • Only after the customer had carried away the appliance

  • could I finally let out a sigh of relief.

  • I realized that my face and back were covered in sweat.

  • The first time cheating a customer, I felt an indescribable sense of unease.

  • But when I saw that I had made more money,

  • that feeling of unease was replaced with the joy of "success."

  • From then on,

  • I thought of every possible tactic to pull the wool over my customers' eyes,

  • to get more money from them.

  • At first, even though I felt some blame in my conscience,

  • I nonetheless quietly urged myself onward:

  • "A small mind makes not a gentleman

  • and a great man must be ruthless at times."

  • If I want to earn more money, I would have to use strategy.

  • Besides, everyone does this.

  • One more wouldn't make a difference.

  • Over time, with the "enthusiastic" help from others in my line of work,

  • along with my own "hard work,"

  • my "skill" and "technique" in earning money became more and more refined.

  • I learned how to read people and make adjustments to my "technique" on the fly.

  • Depending on the type of customer I saw,

  • I would employ various "techniques."

  • If they looked like they were rich,

  • then I would flatter them.

  • I'd say whatever was needed to satisfy their vanity.

  • This was how I set up the basis for asking them for more money.

  • If customers waited in the shop for their appliance to be repaired,

  • I'd make a big to-do about looking busy with a difficult repair,

  • and draw out the time a bit.

  • This way they would often pay more of their own volition.

  • At times I had to work a little harder for the shrewd customers.

  • I would have to use special "techniques" to deceive them.

  • In most of those cases,

  • I'd think of ways to get them to leave their appliances at the shop

  • to pick up on another day.

  • Then I could just fix the bad part and be done with it,

  • and when they came to pick it up,

  • I'd explain that there were several things wrong with it.

  • I was not only making more money, I was also at ease.

  • So tell me, what kind of problems did you find?

  • Can you fix it today?

  • My grandson's waiting to watch TV.

  • Oh, yes ma'am.

  • The motherboard is bad, and I cannot fix it in a short time.

  • Why not pick it up tomorrow?

  • And so on.

  • This is the way I plotted and schemed to cheat customers and earn more money.

  • Even though I was making more money than before and I was living better,

  • I was nonetheless rather unhappy.

  • When I thought of all the debased and shameful things I had done,

  • I felt awful inside.

  • I felt empty and ill at ease.

  • Sometimes I thought: Go back to being honest.

  • Don't keep playing these shameful tricks on people.

  • As the saying goes, "What goes around comes around."

  • One should avoid getting in too deep lest consequences arise.

  • But once I thought of the easy money,

  • I lost all of that resolution.

  • And just as I fell deeper and deeper into a quagmire of sin,

  • God's salvation came to me.

  • One day, my sister came in to share the gospel.

  • She explained how heaven and earth and all the creatures in it were created by God,

  • and how humans were also created by God,

  • how when God first created humanity people had a heart and a spirit.

  • They had normal humanity, with a conscience and reason,

  • and they were able to listen to God's word and fear Him.

  • They had God's care and protection and dwelt in His blessings.

  • But afterward, they were tempted by the devil Satan

  • and turned their backs on God.

  • Thereafter, mankind no longer listened to God,

  • and they became estranged from Him, and they denied Him.

  • God was no longer with them, and they fell into darkness.

  • For several thousand years, Satan kept corrupting mankind.

  • Mankind became worse and worse and fell deeper into evil.

  • It became easier and easier for them to adapt to this evil society.

  • Even though people had enough wealth,

  • their consciences, reason, dignity, and integrity disappeared little by little.

  • Mankind's spirit became ever more empty,

  • and all kinds of suffering arose.

  • In the depths of people's hearts they yearn for a good life,

  • and they hope to break away from the depravity, suffering, and emptiness of their lives,

  • but they are unable to.

  • They have no choice but to remain trapped in this world.

  • They live an empty life year after year,

  • wasting away their own life for nothing.

  • After I had heard my sister's fellowshiping several times,

  • I felt that what she said was factual.

  • She had described humanity's circumstances exactly,

  • and I was deeply moved.

  • I was inspired,

  • and the more I listened, the more I became interested.

  • Things will become much clearer after we read a few passages of God's word.

  • Sis, this is really profound stuff!

  • That's right! Indeed, I have never heard it before.

  • Okay, let's watch two video readings of God's words,

  • so we can understand them better. (Great!)

  • Zhen Cheng, Xiao Jing,

  • after hearing Almighty God's word,

  • do you know a bit more about how Satan corrupted mankind,

  • and do you understand why the world is so evil and so dark?

  • Yes, we know a bit more. (A little more.)

  • For thousands of years,

  • Satan has been using atheism, the theory of evolution,