How Can We Honestly Face the Mistakes in Our Work?

By Tian Lin, America

It is unavoidable for each of us to make mistakes in our work. When it happens, in order not to be scolded by our boss or not to be talked about by our colleagues, we often choose to do our utmost to cover up the truth and shirk the responsibility. Although we feel somewhat nervous in doing so, we still involuntarily do this. Previously, I acted like this too. But afterward, it was the guidance of God’s words that made me able to be honest in the face of all of this, and at the same time, it also brought me the peace and release deep in my heart.


After arriving in America, I soon worked as an employee for various small tasks in a food products factory. The factory produced canned oxtails all the year round, and each day, there were a lot of ox-bones and meat scraps left. In America, waste oils are not allowed directly to be poured down the drain, but are merely allowed to be poured into the plastic buckets and then be thrown onto the rubbish bins. One night, we needed to process an unusual number of oxtails. After finishing it, it was nearly 5 o’clock the next morning. But there were still many dishes to be washed and buckets of beef tallow and meat scraps to be poured. In addition, there was no plastic bucket to hold them. So I felt rather nervous, thinking: Where can I pour such a large quantity of beef tallow and meat scraps into? At this moment, I suddenly recalled that when making canned chicken last time, Sister Xie poured waste oils and meat scraps into the toilet in the women’s room. So, I quickly went over to her and asked whether it was allowed to pour the beef tallow into the toilet. She replied right away, “Yes, yes! Go and do it.” Time was pressing, so, without much thinking, I hastily poured buckets of beef tallow and meat scraps into the toilet in the women’s room.

Around 6:30 a.m., the gaffer Sister Liu hurried up to us and asked angrily with her eyes wide, “Who poured the wastes down the toilet in the women’s room? Now the toilet is blocked, and will not flush properly.” Hearing this, I knew that I was in trouble. I looked at her timidly, saying in a low voice, “Sister Liu, it was I that poured those wastes into the toilet.” Staring at me, she said, “Ho, how awful! The toilet is now blocked. If the boss knows it, he will surely scold me severely. I am really frantic.” At this time, Sister Xie rushed over and said, “Hurry up! Go and find a potty trainer.” After hearing her words, several female colleagues of mine and I hurried to look for it, but failed. Then, we all got very nervous. And I got even more nervous because it was nearly 7 a.m., and our factory’s regular bus at the gate was about to pick up the workers of day shift to work. Seeing I got so nervous, the gaffer Sister Liu comforted me: “Tian Lin, don’t need to worry about it. Since it has already happened like this, I will keep your secret. If the boss or the manager asks me who did that, I won’t tell the truth anyhow, and I will say I know nothing about it. And I also have told Master Gu not to tell the truth. So, there is no need to worry or fear.” When I heard her words, my flustered heart felt a little bit of comfort, but I still felt very anxious.

Soon, it was time to go off shift. Then I took the regular bus home. On the way home, I always thought: Even if Sister Liu and Master Gu keep this matter secret, others will know the truth sooner or later, for they all know that only those who do various small tasks would do these things. Such a thing cannot be hidden. The more I thought about that, the more anxious I grew. Then I thought: The colleagues of day shift are about to come to work. But now the women’s toilet is blocked, and only one men’s toilet works. There are so many people, and where should they go to the toilet? If the boss and the manager know it, will they get very angry? If it is known to all the staff that I caused the toilet to be blocked, they will surely talk behind my back. Then I will completely lose my image in their minds. And how can I have the face to remain in the factory? The more I thought about these things, the more anxious I got. On the way home, I never said a word. Seeing me being down, my colleagues all came to comfort me. One of them said, “Don’t think too much. I have a hunch that you will be all right.” Hearing this, I glanced at her with a mirthless smile, thinking: Most of the employees of the factory know that I am a Christian. Now I have made a mistake, but I always want to escape the fact instead of facing it. I am completely like an unbeliever. It’s no good, I should call my boss and acknowledge my fault as soon as I reach home. Maybe I will obtain his forgiveness in this way, and I won’t suffer so much.

However, when I took up the phone and was ready to call him after getting home, I hesitated: How should I say to him about this matter? If he knows the fact, he is certain to thunder against me and give me a trimming. Then, how embarrassed I will be when I meet him later! At the thought of this, I had no courage to call him, and was very tormented in my heart. All I could do was to pray to God and ask for His guidance. Then, I quieted my heart before God and read His words. And I saw God’s words saying, “you must gain a grasp on these kinds of states, and through them see and discover your own corrupt disposition. Once you discover your own corrupt disposition, won’t you know what to do? For example, in some issue you revealed selfishness—you were really selfish, thinking of your own image—how can this be resolved? First you have to put your own image aside, and think: ‘I want to say that to protect my own image, but I immediately realized that saying that to protect my image would be selfish and despicable. Saying that is for my own intent; it’s despicable and it shows a corrupt disposition. I can’t speak based on that, but I should speak based on this. I should reveal myself, show my true face, and genuinely speak out the thoughts in my heart. I’d rather throw my own image aside, not protect it, and not gratify my vanity.’ When you say this, by forsaking yourself and genuinely speaking out the thoughts deep in your heart, one aspect is that you are being an honest person…. Isn’t it glorious to live this way? It’s honest and upright. It can be placed in front of man as well as God—this is wonderful!

Comparing myself to God’s words and reflecting on myself, I came to realize that the corruption I had revealed in this matter was all for the sake of protecting my vanity, and my image and status in others’ minds. I thought to myself: The reason why I dare not acknowledge my fault to my boss is just that I am afraid that he will scold me angrily and embarrass me if I tell the truth to him, and then where can I hide my face? Additionally, my colleagues have a good impression of me all along. If now they know it was I that poured those wastes into the toilet, they will think that I am the one who is sly and works casually. And they also will think that my previous performance was deceptive. By that time, I will lose all my image in their minds. By being dominated by such thoughts, I intended to hide the fact. Isn’t this deceitful manifestation? I thought about myself: I made a mistake but dare not acknowledge it, and want to hide the fact and protect my own image in every way; as a result, I am fooled and afflicted by Satan, living a hard and tiring life. After reading God’s words, I came to understand that God’s will was that I could put aside my pride to tell the truth, bravely acknowledge my fault and be an honest person. Only this way could I live gloriously. God’s words made me suddenly see the light and have a path to follow. Therefore, I was determined: On the night shift, I shall acknowledge my fault to my boss. Regardless of how he deals with me, and even if he fires me, I must practice the truth and be an honest person. When I was thinking like this, I felt much steadier in my heart, and then fell asleep peacefully.

At night, I went to work. I changed into my work clothes in the changing room, and went to punch in. As I was passing the door of my boss’s office, I saw the boss was in the office while Manager Yu and the driver were chattering at the office door. There was an air of tension. Thus, I quickly went over to my working room. At this time, the gaffer of day shift, Sister Hou, came rushing over to Sister Liu and me and said, “Do you know who stole the oxtails and ate them in the women’s toilet, and even threw the ox-bones into the toilet? Now the toilet is blocked; as a result, the boss is positively furious, and said that he would clear this matter up. Today, some workers of our factory spent much time unblocking the toilet, but in vain. It was not until the factory paid a professional to deal with the problem for a long time that the toilet was unblocked.” Hearing this, Sister Liu got nervous, and said loudly, “Truly, I don’t know about it!” I got even more nervous, and hastened to go back to cut vegetables. Then, I heard Manager Yu’s loud voice saying, “Come on, Sister Liu.” Next, I dimly heard that Manager Yu asked her who among the workers of night shift caused the toilet to be blocked. As I heard this, I prayed to God immediately, “Oh God! The fact has happened, so I cannot hide it anymore. And I should bravely acknowledge my fault.” Then I thought of God’s words teaching us that we should be an honest person. Comparing my thoughts and behaviors to God’s words, I felt deeply uneasy in my heart, for what I had done was disgraceful, as if a thief feels afraid to come into the light after stealing something. And in order to protect my own image, I dared not practice to be an honest person and to lay myself bare. So, I prayed to God again, “Oh God! You like the honest. And Your will is to make us able to be honest in actions and words. So, I must be an honest person today, and not protect my own image but practice the truth to satisfy You. Oh God! No matter how my boss treats me, I will be the one who has the courage to acknowledge the fault before others. May You be with me.” After praying, I felt a bit calmer, and had more courage to face the fact and be an honest person.


I then took up my phone hurriedly, and called him at once, “Hello, boss! This is Tian Lin speaking. Now I need to speak with you right away.” “Okay, come to my office and speak to me about it.” said the boss. When I saw him, I said guiltily, “Boss, I am so sorry. It was I that caused the toilet to be blocked. And there was no person who stole the oxtails and ate them among the workers of night shift in the women’s toilet. Here is the thing: At that time, it was time to get off work, so I got very nervous. Then because I was in a hurry and there was no bucket to hold the beef tallow and meat scraps, I poured them into the toilet. I now know I have done wrong, so I will correct it, and no more do so. In fact, after I heard of the toilet being blocked, I very much wanted to call you and tell you the truth, but I didn’t do so because I was afraid that you would get angry and would not forgive me. Because of this matter, I have been very tormented inside since this morning.” I had thought that after I told the truth and acknowledged my fault, he would scold me, but beyond my expectation, the scowl on his face changed into a smile. He said to me, “Oh! I am wondering who stole the oxtails and ate them in the women’s toilet. Tian Lin, remember, from now on you must pour the beef tallow and meat scraps into the plastic buckets, nail the top down and then pull the bucket out and pour them on the dump. Today, it’s good for you to voluntarily acknowledge you fault. Don’t worry, that’s the end of it, and I won’t allow anybody to talk about it. You can settle down and go to work.” When I stepped out of the office, I felt very peaceful and steady. I knew it was God’s blessings to me after I practiced His words.

As I went back to the workbench and continued to cut vegetables, Sister Liu walked up to me hastily. Seeing her nervous face as before, I said to her calmly, “Sister Liu, don’t worry. I have acknowledged my fault before the boss.” As soon as I said that, she got more nervous and said, “Oh! What a fool you are! Why did you acknowledge your fault? Master Gu and I have kept your secret, but how could you acknowledge it before the boss?” I replied her calmly, “Sister Liu, I am a believer in God. As a Christian, I should be an honest person. It was I who caused the toilet to be blocked, so I must acknowledge it.” Hearing my words, she gave a deep sign and said, “Oh, you!” Seeing that relief broke across her face, I also felt very steady and calm. Just as God’s words say, “What do you see from this? When you do this, others can see that you are not a person who does not love the truth, but you are someone who does love the truth, who yearns for the truth and yearns to live with justice and in the light. These are the fruits achieved by this. And at the same time, Satan has been shamed. It will see that it has corrupted you and made you protect yourself, made you selfish, and made you consider your own image, but these things can no longer bind you. When it sees this, it will think: ‘I’m out of ideas for this. They broke free and are not controlled by this; they are not controlled by vain images or by their personal interest. They are putting the truth into practice.’ Wouldn’t it be shamed? When Satan is shamed, wouldn’t you be victorious? So when you are victorious, aren’t you standing witness for God? Isn’t this fighting a glorious battle? When you fight a glorious battle, you are at peace, joyful, and steady in your hearts, aren’t you?” Through God’s words, I came to understand: The one who loves the truth is certainly the one who can practice the truth, and will not live for his image and interest anyhow, but only wants to bear witness for God and satisfy God’s will. Now, I had practically tasted the benefits of practicing the truth. Although I took upon myself to acknowledge my fault, which outwardly made my image damaged, yet what I gained was the joy and peace in my spirit. At the same time, I also truly felt that only by living this way could I have integrity and dignity. Although some of my colleagues considered me foolish, but I thought as long as I had a clear conscience, it didn’t matter how others saw me or how they judged me. The important thing was that I could be an honest person beloved by God. As God likes honest people and blesses them. Thinking this way, I felt enlightened so much in my heart, and also experienced that being able to practice the truth and satisfy God is really so great.

The next day, when I was at work, I noticed that the colleagues who hadn’t greeted me before actively greeted me, and there indeed was no one to mention the matter of the ox-bones blocking the toilet. Several days went past, my boss called me to his office, and told me seriously: “I have run the restaurant for more than ten years, and the snack Liangpi is sold well. How to make the flavoring of Liangpi is the secret recipe, so I never told others about it, and it is I myself that have done that all along. Today, out of trusting in you, I will initiate you into the secret recipe. And I want you to make the flavoring of Liangpi in the factory, and will raise your wages from a month salary of $2500 to that of 2800. Besides, this work will be lighter than your present one.” Hearing these words, I silently thanked God. I knew that it was because of God’s guidance that I could bravely acknowledge my fault and win the boss’s trust. Moreover, it was God’s words that gave me the faith and courage so that I could practice the truth, stand witness for God and then obtain His blessings. This even more made me feel that God’s words is the lamp guiding my way in my life. When I didn’t know how to deal with the difficulties of my life, I prayed to God with a sincere heart and practiced His words, and then under His guidance I was able to overcome these difficulties. Just as Psalms 119:105 says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” All the glory be to God!

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