Editor’s note: Gu Junqing grew up in a Christian family and came to believe in the Lord at an early age. In this second part of his story, he shares how, as a reflective teenager, he was frustrated with the lies of history. He also saw how meaningless life was unless it was lived for God and his glory. His life today is full of work and does not look so different from that of others around him, but his purpose is completely different. Gu also says that, when Christians refuse to accept bribes and insist on bucking societal norms, others take notice.
This story is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Chinese Christians about how they came to know and follow God, and has been edited and condensed for clarity and length. Part one of Gu’s story can be found here.
There Is No Hope
China Partnership: Was there a specific time Christianity became your own faith, not just your parents’?
Gu Junqing: When I was in high school, about 16 or 17 years old.
I was a unique case – I enjoyed reading lots of books. I also liked to listen to all kinds of sermons and read about history. I probably matured a bit earlier than my peers. Because of this I had a lot of thoughts, including on the Cultural Revolution. One of the not-so-good things about this country is that there have been a lot of lies. I recognized this when I was young. When I began high school, I had already started to think more about what I wanted to pursue in life.
CP: How did it affect you to read history and philosophy in high school? Why did you read?
Gu: There were some issues I wanted to clarify and understand. Teenagers have lots of issues! For me, they were mainly related to history. There have been many problems throughout Chinese history, and the core issue was there was no correct faith. This includes present-day China.
Although the economy is developing rapidly, people are losing hope. There is no hope, and people just work like a machine every day. At that age, I had already begun to think about these issues. I hoped to pursue truth and obtain something meaningful. When Chinese students are in high school, they are very busy. Preparing for college entrance exams is quite painful; they get up early in the morning and may not go to bed till 11 or 12 at night. That is a crazy period of time for a Chinese student, like a nightmare. I still often dream about it now, because it was very intense. At that time, I was thinking about life: “Why do people have to be like this?” “What is the meaning of human existence?” “Why do we have to give up our standards and principles for exams or to have money when we grow up?”
That was my main confusion. I wanted to find truth and direction. At that time, God slowly began to lead me so I could understand. I also had to take the college entrance exams, study at university, and then go to work like a normal person. Like many around me, I also do business, run around, and come in contact with many others. On the outside, I am doing the same things as others. I am busy, yet my end goal is not the same. In high school and college, I began to understand that the purpose of living is to glorify God and fulfill the plan he has for me.
Everything a human being has, including life, is given by God. So life is nothing more than to live for God. It is that simple. It is unlikely people will have complete freedom. People must be servants. The Bible says you become either the slave of Satan and the world, or you obey God and are his slave. Some people think they can be their own master, but that is not possible. Either you serve the world, or you serve God. I realized there was no choice. I had to choose to serve God. This gave life value and meaning.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
I feel sorry for the people around me. My colleagues work like crazy, more than 10 hours a day, and are very busy. Many of my clients are the same way – they start at 8 in the morning and don’t finish until 10 at night. They have no family time, and only take a break during the Chinese New Year. This is the current state of Chinese people, especially those in big cities. Why do they do this? They feel that only money can satisfy them. There is indeed a lot of pressure. Many people may have to pay their mortgage for thirty to fifty years. We call these people “mortgage slaves,” because they are slaves to their mortgage.
What is the difference between a human and a machine if it is like this? These people are merely a machine or an animal. Christians have a responsibility to live among these people and go into the midst of them. Christians may do the same things and explore the same businesses, but their purpose is not the same. Christians can let them see a completely different kind of life.
A Different Kind of Life
CP: Are the people around you able to see this?
Gu: They do. Everywhere I go, I tell people I am a Christian. At the start, I don’t think it matters; many people may say they are Christians. But if you say you are a Christian and live according to biblical principles, others respect you because they think you are different.
For example, I work in a business environment. In China, in the business world, giving and receiving bribes is very common. In my first job, I managed regional dealers, so I had some power. But every time my customers gave me money, I told them I couldn’t accept it. They were troubled and confused by this. They thought, “Is it because the money is too little?” I would tell them, “I understand your heart, but because I am a Christian, I cannot take this money. If I receive this money, it won’t become my blessing, but rather my curse. I myself am afraid to take this money. It’s not that I have anything against you.”
Every time, the people were surprised. They thought, “This type of person exists in the world. They don’t want bribe money!” This is one way to glorify God. Yet it is not easy. If you don’t want money, your colleagues will pressure you: “Everyone else wants money, what is the reason you don’t?” Your colleagues might think it was strange, or wonder if you want to report them. But I told them the only reason I refused the money was because I am a person of faith and cannot have it.
CP: When you said this, what did people say? Did they think your faith was attractive or strange?
Gu: Instead of rejecting you, others respect you more. But again, I found it was still not easy to preach the gospel to them. They were bound by many constraints and restrictions. I used to preach the gospel to my classmates when I was in college, and at that time it felt easy. But when I started working, I found that, due to the problems and pressures of the world, it wasn’t easy for people to believe the gospel. They would say, “It’s good you have a different way of life, but I can’t help myself. I will still choose my old path.”
Gu Junqing is a pseudonym for a Chinese believer. Gu grew up in a Christian family and has believed in Christ from an early age. He and his wife have two children.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray for busy Chinese people who are too busy to truly consider a different way of life. Pray God will help Christians to show a different way.