MINISTERING LIFE TO OTHERS OUTSIDE OF THE REALM
OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
Immediately after the creation of man, God placed man in front of two trees (Gen. 2:8-9). The first tree was the tree of life, and the second tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If we are to serve the Lord in a deeper way, we must know that both good and evil are versus life. In our contact with people, we should not help them merely to distinguish between good and evil. Rather, we should minister life to them to save them out of the realm of the knowledge of good and evil. The most tempting thing for the elders is the knowledge of good and evil, of who is right and who is wrong. When people come to the elders, the elders may be tempted to "measure" them to see whether or not they are up to a proper standard, that is, whether they are right or wrong, good or evil. When people come to us, we are accustomed to being full of the knowledge of good and evil. We may feel that we know what it is to be right or wrong in the church and among the saints. As a result, what is in us in our contact with those who come to us is in the realm of the knowledge of good and evil. If this is our case, we have been tempted already. We have left the realm of life. We should not measure others in this way.
Brother Nee told us that the best way to contact people is to sense their spirit. However, he also told us that our way of understanding this was still in the realm of good and evil. We were still discerning people’s spirit in the realm of good and evil. When people come to contact us, we should not remain in the realm, sphere, or kingdom of good and evil. We should remain in our spirit, in the kingdom of life. When a person speaks, we must discern what he says, not in the realm of who is right or wrong, good or evil, but in the realm of life. If we remain in the realm of good and evil, we cannot properly sense people’s spirit.
If a certain brother comes and speaks with us, we may discern that he is natural and not spiritual. This may be correct, but our feeling should indicate to us that we are still in the realm of the knowledge of good and evil. This is a great temptation. We may even become offended with such a brother and not desire to speak further with him. If this happens, we will lose the opportunity to minister life to him. If we remain in the realm of good and evil and become offended with the brother, we will be unhappy with each other and there will be no life in our contact. Rather, our contact will cause us to have a negative impression of the brother, which we may one day express. Eventually we may say something negative about him to someone else, and this gossip will spread death. Many times such a thing transpires in the church life. It is because we are tempted by the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong. However, if we remain in the spirit rather than in the realm of the knowledge of good and evil, we will minister life to him in a pure and direct way. Then we will be saved from the realm of good and evil, and we will help the brother also to be saved from this realm. The result of our contact will be very helpful.
(Elders' Training, Book 11: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (3), Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)