NEEDING TO DEAL WITH PRIDE AND OPINION FOR THE PRACTICE OF THE NEW WAY
In 1984 when I received the burden to begin changing the system, I had the assurance inwardly because I knew what the Lord wanted. But I also foresaw that the brothers and sisters would have differing opinions, because changing the system would change the way we do things. Whenever there is a change in the way we do things, even if it is changing from an old way to a new way by getting rid of inappropriate things and building up the proper things, there will always be some who disagree. For example, I was accustomed to wearing a certain pair of slippers, but one day my wife noticed that these slippers were old and unbecoming, so she bought a new pair of slippers. Yet I still loved my old slippers because they matched my tastes and my habits. Even though the new slippers were good, I was not used to them. In the end my wife still “changed the system” by throwing away the old slippers and having me wear the new slippers. Although I had a different opinion, I got used to them in three to five days. In the same way, when we change the system and take the new way, some people will have a different opinion because they are not accustomed to it. I believe, however, that in the end no one will have a different opinion, because the new way is the God-ordained way.
I have never cared about or investigated differing opinions. Two weeks ago I received a telephone call from a certain brother who asked me what he should do. In his locality the young people wanted to take the new way, but the older ones would not agree. As a result, the young ones said some things they should not have said, and now there might be a division. I told him not to worry because the young people in the church life are like the young children in a family who are sometimes naughty and break a window. All you have to do is spend some money to have it fixed; you do not have to fight with them. The church is like a family, so we can let the young ones “play” and do not need to worry that a problem may arise.
My point is this: Today after the full-time trainees finish the training, they may be very learned and think highly of themselves because they have graduated from the university and have also learned how to go door-knocking and how to get a person to believe and be baptized in fifteen minutes. Therefore, when they go back to their local churches, they will be very proud and happy. This is wrong and improper. Young people should not be proud, but on the other hand, I also hope that the older saints would not criticize these young ones too much. The older saints have their good points. Take the church in Taipei as an example. Our older saints are very faithful. Sometimes a storm comes up, but they are calm and unmoved. When another storm comes up, they simply ignore it. The reason the church in Taipei has survived until today is entirely because these ones are here. Although I have somewhat criticized the church in Taipei in the matter of the increase, I would still say that the most stable church in the world today is the church in Taipei. The saints here are not only clear concerning the truth and proper in their way, but also they are truly walking practically in the truth and standing on the ground of oneness. However, because we are still human, sometimes when we see these young people, who have been saved for only five or six years, murmuring and criticizing us, it is hard for us not to be angry. Please do not rebuke them immediately. On the contrary, you should try to find a time to exhort them patiently.
In the church, regardless of whether you are old or young, you all need to bear and help one another instead of making demands on or criticizing each other. The young trainees should not overemphasize the fact that they are taking the new way and have gained so many people through door-knocking. The older ones should not shake their heads, thinking that these trainees, who have just knocked on a few doors and gained a few people who may or may not be reliable, simply cannot compare with themselves who are so stable and steadfast in the church for so many years. Some localities have divided into parties over this matter of promoting the new way but because we know there cannot be division in the church, we still meet in one place while we sit in our parties on different sides. This is not pleasing to God, and I hope none of you would be proud or consider yourself to be stronger than others.
The older saints should get credit for their hard work, if not for their achievement, in establishing and maintaining the testimony of the church. In this respect, the young people must honor and appreciate the older ones. The younger ones must be humble before the elderly fathers. They should be aggressive in the matter of door-knocking, not in the way they deal with the older saints. Some of the older saints cannot get used to the new way, so the younger ones should not boast in front of them. Instead, they should be quiet and not proud. Over a long period of time, the older ones will trust you and let you do as you see fit. Do not think of pushing them to follow you; their function is to be guardians of the church. You should just boldly go out door-knocking. Later, when you have brought people to salvation and have slowly brought some into the church life, the older saints will see this, and even if in the past they blew cold wind and poured cold water on you, they will be really happy in their hearts. They are only worried that you will not bear remaining fruit. Their hearts are good, so you must still bring your new ones to them for confirmation.
Furthermore, the young people must learn not to have any opinions. When I was young in the denominations and later when I came into the Lord’s recovery, I never had any opinions with respect to those older than I. Today in the Lord’s recovery, the saints in every local church all love the Lord and are for the Lord’s recovery, so we do not need to have opinions. Instead, we should coordinate together, striving to keep the oneness of the Spirit. In this term of the training five thousand people have been saved through door-knocking, and one thousand home meetings have been established. By the end of the training, even more people will have been saved and even more home meetings will have been established. In time the older saints will feel comforted and will appreciate the new way, admitting that it is wonderful. This will keep the oneness of the church and will also keep the church in the oneness of the Spirit without any opinions.
I hope that all of us would be able to receive this balancing word. The church needs the older saints and the younger saints, just as a country needs the older people for maintaining it and the younger people for fighting. But people are very strange. When they are in the army, they always say the army is good and important, but when they are discharged, they say that the army is not good. When a person is doing something personally, he or she says that it is good. Teachers say teaching is good, and businessmen say doing business is good. When they are no longer occupying that particular position or doing that particular job, they say that it is not good. These things are difficult to avoid, so we should not be bothered by them.
(The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)