30. Reflections on Being Replaced
Yi Ran Laiwu City, Shandong Province
Some time ago, owing to my not understanding the principle behind the church’s revision of personnel, when the church replaced a leader, a conception arose within me. From what I could see, the sister that was replaced was very good at both receiving and fellowshiping the truth, and could be open about her own expressions of corruption. So I could never get how someone who sought the truth so much could be replaced. Could it be that she talked about her own expressions of corruption too much, and so her leader mistakenly took her to be someone not in pursuit of the truth, and replaced her? If this is what really happened, then hasn’t a training opportunity for someone who was seeking the truth been ruined?
Just as I was feeling very puzzled about this, I read this passage in a work arrangement issued by the church: “God’s family decides to train and make use of people in accordance with their essence. If someone’s essence is one that seeks the truth, then God’s family will absolutely not give up on them; if someone is willing to seek the truth, then they will undoubtedly experience a change. If someone’s essence is one that does not seek the truth, is negligent of their duties and who does not tread the right road, then they are not worth training and neither can God perfect this kind of person. For someone whom God is not willing to perfect, God’s family also cannot train them. … So the handling of people must be approached in accordance with the requirements of God’s work and people’s essence. Only this is an effective way to work in concert with God and to truly serve God. If this effective way to work in concert with God is not employed, then God’s work is disrupted and God’s will is completely contravened” (“Fellowshiping Some Questions” in Annals of Fellowship and Work Arrangements). Trying over and over to figure out these words, I understood that there was a principle at work whether the church was promoting someone or replacing them. I understood that it was being approached in accordance with the requirements of God’s work and people’s essence, and not blindly making use of or replacing people at will. Besides, the church does not replace people on the basis of their having expressed some corruption, but instead determines things on the basis of their essence. If a person’s essence is one that seeks the truth, then the church would absolutely not give up on them, would absolutely not neglect or ruin anyone who is seeking the truth. So I went before God to pray and seek guidance: “Oh God! I know that I have been corrupted so deeply by Satan, and have no understanding of Your work, with many conceptions inside me and many viewpoints that can never be compatible with You. Today, under Your guidance, I now know that whether in selecting, training or replacing people, the church approaches it all in accordance with the requirements of Your work and people’s essence. But I still do not thoroughly understand the essence of the sister who was replaced, with the result that I have an opinion about the church’s arrangement. I ask You to guide and lead me; allow me to see clearly so that, in my work from now on, I may not disrupt Your work because of my deviation and my errors.”
After I had prayed, I took up the work arrangements and, under God’s guidance, I read these words: “By reading God’s words, those who seek the truth can measure their own corrupt condition against God’s words. Their fellowship about God’s words is not done just to talk about understanding God’s words, but to talk also about understanding themselves. No matter what corruption is expressed, they can get it out in the open so that brothers and sisters can achieve something real, whilst at the same time resolving their own corruption. This is also the best method to lead people into God’s words. … All those who talk only about literal meanings and who are devoid of reality, do not deserve to be leaders in God’s family. This type of leaders and workers should be replaced” (“To Serve God One Must Learn How to Discern All Kinds of People” in Annals of Fellowship and Work Arrangements). These words made me realize that by reading God’s words, those who genuinely seek the truth can measure their own corrupt condition against God’s words, have a true understanding of the essence of God’s words, and can truly understand the nature and essence of their own corruption. Their fellowship can reveal the real road for people and can bring people before God. Furthermore, at the same time as resolving the problems of others, they can also resolve their own problems, and focus on their own entry into life and their change in disposition.
At this time, I began to recall in detail the persistent conduct and performance of the sister who had been replaced. Although when resolving other people’s problems she spoke eloquently and at length, using words that were reasoned and well-argued, she had not resolved the difficulty of her own entry into life and always lived in a state of self-righteousness, feeling immensely proud, believing that she did every job well. In fact, her work was a mess. If what she had received and fellowshiped had really been an understanding of the essence of the truth, why couldn’t she use her understanding to help herself? When the leader pointed out her mistaken state, took seriously and dissected the serious problems that existed in her work, and fellowshiped with her about it, although externally she nodded her head repeatedly, expressing her acceptance and her willingness to do it in principle, she nevertheless secretly persisted in her old ways in violation of the principle, doing things how she wanted to the detriment of the work once again. When she was being dealt with, although her outward appearance showed that she was very remorseful, afterward she made no change whatsoever. Although she talked about her understanding of herself and brought her own corruption out into open, the result was that she made others look up to her, think highly of her, bringing people before her. Her way of purely getting things out in the open could not bring anyone any benefit whatsoever. It could only damage people and deceive them. I could see from her persistent performance that, although she had worked for many years and equipped herself with much literal understanding, her disposition in life had undergone no change whatsoever. On the contrary, she had become more and more arrogant and proud. Only now do I realize that she was not someone who sought the truth, nor was she someone who received pure truth or fellowshiped incisively. She was certainly not worth training and, if she had been kept in her post, could only have held up the church’s work and damaged her brothers and sisters. Her being replaced really was the righteousness of God and was a better way for God to save her. Otherwise, she would still be deceived by her own outward appearance and would not have seen the errors of her ways, in the end falling into God’s punishment.
Only through this matter did I see how little I understood the truth, focusing only on the literal meanings of the work arrangements and the truth, having only a theoretical knowledge. I certainly wasn’t focusing on grasping God’s will in the work arrangements, nor had I any essential understanding of the truth. So not only did I end up being unable to thoroughly understand people’s essences, but on the contrary I worried arrogantly that someone who sought the truth had been mistakenly replaced.
Oh God! I give thanks for Your revelation and enlightenment that made me see my own destitution, blindness and how pitiable I was, that made me realize that without truth, one cannot thoroughly understand the essence of the matter, instead being only deceived by external appearances. Only by understanding the truth, can one do essential work well. Oh God! From today on, I wish to make much more effort in my pursuit of the truth, to seek Your will in all things, to do things as You require and to soon be of use to You.