wednesday, I think that elder was using "weasel" words. This is the still official WTS policy on inactive JWs...that they are not to be shunned. He is using a time honored WTS tactic, making it your fault they are not talking to you.
*** w82 1/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
? My son, who was baptized as a teenager, is now married and has a family. Because of the pressure of earning a living he has cooled off spiritually and does not associate with the congregation. Should he be viewed as a "disassociated" person?
There is nothing in your description that would require such a viewpoint. The question may have arisen because of misunderstanding what it means to be viewed as "disassociated."
The Watchtower of September 15, 1981, page 23, showed that there is a difference between (a) a Christian who becomes spiritually weak and inactive
, and (b) a person who clearly renounces his being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, leading the congregation elders to announce that he has "disassociated" himself. It seems that your son fits the first description.
mentioned that some Christians become weak in faith and spirituality. This occurred also in the first century. (Romans 14:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 11:30) It does not mean that they have ceased to be Christians
. Even if they become so weak that they no longer share the "good news" with others and stop attending meetings, and they are not bringing reproach on the Christian congregation, they are still to be regarded as our spiritual brothers and sisters.
We should want to help them lovingly, following the apostle Paul’s counsel: "We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, speak consolingly to the depressed souls, support the weak,
be long-suffering toward all." While the elders often take the lead in this, it is to be noted that this counsel was directed to all "the congregation of the Thessalonians."
(1 Thessalonians 1:1; 5:14) So the elders and others might offer loving help and encouragement, having in mind the advice: "Straighten up the hands that hang down and the enfeebled knees, and keep making straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather that it may be healed."—Hebrews 12:12, 13; Revelation 3:1-3.
As can be appreciated, the spiritually weak and inactive son about whom the question was asked has not become a "disassociated" person in either of these two senses and no such announcement has been made in the congregation. So it still may be possible to aid him in the spirit of Romans 15:1: "We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong."—See also Isaiah 35:3.
*** w81 9/15 p. 23 par. 13 Disfellowshiping—How to View It ***
A Christian might grow spiritually weak, perhaps because of not studying God’s Word regularly, having personal problems or experiencing persecution. (1 Cor. 11:30; Rom. 14:1) Such a one might cease to attend Christian meetings. What is to be done? Recall that the apostles abandoned Jesus on the night of his arrest. Yet Christ had urged Peter, "When once you have returned, strengthen your brothers [who also abandoned Jesus]." (Luke 22:32) Hence, out of love Christian elders and others might visit and help the one who has grown weak and inactive. (1 Thess. 5:14; Rom. 15:1; Heb. 12:12, 13)
So we see that JWs are not told to avoid inactive JWs but to befriend them. Of course, there are written rules and the unwritten rules too.
*** w04 5/1 p. 21 par. 13 Strengthen One Another ***
At times, the pressures of life or other difficulties can cause some to slow down or become inactive in the field service. (Mark 4:18, 19) We may not see inactive ones at congregation meetings. Yet, they likely still have a love of God in their heart. What can be done to strengthen their faith? The elders can offer kind assistance by visiting them. (Acts 20:35) Other congregation members may be asked to assist too. Such loving visits can be just the right medicine, as it were, to revive those weak in faith.
*** w04 5/1 p. 21 par. 15 Strengthen One Another ***
How did the once inactive sister feel about visits by congregation members? She now says: "What helped us to become active again was that neither the brothers who visited us nor the sisters who accompanied them ever showed a judgmental or critical attitude toward us.