Comments You Will Not Hear at the 09-03-06 WT Study (July 15, 2006, pages 25-29)(AFFLICTED)
Review comments will be in redWT material from today's WT will be in black
Quotes from other sources will be in quotes boxesw = Watchtower
g = Awake
jv = Proclaimers book
www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible (various Bible translations online)
www.reexamine.org (WT publications online)
www.silentlambs.org (child abuse)
www.ajwrb.org (blood issue)
http://www.randytv.com/secret/unitednations.htm (United Nations issue)
JEHOVAH DELIVERS THE AFFLICTED ONE
"Many are the calamities of the righteous one, but out of them all Jehovah delivers him."-PSALM 34:19.
Cause of affliction: our sinful nature, our limitations, critical times outside the WTS. Notice not a mention of the sins of others in the WTS, the limitations of others in the WTS, nor critical times within the WTS.
Again the WTS focuses on an OT scripture and leaves Jesus out of the picture.
START OF ARTICLE
Q1, 2) What problem did one faithful Christian face, and why may we be subject to similar feelings?
1) A YOUNG woman named Keiko* (Footnote: * Name has been changed.) has been one of Jehovah's Witnesses for more than 20 years. For a time, she served as a regular pioneer, or full-time Kingdom proclaimer. She deeply cherished that privilege. Not long ago, however, Keiko became overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and isolation. "All I could do was cry," she says. To combat her negative thinking, Keiko devoted more time to personal study. "Still, I could not turn my condition around," she says. "It got to the point that I wanted to die."
one faithful Christian--only JW
JW for 20 years...for a time, she served as a regular pioneer...overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness
Probably because she had to quit pioneering; her self worth revolved around how many hours she put on a record slip. Regular pioneers put in 70 hours a month and are called a full-time Kingdom proclaimer. Are only pioneers full-time Christians then?
negative thinking--the WTS thinks all a person has to do in think positive thoughts and their problems and bad emotions will disappear.
devoted more time to personal study...still, I could not turn my condition around
Hope the elders are listening to this and quit telling the rank and file that bible study, prayer, and regular meeting attendance is the cure for depression.
2) Have you struggled with similar feelings of despair? As one of Jehovah's
Witnesses, you have abundant reason to rejoice because godly devotion "holds promise of the life now and that which is to come." (1 Timothy 4:8) Right now you dwell in a spiritual paradise! However, does that mean that you are shielded from all affliction? Hardly! The Bible says: "Many are the calamities of the righteous one." (Psalm 34:19) This is not surprising, for "the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one," Satan the Devil. (1 John 5:19) To one degree or another, all of us experience the effects of that reality. -Ephesians 6:12.
[Picture on page 25] Despite trials, Jehovah's people have reason to rejoice
CARROT: abundant reason to rejoice...promise of life...which is to come.
spiritual paradise: Can there be a spiritual paradise among people who require that a child molester be observed by 2 people molesting a child before the pedophile can be put outside the religious community?
does that mean you are shielded from all affliction?
But if you have affliction it is your fault or the devil's never the WTS.
The Effects of Affliction
Q3) Give Bible examples of God's servants who experienced deep distress.
3) Prolonged distress can darken our entire outlook. (Proverbs 15:15) Consider the upright man Job. In the midst of a terrible or deal, job said: "Man, born of woman, is short-lived and glutted with agitation." (Job 14:1) Job's joy had vanished. For a time, he even thought that Jehovah had abandoned him. (Job 29:1-5) Job was not the only servant of God to experience intense anguish. The Bible tells us that Hannah was "bitter of soul" because of her childless state. (1 Samuel 1:9-11) Tormented over a family situation,Rebekah said: "I have come to abhor this life of mine." (Genesis 27:46) When reflecting on his errors, David said: "All day long I have walked about sad." (Psalm 38:6) These few examples make it clear that God-fearing men and women of the pre-Christian era endured periods of deep distress.
Prolonged distress can darken our entire outlook.
Distress from where? Inside the congregation? Gossiping and liars among the rank and file. Elders always judging whether you are doing enough.
OT examples: Job, Hannah, Rebekah, David
Job: 3 false friends who told him it was his fault bad things were happening to him. He must have sinned secretly. Elders are taught to think that depression is a sin of a hidden sin. I can remember an experience in the WT literature where a troubled sister was badgered by the elders that she must have a hidden sin. Finally to get some help, she asked if she pretended to have one, would they help her.
*** w02 2/15 p. 17 par. 22 They Coped With Thorns in Their Flesh ***
Job's three companions, instead of comforting him, attacked him with specious reasoning, accusing him of secret sins and holding that this was responsible for his misfortune.
Hannah: a JW woman today would be told it is a blessing to be childless today. The end is near.
*** w00 8/1 p. 21 Why Do They Have No Children? ***
Although Noah's three sons were all married, none fathered children until after the Deluge. One reason for that may have been that these couples wanted to devote their full attention and energy to the work at hand. Another may have been reluctance to bring children into a debased and violent world where "the badness of man was abundant . . . and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time."-Genesis 6:5.
While this does not imply that it is wrong to have children today, many Christian couples decline to have children so as to become more fully involved in the urgent work that Jehovah has given his people to do. Some couples have waited for a time before having children; others have decided to remain childless and consider the possibility of bearing children in Jehovah's righteous new world. Is this shortsighted? Are they missing out on life? Are they to be pitied?
Rebekah: family situation? because Esau had married women who did worship the same God? Why be concerned there was no law against it. Eventually one of her grandsons, Joseph, would marry an Egyptian priest's daughter, and have 2 sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who would be 2 of the tribes of Israel. No contamination there.
(Genesis 41:45) 45 After that Phar´aoh called Joseph's name Zaph´e·nath-pa·ne´ah and gave him As´e·nath the daughter of Pot·i´phe·ra the priest of On as a wife.. . .
David: Should a man who committed adultery with another man's wife (although David had multiple wives already), had the husband killed when the woman became pregnant be distressed. Adulterers were put to death under the law yet Bathsheba and David were allowed to live. There was no escape from death clause for other Israelites no matter how "merciful" and "repentant" they were.
Q4) Why is it not surprising that there are "depressed souls" among Christians today?
4) What about Christians? The apostle Paul found it necessary to tell the
Thessalonians to "speak consolingly to the depressed souls." (1 Thessalonians 5:14) One reference work notes that the Greek word translated "depressed souls" can refer to those "who are temporarily overwhelmed by the stress of life." Paul's words indicate that some spirit-anointed ones in that congregation at Thessalonica were downhearted. There are depressed souls among Christians today too. But why are they despondent? Let us consider three common causes.
Is depression a sign of spiritual weakness?
*** w62 3/15 pp. 182-183 Consolation for the Depressed ***
Occasionally depression may lean more toward spiritual sickness, with weakened faith and a corresponding inability to get comfort from the Scriptures.
*** w88 11/15 pp. 21-22 "Spiritual Words" for the Mentally Distressed ***
Failing to grasp the nature of a certain brother's depressive disorder, one group of elders passed him off as spiritually weak. "Pray more," they told him-instruction he found hard to apply because of his depressed state of mind.
One reference work---why not name it? What is the WTS hiding? Maybe studious JWs might want a copy for their personal library.
Yes, even "some spirit-anointed ones in the congregation...were downhearted."
Our Sinful Nature Can Distress Us
Q5, 6) What comfort can be drawn from Romans 7: 22-25?
5) Unlike corrupt individuals who are "past all moral sense," true Christians
are pained by their sinful state. (Ephesians 4:19) They may feel as did Paul, who wrote: "I really delight in the law of God according to the man I am within, but I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin's law that is in my members." Then Paul exclaimed: "Miserable man that I am!"-Romans 7:22-24.
true Christians--only JWs
corrupt individuals who are "past all moral sense"--all non-JWs
*** w89 11/1 p. 21 par. 13 Do Not Yoke Yourselves With Unbelievers ***
The moral standards of worldly people are a far cry from those of the Bible. No matter how clean-cut some worldly people may appear to be, they do not have a Bible-trained, Christian conscience.
6) Have you ever felt as Paul did? It is not wrong for you to be keenly aware of your imperfections, for this can impress upon you the gravity of sin and can strengthen your resolve to shun badness. But you do not need to be in a constant state of misery over your shortcomings. To his words of distress just quoted, Paul added: "Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7: 25) Yes, Paul had confidence that Jesus' shed blood could redeem him from inherited sin. -Romans 5:18.
not wrong for you to be keenly aware of your imperfections--don't worry if you forget, WTS articles, elders and "mature" ones in the congregation will be sure to remind you and others of your "sins"
you do not need to be in a constant state of misery--just a partial state of misery?
through Jesus Christ our Lord--finally Jesus gets a nod
Q7) What can help a person not to be distressed because of his sinful
7) If you feel overwhelmed by your sinful nature, take comfort in the words of the apostle John, who wrote: "If anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world's." (1 John 2:1, 2) If you are distressed because of your sinful tendencies, always remember that Jesus died for sinners, not for perfect people. Really, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."-Romans 3:23.
overwhelmed by your sinful nature, take comfort...we have a helper...Jesus Christ
But remember you cannot approach Jesus unless you go through the WTS/FDS.
*** w52 8/15 p. 497 par. 4 God's Spirit Essential to Maturity ***
Then comes a stirring description of the wealth of blessing and provision made for the 'children of Zion', who find refuge in his organization and in whom he takes great pleasure as they render acceptable praise and worship. They are 'filled with the finest of the wheat', that is, spiritual food and understanding of the highest excellence. In fact, to them only does Jehovah reveal and 'show his word' and its hidden meaning. Truly, he "hath not dealt so with any [other] nation". (Ps. 147:20) Thus this Psalm reveals the essential heart attitude in order to gain understanding by God's spirit. It also reveals the one and only channel by which the spirit and understanding are given, that is, the Lord's organization, "Zion," under the headship of Christ Jesus, "through whom all things are."-1 Cor. 8:6, NW.
Q8, 9) Why should we reject self-condemning thoughts?
8) Suppose, however, that you sinned seriously in the past. No doubt, you have taken the matter to Jehovah in prayer, perhaps quite often. You have received spiritual help from Christian elders. (James 5:14, 15) You were truly repentant and therefore remained a part of the congregation. Or perhaps you left God's organization for a while, but you later repented and regained a clean standing. In either situation, your past sin may come to mind and distress you. If that happens, remember that Jehovah forgives truly repentant ones "in a large way." (Isaiah 55:7) Furthermore, he does not want you to feel hopelessly condemned. That would serve Satan's purpose. (2 Corinthians 2:7, 10, 11) The Devil will be destroyed because that is what he deserves, but he would like to have you feel that you deserve the same judgment. (Revelation 20:10) Do not let Satan succeed in this scheme to destroy your faith. (Ephesians 6:11) Instead, "take your stand against him" in this regard, even as you do in other ways.-1 Peter 5:9.
sinned seriously in the past. No doubt...help from elders (meaning a JC was convened and you were found)...truly repentant (by men).
Must JWs confess to the elders to receive forgiveness? If so, how is that any different than Catholics having to confess to a priest?
Here is an example of how the WTS talks out of both sides of their mouth.
*** w77 11/15 p. 693 par. 1 Genuine Repentance-How Is It Identified? ***
ELDERS are not 'father confessors' who have been authorized to forgive all the sins that members of the congregation may commit. It is Jehovah God who forgives the sins of repentant ones, doing so on the basis of his Son's atoning sacrifice. Therefore, a person's being forgiven by Jehovah is not dependent upon his confessing his sins to the elders. (1 John 1:8, 9; 2:1, 2) However, by serious transgression, a person can also sin against the congregation. This is the case because gross wrongdoing can bring much reproach and trouble upon the congregation with which the wayward one is associated. Hence, elders representing the congregation should make sure that the individual is genuinely repentant before extending forgiveness to him for the bad name that he has given to the congregation.
God's organization--only WTS/JWs
Jehovah forgives truly repentant ones--who determines they are repentant, the elders or God?
*** w95 1/1 p. 27 Determining Weakness, Wickedness, and Repentance ***
Elders may have to determine: Is the individual repentant?
*** w91 4/15 p. 23 par. 15 Imitate God's Mercy Today ***
These elders will need wisdom and discernment to determine whether there is indication of repentance and whether a follow-up visit would be advisable.
*** w81 9/1 p. 26 par. 25 Repentance Leading Back to God ***
The elders' responsibility in determining true repentance is a weighty one.
*** w78 1/1 p. 31 Do You Remember? ***
Through its representative elders, the congregation cannot forgive the wrongdoer for serious sin itself, as this is done by Jehovah God. But the elders, upon determining whether the wrongdoer is truly repentant, can forgive him for whatever reproach, trouble and sorrow his sin may have brought upon the congregation.
Devil...would like to have you feel that you deserve the same judgment
Or do the elders and other JWs make you feel that way?
*** w89 11/1 p. 22 Do Not Yoke Yourselves With Unbelievers ***
Something else to consider: When we ignore God's counsel, we may wound ourselves spiritually, scarring our conscience. One sister whose unbelieving husband eventually became a believer said: 'I am still dealing with the emotional scars. I can't tell you how awful I feel when others point to us and say, "But it worked for them."'
9) At Revelation 12:10, Satan is called "the accuser of our brothers"--anointed Christians. He "accuses them day and night" before God. Reflecting on that verse may help you to see that Satan, the false accuser, would be pleased if you were to accuse and condemn yourself, although Jehovah does not do so. (1 John 3:19-22) Why keep on agonizing over your failings to such an extent that you feel like giving up? Do not let Satan destroy your relationship with God. Never let the Devil blind you to the fact that Jehovah is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness."-Exodus 34:6.
Are the great crowd Christ's brothers? Are only the anointed Christ's brothers? What are the great crowd then, the children of Christ and the bride (his brothers)?
accuse and condemn yourself--don't worry the elders and "mature" JWs will accuse you.
Jehovah does not do so...relationship with God--where's Jesus? According to the WTS can you have a relationship with God without Christ?
*** w03 5/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Water baptism was a symbol of their dedication to God, bringing them into a new relationship with him through Jesus Christ
Our Limitations Can Discourage Us
Q10) In what ways might our limitations discourage us?
10) Some Christians are discouraged because of the way their limitations affect their service to God. Is that true of you? It may be that a serious illness, advanced years, or other circumstances prevent you from devoting as much time to the ministry as you did in the past. Granted, Christians are encouraged to buy out time for God's service. (Ephesians 5:15,16) But what if genuine limitations prevent you from doing more in the ministry and this is a source of discouragement to you?
Some Christians--only JWs
serious illness, advanced years
Yet elders will point to someone in the congregation and say: Sister ElderlyDyingofCancer is regular pioneering and getting 75 hours in every month...don't you think you could get at least 10 in?
GENUINE LIMITATIONS--determined genuine by who? The elders?
Q11) How can Paul's counsel recorded at Galatians 6:4 benefit us?
11) The Bible urges us not to be sluggish but to be "imitators of those who
through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:12) We can do this only if we examine their fine example and seek to imitate their faith. However, we will not benefit if we compare ourselves unfavorably with others and conclude that nothing we do is good enough. Therefore, we do well to apply Paul's counsel: "Let each one prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person." -Galatians 6:4.
not to be sluggish--I wonder what the last service year was like (ended 8/31)?
If WE compare ourselves unfavorably with others and conclude that nothing we do is good enough.
Brother LowTime, we would like to appoint you but you are not making the national average. We aren't comparing you unfavorably with others and concluding that nothing you do is good enough, but you could do more. Brother HasThreeChildren is getting in 10 hours a month. You don't have any children (thus he can't count the 4 hours HTC is counting as a family study) and have fewer responsibilites...........
*** w88 8/15 p. 20 par. 20 Manifest Trust in Jehovah-By Practicing the Things Learned ***
Our service to God is not done in "comparison with the other person." (Galatians 6:4) Nevertheless, the good examples of others can often motivate us to do more. The apostle Paul himself said: "Become imitators of me, even as I am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1) Consider, then, how much time our brothers are spending in the field service each month. In the United States, the average hours for publishers has risen from 8.3 hours in 1979 to 9.7 hours in 1987! Our brothers have been steadily increasing the time they spend in the field. Is that true of you?
Q12) Why can we exult in the service we render to Jehovah?
12) Christians have good reason to exult, even when they are limited by severe health problems. The Bible assures us: "God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name." (Hebrews 6:10) It may be that circumstances beyond your control have made it difficult for you to maintain the level of activity that you once enjoyed. With Jehovah's help, however, you may be able to engage more fully in certain aspects of the Christian ministry, such as telephone witnessing and letter writing. You can be sure that Jehovah God will bless you for your whole-souled service and the love you show for him and for fellow humans.-Matthew 22:36-40.
limited by severe health problems--have the elders let you know that your illness is not severe enough to miss meetings and field service? I have met many elders who have "medical" degrees without having gone to medical school. Amazing thing, holy spirit.
circumstance beyond your control--and the elders will decide which ones those are beyond your control
Jehovah's help--where's Jesus
telephone witnessing and letter writing--6 JWs, one phone and coffee and cake
"Critical Times" Can Wear Us Down
Q13, 14) (a) In what ways may these "critical times" cause us affliction? (b) How is a lack of natural affection evident today?
13) Although we look forward to life in God's righteous new world, right now we live in "critical times hard to deal with." (2 Timothy 3:1) We take comfort in the knowledge that distressing events point to the nearness of our deliverance. Yet, we are affected by the conditions that surround us. For example, what if you are unemployed? Jobs may be scarce, and as the months pass, you could wonder if Jehovah sees your plight or hears your prayers. Or perhaps you have become the victim of discrimination or some other form of injustice. Even scanning newspaper headlines can make you feel as did the righteous man Lot, who was "greatly distressed" ("worn down," Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible) by the loose conduct of those around him.-2 Peter 2:7.
CARROT: look forward to life in God's righteous new world
NEARness of our deliverance--WTS preaching nearness since 1879 (127 years)
Unemployed--future WT will tell you to get off your keester do something that don't expect prayer to do it
victim of discrimination...injustice--at the hands of JWs?
14) There is one particular aspect of the last days that we cannot overlook. The Bible foretold that many would have "no natural affection." (2 Timothy 3:3) Family affection is sorely lacking in many households. Indeed, "evidence suggests that people are more likely to be killed, physically assaulted, or emotionally or sexually abused by other family members than by anyone else," says the book Family Violence. "The place where people should be loved and feel safe is, for some adults and children, the most dangerous place of all." Those who have been exposed to an unwholesome home environment may in later years experience bouts of anxiety and despair. What if this is true of you?
No natural affection..more likely...sexually abused by other family members even JWs
Q15) How is Jehovah's love superior to that of any human?
15) The psalmist David sang: "In case my own father and my own mother did leave me, even Jehovah himself would take me up." (Psalm 27:10) How comforting to know that Jehovah's love exceeds that of any human parent! As painful as rejection, mistreatment, or abandonment by a parent may be, it has no bearing on how much Jehovah cares for you. (Romans 8:38, 39) Remember that God draws those whom he loves. (John 3:16; 6:44) Regardless of how you have been treated by humans, you are loved by your heavenly Father!
[Picture on page 29] Telephone witnessing is one way to give Jehovah your best
Jehovah's love exceeds that of any human parent--where's Jesus??????
Jehovah cares for you...God draws those...loved by your heavenly Father--where's Jesus
treated by humans--including JWs
Practical Steps to Relieve Despondency
Q16, 17) When faced with despondency, what can a person do to preserve his spiritual strength?
16) You can take practical steps to cope with despondency. For instance, follow a healthy program of Christian activity. Meditate on God's Word, especially when discouragement seems overwhelming. The psalmist sang: "When I said: `My foot will certainly move unsteadily,' your own loving-kindness, 0 Jehovah, kept sustaining me. When my disquieting thoughts became many inside of me, your own consolations began to fondle my soul." (Psalm 94:18, 19) Regular Bible reading will help to fill your mind with consoling words and sustaining thoughts.
practical steps...healthy program of Christian activity
Translation: attend all 5 meetings every week and get in 10 hours every month
Meditate on God's word--which cannot be understood without WT publications
Regular Bible reading--try bring another translation to the meeting and reading it and see how long it takes before someone suggests that the NWT would be better. Try reading from another translation during a talk on the school.
17) Prayer too is vital. Even if you cannot fully express the depth of your
feelings in words, Jehovah knows what you are trying to say. (Romans 8:26, 27) The psalmist gave this assurance: "Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter."-Psalm 55:22.
Prayer too is vital--did you know that the WTS teaches that God does not hear the prayers of non-JWs except if they are praying for a JW to call on them?
And don't think that Jesus acts as your mediator; according to the WTS he mediates only for the 144,000 anointed JWs.
Q18) What practical steps might a depressed one take?
18) Some experience despair because of clinical depression.* (Footnote: * More than discouragement, clinical depression is a diagnosed condition in which sadness is intense and ongoing. For additional information, see The Watchtower of October 15, 1988, pages 25-9; November 15, 1988, pages 21-4; and September 1, 1996, pages 30-1 (I have put this one at the end of this review.) If this is true of you, try to focus some of your attention on God's new world and the time when "no resident will say: `I am sick."' (Isaiah 33:24) If your negative feelings seem to be much more than an occasional case of the blues, it might be wise to seek professional help. (Matthew 9:12) It is also important to take care of yourself physically. A healthful diet and some exercise may be helpful. Make sure that you are getting needed rest. Do not stay up late watching television, and avoid forms of recreation that will leave you physically and emotionally depleted. Above all, continue to engage in godly works! Although it is not yet the time when Jehovah will "wipe out every tear," he will help you to endure.-Revelation 21:4; 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Clinical depression...a diagnosed condition--not diagnosed by the elders, of course.
CARROT: focus some of your attention on God's new world
Think good thoughts and you won't be depressed. Hard to do when the WTS talks about the very soon now, near, just around the corner, fast-approaching eternal destruction of all non-JWs, all 6.5 billion, including babies.
MIGHT be wise to see professional help--not Sister PushingVitamins either.
healthful diet and some exercise MAY be helpful--assuming that you aren't already doing that or that it would be helpful under any circumstances.
avoid forms of recreation that will leave you physically and emotionally depleted--what would those be? Pretty open-ended and just about anything can be demonized by the elders.
Continue to engage in godly works--definitely not providing food, clothing, shelter to non-JWs.
Living "Under the Mighty Hand of God"
Q19) What does Jehovah promise those who are afflicted?
19) The Bible assures us that although the calamities of the righteous one are many, "out of them all Jehovah delivers him." (Psalm 34:19) How does God do this? When the apostle Paul repeatedly prayed for deliverance from his "thorn in the flesh," Jehovah told him: "My power is being made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) What did Jehovah promise Paul, and what does he promise you? Not a present-day cure, but the power to endure.
Does having calamities in one's life prove they are righteous?
No promise of a present-day cure from God but JWs will have many alternative ways to good health. Expensive ones too not covered by your insurance.
Q20) Despite our trials, we are assured of what at 1 Peter 5:6, 7?
20) The apostle Peter wrote: "Humble yourselves ... under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; while you throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6, 7) Because Jehovah cares for you, he will not abandon you. He will support you despite the trials you experience. Bear in mind that faithful Christians are "under the mighty hand of God." As we serve Jehovah, he gives us strength to endure. If we are faithful to him, nothing can do us permanent spiritual harm. May we, therefore, maintain integrity to Jehovah so that we can enjoy everlasting life in his promised new world and see the day when he will indeed have delivered the afflicted one permanently!
Jehovah cares for you---where's Jesus?
faithful Christians--only JWs
If we are faithful to him = if we are faithful to the WTS
CARROT: enjoy everlasting life in his promised new world
Where is the Messianic Kingdom in this article?
Do You Recall?
- Why does affliction affect even servants of Jehovah?
- What are some factors that can cause some of God's people to feel despondent?
- How does Jehovah help us to cope with our anxieties?
- In what way are we "under the mighty hand of God"?
I can say that when I stopped attending all meetings at the KH and conventions and assemblies that my despondency disappeared. How quickly the oppressive fog lifted. No more hearing that I was an elephant conditioned to stay chained to a post, that non-JWs were only corpses, and that Jesus only picked up shiny new quarters and left the dirty pennies on the sidewalk. No more wondering why the love of God and Jesus weren't seen at the WTS gatherings. If you haven't already, why not take a vacation from the WTS grind?
Well, it's a 3-day weekend in the US, Labor day celebrates the triumphs of the unions in the US. At the turn of the 20th century, many people worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Workplaces were dangerous; children worked in factories rather than going to school. If you died or were injured, tough luck. What about other countries, what is your union history? How have you benefited?
*** w96 9/1 pp. 30-31 Questions From Readers ***
Questions From Readers
Would it be wise for a Christian to consult a mental-health practitioner?
Reports from some lands indicate that there has been an increase in emotional and mental illnesses in these "last days." (2 Timothy 3:1) Christians feel deep compassion when fellow believers are affected, but they recognize that each one must decide for himself whether to seek treatment for his illness and, if so, what kind of treatment. "Each one will carry his own load." (Galatians 6:5) Some, suffering severely from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, deep clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-mutilation, and other distressing disorders, have been able to live fairly normal lives after obtaining the right professional help.
In some places it has become quite fashionable to seek therapy. In many cases the patient does not have a severe mental disorder but has difficulty coping with some situation in life. However, it is the Bible that gives the most effective help in handling the difficult problems of life. (Psalm 119:28, 143) Through the Bible, Jehovah supplies wisdom, thinking ability, and true knowledge-things that fortify us mentally and emotionally. (Proverbs 2:1-11; Hebrews 13:6) Faithful servants of God may express themselves irrationally at times because of severe inner turmoil. (Job 6:2, 3) James 5:13-16 encourages such ones to call on the elders for help and counsel. A Christian may be spiritually sick, or he may be distressed by an unchangeable circumstance or by oppressive stresses, or he may feel that he is the victim of injustice. (Ecclesiastes 7:7; Isaiah 32:2; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) Such a person can find help with the elders, who will 'grease him with oil'-that is, skillfully impart comforting Bible counsel-and also "pray over him." The result? "The prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up [out of his despondency or his feeling of being abandoned by God]."
What, though, if a person's mental distress and confusion persist despite the skillful help of spiritual shepherds? Some in this situation have chosen to undergo a thorough physical examination. (Compare Proverbs 14:30; 16:24; 1 Corinthians 12:26.) A physical problem may lie behind emotional or mental distress. Treating such a problem has in some cases given relief to the emotionally ill person. If no physical problem is found, the physician, upon request, may recommend a mental-health professional. What then? As stated, this is a decision each individual must weigh for himself. Others should not criticize or judge.-Romans 14:4.
Nevertheless, practical wisdom must be exercised and care taken not to forget Bible principles. (Proverbs 3:21; Ecclesiastes 12:13) In the case of physical sickness, patients are faced with a variety of treatment choices, from orthodox medicine to therapies such as naturopathy, acupuncture, and homeopathy. There are also different kinds of mental-health practitioners. Among them are analytic psychotherapists and others, who may delve into the patient's personal history to try to find reasons for irregular behavior or painful emotions. Behavioral psychotherapists may try to help the patient learn new behavior patterns. Some mental-health practitioners believe that most mental illnesses should be treated with drugs. Reportedly, others recommend diet and vitamins.
Patients and their families should use caution when considering these choices. (Proverbs 14:15) Significantly, Professor Paul McHugh, director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that the mental-health profession "is a rudimentary medical art. It lacks easy access to proof of its proposals even as it deals with disorders of the most complex features of human life-mind and behavior." This situation leaves the door open to eccentricity and fraud, as well as well-intentioned treatments that may do more harm than good.
It should be mentioned, too, that while psychiatrists and psychologists have professional, postgraduate degrees, many others with no professional qualifications practice without supervision as counselors or therapists. Some individuals have spent a lot of money consulting such unqualified people.
Even with a trained, qualified mental-health professional, there are things to consider. When choosing a medical doctor or surgeon, we have to be sure that he will respect our Bible-based views. Similarly, it would be dangerous to consult a mental-health professional who does not respect our religious and moral views. Many Christians are striving hard, despite mental and emotional confusion, to have "the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had." (Romans 15:5) Such are rightly concerned about the attitudes of anyone who might affect their thinking or behavior. Some practitioners view any restrictions imposed by Scriptural beliefs as unnecessary and potentially harmful to mental health. They may approve, even recommend, practices condemned in the Bible, such as homosexuality or marital infidelity.
These ideas are included in what the apostle Paul called "the contradictions of the falsely called 'knowledge.'" (1 Timothy 6:20) They contradict the truth about the Christ and are part of "the philosophy and empty deception" of this world. (Colossians 2:8) The Bible's touchstone is clear: "There is no wisdom, nor any discernment, nor any counsel in opposition to Jehovah." (Proverbs 21:30) Mental-health practitioners who say "good is bad and bad is good" are "bad associations." Far from helping to heal unstable minds, they will "spoil useful habits."-Isaiah 5:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33.
So a Christian who feels that it is necessary to consult a mental-health professional should scrutinize the qualifications, attitude, and reputation of the practitioner and the possible effect of any treatment recommended. If a distressed Christian cannot do this himself, perhaps a mature, close friend or relative may be able to help. A Christian who is uncertain as to the wisdom of a particular treatment may find that talking with the elders in the congregation is helpful-although the final decision is his own (or his parents', or the joint decision of husband and wife).
Science can do much more today than in times past to alleviate suffering. Still, there are many diseases-both physical and mental-that at present are incurable and have to be endured through this system of things. (James 5:11) In the meantime "the faithful and discreet slave," the elders, and all others in the congregation reach out a hand of compassion and support to sick ones. And Jehovah himself strengthens them to endure until that glorious time when sickness will be no more.-Matthew 24:45; Psalm 41:1-3; Isaiah 33:24.
Sometimes an individual may be asked to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, perhaps when being considered for high-level employment. Whether one submits to such an evaluation or not is a personal decision, but it should be noted that a psychiatric evaluation is not psychiatric treatment.
See "Winning the Battle Against Depression," in the March 1, 1990, issue of The Watchtower.
Some mental illnesses seem to respond well to the correct medications. But these medications must be used with caution under the guidance of skilled and experienced medical physicians or psychiatrists, since there can be severe side effects if dosages are not correctly adjusted.
See the article "Mental Distress-When It Afflicts a Christian" in the October 15, 1988, issue of The Watchtower.