On page 10 of the December 8, 2001 Awake!, the article "Hope for Arthritis Sufferers" feigns to offer encouragement to those afflicted with chronic arthritis. Note how the article describes some of the sad consequences of this condition:
Such limitations can cause frustration and negative felings about oneself. Gaku, aged 27, is one of Jehovah's Witnesses and says: "Not being able to share fully in the evangelizing work or fulfill congregation assignments makes me feel that as a person I have no value whatsoever." Francesca, who has battled with arthritis since the age of two, speaks of "being sucked deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of despair." Such despair can have adverse spiritual effects. Joyce, a Witness from South Africa, admits that she began isolating herself from Christian meetings. "I just could not face seeing anybody," she explains.
Significantly, if Gaku is wrong to equate his self-worth with his ability "to share fully in the evangelizing work or fulfill congregation assignments", this misplaced self-judgment is nowhere corrected in the article.
But, happily, arthritic Jehovah's Witnesses whose value as human beings is largely negated by their inability to perform as fully as their faithful brethren need not fear lack of all support:
In congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, overseers take the lead in rendering such support. Setsuko says: "I can't describe how great the effect is on a person fighting illness when the elders listen and give comfort." However, as an arthritis sufferer named Daniel reminds us, "our spiritual brothers and sisters can only help if we let them." It is therefore important that sufferers stay in contact with fellow Christians, doing their very best to attend congregation meetings. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) There they can receive the spiritual encouragement needed to endure.Ah, what comfort for the afflicted ones! How reminiscent of Jesus' active concern for the sick and disabled. A virtual paraphrase of Jesus' words: "Come to the Kingdom Hall, all you whose self-worth is determined by your 'theocratic works', and the elders will encourage you to continue doing your very best ..."