Comments You Will Not Hear at the 08-22-10 WT Study (JUNE 15, 2010, pages 20-24)(SPEECH)
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GRACIOUS SPEECH PROMOTES GOOD RELATIONS
“Let your utterance be always with graciousness.”—COL. 4:6.
Maybe it’s because I am a woman, but the only people who yelled at me in so-called Christian settings were men, elders. I hadn’t yelled or attacked the WTS or their authority, merely asked why time after time they had not shown Christian love.
This was done in front of others, even my jw husband…when other elders intervened and admitted these men had been way out of line, never a personal apology by these elders, but other elders who had never been present. One even said he had the right to yell at me because Jesus had “yelled” at Martha…..?????
START OF ARTICLE
Q1,2. What good resulted from a brother’s gracious
1. “WHILE preaching from door to door, I
met a man who became so angry that
his lips quivered and his whole body shook,”
reports one brother. “I calmly tried to reason
with him from the Scriptures, but his anger
only intensified. His wife and children
joined in berating me, and I knew it was
time to leave. I assured the family that I had
come in peace and wished to go in peace. I
showed them Galatians 5:22 and 23, where
love, mildness, self-control, and peace are
mentioned. Then I left.
Note that this jw does not tell what it was that upset this man and his family; that it might even have been valid, worthy of an apology.
I can tell you this, if these people were that upset, taking the time to show them a scripture implying they were in the wrong would have escalated this situation.
I was with an older jw woman where a man confronted us about jw lack of participation in the military and the flag salute. She quickly told him that the flag was a pagan symbol and of the devil…can you guess…he was even angrier and started chasing us out to the sidewalk with this jw woman yelling at him that she had the legal right to come to his door.
Or the jw woman who told a landlord that we did not have to leave his property…yes, because we had the legal right to be there. Both women were regular pioneers. Jws were banned from both locations for years to the chagrin of the BOE.
2 “Later, while calling on homes across the
street, I saw the family sitting on their front
steps. They called me over. ‘What now?’ I
thought. The man had a jug of cool water
and offered me a drink. He apologized for
his rudeness and commended me for my
strong faith. We parted on good terms.”
So who were the real Christians here? The jw man who dropped by unannounced and corrected them with a scripture and did not apologize. Who was being rude? Notice that the point(s) of contention are still not given here.
Q3. Why must we resist letting others make us angry?
3 In today’s pressure-filled world, encountering
angry people, including in the ministry,
is often unavoidable. When we do, it is
essential that we display “a mild temper and
deep respect.” (1 Pet. 3:15) Had the brother
mentioned above allowed the householder’s
wrath and unkindness to cause him to
become angry, the man’s attitude would not
likely have softened as it did; he might have
become even angrier. Because the brother
controlled himself and spoke graciously, the
outcome was good.
Did you encounter angry people? How do you think people might feel if they have a faith that sustains them and then jws call implying there is something wrong with that faith? Or the man who told me he had observed first hand the lack of Christian love by jws…a 16-year-old jw girl lived next door and had become pregnant. Her parents kicked her out and refused to provide a home for her and her soon to be born child. First, legally she was underage and her parents could not do this. Second, this man told me that no one in her congregation would help her. So his family had given her a home. Believe me, I could find no scripture to explain that. This was a new congregation for me so I asked and was told the man was lying…I checked with another government source who confirmed it was true. Then the elders said they had no control over what the father did in his own household…even though he broke the law by kicking a 16-year-old out into the cold.
Are you telling me that many, many jws don’t walk away from a non-jw’s home and conclude that this person is doomed to eternal death, is a goat?
What do jws believe when someone “rejects Jesus’ rule”? Equals rejecting the WTS/FDS/GB.
***w95 1 0/15 p. 26 par. 15 What Future for the Sheep and the Goats? ***
Preferring the wicked world, goatlike ones reject the Kingdom message, whether hearing it directly or indirectly.
*** w653/15 p. 176 par. 10 Our Own Twentieth-Century Generation and the Resurrection***The undedicated children of goatish people will not be spared from execution and being sentenced to Gehenna just because they are themselves minor, unresponsible children.
What Makes Speech Gracious?
Q4. Why is it important to use gracious speech?
4 Whether we are dealing with those outside
or those inside the congregation, even
with family members, it is vital to follow the
apostle Paul’s counsel: “Let your utterance
be always with graciousness, seasoned with
salt.” (Col. 4:6) Such tasteful, appropriate
speech is essential to good communication
Have you see fights between elders, elder bodies, families at the kingdom hall?
Have you learned about fights between elders at their meetings? Congregations where factions have broken off following one elder or another?
Q5. What does good communication not mean? Illustrate .
5 Good communication does not mean
saying everything you are thinking and feeling
at any given moment, especially if you
are upset. The Scriptures show that uncontrolled
expression of anger is a mark of weakness,
not of strength. (Read Proverbs 25:28;
29:11.) Moses—“by far the meekest” of all
men then alive—once let the rebelliousness
of the nation of Israel cause him to lose
his temper and fail to give glory to God.
Moses very clearly communicated how he
felt, but Jehovah was not pleased. After 40
years of leading the Israelites, Moses did not
have the privilege of taking them into the
Promised Land.—Num. 12:3; 20:10, 12; Ps.
What about Rutherford…here is a letter from a WT attorney. Does this sound like graciousness of speech?
Why didn’t God forgive Moses as he had Miriam and Aaron for idolatry?
Q6. Being discreet in our speech means what?
6 The Scriptures commend the exercising
of restraint and discretion, or good judgment,
when we speak. “In the abundance of
words there does not fail to be transgression,
but the one keeping his lips in check is acting
discreetly.” (Prov. 10:19; 17:27) Yet, discretion
does not mean never expressing oneself.
It means speaking “with graciousness,”
using the tongue to heal rather than to hurt.
—Read Proverbs 12:18; 18:21.
So if discretion does not mean never expressing oneself, how is it that the WTS holds back from “expressing” itself to the legal authorities regarding child abuse cases unless SECULAR law requires it?
How does the WTS “heal” in these situations?
“A Time to Keep Quiet and a Time to Speak”
Q7. What sort of things should not be expressed, and
7 Just as we need to show graciousness
and restraint when speaking with workmates
or with strangers in the ministry, we also
need to do so in the congregation and at
home. Venting anger without concern for
the consequences can cause serious damage
to our own and others’ spiritual, emotional,
and physical health. (Prov. 18:6, 7) Bad feelings—
manifestations of our imperfect nature—
must be controlled. Abusive speech,
ridicule, contempt, and hateful wrath are
wrong. (Col. 3:8; Jas. 1:20) They can destroy
precious relationships with other people and
with Jehovah. Jesus taught: “Everyone who
continues wrathful with his brother will be
accountable to the court of justice; but whoever
addresses his brother with an unspeakable word
of contempt will be accountable to
the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says,
‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the
fiery Gehenna.”—Matt. 5:22.
I can remember several sisters who came to an elder in our congregation about the verbal abuse they had to put up with by their MS and elder husbands. This elder naively thought he should apply these scriptures and that these men should not have “privileges.” Instead, the BOE appointed the MS an elder and re-appointed one as an elder.
So should these children and women wait for God to send these men to Gehenna?
Q8. When must we express our feelings, but in what
8 There are some matters, though, on
Which we may conclude that it is best to communicate.
If something a brother has said or done disturbs
you so much that you cannot
simply pass it over, do not let hateful feelings
fester in your heart. (Prov. 19:11) If someone
angers you, get your own emotions under
control and then take the steps needed to resolve
the matter. Paul wrote: “Let the sun not
set with you in a provoked state.” Because the
problem continues to trouble you, address it
kindly at an opportune time. (Read Ephesians
4:26, 27, 31, 32.) Speak with your brother
about the matter, frankly but graciously, in
a spirit of reconciliation.—Lev. 19:17; Matt.
Wouldn’t abuse be something worthy of being communicated? Isn’t that something that disturbs more than one person? Is it something that even falls under the Matthew 18 WT principle? Should be a spirit of reconciliation?
Picture: Let your own emotions
settle, and then find an
opportune time to talk
Q9. Why should we get our own emotions under
control before approaching others?
9 Of course, you should take care to select
the proper time. There is “a time to keep
quiet and a time to speak.” (Eccl. 3:1, 7)
Moreover, “the heart of the righteous one
meditates so as to answer.” (Prov. 15:28) This
may well involve waiting to talk problems
out. Doing so when one is still very upset
could make matters worse; but neither is it
wise to wait a long time.
What would be the proper time? How long should you wait? So when would you stop being upset about abuse? Why is it you can take one or more “witnesses” to minor things but not when it is a judicial committee—your word against the word of 3 men?
I can remember an elder jumping to a conclusion at a meeting about me, demanding that I explain my actions with a loud voice in front of others at the meeting, only to find out it was his wife that had done it. No apology……he merely said I could have done it and walked away.
Gracious Acts Promote Good Relationships
Q10. How can performing gracious acts improve relationships?
10 Gracious speech and good communication
help to establish and sustain peaceful
relationships. In fact, doing what we can to
improve our relationships with others can
improve our communication with them.
Reaching out to others with sincere, kind
acts—finding opportunities to help, giving a
gift from the heart, extending hospitality—
can contribute to open communication.
It can even “heap fiery coals” on a person
And may bring out good qualities, making it
easier to talk things out.—Rom.12:20, 21.
Is gracious speech only something done in public? Is gossip, slander, lying gracious speech? What are elders doing when they play the good cop (kind) bad cop (liar)? Over a 10 year period I extended hospitality to many people, one elder in particular. He kept accepting and then later backing out, probably 20 times. Finally, we signed up for hospitality at the public talk. He backed out again…it turns out he had made plans after the fact with his “special friends.” I’d like to say I’m an ugly witch with a wart on my nose, but not so. I just read this scripture.
(Psalm15:4) . . .He has sworn to what is bad [for himself], and yet he does not alter.
Even on paper the WTS knows that.
***w06 5/15 p. 19 Highlights From Book One of Psalms ***
Unless we come to the realization that we have made an unscriptural promise, we should do all we can to fulfill our word, even if it is very difficult to do so
Q11. How did Jacob reach out to Esau, and with what
11 The patriarch Jacob understood this.
His twin brother, Esau, was so angry with
him that Jacob fled for fear Esau would kill
him. After many years, Jacob returned. Esau
came out to meet him, along with 400 men.
Jacob prayed for Jehovah’s help. Then he
sent ahead to Esau a large gift of livestock.
The gift achieved its purpose. When they
met, Esau’s heart had softened, and he ran
and embraced Jacob.—Gen. 27:41-44; 32:6,
11, 13-15; 33:4, 10.
So why was Esau angry? Hadn’t Jacob tricked him and Isaac rather than helping him? Perhaps thinking that it was God’s will? Had Esau threatened to kill him?
So is the WTS saying that if an elder, CO, or DO is “pissed” with you, you should give him presents? Is that all it takes to achieve “peace” in the organization?
Encourage Others With Gracious Speech
Q12. Why should we use gracious words with our
12 Christians serve God, not other humans.
Still, we naturally desire others’ approval.
Our gracious words can lighten the load of
our brothers and sisters. Harsh criticism,
however, can make those loads feel heavier
and even cause some to wonder if they have
lost Jehovah’s approval. Therefore, let us sincerely
communicate encouraging things to
others, “whatever saying is good for building
up as the need may be, that it may impart
what is favorable to the hearers.”—Eph. 4:29.
Christians = only jws
Don’t jws serve the WTS/FDS/GB?
Did you feel that pleasing the elders = pleasing God?
***w89 9/15 p. 22 par. 10 Be Obedient to Those Taking the Lead ***
Our being obedient and submissive to congregation elders does not mean that we are men pleasers. That would be unscriptural, for first-century Christian slaves were told to obey their masters, “not with acts of eye-service, as men pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, with fear of Jehovah.” (Colossians 3:22; Ephesians 6:5, 6)
Q13. Elders ought to keep what in mind (a) when
giving counsel? (b) when preparing correspondence?
13 Elders, in particular, should be “gentle”
and treat the flock with tenderness. (1 Thess.
2:7, 8) When elders are called upon to give
counsel, their goal is to do so “with mildness,”
even when speaking with those “not
favorably disposed.” (2 Tim. 2:24, 25) Elders
should also be gracious in expressing themselves
in written correspondence when it is
necessary to correspond with another body
of elders or with the branch office. They
should be kind and tactful, in line with what
we read at Matthew 7:12.
So elders (BOE) have been sending letters to other BOEs and the branch that are not “gracious”? It must be frequent enough to make a comment in a study article.
When reading the account of the shepherd who went out to find the one out of the 100 sheep that had strayed, do you think Jesus meant this? Does the sheep have to call out first before the shepherd looks for it?
***w02 3/1 p. 16 pars. 13-14 How Precious Is the Truth to You? ***
In Scotland some young lambs were grazing in a pasture when one of them strayed to the side of a hillock and tumbled onto a ledge below. It was uninjured, but it was frightened and unable to climb back. So it started to bleat plaintively. Its mother heard it, and she too began to bleat until the shepherd came and retrieved the young lamb.
Notice the sequence of events. The lamb called for help, the ewe added her voice to its cries, and the alerted shepherd sprang into action to rescue it.
Using Gracious Speech Within the Family
Q14. What counsel does Paul give husbands, and
14 It is easy to underestimate the impact
that our words, facial expressions, and body
language have on others. Some men, for example,
may not be fully aware of how deeply
their words affect women. One sister said, “It
frightens me when my husband angrily raises
his voice at me.” Strong words may exert
greater force on a woman than on a man and
may stay with her for a long time. (Luke 2:19)
This is especially true of words spoken by
someone a woman loves and wants to respect.
Paul counseled husbands: “Keep on
loving your wives and do not be bitterly angry
with them.”—Col. 3:19.
I wonder if that sister is frightened when other men in the congregation raise their voices? Is it only women who are frightened when the elders shout at them? Does Luke 2:19 say that Mary, Jesus’ mother, was frightened by loud words? Or that only women remember what is said them for a long time? That men cannot drag up things that were said 20 years ago and through them back at their wives? Is that to say that men are not affected when someone shows bitter anger towards them?
What does the WTS mean…that women are frightened little bunnies, more emotional than men, that men have to make consideration for their “weaknesses”?
Q15. Illustrate why a husband should treat his wife
15 In this respect, an experienced married
brother illustrated why a husband should
treat his wife gently, as “a weaker vessel.”
“When you hold a precious and delicate
vase, you must not grasp it too firmly, or it
may crack. Even if repaired, the crack may remain
visible,” he said. “If a husband uses
words that are too strong with his wife, he
may hurt her. This might cause a lasting
crack in their relationship.”—Read 1 Peter 3:7.
How is a woman weaker, mentally, emotionally, etc.? The only way is that as a group men are PHYSICALLY stronger than men. Is physical strength necessary for a strong spiritual life? The jw that wrote this paragraph is “cracked.”
Why quote this translation and throw in the word “emotional”?
*** w08 2/1 p. 29 Finding Fulfillment as a Mother ***
In that case, a wise husband will pay particular attention to the Bible’s admonition: “You husbands must show understanding in your married life: treat your wives with respect, not only because they are physically weaker, but also because God’s gift of life is something you share together.” (1 Peter 3:7, The Revised English Bible) A husband shows respect for his wife by being sensitive to her physical and emotional limitations.
Q16. How can a wife build up
16 Men too can be encouraged or discouraged
by another’s words, including those of
their wives. “A discreet wife,” one in whom
her husband can really “put trust,” is considerate
of his feelings, just as she wants him to
be of hers. (Prov. 19:14; 31:11) Indeed, a wife
can have considerable influence within the
family, for good or for bad. “The truly wise
woman has built up her house, but the foolish
one tears it down with her own hands.”
So do men then have “emotional limitations”?
Q17. (a) How should younger
ones address their parents?
(b) How should older ones address
younger ones, and why?
17 Parents and children likewise should
speak to one another with graciousness.
(Matt. 15:4) When talking to younger ones,
Thoughtfulness will help us to avoid
“exasperating” them or ‘provoking
them to wrath.’ (Col.
3:21; Eph. 6:4, ftn.) Even if
the children must be disciplined,
parents and elders
should speak to them respectfully.
In this way, older
ones make it easier for
the youths to correct their
course and maintain their
relationship with God. That
is so much better than conveying
the impression that
we have given up on them,
whereupon they may give
up on themselves. Younger
ones might not remember
all the counsel they received,
but they will remember how
others spoke to them.
I grew up thinking all parents called their children “stupid” many times every day. I can remember hearing what jw parents said to their children in the restroom and/or backroom. I can remember an elder telling one 10-year-old boy at the hall that he was a failure and would not make it through Armageddon. Yes, young ones do remember, I still remember 45 years later. And will they remember all the “counsel” that is give at the end of a spoon or a hand, with a smack to the bottom or to the face?
A man should always speak
gently to his wife
Speaking Good Things From the Heart
Q18. How can we get rid of hurtful thoughts and feelings?
18 Handling anger calmly is not simply a
matter of putting on a serene face. Our goal
should be more than merely repressing our
strong feelings. Trying to remain calm on the
outside while boiling with anger on the inside
puts us under strain. It is like stepping on
a car’s brake pedal and gas pedal both at the
same time. That puts the car under extra
stress and can cause damage. So do not bottle
up anger and let it explode later. Pray for Jehovah’s
help to rid your heart of hurtful
feelings. Let Jehovah’s spirit transform your
mind and heart to conform to his will.—Read
Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23, 24.
How many jws put “on a serene face” at the KH and as soon as they get in the car, start in on their children or spouse who feel they have to sit there and take it or be found not showing “respect.”
Or the ones that speak nicely to your face then turn and tell their “friends” what a spiritual failure you are and regale them with your perceived faults?
Or the elders that tell others how they gave “loving” counsel to you but fail to mention how they screamed into your face and made threats how they would “ruin” you in the congregation?
Q19. What steps can help us to avoid angry confrontations?
19 Take practical steps. If you find yourself
in a tense situation and you sense anger
building inside you, it may help to leave the
scene, thus giving your emotions time to settle.
(Prov. 17:14) If the one with whom you
are speaking starts to get angry, make an extra
effort to speak graciously. Remember: “An
answer, when mild, turns away rage, but a
word causing pain makes anger to come up.”
(Prov. 15:1) A cutting or aggressive remark
would add fuel to the fire even if it is delivered
in a gentle voice. (Prov. 26:21) So when a
situation tries your self-control, be “slow
about speaking, slow about wrath.” Pray for
Jehovah’s spirit to help you to say good
things, not bad.—Jas.1:19.
Leave the scene? I can remember when a sister tried quietly only to have the elder follow her out screaming? Or to have an elder use a meeting as a platform to chastise individuals in the audience?
Forgiving From the Heart
Q20, 21. What can help us to forgive others, and
why must we do so?
20 Sadly, none of us have perfect control of
the tongue. (Jas. 3:2) Despite their best efforts,
even family members and our dear spiritual
brothers and sisters may at times blurt
out things that hurt our feelings. Instead of
quickly taking offense, patiently analyze why
they may have said what they did. (Read Ecclesiastes
7:8, 9.) Were they under pressure,
fearful, not feeling well, or struggling with
some external or internal problem?
Once again the WTS throws out the “imperfect” clause. It is invoked when elders are involved, but the rank and file are held responsible mercilessly.
Best efforts….I know that when elders yelled at me, it was not the first time and that they had not been “counseled” since most times another elder stood there silently and said nothing. How many verbal punches does an elder get?
21 Such factors do not excuse outbursts.
But our recognizing the factors may help us
to understand why people sometimes say
and do things they should not and may
move us to be forgiving. All of us have said
and done things that hurt others, and we
hope that they will graciously forgive us.
(Eccl. 7:21, 22) Jesus said that in order for us
to receive God’s forgiveness, we must forgive
others. (Matt. 6:14, 15; 18:21, 22, 35) Therefore,
we should be quick to apologize and
quick to forgive, thus maintaining love—the
“perfect bond of union”—within our family
and within the congregation.—Col. 3:14.
If they don’t excuse, then why mention “imperfect.” Quick to apologize? I have never had an elder apologize for something he did, apologize for other elders who will not, yes.
Q22. Why is it well worth our effort to use gracious
22 Challenges to our joy and unity are likely
to increase as this present angry system
draws to its end. Applying the practical principles
in God’s Word will help us to use our
tongue to do good, not bad. We will enjoy
more peaceful relations within the congregation
and within the family, and our example
will provide an excellent witness to others
about our “happy God,” Jehovah.—1 Tim.
Is the non-jw system to blame for jw angry speech, unpeaceful relations at the kingdom hall? Wouldn’t that be just like Adam blaming Eve?
Can You Explain?
? Why is it important to select an appropriate
time to discuss problems?
? Why should family members always
speak to one another “with graciousness”?
? How can we avoid saying hurtful
? What can help us to be forgiving?
Is the anger building in jw families, congregations, BOEs, and branches? Sounds like it is. The lack of love for each other and the judgmental approach to others in the congregation contributes to this. The lack of humility on the part of elders and others to admit responsibility, change, and make amends, also is at the foundation.
I was surprised to see the WTS say that relations between elder bodies and the branches need improving. The WTS rarely shows its dirty laundry.
Next week, FIND REFRESHMENT IN SPIRITUAL THINGS.