How the Voice of Strangers Is Heard Today
10 Deceptive reasonings. The apostle Paul states: “Do not be carried away with various and strange teachings.” (Hebrews 13:9) What sort of teachings? Since they can ‘carry us away,’ it is clear that Paul refers to teachings that undermine our spiritual balance. Who are voicing such strange teachings? Paul told a group of Christian elders: “From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:30) Indeed, today as in Paul’s day, some individuals who were once part of the Christian congregation now attempt to mislead the sheep by speaking “twisted things”—half-truths and outright lies. As the apostle Peter puts it, they use “counterfeit words”—words that resemble truth but that are actually as worthless as counterfeit money.—2 Peter 2:3.
11 Peter further exposes the methods of apostates by stating that they “will quietly bring in destructive sects.” (2 Peter 2:1, 3) Just as the thief in Jesus’ illustration of the sheepfold does not enter “through the door but climbs up some other place,” so apostates approach us in stealthy ways. (Galatians 2:4; Jude 4) What is their aim? Peter adds: “They will exploit you.” Indeed, no matter what apostates may say to the contrary, the real aim of intruders is “to steal and slay and destroy.” (John 10:10) Beware of such strangers!
12 Harmful associates. The voice of strangers may be heard through those with whom we associate. Harmful associations especially endanger youths. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Remember, Satan singled out Eve—the younger and less experienced of the first human pair. He convinced her that Jehovah had unduly restricted her freedom, when in reality the opposite was true. Jehovah loved his human creation and cared for their welfare. (Isaiah 48:17) Similarly today, strangers try to persuade you youths that your Christian parents unduly restrict your freedom. How may such strangers affect you? One Christian girl admits: “For a while my faith was weakened to a certain extent by my classmates. They kept saying that my religion was restrictive and unreasonable.” Yet, the truth is that your parents love you. So when schoolmates try to persuade you to distrust your parents, do not be misled as Eve was.
13 Regarding harmful associations, the psalmist David states: “I have not sat with men of untruth; and with those who hide what they are I do not come in.” (Psalm 26:4) Again, do you note the trait typical of strangers? They hide who they are—just as Satan hid his identity by using a serpent. Today, some immoral people hide their identity and true intentions by using the Internet. In chat rooms, perverse adults may even pose as youths to lure you into a trap. Young ones, please be extremely cautious lest you be harmed spiritually.—Psalm 119:101; Proverbs 22:3.
14 False accusations. Although some news reports about Jehovah’s Witnesses are fair, at times the media let themselves be used to broadcast the biased voice of strangers. For instance, in one country a news report falsely stated that the Witnesses supported Hitler’s regime during World War II. In another one, a report accused Witnesses of vandalizing churches. In several countries the media accused Witnesses of refusing to give medical treatment to their children and also of deliberately condoning serious sins committed by fellow believers. (Matthew 10:22) Even so, sincere people who know us personally recognize that such accusations are false.
15 What should we do if we are confronted with accusations spread by the voice of such strangers? We do well to take to heart the counsel of Proverbs 14:15: “Anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps.” It is unwise to believe everything presented as truth in the media. While we certainly do not distrust all secular information, we do recognize that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”—1 John