WT Study March 16 Have Love Among Yourselves from WT Feb 1, 2003 Can You be Happy and Secure in Your Work?
How is a good JW to feel towards these weak brothers and sisters? Blondie covered very well the obvious contradiction WT members have just been put in to. Over and over JW’s have been told to avoid "worldly" association, avoid “worldly” family, avoid “bad association” - even from within the congregation. The evidence that this message has been received and assimilated is evident by a visit to any congregation. Once a brother or sister is caught in a sin, they are overnight pariahs. That this article has the gall to state “...this outstanding love is observable today among genuine disciples .” is astounding. Only devout JW’s could swallow this whole. Since their only association is other brothers and sisters in good standing, how could they ever find out there is more love outside the organization? (See above)
Demand Brotherly Love
There is potential, however, for xJW’s to use this article to their advantage. I wonder if this article would be handy for anyone attempting the fade and fearing the next elder’s visit will catch them in a disfellowshipping offence.
para. 3 ...
take Paul’s admonition to heart and endeavour to show love for one another “in fuller measure.”
In the same inspired letter, Paul encouraged his fellow believers to “speak consolingly to the depressed souls” and to “support the weak.” (I Thessalonians 4:14) On another occasion, he reminded Christians that those “who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong.” (Romans 15:1)
Just as what was lost remained precious in the eyes of the shepherd and the woman, so those who have drifted away and lost contact with God’s people remain precious in Jehovah’s eyes. (Jeremiah 31:3) Such individuals may be spiritually weak, yet they are not necessarily rebellious. Despite their weakened state, to some extent they may still be keeping Jehovah’s requirements. (Psalm 119:176; Acts 15:29) Hence, as in times past, Jehovah is slow to “cast them away from before his face.” 2 Kings 13:23
So next time the elders call, just tell them you sincerely love Jehovah, you are just in a weakened state right now. “Um, sorry. Not up to a study just yet. I’m sincerely sorry. But could you come visit again, and check on my spiritual health, say in a month or so? Thank you.”
If they give you a rough time, ask them where their consoling words are. Ask if you might receive love “in fuller measure.” If they suggest that you must take responsibility for your own happiness, remind them that
those “who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong.”
Ditto for family that are practicing premature shunning. Ask them to read the article again. Twice if necessary. Tell them you are needful of a little loving.
The article is tricky, however, in that it manages to suggest that not all those who have drifted away are worthy of attention. para. 18
Had the coin dropped in a large, bushy field or in a deep, muddy lake, she probably would have given it up as lost beyond recovery. Acts 15:29 is taken out of context in paragraph nine, and by inference the society considers the breaking of these few rules unforgivable .
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.... For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Fare ye well. (Acts 15:5, 28-29 ASV)
(Nevermind that this was written to pacify the most stuck-up of the Jewish Christian congregation and so that Gentile Christian males didn’t have to face circumcision.)
Am I to assume, then, that faded JW’s will not be invited back if they have:
- Had sex before marriage
- Celebrated a birthday or Christmas, saluted a flag, mounted a crucifix in their home, mounted Christmas lights, or bought items from a garage sale (Abstain from things sacrificed to idols)
- Taken a blood transfusion or eaten a bloody steak (abstain from blood)
- Accepted an ex-partner or prodigal child back with open arms (Abstain from things strangled. Well, at least you wanted
to strangle them)
See? Self-righteous JW’s can continue to shun with impunity. All they have to convince themselves is that their faded friends and family are lost in the mud and mire and not worth the time and effort to recover.