COMMENTS YOU WILL NOT HEAR AT THE 4-27-03 WT STUDY
March 15, 2003 WT, page 15
Quotes from the Watchtower appear in
Comments from the reviewer are in black or in parentheses
TRY TO SEE OTHERS AS JEHOVAH SEES THEM
1 Samuel 16:7
1 Samuel 16 (NIV)
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
The WTS quotes only the bolded part, a "snippet." Be wary of snippets. The WTS strings them together to make a point that may not be in the full quote. Be sure to look up every scripture. Be confident that you are smart enough to pick out the phrase that the WTS is using to support its statement. Obviously, they don’t trust their readers to be smart enough.
I find it good to meditate on why the WTS finds the information presented is important enough to feature in a WT study article rather than just a side article. A big clue can be found in the article(s) that follow, in this case an article about the Jewish and Gentile Christians getting along. This seems to indicate that the WTS is getting reports from the CO/DO that indicates that the peaceful relations in the congregations is bad enough to get the headquarters attention. The material in this article is nothing new but ponder what signs of discord do I see in my congregation? Has the issue of child abuse or other issues created unrest or doubt? Do I see people avoiding other people at the KH rather than working out their issues? Are these people elders and ministerial servants? Or rather is the WTS getting correspondence and phone calls from the rank and file that show that they don’t "try to see" the WTS "as" they think "Jehovah sees them"?
David had many brothers. When Samuel went to select the next king of Israel, Samuel relied on appearance and thought Eliab was the next candidate because he was tall and strong. David was quite a short man.
"How easy it is for humans to err in their assessment of others!"
If Samuel, God’s true prophet (he had prophecies that came true) could err, how can the elders think that their "assessment of others" not just in judicial situations are valid?
"On the one hand, we may be taken in by individuals who are outwardly appealing but inwardly unscrupulous."
Are they warning against apostates or inactive friends and relatives?
"On the other hand, we may be stern and unbending in our evaluation of sincere individuals who personality traits annoy us."
There are many elders and rank and file that fall in this category, personally marking others as weak and bad association and sharing that opinion with others who turn around and do the same. I have found that the majority of JWs love to judge others.
"Why not take a good, long positive look at your Christian brother and sister?"
There was a time that the WT used only the world "brother" to refer to both "brother and sister." I found that disturbing. I find there are many hardcore brothers that still rarely use "sister" in their talks. Can you think of the ones in your congregation or COs/DOs that rarely do? Sisters, how does that make you feel, left out, unimportant?
"At first, you may find it difficult to think of good points, particularly if you have been nursing hurt feelings for some time."
But those who judge feel they have a good scriptural reasoning for avoiding you and encouraging others to do the same. They are not thinking, oh that brother and sister offended me, but rather that brother or sister is spiritually weak.
A CANDID LOOK AT JONAH
When the story of Jonah, what do you remember about him? What has been emphasized in the WT publications? That he ran away from his assignment, that he was disobedient, that afterwards he got his nose out of joint because the Ninevites weren’t destroyed. Do you remember these points that the WTS brings out now?"Jonah had actually labored faithfully in Israel, a very unreceptive territory.""While acknowledging his Jonah’s weaknesses, let us not overlook his qualities of faithfulness and endurance as he preached to the faithless Israelites." But in the mind of the JW, those weaknesses will far outweigh the good. For example, a brother can be faithful in caring for his family, for the sick and elderly in the congregation, encouraging the discouraged, but because his monthly hours are two below the monthly average, he cannot be considered as a ministerial servant. I wonder if God kept track of Jonah’s hours? More of Jonah’s good points: "Jonah had to travel some 500 miles on foot—an arduous journey that would take about a month.""Once there, the prophet would have to preach to the Assyrians, who were noted for their cruelty.""Reluctant to obey Jehovah’s command, Jonah boarded a ship that carried him farther and farther away from his assignment. Nevertheless, Jehovah did not give up on his prophet or arrange for someone to replace him." Is the WTS applying this to themselves? Are they saying that God will not give up on them because they have failed in the handling of child abuse cases and have committed spiritual adultery by being associated with the UN? http://www.randytv.com/secret/unitednations.htm http://www.bboyneko.com/jw/ http://www.silentlambs.org Or would they apply this to the "inactive ones" they have directed the elders to track down and "invite back to the KH"? "However, Jonah was willing to pay the ultimate price so that the sailors would not perish." What JW do you know that would give up their life for you? If they cannot sacrifice 5 minutes to make a phone call when you are ill at home, visit you at the hospital, greet you at the KH and shake your hand, or remember your name or the names of your children when you raise your hand to answer at the WT study, do you think they will lose their life for you? "Did Jonah’s recent actions disqualify him from ever again serving God in an official capacity. No. Jehovah mercifully and lovingly renewed the prophet’s commission to preach to the Ninevites." Yes, Jonah did not have to wait 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years (official and unofficial time periods to be reinstated or reappointed). Jonah’s commission was immediately renewed. As a side point the WTS throws in: "His willingness to report his shortcomings in embarrassing detail (in the book of Jonah) gives further proof of his humility. It takes courage to admit a mistake!" The WTS/FDS/GB claims not to be infallible. They obviously have made mistakes. Can you find anywhere in print where they have admitted making a mistake without blaming the members of the organization for the mistake? "Are we not glad to serve a God who does not give up on his servants when they make mistakes?" Remember that, when the elders and others at the KH have given up on you, God has not. That is because he gives the directions to the elders (but they don't listen), they don’t tell God what to do and think about a person. Remember that God corrected Samuel when he chose the wrong man to be king. God does not see the way humans see.A BALANCED VIEW OF PETER "If you were asked to describe Peter, would you immediately think of such characteristics as rash, impetuous, even presumptuous?" What does the average JW know of Peter except what has been programmed into them by the WTS? If they think of this first, it is because he has been presented this way in the WTS. "However, would Jesus have selected Peter as one of his 12 apostles if Peter was really a rash, impetuous or presumptuous man?" This seems like the WTS is saying Peter was not such a man but then they say this: "Of course not!" But then they say, "Jesus clearly saw past these flaws." So does Peter have these flaws or not? "Peter at times acted as spokesman for the other apostles. Some might view this a evidence of a lack of modesty." Is the WTS thinking of themselves in this comparison since they say they are the spokesman for God? "Peter was a spiritual man. His thirst for knowledge moved him to ask questions." So here asking questions was a good trait. And who was Peter questioning, Jesus himself. But don’t question the elders or the WTS. You will find yourself labeled weak or a troublemaker. In conclusion of this segment the WTS says: "We must similarly train ourselves to be more positive in our assessment of our present-day spiritual brothers and sisters. Doing so will lead to better relationships with them." So instead of developing love for each other, we must "train ourselves to be more positive." And we can "assess" or judge our brothers and sisters rather than letting God and Jesus Christ do the judging?APPLYING THE LESSON TODAY "Since we are serving God in close association, it is inevitable that friction will develop at times." Can you think of the friction points you know? People who haven’t "talked" to each other in 20 years? Yes, they outwardly say hi but quickly dart away. They haven't seen the inside of each other’s houses or cars though for years. "While we are not blind to the shortcomings of our brothers, we do not focus on these." When I would move to a new congregation, there were always people who could hardly wait to tell me who was "weak" and bad association. Hardly blind. And if there are problems you can’t "resolve in your heart": "Listen carefully…his viewpoint may be wrong, but it his viewpoint." So listen carefully, but already have made up your mind they are wrong. Sounds like the elder approach to me. "Tell your brother what you appreciate about him." Have you ever been approached by someone who has never had anything good to say about you, and then suddenly they appreciate you? Be on guard. You are about to be hit up side the head. "Apologize for any part you have played in the misunderstanding." Have you ever read where the WTS has apologized for a mistake? They make them because they say they are not infallible and the GB is made up of imperfect men. But they always place the blame on the brothers and sisters, the unknown "they" or "some." And the WTS concludes: "If our love for a fellow Christian has grown cold, it can be rekindled." If we cannot love a fellow Christian, how can a JW go in the ministry and talk to strangers? 1 John 4 (MSG)
20 If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see?