Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Healing on the Sabbath.” (Mark 3-4)
Two good questions are asked here.
- Do others view me as being rule-oriented or as being compassionate?
- When I see someone in the congregation who needs help, how can I imitate Jesus’ compassion to a greater degree?
The problem for most brothers and sisters would be answering honestly, because of the environment in which they live which has affected them without knowing it. The Organization is rules-oriented and this is transmitted down to the appointed men in the congregation. This extends to the minutest detail, many times even going way beyond the multiplicity of rules provided by the Organization, such that they may be local rules.
For instance, any brother used on any assignment in the congregation meetings must be wearing a suit, and must wear the jacket when performing the assignment regardless of how hot the weather or the brother may be. Other congregations have gone so far as to insisting on a public speaker wearing a white shirt, as evidenced by comments in Watchtower articles that this should not be required. The Service Committee claims the authority to decide who studies with children of congregation members, etc., etc. Sadly, the example to be rule-oriented comes from the top of the organization as evidenced by the selling off of Kingdom Halls despite the extra inconvenience to the congregation members that now have to travel farther.
As to helping someone in the congregation who needs help, often even this is ruled by the congregation. Many brothers don’t help because they view it as the elders’ responsibility to make these arrangements. Brothers have actually been called “into the back room” for providing help without going through the elder arrangement. Christian initiative motivated by love has been stifled. Such behaviour is often classified as ‘running ahead’ of the organization.
Even the organization’s counsel that only spiritual things be discussed in the Kingdom Hall, has been turned into a rule that even arranging a Bible based tour of a Museum individually with brothers and sisters cannot be conducted in the Kingdom Hall, but outside, potentially in the rain, or snow or hot sun.
Let the one who has ears to listen, listen
The video and the discussion on the Keep Yourselves in God’s Love book is all about being humble to accept counsel from those in authority [in the congregation] even if one feels it is not justified, or not given in a loving or tactful way.
There are at least two problems with this.
- There is no scriptural justification for any man to claim authority over a fellow Christian. (Mt 23:6-12)
- There also seems to be little or no scriptural justification for giving counsel to others in an official capacity.
- If one cannot give counsel in a loving way, then surely it is better not to give it at all, as it will prove counter-productive.
Of course as friends and spiritually mature ones, this does not exclude us from encouraging others on a personal level to think again about a particular choice or action. Galatians 6:1-5 says that if a brother “takes some false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man in a spirit of mildness,” but the following verses warn us against thinking too much of ourselves and our own opinion, and that we each has to “prove what his own work is”; i.e. we are responsible ourselves for our own actions. Even this passage of Scripture conveys no special authority on anyone, but is directed not to official appointees but to all who have “spiritual qualifications”. The action is recommended out of kindness, so that the other person is aware of the potential danger and there it stops. Once the other person is aware of the potential danger, it is their responsibility to decide how to act and deal with the situation.
In fact, Jesus made it quite clear that Christians had no authority over others in Matthew 20:24-29 when he said “You know that the rulers of the nation’s lord it over them and the great men wield authority over them. This is not the way among you, but whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, and whoever wants to be the first among you must be your slave.” Since when does a slave have authority over anyone? He doesn’t even have authority over himself. Also older men in the Christian congregation in the first century were to be shepherds, not watchdogs. Even the oft misquoted and misapplied scripture in Isaiah 32:1-2 (used to support the elder arrangement, which is actually a prophecy about the millennial reign) talks about being “a hiding place from the wind, place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land” all of which is imagery of protection and refreshment, not giving out hurt through imperfect counsel.
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 18) –Jesus increases as John decreases
Nothing of Note.
Examining the scriptures daily— (Ga 1:10) For do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Compare (1Th 2:4)
Commentary: I don’t need a Watchtower to re-explain that to me!
I’ve been attending the kingdom halls for over 40 years and I’ve only had 1 person help me when I was having tough time and now he even got removed as an elder. No one really cares for the members unless they are high ranking. If you start missing meetings they will avoid you as you have the flu. I was even told by someone that he was avoiding me because I wasn’t regular at the meetings. This is how we are taught by the governing body.
Hi Mark, “No one really cares for the members unless they are high ranking”. In my opinion that is because their shepherding skills are no where even close to par and neither is their knowledge of the Bible. It’s either believe what we tell you and it doesn’t matter what the Bible says or you can take a hike. In fact don’t even open the Bible up to us we have our Watchtower that we go by. I hope you get out soon as well as your family. Also I hope that some others here are strong enough to rescue… Read more »
Yes for sure… My eyes and mind are open now to all those JW false teachings after I red the whole bible cover to cover. We were deceived but not any more.. We will be free very soon… Thanks Psalmbee and Ifionlyhadabrain
Acts chapter11 : vs18, vs 22 He reported to us , the report about them
Luke 7 : 22 Go and report to John
I still report although as mentioned there is no bibical requirement to report time as
it seems just to be used as a guage for your spiritality by elders. However it seems like some scriptures does indicated a form of letting others know what going on but not how the Org presents it. eg Acts 11 : 13, 22 , Luke 7 : 22 etc. I searched the index for the word report. Most times it not what we do
Seems like a case of bending to fit
Nice follow-up to our WT study, Tadua, contrasting spiritual from physical mindedness.
I remember sitting at the big conventions out in Long Berach, Ca. and constantly bombarded with “Do more! Do more! Do more!” I literally felt like the proverbial hamster on a wheel, if I just ran faster, I’d get that piece of cheese dangling just out of my reach. NOTHING was ever enough. If I made 10 hours a month, (Working a full time job as a teacher of young children,dealing with housework, my husband at that time would not help, considered it beneath him, and trying to study for the meetings and keep up with all the reading required,… Read more »
I used to go to the Long Beach conventions too. We were assigned there from about 1990 through 2011 or so. My kids used to like going outside by the ponds at lunch. It was difficult to get them to go back inside the Arena for the afternoon session.
I totally agree with you, LaRhonda. Jesus promised refreshment, not exhaustion. The regimen of trying to keep up with man-made rules is something I gave up on a long time ago. People think that because I just retired I should become a Pioneer. You should see the looks I get when I tell them that Pioneering isn’t for me. What’s more, my ministry focuses more on bringing mankind back into God’s family, rather than on mass destruction. I don’t use any publications, only the Bible. Amazing how a “spiritual paradise” can become a jungle of spiritual predators when someone doesn’t… Read more »
I’m going through the same thing. I stopped turning in a field service report and was told the only thing I could do was comment at the meetings. One of the Elders leaked this to the congregation, and many of the friends sided with what one Elder told me was…”not following theocratic order”. Can’t pray at the meetings or meetings for service. I’m not considered a member of the congregation. I responded to these impostors that I am the congregation, as I do partake of the emblems. That comment is going to keep me on their black list for a… Read more »
I could almost have written those words myself. At least that way, you are not pushing people into believing things you no longer agree with, and you genuinely make friends wit( those you call back on. Mind you, how long I can do this in this way remains to be seen.
Many thanks for the clam review Tadua, in the last part of the second question it asks
how can I imitate Jesus’ compassion to a greater degree? I was just wondering how anyone can copy Jesus at a greater degree. Kind of an oxymoronic question isn’t it?
This is a tendency that WT has had for a long time, that of engendering perfectionism. They do run articles about not being perfectionist, but then they themselves constantly push people to do more, more, more so that whatever it is you ARE doing isn’t good enough. That’s how perfectionists think – no matter what they do it’s not enough. The biggest problem with perfectionism is that it’s based on a lie. We CAN’T be perfect, and trying to be literally perfect – instead of just doing our best – can induce a form of mental illness in people. For… Read more »
You make a good point Robert, it’s borderline psychosis in my view. They always seem to be wrestling with their own minds and never at ease with themselves. A symptom that the religion of the JW’s seems to cause.