Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Jehovah's Witness Finds God

Dear Friends,

She worked as our division secretary for five years and she was a Jehovah’s Witness. It was during that time in my own life when God seized me and converted me from a nominal Christian to an “on-fire-for-God,” Spirit-filled believer and she and I began to have some interesting conversations. Witnesses are taught to avoid talking to a Christian about religion unless there’s another Witness present so that if they begin to believe our “lies,” the other Witness will intervene and pull them back to the “truth” of their own teachings. The doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witness is drilled into their minds and each adult must attend three to five mandatory meetings a week to reinforce those beliefs. It is nearly impossible to reach a Jehovah’s Witness by arguing doctrine, but God can always create circumstances in which we have opportunities to witness the truth of God and the love of Jesus. 

After I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, God performed a number of “mini-miracles” in my life as He began to rapidly knock off some of my rough edges. When I shared these experiences with my secretary, she would think about it for a moment and often say in a quiet voice, “That kind of stuff doesn’t happen to a Witness.” We never argued the Bible or theology. Instead, I simply told her what Jesus was doing in my life. About a year later, she said to me, “I think your God and my God is the same!” This was a huge breakthrough for a Witness! They are taught that a Christian has an incorrect concept of who God is and that we do not worship the true God Jehovah. 

She had been married for just a few short months when her new husband, a well-respected leader in their Kingdom Hall, severely beat her. At work she dressed in a manner which could hide the bruises and the abrasions, but she couldn’t hide the emotional pain and we began to speak often about what was going on in her personal life. Jehovah’s Witnesses have no ordained clergy and she told me that she had asked the church elders to help. She told them about her husband’s uncontrollable rage and they reminded her about her commitment to him through the marriage vows. She told them about the physical brutality and they told her the beatings were her godly punishment for not being fully submittive to her husband. After six long months of physical abuse, she moved out. This was an unthinkable act of rebellion for a Jehovah’s Witness and the elders started coming by her apartment in groups of two or three to counsel her. “Jehovah was angry!” they shouted at her. She was told that, for breaking her marriage vows, the Mighty Hand of Jehovah would strike her down. She now had two persons who were directing their violent rage toward her. Her husband and God! 

The Lord gave me some wonderful opportunities to speak to her about a Jehovah God who loved her more then she could ever possibly imagine. A God who loved her so much that He sent his Son to suffer with beatings, humiliation, and pain and then to finally die for her. I told her that using the Bible to justify physical abuse in a marriage was a perversion of the Word of God. I told her about God’s grace and His compassion. Whenever she would walk into my office teary-eyed and with a box of Kleenex in hand, I knew she wanted to talk about God. She made the decision to divorce her husband and then six months later went on to work for another employer. Before she left, she said to me, “Remember when I told you that I realized my God and your God were the same?” I nodded. “Well now I realize that they are different... and I like your God better.” 

A year later she stopped by my office to say hello and to let me know it had been a year since she had attended any Jehovah’s Witness meetings. But she had never forgotten the God of the Bible that I had told her about and she was now attending a Spirit-filled Christian church. She told me that she really liked the praise and worship music, was learning from the pastor’s messages, and she had found that church was a place of joy and celebration, not discipline and condemnation. But she wasn’t yet used to the people raising up their hands as they were singing...

She had been well acquainted with the wrath of God but it wasn’t until she was introduced to a loving and compassionate God that she could allow His light to penetrate the cult’s legalistic teachings. Here’s what I learned. First we have to be yielded to the Holy Spirit for we are powerless to affect the lives of others without Him. And we will often be frustrated if we try to argue doctrine with the person. But they can’t argue with our experience. When we tell them what God is doing in our lives, they will be attracted to the God who is changing us. And when we show God’s love in a manner which compels the person to seek what we have, the most deeply embedded unchristian doctrine can be broken and healing can take place. I never tried to “convert” her. God simply called me to reveal the truth of His love for her and then He did the rest... 

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