Do you remember that I wrote about our Kerplunk activity? If not you can read about it here. At a local fun day, we invited people to write on bits of paper what supports them in life. Very few people said they would rather not and most people seemed to enjoy it.
When I asked one lady if she would like to write something she replied ‘you won’t like what I write’. I replied that didn’t matter and what she wrote was her opinion, and then she confessed (almost in a whisper) that she was a JW (Jehovah’s Witness).
I find it sad that people assume that Christians are negative and judgmental and I also have sympathy for people who believe this because some Christians are negative and judgemental. I can’t stand people who condemn all the time or who want to say what is wrong with people. Jesus never condemned ordinary people, the only people he was hard on were the Pharisees (the negative and judgemental ones).
So I said to JW lady, ‘that’s great that you follow Jehovah’ (Jehovah is the name used in the Old Testament for God). I went on to talk with and agree with her about how the Bible is God’s manual for life and how we need to respect and follow God. She was beaming (was really enjoying being accepted rather than rejected?) and I then went on to say ‘what worries me about your organisation is the way that it is so controlling’. Then a funny thing happened (JW’s are trained in a telesales style of communication they have a pre rehearsed script for common objections to their faith so she must have had an answer), she admitted that lately she had been thinking the same thing. Instead of going to the answer that had been drummed into her, she engaged her brain. I encouraged her to stick with the Bible, but to try to consider what it means as she reads it rather than following the interpretations of others.
We had a great conversation, that was full of respect, but it could have been an argument. One of the things I believe strongly is that we need to learn to talk with people and not at them. Some christians can be like JW’s in that they talk at people and they don’t listen well. There is an attempt to convert people without listening to and respecting what they are saying. When people disagree we shouldn’t reject them, there should be acceptance and love because that is the Christian way.
I’m glad I listened to JW lady because she impressed me. She had a deep faith in God but perhaps it had just never occurred to her that the people in charge of her JW group shouldn’t be followed blindly. My prayer for her (and for me!) is that we would come to God with an open mind and allow the Bible to speak to us.
If you look at the what supports me in life board, in the middle are the words ‘Jehovah supports me’. My prayer is that we would all know what it is to be supported by God.