How You can Fight Discouragement – Study 2020/52
“Throw your burden on Jehovah, and he will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
[Study 52 from ws 12/20 p.22, February 22 – February 28, 2021]
The Elephant in the Room.
The expression “the Elephant in the Room” according to Wikipedia “is a metaphorical idiom in English for an important or enormous topic, question, or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable or is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous.”
What is the biggest discouragement to many Witnesses today, especially as many are elderly?
Is it not (especially if they are long-time Witnesses), that they expected Armageddon to be here before now? Did they not also expect that they would not have to face the problems brought on by poor health? Or, did they also not expect that they would not have to face the problems brought about by greatly reduced income as they grow older in years?
Ask yourself, how many fellow Witnesses or ex-Witnesses do you know that have private or company pension funds to draw on in retirement? No doubt very few. Most have never contributed to one. Even you our dear readers may be in the same position. Common reasons are that many have the mindset or position of believing one or more of the following:
- Armageddon will come before I need a pension.
- If I make arrangements for a future pension it shows a lack of faith in the teachings of “Jehovah’s Organization” that Armageddon will be here soon.
- I do not have any spare funds to put aside, due to low income, whether because of:
- a low paid job due to following the Organization’s direction not to have higher education,
- or part-time job due to following the Organization’s direction to go pioneering.
- Or a combination of both.
The writer personally knows an elderly sister who had a mental breakdown due to being unable to face the increasing problems of ill health. The writer also had a close relative who gave up the will to live as a result of increasing health problems and realising Armageddon was not coming. Sadly, the close relative deteriorated quickly as a result and is now awaiting the resurrection. The writer also knows of many Witnesses who do not have any pension savings for retirement and will have to or are already relying on the meagre state pension or their children to supplement their income. In fact, as evidence of that, a number are having to continue working beyond 65 years of age, rather than being able to comfortably retire, to ensure they can still make ends meet.
So why mention the elephant in the room? The Watchtower article deals with the following subjects (and briefly at that) which are deemed the most important:
- Dealing with imperfections and weaknesses.
- Dealing with ill health.
- When we do not receive a privilege.
- When your territory seems unproductive.
But not a squeak about the problem that Proverbs13:12 highlights in that “Expectation postponed is making the heart sick …”.
Who or what causes these discouragements or expectation postponed? If we identify the causes or who causes these discouragements, then we could all make adjustments to avoid them in the first place.
Q. Who has and still is constantly building up our expectations that Armageddon is on our very doorstep, only to time and again find that it is effectively postponed?
A. Is not the Organization?What about its teachings about “stay alive until 1975”, before 2000 (before all the generation that saw 1914 die off), the Overlapping Generation (now reaching end of their lives), Because of the current CoVid19 pandemic, and so forth?
Q. Who almost constantly focuses on how to deal with our weaknesses instead of positively working on manifesting the fruits of the spirit, and then guilt trips us by the addition of numerous rules not contained in the scriptures, that we can never fulfil or obey completely?
A. Is not the Organization?
Q. Who constantly sets before us unrealistic goals to keep preaching through ill health?
A. Is not the Organization? See paragraph 12 where the experience, much repeated over the years, of a sister in an Iron lung, kept preaching and brought 17 to baptism as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Q. Who creates such privileges and then dangles such privileges in front of us, whether it be pioneer, or missionary, or Bethelite, or appointed man as elder or ministerial servant, often for us only to be denied?
A. Is it not the Organization? And what is very often the cause of such denial? Because you or someone else does not qualify? Rarely. Rather is it not usually denied because of Jealously, or the desire to keep power on the part of those in the position to give or deny the privilege?
Q. Who continually pushes us to preach in unproductive territory?
A. Is it not the Organization? By contrast Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet and move on when they found unproductive territory (Matthew 10:14).
In conclusion, what is the Elephant in the Room?
Is it not the case that “the Elephant in the Room” is the fact that the Organization is the cause of a great deal of the things that causes the brotherhood to get discouraged. The discouragement is especially caused by the continual predictions of “we are living in the last minutes of the last hour of the last day of the last days” to paraphrase a recent pronouncement by a Governing Body member on a JW Monthly Broadcast.
And why does the Organization not deal with this great source of discouragement in this article?
Likely it is “because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable or is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous” to expose themselves as the cause of the discouragement.
Open Letter to the Governing Body:
You need to deal with “the Elephant in the Room” immediately!
- Stop making false predictions of when Armageddon is coming, immediately. Make it abundantly clear to the brotherhood that Jesus, the Son of God, the head of the Christian Congregation clearly said in Matthew 24:36 “Concerning that day and hour NOBODY KNOWS, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son but only the Father.”
- Apologize for misleading the flock and “pushing ahead presumptuously” in trying to pin down the year of Armageddon, accepting that doing so is “the same as using uncanny power and teraphim” (1 Samuel 15:23)
- Change the diet of material in the publications, to focus on how to be well-rounded out Christians, working “what is good toward all”, not just fellow Witnesses (Galatians 6:10).
- Dismantle the privileges pyramid scheme. This will entail removing all the non-biblical privileged positions, only leaving “older men”. Henceforth, there should be no pioneer, missionary, circuit overseer, Bethelite, etc, status. At a stroke it will decimate the problem with not receiving a privilege. Surely “the privilege of fearlessly rendering sacred service to him [God]” should be enough (Luke 3:74) and that is available to all rather than a select few.
- Reduce the unbalanced focus on door to door preaching efforts and increase the focus on living as a real Christian with real Christian qualities toward all. Any door-to-door preaching should only focus on productive fields (Luke 9:5).