Love One Another Intensely – Study 2020/13
“Love one another intensely from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22
[From ws 03/20 p.24 May 25 – May 31]
“ON THE night before he died, Jesus gave his disciples a specific command. He told them: “Just as I have loved you, you also love one another.” Then he added: “By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”—John 13:34, 35”.
We are all very familiar with this statement by Jesus. Over the years we have been Witnesses how many times have we heard it? But by the same token, how many perhaps including ourselves have ever shown or felt love for our fellow Witnesses. The love Jesus showed was being prepared to die an unjust and painful death for people he did not know, as well as for his disciples which he did know. He tried to protect them, to build them up, and many other things to cope with life after his death and resurrection.
But if we are honest with ourselves, for how many of our fellow witnesses would you truly be prepared to die for? If asked by the elders to put up some Witnesses who have been made homeless through the Covid-19 pandemic, how many fellow witnesses would you be prepared to have living with you on an indefinite basis? Or do you rather worry about what gossip about you and your family may be spread around the congregation behind your back? Do you worry that whatever you do, you will be criticized for being materialistic, after all you still have material things, they do not?
Now, please do not take these pointed questions as trying to guilt trip you into doing something you should want to do, but in reality do not want to, just like the Organization attempts to do through its video and printed media.
Do you perhaps feel a little aggrieved at being asked to put your hard-earned assets at the free disposal of fellow Witnesses who have always lived hand to mouth, who have no skills to hold a reasonably well paying job, and so have been the first casualties of this economic downturn, exactly like the last recession of 2008-9 onwards. Perhaps they have even in the past implied you should support them because they are serving Jehovah fully, thereby implying that you are not? If so, rest assured that you are not alone.
Now the attitude about love amongst your fellow witnesses might be colored a little by the cultural context in which you live, but ask yourself, they may show love to some degree but do the members of the Organization really show more love than the society they live in? For instance, is there still racial prejudice? Do they shun people who do not comply or agree with their requirements? Sadly, the answer to both is yes.
Perhaps the real issue is that it is difficult to have intense love for people who only love themselves, or who measure the interest they show in you according to how many hours you spend knocking on doors, and generally supporting all the Organization’s additional building projects and the like, rather than having an affection for you, because of the person you are.
In Acts 10:34 we find the Apostle Peter had just been taught and learnt a big lesson. What was that? “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him”.
Now contrast that with the present and past members of the Governing Body. If the Organization’s teachings about the anointed and Governing Body were really true, and reflecting Christ’s example and that of the Apostle Peter, would we not expect to find perhaps a Chinese brother, an Indian brother, an Arabic brother, a West African, East African, and Southern African brothers, and South American, and North American indigenous brothers, to truly reflect the wide diversity of cultures found around the world. Have any members of the Governing Body ever been from these backgrounds? Not to my knowledge, although I stand to be corrected. Yet, we have had plenty of white Americans, and white Europeans. Does that sound like appointments from a God who is not partial? No, and as God is not partial, therefore, the appointments to the Governing Body cannot be appointments from God and Jesus.
Do the Governing Body and missionaries and Bethel families show love for the brothers and sisters by living free at their expense? Arguably not.
Yet note what the Apostle Paul said about this way of living (one who had been clearly appointed by Christ). In 1 Corinthians 9:1-18 he discusses this very subject at length. Note what he says in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8, 10 “For you yourselves know the way you ought to imitate us, because we did not behave disorderly among you, nor did we eat food from anyone free. To the contrary, by labor and toil night and day we were working so as not to impose an expensive burden upon any one of you. …. ‘If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat’”.
Note the Apostle Paul did not eat food from anyone free, rather he and his travelling companions like Barnabas and Luke, toiled to support themselves. Why? To show love for their fellow Christians by NOT imposing an expensive burden upon any one of them. If someone did not want to support themselves then the Christians were not duty bound to support them.
But those early Christians did help one another out, they helped those poor through no fault of their own. Those hit by famine in Jerusalem were assisted by those in Macedonia and Achaia according to Romans 15:26, 28. 2 Corinthians 8:19-21 records how Titus was appointed by those local congregations because they fully trusted him, to go with the contribution, with the apostle Paul, to see it administered in Jerusalem and report back to them. Did Paul take umbrage at that? No, he welcomed it, wanting to show how honest he was, “not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men”.
How different this attitude of the Apostle Paul was to the Organization today. Today, the Organization asks for donations for relief but does not provide verifiable proof as to how these donations are used. Further, the Organization expects to be supported free of charge by every one of us rank and file witnesses. How different from the example of the early Apostles, who truly had the mind of Christ. How can this Organization be appointed by God or Jesus with practices like these?
Many charities and small religions of this world provide a public full set of accounts, showing exactly where their donations are spent.
There are many others, but for example, see what the Mormons do here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finances_of_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints
This states “The LDS Church maintains an internal audit department that provides its certification at each annual general conference that contributions are collected and spent in accordance with established church policy. In addition, the church engages a public accounting firm (currently Deloitte) to perform annual audits in the United States of its not-for-profit, for-profit, and some educational entities.” And “The church does disclose its financials in the United Kingdom and Canada where it is required to do so by law. In the UK, these financials are audited by the UK office of PricewaterhouseCoopers.”
It is true that any congregations in the UK that were registered as Charities were required to have their accounts audited by a certified accountant, but that was always done by Witnesses who were certified accountants, never by a public accounting firm. Witnesses are only ever given reports of the accounts of Congregations, circuits and circuit assemblies. Regional Assemblies, branch offices and headquarters never read out an account report, much less publicly report it, why not? Remember the Apostle Paul wanted to be clearly seen and all above board as the saying is. What a contrast!!
Does the Organization show love for its brothers and sisters in this way? Arguably not.
Does the Organization show live and compassion for those that go against Bible principles, or the Organization’s view of right and wrong? Arguably No. The stance on disfellowshipping is particularly unloving and when one digs into the scriptures one finds it is not scripturally based. This subject has been covered many times on this site.
Paragraphs 4-8 deal with the subject “Be a Peacemaker”. As in previous Watchtower articles before we are told that when others do bad things to us, we should make the peace. It does not even hint that the perpetrator should change. This allows the perpetrators to continue their actions, knowing they can point to such articles and say “you should forgive me” without repentance on their part, and make the one who finds it difficult to forgive in the wrong. Again, this is one-sided counsel and does not address the issue, nor engender peace or love among fellow witnesses.
Paragraphs 9-13 deals with the subject “Be Impartial”. We have already dealt with the Organization’s lack of example in being impartial. One aspect of being impartial is a lack of favoritism. Most ex-Witness brothers can attest to many cases of clear favoritism being shown, even to the extent of misapplying Jehovah’s attitude to righteous ones to be allowed to show favoritism in the congregation.
Paragraphs 14-19 cover the subject “Be Hospitable”. As usual this valuable Bible principle is only applied in the Organizational setting, such as putting up fellow witnesses for building projects such as Kingdom Halls. What it does not cover is how those witnesses who showed hospitality in this way will feel when that Kingdom Hall that they were helping to build, is then sold off, like so many in North America and Europe are being disposed of.
All in all, another missed opportunity, and shows up the Organization’s own hypocrisy in not even attempting to live up to the standards it preaches. Rather let us apply the Bible principles covered of being a peacemaker, being impartial, not showing favoritism and being hospitable where we can, in whatever context we can, not just within the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.