All Scripture is . . . beneficial . . . for setting things straight.
When Jewish religious leaders complained that Jesus was kind to “tax collectors and sinners,” Jesus responded: “Persons in health do not need a physician, but the ailing do. Go, then, and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’” He patiently and kindly explained God’s words to all. Hence, humble ones came to know Jehovah as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.” In response to the efforts of God’s Son to ‘set things straight,’ many came to have faith in the good news. Jesus’ example teaches us how we should help others. Someone who is upset might say in an abrupt tone, ‘I want to set something straight with you.’ But “all Scripture” does not authorize us to tell others off. Like “the stabs of a sword,” sharp criticism often causes much pain and seldom brings any benefits.
God’s word is beneficial and can be used to set matters straight between brothers. But sometimes our use of the Bible alone is not enough to set all matters straight. Sometimes more is needed.
Take for example the Watchtower’s applied approach to allegations of child abuse. Jesus provided a guide to setting matters straight between brothers, when he said: “If your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.”
In a sorely misguided effort to use Jesus’ rule of conduct as a means for dealing with allegations of child abuse, the Watchtower has actually sanctioned requiring abused children to confront their tormentors. But surely Jesus did not intend for his rule to apply to crimes committed against children. What rational person would expect a manipulative pedophile to simply admit his crime just because his victim accused him? If a man had attempted to murder the child and failed, would it be reasonable to expect the child to confront his or her would-be-killer? No, of course not. Most sane people would report the matter to the police. After all, attempted murder is a crime.
That being the case, why has the Watchtower forced elders to keep the police at bay and treat crimes committed against the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses as if they were petty matters that can be resolved with a handshake?
Clearly, much more is needed than simply leaving it up to men to apply God’s word, however they see fit. What is needed is God himself. We need Jehovah to personally set matters straight.
Happily, God promises to do that very thing. Speaking to the leaders of his people here is what Jehovah has said: “‘Learn to do good, seek justice, correct the oppressor, defend the rights of the fatherless child, and plead the cause of the widow. Come, now, and let us set matters straight between us,’ says Jehovah. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be made as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson cloth, they will become like wool.’” – Isaiah 1:17-18
Sadly, although the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses has published a virtual library of Bible commentary over the past nearly century and a half, in all of their Bible-based knowledge they have failed to do good and seek justice. They have fallen woefully short of meeting their obligation before God of defending the rights of the proverbial fatherless boy, which in Jehovah’s view is any child who is defenseless before a cunning pedophile. (BBC – Jehovah’s Witnesses to Compensate Victim)
How will Jehovah set matters straight? He continues: The Powerful One of Israel, declares: “Ah! I will rid myself of my adversaries, and I will take revenge on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you, I will smelt away your dross as with lye, and I will remove all your impurities. I will restore your judges as in the beginning and your advisers as at the start.”
Because they have become the adversary at law of sexually abused children, the Watchtower has made itself Jehovah’s adversary. God intends to set matters straight by subjecting his people to the fire of affliction. The fire of the refiner shall smelt away the arrogance, hypocrisy and deceit that has become the defining quality of the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses and finally produce the Christian character that God wishes. Then, and only then, will matters be set straight.