Saturday, February 25

[Ahaz] burned up his sons in the fire.2 Chron. 28:3.

Ahaz’s son Hezekiah might easily have grown up to be a bitter, angry man who turned against God. Others who have endured far less have become “enraged against Jehovah” or embittered toward his organization. And some people are convinced that their unwholesome family background dooms them to lead a bad life, perhaps to repeat their parents’ mistakes. Are such notions correct? Hezekiah’s life record gives us a resounding answer: Absolutely not! There is never a valid reason to become embittered against Jehovah, for he is not the source of the evils that befall people in this wicked world. True, parents can exert a strong influence on their children for good or for bad. But this does not mean that a person’s family background determines his course in life. On the contrary, Jehovah has given all of us a precious gift—the ability to choose what we will do and who we will be.

COMMENTARY

Did you catch it —the Watchtower’s shameless, slight-of-hand trickery? The second sentence implies there is never any justification in becoming “enraged against Jehovah or embittered with his organization.” In one brief statement the Watchtower essentially bestows godlike righteousness and infallibility upon itself —equating the organization with Jehovah himself.

As is the case with all so-called half-truths, the other half of a half-truth is a lie. Of course there is never any justification for our becoming enraged against Jehovah, but obviously no earthly organization composed of imperfect —even some wicked and faithless men —can claim for itself the same irreproachableness as God. The truth is, there are many reasons to be justifiably offended and resentful of that which boasts of being Jehovah’s organization.

For example, imagine an innocent child who is taught to trust the elders in the congregation, but who is slyly groomed and lured into being sexually abused by a cunning pedophile. After some time the child musters the courage and tells his/her parents, who dutifully go to the body of elders with their complaint. The child is interrogated and disbelieved. The elders demand another witness to the crime and sternly warn the victim and parents  not to talk about the alleged crime or go to the police.

Imagine the shock and hurt when later the victim finds out that the Watchtower’s legal department had also specifically ordered the elders not to inform the police that a crime against a child had been reported to them. Not only that, but all along Bethel had the pedophile’s name in a secret file, as he had abused a child in another congregation, but the same policy of secrecy was imposed upon the victim there too and so the serial pedophile was indirectly protected by the Watchtower.

This is not a hypothetical, made-up scenario. It has happened many, many times. In effect, Bethel has practiced a form of child sacrifice, just like wicked king Ahaz —offering up the innocence of children upon Bethel’s holy altar.

Now, ask yourself: Is there any justification for the victims of the Watchtower’s child abuse policies to become embittered against the organization? Moreover, would Jehovah condemn a victim who has become an embittered adult if they had been raped by a trusted elder or ministerial servant and denied justice by a body of elders acting on authority of the Watchtower’s legal department, who were solemnly charged by Heaven to defend the defenseless?

The question is, why are not all of Jehovah’s Witnesses horrified and offended at the outrageous way in which the Watchtower has dealt with victims of child abuse?

(In order to indemnify itself from more lawsuits recently the Watchtower has employed a new policy of discreetly informing parents in congregations where known pedophiles are members and has taken steps to limit a pedophile’s access to children. While commendable the change in policy in itself condemns Bethel for their decades-long policy of absolute secrecy. But of course, there is no acknowledgment that the former policy was unsatisfactory. Instead, Bethel secretly writes a new policy and shamelessly pretends that nothing has changed. In fact, congregations that do not have known pedophiles are unaffected.)

Truly, there are various other legitimate reasons why Jehovah’s Witnesses might become embittered against the Watchtower, especially going forward when it becomes apparent that the organization has promoted what will have to be regarded as one of the most elaborate hoaxes ever perpetrated on a trusting people — that being the 1914 hoax.

As far as our faith is concerned, though, the secret is not to allow the Watchtower’s shameless wickedness to cause us to become enraged against God. In that regard Bethel does not offer very much encouragement. How could they? The leadership has never once admitted a mistake, much less ever apologized to anyone for anything.

But their shameless arrogance does not negate God’s justice. If they are appointed by God that does not exempt them from responsibility. Far from it, it makes them more accountable!

Keep in mind that God judged his so-called earthly organizations in the past —both Israel and Judah, and Jerusalem in the first century. As regards God’s past dealings, it was Jehovah himself who became deeply embittered and furious with his organization to the point of utterly annihilating it. Although Hezekiah may not have been embittered over the sins of his father, Jehovah was and in time wiped out Jerusalem and put an end to the detestable practice of child sacrifice. And that is the pattern for the future.

Although the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses would deny it, the prophecy of Zephaniah, which was directed against the kings, princes and priests of Judah in ancient times, in reality is directed to God’s earthly organization prior to the global outbreak of the terrible day of Jehovah. To be sure, the unfaithfulness of God’s leading men does not negate God’s loyalty. In spite of their evil inclination Jehovah is in their midst making known his regulations. Here is what is stated in the 3rd chapter of Zephaniah: Jehovah is righteous in her midst; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he makes known his judgments, as unfailing as the daylight. But the unrighteous one knows no shame.”

Hence, because the evil slave knows no shame God’s exhortation is as follows: “Gather together, yes, gather yourselves, O nation that feels no shame. Before the decree takes effect, before the day passes by like chaff, before the burning anger of Jehovah comes upon you, before the day of Jehovah’s anger comes upon you, seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who observe his righteous decrees. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you will be concealed on the day of Jehovah’s anger.”

More on Zephaniah

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