QUESTION: I was baptized in my early teens but left the truth. I recently lost a loved one and the hope that they might come back in the resurrection helped me in some ways. I would love to see them again, but my lifestyle isn’t God’s way and I don’t feel worthy asking for forgiveness, as I’ve done so many wrong and bad things and that makes me feel so sad. I don’t know where to go from here. Any advice would be good to try and help me sort things, as I’m not happy. Don’t really feel worthy going to Jehovah. (Edited to change personal info)


ANSWER: Your situation is certainly not unique. Many young people who were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses are in the same situation as you. However, most have no wish to return to their former faith. The very fact that your course makes you feel sad and that you are unhappy in your situation is proof that you are worthy of at least asking God for forgiveness. You are not so far from God as you suppose. According to Psalms 34:18 “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”

Here is a Psalm (103)

“Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness. He will not for all time keep finding fault, neither will he to time indefinite keep resentful. He has not done to us even according to our sins; nor according to our errors has he brought upon us what we deserve. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, His loving-kindness is superior toward those fearing him. As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset, so far off from us he has put our transgressions. As a father shows mercy to his sons, Jehovah has shown mercy to those fearing him. For he himself well knows the formation of us, remembering that we are dust.”

It is worth noting that this Psalm was written by King David. You likely recall that David committed a terrible sin. He committed adultery with a woman and when he found out that she was pregnant he schemed to have her husband killed. Although Jehovah punished David he forgave him.

There are other examples in the Bible of men and women who did terrible things, but who were forgiven. The apostle Paul said that he was chosen as an apostle because he was the worst of sinners, having persecuted the congregation of Christ. He was chosen as an example of God’s great mercies.

Jesus told the touching story about the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance on prostitutes, but eventually he hit rock bottom and when he came to his senses he decided to go back to his father’s house. But like you, he felt unworthy to be accepted back as a son and was intent on simply asking his father if he could be one of the hired men. But when the father saw him coming down the road he ran to meet him, tenderly kissed him, and called for a banquet to be held in his honor, because the father said ‘my son was lost, but now he’s found. He was dead, but now he is alive.’ 

Jesus told us that story to illustrate how good and ready God is to forgive. His heart is much larger than ours and his compassion much deeper. He knows we are made of dust and are inclined to do what is evil. But you and I have the power to make God happy by looking to him for  forgiveness and mercy. As Jesus said, there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the 99 who have no need of repentance. Paul asked: ‘Do you not know that the kindly quality of God is trying to move you to repentance’? Be assured, God wants you back.

Take note that in the story of the prodigal the son had to take the first step. He had to leave behind his debauched lifestyle and began to head home. But once he headed home then the father went out to meet him. So, you must take the first step too. Do you have faith that God will welcome you back with open arms?

But he spoke this illustration also to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and who considered the rest as nothing: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and began to pray these things to himself, ‘O God, I thank you I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give the tenth of all things I acquire.’ But the tax collector standing at a distance was not willing even to raise his eyes heavenward, but kept beating his breast, saying, ‘O God, be gracious to me a sinner.’ I tell you, This man went down to his home proved more righteous than that man; because everyone that exalts himself will be humiliated, but he that humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18


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