When I walked into the restaurant, JW1 was there with his wife. I met her briefly at the memorial and couldn’t remember her name. She is a pleasant lady with a nice smile. I wanted to hear about her personal history, but I had to cut this meeting short because I have TONS to do in preparation for a big project. I also have some out of town friends and a very small window of time where we could meet. As I was explaining all the things I need to do, JW1’s wife cracked a joke which I didn’t see coming. We all laughed. I looked a JW1, pointed to JW2, smiled and said;
KW: I think I’m going to like her.
I inquired about the previous Witness who came last week. JW1 said that he wanted to do some field service while JW1 and his wife wanted to spend some time together. I could be wrong, but I got the impression that there was more to it than that. Regardless, I am glad that things worked out the way they did because JW1’s wife seems like a nice person and I think it will be interesting to see how both spouses deal the things we will talk about in our upcoming meetings.
With my previous Witness elder, most of our conversations were one on one so any problems he may have been dealing with were most likely kept to himself. By meeting with a couple, both of them will be faced with same difficulties at the same time. I am eager to see what God is going to do with this situation.
We read paragraph six which addresses the question of whether or not God is uncaring and hardhearted. According to the paragraph, some people blame God for the evils of this world and think He should prevent them from happening. The question at the bottom of the page asks, “Why do many people think that God is uncaring when it comes to human suffering?” I didn’t reply with the supplied answer.
KW: Because they don’t know God.
This surprised the Witness couple. JW1 looked up from the book and said;
JW1: Yeah… that is an excellent…excellent answer.
I decided to take advantage of the opportunity I had with them and told them about how I have lost atheist friends because of this very issue. A few years back, I was having some trouble with my computer and I posted something on facebook asking people to pray. About an hour later the problem was solved so I posted again thanking people for the prayer and God for a favorable answer.
An atheist replied with disgust wondering why God would fix my computer and not save the child who was being abused or stop someone from killing an innocent person. I responded that if God was obligated to stop all evil from happening, I think the first evil He would address would be unbelief.
JW2 gave a slight chuckle and smile. I think she was impressed by that answer. JW1 added a thought from Galatians 4:16. “have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” I hope I never have to quote that verse to him.
KW: That is exactly what happened. I didn’t debate the “smoke-screen” issue he raised, I addressed his heart. He doesn’t believe in God and from my point of view, that is evil. If God was going to eradicate all evil in your life, He’d have to first start with your rejection of Him. I think they already believe God exists, they just suppress that knowledge. They don’t want to know.
JW2: Why do you think they do that?
KW: Because they don’t want to be accountable to Him.
KW: I’ve never understood people who are angry that someone they claim doesn’t exist.
JW1: Yeah, right. Good point.
KW: Either you don’t believe in Him and you are apathetic about the whole idea or He exists and you hate Him. Which one is it? From my experience with most atheists, it is definitely the latter.
JW2: Because they do not have accurate knowledge about the bigger picture so they end up hating what they don’t know. A lot of people do that. They hate what they do not understand.
She is exactly right, but what she doesn’t yet realize is that it is the twisted view that the Watchtower has of God which pushes many former Witnesses into atheism. They come to realize that the Watchtower has lied to them and because they have been convinced the organization is God’s organization, they assign guilt to God for “leading them astray” so they end up hating the caricature of God they have been taught. They have the right to hate that false God, but they still don’t want to search for the true one either.
KW: The longer I’ve been a Christian, the more I’ve become convinced that belief is a matter of the will. You either will or will not believe and the evidence doesn’t matter. If someone wants to believe, they will regardless of the evidence. The opposite is also true. If you don’t want to believe, you won’t, regardless of the evidence.
We moved on to paragraph seven which asks the question about how religious leaders have led many people to think God is hardhearted. I mentioned Fred Phelps and his group from Kansas City which pickets the funerals of soldiers and hold signs declaring that “God hates fags.” We all agreed that since Phelps’ group does this in the name of God, this sort of behavior often does give people a bad view of God.
The rest of our time together was uneventful, but they did mention once having a study with a person for three years who then rejected what they taught after going through nearly the whole “Teach” book. According to this Witness couple, he would take a lot of time to read and study before they moved on. He would check the context, cross references and take numerous rabbit trails during their study, some of which lasted for five hours.
This is good news for me. I too will check the context and spend a good amount of time on things before I move on. If they already have experience dealing with someone who wants to take their time, and they were willing to spend three years with him, then hopefully they will spend a good amount of time with me as well.
Shortly before I left, they told me about the Watchtower web site, the JW Library app for my iPad (which I already have) and also something I didn’t know about. I didn’t realize that Windows has an app store and that the JW Library app is available there too. JW1 thought that I could use it with Windows 7, but as I look at the app, it says I need to upgrade to Windows 8. That will not be happening any time soon.
Like I first mentioned, it was a short meeting, but was good because I was still able to connect with them more on a personal level and also lay more of a foundation for a long term relationship. I hope that JW1’s wife continues to attend our meetings. I think that will be better for both of them in the long run. Please pray for my new Jehovah’s Witness friends.