Arrogant. Presumptuous. Rude. Inconsiderate. I could go on, but you get the picture. My Jehovah’s Witness buddy brought another guy with him today. Last week he came alone which is sort of a no-no for Witnesses. I prayed that God would arrange it again for this week, but for some reason God said, “No.” I now know why.
Just about every time we have met with a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon and they bring an unannounced friend, it tends to back fire on them. Some of the most impolite and condescending people I have met are JWs or Mormons brought into a conversation by someone I have been talking to previously. Such was the case today.
JW1 brought a new guy, JW2. As we were getting seated JW1 went to the restroom while JW2 and I sat down. JW2 said nothing to me until JW1 came out of the restroom and then he immediately attempted to take control of our situation by making a statement that there are so many different groups which claim to be Christian, yet there is only one Bible.
I thought it was disrespectful to wait until JW1 came out of the restroom and then launch into a discussion completely different than what JW1 and I agreed to discuss for today. This is our fourth meeting and to have a new guy attempt to redirect and control the conversation was impolite.
He then asked, “What would be your answer for that?”
KW: For what?
JW2: Why there are so many different denominations who all claim to believe the Bible. We only have one Bible yet all these differences of opinion. Why?
KW: Do you have a family?
KW: Do you guys agree on everything?
KW: Why is that? Aren’t you supposed to be unified?
JW2: What is the purpose of the Bible?
KW: I am answering that question…
JW2: (Interrupts) I disagree with that scenario.
KW: You don’t even know what the scenario is because you haven’t heard me out.
JW2: I’m 64 years old, I’ve heard it all…
KW: (interrupts back) So you know what I’m going to say?
KW: Then there is no point in me saying it.
JW2: That’s right.
At that point I immediately turned towards JW1 and asked, “What did you have for me today?”
I couldn’t believe this guy. He starts off by attempting to take over our conversation with an unrelated topic and then tells me that because of his age and vast experience, he already knows what I am going to say. I wish I could adequately describe the arrogant look on his face when he said that to me. I intended to continue my conversation with JW1 and what was funny was that both JW1 and I ignored his attempts to weasel his way back into our conversation for nearly 20 minutes. JW1 was embarrassed.
We were bouncing around on the topic of the deity of Christ and JW1 took me to Proverbs 8:22 which reads in the New World Translation, “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago.” The Watchtower uses this verse as a proof text that Jesus had a beginning. When I pointed out that the context of the whole chapter was the personification of wisdom, JW1 seemed stumped.
All through our conversation we were having a great discussion. He is not the typical JW who blindly defends his position without the courtesy of listening to the person he is talking to. One thing I keep telling him and would encourage those of you who are reading this to start saying too, is that we cannot agree or even disagree on something unless we first understand each other. Unless one first understands what the other person is saying it is impossible to know if you agree or disagree.
JW1 has taken this to heart because he is really trying to understand me. One time last week when he was attempting to disprove a statement I made about Jesus, I asked him, “Are you trying to understand me or are you trying to refute me?” That caused him to pause because he knew he was trying to refute me without even first understanding my position. You can’t refute unless you first understand. I will continue to remind him of this when I need to.
Unfortunately, JW2 made his way back into our conversation by asking JW1 a question. JW1 Answered it and JW2 took that as an opportunity to get back onto his soapbox. He began speaking about how God has always existed and that the first thing he made was Jesus. He then said that this “destroys the Trinity theory.” Taking the previous thought in mind about refuting and understanding I said to JW2, “I don’t think you even know what the Trinity is.”
JW2: How people came up with the Trinity doctrine, I’ll never understand. Ministers say, ‘Don’t try to believe it, it is a mystery.’ Well, I’m just not that stupid.
HERE IS WHERE THE FIREWORKS STARTED.
KW: I really don’t appreciate that last comment.
He continued on his diatribe so I stated again, “I really don’t appreciate that last comment.”
JW: Well, that is your opinion and you are welcome to it.
KW: You are telling me that I am stupid because I believe something?
JW: I didn’t know you believed in the Trinity.
KW: Okay, well then now…
JW: (interrupts) If you believe in the Trinity…
KW: (interrupts back)… I’m stupid.
JW: I’m saying that this is what ministers…
I then turned towards JW1 and asked, “Where do you get these guys?”
JW2: You want to play word games.
KW: I’m not playing any word games. I’ve just been offended because you called me stupid.
JW2: That is your point of view. You didn’t tell me that you believed in the Trinity.
KW: You are going to go out and make a blanket statement that insults people and you don’t even know where they are coming from?
JW2: I am telling you that ministers have the audacity to tell people don’t try to understand it, it is a mystery, let’s go on to something else. Why do they treat people like they are stupid? Ministers make me upset because they don’t teach the truth.
KW: So that gives you the right to insult me.
JW2: I had no intention of insulting you.
KW: Well, then. What should you say next?
JW2: I didn’t realize I insulted you. You didn’t tell me that you believed in the Trinity.
KW: What should you say next?
JW2: You didn’t tell me that you believed in the Trinity, unless you were setting up a trap.
Once it became clear that he was not going to apologize, I turned towards JW2 and said, “I’m not sure I’m up for this.”
JW2: I’m not up for it either. JW1, I told you this would be a waste of time.
KW: So I’m stupid and a waste of time.
JW2: You and I didn’t hit it off from the beginning.
KW: That is because you walked in here with an attitude.
I was referring to how he tried to take control of the conversation in the beginning without giving JW1 the courtesy of asking what we were discussing. JW2 quibbled for another minute or two and then finally stopped talking. JW1 was stunned and sat in silence for quite some time. He finally said, “I am sorry it turned out this way.”
JW2 left the table and went to sit in the waiting area. We sat there is silence for a bit longer. Finally, JW1 started up again, “In Matthew chapter 24…”
From that point on our conversation went very well. I made sure that I was as agreeable as I could be. I wanted him to see the difference between how we can talk together and what it is like when he brings someone else. He admitted to me later on that he knew JW2 to be “feisty.” I asked that he not do that again. “If you are going to bring someone else next time, please don’t pick a feisty person. I don’t do feisty very well. Actually, it would be better if you didn’t bring anyone at all. I enjoy our conversations together.”
JW1 has giving me a couple of things to read and asked for my cell number even though he already had my home phone number. He said he might want to text me when things come to mind. This is good news. After a confrontation like this, it would be very easy for him to drop me, but I think he genuinely enjoys our discussions and is learning some things from a new perspective.
At first, I didn’t understand why God wanted “rude-dude JW2” there, but now I think I do. I think God will use this situation to show JW1 that it is better to discuss things with me alone. Now he will be free to think for himself. At least for a little while.