Forgive and Encourage One Another

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In this world today where so many within “bulk” religion tell us that if one does not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior is condemned to an eternity of torment; or if one does not join a particular religious organization that they will lose out on the prospect of eternal life, it really takes true faith in God and Christ to stand up against these falsely launched “scare-tactic” arrows to continue standing strong and upright before God and Christ.

It saddens me very much – because I know my Master and what he taught and he did not teach this – when the religious system called by men, Christianity stoops so low as to issue judgment and threat upon God’s creation man and teaches what I mentioned above. None of what they teach follows the example of Christ as I will show in a moment.

The religious system called by men, Christianity acts as if it hates mankind. Why would any human or human agency teach eternal condemnation in a fiery torment or teach loss of eternal life if persons do not join them or accept Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior? Out of love? I think not. These are threats and scare tactics to gain members (captives) into the organizations within this religious system.

The Serpent is a manslayer and has an intense hatred for mankind. (John 8:44)

The Apostle John specifically spoke of people who hates a brother or a sister. Do not be misled, brother and sister in this context are “mankind”, not persons who accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3:15)

This article is written especially for those of you who are afraid. Those of you made fearful by the religious system called by men Christianity who has made you feel afraid. I am here to tell you that Christ has never condemned ANY human; and no matter what you have done and if you find yourself cast out of a religious organization because you had doubts, failed to obey some rule or regulation, didn’t get baptized into that system or organization, or you committed some wrong, I tell you Christ has not condemned you and has not threatened you.

In fact, Christ placed under an obligation that his followers freely forgive others an unlimited number of times as he did. So why has the religious system called by men Christianity not followed his example in doing this, instead of resorting to issuing of threat and condemnation? Because they are not of Christ, they are like their father The Devil who was a hateful manslayer in the beginning.

Let me review some real examples of the Master Christ Jesus to show that is nothing like the religious system that claims to be for him and that this religious system is an imposter and of The Serpent.

Forgiveness or Condemnation

The Apostle Peter asks the Master:

Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

When Jesus replied seventy-seven times, he meant that there was no limit. Yet, what is funny to me is that a person can sin against a member of the religious system called by men Christianity ONE TIME and they will still have held over them the threat of eternal torment and/or eternal loss of life. There is no forgiveness. If there was forgiveness AND if such a place of fiery torment did exist (and it does not), then the sinner would never end up in such a place.

I can provide three very powerful examples where Christ forgave persons who were not his followers and DID NOT condemn them.

Adulterous Woman. This account, found in John 8:1-11 involves the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery brought in before a crowd of people – to include Jesus who was present –  by the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes and Pharisees maintain that the Law Covenant between Israel and God in which Moses the mediator demanded that this woman is put to death by stoning. The Pharisees wanted to but Jesus to public test so they ask him what did he think. Jesus answer to them showed all present that they were hypocrites and none of them were not to place themselves in judgment over this woman as they themselves were not guiltless. It is what Jesus woman at John 8:10-11 is what shows that Jesus did not condemn her.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.

It is worth mentioning that today it is the religious system called by men, Christianity, and its members who emulate the hypocritical, judgmental, and condemnatory conduct of the Scribes and Pharisees. They are very quick to “stone persons to death” in the sense that they condemn them to an eternity of cruel torment or threat of loss of eternal life because they do not comply with a set of beliefs, rules or regulations that they established. Rather than forgive and not condemn as Jesus did, they would rather not forgive and judge others with the sentence of eternal torment or loss of eternal life. I might add, this woman was not a follower of Christ.

The Condemned Man. At Luke 23:39-43 we read of an already condemned man who hung there near Jesus who Jesus promised would be with him in his paradise. Here is an example of a man who men condemned and Jesus did not. This man was not a follower of Jesus yet Jesus promised him that one day he would be with him in his paradise. Jesus was not saying that this condemned man would die and then go to heaven on that day. John 3:13 shows that no man has EVER ascended into heaven (and never will) other than the one that was sent from heaven and became a man, Jesus himself. So there is no way that this condemned man would have preceded Jesus into heaven. Besides, Jesus spent three days dead in his own tomb before being resurrected and when he was resurrected spent some 50 days on earth before finally ascending into heaven. No, this condemned man would not have ascended into heaven as John 3:13 shows no man would. That condemned man to this very day lies asleep in death in his grave awaiting the promised resurrection of ALL persons according to Jesus at John 5:28-29. That is why this condemned man would say to Jesus, “Remember me when you get to your paradise.” Remember him in what way? Remember him during the Great Resurrection of the dead that would come. This condemned man will stand again  – not as a condemned man but forgiven man – and see the sun on a paradise earth within Jesus’ 1000 year kingdom on the earth. That is what Jesus promised a man not his follower.

No wonder ALL of mankind – persons born thousands of years before there was a Jesus – will benefit from his sacrificial death. They too will be resurrected. Why would God create mankind and then let thousands of years transpired and THEN send His Son only to save persons who KNOW HIM. That makes no sense. The Son of God was sent to save ALL of the species called mankind. All of mankind came from Adam and inherited his sin. Even the Son of Man had inherited sin in him from his human mother’s side, that is why he also had to die. As the Son of God, he had no sin.

The religious system called by men, Christianity, is in error when it teaches only those who accept Jesus will be saved. It discounts countless persons who lived long before Jesus and those who lived when he lived but who lived in remote parts of the world. It is a selfish and hateful teaching. (The Serpent hates mankind).

Besides, salvation does not come just by saying Jesus is one’s Lord and Savior or by performing some ritual. What acknowledgment did that adulterous woman, that condemned man, or those who persecuted and put Jesus to death make? None. Jesus said salvation comes after a period of testing and faithful endurance and to the end. No one is saved today and this is one of the biggest errors and outright lies the religious system called by men, Christianity is teaching. It opposes and goes anti against what Christ says concerning WHEN one is saved.

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

His Tormenters and Persecutors. This account more than the others is powerful testimony that Jesus loved even those who hated him and that he did not condemn anyone, but forgave them. This as far as I am concerned is one of the greatest acts of love one can express towards anyone.

The account is found at Luke 23:32-38.

The religious system called by men, Christianity, is so far gone and dysfunctional, it glosses over these accounts and works very hard to rationalize them away so as to pave a road to justify their hateful and condemnatory mentality towards persons who are not followers of Christ. This is a real shame. It is almost as if they want people to be condemned. They are haters of mankind.

In my more than half-a-century of life and as a person of God and Christ, I have witnessed this weird behavior. They love you (if you want to call it love) when you are with them and go along with them; yet, that love is switched off like the flick of a light switch when you question them and do not go along with them. That my friends is not love. Yet, this is the type of fruitage produced by the religious system called by men, Christianity. It is superficial and riddled with the drug of emotionalism.

To help those of you who are Jehovah’s Witnesses (or not) and who are having second thoughts about what you have been learning, permit me to relate to you an experience I had when I “quietly” disassociated myself from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society after more than 25 years as a baptized Witness.

After writing a letter to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society concerning my disassociation, not too long afterward two Elders from the local congregation paid me a visit. These “Brothers” are dispatched to ascertain what the problem is and to size me up. It also serves as an opportunity to see if would agree to a Bible Study so as to be “readjusted” (re-indoctrinated).

I invited the Elders and their initial disposition was the appearance of being friendly. I knew that this was a mask they would have to wear. I wore it when I knocked on doors too. They got right to the point and asked me what was the problem and why the disassociation. I explained to them that the 1914 date – a date that all prophetic teachings of the Watch Tower organization hinge on –  is not knowable according to Jesus’ own words at Matthew 24:36, Matthew 24:42 and Acts 1:7 and that I no longer believed that the Watch Tower Organization or any organization on earth is “God’s Earthly organization.” I cited my Scriptural reasons for that also as there is no evidence of some central organizational system during or after Jesus’ ministry.

These Elders were not interested in discussing the Scriptures I provided. As a person just as and probably more experienced and knowledgeable than these two men, I knew that they would not address them and they knew I knew it as the Scriptures are very clear in what Jesus says in them.

All one of the Elders could say to me with a sense of frustration bordering on anger was that “I assure you, that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is God’s Earthly organization and 1914 is the date Jesus’ parousia occurred and he began ruling invisibly in the heavens.

That was the problem: I was supposed to take his word for it and completely ignore what Jesus said about that. Sadly, that is what religious organization does: It dupes persons into listening to what THEY say rather than what God and Christ says. It was a no brainer to me. The Watch Tower organization widely teaches that Jesus’s return occurred in the fall of 1914. Jesus, on the other hand, says, “Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU do not know on what day YOUR Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42)

He also said:

It does not belong to YOU to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction. (Acts 1:7)

Such knowledge, then, does not belong to humans to know or ascertain, only the Father has knowledge of such things. So why should I associate myself with any organization that says it knows what Christ says it cannot know?

Yet, it was my steadfastness before these Elders that I will listen to Christ and not them or the Watch Tower in this regard is what upset one of them. (The other Elder remained very quiet). If there was any love and concern for me when they first arrived, it was not there when they departed. They could not say that I did not invite them in – as a good neighbor and follower of Christ would. I was alway polite and not rattled or intimidated by them.

Jehovah’s Witnesses love to apply Matthew 10:14-15 to “others” and not themselves. They associate these Scriptures with their house-to-house and door-to-door preachings work. That any not listening to their words, they are to “shake the dust off YOUR feet.” One can listen and not agree. We are to listen to everyone and give them an audience. However, when men speak, no matter who they are and no matter what they claim to be, we are to put what they say (as we listen to them) to the test to see if what they say is genuinely from God or not. The Apostle John at 1 John 4:1 says:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Because a person or organization says it is God and Christ does not exempt them from such testing. The Most High God did not say listen to men, but to listen to his Son.

I tell you the truth, religious organization is a bully. A Hulk. It, because of its size of membership and lofty claims it makes for itself, wants to use “intellectual intimidation” to poke, prod and scare people into them.

ALL organizations claiming to be of God and Christ have failed that test. They all want membership to themselves and that is why they all have special names they call themselves such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist, Mormons, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostals, etc. If attachment was truly to Christ these made up and divisive titles would not even exist. This is something one should really pause and think about deeply.

The religious system called by men Christianity does not teach that the sinner will be in paradise with Christ as Jesus promised that condemned man. They do not teach that one committing adultery or any sin is not a basis for condemnation, but forgiveness on OUR part. Christianity does not teach forgiveness for its persecutors, tormentors and those who might seek to put them to death. Christianity takes an aggressive posture and would rather drop bombs or condone dropping bombs. This is major!

Christianity as a religious system has a murderous history and harsh mistreatment of the human family and is in complete denial of it. It thinks it is from God and Christ. But it is the foretold misleader and deceiver of the world as mentioned by Christ at Matthew 24:4-5.

Christianity has completely misled the world with regard love of God, enemy, neighbor, self, and forgiveness. It has placed conditions on Christ’s love and forgiveness. One must see this for what it is. It is from men, not God and Christ.

Encourage One Another To Obey God Through Christ

No one should be made to feel afraid and burdened down out of worry that they or a loved one will be condemned to an eternity of torment or a loss of life because they did not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior or they sever membership or association with some religious organization. Persons indoctrinated to feel this way have not been treated lovingly. They have been treated as slaves and captives who have been given this heavy burden to carry for a Master who is not their true Master.

That one is not a member of a religious organization or system is a good thing and a blessing in disguise. One should count themselves fortunate that they are free to worship God and serve Christ without hindrance from religious organization. Free to express love and forgiveness to all sorts of persons (even to oneself) without hindrance.

Imagine how the Master felt even when his disciples became afraid and disclaimed any knowledge of him. He must have felt alone. That is how it will be for true disciples of Christ. They will feel alone with relation to men, but Christ promised to be with them. (Matthew 28:20)

Naturally, people like the group dynamic. People like being around persons like themselves and who believe as they do. The religious system called by men, Christianity, plays on this attraction by people to entrap them into a system of slavery to men rather than to God and Christ.

Millions of persons believe the same lies and enable and fortify each other with them. Only the truth can separate and scatter them and awaken them to sobriety. Jesus who is the truth said at Luke 12:49:

I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!

This fire is the truth that comes out of his mouth. (His teaching).

I say to all of you who have been severely impacted and burdened down by religious organization: Come out of them and sit yourself down before the person of Christ. No joining of yourself to religious organizations are needed and never was needed. Christ never authorized the creation of them. Join yourself to the person of Christ and learn from him.

Do not believe the threats, scare tactics and the feeling of being alone because you do not belong to some church or organization. Joining any of them is allowing yourselves to be taken captive by them. Discipleship to Christ means freedom. (John 8:31-32)

He, the person, is the only one who can teach us the truth and direct us as he is our Master and not religious organization.

Withdraw to a private place and petition God through our Master and ask Him for His Wisdom, His knowledge, and His understanding. He is a good Father and will give you these things NOT through a religious organization and NOT through a book called The Bible, He will give you those things through the very same person that you requested them: His Son. Christ is the ONLY way and channel The Most High God uses to communicate with us. If God communicated with us through religious organizations or books men give names to, then Jesus is not the WAY, those things would be.

Therefore, it takes faith in God and Christ on the requesters part to believe that God uses only ONE WAY to communicate with us: His Son. If one believes that there are other ways, then they have no faith in God or His Son. Their faith will be in those other ways (notice plural). There is only one way. (John 14:6)

Please, do not be afraid. I leave you with encouraging words from the Prophet Isaiah. Our God promises:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Who is the right-hand of God? The Son of God. Listen to him. (Acts 2:33 and Luke 9:35)

Be encouraged, your Creator knows your situation better than you do. Approach Him in prayer incessantly. This exercise of prayer through His Son is how you get “the juice” the Holy Spirit (through His Son) that opens up a whole new way of looking at God, Christ, enemies, neighbors, self and the wicked world in which we all find ourselves. That “way” also sheds light in a dark world so that YOU can see where you are going: Towards the Most High God.

May we promote obedience to the one God by faith. To God be the glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

R. Jerome Harris

A Disciple of Christ in the strictest sense. I belong to no religious organization. I view Christ as my only Head, Master, Teacher, Owner, and Lord. (John 8:31-32, 1Cor 11:3) His God is my God and I champion his teachings above anything issuing out of ANY religious organization.

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