I have had many conversations with persons who claim they love and worship God, but they hate and despise people. Is this hypocritical? Does it play false to the teachings of Christ?
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:20-21)
When I was one of Jehovah’s Witness, anyone who was not “in the truth” – that is, a baptized member of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society – they were considered worldly persons, that is, outsiders who will be punished and/or lose out on life if they do not join “Jehovah’s Early Organization” as a baptized Jehovah’s Witness. Is that loving? Is that something Jesus taught?
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matt 22:37-39)
Before I proceed in answering, I had a very lengthy conversation with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses not too long ago and it was a very interesting conversation.
Firstly, it was very difficult for me to get a word in. You see, many Jehovah’s Witnesses love listening to themselves and explaining to others what they believe. Many are not really interested in how others feel, believe, or have to say; those persons are considered worldly and lost and do not know anything.
Secondly, within the lengthy conversation, Jesus was rarely mentioned.
Note: Jehovah’s Witnesses do believe in Jesus. They view him as God’s son (correct) and as their now reigning king (which I believe is in error. I do not believe Jesus has received his kingdom of 1000 years over the earth yet.)
What the “organization” says and what “the Bible” says got far more mentions than what Jesus says or teaches. If one is not careful, Jehovah’s Witnesses will try to control the narrative. What you think or believe is almost always considered wrong.
The person I spoke with had a hateful disdain for people, in general. Almost wishing punishment upon them because they are worldly people and outside Jehovah’s organization.
At one point in conversation twisting what Jesus meant about loving others; even one’s enemies. As if to leave an excuse not to love others as Jesus commanded.
The Apostle Paul wrote at Romans 12:9 …
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
We can hate the evil things people do, but love the person. That is, not desiring harm to come to them.
Jesus even ask his Father to forgive those who persecuted him and who would put him to death. Why? Because they did not know what they were doing.
In asking the Father to forgive them, he did not want God to exact harm upon them.
On many occasions, I have heard those claiming to follow Christ, take delight in painting a picture of a hateful God quick to hurt and punish others. They present the Creator as a Boogey Man. When the fact of the matter is that those persons are projecting their own desires upon those persons.
Is it easy to love those who hate or do not love you? No, it is not easy. It is easier to think of exacting harm or vengeance upon them, but followers of Christ are required to show love for others because he showed love and grace (undeserved kindness) towards us first. It would be hypocritical for a disciple of Christ to claim such if they themselves are not willing to show love for others as Christ showed to other and to them.
Jesus said that he was (and is) “The Truth.” (John 14:6)
Thus, for a Jehovah’s Witness to ask “Are you in the truth?” strongly implies that they believe that The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is “The Truth,” not Jesus.
I choose Jesus.
Thirdly, Jesus never spoke of a “Jehovah’s Earthly Organization.”
The person to which I was speaking said that when speaking to others about the Bible, and if those persons believe a certain way, he/she will say, “Well. show me. If you can show me where it says that in the Bible, then I will believe you.”
Well, Jehovah’s Witnesses usually know if something is or is not in the Bible; and if a person states as a matter-of-factly that it is, that person is being set up.
Note: My advice to anyone engaging in conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses or any religious group, is to know their teachings as well as be able to skillfully and calmly present your own leaving no room for weakness or chinks in the armor. In my experience, if you cling to what Christ taught, you stand on a solid foundation. If you do not, the conversations end up being noise from both sides that cancel out with nothing accomplished. Neither side is listening and heated arguments and insults will result. Always, always, always when engaged in conservations with others about God and Christ with persons belonging to the various religious groups, keep in mind that you are a representative of the Master (Christ), and displaying the fruits of the spirit should be always before you. Your conduct matters. Do not be suckered into shouting. If you are met with anger and insult, turn the other cheek. Emotionalism is the enemy of reason and rationale.
But turn that around on a Jehovah’s Witness (and I do) and say, “Where is it written in the Bible is their mention of Jehovah’s Earthly Organization? Or, where Jesus addressed his Father in heaven as Jehovah? Or, where Jesus spoke of a 1914 date? Or, where a person is going to get punished if they do not act quickly and join a religious organization?
They can’t show you. (At this point, be observant of an attitude change or defensive posturing)
What I do know – and what has been my experience – is that some Jehovah’s Witnesses become uncomfortable and defensive when the tables are turned on them and they have no answer.
You see, Jehovah’s Witnesses are groomed to think that they have all of the answers, or be able to get them. To be fair, they have some, but they grossly misstep when they teach things that Jesus did not teach; just like the entire religious empire of Christendom.
The hypocritical element in this, is that the Watchtower accuses others – that is, worldly people – of making up teachings that Jesus did not teach or speak of when the Watchtower does the same thing.
One can take comfort in listening to the one God commanded us to listen to. By listening to the Messiah – via Holy Spirit – we are infused with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom far beyond what can be attained from a book(s) and religious organizations. (Luke 9:35)
We are to follow the one who knows the way to the Father and we follow no one or anything else.
Let’s face it, we (humans) are not made to direct our own steps or lead others in any direction.
Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. (Jer 10:23)
Are not religious organizations, organizations of humans? So, why follow them?
We have a Head (Lord) over us. Christ himself. He is the one we listen to and follow. (1 Cor 11:3)
It is important for each person to work out for themselves what God’s will is. Religious organizations will tell you what they think it is for you.
Your personal relationship with God is not up to any religious organization to decide for you. It is up to you!
If you obey what the Creator commanded at Luke 9:35 and if you learn from Christ as your teacher (disciple), he (Christ) will lead you in “the way” to go.
That he is ascended does not mean he has stopped teaching his disciples. He is not dead, but very much alive. Listen to what he promised his disciples …
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
His promise is that he will always be with us.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth … But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:16-17, 26)
After his ascension back into heaven, Jesus promised that he would ask the Father to send his disciples an advocate. This advocate will teach his disciples all things and will remind them of everything Jesus said (taught) them.
Who is that advocate? As mentioned at John 14:26, it is the invisible Holy Spirit of God.
Yet, many claiming to follow Christ rely upon the visible religious organizations and the visible book they claim is The Word of God.
Only Christ is The Word of God, not a book by any name.
Thus, they walk by sight and not by Faith.