Monday, March 20, 2017

Ang Kahulugan ng Pagiging Tunay na Kristiyano



Ito ay isang larawan na kinunan nang makipagkita sa amin si kuya Rowel, isang Saksi ni Jehova rin na matagal na nanilbihan bilang isang special pioneer at nag-iisang elder sa kanilang kongregasyon subalit itiniwalag ng kanilang kongregasyon dahil sa nalaman niyang impormasyon tungkol sa mga kaso ng sekswal na pangaabuso sa bata o child abuse na kinasasangkutan ng Samahan.

Isang taon na rin halos mula noong una kaming magkita sa personal nila kuya Rowel, at ng kaniyang maybahay na si ate Lenbe at ng dalawa nilang mga anak. Nakilala namin sila dahil sa pagiging mga mambabasa namin ng parehong website na napuntahan ng aming mga pamilya dahil sa aming taimtim na kagustuhang masumpungan ang katotohanan at magkaroon ng kaliwanagan sa mga kagulat-gulat na pangyayari sa loob ng kongregasyon.


Noong una ay atubili kaming makipagkita sa kanila, lalu na ako. Iniisip ko kasi na baka hindi kami magkasundo, baka hindi kami pareho ng layunin, baka hindi nila maunawaan ang katayuan ko at pagiging mailap ko at maingat sa pakikisalamuha sa mga tao gawa na rin ng traumatic experiences ko. Subalit nang sumapit na ang panahon upang kami ay magkita, kaagad na nagkapalagayan kami ng loob at naramdaman naming totoo sila, lalu na iyong naging malinaw nang maglaon.


Umuwi kami nang gabing iyon pagkatapos ng una naming pagkikita na galak na galak at lubusang napatibay sa mga karanasan ng kanilang pamilya. Hindi ko maiwasang hangaan ang kanilang sigasig, dedikasyon at katapatan sa paglilingkod sa Diyos na Jehova at siyempre nakakagaang ng loob na malaman na hindi kami nag-iisa ng aking munting pamilya na tapat pa ring naglilingkod sa Diyos sa kabila ng pagtulak sa amin palabas at pakikitungo nang may kabagsikan sa amin ng Organisasyon. 


Our first meeting with the Jimenez family last year
Simple lamang ang buhay ng pamilya Jimenez subalit sa isang taon na nakilala namin sila ay tumimo sa aming isipan ang kanilang pagiging matulungin, mapagbigay at maaasahang mga kapatid sa espirituwal. Lagi silang handang tumulong at sumuporta sa amin at sa ibang mga kapatid kahit na sila ay may kalupitang itiniwalag at itinakwil nang hindi makatarungan sa kongregasyong kanilang pinagsilbihan. Lagi nilang naikukuwento sa amin ang kanilang kagustuhang tumulong sa sinumang kapatid na nangangailangan at nito lamang nakaraan nga ay personal naming naranasan ang kanilang pagiging bukas-palad. Nang malaman nilang kami ay nagkasakit agad silang nagalok ng tulong at ayan bumiyahe pa si kuya upang personal kaming makita at patibayin sa espirituwal, dalhan ng masarap na buko pie (kahit bawal sa amin ang matamis hehe) at dalhan ng sabon at pamahid na makakatulong sa aming rayuma at allergy mula sa aming sakit. Nariyan sila sa hirap at ginhawa at nagsilbing mga tunay na kaibigan na maaasahan sa panahon ng kabagabagan. -Kawikaan 17:17

Nakakagulat pero totoo, sinabi ko na ito sa isa sa mga una kong post sa blog na ito, kung sino pa ang magaling mangaral at galing magsalita, kalimitan ang pananampalataya naman ay walang kasamang gawa. 


Ang pag-ibig natin sa Diyos ay makikita sa paraan ng ating pakikitungo sa ating kapuwa. Paaano nga natin maaaring angkinin na iniibig natin ang Diyos na hindi naman natin nakikita kung yaong kapuwa tao natin nga na kung minsan ay kaharap o kausap na natin ay hindi natin mapagpakitaan ng kabutihan? Hindi ba iyan ang itinuturo ng mga Kasulatan? 


Isang litratong ipinadala sa akin nila kuya Rowel nang silang 
pamilya ay mangulekta ng mga bote, bakal at plastic
 upang maibenta at maipadala kay sister Carol

Naalala kong mabuti nang lumubha na nang lubusan ang kalagayan ng isa nating kapatid na si sister Carol. Wala siyang asawa at mga anak na maaaring tumulong sa kaniya at nakagugulat ring pinakitunguhan siya nang walang kabaitan at pag-unawa sa kaniyang kongregasyon na kinaaaniban. Sa dinami-dami ng beses na kaming mag-asawa ay nanawagan para sa kaniya, iilan lamang ang tumugon nang may pag-kukusa at taos puso upang tulungan siya, isa na sa kanila ang pamilya Jimenez na kinailangan pang magtinda noon ng mga bote at plastic upang makapagpundar ng kahit na maliit na halaga upang maipadala sa nagdurusang sister sa Amerika. Hindi naman mahirap na makilala ang tunay na mga Kristiyano, simple lang naman yaong may pag-ibig sa kanilang kapwa sa gawa at hindi sa salita lamang. Bilang mga nag-aangking mga tagasunod ni Kristo, tayo ay obligado sa pribado man o sa harap ng publiko na gawin din kung anuman ang ipinangagaral natin, sa wikang Ingles nga eh "practice what you preach."

"Binibigyan ko kayo ng isang bagong utos, na ibigin ninyo ang isa’t isa; kung paanong inibig ko kayo ay ibigin din ninyo ang isa’t isa. Sa ganito malalaman ng lahat na kayo ay aking mga alagad, kung kayo ay may pag-ibig sa isa’t isa."  -Juan 13:34,35

Nawa'y magsilbing inspirasyon sa atin lalu na para roon sa inyo na maaaring nawawalan na ng pagtitiwala sa Organisasyon at para na rin doon sa mga hindi na aktibo sa kongregasyon ngayon, na patuloy na magpakita ng pag-ibig pangkapatid at maging pag-ibig sa kapuwa natin mga tao anuman ang ating kalagayan, sa maliit man o malaking paraan. At kahit maraming mga teksto sa Bibliya ang nagsasaad na tayo ay gagantimpalaan sa ating pagiging bukas palad, hindi naman iyon laging mangyayari sa paraang inaasahan natin subalit hindi naman tayo dapat magpakita ng kabaitan dahil lamang sa gantimpala mula sa langit. Hindi ba si Kristo ay tumulong sa mga may sakit, nagugutom at mga nangangailangan nang walang kapalit?


Sa totoo lang sa nakalipas na mga taon ay nagsikap kaming mag-asawa na magpakita ng awa at kabutihan sa lahat ng tao, sa kapananampalataya man o hindi at kadalasan ay wala naman kaming natatanggap na gantimpala o pasasalamat man lang mula sa mga taong tinulungan namin at kung minsan nga ay kasamaan pa ang iginaganti nila. Minsan nalalagay rin kami sa mga mahihirap na kalagayan kung saan kami naman ang nangangailangan subalit wala naman kaming masumpungang tulong mula sa iba. Gayunpaman, iniisip ko palagi ang binabanggit ng Mateo 5:7 na "Maligaya ang mga maawain, yamang sila ay pagpapakitaan ng awa." Hindi man ngayon subalit sa pinakahuli, ay nawa isaalang-alang ng Diyos na Jehova ang aming pagpapakita ng malasakit sa kapuwa kapag kami ay tumawag sa kaniya at humingi ng saklolo. Minsan ay nalalagay rin kami sa mga kalagayang sobrang hirap, sobrang bigat na hindi ko na rin mabibigyan ng dahilan kung bakit nangyariyari. Madalas na iniisip ko na ang lahat pala ng kabutihan at pagmamalasakit na ipinakita ko sa aking kapuwa mula noong aking pagkabata ay balewala kapag kami naman ang naghihirap. Subalit kahit na nakakasira ng loob ang ganoong kalagayan, totoo pa rin ang Bibliya nang sabihin nito: "May higit na kaligayahan sa pagbibigay kaysa sa pagtanggap."- Gawa 20-:35 Bilang mga taong inanyuan sa larawan ng maibiging Diyos, dapat sana ay pangkaraniwan na sa atin ang pagkakaroon ng empatiya sa kapuwa. Nakakalungkot man, hindi ganoon ang karamihan, kahit mga Saksi pa subalit iba talaga ang pakiramdam na makapagdulot tayo ng kahit na kaunting kaalwanan sa ating kapuwa, nadarama natin na mayroon tayong purpose sa mundo na ito at yaong tinatawag na significance kapag inuuna natin ang iba kaysa sa ating sarili. 


 Napakahalagang isaisip ng mga nag-aangking lingkod ng tunay na Diyos na yamang dala-dala natin ang pangalan ni Jehova ay dapat na mabanaag higit sa lahat, sa ating paraan ng pamumuhay ang pagigi nating hiwalay sa sanlibutang mabangis at makasarili sa pamamagitan ng pagiging handang tumulong at mahabagin sa ating kapuwa, maging sinuman sila. 



Ang Mga Tinanggalan ng Karapatang  Mapabilang sa Bayan ni Jehova


Isang nakaaantig-damdaming sulat nga ang natanggap ng aming anak na si Thea mula sa bunsong anak na babae nila kuya Rowel at ate Lenbe. Bagaman hindi pa man sila nagkikita sa personal ay nagawa nang magpakita ng pag-ibig pangkapatid ang kanilang anak kay Thea. Ito yata ang isa sa pinaka-nakakapagpatibay na bagay para sa akin noong araw na iyon. Nakakaantig ng damdamin ang gayong klaseng pagpapakita ng pagmamalasakit sa kaniyang kapananampalataya mula sa isang bata, na tulad rin ng aming anak ay ITINABOY PALABAS ng kongregasyon at PINAGKAITAN NG KARAPATANG sambahin si Jehova at makisama sa mga kapuwa nila umiibig sa Diyos. Mabigat sa damdamin namin bilang mga magulang na ang isang organisasyong nag-aaking binubuo ng mga tunay na Kristiyano ay magagawang idamay sa kanilang hindi makatuwirang galit ang mga batang katulad nina Julienne Jimenez at ng anak naming si Thea at tanggalan sila ng karapatang lumaki na kasama ng mga kapuwa nila mananamba ni Jehova. Subalit tingnan ninyo, pakisuyo mga elder ng aming mga kongregasyon, ang mga anak ng mga inakusahan ninyo bilang mga  rebelde at apostatang mga Saksi, bukambibig ng mga batang ito ang pangalan ng Dakilang Maylalang! Isinasaisip nila ang mga kahilingan sa Kasulatan, nagpapakita sila ng pag-ibig sa kanilang kapatid- hindi katulad ng marami sa inyo. Gayunman sila ang mga batang inagawan ninyo ng karapatang makilala si Jehova sa paraang dapat sana nila siyang makilala. Inilagay ninyo sila sa napakahirap na kalagayan kung saan kailangan nilang mapanatili ang kanilang katapatan sa Diyos nang lubusan habang sila ay ipinatapon ninyo rito sa Sanlibutan, ng walang anumang suporta mula sa kongregasyon. Bilang mga inatasang pastol sa kongregasyon, kayo ay mayroong higit na malaking pananagutan kay Jehova at kayo ay tunay namang magsusulit sa bawat isa sa kaniyang mga tupa na inyong naiwala, o mas masahol pa, tahasang itinaboy. -Lucas 12:48


Hindi naman ako naging malihim tungkol sa aming dinadaanan. Ang kapalit ng pagpili namin na manatiling tapat kay Jehova sa kabila ng kalagayan namin ay nagdulot ng total isolation para sa amin. Mayroon kaming halos ZERO social life, ZERO social events at ang tanging mga pagkakataon lamang na kami ay makakasalamuha ng ibang mga tao ay kapag kami ay maggogrocery o kaya naman kapag minsan ay mamasyal kami. Subalit hindi kami makapagtaguyod ng mga malalapit na mga kaibigan sa pagsisikap naming hindi mabahiran ng sanlibutan. Kami ng aking anak na si Thea ay napaka sociable na mga tao subalit kahit na nariyan ang imbitasyon ng iilan nalang naming mga kakilala sa mga Birthday, o binyag, sa halos lahat ng events sa paaralaan (bago siya maghomeschool), sa mga patimpalak at paligsahan at kasiyahan sa sanlibutan na hindi ko na iisa-isahin pa, ay unanimous kaming tumatanggi, Hindi ako magsisinungaling, napakahirap lalu na dahil hindi naman ito ang buhay na inasahan namin. Ayaw sa amin sa loob ng kongregasyon, hindi naman kami puwedeng makipagsaya sa labas, saan kami lulugar?- WALA. Kung ang mga dolphin nga ay nangangailangan ng pakikipagsalamuhaan sa kanilang mga kapuwa hayop, ang tao pa kaya?

Dumalo kami ng 2 beses sa isang kongregasyon noong katapusan ng nakaraang taon. Ang saya-saya ni Thea na sa wakas pagkatapos ng matagal na panahon eh makakakita siya muli ng mga taong sumasamba sa kaniyang Diyos sa iisang bulwagan at maligayang nag-uusap. Pero ang lungkot-lungkot rin niya. Ang sabi niya sa akin: "mama, why aren't they talking to me?" Sinagot ko nalang siya sa pagpapaliwanag muli na iba ang sitwasyon namin at sa hindi malamang dahilan ay kami ay sinentensiyahan at hinatulan na bilang mga kalaban ng Organisasyon.


Bilang isang batang lumaking dumadalo sa kongregasyon, normal namang malungkot na ang mga simpleng bagay na pinaghahandaan ng mga magulang kasama ang kanilang mga anak ay hindi namin magawa para sa anak namin. Bilang isang gifted child na hindi maaring mag-aral sa pangkaraniwang paaralan, kami ay napilitang i-homeschool si Thea upang mabigyan siya ng personalized learning experience na kailangang kailangan niya. Nag-iisa siyang apo at wala siyang mga pinsan. Normal na hanapin niya ang association ng mga bata lalu na yaong may katulad na paniniwala ng sa kaniya subalit hindi namin iyon maibibigay sapagkat hindi namin hawak ang bagay na iyon. 


Kung tutuusin, maari sana naming ipagmatuwid ang pakikipagsaya sa sanlibutan, tutal hindi ba sa mata ng mga kakongregasyon namin ay hindi naman na kami mga Saksi? Para sa kanila ay matagal na kaming patay. Technically we are no longer under obligation to follow organizational standards. Ang asawa ko ay itiniwalag matagal na at ako naman bagaman hindi nila itiniwalag ay itinuturing na masahol pa sa tiwalag, paaano pa nga ba nila ititiwalag yaong mga tiwalag na? Anung parusa pa ba ang maipapataw nila sa amin kung kami man ay masumpungan nilang sumasali sa hindi makakasulatang mga pagdiriwang at kaganapan sa sanlibutan? At sa mga Saksing nanghuhusga sa amin, pakisuyong isipin ninyo ito, ano nga ba ang mapapala namin sa patuloy at lubusang pagtanggi sa lahat ng bagay sa sanlibutang ito, mula sa oprtunidad sa trabaho, musika, panoorin, babasahin, libangan, kasiyahan na tinatanggihan naming salinan dahil sa katapatan namin sa Diyos? Ipupusta ko na ang halos kalahati nga sa mga bagay na tinatanggihan naming gawin ang tinatangkilik ninyo subalit pinipili lang naming lubusang maging walang bahid sa sanlibutang ito. 


Hindi katulad ng mga kapatid na nabilanggo, tinanggal sa trabaho at pinag-usig sa iba pang mga paraan, ( na tiyak namang hindi rin madali) ang mga katulad naming pinag-usig ng mga may awtoridad sa Organisasyon ay hindi kailanman maifefeature sa Gumising, Bantayan o alinman sa mga publikasyong inilalathala ng Samahan para purihin kami sa aming pananampalataya at paninindigan. Wala nang mas sasakit pa sa pag-uusig na nangagaling mismo doon sa mga kapuwa natin mananamba na inaasahan sana nating  makauunawa sa atin sa sanlibutang ito subalit iyon ang kalagayan namin. May bonus pang panghabang-buhay na mental na sakit akong dadalhin dahil sa kanilang pang-aabuso sa akin na naging dahilan ng aking pagiging mahina ang kalusugan sa pangkalahatan at sa pagiging baldado ko o disabled kung kayat hindi na nakapagtrabaho ng normal ang aking asawa bagaman nakapagtapos ng dalawang kurso. Samahan na natin ng halo-halong pang-uusig at kawalang katarungan at kabagsikan ng mga nagpapanggap na mga kapatid sa internet at ang buhos ng nakalulunod na agos ng mga personal na mga problemang walang tigil sa pagdaluhong sa amin.


Kaya para roon sa mga nanghuhusga sa amin, sa mga agad naniwala sa sabi-sabi at mga paninira laban sa amin, sa mga kapatid na tinulungan namin at pinagpakitaan ng buti na umiiwas sa amin sa daan, eto lang ang masasabi namin: " KARAMIHAN SA INYO AY HINDI ALAM ANG KAHULUGAN NG PAGIGING TUNAY NA MGA KRISTIYANO. You have not the slightest idea of what faith is or what persecution is or what suffering for righteousness sake is or what following Christ really mean." Hanggang sa maramdaman ninyo na para kayong paulit-ulit na pinararaan sa apoy at dinadalisay sa nakapapaso at nakalulutong init, hindi ninyo maiintindihan ang kahulugan ng pagiging lingkod ni Jehova, hindi ninyo maiintindihan ang dinadanas namin ng maraming taon na ngayon. Kung tutuusin kami ay lutung-luto na, sunog na nga eh subalit ang ang pagdadalisay ay nagapapatuloy pa rin at ang aming pakikipagpunyagi upang manatiling matatag sa pananampalataya ay humihirap pa sa paglipas ng panahon.

Kung mangyari na nga ang tunay na pagdating ng panginoong Jesus at sumiklab ang isang nuklear na digmaan, malawakang taggutom at salot sa buong mundo, saka sundan ng pag-ahon ng isang malupit na pandaigdig na gobyernong magpapahirap at uusig nang lubusan sa lahat ng tao sa mundo lalu na sa mga Saksi, gaya nga ng sneak peek na ipinatikim ng Lupong Tagapamahala noong nakalipas na regional convention sa pamamagitan ng isang video, baka saka lamang ninyo mauunawaan ang kahulugan ng pagiging tunay na Kristiyano. 



Remember me? Climax ng video na ipinalabas ng Samahan ay dapat na magdulot ng espirituwal na pagkagising sa mga Saksing kulang sa espirituwal na katinuan at walang kamalayan sa mga kalagayang malapit na nilang kaharapin

Pero habang hindi pa nangyayari iyon, madaling tumawa lang, madaling regular na dumalo at lumabas sa larangan na may report na maraming oras, madaling makatampuhan ang isang kapatid at sungitan ng may-bahay sa larangan at papaniwalain ang ating mga sarili na ang mga iyon ay sapat na upang tayo ay maligtas. 

Kung kayo man ay maniniwala o hindi ay hindi ko na pasanin. Pagkatapos ng maraming taong pagkukundisyon sa atin ng liderato ng samahan o ng "tapat at maingat na alipin" kung tawagin nga ay normal namang ikatuwiran na kung talagang napakalupit ng pagdadaanan sa panahon ng kawakasan ay nababalaan sana ang mga Saksi subalit hindi nga iyon ang kalagayan. Mangyayari ang mga bagay na ito sa oras at pamamaraang hindi inaasahan ng karamihan sa layuning lubusang parusahan ang mga balakyot at walang kabuluhan na kasalukuyang kabilang sa bayan ni Jehova ngayon, at lubusang dalisayin naman yaong mga pinili upang makaligtas.

Iniisip man ng buong samahan ng mga Saksi ni Jehova sa buong mundo na sa kanilang maingat na pagsunod sa mga patakarang inilatag ng Organisasyon, sa kanilang matagal na panahon ng paglilingkuran sa larangan ay tiyak na nalulugod ang Diyos sa kanila. Ang pangkaraniwan at banayad na mga pang araw-araw na problema ay waring sinesensationalize ng Samahan para palabasing iyon ay mahihirap na na mga kalagayang pinagdadaanan ng mga Kristiyano. Kung katulad ng kaisipan nating mga tao ang kaisipan ng Diyos, siguro may tyansang malulugod nga siya sa kahit pakitang taong paglilingkuran lamang ng karamihan at sa kanilang pagbabata sa napakasimpleng mga problema. Subalit mabuting isaaalang-alang ang mga patiuna nang nakatalang kahatulan ni Jehova para sa kaniyang sariling bayan. Sa Zacarias kabanata 13:7-9 ito ang nakasulat:

" O tabak, gumising ka laban sa aking pastol, laban nga sa matipunong lalaki na aking kasamahan,' ang sabi ni Jehova ng mga hukbo. 'Saktan mo ang pastol, at bayaang mangalat ang mga nasa kawan; at tiyak na ibabaling ko ang aking kamay doon sa mga walang-halaga.'At mangyayari sa buong lupain, ang sabi ni Jehova, 'na dalawang bahagi roon ang lilipulin at papanaw; at kung tungkol sa ikatlong bahagi, ito ay maiiwan doon.  At tiyak na pararaanin ko sa apoy ang ikatlong bahagi; at dadalisayin ko nga silang gaya ng pagdalisay sa pilak, at susuriin ko silang gaya ng pagsuri sa ginto. Iyon, sa ganang kaniya, ay tatawag sa aking pangalan, at ako, sa ganang akin, ay sasagot doon. Sasabihin ko, ‘Iyon ang aking bayan,' at iyon naman ay magsasabi, 'Si Jehova ang aking Diyos.' "

Sa ulat na iyan ay mababasa natin na dalawang bahagi mula sa bayan ng Diyos ang kaniyang lilipulin at hahayaang pumanaw at ang natitirang isang bahagi naman na nakatakdang tumanggap ng kaligtasan ay maliligtas subalit sa pamamagitan lamang ng pagdaan sa apoy, na tiyak namang isang paglalarawan na sumasagisag sa isang masakit at masalimuot na paraan. Magkagayunman, hindi pa rin ibig sabihin nito na ang isang bahagi na nakatakdang iligtas ng Diyos ay maliligtas dahil sa kanilang kahusayan sa kaniyang paningin. Pakisuyong bigyang pansin ang binabanggit sa Ezekiel 36:22-24:

"Kaya sabihin mo sa sambahayan ng Israel, ‘Ito ang sinabi ng Soberanong Panginoong Jehova: 'Hindi ko ginagawa ito alang-alang sa inyo, O sambahayan ng Israel, kundi alang-alang sa aking banal na pangalan, na nilapastangan ninyo sa gitna ng mga bansa na inyong pinaroonan.' 'At tiyak na pababanalin ko ang aking dakilang pangalan, na nilalapastangan sa gitna ng mga bansa, na nilapastangan ninyo sa gitna nila; at makikilala nga ng mga bansa na ako ay si Jehova,’ang sabi ng Soberanong Panginoong Jehova, ‘kapag napabanal ako sa gitna ninyo sa kanilang paningin...' "


Hindi nga kailanman magiging sapat ang ating pag-sisikap upang magkamit tayo ng kaligtasan. Hindi tayo kailanman magkakaroon ng karapatan sa ating ganang sarili na maghambog na sa ating matagal na paglilingkuran sa Diyos ay magkakamit tayo ng buhay na walang hanggan. Anuman ang kaisipang pinaiiral ng Samahan sa mga kongregasyon ngayon, malinaw sa mga tekstong sinipi rito na hindi nalulugod ang Diyos sa kaniyang bayan katulad ng maaaring inaasahan ng karamihan sa mga Saksi. Subalit si Jehova ay maglalaan pa rin ng kaligtasan para sa isang bahagi na kaniyang pinili, "alang-alang sa kaniyang banal na pangalan" na nilapastangan ng kaniya mismong bayan. (isaalang-alang ang mga balita at ulat tungkol sa pagmamalupit ng mga Saksi sa kanilang kapuwa, ang hindi humuhupang mga balita tungkol sa mga child abuse cover up sa iba't-ibang panig ng mundo, ang pakikipagalyansa ng Organisasyon sa United Nations na inaangkin nilang kinamumuhian nila, at ang marami pang ibang iskandalo na kinasangkutan ng Samahan na naging usap-usapan sa buong daigdig na walang dudang nagdulot ng upasala sa pangalan ni Jehova)

At sa 1/3 bahaging makaliligtas, hindi naman rin sila lubusang makakapagsaya yamang dadaanan sila sa masusing pagdadalisay sa apoy na "gaya ng pagdalisay sa pilak." Tiyak na ayon sa siniping mga teksto, hindi iyon magiging masarap, komportable o madali.

Kaya naman sa huli, marapat lamang na magtapos ang sanaysay na ito sa konklusyon na ang mga tunay na Kristiyanong nabubuhay sa panahon natin sa ngayon at umaasang makatawid ng buhay sa bagong systema, sa paanumang paraan, one way or another wika-nga ay HINDI makatatawid sa paraisong lupa malibang sila ay dumaan muna sa nakapapasong init ng pagdadalisay sa APOY. 

Kung ang mga Saksi mang tulad namin ay nagdudusa ng ganito kabigat ngayon, at noong mga nakalipas na taon, don't be fooled, sa malapit na hinaharap yaong mga nakatakdang tumanggap ng kaligtasan ay dadaanan rin sa katulad, kung hindi man mas mahirap na mga kalagayan. 

Walang madaling paraan para makatanggap ng kaligtasan. There is no short cut to paradise unless siyempre sa pamamagitan lamang ng kamatayan.


(pakisuyong pagpasensiyahan at pagpaumanhinan ninyo ang pagiging hindi maayos ng mga font, kulay at laki ng mga letra sa blog na ito. Wala po tayong malaking maaasahan sa isang libreng serbisyo lamang na katulad ng blogspot. At yamang kami naman ay naglilingkod upang paluguran ang Diyos, makatulong sana sa aming mga kapatid sa espiritual at hindi upang magpakitang gilas sa ibang tao, ipinagpatuloy namin ang blog na ito sa kabila ng maraming mga hadlang, pang-uusig at kawalang katapatan ng taong sana'y makakatuwang namin sa pagpapatakbo nito.)


AMA, KAYO NAPO ANG BAHALA...


Friday, January 20, 2017

“Patiently Endure Unfair Treatment”

“For it is agreeable when someone endures hardship and suffers unjustly because of conscience toward God.”- 1 Peter 2:19


Since time immemorial, those who tried to faithfully serve God suffered extreme difficulty and persecution, not because they have done something wrong but because they did what was right. There are numerous Biblical examples of such fine men and women who endured greatly for righteousness’ sake and one of the most startling accounts is that of Joseph- the son of Jacob and Rachel.

We can recall how young Joseph after being unjustly sold by his brothers as a slave, suffered yet again another form of injustice when he was accused of attempting to rape his master Potiphar’s wife that ultimately lead up to his imprisonment for several years when in fact what he did was the exact opposite of what he was accused of- he ran away from her when she once again tried to persuade him to commit sexual immorality. Horrific as it may seem but that is the reality of life that we are living in today. The situations inside the congregations aren’t at all different than that of the ancient servants of God. There are many instances in which what is bad is considered good and what is good is considered bad. (Isaiah 5:20) Instead of reaping rewards for demonstrating acts of righteousness, some find themselves being the subject of acts of hostility and injustice, being sentenced to expulsion, exclusion and defamation. Such instances may be extreme but not at all farfetched. It happened before, and it can’t be any more real and prevalent than in this present time that we are now living in up until the last days of this old system of things.

In our present time there are many genuine servants of God that had to suffer and experience gross acts of injustices inside the supposedly, Organization of God. Some are wrongfully disfellowshipped or removed from their privileges, some were falsely accused of things they didn’t do and had to bear reproach and a tarnished reputation, some have been branded as apostates and enemies of God for simply asking valid questions or even just reading news, some have been victims of heinous crimes by their fellow brothers in faith, some have been denied justice by the appointed shepherds in the congregation, some have been sexually and emotionally abused and many needy and ailing members of the congregation have been abandoned and neglected. And whether we are aware of it or not, the scenarios in which God’s people are being mistreated today are limitless.

And although the Organization heavily denies the prevalence of such instances as either lies made up by disloyal ones, minor misunderstanding or as very isolated incidents, the fact of the matter is that these happenings are not at all that rare and have long been foretold in the Bible.

True, the Society has published a considerable amount of encouraging articles tackling the subject of injustice and persecution that originates from non-believers but it is disappointing that many who have been victimized and oppressed by their fellow believers can rarely find articles that would offer them comfort or at least help them endure. What is worse than that though is the reason behind it. Like what is mentioned earlier, there is a great lack of acknowledgement by the leaders of the Organization that these terrible things do really happen in the so called “spiritual paradise” a.k.a the Kingdom Halls.  How could we really expect them to write about something that they are very much convinced does not happen or at least very rarely happens? This essay is written for the purpose of providing comfort and strengthening the faith of those who are like me and have suffered injustice from the hands of the so called “shepherds” of God’s sheep.

In the first years that I have been suffering injustice and persecution from both numerous men in authority within the Organization and from my former congregation members, I have striven to find publications that might be of help to me given my situation and discovering how scarce they are, just made my situation a lot harder. Fortunately though I didn’t need them anymore after I discovered the Scriptural reasons for my suffering a few years back, until I had to re-experience injustice again just recently, only this time it was worse, because I didn’t see it coming. I was ill-prepared. That is when I began to appreciate the account of Joseph’s life, because at least somehow now, I can better relate to what he went through.

Up until that point that my faith was severely tested again, this blog was practically pointless. I just try to humor myself by thinking that maybe somehow Jehovah knew that it was not possible for me to be able to write anything meaningful at all unless I am extremely inspired- most of the time- by the hardships that I face.

I wrote this article not because I am so strong and exemplary in every way, but because despite of my obvious weaknesses and imperfections, I still manage to make it day after day only because it is Jehovah that intervenes for me.


THE SELFISH AND CALLOUS SHEPHERDS

“Shepherd the flock of God under your care, serving as overseers, not under compulsion, but willingly before God; not for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly;   not lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:3

Spiritual shepherds- how loving and caring and mild they are when they’re depicted in the publications. The flock a.k.a the members of the congregation are always encouraged to approach them and be willing to be approached by them for our own spiritual benefit. Often they are described in the Society’s literatures as self-sacrificing, hard-working, spiritually mature, fine men who are always willing to be of help to the flock. And although there are undoubtedly numerous kind and sincere elders and overseers within the Organization, the truth is more often than not, majority of the appointed shepherds fail terribly at treating Jehovah and Jesus’s flock properly.

As a young child attending meetings with my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents), I had a very positive view of elders. They seemed to be nice and friendly and since they were those who took the lead in the congregation, I had great respect for them. But that quickly changed when my grandfather who was a very honorable and righteous man was framed and persecuted by a bossy elder that seemed to have an obsession for fault finding- regardless if there aren’t any actual faults.

To this date, I honestly haven’t met a man as upright and as respectable as my grandfather. He was the kind of person whom you will find mopping the entire house at 4 am, doing laundry at 12pm and spending the rest of his afternoon carefully reading and studying the bible, taking note of every verse that he has found interesting. He was able to collect a lot of big notebooks filled with Bible verses and what he learned from them before he passed away. The young ones around the house try to stay away from him though while he is doing his personal Bible study, afraid that they might be invited to sit beside him while he shares the new Biblical knowledge that he has acquired- but not me. A big portion of my spiritual training came from him and I certainly benefited from those afternoon discussions where he often shared with me his unique insights which were clearly manifested in my efficacy on the field ministry. And that is why the rough and unreasonable treatment of that specific elder to my grandfather had a great negative impact on me- in instilled in my mind this great fear, that elders might be not be at all the same from their depiction in the magazines, maybe elders shouldn’t be trusted or considered as friends but perhaps they should be feared. My grandfather used the term “Gestapo” to describe that specific elder who enjoyed acting up as if he were a spiritual police.

A few years after my grandfather was framed and victimized by that elder’s faulty fault finding skills, even before the actual abuse took place, somehow I got the elder’s attention and he out-rightly called my grandfather at our house just so he could inform him of his poorly acquired intel accusing me of having immoral relations with a Bethelite and elder in our congregation which was immediately proven false. Fast-forward to almost a decade and a half and here I am. I find my life destroyed and brutally torn to pieces by the mere men who claim to uphold the strictest of Bible principles. Now I am certain, that elders can be the opposite of what we read in the publications of the Watchtower.

Just to be clear, the aim of this portion of my essay is not to paint the elders in a bad light, after all I have known elders who are very much worthy of praise and honor because of their faithfulness and concern for others. I also am not trying to belittle the purpose that spiritual shepherds serve in the congregations after all I am very much aware that they are very badly needed to maintain peace, order and spiritual health in the congregation. But that is exactly what makes them more accountable isn’t it? There isn’t anything more spiritually and perhaps even mentally destructive than malfunctioning shepherds who fail to fulfill their duties.

Although I have not been able to completely share my story of the abuse that the elders have perpetrated against me (for the reason that I do not want to further complicate matters as the case is still currently being heard at the Regional Trial Court in my hometown), what I can tell you is that I owe them my mental and physical disability called PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as I have posted on my previous essay which has caused my life tremendous and unimaginable suffering. Initially on my 18th birthday (since I painfully had to wait for, in order for me to be eligible to file a criminal case, because the abuse started when I was 16 and I was without guardian), I filed 3 cases against the whole body of elders in my mother congregation who conspired to traumatize and abuse me right after my grandparents left for the US. The cases I originally filed were: Oral defamation, Unjust, Vexation and Qualified Trespass to Dwelling all in relation to RA 7610 or anti child abuse law of the Philippines. I was repeatedly harassed, stalked, threatened and publicly humiliated by the elders among others in a span of less than two years. The mental trauma inflicted upon me was too severe; at one point I actually became convinced that the elders were going to have me killed. Of course I realized that since I was so brave so as to report them to the Service Desk at Bethel and since they wouldn’t like to lose their lavish Bethel residency, the only sensible reason that they would insist on coming back and harass me is that they want to silence me.  During that time period, my relatives who were supposedly assigned by my grandparents to help me, have also participated in abusing me, persecuting me severely, stealing from me and denied me access to my own inheritance but most of all, endangered my life by following the orders of this very loving and compassionate elder who ordered them to abandon me in a malpracticing clinic and cut all ties and communication with me or face disfellowshipping. In other words, I was sentenced by the elders to death and I wasn’t even disfellowshipped nor reproved.

I had to wait for almost 2 years and hide and live in disguise for a whole year before I was permitted by the law to finally file a criminal complaint against the said elders. I didn’t expect to receive such a painful surprise by finding out that Bethel had sided with my abusers by providing them with our very own JW lawyers and tons of assistants and butlers who would carry their bags and paraphernalia. Add to that the recantation of one of my cousin’s to his testimony and his siding with the elders. That didn’t come as a surprise though. We have to understand that most Witnesses would certainly act like mind- controlled members of a cult when being scared with disfellowshipping. Unfortunately for me, in the end, my aunt and cousins, seemed to enjoy the opportunity to get rid of me so they can live freely and have my inheritance for themselves and yes they eventually did.

 At one point when I could no longer bear my aunt’s persecution partnered with the elders's perseverance to haunt me down, I had no choice but to try to stay away from home as much as I could. I was practically homeless and had to roam the streets, making myself vulnerable to a lot of danger- even to the danger of being sexually trafficked. Apparently it was better for me to be subjected to the dangers of the outside world than to suffer the wrath of the wicked elders and my own JW aunt. Oh Jehovah you know the story!

Despite of the shocking abuse I suffered in the hands of the very loving shepherds, despite of the extreme persecution, abandonment and betrayal that I received from my own JW relatives and from the Organization itself, me and my husband (just got married at that time) decided to humble ourselves and transfer to a new congregation which eased all our worries away by promising us things that they all eventually failed to do. As you will read on my previous essay, the elders in the congregation where we transferred to betrayed us and treated us harshly when our powerful enemies, my abusers from Bethel and the other leading men in Bethel itself with the blessing of someone who is now a Governing Body member, pressured the elders in our congregation to persecute and blackmail us to drop the charges I filed against my abusers. Have they only listened when I was humbly pleading and crying in Bethel’s lobby, if only even so much as one man stood up for me among numerous men in authority that I have approached and at least listened, we would not have ended up in court and I wouldn’t have sought help and protection from the government. But that was a necessary step to preserve my life and that of my daughter.

Isn’t it quite sad and most of all scary, that the shepherds whom God and Jesus have given the assignment to, to lovingly and gently take care and safeguard the flock are the very ones who will subject the sheep to abuse?

There were few brothers and sisters who were kind enough to support me and some even helped me submit my complaint in Bethel (the first time I asked Bethel’s help) against our own body of elders but upon knowing that I filed a criminal case against the leaders, they despised me, one even telling me on the telephone that she would willingly do anything at all just to protect the name of Jehovah and testify against me in court. Unfortunately, they aren’t open-minded enough to grasp the fact that my filing of case against 3 elders, “3 individuals” is different from suing the Organization itself, although I could definitely do that (since the leading men of Bethel Philippines have repeatedly refused to act upon my pleas for help while our elders and their members were abusing me) but I refused to. And not in any way do I dream of causing Jehovah’s name any reproach. The only reason I am still doing this, running the blog and all is because of our brotherly love and concern for others that we want them to know the truth that would help them understand what’s going on in the Organization without causing them to lose their trust in God and most of all we are doing this because of our sincere desire to uphold and exalt/vindicate Jehovah’s very name. I can only hope that a day will come when Jehovah himself will let them know what he thinks about the whole ordeal and free me from being the victim of hate of so many people whom I once considered as close friends and brothers in faith.

You think that was too much? Well sadly, that is not where it ends.

The most astounding abuse committed against me by a so called shepherd of God did not come from an elder or overseer in the Organization.

And that is exactly the reason why I have tried multiple times to warn you to take even more precaution when dealing with people who run religious blogs online because as I have already stated, if those brothers and sisters who we have already known for years can deceive and betray us, what more those whom we have not even personally met- those who are in the internet.

You know after everything we’ve been through, I thought that finding a so called shepherd who is no longer tied up with the congregation was like an unimaginable blessing. But I guess I was too trusting. After all I’ve experienced with human leaders I should have known better, I should have been more cautious but out of wanting to be of service to God again and to my fellow Witnesses, I let my kindness blind me and someone took advantage of that.

It’s not hard to find an ancient parallel though. We can look back at how the reign of King Solomon went. At first his rule was so peaceful and so successful that it can rightly be said that it foreshadowed the life in paradise, during the Millennial reign of Christ and then as Solomon got older, he stopped obeying God’s commandments, he lost control of his fleshly desires and took many foreign wives and concubines who influenced him to worship foreign gods. Soon King Solomon himself became cruel and oppressive, causing God’s people to suffer severely. This happened to such an extent that the people complained about Solomon to his son Rehoboam and requested relief. Jehovah then acted in behalf of his people and provided a way of bringing relief to his people by anointing a deliverer and that is Jereboam, a man who worked in Solomon’s government. God then approved a governmental division of the 12 tribes. Ten tribes were given to Jeroboam and two would be under the rulership of king Rehoboam. Many of you might know well how that arrangement ended up.

King Jeroboam’s rule could have brought some relief to God’s people but instead, his rulership further tested their loyalty to God.

In a similar way, persons who claim to abhor what the Watchtower does and the heartlessness and hypocrisy of its leaders, should know better than to do what they very strongly claim to hate. They speak so critically of the Organization, condemning every little error they could point out. They even go as far as to speak for the abused and neglected ones like they know what kind of suffering these poor brothers and sisters went through. They speak convincingly and seemingly with a great and vast knowledge of the Bible and because of that we might think that they are very different from the selfish and callous Jehovah’s Witness overseers but beware, cause when their masks fall off, I tell you this, you’d fear them several times more than those inside the congregations.

Isn’t it supposedly included in the purpose of JW related spiritual/religious blogs to encourage those who are losing faith, who have been treated unkindly, give comfort to those who are suffering, strengthen those who are weak in faith and help the many others to trust in and remain close to God or if they can’t do those, the least that they can do is TO NOT add more to the burdens of those who are already afflicted. But that is not the case dear readers. These people, these men are mostly good in words but not in action. And they aren’t ashamed to actually disrespect and insult Jehovah by their disgusting display of hypocrisy. Instead of serve as good examples of people with strong faith in God, they give the idea that they themselves do not actually believe in Jehovah, otherwise they would have adhered to his word, the Bible and not act contrastingly with it. According to the verse quoted above, in 1 Peter 5:3, they should be examples to the flock but what kind of example do these shepherds really set? Indeed, the selfish and self-righteous shepherds set an example of who we shouldn’t be.

You don’t need these superfine apostles or even prophets as some like to call themselves, to tell you what you need you to do. God, the Creator himself protected and preserved his word, the Bible and made it possible to be translated in almost every language there is in our present time. The Bible includes very clear instructions as to what is pleasing to God and what is not. The Watchtower Organization, although imperfect, still has done a commendable and unmatchable work of reviving and making the basic Bible doctrines known around the world that we can benefit from. And more than great knowledge of the Bible and its prophecies, what is most pleasing to Jehovah is our obedience to him. That is actually the fact that I was trying to highlight several times in this blog already. If you know the fundamental truths from the Bible and you have faith, remain faithful to Jehovah and endure to the end and you will receive the fulfillment of the promise- life in paradise.

We can therefore conclude that many spiritual shepherds in our present time, whether inside the congregation or in the internet are no different with the religious leaders who lived in the time of Jesus Christ. The following verses aptly apply to them. The Bible describes them in this way: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but they do not practice what they say. They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men, but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger. All the works they do, they do to be seen by men, for they broaden the scripture-containing cases that they wear as safeguards and lengthen the fringes of their garments. They like the most prominent place at evening meals and the front seats in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces and to be called Rabbi by men.” –Matthew 23: 2-7

As human beings, we have the undeniable tendency to want something tangible, something that we can see. We find it easier to open up to human shepherds who we can easily approach in person, talk to and who would answer our questions right then and there- like when the Israelites demanded to have a human king during the time of the prophet Samuel. Jehovah God granted their request but with that came the warning that they will have to pay a painful price for their disrespect and disregard for him. And sure enough many kings who ruled over the Israelites became selfish, oppressive and some even became idolaters and apostates. There is one clear thing that we should learn from these past and even present human leaders- no matter how much they try to do what is right, that no man can ever compare to the supreme righteousness of Jehovah God.

We could have used the most recent injustice we suffered as a reason to totally abandon God, like many others do when they are subjected to injustice and suffering. But ever since that event, it was just me, my family and Jehovah and I can’t tell you how much better it is right now because unlike human beings who are easily drawn by their tendency to sin or easily influenced by their desires and the opinions of others, Jehovah does not change. His love, his righteousness is constant and unmovable. He is the exact same Jehovah he was eternities ago and he will remain the same forever.

The ways in which the shepherds of God have failed him and his people are endless. But instead of let this awareness of their incompetence weaken our faith, shouldn’t this all the more cause us to look forward to Christ’s reign as king in a new world where injustice and oppression no longer exists? Jehovah promised his sheep in Ezekiel chapter 34 that the selfish shepherds who are feeding only themselves and abusing his sheep will be dismissed and be ultimately held accountable. And on the other hand, he also promises his sheep that he will raise up a shepherd over them, this time to really and properly care for them and feed them.


PROVING OUR FAITH AND LOYALTY THROUGH OUR ENDURANCE

“In all of this, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing anything wrong.” –Job 1:23

Like Job before, our faith is truly put to the test when we experience great suffering while not understanding the reason why. That is exactly why I found what happened to me years ago, when we were betrayed by and pushed out of the congregation for the second time in the end 2012, extremely hard to bear.

As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we were made very aware that we are targets of Jehovah God’s archenemy, Satan and his demons and that is why we have to be prepared to be persecuted by our non-believing friends, family, acquaintances, workmates etc. But what happens when the extreme injustice and persecution comes from within the congregation and even happens repeatedly? Yes, many victims of injustice and tyranny may begin to question their faith. And sadly, because of that ill-preparedness and confusion as to why these things have to happen, many have decided to abandon not just the congregation, but Jehovah God himself as well. Unfortunately, some heavily embittered ones who lost their faith arrive at the conclusion that Jehovah’s Witnesses are nothing but a “mind controlling and abusive cult.”

It is given, we are all entitled to our own opinions but what I find so wrong about that thinking is that fact that in numerous verses, the Bible, even according to Jesus himself and the other inspired apostles, warned us that those who are in the congregations may still find themselves victimized by the heartless and lawless individuals, often wolves who are dressed in sheep’s clothing. (Acts 20:29) That is in fact the reason why the judgment ultimately has to begin with the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17) There are many wicked individuals, who need to be plucked out and removed from among God’s people.

So therefore from a Biblical standpoint, the unrighteousness and lawlessness currently prevalent in the congregations around the world isn’t at all proof that the Jehovah’s Witness Organization is a false, misleading religion neither is it proof that Jehovah is nothing more than an imaginary character in the minds of his worshipers. If anything, the deplorable situation in the congregations today all the more prove that this is God’s Organization. After all, didn’t Jesus warn us about the following:  “Keep in mind the word I said to you: A slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you...”


Looking back at the account of Jesus’s life, who were his primary persecutors? Weren’t they the Pharisees, the high priests and the scribes who resided in the same temple that that he worshiped in? In other words, those who persecuted Jesus were not only members of his own religion but the leaders themselves! And we might recall that at one time when Jesus gave a talk at the local synagogue, take note, in his own hometown, (Nazareth) didn’t majority of the congregation attempt to throw him over the edge and kill him? Imagine these are not non-believers who wanted to kill Jesus, the foretold Messiah; these are Jews attending in the synagogue! In the same manner we were once again warned: “Happy are you whenever men hate you, and when they exclude you [from the synagogue] and reproach you and denounce your name as wicked for the sake of the Son of man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for look! your reward is great in heaven, for those are the same things their forefathers used to do to the prophets.” –Luke 6:22,23

It is obvious that the only ones who have the authority to exclude us or even “expel” us from the synagogue as the related verse in John 16:1,2 states, are the spiritual leaders of what we presently recognize now as the “ Christian congregation” (modern equivalent of the synagogue). And although these verses have yet a grander fulfillment in the very near future, many have already experienced these situations to a certain degree, the author of this essay being one of them.

We may also keep in mind that God often condemned the princes, prophets and priests in ancient times because they weren’t seeking the best interest of their subjects. Instead, God’s people were often mistreated, neglected and mislead to a shocking degree. And isn’t that what is happening in the congregations right now? We can therefore conclude that the oppression and injustice that modern day Christians are presently facing are happening as a parallel to the things experienced by God’s people long ago. That is why Jehovah has placed his pre-recorded judgments in the Bible both as a warning to those who deliberately abuse and neglect his sheep and also as an encouragement to his afflicted people, comforting them with his promise that he will without a doubt, set matters straight by demanding an accounting from the selfish shepherds, dismissing them from their appointments and by personally caring for his sheep. The touching and heartwarming verses in which we will read Jehovah’s promise is found in Ezekiel 34:1-14

History is only repeating itself my friends. Then and again, many times, those who ruled over God’s people and even the kings whom Jehovah himself has picked, failed epically at properly treating his people. So there should really be nothing shocking about being abused by spiritual shepherds, but of course it becomes like that only because we weren’t prepared by the Society for those instances.

As the apostle Peter has put it: “Beloved ones, do not be surprised about the fiery trials that you are experiencing, as though something strange were happening to you.  On the contrary, go on rejoicing over the extent to which you are sharers in the sufferings of the Christ, so that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory. If you are being reproached for the name of Christ, you are happy, because the spirit of glory, yes, the spirit of God, is resting upon you.”
It should therefore be clear that the notion that the Organization is a false religion and a cult because of the many cases of injustices happening inside it is pure absurdity!

Not to sound judgmental, but in the past 3 years that we’ve been searching the internet for answers, we’ve encountered countless former Witnesses who at the first sign of minor persecution, or seemingly contradictory or false teaching of the Watchtower, decide to abort, ship so to speak. What we noticed is that many former Witnesses instead of sincerely seeking answers to their questions use the errors or misunderstood teaching of the Organization as a valid reason to rejoice for they can now justify their leaving Jehovah and enjoying Satan’s wicked world to the fullest. (1 Corinthians 7:31) One brother who used to be a family friend out of his concern once tried to persuade me to live and enjoy my life by justifying worldly celebrations. Just to be clear, I am not questioning his motives and I sincerely believe that he just wanted to help but regardless of if a worldly tradition or occasion in reality “isn’t really as bad as it seems,” as true Christians, aren’t we required to follow Christ’s footsteps and to reject being part of this wicked world in every possible way we can and not find excuses so that we can somehow be part it? It definitely sounds boring and yes it seems so at times and I can’t say it’s easy for us either but if that is what is required from us Christians, if that is what would please God, why would we not be willing to sacrifice? What is our being “Christians” for if we do not follow the pattern that Jesus has left?

We can ask ourselves these questions: Why are we in the Kingdom Hall in the first place, who are we really trying to please? If our loyalty to God is contingent on the faithfulness and the pleasant treatment to us by others in the congregation, what does that say about us? What does that say about our motives? Isn’t it like admitting that we are merely men pleasers who are seeking “glory from men” and not from God? And wouldn’t that only prove Satan the accuser right that we will only serve God when we are in favorable circumstances and we do so only for our own selfish gain? (John 12:43, Job 1:10,11)

Turning our back on Jehovah when our faith is being tested is like admitting that our love for him is not at all unconditional or sincere. It will also contradict the vows that we made to him during our baptism.

We cannot prove our loyalty to God when our circumstances are comfortable rather our true motives and faithfulness to Jehovah is displayed when we patiently endure injustice and hardships regardless of if it comes from our own brothers in faith or from non-believers.

In the world there is a saying that it is “the survival of the fittest,” but when it comes to being Jehovah’s servants, it isn’t that different at all, you can call it “the survival of the faithful.” We ought to know most especially as servants of God that our lives here, in this system of things would have no shortage of troubles and pain as Job has observed. (Job 14:1) But if we allow the negative things, the injustice that we see, the unfair treatment that we received to derail us from our goal and kick us out of our race for life, who would be the bigger loser then, isn’t it us? It is a sad fact but many who were mistreated or somehow knew about an injustice in the congregation let the faults of others stumble them. They left everything that they have learned about the Bible, they threw all their hard work that they did in service to God and turned their back from Jehovah, just like that.


We would do good to consider Job’s attitude when he was going through harrowing trials in his life. This is how he responded when his wife advised him to no longer hold firmly to his integrity and instead curse God: “But he said to her: You are talking like one of the senseless women. Should we accept only what is good from the true God and not accept also what is bad? In all of this, Job did not sin with his lips.

May we be determined like Job, to hold firmly into our integrity so that we may be able to prove both our love for God and Satan as a liar.


THE WICKED HAVE NO FUTURE

 “I have seen the ruthless, evil man spreading out like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. But he suddenly passed away and was gone; I kept searching for him, and he could not be found. But all the transgressors will be destroyed; The future of wicked people will be cut off.” –Proverbs 37:35-36,38

Many of us are familiar with the story of Asaph found at Psalms chapter 73.

Asaph was nearly stumbled by his observation of how the wicked ones continue to prosper and rule over the righteous. And understandably many hurt individuals who suffered injustices in the congregation might feel the same- as if Jehovah is blind and deaf to the suffering of the oppressed. I myself felt that way too many times before. After all, almost every person who has subjected me to injustice and took part in wrecking my health and my life were never held accountable, at least not that I know of.

As Asaph has noted, “the wicked always have it easy”. Isn’t that very evident most especially in our present time? Those who have caused God’s people tremendous pain seem to not only escape from the consequences of their actions, but they seem to do really well in their lives in general. Perhaps because even if they claim to be servants of the true God, they are still very much part of Satan’s world, serving only for their own selfish agendas and therefore as the Bible has said, “the world will be fond of its own.”  It puts into mind the saying: ”if Satan isn’t against you, maybe it is because he is walking with you.” Perhaps that is the reason why many lawless and heartless individuals continue to lie down in peace every night and prosper in their lives.

But really as Christians and servants of Jehovah, our job here is to endure till the end isn’t it? We ought to know we won’t have easy lives. The Bible warned us about it beforehand by saying: “In fact, all those desiring to live with Godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted. But wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse...”

The evil doers may live comfortable, tumult-free lives, but the Bible foretells that their future would be painfully bleak: “For there is no future for anyone evil; The lamp of the wicked will be extinguished.” –Proverbs 24:20”

There are several types of Christians in each Kingdom Hall, we can consider one  the persecutor and another one the oppressed. We may ask ourselves who we really want to be, those who have it easy now but will have no future or those who suffer now but eventually will have eternal life and a bright endless future in the new world?

We can also find comfort by appreciating the fact that although the righteous seem to suffer a lot of persecution and even abundant personal calamities, no matter what happens in their lives, they will always have a tomorrow to look forward to, knowing that their names are in Jehovah’s book and they will be remembered and rewarded greatly for their faithfulness and endurance. The wicked may seem to thrive and succeed for now, in this evil system of things but once they die and Jehovah removes them, that is it, they are gone and there won’t even be any trace of them, as God has promised. – please read James 4:14

JEHOVAH RESCUES AND REPAYS

“Brothers, take as a pattern of the suffering of evil and the exercising of patience the prophets who spoke in the name of Jehovah. Look! We consider happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” –James 5:10,11

 I wrote this essay not because I am good at “patiently enduring,” but because I am not but I wanted to share to others what helped me go on despite occasionally lacking the patience and endurance necessary for Christians. The injustice that happened to me recently was very traumatic. I didn’t even know that I can be traumatized more than I already am but it did happen- in a way, at a time, from people I least expected it to. In other words, I was caught off-guard. Add that to the mountain of persecution that we were already facing on a daily basis and it would just be IMPOSSIBLE for me to go on at all.

The truth is, no matter how faithful, how zealous, how strong we try to be, we are still just imperfect humans and as people we do have our limitations. If we are to rely solely on our own strength, chances are there will be problems we cannot face, what more successfully pass. We cannot patiently endure without the help of a higher being, someone who can give us strength more than usual, someone who is not weak, flesh and bones made from dust like us, someone who is definitely stronger.

 In these past 8 years that I have been suffering extreme injustice from the leading men in the Organization among others, I have continuously been tearfully pleading that may Jehovah God put an end to our suffering. I would often relate to him how extremely tired and exhausted I already am and how I cannot continue in serving him anymore. There are times when like Jeremiah, I felt like I no longer wanted to speak about him, that I cannot go on in serving Him any further. Don’t get me wrong though, I always believed in never choosing the path of least resistance and I always believed in suffering and being persecuted for righteousness' sake. But it seemed like an endless cycle and in the process I did lose a lot. I lost friends, family, career, things I was passionate about, a life and because of doing what is right it seems that I still am gonna lose more. They say life is like a wheel, sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down but it’s tiring and extremely frustrating to always be underneath. And whenever I look back at the reasons I suffered in my life, most of the time, I was persecuted because I chose to obey Jehovah and do what was right. How then can I not share the sentiments of the prophet Jeremiah when he said: “I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone ridicules me. For whenever I speak, I must cry out and proclaim,“Violence and destruction!” For me the word of Jehovah has been the cause of insults and jeering all day long. So I said: “I am not going to make mention of him, And I will speak no more in his name.” –Jeremiah 20:7-9

But as with the case of Jeremiah, eventually the All Mighty, Hearer of Prayer, Jehovah of armies, used his strength and He prevailed. He strengthened Jeremiah and eventually, the prophet felt like he could no longer bear to not speak about Jehovah and so did I. Many times, I throw a fit like a child when I feel like the load I am carrying is far too heavy than I can endure. I cry to him, I tell him what he is asking of me is too much and that I don’t want to do this anymore, I want THE EASY LIFE. But time and again I find myself telling him, “Oh Jehovah, I give up, you always win!” I just can’t stomach the thought of living my life without Him. We have been together for so long; it is hard to imagine life without Jehovah’s favor or imagine giving up the comfort that I so often enjoyed while calling upon His name. For me, the thought of living without Jehovah’s approval was simply unbearable- yes more unbearable than the fiery trials that we face!

True, patiently enduring under painful trials is not at all easy but it is made possible because we have a helper who is definitely mightier and most especially, a helper who is personally interested in assisting us. Meditating on Jehovah’s primary attributes can help us surpass the trials that we face, knowing assuredly that unlike people who often lack loyalty, Jehovah is not a God who abandons His loyal ones in times of difficulty. Concerning Jehovah it is written: “With someone loyal you act in loyalty...” -2 Samuel 22:26

As a “God who supplies endurance and comfort,” we can be sure that Jehovah will not be a mere bystander while we go through difficult times in our lives, most especially if we suffer because of our loyalty to Him. (Romans 15:5) Looking back at God’s dealings with the Israelites, even though most of the time their suffering was a result of their refusal to obey him, in Isaiah 63:19a we will read: “During all their distress it was distressing to him.” Isn’t it very comforting to know that while we go through our struggles Jehovah himself shares our pain, feeling what we feel? And that is all the more assurance that he will do something on our behalf. While we cannot always expect God to instantly remove the cause of our pain, there is no doubt that Jehovah knows when to supply us with the strength and comfort that we need. And based on our family’s experience, He never fails to send us his assistance at the exact time when we need it the most!

Learning from the life of Job, we know that what he went through is far worse than the problems that many of us face today. In fact, don’t we remember him all because of the extreme and unique suffering that he went through? He lost everything and it all happened consecutively. Even just hearing the mere name “Job” might be depressing to the ears because it reminds us of the extreme suffering he endured. But focusing on how Jehovah God acted on his behalf and rewarded Job for maintaining his integrity despite trials, we can learn that we aren’t actually suffering for nothing when we are suffering for righteousness sake. All our efforts and pain are recorded in Jehovah’s book. Not a single effort of ours is wasted. For now we may receive the strength that we need in order to continue serving him but what lies ahead for us if we remain loyal despite extreme trials and injustice, the reward for those who have endured is definitely priceless! In James 5:10,11 we will read: “Brothers, take as a pattern of the suffering of evil and the exercising of patience the prophets who spoke in the name of Jehovah. Look! We consider happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” We are all well aware of how God blessed Job by doubling everything that he had before and we know of what wonderful, unique and grand blessings await us in paradise!

 Going back at Joseph’s account once more, it is important to note that Joseph wasn’t rewarded instantly. He patiently endured for about 13 years before God maneuvered the situation so that he can be released out of the prison and exalted him, into a position of great honor and vindicated him from the injustice that he suffered. From being a mere slave, Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt! What does that say about God’s generosity in giving his loyal servants reward? Truly we can conclude that: “Jehovah God is a sun and a shield; He gives favor and glory. Jehovah will not hold back anything good from those walking in integrity.” (Psalms 84:11)We can also rightfully conclude that: “The hand of Jehovah is not too short to save, Nor is his ear too dull to hear.” (Isaiah 59:1) It is clear that our cry for help is not unheard and our efforts are certainly not forgotten nor are they in vain. (Hebrews 6:10)

                              Our Personal Experience

“Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for me. I called to him with my mouth and glorified him with my tongue. If I had harbored anything hurtful in my heart, Jehovah would not have heard me. But God did hear; He paid attention to my prayer. Praise to God, who did not reject my prayer or withhold his loyal love from me.” -Psalms 66:16-20

Although it has been the hardest part of our lives so far, our being thrown away and cast out of the congregation has caused us to reap many blessings unbeknownst to many. In our entire existence, my husband and I have never experienced the feeling of closeness to Jehovah as we do now. In the two decades of my suffering as an individual, it is not until we were totally on our own that I finally can say with utmost confidence that Jehovah really is the “hearer of prayer.” Because all throughout these past distressing years, Jehovah God himself has made it evident to me and to my whole family that he not only has heard our cry for help, but that he also cares for us deeply “as individuals.” Indeed, one of the greatest advantages of being put into this unquestionably difficult position of being excluded from the congregation is that because we have no one else but Jehovah, we have learned to fully and wholeheartedly depend on him and in return, he has not let us down and has been a great provider of our needs materially, spiritually and even emotionally. And of course another amazing privilege we have received is the information as regards to what is to happen during the authentic coming of Christ and the end of this system of things. We aren’t going to be in the dark when the 3rd World War begins and when things don’t go according to what the Organization teaches and on top of that, we also have the opportunity to be of help to our brothers and sisters in faith during that coming time of great confusion- all because it is Jehovah himself that answered my prayer and as a result of our remaining loyal to him despite of the injustices that we went through, he had made his covenant known to us. –Psalms 25:14

It has then been clearly evident that those who are made to experience extraordinary situations of injustice and faithfully endure will receive extraordinary blessings. Will we trade all of that with a so called “normal” routine based life in the Kingdom Hall? Certainly not!


The Longing to be Vindicated

What though if we feel the need to supplicate Jehovah to vindicate us from those who oppressed us? It is only normal for those who were denied justice to want to be vindicated; definitely, even I do. And surely, as a lover of justice, that is what God wants to give us as well. But as Christians running in the race for life, we cannot move forward while also looking back. We cannot run in a race hoping to make it to the finish line while waiting for, anticipating our oppressor’s punishment or for justice to be served. That is like running with our heads looking backwards. It will distract us from our goal and no doubt delay or even hinder us from crossing the finish line. A distraction could prove too costly when we start to focus on the negative side of our situation. Soon we may find ourselves held captive by our anger and self-pity and in return we may lose our determination and joy in serving God.

We would also do good to remember that while Jehovah didn’t instantly reward Joseph for enduring the injustices done to him, Jehovah did sustain him and helped him cope with his current circumstances by blessing him, making everything he did successful. The Bible quotes: “But Jehovah continued with Joseph and kept showing loyal love to him and granting him favor in the eyes of the chief officer of the prison. So the chief officer of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners in the prison, and everything that they were doing there, he was the one having it done. The chief officer of the prison was looking after absolutely nothing that was in Joseph’s care, for Jehovah was with Joseph and Jehovah made whatever he did successful.” (Genesis 39:21-23) In the same manner, God may not altogether remove the source of our suffering or vindicate us right away but we can hold on to knowing that while we go through injustice and pain, Jehovah would sustain us and would give us provisions so that for the meantime we can cope. We should not doubt that there will be real action on God’s part to comfort us and help us through trying times. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Again as a sufferer of injustice for many years, I can attest to that fact. Jehovah’s help has been very clear and undeniable to me and my family, all throughout the years. I can’t stress that point enough.

To be able to patiently endure, it is essential too, to cultivate our trust in Jehovah. For example, do we really believe what the Bible says that Jehovah is a lover of justice and he will punish those who are wicked? (Psalms 37:28, Psalms 37:9-11) Do we really believe that like Joseph, Job and the many other faithful ones, if we maintain our integrity while patiently waiting for Jehovah to take action, he will reward us greatly? (Romans 15:5, James 1:12) If our answer is yes to both questions, why then can’t we leave the matter in Jehovah’s capable hands? Worrying too much or wanting to set matters straight in our own way and time is like assuming that Jehovah doesn’t know what he is doing. Isn’t that in itself a clear display of our lack of trust in him and in his promises? If we, despite of being mistreated and oppressed, demonstrate our unswerving loyalty and faithfulness to him, don’t you think that he will be more compelled to act on our behalf? He definitely will, but not in our time, not in our own terms. Jehovah has his own timetable and there is no reason to doubt that his timing is always perfect!

We aren’t certain when exactly God would vindicate us or what his plans may be. It may take many months or perhaps even many years.  He may want us to accomplish something through our suffering and endurance but because we have a very limited perception of things, we might get impatient and wrongly assume that Jehovah would no longer set matters straight, which we know will never be the case. (Exodus 34:7) But if we really mean the vows we made on the day of our baptism, to faithfully serve Jehovah no matter the circumstance, don’t we ought to have the same conviction that the three young Hebrews had who were willing to be put to death in a fiery furnace, seven times heated, and were willing to remain faithful to Jehovah “whether he saves them or not?” (Daniel 3:16-18) (This point was actually something my 7 year old daughter called to my attention when she heard me saying that I could no longer continue serving Jehovah because it has become too hard for me. It is such a blessing to have a daughter who will openly correct me when necessary while at the same time help me endure.)

May we imitate the faith of these 3 young Hebrews and be determined to continuously serve Jehovah whether he vindicates us now or in the future.

It sounds like a cliché, but again based on our experience, it is actually very true that the sooner we become content with leaving matters in the hands of “the one who judges righteously” Jehovah God, the sooner we can feel relief while focusing on improving our relationship with him and focusing on maintaining our Godly integrity. Because in the end that is all that would matter- who remained faithful to him and not those who didn’t. (1 Peter 2:23)

What we should pray for more than justice and more than for God to intervene on our behalf is that he supply us with more strength and more faith because those two things are what we need to help us get to the finish line and ultimately receive the reward of everlasting life in a world governed with justice and peace.



Let us not allow those who already have done us injustice to steal away even our joy in serving God, our appreciation of his blessings, and most of all our integrity to Jehovah and the great reward that awaits us in paradise. We ought to know that as Christians we will have to go through “many tribulations” and there is no easier way. It is the narrow road that leads to life and if we want to be among those will make it to the new world, we have to remain faithful to God no matter if the persecutions and trials come from non-believers or our own brothers in faith. We should courageously and patiently endure while knowing that we are not at all alone and that we can fully depend on Jehovah’s help and provisions. (Acts 14:22, Matthew 7:13,14, Isaiah46:1)
May we never fail to keep in mind what Jesus Christ has said: “By your endurance you will preserve your lives.” (Luke 21:19)


THERE IS NO STUMBLING BLOCK FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD

“Abundant peace belongs to those who love your law; Nothing can make them stumble.”- Psalms 119:165


Regardless of the reward that lies ahead, the primary reason we should serve Jehovah with patience and endurance is because- we love him. And if our love for him is genuine, there shouldn’t be any reason sufficient for us to abandon him; we should serve him both in good times and in bad, knowing that from the very beginning, it is HE, who loved us first. -1 John 4:19



(Photo credits: JW.ORG)