TTLY: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Go to Heaven?
TTLY is This Time Last Year. The following post was written at this time last year.
Every once in a while I get a little curious and I look back at my blog posts from this time last year. I look back to see what I was thinking about, worrying over or exploring or hoping for at this same time a year ago. Sometimes I surprise myself, sometimes I’m disappointed, always I’m interested in this little peek into the Me that was that is no more.
For what I am today, is not who I will be tomorrow. I am still under construction.
Rachel Held Evans’ latest blog post, Did Anne Frank go to hell?, got me thinking about this old post again…
This Time Last Year: Do JWs go to heaven?
Collect for this week (Proper 28): Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
At morning prayer today, while reading the New Testament text for today, Revelation 21:1-8, I was reminded of my former mother-in-law. She was a Jehovah’s Witness at the time and we had regular weekly studies together. We had a deal. I let her take a turn teaching me her ways and then she let me take a turn at teaching her my ways. Both of us working hard to convert the other to our own ways of doing things. Both of us desperate to change the other, to save the other, out of love for each other.
If you had asked me then, did I think my MIL was going to heaven? Was she saved? Did she love God and did God love her back? My answer would have been “Absolutely!” and I would not have hesitated. I knew her, I knew her deep love and desire to serve God. I knew her deep love of her fellow man and her desire to serve mankind.
And if you had asked me if her friends in the Kingdom Hall were going to church too? I wouldn’t have wanted to answer you. I would have been hesitant. Confused. Thrown off balance.
They (the Jehovah’s Witnesses) didn’t think like I did. They didn’t interpret Scripture in the same manner that I did. They were full of condemning words, they spoke in black and white and left no room for failure or weakness. I knew that there must be an answer for the questions, and I knew I did not think that their answers were correct. But, how could I be sure that my answers were any more correct?
Someone said once that with maturity comes the ability to remain comfortable with ambiguity. Twenty years ago I would not have been able to sit comfortably with that statement. Twenty years ago I would have told you that there is a right and a wrong and we must know what that is or we are lost.
Today…today I love to hear the words, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” I love to hear them because I am then reminded that it is okay not to know. It is okay.
We tend to want to take the words of Christ and twist them into our own meaning, into a meaning that makes us feel comfortable. We abandon God’s meaning. We find false comfort, false salvation, false hope in those distorted words. We do not listen when the hard words fall, we close our ears to keep from being stirred into action by words that do not only NOT lend comfort, but ADD to our discomfort.
Anne Lamott said that we know we have made God into our own image when he hates all the same people we do.
Love God. Take care of his people. It’s pretty simple, really, but they are tough words. Uncomfortable words. Words that call you into action. Are you ready for that kind of action?
And how much action is required? How will I know if I’m doing enough? How will I know if I’m doing it right?
I don’t know. And I think I’m getting pretty comfortable not knowing the answer.