Monday, September 9, 2013

Entertaining Jehovah's Witnesses: When a Simple Knock and Visit Invite Spiritual Warfare

If anyone shows up who doesn’t hold to [Christ’s] teaching, don’t invite him in and give him the run of the place. That would just give him a platform to perpetuate his evil ways, making you his partner. 2 John 9
                                                    The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language

            In the fall, at depression’s height, who should come knocking on my door but the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their weekly, in-home, “Bible study” offer intrigued and thrilled me, an opportunity to receive the physical company I craved. Spiritual growth would be a nice bonus.
            All I knew about the Witnesses was that they went door-to-door spreading religion and proselytizing. Unable to define a cult, I didn’t know they fell squarely into that category. But with heart aching, emotions shaky, brain foggy and soul starving, I invited them—without reservation—to return when I started disability and had more time to devote to their visits. I excitedly anticipated those visits: time blocked off on someone else’s schedule for the sole purpose of visiting just with me!
            Surprisingly the studies forced navigation through my infrequently opened Bible, to read passages of unfamiliar Scripture. The women were so kind and patient; their teaching seemed so secure, so full of knowledge and valuable truth, especially to an ignorant, weak, needy and vulnerable casual Christian.
            Yet while I entertained them and their theology, the Lord grew ever-more present with me. Although, for the most part, I initially neglected my Bible between their visits—my new friend and teacher even commented one day that I was the only student she’d ever had who never took notes on what she was teaching—the Lord worked steadfastly behind the scenes.
            Thankfully, He wouldn’t allow me to ingest their tainted spiritual food. Instead, He convicted me, pushed me to distinguish truth from lies, to test their teaching by searching the Scriptures, (yes, to take responsibility and put some sweat into it!), and set off my brain alarm bells, allowing me to gain a precious measure of discernment.      
            Consequently all-out, spiritual warfare started raging for my body and soul. The longer I opened my door to these Watchtower visitors, the deeper I delved into their theology, the fiercer the battle in my heart and mind.
            But I enjoyed the developing friendships and clung to the adult conversation and mental stimulation. They fed my needy flesh. I knew I should end the studies, but I stood torn between truth and the satisfying companionship I desperately craved. Parker even developed a camaraderie with one of their boys. In stark contrast to my own congregation, they seemed sincerely concerned about both my spiritual and physical needs. Sadly, these women provided me what my own church neglected: attentive fellowship and encouragement.
            It was like spiritual espionage: I’d walked willingly into a trap, an entanglement from which the Lord worked patiently, steadfastly to extricate me.  
            God pressed in on me—hard—making me uncomfortable, forcing a decision.
            Would it be Him…or the world?


NEXT WEEK: A final clash and forced decision…

Until next week.

Thanks for joining me!