.:HOW CAN I OVERCOME THE PAIN OF LEAVING JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES?
“I just found your website and couldn’t believe what I was reading at first. It seems to echo everything that has happened to me since coming into contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses 30 years ago. I am a baptized, inactive publisher and have not attended meetings for the last 3 years. I am still in pain every day from not having association with anyone, and feel ashamed of myself as since leaving, my family and I have been facing many family problems.
Most of my friends in the truth know of our problems but most of them never call or see how we are. One of my best friends in the Truth has never called me at all. Only her son called to invite us to his wedding. We went but were not really accepted by her.
I know I have faults just like anyone else, but I can honestly say that I have never intentionally hurt anyone or caused anyone any pain like some of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have done to me. I still pray to Jehovah, and feel in my heart that there is a kind loving God. I hope that I can once again be open about my feelings for Him to others without fear of being a failure all the time and that God will accept me as his creation with all my shortcomings.”
Hi my name is Tammie. I can hear the pain in your email. You sound like so many who have contacted our ministry over the years. Just like you said, most have never done anything to deserve the pain they have received by some of the insensitive brothers and sisters at the Hall. I also know what it is like to be rejected by friends and family because I too left Jehovah’s Witnesses after years of faithful service.
The saddest thing I find in watching people who are disillusioned with the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that even when one leaves, Satan still as a hold on that person. So even though you are physically removed from the organization, the organization is still trapped inside you. Something in you is holding on to what you have been lead to believe is true. So how do you let go, move on and allow God’s love into your heart to free you from feelings of guilt and unworthiness?
The first step to freedom is to ask for the Spirit of God. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. This is the same Spirit that Jesus said in John 16:13 He was sending to us to guide us into ALL truth. There can be no complete spiritual “truth” apart from the revelation of the Spirit of God. Yet, Jesus said at Luke 11:13 that God gives His Spirit to those who ask. You can ask for that Spirit today and start seeing your prayers answered in a way you never experienced as a faithful Jehovah’s Witness.
It is essential for you to understand some things about “the Truth” before you can “have” the Truth. First of all, Jesus said in John 14:6 that HE IS THE TRUTH. Therefore, Truth is a Person, not an organization. If you want to be “in” the Truth, you must be “in” Christ Jesus. This sounds rather esoteric at first glance, but Paul defines for us the phrase “in Christ” at Romans 8. When reading Romans 8, take note of how Paul also explains that one must also be indwelt by the Spirit of God to be able to understand spiritual things. Read the chapter slowly and as many times as you need to.
The problem with the Jehovah’s Witness mind set is that it does not allow you to read passages like this and believe them for yourself. The Witnesses claim that all of the New Covenant passages (like this one) apply only to the 144,000, but there is nothing in the Word of God that supports this idea. Once you see that these scriptures are speaking to ALL believers, it will open up a whole new world to you and you will see how dearly Jehovah loves YOU personally!
Jesus said that if you remain in His Word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32). If this statement is true, then wouldn’t the opposite also be true? That is, wouldn’t error keep you in bondage? If you are believing something that is NOT true then you will be in bondage. You will feel alone, empty, guilty and fearful. The truth does not cause these kinds of feelings. The truth sets us free!
Notice how Jesus says we could KNOW the truth—by abiding in his Word. He also said at John 17:17 that God’s Word is Truth. So, if we stick to the Word of God (not man-made books, booklets and magazines), we are going to be abiding in the Word of God and we can KNOW the truth and that truth will set us free from religious error. Knowing the truth about yourself, about Jehovah, about Jesus, about Michael the archangel, about the good news and about salvation—these are the truths you will need to know to be freed from the pain, loneliness, bitterness, anxiety, shame and guilt you are experiencing. Is this what you desire?
Guilt and shame are common tools used by cults to keep people in bondage to their whims. The truth does not need to shame or punish people for walking away from it. The truth stands on its own and can be supported and defended in any venue against any opponent. The truth does not depend on anyone agreeing with it, nor is it defeated by the act of disagreeing with it. The truth does not need threats or fear to protect it.
Being “in” Christ Jesus is irrelevant to geography. Christ can be IN YOU, no matter where you are (Colossians 1:27-28). Nothing can separate you from the love of God, not even you (Romans 8:39)! If you are “in” Christ Jesus, you can never again be alone. He is with you until the end (Matthew 28:20). If you are “in” Christ Jesus you have NOTHING to be ashamed of for Romans 8:1 says:
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” **
Do you see how these scriptures repudiate any organization that attempts to put guilt and shame on you for not following their particular rules or believing their particular way?
You may wonder “but where shall I go?” This is a question that was asked by the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. She asked Jesus what “place” was the right one to worship at—a mountain, in her hometown, or in Jerusalem? That’s the same kind of question you would ask Jesus, right? You might ask if you should you go to the Kingdom Hall, a Christian church, go out to a field or mountain in God’s creation, or go to some other place to worship Jehovah. Jesus answered by taking this lady’s eyes off of her earthly geography and man-made rules about “where” to worship and He raised her eyes up to Heaven. He pointed her back to God who does not care about “where” you worship or what “rules” you follow when you worship. He simply said that God is looking for people who are willing to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
Spirit is not something you can conjure up yourself. It is the gift of God, and if you go back to Romans 8, you will see it is utterly impossible to please God (Romans 8:7-9, 14-16) apart from being Spirit adopted as children of God. Therefore, spirit is what you receive from God, not what you give to Him.
Next, God wants worship that is based on truth. We know from John 17:17 that God’s Word is Truth, and according to John 1:1, Jesus is the Word. Therefore, you cannot acceptably worship God apart from these two things—being spirit begotten, anointed and filled by Christ’s Spirit and being IN Christ Jesus by abiding in the Word of God.
So, where do you go to worship if you leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses? That’s a good thing to pray about. I have never met a Jehovah’s Witness who prayed to ask Jehovah if He wanted them to be in the Jehovah’s Witness religion. Rather than asking Jehovah if He wanted them to be Witnesses, they usually pray in gleaming tones of thanksgiving for the extreme and rare privilege of being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They often thank Jehovah for not allowing them to be misled like the rest of the world. But have you ever heard anyone actually ASK Jehovah if He truly desires that that person be a Jehovah’s Witnesses? Nope. And why not? Because anyone who asks Jehovah that question will end up NOT a Jehovah’s Witness. Jehovah is in the business of answering the prayers of those who are humble.
He says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if the people who are called by His name would humble themselves and seek His face, He would answer them, but in Romans 12:16 He warns us not to be wise in our own eyes, thinking we already have the answers. He opposes the proud but shows mercy to the meek. When Jesus taught some things that were difficult to understand, He lost 99% of His followers. When He looked around and saw Peter and the disciples still remaining with Him, He asked them why they too did not depart like the others. Peter said “WHOM shall we go away to…” not “WHERE shall we go away to…” (John 6:68). As you can see, it’s not a question of “where shall I go?” but “to whom shall I go?” Jesus is where you should go. In fact, Jesus says in John 5:39-40:
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”
If you want everlasting life, you must come to Jesus. We cannot base our relationship with God on the approval of people. The fact that there are people who call themselves Christians but who do not act like Christ has absolutely nothing to do with the truth that Christ taught. There are religions that have claimed to worship God but have done some terrible things. There are people who claim to believe in Christ but who do not practice the teachings of Christ. Does this mean there is something wrong with the truth that Jesus taught? No, absolutely not! There are good and bad people in every religion. There are even some morally excellent people who are atheist. Does that mean we should not believe in God? Of course not! Don’t look at what people say or do or teach. Look at what the Bible says and what Christ taught. Follow Him, not people.
Examine any religion by what Jesus taught and judge it on that basis. Test every spirit for many false prophets have gone out into the world and are misleading many. As long as you have the Word of God and His indwelling Spirit, you will be able to discern what is true and what is not. The fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses have treated you good or bad is irrelevant to your search for God. God causes all things to work together for good and He can use the natural consequence of living in the flesh to help people see when something is not backed by Him. False friends are very effective for God’s purpose in this regard as described in 2 Timothy 3.
Your prayers are being answered. Your awareness of your shortcomings are what God is using to draw you close to Him and help you see your need for a Savior. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there is a way to KNOW you are forgiven? To be absolutely and permanently sure of where you were going to end up? There is a way. Read 1 John 5. It talks about KNOWING you HAVE eternal life and how important this is to being fruitful in service to God. Philippians 2:13 speaks of this amazing process. When you are IN CHRIST JESUS, you have His Spirit dwelling in you and by the power of that Spirit, you are able to do amazing things—the things God wants you to do for His glory. Things that are done not just on Saturday mornings or Sunday meetings but in every waking hour of the day. You learn how to live “in” Christ.
It’s not about white knuckling it and making yourself do things for God. Philippians says that He provides both the things to do and the will to do them. It is not about doing anything under your own strength and determination. God has enough power to help you do whatever it is He wants you to do. You see, Christ came not only to die for you, but to live for you, in you and through you! Paul prayed at Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
If Christ had only come to die for your sins (all sins, past, present and future) then the Jehovah’s Witnesses would be right about people who are born again by saying that the act of being born again would just be an excuse to go on sinning, but this is only half the truth. The other half of the truth is that Jesus was raised from the dead to live His perfect resurrected life through us! That’s the rest of the good news that you’ve been missing out on, and that’s why God can and will accept you with all of your shortcomings. He wants to make you a new creature in Christ. He does that by forgiving you of your sins—all of them—and then coming to live in you (Revelation 3:20).
Oh yes, God loves you. That’s the one truth you can hold on to and believe with all your heart!
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** Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible.
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