HOW CAN I REACH MY JEHOVAH’S WITNESS CO-WORKER – My Christian friends told me not to talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but my co-worker is one and we have become friends. What should I do?
“My job is one that teams people up with others in the workplace. I ended up working on a team with a Jehovah’s Witness and we have become good friends. It is funny how this worked out because when I was growing up, I was told by the Christian leaders in my church to never talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses. We were made to feel like any interaction with a Jehovah’s Witness was sinful and that we would be betraying God. So now, as I had already become friends with him before I know he was a Jehovah’s Witness, it is awkward for me. I do recognize that if Christians never open themselves up to talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses, they will never hear the truth. Yet, when I consider the things I have also been told by strong Christians whom I respect—things like the idea that Jehovah’s Witnesses will never change and that my faith can be damaged from interactions with them—I don’t know how to approach this situation. My friend has given me a Watchtower publication, which in the past, I always refused to accept at the door. Yet, he wants me to read an article in it. Since he is my personal friend and I care about his eternal destiny, it is much harder for me to be firm in saying, “No Thank-you.” Should I refuse to take this information? I am SO stressed out about “going head-to-head” so to speak, over our different faiths. He is much more intelligent, well studied, and better spoken than I am. I feel very intimidated. I know that God’s truth stands alone. Yet, I am afraid. Any help or counsel you could provide would be much appreciated. Thank you!”
Dear Christian friend,
We can imagine the intimidation you feel in trying to defend your faith with your Jehovah’s Witness friend and co-worker. You are battling three challenges:
- The doubts, fears, and emotional condemnation you feel from well-meaning Christian friends who have warned you not to talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses
- The stress that a discussion of religious differences can pose to your friendship and your work-relationship if either of you refuses to accept the other’s point of view.
- The false spiritual authority that the Watchtower organization has placed over the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Scripture twisting and indoctrination that your Jehovah’s Witness friend has embraced through hours of study each week in Watchtower literature and meetings.
Given these concerns, no wonder you are “afraid” to go “head-to-head” with your Jehovah’s Witness friend. To help you overcome these challenges, let’s start by address the claims of your well-meaning Christian friends.
2 John 10 states: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting.”** Some Christians point to this passage to support the idea that Christians should not talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses or invite them into their homes to witness to them. However, such claim ignores the context of this passage that was addressed to: “the elder to the chosen lady and her children” (2 John 1).
Scholars have suggested that this letter was written either to a home church or to an individual in charge of a home church. Thus, the context suggests that this is not a command to prevent Christians from witnessing at their door, but rather, it is a command to avoid giving a cultist a platform in a church to proclaim their false doctrine to unsuspecting church members. Because the early church did not have a centralized organization, but met with each other by “breaking bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46; 5:42), the command to “not receive him into your house,” was to prevent false teachers from entering a house to deceive Christian followers attending the home fellowship.
The second part of the passage says, “do not give him a greeting.” Since Christian leaders depended upon the hospitality of the local home churches in order to travel from house-to-house with their message, this command was to avoid extending hospitality to false teacher so that it would be clear that his message was not welcomed by home churches. It is in this sense that we read of Paul’s response to a false teacher at Galatians 2:4-5:
“But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.”
So, as you can see by the passages above, there is no command in Scripture for Christians to avoid talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses in their homes. In fact, if we were to interpret the 2 John 10 passage as a command to avoid Jehovah’s Witnesses, we would then have to apply this passage to ALL non-believers, including our unsaved neighbors and relatives, because they do “not bring this teaching” of the true Gospel when they enter our homes. Such interpretation would serve more to promote the enemy’s purpose in blocking his deceived followers from the truth, rather than serving God’s purpose to see these lost souls reached for eternity!
WHAT IS OUR DUTY?
Scripture is clear when it commands Christians at 1 Peter 3:15 to: “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” Do you see anything in this passage that says that the word “everyone” does not apply to your Jehovah’s Witness co-worker who is asking you about your faith? Since your Jehovah’s Witness friend has already initiated a spiritual discussion with you, far from it being “sinful” for you to talk to him, you would be in disobedience to God not to give him “an account” of your hope in Jesus!
WILL JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES CHANGE?
Your friends were wrong when they told you that Jehovah’s Witnesses would not change if you talk to them. All you need to do is to read the many testimonies of Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses on our website and you will see that no matter how firm Jehovah’s Witnesses may appear to be in their religion, no person is beyond the powerful reach of God! You will see that they are just like you. Jehovah’s Witnesses are nice people who have the same desire that you have to obey and serve God and to have His approval upon their lives. As the Apostle Paul said of the Jews at Romans 10:2, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “…have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” So, if you are prepared, God can use you in powerful ways to show them the true “knowledge” of His Son, Jesus Christ.
HOW TO WITNESS TO YOUR JEHOVAH’S WITNESS CO-WORKER:
1. ESTABLISH A FRIENDSHIP.
Due to employer guidelines regarding the expression of religion in the workplace, the work environment is not the place for confrontational witnessing encounters or public proselytizing. However, it is a place where you can seek to establish genuine friendships that show by life and example the difference that Jesus can make in a person’s life. These friendships can lead to productive spiritual discussions outside the workplace or on personal break-time that can be instrumental in leading a Jehovah’s Witness co-worker to Christ.
Because you have already established a friendship with your Jehovah’s Witness co-worker and he has come to the place where he trusts your Christian integrity enough to question you about your faith, you have already accomplished the first step in reaching him for Christ. By all means, take advantage of this opportunity and accept his Watchtower literature. Although his goal is to impress you enough so that you would consider joining his religion, there is nothing wrong with accepting his literature for the purpose of dialoging on religious differences and taking advantage of this great opportunity to present the truth to him.
2. OFFER TO SWAP LITERATURE.
Since he has given you his Watchtower literature to read, you can ask him if he would be willing to read and discuss a religious article you found about how we can know “the truth” on spiritual things. If he agrees to read your article, print the following article out from our website and give it to him with the explanation that you would like to get his opinion on some of the claims this article makes:
ANSWERING POSSIBLE OBJECTIONS:
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been warned not to read anything critical of the Watchtower organization or to talk to Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses and people (like us) who are opposed to their religion. So, if your friendship is not strong enough to overcome these fears, there is a possibility that once he sees that this article is critical of the Jehovah’s Witness concept of truth, he may be too afraid to read it.
There is also the possibility that once he sees that you have access to this type of literature, he may not want to discuss these things with you because he will view you as a threat to his spirituality. I am sure you can identify with these fears because it is similar to what you have been experiencing from your Christians friends. However, his fears go deeper because his religion threatens to “disfellowship” members who are caught with this type of literature in their possession. So, if this fear comes up when you offer him our literature, tell him:
“I found this article on the Internet and it made sense to me, but before I fully accept what it says about your religion, I would like to hear your perspective. If there are any errors in the article, will you show them to me? I don’t want to believe lies about your religion.”
Asking him to show you any “errors” in the article will help him not to view you as an enemy, strongly opposed to his beliefs. Rather, he will regard you as someone who values his opinion enough to ask for “help” in your research. Since he will be “helping” you, he will then be able to justify reading this article. Hopefully, this reasoning will give him the confidence he needs to overcome his fears in examining literature that his religion does not approve of.
3. ASK HIM QUESTIONS FROM OUR WITNESSING BUSINESS CARD TRACTS.
If he is not willing to read our literature, or you feel that your friendship is not strong enough for you to risk offering him critical literature that his religion does not allow him to read, you may try an alternate approach to challenging his faith by asking him questions from our witnessing business card tracts for Jehovah’s Witnesses. These questions are excellent conversation starters, and they are small enough for you to print off our website and carry with you in your Bible or wallet. Although you may not want to show him these tracts because you will need to keep your source of information confidential, they are small enough for you to easily memorize or to have handy for prompting in a spiritual discussion. You can view and/or print these cards off our website at the following link:
4. DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT QUESTIONS YOU CANNOT IMMEDIATELY ANSWER.
You do not need to have the answer on the spot for every question your Jehovah’s Witness friend asks you. If he asks you a question to which you do not know the answer, take the pressure off of yourself by simply saying,
“That’s a good question. I’ve never thought of that before. Would you mind if I do some research on it this week and get back to you?”
Rarely will a Jehovah’s Witness respond by saying “no” to your request. Usually they are more than happy to see you take their questions seriously enough to want to do research before answering. Also, as you are discussing religious differences, it is important to keep in mind that:
- You are not in a “debate” where you will be judged by your ability to argue most effectively. The truth will stand regardless of whether or not you are the most intelligent, articulate apologist.
- Your Jehovah’s Witness friend is not your “enemy” or your “opponent.” He is someone like you who has a heart for God and desires to know His truth. Do not to have an “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude. Approach him in humility, with the attitude that you care about truth, and are willing to accept it, no matter who shows it to you.
- It is not your job to change your friend’s mind. It is the Holy Spirit alone who is able to open your friend’s spiritual eyes and convict him of the truth. You job is just to plant seeds of truth that the Holy Spirit can use in your friend’s heart. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
- Remember to: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:6-7.
The following resources on our website may also prove to be helpful in your research:
** All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible
This post is also available in: Spanish