Keeping up with change can sometimes be very difficult, and I know that you folk have had quite a lot of changes over the years in what you need to learn and believe. Some of you have found it hard to accept the new understandings which have come to you through the pages of the Watchtower or at the annual conventions. Some faithful Witnesses have even been stumbled by it.
Some people wondered why it was necessary, for example, to change the understanding of “this generation” (Matthew 24:34) and introduce a teaching that is so hard to grasp. But you have to be loyal to “Jehovah's arrangement.” And when the Governing Body told you that they alone, not all of the last remaining ones of the 144,000, were the “faithful and discreet slave,” (Matthew 24:45) a lot of faithful Witnesses wondered if they had overstepped the mark. But still you have to be loyal.
Maybe loyalty is the big test for Jehovah's Witnesses at this time. Some, of course, have not been loyal. They have begun to think and to research for themselves, and many have found out things which have led them away from the Organisation. Perhaps some of your own closest friends or even family members have been among them.
There have been those who have been labelled “apostates” and who have been disfellowshipped. And what a test of your loyalty that has been! When you heard the talk entitled “Truth brings not peace, but a sword” at the convention last year, you were left in no doubt what is expected of you. If you have friends or close family members, even children or parents, who have been disfellowshipped, the Governing Body tells you that you must have nothing at all to do with them.
Do you really believe that those few men on the Governing Body have the right to demand this sort of loyalty? Or do you believe that Jehovah, the God whom you worship, has given you a responsibility to love and care for all your family members, no matter what?
And do you believe that Jehovah, your God, has given you a brain, a mind with which to think and reason – and expects you to use it? Do you believe that Jehovah holds you responsible for your own actions? Do you believe that when you are quite sure what is the right thing to do, you should do it, and not follow the rules of someone else whose reasoning you cannot fathom in the hope that one day they will come to see things differently? Even if those people tell you that they are the “faithful and discreet slave” and that your first loyalty is to their understanding of the will of God?
Dear Jehovah's Witnesses, will you take responsibility for your own actions? Will you do what you know to be right without waiting for anyone else to say you may do it? Will you reach out to someone you have shunned and say that you are sorry and that you are ready to re-establish the bonds of love even though you may not believe all the same things as each other?
I know that what I say here will fall mostly on deaf ears, but perhaps here and there some will see the point I am trying to make. Are there people whom you turned your backs upon when they discovered they could no longer believe what they were told to believe? They deserve your loyalty. Make that phone call, send that letter, that email. And maybe some of you will discover that real love and affection can sometimes survive even the harshest test. Love like that deserves your loyalty.
With every good wish and hope for happy outcomes,