This past Sunday I was starting my usual afternoon Pastoral nap when there was a knock at the door. I got up to answer the door and I find it is two of my neighbors. These neighbors happen to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have stopped by a number of times to introduce themselves and to talk with me about who they are and what they believe. Even though they know that I am a pastor they are not deterred from sharing their beliefs with me. Perhaps it is because I am a Pastor they have feel like they have an audience to talk about their beliefs because I do have a strong understanding of my faith and the Bible.
They were sharing with me articles from their latest magazine surrounding the Kingdom of God. However, our conversation quickly turned into thoughts about salvation. They were telling me all the things I needed to be doing to ensure my salvation. Now, I am not afraid to talk with someone about the end times and what that means to me as a Lutheran Christian but in my mind there is a set time and a place for that. When I encounter someone and we start to talk about God, especially when it is someone who I do not know; I am not warning them about their potential to go to hell, I am talking with them about a God who loves them, who cares for them and who will do anything for them. I tell them about Jesus – the one who preached God’s kingdom and embodied God’s love, the one who suffered and died on the cross and was raised again all because of his love for them and all humankind. But Alice and Geoff have a different approach and that was quite clear.
After they shared with me I told them about my sermon earlier that day, I preached about Jacob seeing God for the first time and how we are called to see God as well, not only in the church but in the world as well. I preached about how God comes to us to help us like according to the spirit instead of according to the flesh. I said that this is all about a God who loves us, who cares for us. They said that they do believe in the love of God, but it was also important to point out to people that if they do something wrong, then Jehovah is going to punish them.
This is where we do not agree.
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