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Archive for the ‘Welfare and health’ Category

Abuse been kept silent by Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation

The Watchtower’s child abuse protocols read like a mashup of Scripture and corporate policy.
From a 1989 Watchtower letter to all U.S. elders describing the importance of secrecy:

“Often the peace, unity, and spiritual well-being of the congregation are at stake.
Improper use of the tongue by an elder can result in serious legal problems for the individual
the congregation, and even the Society.”

Every year in the United States, 60,000 children (aged 11 and younger) are sexually abused.
Every year, 321,500 (aged 12 and older) are sexually assaulted or raped.
80% of all those sexually abused under the age of 18 are abused by a parent or stepparent. (RAINN, 2019).

Normally believing people following Jesus should try to have an immaculate life, taking care of and protecting those around them.

From Jehovah’s Witnesses one would expect that they would show respect for men, women and children and would take care that those who do something atrocious against the Law of God would be punished and would be put out of the community. Often we hear about people have been disfellowshipped for matters which could be talked about and which are not so terrible as for the matters we came to hear about the last few weeks.

At the end of March a documentary was shown on the Flemish state television about reports of sexual abuse by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the edition of “Pano” on VRT Eén the documentary brought to light that the organisation had been covering up sexual abuse of minors via an internal ‘disciplinary’ system for years. That way, none of the claims were reported to the police. One of the witnesses, who has been an elder in the organisation, was very straightforward in the documentary, in calling it

“a paradise for paedophiles”.

The (protected and therefore made anonymous) elder made it clear the organisation had in March 1997 already sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide indicating for the dangers if some news about paedophile acts would come into the public. The organization was concerned about the legal risk posed by possible child molesters within its ranks. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator:

Write a detailed report answering 12 questions — Was this a onetime occurrence, or did the accused have a history of child molestation? How is the accused viewed within the community? Does anyone else know about the abuse? — and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. Keep a copy of the report in your congregation’s confidential file, the instructions continued, and do not share it with anyone.

The man in charge for Belgium, Louis De Wit was not really willing to give a reasonable reply for what was going on behind the doors of this religious organisation.  He gave the impression he did not know about such “blue envelope”.

One would think Jehovah’s Witnesses disapprove of sexual abuse, and would do everything to react properly against such unwanted actions. When there were sent “blue envelopes” like many from different countries tell, are sent to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, they must have a large database of undocumented child molesters:

at least two decades’ worth of names and addresses —likely numbering in the tens of thousands — and detailed acts of alleged abuse, most of which have never been shared with law enforcement, all scanned and searchable in a Microsoft SharePoint file.

we known from more than one source.

In recent decades, much of the world’s attention to allegations of abuse has focused on the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Less notice has been paid to the abuse among the Jehovah’s Witnesses, though this Christian group with more than 8.5 million members was much spoken off at several fora and blogs of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, stating such and other problems in that organisation.

In the United States already millions of dollars have been paid over the years to keep it secret.

Because the church, and its community, is for many of those victims their life, it is even more difficult to cope with, because they also feel that they can give a negative impression over their religious group. Often they live in a certain way isolated of the outside world. They go to school but friendship with non-JW is not exactly recommended or encouraged. In several countries and several JW families kids aren’t allowed to play sports in school or participate in holiday observances in school.

When the abused persons tell others about what happened they are asked to keep it quiet or are treated as the trespasser and soon after talks with elders they become considered as a “reproofed” member of the congregation, being effectively shunned,  not permitted to speak unless spoken to. Often they even become forbidden from participating in church activities and as such having been made invisible in the eyes of the church.

Having had little contact with the outside world, staying with their own, save for going door-to-door to convince others that their religion was the one and true path to salvation in these, the final days of human history, they feel like betrayed and shut down by their own “family”. For the devout, disfellowshipping feels literally like a death sentence, because according to what they have learned one has to be a JW or to “belong to the Truth” to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

Jehovah’s Witnesses call their version of excommunication disfellowshipping, a punishment by shunning to rid the faithful of bad associations with those who break the laws of God. Though this time not the abuser is disfellowshipped but the victim which makes she or he as expelled person cannot have any further contact with Witnesses, even polite acknowledgement on the street, until they take back the accusations or allegations and have proved ‘their repentance and willingness to return obediently’ to the organization.

Midway through the last century, the Watchtower took the power to judge and punish Witnesses away from the entire membership of congregations and gave it to the elders in each kingdom hall. The Watchtower also began to emphasize the importance of keeping the organization “spiritually clean.” By the early 1990s, roughly 40,000 Witnesses were disfellowshipped each year, according to Watchtower literature.

For decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses literature has described the importance of cutting off unrepentant sinners, even when they are family members. A 1988 Watchtower article traces the roots of the organization’s shunning policies to Deuteronomy, which says Israelite parents must bring rebellious children before the elders to be judged and executed

“to clear away what is bad from the midst of Israel.”

Israelite parents even participated in the execution of their own children to show their loyalty to God before family, the article states, because such demonstrations of devotion can be necessary to save one’s own life.

From the way the organisation reactions we can have the impression those youngsters who say they are misused are rebellious children who themselves created such situations where the adult fell in their trap.
What is also so ‘funny” is that those people by others are called “man of God” and should receive full respect and as such nothing bad can or could be said about them.

The same as what seems to happen in many other countries (like the Netherlands) the organisation does not have any policies to prevent sexual abuse or report it to the police and even worse want to keep it silent, sometimes even giving the victims the idea that they are the cause or warning them that they may not let outsiders know about this.

Victims that quit the organisation are not only ignored completely but become disfellowshipped and considered outcast nobody of the JW (lower) members may have contact. Only elders are supposedly to have contact with them, but do not seem to do anything to help them really.

According to CIAOSN, an independent centre set up by Belgium’s Department of Justice to study sectarian organisations, there are similar findings in 12 other countries. The report concludes that the issues in all other countries are the same. Due to the strict hierarchy of the organisation, it’s very difficult to come forward, reports CIAOSN. Another issue that returns frequently in CIAOSN’s report is that victims have to give their statements about the abuse in the presence of their abusers. If the accused denies involvement, they’ll only further the investigation after two other witness statements. In all these 13 countries, there is not one woman involved in the internal disciplinary system.

Reclaimed Voices Belgium finds that it is noteworthy how many people that talk about the severe psychological damage that the exclusion by the community brings with it. They say

“In conversations we’ve had with victims so far, it seems that the trauma caused by the exclusion that follows when a victim speaks up about the abuse has an even bigger impact than the abuse itself.”

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Find also to read:

Papers documenting instances of child abuse by the JW

Over the past couple of years, Mark O’Donnell has been leaking stolen letters and other papers documenting instances of child abuse. (Lexey Swall)

  1. A Secret Database of Child Abuse; A former Jehovah’s Witness is using stolen documents to expose allegations that the religion has kept hidden for decades.
  2. Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal
  3. Sexual or indecent assault in the Belgian Criminal Code
  4. Let’s talk about it
  5. Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims
  6. Jehovah’s Witnesses use 1st Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse and oust a victim
  8. ‘Punished’ for being sexually abused in York County: Jehovah’s Witnesses’ culture of cover-up
  9. Jehovah’s Witness leader says child sex abuse claims are ‘lies’
  10. She spoke about Jehovah’s Witness abuse, and her home was vandalized
  11. Surviving
  12. A Moment of Silence
  13. Child abuse
  14. Dear Dairy
  15. No Comment: Fordham’s Continued History of Silence on Sex Abuse Claims
  16. George Pell: A Devil in the Disguise of a Saint – One of the worst immoral things/crimes I can think of is child abuse, physical or sexual.
  17. What Do the Church’s Victims Deserve?

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

The Scriptures makes it clear what choice man has to make to receive a non-ending life after this life on earth which can be full of temptations, problems, difficulties and suffering.

In the 19th chapter of Matthew we can see that after some time going with the master teacher the disciples still did not know him. Jesus looked at the small children who wanted to come to him and saw how their soul (their inner being) was still pure and without personal interest. Jesus not only blessed the babes, but rebuked the disciples, who had misrepresented him; and says

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

For us that should be a message to become or to be like “such as these”. In our life we should get a state of purity and innocence. It is very possible that those children could have done some faults, but often having been not aware of it. It is only when one knows what is good and what is bad and when knows the rule s and regulations that one can go against such rules or laws.

The Kingdom of heaven will not be literally composed of little children, but those who want to enter the Kingdom should be like little children, innocent and pure of mind, simple-hearted, true, teachable, obedient, honest and trustful of their heavenly Father.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Lu 18:17 NIV)

says Jesus. At other places in the New Testament we also do find

“And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3 NIV)

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”” (Mt 19:14 NIV)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Mr 10:15 NIV)

Instead of the children being regarded as intruders, they were most welcome to the master teacher; and, instead of being interlopers, they had full right of access, for of children and of childlike persons God His kingdom was composed and Jesus is the way to that Kingdom. Jesus spoke with certainty, using his own expressive “verily,” and he spoke with the weight of his own personal authority,

“I say unto you.”

These prefatory expressions are intended to secure our reverent attention to the fact that so far from the admission of children into the kingdom being unusual or strange none can find entrance there except they receive the gospel as a little child receives it. It is this statement of the Master which affords us a subject for this morning, which may the divine Spirit open up to us and impress upon our hearts.

As adults we have gone through a parcour of life and have made several choices to continue on our path of life. Not always did we take the right path. When we look back at the past we shall be able to notice we made many mistakes and more than once we took the wrong decision.

Making the child the model for those who seek entrance into the kingdom of God, we should remember that we too should try to get a childes attitude of innocence. Childlessness is an ‘Essential Element’ in the Christian Life.

“The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.” (Ps 116:6 NIV)

“But I have stilled and quietened my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Ps 131:2 NIV)

“Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” (1Co 14:20 NIV)

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” (1Pe 2:2 NIV)

The phrase, kingdom of heaven (lit. of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ, the son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the earth. It is also for that kingdom Jesus prayed and taught us also to pray for.

“your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt 6:10 NIV)

The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined as the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by “the stone cut out without hands,” of the Gentile world-system.

“34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing-floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.” (Da 2:34-36 NIV)

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

“23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. {Or for a year, two years and half a year }26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed for ever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” (Da 7:23-27 NIV)

Already in the Garden of Eden God spoke about some one who would come to save the world but also who would reign. God also spoke about a kingdom covenanted to David’s seed which was described in the prophets.

“7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people shall not oppress them any more, as they did at the beginning” (2Sa 7:7-10 NIV)

Under an heir of king David would an other kingdom being established which would be greater and stronger. That heir would be born of a virgin, therefore truly man, but also “Immanuel,” the one coming from (or sent by) God. That person was
confirmed to be Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel.

“32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end.”” (Lu 1:32-33 NIV)

It is that never ending kingdom where at first that man shall be the king, we have to look for. A kingdom heavenly in origin, principle, and authority.

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

When hoping to be a partaker of that kingdom one has to obey the commandments so that life can come to this one who is willing to love God and to be His child. Many think they do not have to do any works any more, because they are saved. But Jesus warns them and us, that they may not be mistaken and that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for man to enter the small gate to the Kingdom.

He clearly indicates we have to keep to the commandments of god, even when that would not always so easy.

“17 …. Jesus replied.

“There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man enquired. Jesus replied,

“23  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”” (Mt 19:23-24 NIV)

Jesus gives also those commandments we have to fulfil or keep to.

18 … “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19 honour your father and mother,’ {Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20 }
and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’” {Lev. 19:18 } (Mt 19:17-19 NIV)

Jesus also gives a hope for those who are willing to follow him.

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother {Some manuscripts mother or wife } or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29 NIV)

But first we have to seek God His kingdom, and His righteousness before all these good things the bible talks about, shall be added unto us. (Matthew 6:33) First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, this should be our greatest care and not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom).

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Ro 14:17 NIV)

When we want to enter the kingdom of God we should prepare ourselves and work at our character, making sure that we do our best to keep to God’s commandements.

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

 

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Find also to read

  1. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  2. The Mountain: Radical Obedience
  3. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  4. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  5. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  6. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:16-24 – Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

|| Mark 10:17-25; Luke 18:18-25

MT19:16 And, look! a [young] person[1] approached Jesus, asking, “Teacher, what good shall I do[2] so that I might have everlasting life?”[3] MT19:17 Jesus told him, “Why do you ask me about some ‘good’?[4] [Only] One is ‘good’.[5] But if you wish to enter Life,[6] observe the commandments.”[7] MT19:18 This person answered, “Which [commandments]?” Jesus responded: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false testimony,’ MT19:19 ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Exodus 20:13-16] MT19:20 The young man told Jesus, “I have guarded myself regarding all of these.[8] What more am I lacking?”[9] MT19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish perfection[10] leave and sell your belongings[11] and give to the poor[12] – then you will have treasure in heaven – and [then] come be my follower.”[13] MT19:22 But having heard this statement the young man departed very depressed,[14] for he had many possessions.[15] MT19:23 Now Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you this truth: Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty.[16] MT19:24 In addition I tell you this: It is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye[17] than for rich people to enter the Realm of Heaven.”

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[1] A [young] person: Revealed in verse 20.

[2] Teacher, what good shall I do: Mark 10:17 adds, “… a certain man ran up and fell upon his knees before him and put the question to him: ‘Good Teacher, what must I do…’” He addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher.” Luke 18:18 adds, “… a certain (religious) ruler.” Therefore, a young rabbi. The Received Text (KJV) has, “Good Teacher.”

[3] Everlasting life: The Greek is ZOEN AIONION. Or, KJV: eternal life; RHM: life age-abiding; TCNT: immortal life; BECK: everlasting life. See word studies else where by researching AION or everlasting life.

[4] Why do you ask me about some ‘good’: This response has resulted in much commentary. If Jesus were “God” one wonders why he would resist a title with the word “good” in it. The Lesson of Eden is that only Yehowah can determine what is ‘good’ and this is not the responsibility of Messiah. Research the word good or AGATHOS (from which the name Agatha comes). Note that the Nazarene’s response is to point to the Ten Commandments and the Law. He does not originate his own philosophy.

[5] [Only] One is ‘good’: Or, KJV: none is good but one, that is, God; ASV: One there is who is good; KNX: God is good, and he only; WMS: there is only one who is perfectly good; ABUV: One is the Good. The subject is absolute or ultimate Good. No one would argue that Jesus was no a “good man.” Note John 7:12. Compare also how others are described as “good.” (2 Samuel 18:27; Proverbs 14:14) Jesus recognizes there are good people (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; Romans 5:7). Surely Jesus refers to his Father, Yehowah.

[6] To enter Life: It may be argued that “Life” here is something like John 5:24 and 1 John 3:14. Thus “Life” means the new Life within the Realm of Heaven – the Church. Others will limit it to that future Life though both may be include.

[7] Observe the commandments: It is possible Jesus speaks to a young Jewish rabbi. Note the commandments Jesus lists. It will startle some what he has omitted in a list of his own choosing: the Name and the Sabbath. Jesus goes on to quote Exodus 20:13-16 then skipping back to Exodus 20:12. He also quotes what he calls late the Second Greatest Commandment: Leviticus 19:18.

[8] I have guarded myself regarding all of these: The KJV version adds: “… from my youth up.” Or, ASV: all these things have I observed; WEY: carefully obeyed.

[9] What more am I lacking: Or, NEB: where do I still fall short; BER: how do I still fall behind; WEY: what more is required. One wonders if there is some self-righteous hypocrisy here. However, Paul himself claims such rigorous righteousness or obedience to the law (Philippians 3:6).

[10] If you wish perfection: Or, KNX: if thou hast a mind to be perfect; NEB: if you wish to go the whole way; NASB: to be complete. To the Nazarene spiritual perfection will involve charity. See notes on Matthew 5:48. – Perfect: This is the Greek word TELEIOI from TELOS (= “end”) and may be rendered “complete, mature, fulfilled.”

[11] Leave and sell your belongings: Or, RHM: withdraw! sell thy substance; go and sell your possessions. Note how in Luke 12:32, 33 Jesus tells his “little flock” the same thing. Note their response in Acts 2:44, 45; Acts 4:34-37.

[12] Give to the poor: The man could divest himself of his possessions in any manner of ways: giving it to his family, hiding investments. Jesus gives no hint that he expects the man to contribute to him though never was there a poorer man on earth (2 Corinthians 8:9). The young rabbi must say goodbye to all his belongings – strip himself from material attachment and desire.

[13] And [then] come be my follower: Note he must do this before becoming a follower or disciple of Jesus. It is possible “follower” means a member of the Nazarene’s private entourage of apostles.

[14] The young man departed very depressed: Or, KJV: he went away sorrowful; NASB: he went away grieved; KNX: sad of heart; RIEU: in gloom; WMS: in deep distress; PME: crestfallen. We watch our Lord’s eyes as he follows the young man as he leaves and we note a slight expression of pity. We would like to know the future of this young rabbi. Did he follow later, become an angry opposer screaming for crucifixion, or merely indifferent. We wonder at his death what thoughts he must have had.

[15] Many possessions: Or, NASB: owned much property; NEB: a man of great wealth; BECK: very rich.

[16] Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty: Perhaps of all the teachings of the Nazarene this is the one most disliked by western capitalist society. While the world struggles to be rich Jesus warns of the great difficulty in such conflicting lifestyles and ideals. Compare the notes on Matthew 5:42 and Matthew 6:25. Or, KJV: a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven; ASV: it is hard for a rich man; MON: a rich man will find it difficult. Though the celestial realm of God is the final goal, Jesus makes it clear that it will be very hard for a rich person to become a Christian and gain membership in the Realm of Profession. Note Paul’s counsel to the rich at 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Throughout the Gospel Age there have been wealthy Christians who gave all to help others, while others used their riches to forward the Gospel message. Research the words rich and riches. In Bible terms “rich” means having a surplus (Mark 12:44; 2 Corinthians 8:14).

[17] Camel to enter through a needle’s eye: The Lamsa translation of the Aramaic has this ‘a rope through the needle’s eye.’ Some understand it is the difficulty a camel has in crawling through a very narrow gate to enter a city. It must get on its knees and move forward with difficulty. The Nazarene does not say it is impossible nor does he rule it out altogether. He just says it will be difficult for a rich person to give attention to discipleship while torn over riches. The conflict between love and greed is the struggle between self and others.

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-like

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:10-12 – Celibacy

MT19:10 Now the disciples of Jesus asked him, “If this is the case with a husband and his wife – it should be recommended not to marry at all!”[1] MT19:11 Jesus told them, “Everyone cannot make room for what you are suggesting,[2] but only those who have the gift.[3] MT19:12 For there are eunuchs[4] born so from their mother’s womb;[5] and there are eunuchs made eunuchs[6] by humans; and, there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs[7] because of the Realm of Heaven.[8] Let the person who is able to make room for it, make room for it.”[9]

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[1] It should be recommended not to marry at all: Or, KJV: it is not good to marry; NEB: it is better to refrain from marriage; ASV: not expedient to marry; KNX: better not to marry at all; WMS: there is no advantage in getting married; PME: not worth getting married; NW: it is not advisable to marry. We smile at the suggestion of these Jewish disciples of Jesus: if a man cannot divorce his wife for any reason it is just better not to get married. Perhaps we see that ingrained “hardness of heart” present in the Israelite men?

[2] For what you are suggesting: Or, KJV: all men cannot receive the saying; RHM: not all find room for the word; KNX: that conclusion cannot be taken in by everybody; RIEU: accept the ruling; BER: not all people understand this saying; WMS: it is not every man who has the capacity to carry out this saying; MOF: this truth is not practicable for everyone. The disciples may have alluded to rabbinical sayings: “Among those whose life is not life is the man ruled by his wife.” “If a man has a bad wife, it is his religious duty to divorce her.”

[3] Those who have the gift: Or, KJV: those to whom it is given; KNX: only by those who have the gift; RIEU: only those that hear the call; WMS: to whom the capacity has been gift; WEY: upon whom the grace has been bestowed. Some persons are born with either the desire for sex or intimate relationships. Some by observation have judged that there is little in marriage to recommend it over a life of celibate liberty. Others have developed the “gift” by rigorous control of themselves.

[4] Eunuchs: The Greek is EUNOUCHOI and refers to a castrated male. The word is formed by “bed” + “have/hold” and is rooted in a castrated male guardian over a harem (Esther 2:3, 12-15; 4:4-6, 9). A eunuch was not allowed under the Law (Deuteronomy 23:1). However, consider Acts 8:26-39 as possibly the fulfillment of Isaiah 56:4, 5.

[5] Born so from their mother’s womb: Or NOR: some men have always been unsuited for marriage, having been born that way; NEB: incapable of marriage; TCNT: disabled for marriage. Though this could mean some physical disability modern science has probably established that some DNA tends to have much less sex-drive.

[6] Eunuchs made eunuchs: It is interesting that here it is eunuchs who make other eunuchs – likely because they were in charge of such castration. One wonders if such men had a choice in these matters?

[7] Have made themselves eunuchs: A literal reading of this has caused men such as Origen to castrate themselves.

[8] Because of the Realm of Heaven: It is the view of most that Jesus here encourages celibacy for those who have the gift and for the right reasons: service related to the Church. Paul recommends celibacy for those who have control (1 Corinthians 7:32, 38). Marriage is not forbidden save by apostates (1 Timothy 4:3). However, Paul clearly encourages Christians not to be driven by sexual impulses: “When their sexual impulses have come between them and the Christ, they want to marry, having a judgment because they have disregarded their first [expression of] faith.” (1 Timothy 5:11, 12 NW) Note how he continues: “I desire the younger widows to marry, to bear children, to manage a household.” (1 Timothy 5:14 NW)

[9] Let the person who is able to make room for it, make room for it: Or, KJV: he that is able to receive it, let him receive it; KNX: take this in, you whose hearts are large enough for it; RIEU let him that can, obey the call; BER: whoever is able to get practical hold of it, let him get hold; MOF: let anyone practice it for whom it is practicable. Note these words are directed to men who are willing to give up marriage and children for their service within the Realm of Heaven.

Those considering marriage do well to think the matter out soberly. In the Western world over half of all marriages fail and half of the “successful” are locked into a life of lovelessness and serious dissatisfaction.

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

A heart full of love is a fundamental requirement

We stay for the moment looking at some writing by

We can not deny that forgiving is a very difficult thing for many. But we should know that unforgiveness hinders prayers and give access to tormentors. Uforgiveness also gives room to hatred and vengeance, retaliation, revenge and vendetta.

Christians should be followers of the role model Jesus Christ who had so much love for mankind he was even willing to give his life for us all. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Highest, never complained to serve. He did it with humility and without placing himself above others. That humility is something we need also to grow in us. It is something which shall make us humble enough to face others who have done wrong to us and to forgive them.

Throughout the New Testament we can see how the Nazarene master teacher mingled with sinners which must have certainly caused a stir back then, but Jesus never judged appearances. (Matthew 7:1-6) In this present world how many times do we not stare at others with some “idea” in our heart? Many of us can see the mote or the speck that is in some ones eye, but do not consider the plank or the beam of timber that is in their own eye.(Matthew 7:3) Often we come to demand others not being cross with us or to forgive us for what we did wrong, but to forgive others our selves does not always seem to be so easy.

Forgiving requires an attitude of understanding and of love.

A heart full of love, both towards God and your fellow man, is a fundamental requirement, if your prayer must get through to the throne room of heaven.

Forgiveness is an expression of love. {Forgive}

Not only the Messianic writings show us how the Most High must have been hurt by man and how He showed His love and came to forgive them or was always there to help them. God has forgiven man many times. We as lovers of God should also try to become like God, a forgiving person.

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, one of the things He told them to say was, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”

That is to say, “Lord, forgive us, just the way we forgive others. Don’t forgive us what we don’t forgive others. {Forgive}

When looking at others we often use other measurements than we would for our own. Often we also want others not to be cross for something we did to them, but we ourself are not always so fast not to be angry any more at some one who did wrong to us.

If we document other people’s sins against us, then the Lord will document ours also; if we desire their hurt, He will desire our hurt also.

So, when you don’t forgive those who have offended you, your sins also remain unforgiven. Until your sins are forgiven, you don’t have a prayer access to God. {Forgive}

How many of us do not keep track of iniquities of others? Many people also love to show the record they keep of the wrongdoings of others.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 130:3:

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

Many have been crying in all manner of prayers, fastings and vigils, yet God hasn’t heard them, because they are holding back the sins of others in their hearts. {Forgive}

In this world we also see many who are not honest, and do as if nothing is at hand or nothing happened. They just do nice to get something else.

You probably have told your neighbour,

“It is over, I have forgiven you.”

But it is not over yet in your heart.

And because the Bible says in Psalm 66:18,

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”, your prayers go unheard.

It is spiritual foolishness to live with unforgiveness; the cost is too high. It is one of the traps of the devil to make you lose favour with God. {Forgive}

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ.

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness but also humble enough to put the own “self” away. Calling yourself a Christian, means not only that you want to be a follower of Christ, but goes much further, showing others that you even want to imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you

“He is with Jesus.”

A Christian should imitate Jesus in his holiness. Like Jesus submitted himself to his heavenly Father a Christian also should submit himself to God and become like Him a forgiving person. As the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as he did; and let those sublime words of your Master,

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,”

always ring in your ears.

Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Think of the Highest King, Jehovah God and think of the highest King on earth Jesus Christ, who shall come to judge the living and the dead. When you want to be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God, remember all those things which would be a hindrance to be pure enough to enter that Kingdom. Remind the King from Jesus  parable.

Jesus told a parable in Matthew 18:23-35:

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

When God forgives you your sins but later sees the way you are tormenting somebody who has offended you, He will bring your records out again and deal with you.

Forgiveness brings you into eternal friendship with Jesus which gives you access to heaven’s hotline.

Until you free that man or woman, God will not hear your cry of affliction.

That man might have really cheated you, and that woman insulted you terribly, but let him go! Let her go!

Until the love foundation is in place, effectual prayer is impossible.

Watch any man who walks in hatred, malice and unforgiveness, his life keeps drying up.

And because he has no access to God’s favour, he is a cheap prey of the devil.

Your expression of love for your fellowmen is the authentic proof of your salvation.

The Bible says,

“Whosoever claims to love God, and hates his brother, is a liar” (1 John 4:20 paraphrased).

You may pray as long as you like, remain on your knees all the days of your life and fast for as many days as possible,

if you have imprisoned somebody in your heart through unforgiveness, you will never have a breakthrough, because the Scriptures cannot be broken.

Love is your vital link with God, and the foundation stones of the altar of your heart.

There is a future in forgiveness. Let love flow from your heart to everyone and you will see God step into the affairs of your life.

Examine yourself, to see if there is anywhere your altar has been broken down, and plead the mercy of God for restoration.

Rededicate your life to God and be determined never to be found doing what displeases Him.

That long-awaited answer to your prayers will be delivered to you now, in Jesus’ name!

Amen! {Forgive}

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

No one ever said forgiveness would be easy.

We should be well aware of the warning the Nazarene master teacher Jesus gives us. With several of his parables he gives an indication that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14; Mark 11:25). God will not forgive us? The stakes could not be higher! The parable of the unmerciful servant elegantly demonstrates that the debt we owe each other is far smaller than the one we owe God.

In His sermon on mountain-moving faith, Jesus made a connection between faith and forgiveness.

He said,

“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:24-25).

As far as God is concerned, unforgiveness is no small issue. It is wickedness.

We see this in Jesus’ story of a servant who was forgiven a huge debt by his master. After the servant received his own forgiveness, he decided to deal with a fellow servant who owed him a small debt. But instead of forgiving this servant like he’d been forgiven, he had the servant thrown into jail for failing to pay.

Upon hearing what he had done, his master became furious, called him a wicked servant and delivered him to the tormentors (jailers) until he paid all that was due (Matthew 18:23-35). {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

Then the pastor goes back into history looking at what happened to Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own jealous brothers. He had not only to face that atrocious act of his brothers but was also unjustly accused of a crime and thrown into prison. In the Old Testament we can read how Joseph after miraculously being delivered from prison, was raised to the highest ruling position in Egypt next to the Pharaoh.

When he faced his brothers years later, instead of expressing bitterness, Joseph forgave them completely.

His brothers thought that Joseph would treat them harshly but Joseph said,

“No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” (Genesis 50:21). {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

In our own life we more than once shall encounter matters which can bring hate feelings to others who have done us wrong.

Whether we’ve been abused, deserted, falsely accused or mistreated, we must always choose to forgive.

We always should place everything we underwent into perspective. We may have had something terrible happened to us. Even when it would bring up so many hate feelings, we should question ourself if we not better learn something from it and use that experience to help others. Would it sometimes not be better to pray for those who did such an awful thing to us or to our beloved ones? We know it may be very difficult to forgive those that abused us or did terrible things to us. Though ….

We can’t wait for our feelings to change first, because forgiveness must be an act of the will, based on faith rather than feeling. We are to forgive others

“just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

If ever there comes a time when old feelings of unforgiveness rise up within you, say by faith,

“No, I’ve already forgiven that person. I refuse to focus on those old feelings.” {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

It can very well be we ourself have not the full strength to come to the point where we can face the one who did wrong to us and openly forgive him or her. It shall also be necessary to forgive more than once in our lifetime. Always, as Christians, followers of Christ, we should be willing to forgive.

And keep on forgiving. By the power of the Holy Spirit you will find that forgiveness becomes the “normal” lifestyle of an overcoming Christian!

If you’ve ever allowed yourself to be bound by anger and bitterness, forgiveness may sound like an impossibility, but it’s not!

As a Christian, you have the love of God inside you. Yield to that love. Press into God and you will see His Anointing in, on and through you multiplied as never before! {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

 

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

When looking at Matthew 18:23-35 we can compare the human way and the godly way of forgiving and reactions about debts and attitudes towards others.

Once again we can find the master teacher using a story or parable to give a lesson. Jesus illustrates his view of unending mercy with a parable demonstrating how real lovers of God should think about the way God treats people. They also could look at the examples Jesus gave them and therefore could find enough reasons to extend unlimited forgiveness to others.

It can well be that the Nazarene rabbi had in mind a corrupt Herodian bureaucrat who has used his position to make himself wealthy, but has instead lost the Herod’s court a massive amount of money. Slaves could be in important roles in the Empires, so that they could accumulate wealth and power, even if they were in a master-slave relationship with the Emperor.

How often do we not encounter situations where we are confronted with matters that trouble us and with people who own something to us or should still have something to arrange for us? How often does it not happen that we are hurt by some one and that we have to arrange something to restore the relationship again?

John Nolland points out the annual income of Herod’s kingdom when he died in 4 B.C.E. was about 900 talents, to be divided between his sons (Nolland, Matthew, 756). This servant’s debt is more than ten times the value of Herod’s kingdom. In fact, the word translated as ten-thousand is often translated, “myriad,” an uncountable number.

When confronted with a person who did us wrong, him asking to have mercy with him, how much mercy do we want to give?

In Jesus’ parable we find a servant who has experienced an audacious act of mercy and has been released from the bondage of his debt. Though his reaction to others who had debts to him is not in comparison. In this story the man goes looking for the debtor to threaten him. He laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying,

‘Pay me what you owe.’ (Matthew 18:28b)

This time we also find the fellow servant asking for forgiveness, using the exact same words as the unmerciful servant. He also asks for more time to raise the cash to pay the debt. This time the unmerciful servant is not willing to extend him additional time to pay. The debt may also been large, but not unmanageable as the debt of the one who asks to be paid back. As a reaction for not being paid back straight away the debtor is being put in the same prison in which the unmerciful servant was going to go if he had not been shown mercy by his master.

Have you thought about it how Jesus came to pay our debts? And can you imagine how his heavenly Father was willing to accept Jesus his ransom offering, so that we could be liberated of our debt to God?

You may perhaps not go around seeking to plot your revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but how would you react to those who have debts (in all sorts of ways) to you? For people who did wrong to you would you like to erase them from your memory, as if they never existed, and as such would think you do not have to forgive that person or that all matters would be set?

We should know that it is no healthy situation if we want to save ourselves trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, not having to carry around the pain of what a person did to hurt you.

The ones who want to call themselves Christian should be followers of Christ and try to have the same attitude as Christ. The way we act against people who did wrong against us is very important in the eyes of the Lord. Vengeance is a word and an act which should not be in our way of life. we should be careful not to let the ego and pride provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.

Today it seem a fashion to offend people or to point a finger at some one. We should know that nobody is perfect and as such people could do things to us we do not like. It also can well be that people will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time.

This parable should get us thinking about the attitude we want to take to others, who we think have wronged us.
It might not be easy but we we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, and should be humble enough to approach the other with love to forgive.

We live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.

Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

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