It took me a while to get it right. I first had to let go of anger and bitterness. You know when the very people who are supposed to love you unconditionally don’t, it kind of messes you up.
I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and decided that way of life was not for me, and subsequently went through their process of disfellowshipping. Going through the pain of family members withdrawing from my life, personal struggles and their rejection had an emotional impact on my life which was draining at times.
Eventually though I took a hard look at myself. I stopped lying to myself and I stopped listening to the lies about myself.
I learned to separate Yahweh from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They ARE separate.
I began to read God’s Word again. I didn’t just listen to others read it or read from a translation that I was told was only the correct one. I actually went and looked at Bibles, picked out a Bible that I liked, and started reading it. Wow, was it an eye-opener, I saw stuff that I had not seen before. (If you are a JW – I encourage you to read translations other than the one from the Watchtower Society. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes while you read.)
I questioned everything I had been told. God welcomes questions! (Don’t take a book or a minister’s word for it – look it up!)
I understood grace. I understood Jesus.
I confessed my sins to the only One that matters. I realized my family members are just as much sinners as I am. “If we say we do not sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
Yes, I’ve screwed up in the past (and as a sinner I’ll screw up again), however, if my family did not, nor does not want to acknowledge I live a changed life, their opinion, nor their continued rejection does not matter, if it means their acceptance would mean displeasing the One that I sinned against. He has blessed me with a husband, his family, any family members that still communicate with me, and with friends to help fill any void that I might feel when I miss any relationship that I might have had with my father, sister and brother.
I could forgive myself, because I was/am forgiven.
I forgave my family for rejecting me. For shutting me out of their lives. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone their actions. It doesn’t even mean you’ll forget their actions.
Sometimes I need to repeat some steps over. I get stuck or find some issues come up for me again ( when my kids are ignored, I particularly need to come back to the forgiveness). It wasn’t always an easy process to deprogram some messages and Bible verses that have been taken out of context or have actually been mistranslated by the Watchtower to support their messages and doctrines. However, as the years have passed and the more time I spend reading God’s Word the less I can recall them.
I don’t want to define and label myself as an “Ex-JW” anymore than I want the witnesses to label me as a disfellowshipped one. There is sooo much more to me. Time to time, you’ll see me blog about my experiences. Walking through that valley, I’ve learned much. When I was a JW, I struggled with their beliefs. I never felt good enough. That “you’ll never be good enough” is something that haunted me a long time, and full disclosure here, Satan likes to try to play that card now and than to see if it still works.
When I tell my story, it is because I want to help others find the same JOY I’ve found in coming to know Jesus’ perfect redeeming love. Being loved, unconditionally, JUST AS YOU ARE no matter what anyone thinks, no matter what. I’m someone who learned the meaning of grace.
Wondering about it all? This video is worth 15 minutes of your time to stop and think about.