This article was first published July 13, 2013 and has been updated.
Friends, we are the happiest people on earth because of true worship, and this includes the practice of shunning our closest loved ones. The world tries to shame us because of our loyalty. Apostates feed the persecution by presenting facts about the damage shunning inflicts. They make Youtube videos, write blogs, and tweet about their so-called pain. We must resist the facts and see this through the eyes of the Society and Jehovah. If we do not reject those that leave Jehovah, they may present us with information that could stumble us.
Sadly, some True Christians have felt ashamed of this important aspect of our spirituality. This is to be expected. Some also felt ashamed that Charles Taze Russel based the 1914 prophecy on pyramid measurements. However, this shame was replaced with joy when the prophecy turned out to be biblically and historically accurate. So we see how having faith in Jehovah’s Organization, even when it’s uncomfortable, will always turn out well.
Jehovah’s Trumpet asked three faithful servants of Jehovah how they find joy and pride in shunning. Sister Link tells us about her mother:
I found it very difficult to shun my mother at first. My sister was no help. She was never baptized so she disobediently chose not to shun our mother. She often tried to shame me by reminding me of all the sacrifices our mother had made for us. She would bring up fond memories of our childhood, and I admit, it pulled at my misdirected heart strings. How could I both honor my mother and shun her?
I spoke to the elders and made it a matter of prayer. I came to understand that my sister did not understand love and loyalty, and she was twisting things to make me look like an unappreciative and unloving daughter. The elders assured me that the best way I could prove my love for my mother was to completely reject her along with her wicked course. So I resolved in my heart that I would not make one unnecessary phone call, write one letter, or share one meal with my mother. It was a great relief. Sometimes the hardest part is just making the wholehearted decision to be obedient.
You are a fine example for the Friends, Sister Link. How did Jehovah bless your efforts?
Soon after I firmly decided to be obedient to Jehovah by rejecting my mother, the opportunity to pioneer opened up. Clearly, Jehovah was rewarding me for passing this very difficult test. I’m proud to say that I shunned my mother for the next 20 years and didn’t even speak to her while she was dying. Shunning her proved to be a protection in the end. As my mother’s health failed, my godless sister had to disrupt her own life to care for our mother. I was not obligated to do so and was able to continue pioneering through the entire process.
May we all endeavor to show faith like Sister Link. Now, consider Brother Thomas’s example. He showed similar faith when he evicted his disfellowshiped, pregnant daughter from his home:
It was a difficult decision. I always had a special bond with my daughter, and I felt unnaturally protective of her. This wasn’t my first test, but they don’t get easier. Five years previously, she had come to me with allegations that a Ministerial Servant had touched her inappropriately. We immediately went to the elders, but we didn’t have two witnesses. I confess, I wanted to punch the brother in the face, but Jehovah’s laws never hurts us. I resolved in my heart to leave it in Jehovah’s hands. Unfortunately, my daughter couldn’t seem to move past it. I counseled her often on the rage she displayed when she would come in contact with that brother, but I couldn’t reach her heart. When he was appointed as an elder, she began a course of rebelliousness that culminated in her unwed pregnancy.
I wanted to care for her because she was not fully prepared to live on her own, but I also had to be an example to my wife, son and the congregation. So I made her leave. I was further tested when I got word that she was homeless for a time, but I remained firm. I never forgot that I had the responsibility of teaching my son how to be a good father.
It’s been some years, and I’m proud to say that I have never met my worldly son-in-law or either of my two grandchildren. My daughter stubbornly refuses to allow her mother and me to visit her children unless we also visit her. It devastates both of us that she can be so unreasonable and disrespectful to us, but Jehovah gives us strength.
Satan has tested you severely, Brother Thomas, but you persevered. We are certain that Jehovah will bless your faithfulness.
He already has in many ways. Recently, I heard through worldly family that my daughter and her husband experienced great financial difficulty. They had to go to her worldly in-laws for help. If my wife and I had not resolved to completely reject our daughter, she may have come to us. We had vowed to make a particular monthly contribution at the Kingdom Hall, and helping our daughter may have endangered that vow. However, Jehovah provides and following his laws makes us happy.
The entire Thomas family is to be commended. Allow us now to pay rapt attention as Sister Starly tells us how shunning her sister makes her joyful.
My sister and I were always close. She was my best friend. There weren’t many children in our Kingdom Hall, so there were times when she was my only friend. When she got disfellowshiped, I thought I would die. At first, I didn’t display the best faith. I would make eye contact with her, and I friended her on Facebook. Then I attended the “God’s Word is Truth” convention, where one talk explained that shunning was a question of loyalty to Jehovah. I resolved in my heart to be loyal to the Society. I wrote my sister one final message and informed her that this would be our last communication until she returned to Jehovah. I missed her dearly, but the talk at the convention assured me that I was not alone.
That was a fine display of Christian love and loyalty, Sister Starly. What kind of joy has your resolve brought you?
I admit, it’s difficult to maintain my joy at times. My sister was diagnosed with cancer, and I was tempted to talk to her when she left a voice mail message crying that she needed my support through this trying time. My heart hurt, and I almost called her. I actually had the phone in my hand, but I prayed to Jehovah. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t betray Jehovah. I do hope she recovers, but if she dies then at least she may qualify for the resurrection. If she is still disfellowshiped and alive when Armageddon comes then I would lose her forever. So I’m proud to say that even when strongly tempted, I stayed loyal to Jehovah.
Friends, our dear Brothers and Sisters are proof that following Jehovah’s laws makes us happy and proud. The world may judge us and try to shame us for our righteous stand, but this will not deter us. We see their broken families and know that they marvel at the strength of our own. Jesus warns us if we are ashamed of him, he will be ashamed of us. So let us resolve in our hearts to be proud to obey. Let us hold up our heads and shun.