Do You View Others as Jehovah Does?
“There should be no division in the body . . . Its members should have the same care for one another.”—1 COR. 12:25.
1. How did you feel when you first entered the spiritual paradise?
WHEN we first came out of the wicked world and began associating with Jehovah’s people, we were likely delighted to experience the warm love and care that exist among them. What a contrast to the coarse, hateful, and contentious people under Satan’s control! We came into the spiritual paradise, which is filled with peace and unity.—Isa. 48:17, 18; 60:18; 65:25.
2. (a) What may affect our view of others? (b) What may we need to do?
2 As time passes, however, we might begin to look at our brothers through the distorted lens of imperfection. Our imperfection could cause us to magnify the faults of our brothers instead of looking at their overall spiritual qualities. Simply put, we forget to view them as Jehovah views them. If this happens to us, it is time to give attention to our view and bring it into line with Jehovah’s clear view.—Ex. 33:13.
How Jehovah Sees Our Brothers
3. To what does the Bible compare the Christian congregation?
3 As recorded at 1 Corinthians 12:2-26, the apostle Paul compared the congregation of anointed Christians to a body with “many members.” Just as body organs vary from one to the other, members of the congregation vary considerably as to their characteristics and abilities. Yet, Jehovah accepts this variety. He loves and appreciates each member. So, too, Paul advises us that the congregation’s members “should have the same care for one another.” This may be difficult because others’ personalities can differ from our own.
4. Why might we need to adjust our view of our brothers?
4 We may even be inclined to focus on our brothers’ weaknesses. In doing so, we are, in effect, using a camera with a lens that focuses on only a small area. Jehovah’s view, however, is through a wide-angle lens, which can take in a subject as well as its surroundings. We may tend to zoom in on something we do not like, whereas Jehovah sees the whole person, including all of an individual’s good qualities. The more we strive to become like Jehovah, the more we can contribute to the spirit of love and unity in the congregation.—Eph. 4:1-3; 5:1, 2.
5. Why is it inappropriate to judge others?
5 Jesus was keenly aware that imperfect humans often have a tendency to be judgmental. He counseled: “Stop judging that you may not be judged.” (Matt. 7:1) Notice that Jesus did not say: “Do not judge”; he said: “Stop judging.” He knew that many of his listeners were already in the habit of being critical of others. Could it be that we have developed such a habit? If we have that tendency, we ought to work hard to change, so that we are not adversely judged. Really, who are we to judge someone whom Jehovah is using in an appointed position or to say that he should not be part of the congregation? A brother may have some shortcomings, but if Jehovah continues to accept him, would it be proper for us to reject him? (John 6:44) Do we really believe that Jehovah is leading his congregated people and that if adjustments need to be made, he will take action in his due time?—Read Romans 14:1-4.
6. How does Jehovah view his servants?
6 A marvelous thing about Jehovah is that he can see in individual Christians what they have the potential to be once they reach perfection in the new world. He also knows what spiritual progress they have already made. Therefore, he has no reason to focus on each fleshly weakness. We read at Psalm 103:12: “As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset, so far off from us he has put our transgressions.” How thankful we can personally be for that!—Ps. 130:3.
7. What do we learn from Jehovah’s view of David?
7 We see evidence in the Scriptures that Jehovah has the outstanding ability to focus on the good in a person. God described David as “my servant David, who kept my commandments and who walked after me with all his heart by doing only what was right in my eyes.” (1 Ki. 14:8) Of course, we know that David did some things that were wrong. Still, Jehovah chose to focus on the good because he knew that David’s heart was upright.—1 Chron. 29:17.
See Your Brothers as Jehovah Does
8, 9. (a) In what way can we be like Jehovah? (b) How might this be illustrated, and with what lesson for us?
8 Jehovah can read hearts, while we cannot. This in itself is a good reason for us not to be judgmental. We do not know all of another person’s motives. We should try to imitate Jehovah by not fixing our attention on human imperfections, which will eventually disappear. Would it not be a fine goal to be like him in this regard? Our doing so will contribute much toward peaceful relationships with our brothers and sisters.—Eph. 4:23, 24.
9 To illustrate, think of a house that is run-down—the gutters are falling off, windows are broken, and ceiling panels are water damaged. Most people might look at that house and conclude that it should be torn down; it is an eyesore. But someone who has a completely different view might come along. He may be able to look beyond the surface problems and see that the structure is sound and that the house can be restored. He buys the house and with some work fixes the surface defects and improves its appearance. Thereafter, passersby comment on what a delightful home it is. Can we be like this person who worked to fix up or restore the house? Rather than focusing on our brothers’ surface defects, can we discern their good qualities and their potential for further spiritual growth? If we do so, we will come to love our brothers for their spiritual beauty, as Jehovah does.—Read Hebrews 6:10.
10. How can the advice found at Philippians 2:3, 4 help us?
10 The apostle Paul gave some advice that can help us in our relationships with all in the congregation. He urged Christians: “[Do] nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind considering that the others are superior to you, keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just your own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others.” (Phil. 2:3, 4) Humility will help us to have the proper view of others. Displaying personal interest in others and looking for the good in them will also help us to view them as Jehovah does.
11. What changes have affected some congregations?
11 In recent times, global developments have resulted in vast movements of people. Some cities are now inhabited by people from many different lands. Some of the people new to our area have become interested in Bible truth, and they have joined us in worshipping Jehovah. These are “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Rev. 7:9) As a result, many of our congregations have in a sense become more international.
12. What view of one another do we need to maintain, and why might this be a challenge at times?
12 In our congregation, we may need to pay more attention to maintaining a proper view of one another. That calls for bearing in mind the apostle Peter’s counsel to manifest “unhypocritical brotherly affection” and to “love one another intensely from the heart.” (1 Pet. 1:22) Cultivating genuine love and affection can be a challenge in a multinational setting. Our fellow worshippers’ culture may vary considerably from our own, as may their educational, economic, and ethnic background. Do you find it a challenge to understand the thinking or reactions of some? They may feel the same way about you. Nonetheless, all of us are instructed: “Have love for the whole association of brothers.”—1 Pet. 2:17.
13. What adjustments in our thinking may we need to make?
13 It may be necessary to make some adjustments in our thinking so as to widen out in our love for all our brothers. (Read 2 Corinthians 6:12, 13.) Do we ever catch ourselves saying something like “I am not prejudiced, but . . . ” and then recounting some negative characteristics that we consider to be common among members of a certain ethnic group? Such feelings may reveal the need for us to rid ourselves of prejudice that we still harbor deep down. We might ask ourselves, ‘Do I make a regular effort to get to know people of a culture different from my own?’ Such self-examination may help us make improvements in accepting and appreciating our international brotherhood.
14, 15. (a) Give examples of those who adjusted their view of others. (b) How can we imitate them?
14 The Bible gives us fine examples of those who did adjust, one of whom was the apostle Peter. As a Jew, Peter would have avoided entering a Gentile’s home. Just imagine how he felt when he was asked to visit the home of the uncircumcised Gentile Cornelius! Peter made adjustments, perceiving that it was God’s will that people of all nations become part of the Christian congregation. (Acts 10:9-35) Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, also had to make changes and rid himself of prejudice. He admitted that he had so hated the Christians that “to the point of excess [he] kept on persecuting the congregation of God and devastating it.” Still, when the Lord Jesus corrected Paul, he made big changes and even began to accept direction from those whom he formerly persecuted.—Gal. 1:13-20.
15 There is no doubt that we can make adjustments in our attitude with the help of Jehovah’s spirit. If we find that there are hidden traces of prejudice in us, let us work to root them out and to “observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3-6) The Bible encourages us to “clothe [ourselves] with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Col. 3:14.
Imitating Jehovah in Our Ministry
16. What is God’s will regarding people?
16 “There is no partiality with God,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Rom. 2:11) It is Jehovah’s purpose to include people of all nations in his arrangement for worship. (Read 1 Timothy 2:3, 4.) To that end, he has arranged for “everlasting good news” to be declared “to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” (Rev. 14:6) Jesus said: “The field is the world.” (Matt. 13:38) What significance does that have for you and your immediate family?
17. How can we help all sorts of people?
17 Not all are able to go to distant parts of the world to take the Kingdom message to others. Nevertheless, we may well be in a position to take this message to people from all parts of the earth who live in our territory. Are we alert to opportunities to witness to all sorts of people, not just those to whom we have preached for years? Why not make it your determination to reach out to others who have not yet received a thorough witness?—Rom. 15:20, 21.
18. Jesus manifested what concern for people?
18 Jesus keenly felt the need to help all. He did not preach in just one area. One Bible account tells us that he “set out on a tour of all the cities and villages.” And then, “on seeing the crowds he felt pity for them” and expressed the need to help them.—Matt. 9:35-37.
19, 20. What are some ways in which we can reflect the concern that Jehovah and Jesus have for all sorts of people?
19 What are some ways in which you can display a similar attitude? Some have made it a point to witness in parts of their territory that have not been covered frequently. This may include business districts, parks, transportation terminals, or in front of residential buildings that are not easily accessible. Others have made the effort to learn a new language so as to preach to certain ethnic groups that now live in their area or to groups that have not frequently been witnessed to in the past. Learning how to greet those people in their native tongue may go a long way toward showing how interested you are in their welfare. If we are not in a position to learn another language, can we encourage those who are doing that? Certainly we would not want to be negative or question why others are making such an effort to preach to people from another country. All lives are precious in God’s eyes, and we want to view things in the same way.—Col. 3:10, 11.
20 Having God’s view of people also means preaching to all, regardless of their circumstances. Some may be homeless, unkempt, or obviously living an immoral life. If certain individuals treat us unkindly, that should not cause us to form negative opinions about their nationality or ethnic group as a whole. Paul was treated badly by some, but he did not allow that to cause him to give up preaching to people of that background. (Acts 14:5-7, 19-22) He trusted that some individuals would respond appreciatively.
21. How will having Jehovah’s view of others help you?
21 It is now clearer than ever that having a proper view—Jehovah’s view—is needed in our dealings with our local brothers, our international brotherhood, and people in the field. The closer we can come to reflecting Jehovah’s view, the more we will be a force for peace and unity. And we will be in a better position to help others appreciate Jehovah, the God who “has not shown partiality” but who displays loving interest in all, “for all of them are the work of his hands.”—Job 34:19.
Can You Answer?
• What view of our brothers should we strive to avoid?
• How can we imitate Jehovah in how we view our brothers?
• What lessons did you learn about our view of our international brotherhood?
• How can we imitate Jehovah’s view of people when we are in the ministry?
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How can you get to know people of other cultures?
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In what ways can you reach more people with the good news?