A GROUP of young Christians decide to go and see a movie. They had heard that many of their peers at school had really enjoyed it. When they get to the theater, they look at the posters and see powerful weapons and scantily clad women. What will they do? Will they go into the theater and see the movie anyway?
This situation illustrates that we face a number of decisions that may affect
When Changing Your Mind Is Inappropriate
Our love for Jehovah moved us to dedicate our life to him and get baptized. It is our heartfelt desire to remain faithful to God. However, our enemy Satan the Devil is determined to break our integrity. (Rev. 12:17) We have made the decision to serve Jehovah and observe his commandments. With respect to our dedication to Jehovah, how sad it would be to change our mind! It could cost us our life.
More than 26 centuries ago, Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar set up an enormous image of gold and decreed that all fall down and worship it. Any who failed to do so would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Three God-fearing worshippers of Jehovah
Later, the prophet Daniel persevered in prayer, despite the threat of being thrown into the lions’ pit. Yes, he stuck to his practice of offering prayer to Jehovah three times a day. Daniel did not change in his determination to worship the true God. As a result, the prophet was saved “from the paw of the lions.”
God’s modern-day servants also live up to their dedication to him. At a school in Africa, a group of students who are Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to participate in a ceremony to worship a national symbol. They were threatened with expulsion from school if they would not participate along with the other students. Shortly afterward, the minister of education visited the town and talked to some of the Witness students. Politely but fearlessly these young Witnesses explained their stand. Since then, the issue has not been raised again. Young brothers and sisters are able to go to school without being pressured to compromise their relationship with Jehovah.
Consider also Joseph, whose wife suffered from cancer and suddenly passed away. Joseph’s family understood and respected his wishes on funeral rites. However, his wife’s family are not in the truth, and they wanted certain burial customs performed, including rites that are displeasing to God. Joseph relates: “When I would not compromise, they endeavored to influence my children, who remained resolute. The relatives also tried to organize a wake at my home as is the custom, but I told them that if they insisted on having a wake, it would not be at my home. They knew that a wake would not be in harmony with my beliefs nor those my wife had had, so after much discussion they held it at another location.
“During this difficult time of mourning, I supplicated Jehovah for help so that our family would not break his laws. He heard my prayers and helped us to remain firm despite the pressure.” For Joseph and his children, changing their mind with regard to their worship was not an option.
When Changing Your Mind May Be an Option
Not long after Passover of 32 C.E., a Syrophoenician woman approached Jesus Christ in the area of Sidon. She repeatedly asked him to expel a demon from her daughter. At first, Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. He told his disciples: “I was not sent to anyone except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” When she persisted, Jesus said: “It is not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to the little dogs.” Demonstrating great faith, she replied: “Yes, Lord, but really the little dogs do eat of the crumbs falling from the table of their masters.” Jesus acceded to her request and healed her daughter.
Doing that, Jesus was imitating Jehovah in showing a willingness to change when the situation allows for such action. For example, God intended to exterminate the Israelites when they made a golden calf, but he let Moses entreat Him to reconsider His decision.
The apostle Paul imitated Jehovah and Jesus. For a time, Paul felt that it was not appropriate to take John Mark along on their missionary trips because he had abandoned Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary trip. Later, though, Paul evidently recognized that Mark had applied himself and would be a valuable asset to him. So Paul said to Timothy: “Bring Mark along with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry.”
What about us? In imitating our merciful, patient, and loving heavenly Father, we may find it appropriate to change our mind. For example, we may alter our opinion of others. Unlike Jehovah and Jesus, we are imperfect. If they were willing to change, could we not take into consideration extenuating circumstances of others and perhaps change our mind?
Changing our mind may be a good option when considering theocratic goals. Some who are studying the Bible and who have been attending congregation meetings for a while may put off getting baptized. Or some brothers may hesitate to enter the pioneer service, even though they are in a position to expand their ministry in that way. And certain brothers seem disinclined to reach out for congregation responsibilities. (1 Tim. 3:1) Can you personally identify with one of those cases? Jehovah lovingly invites you to experience such privileges. So why not change your thinking and share in the joy of giving of yourself to God and to others?
Ella says about her service at a branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Africa: “When I first came to Bethel, I did not know if I would stay long. I had the desire to serve Jehovah whole-souled, but I also felt very attached to my family. At first, I missed my family so much! Yet, my roommate encouraged me, so I decided to stay. After spending ten years at Bethel, I feel that I want to continue as long as possible serving my brothers and sisters by remaining in my Bethel assignment.”
When Changing Your Mind Is a Must
Do you remember what happened to Cain when he became jealous of his brother and grew hot with anger? God told this sullen man that he would be restored to favor if he would simply turn to doing good. God counseled Cain to get the mastery over the sin that was “crouching at the door.” Cain could have changed his attitude and his mind, but he chose to ignore God’s counsel. Sadly, Cain killed his brother and became the first human murderer!
Consider also the example of King Uzziah. At first, he was doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes and continually searched for God. Sadly, though, Uzziah spoiled his good record by becoming haughty. He entered the temple to offer incense, though he was not a priest. When the priests warned him not to commit this presumptuous act, did he change his mind? No. Uzziah “became enraged” and ignored their warning. As a result, Jehovah struck him with leprosy.
Yes, there are times when we absolutely should change our mind. Here is a modern-day example. Joachim was baptized in 1955, but in 1978 he was disfellowshipped. Over 20 years later, he had a repentant attitude and he was reinstated as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Recently, an elder asked him why he waited so long before applying for reinstatement. Joachim replied: “I was both angry and proud. I do regret that I waited so long. While I was disfellowshipped, I knew that Jehovah’s Witnesses taught the truth.” He needed to change his attitude and repent.
We may find ourselves in a situation that requires that we change our mind and our course. May we be willing to do so in order to be pleasing in Jehovah’s eyes.