21 Jun 2010

When they come calling

The Jehovah's Witnesses came visiting this morning. They come regularly to our Peaceful Home, and recognising one of them, I opened the door before they knocked. Nicely dressed, pleasant youngish ladies, they seemed overwhelmed with gratitude.

The one I recognised asked me how I was and told me she had enjoyed the discussion we had had during her last visit. I looked politely blank. "Just after Easter," she supplied, helpfully. "We talked about why people liked Easter but didn't like talking about Jesus," she added. "Ah yes," I replied.

If felt awkward and embarrassed, wondering how I could get rid of them but wanting to show them some gracious Christian hospitality at the same time. Hah! Hospitality! What a laugh! I didn't even ask them inside the door, holding the wire door open with one hand and with the other pushing the curious Jemimah back behind the door so they didn't see her. Why, I idly wondered, am I doing that?

They handed me a copy of The Watchtower, and another publication called Awake. "Thank you," I said as I took them, knowing full well that they would go into the recycling as soon as the door was closed. They turned my attention to an article on the 'demise of limbo' in the Catholic Church. "Yes, I had heard that the Catholic Church had changed its mind about that," I said, politely and non-commitally. I waited, curious to discover whether they would raise any theological argument, but they didn't. They never do. Neither do I.

Outside I was chatty and smiling. Inside I felt...well, what did I feel?

I felt admiring. When the Jehovah's Witnesses proselytise, they are putting into action Jesus' commands to make disciples of all nations Matt 28:19-20 . I dare say they don't like it much when people are rude to them and shut the door in their faces. I wouldn't....I don't. That's why I try to be hospitable and kind.

I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. I didn't like the fact that they knew that I homeschool and was likely to be at home when they called. I resented the intrusion.

I felt myself torn between a desire to evangelise the evangelists and get into a long protracted argument that would get me nowhere, and the greater desire to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

I felt inadequate to the task of countering their false arguments. I know what JW's believe, but I don't know well enough the Biblical passages with which to counter them. I felt unprepared and unready to defend my beliefs.

I felt relieved when they left and were gone.

What should I have done when these ladies knocked at my door? What should I do next time - and there will be a next time? What do you do?

My incredibly knowledgeable and Godly grandmother used to attempt to out argue the pair that visited her home. They just argued louder. They came back armed with more literature and more ammunition and stayed a few hours. When that didn't work they came back again with the 'heavies'. They came again and again. My grandmother was 95 at the time. Eventually my uncle had to go and ask them to go away. She achieved nothing except alot of wasted time.

Maybe next time I should crawl under the sofa and pretend I'm not home.

What do you think?


  1. I have encountered JW's a lot over the years, I worked for a family of JW's in a gourmet cafe and we got along really well, but one thing I never do is invite them into my abode...NEVER!

    I have chatted with them outside and argued the fact that Jesus is God and NOT Lucifers brother. David on the other hand has so much knowledge and an excellent gift of talking with the JW's, but he never goes over board!

    I believe it's the right thing to be kind and friendly just like you would to any body else! x

  2. I think it was very Christian like of you to be hospitable (even in a stand-offish way :) that is one of the ways you can give witness that you are a Christian.
    I grew up a Jehovah's Witness, though I am not one now. I do not believe what they believe but it always bothers me when I hear people joke about them. I am very pleased with your post.
    One thing that you can do if you truly do not wish them to come to your door any more is to plainly state that fact. They are very kind when it comes to not 'harassing' people that do not want to have them knock on their doors.
    Of course, I suppose, if you sofa is large enough to hide under...you could always do that ;)

  3. It always makes me smile when I hear about one belief going up against another. Who really knows which one is right or wrong anyway? Next time they come, tell them you have different beliefs and just chat about the weather perhaps. :)

  4. I usually receive them with kindness (albeit just at the door) because they are people that Jesus died for just like me...however I don't enter into theological discussions other than saying I am a christian and yes I take their magazine and it goes into the recycling bin too:) If I have time I try to "sow" a seed into them depending on what God gives me to say at the time. So, my response to their visits varies each time.
    Years ago I spent several weeks with some lovely JW ladies in my home. They thought I was keen to learn and were trying to convert me but really I wanted to just share some of what I knew with them ...eventually we had to end our weekly visits as it was going nowhere.

  5. Head for the sofa!! :)

    OK...well maybe not every time, but certainly sometimes! Last year I was in the exact same predicament as you describe - I was friendly and chatty, they learned that I homeschool, they'd give me their literature and I'd toss it when they left, and they came MORE frequently and ALWAYS at lunch time when they knew I'd be home. In the end I had to ask them very bluntly not to come so often (that was after 2 visits in the one week!). That didn't work and it took my hubby to growl at them one Saturday before they got the message. And yes, I do feel guilty about it, but mostly relieved!


  6. I think it is rude & an invasion of privacy to have someone knock on your door for the specific purpose of proselysing ~ & not something you find in scripture. If I am feeling polite I tell them we have our own beliefs, not to bother again & I won't take their literature. A tree died for that rubbish. BTW, it is NOT discipling. Discipling is something quite different, so don't feel guilty. It's your home. Why should you hide under the couch? Just don't open the door.

  7. You are much nicer than my brother was when the JW came to his door. I understand from a friend who's parent still live in that neighborhood that they've never been back!

  8. P.S. Very fun little book: "I'm Perfect, You're Doomed"--I read it a while back about growing up in the the JW.

  9. So brave of you to share this! I feel very similar to you when they come knocking. I do admire that the JWs evangelize door-to-door, not easy. I wish I had enough knowledge to debate them.

  10. I feel the same way. I want to nice to them, but it's like feeding a stray dog, if you do they just keep coming back!

  11. I invited our first JW in, she did keep coming back, and always with a friend, but our discussions were always challenging. In the end I asked her to come back when my husband was there to discuss the Trinity. She did with a friend, and we talked a long time that night. In the end we agreed that we disagreed, basically. When she left that night, she said that there would be more JW's coming and just to tell them that we had talked to her for a length of time and the conclusion we'd come to. So that's what I say now, and that seems to satisfy them and off they go once again.

    I've been reading this book recently, which does a great job of explaining the depth of the triune God. I've honestly thought about buying a few and giving them material to read as they hand me material to read...but that would be asking for more visits wouldn't it. How committed am I to my call to make disciples of all nations? Not sure.

  12. I am never rude but I don't invite them in my home. 2 John 1:10 :)


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