Did you ever have Jehovah Witnesses come knocking on your door?
I still remember the days when my country was officially Communist, i.e. religion was all about Stalin, Lenin, and other weirdos. There were still quite a number of Orthodox Churches all over the city (there used to be over 400 Churches in Kyiv alone… a lot were destroyed during wars and communist times, but there are a lot that remain) but they were used as museums. I am thankful that I did not have to spend much time in the USSR (it fell apart when I was 6), but I remember those days.
I also remember the time after the USSR.
The people were so hungry for the Word and for the meaning in life that they eagerly swallowed whatever came their way. LDS, Witnesses, whatnot. Of course, there were a lot of real Christian missionaries who were finally allowed to legally come over and preach God’s message (and I came to Church because of a missionary couple who came to Kyiv), but still… I guess the best analogy is starving someone for a long period of time and then offering them an entire table laden with food. Some food is junk, some food is good, but when you are hungry, even potato chips taste heavenly.
One of the sects that was quite active in CIS was called White Brotherhood. I was in the first grade when they started their propaganda and if I close my eyes even now, I can still easily recall the posters that were everywhere – trams, trolleybusses, lamp posts, apartment buildings’ walls, fences… everywhere. Maria Devi Christos was the name of their “prophetess”… She was supposed to be the incarnation of Christ.
About the same time, Mormons (sometimes I am tempted to omit the second “m” in that word) and Jehovah Witnesses got their plans laid out. It is funny, they approached me only once and my mom they avoid – she always complains that she wishes they would walk up to her and she will talk to them, but they disappear when she comes closer. (For those who don’t know – my mom’s a pastor.)
Just like in that analogy with food, after a while people got tired of the sight of food and taste of the junk food. And decided that starvation is sometimes better.
I know Ukraine is not unique in this, but it stinks to talk to people about Christ (or mention that you go to Church) and have them roll their eyes at you. I can easily imagine what goes on in their mind: “Ah, one of ‘those’ who can’t do anything.” If I will ever need a proof that Satan exists, pointing out the perverted image of Christ’s bride in the minds of people should be a good enough evidence.
At the study group today, our leader mentioned the passage about Jesus knocking on the doors of our lives.
Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
Revelation 3:20, NLT
One of the biggest problem of Christianity these days is bad reputation that we’re continuously given by people who think they got it “under control” – to mention just one – think of Westboro… To be honest, if I would’ve heard the Gospel from them first, I would’ve agreed with the phrase “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians.” That might be just me – whenever someone who has not earned my respect yet tries to persuade me in something, I often do exactly the opposite. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. (I always joke that if only someone hadn’t told me that Harry Potter is an anti-Christian book, I might have never considered reading it.)
Anyway, back to the passage in Revelation…
Discernment is a very important thing and I need to practice it so it becomes more accurate.
I re-read this verse a few times and wondered… How often do I disregard a knock on my door just because I think it’s someone with whom I don’t want to talk? How often do I not pay attention to something just because I assume that it’s not important?
How often do I miss Jesus knocking on my door just because I think it’s just another Jehovah Witness?