They Began Pursuing Peace
THE Bible counsels: “Seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Pet. 3:11) That inspired advice is possible to follow even in this age of violence. Each year tens of thousands of persons are beginning to do so. Many of these at one time were unable to control their temper. Their family life was marred by violent quarrels. Some felt that they should resort to violence to end social evils. Why did such persons change their attitude and begin pursuing peace? It was their study of God’s Word with Jehovah’s Christian witnesses and applying the things learned that made the difference.
● In the British Isles an Irish Catholic woman had a serious marital problem. Wanting help, she sought advice from a neighbor lady, one of Jehovah’s witnesses. The Witness presented to her a Bible study aid, directing her attention to a chapter entitled “Building a Happy Family Life.” The woman was so impressed with the information that she encouraged her husband to read it. “If the book is so good on this subject, it must be on others,” he commented. So he started on the chapter entitled “Where Are the Dead?”
When the Witness called, he exclaimed: “The dead are dead! Wait till I see that Catholic priest.” Both the man and his wife agreed to study the Bible. Soon they asked about attending the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. They came to the congregation’s study of the “Watchtower” magazine. At the time the Scriptural discussion was about self-control and dealt with drunkenness. Although both were in the habit of getting drunk on Saturday night, they thoroughly enjoyed the study.
The next Saturday the husband decided not to go out drinking but took his wife and family to the park. This was the first time in years that they had done this. He also stayed home that Saturday night.
Eventually he gave up certain underhanded business he had engaged in. Yet he found that he was not short of funds, for he had stopped his expensive heavy drinking. Before long both the man and his wife were baptized as Jehovah’s witnesses. Their family in Ireland was shocked to hear this. The Irish mother wrote: “Go and confess your terrible sin to the priest and burn your Bible.” She told of a Catholic woman who had “become a Protestant and died of cancer the same year.” “And,” she warned, “Protestants aren’t half as bad as Jehovah’s witnesses.” But the man and his wife continued steadfast. They are delighted that a study of the Bible aided them to gain a peaceful family relationship.
● A Witness from a Central American country writes: “While waiting for the lady of the house to get ready for her Bible study, I talked to the maid. The maid told me that her son badly mistreated his wife, even kicking and beating her for not heating the tortillas or beans properly. I suggested that she give her daughter-in-law one of our Bible study books and the ‘Watchtower’ magazine containing the articles ‘Why the Unhappiness in Family Life?’ and ‘Enjoying Real Happiness in Family Life.’
“Three days later I met the daughter-in-law. She said, ‘I am so happy to see you, because my husband read the book and wants to talk to you.’ I visited him on Sunday and answered questions from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. He had read the book through twice. The following week a study was begun with him.” What was the result?
He made a remarkable change. Within three weeks he was telling others what he had learned and completely stopped fighting with his wife and mother.
● One of Jehovah’s witnesses tells about his attitude before he began studying the Bible in Chicago, Illinois: “I had so much hate built up inside of me that I really wanted to fight against what I then called ‘the establishment.’ I was ready and willing to join some movement to bring about a change by violent means. I kept loaded guns to prove it.” But what prompted this man to begin pursuing peace?
He continues: “When first called on by a Witness, I was just being polite when I listened. I told him what I intended to do soon because of all the wickedness in our society. He explained to me that, even if I were to blow up a building or two and kill a few people, eventually I would be killed or put in jail and nothing really would be accomplished. Things would still be the same no matter who was in power in this system of things. Then I began to see just how small and insignificant I really was. When the Witness showed me a book that explained the answer to the question, ‘Why has God permitted wickedness until our day?’ and we read together in the Bible just what God purposes to do about the situation, I really got to thinking.
“I never realized that the Bible promised that God would put an end to wickedness in due time. In fact, up to that time I had never read the Bible.”
After this initial conversation with one of Jehovah’s witnesses, this man made fine progress in his understanding of Bible truth. Soon he began helping others to see that God’s kingdom, not human attempts at violent overthrow of existing governments, is the means by which all injustices will come to an end.
● A witness of Jehovah from El Salvador relates: “My wife left a Bible study aid with an interested woman in a store. A return visit produced little in the way of results, as the woman was busy with the store. But she said that she wanted her husband to study the Bible so that he would change his ways. Therefore I decided to visit the man.
“When I called, he was taking a bath. His wife said that, if I would wait just a few minutes, I could talk to him. An hour later I was still waiting. She finally told me that he had disappeared. This left me quite discouraged, and I told myself that I wasn’t going back. But a short time later, by chance, I saw the man in the patio in front of his store. He was friendly and showed a sincere interest in the Bible.
“Some time thereafter a Bible study was finally started. But it was not held regularly. Most of the time the man was away. Finally I told him that he had to decide, Was the store his god or did he want to worship the true God, Jehovah? From then on the study was conducted regularly.”
Then his four children began studying the Bible with the aid of the book “From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained.” Feeling left out, the woman also wanted to study. The Witness writes: “My wife started a study with her another day when the husband could take care of the store.”
Progress was rapid, especially in the case of the children. The whole family began to come to the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. But there were still problems that had to be overcome. Although living together for some twenty years, both the man and the woman were legally bound to other mates. Also, the man had been a drunkard and had engaged in other bad practices. His Saturday night sprees were the scandal of the little town. He would stand in the street without a shirt on and fire his pistol into the air. He viewed his pistol as his best friend and always carried it with him. Even when he began going to the Kingdom Hall, he would always carry the pistol in his briefcase. Later, however, his conscience began to bother him and he began leaving the pistol at home.
In time, because of applying what he was learning from the Bible, this man began to taper off in his drinking habits. He also began to make an effort to control his temper and to avoid violence.
After over two years and, at great expense, they were finally able to legalize their marriage. The man disposed of his “best friend,” the pistol. And both he and his wife as well as two of their children became dedicated, baptized witnesses of Jehovah. The two younger children are also sharing Bible truth with others.
In their town, the members of this family were the first to accept the Bible’s message as proclaimed by Jehovah’s witnesses. Now there are many other Witnesses in the area. About sixty persons regularly attend the Bible study conducted there with the aid of the “Watchtower” magazine.
Truly the Bible can help people to cultivate self-control, remove hatred from their hearts and get along peacefully with others. If it is your desire to improve your relationship with others, and particularly with the “God of peace,” Jehovah’s witnesses will be glad to aid you with a study of the Holy Bible.