Questions From Readers
● What if a publisher refuses to stop associating with a disfellowshiped person? I do not mean a member of the same family and who must dwell in the same house, but one who insists that he can continue associating with the ousted one, perhaps saying the disfellowshiping action was wrong.—A. P., Cuba.
The apostle Paul says “to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.” (1 Cor. 5:11, NW) If a publisher refuses to do this and ignores the prohibition on associating with the disfellowshiped one, that publisher is rebelling against the congregation of Jehovah, and “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim.” By siding with the guilty one and breaking with the congregation over this issue, the publisher is causing a division. Paul says: “Keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and avoid them.”—1 Sam. 15:23, AS; Rom. 16:17, NW.
He should be strongly admonished, being impressed with the fact that by associating with the disfellowshiped one he is a companion of wickedness and that by his course of action he is dividing himself from the congregation to be with the wrongdoer. If after sufficient warning the publisher persists in associating with the disfellowshiped person instead of aligning himself with Jehovah’s organization he also should be disfellowshiped. By openly sympathizing with a disfellowshiped person the sympathizer makes it harder for the ousted one to appreciate his wrong and hinders this one’s deep repentance and ultimate reinstatement in the congregation. The rebellious course works hardship to both persons involved.