God Is Not Partial
“God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—ACTS 10:34, 35.
1. In ancient Athens, what important statement did Paul make concerning race?
“GOD who made the world and all that is in it, being Lord of both Heaven and earth, does not live in man-made temples . . . From one ancestor he has created every race of men to live over the face of the whole earth.” (Acts 17:24-26, Phillips) Who spoke those words? The Christian apostle Paul, during his famous speech on Mars’ Hill, or the Areopagus, in Athens, Greece.
2. What helps to make life colorful and interesting, and with what was one Japanese visitor to South Africa impressed?
2 Paul’s statement may well make us think about the wonderful variety that exists in creation. Jehovah God created humans, animals, birds, insects, and plants of so many different kinds. How dull life would be if they were all alike! Their variety helps to make life colorful and interesting. For example, a visitor from Japan attending a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in South Africa was impressed with the diversity of race and color he observed there. He remarked how different it is in Japan, where the vast majority have the same racial characteristics.
3. How do some view a different skin color, giving rise to what?
3 But diversity of color among the races often causes serious problems. Many consider those of a different skin color to be inferior. This gives rise to animosity, even hatred and the scourge of racial prejudice. Did our Creator intend this? Are some races superior in his eyes? Is Jehovah partial?
4-6. (a) What did King Jehoshaphat say about partiality? (b) How did both Moses and Paul confirm Jehoshaphat’s statement? (c) What questions may some raise?
4 We can get some idea of our Creator’s view of all mankind by stepping back in history. King Jehoshaphat, who ruled Judah from 936 to 911 B.C.E., made many improvements and arranged for the proper functioning of the judicial system based on divine law. He gave this fine counsel to the judges: “See what you are doing, because it is not for man that you judge but it is for Jehovah . . . Be careful and act, for with Jehovah our God there is no unrighteousness or partiality.”—2 Chronicles 19:6, 7.
5 Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Moses had told the tribes of Israel: “Jehovah your God . . . treats none with partiality.” (Deuteronomy 10:17) And in his letter to the Romans, Paul admonished: “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who is an evil-doer, for the Jew first and for the Greek also . . . For God has no favourites.”—Romans 2:9-11, The New English Bible.
6 But some may ask: ‘What about the Israelites? Were they not God’s chosen people? Was he not partial toward them? Did not Moses say to all Israel: “It is you Jehovah your God has chosen to become his people, a special property, out of all the peoples”?’—Deuteronomy 7:6.
7. (a) What resulted when the Jews rejected the Messiah? (b) Today, who can enjoy marvelous blessings from God, and how?
7 No, God was not partial in using the Israelites for a special purpose. In selecting a people through whom to produce the Messiah, Jehovah chose the descendants of the faithful Hebrew patriarchs. But when the Jews rejected the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and had him put to death, they lost God’s favor. Today, however, those of any race or nation who exercise faith in Jesus can enjoy marvelous blessings and have the prospect of everlasting life. (John 3:16; 17:3) Surely, this proves that there is no partiality on God’s part. Moreover, Jehovah commanded the Israelites to “love the alien resident” and “not mistreat him,” regardless of his race or nationality. (Deuteronomy 10:19; Leviticus 19:33, 34) Truly, then, our loving Father in heaven is not partial.
8. (a) What proves that Jehovah did not show favoritism toward Israel? (b) How did Jehovah make use of Israel?
8 It is true that the Israelites enjoyed special privileges. But they also had a heavy responsibility. They were under obligation to keep Jehovah’s laws, and those failing to obey them came under a curse. (Deuteronomy 27:26) In fact, the Israelites had to be punished repeatedly for disobeying God’s Law. Hence, Jehovah did not treat them with favoritism. Rather, he used them to make prophetic patterns and to furnish warning examples. Happily, it was through Israel that God produced the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, for the blessing of all mankind.—Galatians 3:14; compare Genesis 22:15-18.
Was Jesus Partial?
9. (a) How are Jehovah and Jesus alike? (b) What questions arise concerning Jesus?
9 Since there is no partiality with Jehovah, could Jesus be partial? Well, consider this: Jesus once said: “I seek, not my own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 5:30) Perfect unity exists between Jehovah and his beloved Son, and Jesus does his Father’s will in every respect. In fact, they are so alike in view and purpose that Jesus could say: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) For over 33 years, Jesus had actual experience living as a man on earth, and the Bible reveals how he treated fellow humans. What was his attitude toward other races? Was he prejudiced or partial? Was Jesus a racist?
10. (a) How did Jesus reply to a Phoenician woman’s request for help? (b) By alluding to Gentiles as “little dogs,” was Jesus showing prejudice? (c) How did the woman overcome the objection, and with what result?
10 Jesus spent most of his earthly life with Jewish people. But one day he was approached by a Phoenician woman, a Gentile, who begged him to cure her daughter. In response Jesus said: “I was not sent forth to any but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Yet, the woman pleaded: “Lord, help me!” At that, he added: “It is not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to little dogs.” To the Jews, dogs were unclean animals. So by alluding to Gentiles as “little dogs,” was Jesus showing prejudice? No, for he had just mentioned his special commission from God to care for ‘the lost sheep of Israel.’ Moreover, by likening non-Jews to “little dogs,” not wild dogs, Jesus softened the comparison. Of course, what he said tested the woman. Humbly, though determined to overcome this objection, she tactfully replied: “Yes, Lord; but really the little dogs do eat of the crumbs falling from the table of their masters.” Impressed with the woman’s faith, Jesus healed her daughter immediately.—Matthew 15:22-28.
11. As illustrated by an incident involving Jesus, what attitude did Jews and Samaritans have toward one another?
11 Consider, too, Jesus’ encounters with certain Samaritans. Deep animosity existed between Jews and Samaritans. On one occasion, Jesus sent messengers to make preparations for him in a certain Samaritan village. But those Samaritans “did not receive him, because his face was set for going to Jerusalem.” This upset James and John to the point that they wanted to call down fire from heaven and annihilate them. But Jesus rebuked the two disciples, and all of them went to a different village.—Luke 9:51-56.
12. Why was a certain Samaritan woman surprised at Jesus’ request?
12 Did Jesus share the feeling of animosity existing between Jews and Samaritans? Well, notice what happened on another occasion. Jesus and his disciples were on their way from Judea to Galilee and had to pass through Samaria. Tired out from the journey, Jesus sat down beside Jacob’s fountain to rest while his disciples went to the city of Sychar to buy food. Meanwhile, a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Now, Jesus himself had on another occasion classified Samaritans as being “of another race.” (Luke 17:16-18, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures) But he said to her: “Give me a drink.” Since Jews had no dealings with Samaritans, the surprised woman replied: “How is it that you, despite being a Jew, ask me for a drink, when I am a Samaritan woman?”—John 4:1-9.
13. (a) How did Jesus respond to the Samaritan woman’s objection, and what was her reaction? (b) What was the final result?
13 But Jesus ignored the woman’s objection. Instead, he seized the opportunity to give her a witness, even acknowledging that he was the Messiah! (John 4:10-26) The amazed woman left her water jar at the fountain, ran back to the city, and began telling others what had happened. Although she had lived an immoral life, she revealed her interest in spiritual matters by saying: “This is not perhaps the Christ, is it?” What was the final result? Many of the local people put faith in Jesus on account of the fine witness the woman had given. (John 4:27-42) Interestingly, in his book A Biblical Perspective on the Race Problem, Congregational theologian Thomas O. Figart made this comment: “If our Lord thought it important enough to supersede an errant racial tradition with a gracious gesture, then we should take heed that we are not swallowed up in the river of racism today.”
14. What evidence of Jehovah’s impartiality manifested itself during the ministry of Philip the evangelizer?
14 Jehovah God’s impartiality allowed for people of various races to become Jewish proselytes. Consider also what happened 19 centuries ago on the desert road between Jerusalem and Gaza. A black man in the service of Ethiopia’s queen was riding in his chariot while reading the prophecy of Isaiah. This officer was a circumcised proselyte, for “he had gone to Jerusalem to worship.” Jehovah’s angel appeared to the Jewish evangelizer Philip and told him: “Approach and join yourself to this chariot.” Did Philip say: “Oh, no! He is a man of another race”? Far from it! Why, Philip was delighted to accept the Ethiopian’s invitation to get into the chariot, sit down with him, and explain Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus Christ! When they approached a body of water, the Ethiopian asked: “What prevents me from getting baptized?” Since nothing prevented this, Philip happily baptized the Ethiopian, and Jehovah accepted that happy man as an anointed follower of His impartial Son, Jesus Christ. (Acts 8:26-39) But further evidence of divine impartiality soon manifested itself.
A Great Change
15. What change took place after Jesus’ death, and how does Paul explain this?
15 The death of Christ did not eliminate worldly racial prejudice. But by means of that sacrificial death, God did change the relationship of Jesus’ Jewish disciples to his Gentile followers. The apostle Paul indicated this when he wrote to Gentile Christians at Ephesus and said: “Keep bearing in mind that formerly you were people of the nations as to flesh; . . . that you were at that particular time without Christ, alienated from the state of Israel and strangers to the covenants of the promise, and you had no hope and were without God in the world. But now in union with Christ Jesus you who were once far off have come to be near by the blood of the Christ. For he is our peace, he who made the two parties one and destroyed the wall in between that fenced them off.” That “wall,” or symbol of separation, was the Law covenant arrangement that acted as a partition between Jews and Gentiles. It was abolished on the basis of Christ’s death so that through him both Jews and Gentiles could “have the approach to the Father by one spirit.”—Ephesians 2:11-18.
16. (a) Why was Peter given the keys of the Kingdom? (b) How many keys were there, and what resulted from their use?
16 Furthermore, the apostle Peter was given “the keys of the kingdom of the heavens” so that people of any race could learn about God’s purposes, be “born again” from holy spirit, and become spiritual heirs with Christ. (Matthew 16:19; John 3:1-8) Peter used three symbolic keys. The first was for Jews, the second for Samaritans, and the third for Gentiles. (Acts 2:14-42; 8:14-17; 10:24-28, 42-48) Thus the impartial God, Jehovah, opened to chosen ones of all races the privilege of being Jesus’ spiritual brothers and joint heirs of the Kingdom.—Romans 8:16, 17; 1 Peter 2:9, 10.
17. (a) What unusual vision was Peter given, and why? (b) To whose home did certain men conduct Peter, and who were waiting for him there? (c) Of what did Peter remind those Gentiles, and yet what had God clearly taught him?
17 In order to prepare Peter to use the third key—for the Gentiles—he was given an unusual vision of unclean animals and was told: “Rise, Peter, slaughter and eat!” The lesson was: “Stop calling defiled the things God has cleansed.” (Acts 10:9-16) Peter was in great perplexity over the meaning of the vision. But soon three men arrived to take him to the home of Cornelius, a Roman army officer stationed at Caesarea. Since that city was the main headquarters of Roman troops in Judea, it was the natural place for Cornelius to have his home. Waiting for Peter in that very Gentile setting was Cornelius, along with his relatives and intimate friends. The apostle reminded them: “You well know how unlawful it is for a Jew to join himself to or approach a man of another race; and yet God has shown me I should call no man defiled or unclean. Hence I came, really without objection, when I was sent for.”—Acts 10:17-29.
18. (a) What momentous announcement did Peter make to Cornelius and his guests? (b) While Peter was witnessing concerning Jesus, what dramatic event took place? (c) What step was then taken in connection with those believing Gentiles?
18 After Cornelius explained God’s direction of matters, Peter said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:30-35) Then, as the apostle proceeded to give a witness concerning Jesus Christ, something dramatic happened! “While Peter was yet speaking about these matters the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word.” Peter’s Jewish companions “were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations. For they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God.” Peter responded: “Can anyone forbid water so that these might not be baptized who have received the holy spirit even as we have?” Who could object, since the holy spirit of the impartial God of heaven had been poured out upon those believing Gentiles? Therefore, Peter commanded that they be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”—Acts 10:36-48.
“From Every Nation”
19. Why is racial animosity increasing, and to what extent?
19 We now find ourselves in “the last days,” and “critical times hard to deal with” are a fact of life. Among other things, people are lovers of themselves, self-assuming, haughty, without natural affection, not open to any agreement, without self-control, fierce, headstrong, and puffed up with pride. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) In such a social climate, it is not surprising that racial animosity and conflict are increasing worldwide. In many countries, people of different races or colors despise or even hate one another. This has led to actual fighting and even horrible cruelties in some lands. Even in so-called enlightened societies, many people have difficulty in overcoming racial prejudice. And this “disease” seems to be spreading into areas where one would least expect it, such as islands of the sea that were once almost idyllic in their peacefulness.
20. (a) What inspired vision did John see? (b) To what extent is this prophetic vision being fulfilled? (c) What difficulty do some still have to overcome fully, and where should they seek a solution?
20 Despite the lack of racial harmony in various parts of the world, however, the impartial God, Jehovah, foretold the bringing of honesthearted people of all races and nations into remarkable international unity. By divine inspiration, the apostle John saw “a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb,” praising Jehovah. (Revelation 7:9, The Jerusalem Bible) This prophecy is already in course of fulfillment. Today, in 210 lands over 3,300,000 witnesses of Jehovah, of all nations and races, are enjoying unity and racial harmony. But they are still imperfect. Even some of these have difficulty in fully overcoming racial prejudice, although they may be unaware of this. How can this problem be overcome? We will discuss this matter in the next article, based on helpful counsel from the inspired Word of the impartial God, Jehovah.
Serve Jehovah With One Accord
“Then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of Jehovah, to serve him with one consent.”—ZEPHANIAH 3:9, American Standard Version.
1, 2. (a) Jehovah is now bringing about the fulfillment of what prophecy? (b) This prophecy raises what questions?
JEHOVAH GOD is doing something today that humans alone could never achieve. Some 3,000 languages are spoken in this divided world, but God is now bringing about the fulfillment of this prophecy: “I shall give to peoples the change to a pure language, in order for them all to call upon the name of Jehovah, in order to serve him shoulder to shoulder.”—Zephaniah 3:9.
2 What is this “pure language”? Who speak it? And what does it mean to ‘serve God shoulder to shoulder’?
They Speak the “Pure Language”
3. What is the “pure language,” and why are those speaking it not divided?
3 On the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., God’s holy spirit was poured out upon Jesus Christ’s disciples, empowering them to speak in languages they had not learned. This enabled them to tell people of many tongues “about the magnificent things of God.” Jehovah thus began to bring people of all ethnic backgrounds into unity. (Acts 2:1-21, 37-42) When believing Gentiles later became Jesus’ followers, God’s servants were indeed a multilingual, multiracial people. They have never been torn apart by worldly barriers, however, because they all speak the “pure language.” This is the mutual language of Scriptural truth foretold at Zephaniah 3:9. (Ephesians 4:25) Those speaking the “pure language” are not divided but “speak in agreement,” being “fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.”—1 Corinthians 1:10.
4. How did Zephaniah 3:9 point to multilingual and multiracial cooperation, and where is it found today?
4 The “pure language” was to enable people of all nations and races to serve Jehovah “shoulder to shoulder,” literally, ‘with one shoulder.’ They would serve God “with one consent” (The New English Bible); “with one accord” (The New American Bible); or “with one unanimous consent and one united shoulder.” (The Amplified Bible) Another version reads: “Then I will turn the lips of all the peoples clean, that they may all call on Jehovah’s name and cooperate in his service.” (Byington) Such multilingual and multiracial cooperation in God’s service is found only among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
5. To what use are Jehovah’s Witnesses able to put any human language?
5 Since all of Jehovah’s Witnesses speak the “pure language” of Scriptural truth, they are able to put any human language to the most exalted use—praising God and declaring the good news of the Kingdom. (Mark 13:10; Titus 2:7, 8; Hebrews 13:15) How splendid that the “pure language” thus enables people of all ethnic groups to serve Jehovah with one accord!
6. How does Jehovah view people, but what will be helpful if a degree of partiality lingers in the heart of a certain Christian?
6 When Peter was witnessing to Cornelius and other Gentiles, he said: “I perceive to a certainty that God is not partial, but in every nation he who fears him and practices righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35, By) According to other versions, Jehovah “is not a Respecter of persons,” “does not discriminate between people,” and “does not show favoritism.” (The Emphatic Diaglott; Phillips; New International Version) As Jehovah’s servants, we should view people of all ethnic groups as he does. But what if a degree of partiality lingers in the heart of a certain Christian? Then it will be helpful to note how our impartial God deals with his servants of every nation, tribe, people, and tongue.—See also Awake! of November 8, 1984, pages 3-11.
They Are Desirable
7. As regards a relationship with God, how does one Christian not differ from another of any nation or race?
7 If you are a baptized witness of Jehovah, most likely at one time you were ‘sighing and groaning over the detestable things’ taking place in this wicked system. (Ezekiel 9:4) You were ‘dead in your sins,’ but God mercifully drew you to himself through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:1-5; John 6:44) In these respects, you did not differ from others who are now your fellow believers. They too were distressed by wickedness, were ‘dead in their sins,’ and became recipients of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ. And regardless of our race or nationality, it is only by faith that any of us now have a standing with Jehovah God as his witnesses.—Romans 11:20.
8. How is Haggai 2:7 now being fulfilled?
8 The prophetic words of Haggai 2:7 help us to see how we should view fellow believers of different nationalities. There Jehovah declared: “I will rock all the nations, and the desirable things of all the nations must come in; and I will fill this house with glory.” This foretold exaltation of pure religion is taking place at God’s true temple, the realm of his worship. (John 4:23, 24) But what are “the desirable things of all the nations”? They are the thousands of lovers of righteousness who react favorably to the Kingdom-preaching work. From all nations and races, they are streaming to ‘the mountain of Jehovah’s house,’ becoming his baptized witnesses and part of the international “great crowd.” (Isaiah 2:2-4; Revelation 7:9) Those praising Jehovah as part of his earthly organization are clean, moral, godly persons—most desirable indeed. Surely, then, every true Christian should want to show brotherly love to all these desirable ones acceptable to our mutual Father in heaven.
Their Personality Is New
9. Even if we in the past did not think well of foreigners, why should things be different now that we are Christians?
9 Our spiritual brothers and sisters around the earth are also desirable because they have heeded the counsel to ‘strip off the old personality with its practices and clothe themselves with the new personality.’ “Through accurate knowledge [it] is being made new according to the image of the One who created it, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all things and in all.” (Colossians 3:9-11) If an individual formerly did not think well of a Jew, a Greek, or others foreign to him, things should be different now that he is a Christian. Regardless of race, nationality, or culture, those possessing “the new personality” cultivate and demonstrate the fruitage of God’s holy spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22, 23) This endears them to fellow worshipers of Jehovah.
10. If we are tempted to make sweeping unfavorable remarks about fellow believers of any race or nation, how can Titus 1:5-12 help us?
10 Unlike Jehovah’s servants, some worldly persons make disparaging remarks about people of ethnic backgrounds other than their own. Why, concerning his own people, a Cretan prophet once said: “Cretans are always liars, injurious wild beasts, unemployed gluttons”! The apostle Paul was reminded of those words when it became necessary to silence false teachers among Christians on the island of Crete. But Paul certainly was not saying: ‘All Cretan Christians lie and are injurious, lazy, and gluttonous.’ (Titus 1:5-12) No, for Christians do not speak disparagingly of others. Moreover, the majority of those Cretan Christians had put on “the new personality,” and some were spiritually qualified for appointment as elders. This merits serious thought if we are ever tempted to make sweeping unfavorable remarks about our spiritual brothers and sisters of a particular race or nationality.
Consider Others Superior
11. If partiality of any kind exists in a Christian’s heart, what can he do?
11 On the other hand, if a Christian was partial to one race or nationality, he would probably betray this by words or actions. In turn, this could cause injured feelings, especially in a congregation made up of people of various ethnic backgrounds. Surely, no Christian would want to place such a strain on the unity of God’s people. (Psalm 133:1-3) So if any partiality exists in a Christian’s heart, he can well pray: “Search through me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my disquieting thoughts, and see whether there is in me any painful way, and lead me in the way of time indefinite.”—Psalm 139:23, 24.
12. Why should we not boast in ourselves or in others of our ethnic background?
12 It is good to take the realistic view that all of us are imperfect humans who could have no standing with God at all were it not for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:8–2:2) What, then, makes us differ from others? Since we have nothing that we did not receive, why should we boast in ourselves or in others of our ethnic background?—Compare 1 Corinthians 4:6, 7.
13. How can we contribute to the unity of the congregation, and what can be learned from Philippians 2:1-11?
13 We can contribute to the unity of the congregation if we acknowledge and show appreciation for the good qualities of others. The Jewish apostle Paul gave all of us food for thought when he told the Gentile Philippians: “Make my joy full in that you are of the same mind and have the same love, being joined together in soul, holding the one thought in mind, doing nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind considering that the others are superior to you.” The proper attitude for us to display toward fellow humans of any race or nationality was exemplified in Jesus Christ. Though he was a mighty spirit creature, he “came to be in the likeness of men” and humbled himself to the point of death on a torture stake for sinful humans of every race and nation. (Philippians 2:1-11) As Jesus’ followers, then, should we not be loving, humble, and compassionate, acknowledging that others are superior to us?
Listen and Observe
14. How may we be helped to consider others as superior to us?
14 We may be helped to consider others as superior to us if we really listen when they speak and carefully observe their conduct. For example, we may honestly have to admit to ourselves that a fellow elder—perhaps of another race—has surpassed us in ability to give effective counsel in the Theocratic Ministry School. We may discern that it is his spirituality, not necessarily his diction or way of speaking, that enables him to get good results in helping fellow believers to become competent Kingdom proclaimers. And it is obvious that Jehovah is blessing his efforts.
15. What may we note when we listen to the statements of fellow worshipers?
15 When we converse with our brothers and sisters or listen to their comments at meetings, we may perceive that some of them have a better grasp of certain Scriptural truths than we do. We may discern that their brotherly love appears stronger, they seem to have more faith, or they give evidence of greater trust in Jehovah. So whether they are of our ethnic background or not, they incite us to love and fine works, help to strengthen our faith, and motivate us to trust more fully in our heavenly Father. (Proverbs 3:5, 6; Hebrews 10:24, 25, 39) Jehovah has obviously drawn close to them, and so should we.—Compare James 4:8.
Blessed and Sustained
16, 17. Illustrate the fact that Jehovah is not partial in blessing his servants of any nationality or race.
16 Jehovah is not partial in blessing his servants of any nationality or race. For instance, consider the country of Brazil. It was not from foreign missionaries but from the lips of eight Brazilian sailors that people in Brazil first heard the Kingdom message in about the year 1920. God’s blessing has been evident, for by the 1987 service year, there was a peak of 216,216 Kingdom proclaimers in that land of 141,302,000 inhabitants—a ratio of one publisher to 654.
17 Consider another example of divine blessing. In April 1923 two black witnesses of Jehovah from the Caribbean island of Trinidad were sent to declare the Kingdom message in West Africa. So it was that Brother and Sister W. R. Brown served there for years, he becoming known as “Bible Brown.” They “planted” and “God kept making it grow” as others also worked in that vast area. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) Today, Kingdom proclaimers number over 32,600 in Ghana and more than 133,800 in Nigeria alone.
18, 19. Give examples of how our impartial God sustains his servants of all races and nations.
18 Jehovah not only blesses his servants of all nations and races but also sustains them. For instance, consider the case of two Japanese witnesses of Jehovah. On June 21, 1939, Katsuo Miura and his wife were unjustly arrested, jailed, and separated from their five-year-old boy, who had to be cared for by his grandmother. Sister Miura was released after eight months, but Brother Miura was detained for more than two years before he was brought to trial. He suffered mistreatment, was found guilty, and received a five-year sentence. In prison in Hiroshima, God sustained him by means of the Scriptures, which provided unfailing comfort and strength. By a seeming miracle, Brother Miura survived on August 6, 1945, when the atom bomb blast demolished his prison. Two months later, he was able to rejoin his wife and son in the north of Japan.
19 During World War II, intense persecution was experienced by Jehovah’s Witnesses in many lands. For instance, Robert A. Winkler was one German brother who suffered in Nazi concentration camps in Germany and the Netherlands. Because he would not betray his fellow Witnesses, he was so brutally beaten that he could not be recognized. But he wrote: “The thoughts of Jehovah’s promises to help one in all kinds of trouble gave me the comfort and strength to endure all this. . . . Saturday I had been beaten by the Gestapo, and on the following Monday I was to be interrogated by them again. What would happen now and what was I to do? I turned to Jehovah in prayer, trusting in his promises. I knew this meant the use of theocratic war strategy for the sake of the Kingdom work and the protection of my Christian brothers. It was a great trial for me to endure and the seventeenth day I was completely worn out, but I thanked Jehovah that in his strength I was able to endure this trial and keep my integrity.”—Psalm 18:35; 55:22; 94:18.
Grateful for Our Brotherhood
20. How can our respect for fellow believers of every race and nation be increased?
20 Unquestionably, Jehovah blesses and sustains his witnesses of every nation and race. He is not partial, and as his dedicated servants, we have no excuse or reason to show partiality. Moreover, our respect for our brothers and sisters of every race and nation will increase if we consider ways in which they are superior to us. They too apply heavenly wisdom, which does not make partial distinctions but yields excellent fruitage. (James 3:13-18) Yes, and their kindness, generosity, love, and other godly qualities provide us with fine examples.
21. What should we be determined to do?
21 How thankful we should be, then, for our multiracial, multinational brotherhood! With the help and blessing of our heavenly Father, let us “serve him shoulder to shoulder” in brotherly love and with mutual respect. Indeed, it should be our earnest desire and firm intention to serve Jehovah with one accord.