Each one will be like a hiding place from the wind, a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless land, like the shadow of a massive crag in a parched land.—Isa. 32:2.
Today, a Christian guilty of serious sin needs to seek the help of congregation elders to recover. Why is this so important? First, the arrangement for elders to handle cases of serious sin comes from Jehovah, as outlined in his Word. (Jas. 5:14-16) Second, this arrangement fortifies repentant wrongdoers to remain in God’s care and to avoid a pattern of sin. (Gal. 6:1; Heb. 12:11) Third, elders are commissioned and trained to reassure repentant sinners, helping to ease their pain and guilt. Jehovah calls these older men “a refuge from the rainstorm.” (Isa. 32:2, ftn.) Would you not agree that this arrangement is an expression of God’s mercy? Many of God’s servants have discovered the relief that comes from seeking and receiving help from the elders. w17.11 10 ¶8-9
Discipline . . . is painful.—Heb. 12:11.
Despite our pain of heart, we must avoid normal contact with a disfellowshipped family member by telephone, text messages, letters, e-mails, or social media. Yet, maintain hope. Love “hopes all things,” including that those who have left Jehovah will come back to him. (1 Cor. 13:7) If you see evidence that a close family member is having a change of heart, you could pray that he or she gain strength from the Scriptures and respond to Jehovah’s appeal: “Return to me.” (Isa. 44:22) Jesus said that if we were to put any human before him, we would not be worthy of him. Yet, he was confident that his disciples would have the courage to maintain their loyalty to him despite family opposition. If following Jesus has brought “a sword” into your family, rely on Jehovah to help you deal with the challenges successfully. (Isa. 41:10, 13) Find joy in knowing that Jehovah and Jesus are pleased with you and that they will reward your faithful course. w17.10 16 ¶19-21
Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion.—Col. 3:12.
When we see others experiencing the effects of Adamic sin, we are rightly moved to show compassion. We long to see sickness and aging brought to an end. So we pray for God’s Kingdom to come. In the meantime, we do what we can to assist those in need. Consider what one author wrote about his elderly mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. One day, she soiled her clothes. As she was trying to clean up, the doorbell rang. The visitors turned out to be two Witnesses who regularly called on the woman. The sisters asked if there was anything they could do to help. “It is embarrassing but yes,” the woman replied. The visitors helped her to clean up. Then they made her a cup of tea and stayed for a chat. The son was most grateful. “Hats off to these Witnesses,” he wrote. “They practice what they preach.” Does your compassion for the sick and the elderly move you to do all you can to lessen their suffering?—Phil. 2:3, 4. w17.09 9 ¶5; 12 ¶14