12/31/09 Althea, about 45
At Burger King, Althea allowed me to sit down and ask about her beliefs. She is a middle-aged African-American woman who grew up in a Jehovah Witness home, but has fallen away from her beliefs ever since her mother passed away. She feels a huge burden of guilt for this, especially because she lives with her boyfriend who doesn't want to get married. She confirmed much of what I've learned about the Jehovah's Witnesses, and warmed up to my questions as I listened to her answers without judgment. As we talked I affirmed many beliefs common to both JW's and biblical Christianity, and she was clearly moved and stated that she believed God had sent me to get her attention after so many years of ignoring Him. At this point I felt very free to explain some key errors of the Jehovah's Witnesses. For example, they do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. However, if Jesus was just a man then His sacrifice on the cross would be an inadequate atonement for our sins. On the other hand if He was who He claimed to be, then there would be no need to add good works to what was accomplished on the cross as the JW's believe. We don't need to work to earn salvation; instead our obedience becomes a loving response to God's gracious gift. Althea was amazed at this last idea. "What a relief that would be, not having that guilt or the burden of wondering if I'm being good enough!".