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DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS!--Evaluating & Dealing with Problem Cases!       Maria #149       DO 2717       8/91
--By Maria

       [EDITED: "Definitions of some of the more complicated words--indicated by numbers in ( )'s--are at end."]

       1. When I first listened to someone reading my "Last Chance" Letter to Tony on tape for me, I thought it was pretty hot & heavy. But then when I heard Dad's rebuke to Tony, my Letter suddenly seemed very mild to me! However, I think a lot of it is a matter of my presentation, which is milder & gentler. I believe my delivery may have been a little gentler & sweeter, which would normally be expected of a mother.--Whereas the father in such situations usually comes down much more heavy-handed. But I would say that the actual content of my Letter is just as strong in many respects as the content of Dad's.

       2. However, because I don't give Tony a specific time deadline to get the victory, it could look like I'm being easier on him & letting him off the hook. When I wrote my Letter to Tony, I was just supposing that a Letter like that from me would be the catalyst (1) that would cause Tony to make a definite decision one way or the other, with or without a deadline. However, Dad really lays it on the line & tells him not only that this is his last chance, but he's got to make his decision right now--today! I certainly agree with Dad, & I think it's good to let people know exactly where they stand & exactly what is expected of them, & not leave it up to them to draw their own conclusions from what you have said. An ultimatum (2) helps people to make decisions.

       3. So after Dad gave his talk, I could see that maybe I was being a little too merciful on Tony in some ways. I can see now how I could have been more stern in my rebuke to him, especially considering how much of our leaders' time he has taken. Although it was unfortunate that he demanded so much time, in a certain sense, the fact that our Shepherds are willing to give people that time & attention is commendable, as it shows they are good Shepherds willing to truly lay down their lives for their sheep. But in Tony's case, because he had repeatedly had the same very serious problems of murmuring & criticising & grumbling about the Family & our policies, they should have drawn the line & insisted that he "get the victory or get out" a long time ago! (See ML#1090.) The sins of murmuring & sowing discord amongst brethren are so corruptive & can so easily spread to & infect others, that it is necessary to deal with them swiftly & severely for the sake of the rest of the flock. (See Pro.6:16,19; Ecc.8:11.)

       4. I believe that one of the reasons our Shepherds have sometimes been softer on people than perhaps they should have been is because many of them had gone so far to the other extreme of being too hard & too harsh & too merciless in the past. And now, having realised this, they've actually swung to the other extreme. So now they're having to learn to come back somewhere to the middle & find a better balance.


       5. Moreover, when we start talking about our Teens & our younger generation, I think we try to go not only the extra mile, but the extra hundred miles with them! We don't want to lose the years & years we've invested in them, all that time & training & teaching that we've poured into them, & the potential that we know is there for each of them to become a very special young Endtime Prophet or Prophetess for the Lord. Also, I think people have seen in the Techi GNs how much time we spent with Techi in helping her to overcome her problems--month after month--& how merciful we were with her & how long we reasoned with her & explained things to her & prayed with her & talked with her.--Until she at last came through to wonderful victory. Hallelujah!

       6. So I want to make it clear that it's not wrong for a Shepherd to spend his time with one of his sheep in counselling them & reasoning with them & praying with them & reading with them & pouring a lot into them. We've had to do this in case after case worldwide, to pull some of our people through when they were going through tremendous battles, & they virtually had to have that time of intensive counselling & care in order to make it.


       7. The problem occurs when this kind of intensive treatment doesn't happen only once, with the Shepherd spending hour after hour with the one sheep who's having problems. But when that sheep moves from pasture to pasture, & in every pasture the new Shepherd has to repeat the process all over again to keep that naughty sheep in line & in the Fold & not causing damage or harm or infection to the other sheep, that's when it becomes a major problem!--Particularly when that wayward (3) individual is an adult or older Teen who has already been talked to repeatedly about the same problems which they are making no sincere effort to get the victory over.

       8. That's what Dad is talking about & what he's mainly referring to when he asks why we keep this kind of people around, & he wonders how we can possibly let them keep on with their problems & not kick them out. Also, Dad clearly brings out that when the problem cases are murmurers & complainers & grumblers, this is one of the worst problems that we can have & one that causes the most damage.--Not only to the problem cases themselves, but to the flock as a whole. It is a problem that perverts & contaminates & corrupts. So I am very thankful that Dad emphasised this particular problem.

       9. When I listened to my Letter again, I saw that I hadn't put that much emphasis on what Tony was doing to the rest of the Family with this terrible influence & the terribly poisonous seeds of doubt that have undoubtedly affected many others. Of course, I touched on it, but I don't think I really emphasised it. But this is one of the worst things that this kind of person can do, & this is why Dad gets so upset & so angry at the Devil's work in these people--because they're pulling down many others with them & they continue to do so until they're put out completely & cut off from any further communication with others.--Unless, of course, they're totally repentant & immediately delivered!


       10. I covered an awful lot of Tony's problems in my Letter to him, & I went over them one by one, & it became quite a list. But I was really thankful when Dad zeroed-in on Tony's most serious problem of murmuring, which is the reason why he either has to change immediately or be cut off immediately! The reason it's so serious is because it so negatively affects & perverts & destroys others.

       11. Tony's other problems--the fact that he's proud, he misapplies the Word, he's self-righteous, he's independent--even all these other things aren't nearly as bad as his murmuring & complaining! Even if he has doubts in his heart, if he doesn't voice them & spread them around--although most doubters do eventually voice their doubts--but if he didn't weaken & corrupt others with them, the Lord & we might be able to tolerate him in the Family a little longer if he's not being too much of a drain on others or causing too much damage to others.

       12. But what the Lord can't tolerate & what we can't tolerate, as Dad very clearly brought out, is the murmuring & complaining which is so damaging to others & is such a very serious thing.--We just can't allow it! So I'm thankful that Dad emphasised & brought out that major point so well. In my Letter I talked to Tony about so many other things that his murmuring didn't really stand out as the prime reason why the Lord was so angry at him. So the Lord helped Dad to bring that out & bring it out very clearly with no question about it!

       13. In my Letter to Tony, I was mostly trying to explain how his complaints were so ridiculous & how they had no basis in truth. Of course, I did that not only for Tony's sake, but for the sake of the rest of the Family, any of our young people who might be tempted to follow Tony's example or who themselves have similar doubts or questions. So I was showing how Tony's criticisms are unfounded & are not valid criticisms, more than I was hitting on the actual sin of murmuring itself.--Which Dad did so effectively in his Letter.

       14. I wasn't castigating (4) him about his murmuring as much as I was explaining how ridiculous it was for him to have those criticisms. But Dad came out & really hit on the complaining & murmuring itself & showed how horrible it is in the Lord's sight & how terrible it is, & that it's the most serious sin that Tony has, the most serious problem that he has, & why we have to do something about it right away. Dad was really nailing Tony for his worst sin of murmuring, & giving him the ultimatum to either get delivered or get out.--Whereas my purpose wasn't to nail him so much as to help the rest of the Family to see his problems & where he was at.


       15. In "Grumblers Get Out" Dad is not talking about people with other long-term spiritual problems such as jealousy, sensitivity, or even problems of pride etc. As long as someone isn't constantly contaminating others, & as long as they are sincerely trying to get the victory & work on their problems, I believe that the Lord allows a great deal of mercy to be shown to them. And with our JETTs & Teens, we constantly have to be working on their problems with them. Let's face it, our life really is full of problems, & with kids who are growing up & learning new lessons every day, they have a great number of problems that come up one by one.

       16. But if they're willing to work on their problems & they improve little by little, even if they may have some temporary setbacks, if their spirit is right, then of course we are going to have mercy on them & take whatever time is needed with them. We have spent lots of time with lots of people on their various problems over the months & years, & it's paid off. So we certainly don't want to throw all of that overboard & now say we were wrong to take all that time with them.--Because if we hadn't, most of them wouldn't even be here!

       17. So I think it's very very important that we make the distinction clear here, the major distinction, between the problem that Dad is attacking in his Letter & the other, less severe problems that our younger generation--as well as we adults--often experience. Tony's problems are not only very long-standing, but they're also very disruptive & corruptive of others. And obviously, the main problem that Dad is dealing with & attacking is the problem of murmuring & criticising & complaining.--Which is so deadly because it so easily causes so much damage to others & implants so much poison in their minds & hearts!--Poisonous doubts & disunity & discord! Dad has clearly brought this out before in many other Letters such as "God Hates Murmuring!" (ML #1879.)

       18. If you have any difficulty believing that a person like Tony could do such serious damage to others spiritually, read the following testimony from no less than one of our main time-tested & spiritually strong Teen Shepherds in Japan, John PI:

       "I'm the one who forwarded Tony's OHR to Josiah.--Because after hearing those things from Tony for so long, & all of his complaints, I guess I was actually beginning to even wonder, 'Are we really doing something wrong? Are we quenching the Teens & the JETTs like Tony keeps insisting? Maybe Tony has something here!' So that's why I sent it on to Josiah. All of this shows me that continually hearing these kinds of things & that constant criticism & complaints & negativeness can eventually wear away on you, like a 'continual dropping' (Pro.19:13; 27:15), even on people who have real conviction & really believe in something.--Not that I'm saying I have so much conviction or am so strong. But I know that it had a definite effect on me after such a long time. And I'm sure it must have really had a big effect on many of our younger people too."

       19. If someone's a perpetual (5) chronic murmurer & complainer, we can't give them too much time to repent & get the victory because of the great damage their problem does to others & to God's Work! People with almost any other problem can be worked with & can be helped if their problem isn't hurting everyone else & hindering the whole Work. But the terrible thing about murmuring is that it seriously affects others & infects them very severely. The seeds of doubt & the poisonous influence of a murmurer often cause many others to be defiled.

       20. Dad makes it very clear that it's grumblers & complainers he is talking about, that kind of troublemaker. He repeats that over & over throughout his Letter, pinpointing the danger of allowing the grumblers & complainers & bellyachers & troublemakers to pollute the rest of the flock. So I don't expect that any of our leaders or Shepherds will misinterpret what Dad is saying & suddenly start going overboard in just kicking out anyone who manifests a problem. Dad emphasises repeatedly throughout the Letter why he is coming down so hard on Tony.

       21. The Lord can tolerate all kinds of other problems, but persistent murmurers & constant complainers & gripers who refuse to cease their murmurings, these are the ones who cause the worst trouble & implant their doubts in others & create discord, dissatisfaction & division! So these are the ones God's got to get rid of pretty quick before they contaminate & defile the whole flock. So when someone's a murmurer & complainer, it's got to be stopped quickly, & you often have to take pretty drastic measures to keep them from infecting everyone else.

       22. We've had people with other problems--like self-righteousness, for example--who we've worked on for months & months, & even years, & who for a long time were almost completely unable to even see their problems at all. But the Lord was merciful & He continued to give them time & counselling over the months & the years until He was finally able to break through to them & they were finally able to see their problem & start working in earnest on it. And after the Lord worked on them for awhile, many of them have finally come around & obtained marvellous victories in their lives. I would say we've had many many long-term cases with different spiritual problems who have gained lasting victories & are now wonderful jewels for the Lord & His Service! PTL!


       23. So the problems that we have to cut off & get rid of are the ones that adversely & negatively affect & infect the rest of the Family.--Problems that corrupt & pollute & contaminate & cause others to murmur or doubt or backslide. Like Dad brings out, you can't give murmurers very much leeway. With such cases I think we should usually use that Scriptural injunction (6) of giving them three chances; first warn or correct them privately, then with witnesses, & then before the whole body.--And if they still won't get the victory, out they have to go! (Read Mat.18:15-17.)

       24. There are some other serious sins & offences besides murmuring & grumbling that we have to deal with the same way, such as offences that have to do with security, which as you know, is an ever-increasingly important aspect of our lives. For example, if someone were taking drugs or having sex with minors, or repeatedly yelling at the top of their voice & going into angry rages & thus creating a security hazard with the neighbours, we absolutely could not tolerate such behaviour! In fact, because we've already given at least three warnings or admonitions (7) in the Letters against these offenses, wilful (8) indulgence (9) in them can result in immediate excommunication, without further chances or warnings!

       25. Sodomy is another very serious excommunicable (10) offence. Although it may not always seem like a spiritually contaminating sin that affects everyone else like murmuring does, it could seriously physically contaminate others through AIDS or other Sodomite afflictions. Of course, any kind of unsanctioned (11) sex with outsiders is very dangerous, & could physically contaminate & corrupt others in the Family if not dealt with immediately. So there are other offences besides murmuring that we have to put in the same category of serious problems or sins that have to be cut off quickly & dealt with immediately & severely.

       26. Dad's "Grumblers Get Out" Letter deals with spiritually polluting problems like murmuring. People who voice their doubts can usually be put into the same category as complainers, murmurers, troublemakers & bad apples, because voicing doubts can certainly contaminate & pollute the rest of the flock. So voicing doubts is a very serious crime as well, & something that has to be stopped immediately. The same is true of any physically polluting problems such as Sodomy or sex with outsiders. Security problems are also a major concern because they can endanger the entire Family. Purposely giving our DO lit or sensitive information regarding our Homes, personnel, policies etc. to outsiders is another example of a very serious security offence, which is virtually betrayal, & could endanger the whole Work. So that would have to be dealt with very seriously, as a major security hazard. (--A Traitor!)


       27. The question that comes up is, what problem cases can we keep around & what problem cases can't we keep around? If someone's been a long-term problem case, repeatedly doing the same thing over & over again, that's a factor we have to consider in evaluating that person. That doesn't mean that just because they've had a long-term problem that we automatically get rid of them. In many cases we keep them, but this is definitely one of the things we have to consider: Exactly how long-term their problems are.

       28. We also have to ask ourselves, what have they done about those problems; have they made sincere efforts to overcome those things? Because if they've really made sincere efforts, then you know the Lord has helped them in some way. So the connected question is: How have they improved over this long period of time, what improvement has been made?

       29. We also need to decide if their problem is hurting mostly themselves, or is it hurting others? There are some problems that mostly hurt yourself & don't do too much damage to anyone else or to the Lord's Work as a whole. We also have to consider how big is this negative area in their life in relation to all of their positive areas; are they fruitful otherwise & being used of the Lord in other ways? Is this problem upsetting their entire work for the Lord, or is it just an occasional flare-up that perhaps causes a temporary storm, but on the whole their service for the Lord isn't so affected by it?

       30. Another thing to ask ourselves is, how responsible & how accountable are they, how much training have they had?--Have they had good training or bad training? How long have they been in the Family?--If they haven't been in the Family a very long time, then they would probably be given more benefit of the doubt than somebody who had been in the Family a long time. Are they a mature adult whose emotions & intellect are thoroughly developed, & they understand things but they just refuse to obey?--Or are they a JETT or Teen who is still growing & who still doesn't understand a lot of things, & is really searching for answers, & not just misbehaving because they want to be bad, but because they don't yet understand or fully realise just what the Lord expects & requires of them?


       31. Remember, Tony is not a child or a JETT or even a Teen. He's twice as old as Techi, he's a 24-year-old man who has been criticising & complaining & murmuring for years!--And has been repeatedly corrected & counselled, so is very accountable! He's been a Shepherd off & on for years, he has a wife & a child, & has had a lot of responsibility. He's had chance after chance to change, so he is really accountable!

       32. The Lord definitely deals with people according to their accountability (12). Jesus said that the servant who knew his Lord's Will but purposely & defiantly disobeyed, shall be beaten with many stripes (or many strokes). But the servant who did not know his Lord's Will, but committed the same disobedience, "he shall be beaten with few stripes.--For unto whomsoever much is given, of the same shall much be required!"--Luk.12:47,48. So it's easy to see why Dad is cracking down on Tony; he's been "given" a lot!--Yet he's been a perpetual murmurer & complainer & griper for a long long time!--Someone who is very accountable & has been leading a lot of other people astray.

       33. You can't take "Grumblers Get Out" as license to kick any of our JETTs or Teens out the door who express a momentary or temporary interest or curiosity in the System, or have a little bout of discouragement where they get down & complain about something or other. Of course, after Dad's Letter, I don't know that anybody will openly express any desire for the System! They'll either be afraid to, or better yet, they'll just not be interested in it any more!

       34. But we're not suggesting that we suddenly start dealing with all of our JETTs & Teens the same way Dad dealt with Tony.--Unless they too have persistently manifested murmuring & criticism & been constant troublemakers, refusing to try to change & improve & heed the good Godly counsel their Shepherds have given them.--In which case, sock it to them & put a stop to their grumblings! (--Or put'm out!)


       35. The reason Dad is coming down so hard on Tony is because of his very serious problem of complaining & murmuring, which as I've explained, is one of the few sins that we have to deal with so swiftly & so severely.--Along with a few other offences that could seriously endanger our Family, either security-wise or health-wise. But we rarely & almost never excommunicate people just for breaking minor Family rules that don't endanger our security or don't poison the flock.

       36. But when people read how sternly Dad rebuked Faithy in the "Rulebreakers Beware" Letter (ML #2710), & how he threatened her with excommunication if she didn't repent of her sunbathing & her repeated rulebreaking, there may be some questions--especially from some of our younger people. The reason Dad was so upset with Faithy was not just because of her breaking of a rule, but because of her rebellious & defiant attitude. After all, we all break some little rules sometimes, & have, in fact, been breaking rules most of our lives, off & on. If you don't think you ever break any rules, then maybe you'd better sit down & seriously search your heart! I think that almost everybody could come up with a bunch of little rules that they either ignore or neglect or just overlook at some time or another.--Or at least you try to get out of obeying them if you can. Or maybe they are things you just get lax (13) on, & if you're not jerked up about them, you just let them slide.

       37. As an example of how people break the rules, I know of a lot of our leaders who have admitted over the past years that they didn't take their daily Get-Out like they should. They just got lax in that & neglected to do it. For example, Juan just reported to us that he thought the reason he'd recently gotten weakened & sick was because of his neglecting to faithfully take his Get-Out.

       38. How many people do you think we could find in the Family--if they were truthful enough to admit it--who have been sun worshippers & gone to special efforts to try to get a tan, just like Faithy did?--Or who have failed to rinse their mouths faithfully with water after every meal or snack?--Or who have gotten into eating junk food on their trips out of the Home, or even begun to eat white sugar & other unhealthy food substances in their own Homes? So "he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone!" (Jn.8:7b.)

       39. A lot of Family Members probably deserve just as serious a bawling out as Faithy got, only Dad just hasn't happened to hear about their infringements (14). Of course, most of them probably aren't looked up to as a sample nearly as much as Faithy is.--Which is one of the reasons Dad dealt so sternly with her. Because of who she is, she has to even be extra obedient & extra on guard, & in some ways the Lord requires more of her than many others. As with most of our leaders, it's a case of "others can (get away with some things) but you (Faithy) cannot!" But Faithy certainly isn't the only one who has been severely chastened for rebellion & defiance. (She had also been often told!)


       40. Many of our former DO Members are now TRF Supporters because of their years of defiance & rebellion. It wasn't just because of their breaking a few little Family rules here & there that they were finally moved out of our DO Fellowship & reclassified. It was because of their whole spirit of trying to get away with as much as they could, & just doing the minimum in obedience, the minimum of what they knew the Lord required of them.

       41. It seems that now is the time that God is calling all men & women everywhere in the Family to repent, after allowing them a great deal of time to yield to the needed changes in their lives. As we're now tightening up the Family with the Discipleship Training Revolution, & getting closer to the End, the Lord needs strong soldiers whose personal problems are not going to drag down or endanger His Army, or get in the way of their serving Him wholeheartedly & with full dedication.

       42. So if after years of correction or discipline or training, etc., people have refused to yield to the Lord & let the Lord make the needed changes in their lives, & they have not fought the good fight to become the kind of disciple that they know the Lord requires, then the only conclusion we can come to is that they don't want those changes & that they are defiant & rebellious & don't value their place in the Family!--Because if they did, & they were sincerely desirous of the very necessary changes the Lord wants to make in their lives, then the Lord would certainly answer their prayers & heed their cries & do the work in their lives that they've asked for!

       43. If a person just goes year after year without any progress, then there's really no question about what should be done with them. When someone's just a drag & a drain & refuses to work on their outstanding problems or change or yield or improve at all, we can only conclude that, because we've already given them so much time & so much patience & they still haven't changed, they're probably not going to change.--Because they don't want to change! This was the case with many of our people who are now TRF Supporters. If a person will not make a fundamental (15) change or make some progress over their major problem that has been repeatedly pointed out to them over an extended period of time, but they only make peripheral (16) changes, then we must seriously question whether after years of dealings & years of mercy & patience, they are ever going to get a major victory.

       44. In her confession, Faithy brought out that she had made many changes for the better over the past few years, changes which we were very happy about each time we heard about them. In fact, we frequently commended her for the progress she had made. However, the basic problem--her defiance & rebellion--was still the main underlying problem. She still had not truly yielded. That was the very major problem in her life that was causing her big troubles, not just the breaking of a few Family rules here & there. The rule-breaking was a manifestation of the attitude problem, of her rebellion & unyieldedness.

       45. Faithy's rebellion is what caused Dad to get so upset with her that he threatened her with excommunication.--Not just because of the casual breaking of a little rule or two. Dad knew that it was wilful disobedience on her part to a rule that he had personally given her years earlier, & had published in a Letter for the entire Family!--Which was, at the least, a very poor example to the Teens & others that she was supposed to be a sample to, & at the most, outright defiance & rebellion.

       46. So God bless Faithy for her willingness to honestly confess & take her correction & thereby "comfort others with the comfort wherewith she is comforted" (2Cor.1:4), & teach others the same lessons that she herself learns through these deep dark experiences. This is no doubt one of the reasons why the Lord allows her to go through some of these things & receive such chastisement, because He can get so much mileage out of her, because she does such a good job of teaching others by sharing the lessons she has learned.

       47. It's almost like a major part of her ministry. She, in a sense, has to suffer for the rest of the Family, so that everyone can benefit & learn from her experiences. Although she has her slips & falls, & at times may be a dandy bad example for others, because she's willing to receive correction & then share her lessons with others, openly confessing, that they also may learn, the Lord turns things around & she becomes a wonderful & marvellous good example of honesty & humility.


       48. I'm convinced that one of the reasons the Lord allowed so many of our TRF Supporters to stay on in the DO Family for so long was because in past years most of our Shepherds weren't nearly as well trained as they are now. Some were dictatorial & hard on people, they didn't really know how to effectively deal with people's problems & how to help them, they didn't know how to counsel them. Others were too lax & allowed all kinds of disobediences & double standards etc. Also, as a Family we didn't know as much as we do now about confession of problems & united prayer, prayers of deliverance, reading lists & concentrated Word studies, & how the whole Home can help to pull people through unitedly.

       49. So a lot of people were left a lot more on their own, they didn't always get the help that they needed. But thank the Lord, it's different now. I think our people who are going through hard times & having problems are now able to get a lot more help & more counsel & more understanding & more united prayer & more Word. We've been able to publish more Word on a lot of subjects, too. So the Family as a whole is more accountable in recent years than we were before. Also, now that we've launched the Discipleship Training Revolution, the Family as a whole has a more clearly defined & united standard of what's expected of our DO disciples.

       50. The Lord's been very patient with a lot of people & He's given them a lot of time, probably because they weren't so accountable before. But they're more accountable today. Therefore, most of them have either gotten a good victory over their major problems or weaknesses--or at least they're making substantial (17) progress towards getting such a victory--or they're probably not going to ever get it.

       51. This is probably why He allowed us to keep a lot of the people in our Homes for so long who are now TRF Supporters.--Because we had to see whether their problems & poor spiritual condition were really their fault, & whether they were going to stay in that condition, or whether it was the fault of their Shepherds or the lack of Word & counsel, or a multitude of other reasons. But from now on, I don't think people with serious problems are going to have to be kept around nearly as long as we used to keep them, because they have the Word, they have Shepherds who have learned a lot & have improved in their care for their flocks, who should be able to help them, & they have a Home that should be able to sympathise with them & pray with them & try to pull them through.

       52. If our people today deliberately murmur or sow discord or cause security hazards or have dangerous sex, etc., then it's fairly obvious that they're not that sold-out & they're not really that concerned about whether they stay in the Family or not! So I think from now on it's not going to take us so long to sort out such people, & we're not going to have to keep problem people hanging around so long if they don't want the victory! They're going to have to get quicker victories.


       53. If someone is not a serious murmurer & isn't corrupting & dragging others down or endangering the Work somehow, you almost have to give them the benefit of the doubt. We've got to be sure to judge people prayerfully & give them every chance to change. For example, some people have changed dramatically with a change of location. For others, a change of situations hasn't fazed them, it hasn't made a bit of difference, their problems persisted. But how do we know unless we try?

       54. If there's anything you can do to help them, you're responsible to do it. If you have any reasonable hope, if you have any reason to believe they can make the change & still stay in the Family, then we should do all we can to try to help them to do so.

       55. After all, look at all the years that have been invested in them, in teaching them & training them to be good soldiers in the Lord's Army. To just quickly brush all of that aside when a problem comes up--all of our people's time & prayer & work & training that has gone into someone--it would just be tragic to cut them off if they could pull through somehow & get the victory & make it. So we are responsible to desperately pray that the Lord will give us the key to helping them & show us what's the answer for them & whether they can make it or not. (It took me 50 years!)

       56. That's one reason I'm really happy we've now initiated this Worldwide Prayer Requests List. I wonder if we'd done this earlier if more of our people could have changed, & changed more quickly & had less problems, if we'd put out a worldwide prayer request for them. Prayer is powerful, & if we'd been praying more for each other worldwide, I can't help but think that some of our people wouldn't have had nearly as many problems, or would have been able to get victories more quickly.

       57. So if someone isn't an out-&-out corrupter or security hazard, I think we need to do everything we can before we give up on them. Of course, we have to do it within limits. There's got to be some kind of a time limit, we can't just drag out our treatment indefinitely. People have to at least give some indication that they really want to change. And if they really want to change, you know the Lord is going to meet that desire & help them.


       58. We've done all kinds of things to help people pull through their problems & make it: We've counselled them, put them on reading lists, had united prayer for them & exorcisms & prayers of deliverance, even given some people a fulltime buddy to help them over a particularly difficult time, a reading buddy that they can read out loud with. We've asked people to write their OHRs daily, prayed for them country-wide or worldwide, had different leaders writing them letters counselling & praying with them, or other of their peers writing them encouraging notes & letters. (Send'm to the Battlefront!?)

       59. We've taken some people off their regular work, given them time by themselves, put them in a different job in the same Home, changed their location so they'd be under other leadership & with different people, given them ultimatums, etc. We've also disciplined people in various ways: Put them on Babes' Status, put them in Victor Programs, put them in Retraining Centers (RTCs). People were warned when brought into the RTCs that they desperately needed to make progress & gain some genuine victories in their lives, or they would be asked to move out of our DO Homes!


       60. If we do all these things--which can be done over a relatively short period of time, a few months or a year--& the person still hasn't made a substantial change & shown a sincere desire to really fight & break whatever bad habits they've formed, or drastically change their behaviour; if that behaviour is hurting the Family in any way, then we probably need to consider that maybe they need a stronger shake-up.--Something to help them to appreciate their blessings more.

       61. That's what's happened with a lot of people who are now our TRF Supporters. Many of them were unwilling to really go on the attack against their longstanding problems & weaknesses, or were "wearied in well-doing" & "fainting in their minds" about upholding the high standard that the Lord requires of our disciples in our DO Homes. (Gal.6:9; Heb.12:3.) But now that they've been put on TRF Supporter status, a lot of them really appreciate the Family & appreciate their blessings & are very thankful to the Lord for what they had, & what they still have as a result of all the wonderful training they received in the Family.

       62. Although their standard of commitment & dedication is considerably lower, now that not so much is required of them, some of them seem to be more thankful & appreciative of their blessings now than they were when they were in the Family fulltime--when they took their blessings for granted & were not very grateful. Of course, while these TRF Supporters may have a new appreciation for many of their former blessings, they also now sadly realise all that they have lost. But many of them are learning to smile through their tears as they learn the "Benefits of Backsliding" in their lives.--One of the main "benefits" being that they have learned (the hard way) to be thankful for many of their blessings that they previously enjoyed within our DO Homes, but took for granted, & must now do without.


       63. When dealing with our JETTs' & Teens' problems, what we do all depends on how serious their problems are, & how they are affecting the rest of their peers & the rest of the Family. JETTs & young Teens are learning & growing, & they usually have one problem after the other just because that's the way they learn. The way they grow is through having problems & being helped through those problems. So the fact that young people have problems is not really such a negative thing, because if they have someone to help them & they're willing to be helped, it certainly turns into a positive thing in the long run, & the Lord uses it to make them much stronger & to really get through to them & teach them the things He wants to teach them. Another way that the Lord turns a seemingly negative problem into something positive is that He will often use one person's problems to teach valuable lessons to a whole group of their peers.

       64. But if they continue having the same serious problem over & over for months & months on end, then you've got to consider if they're ever going to really change. Are they making an effort, are they really trying? If they are trying, then the Lord's going to help them in some way, there's going to be at least some improvement.

       65. Of course, they may win a victory over one problem & go right into another big problem, but that shouldn't be seen as a continuation of the first one, that's just another new stage or step in their growth. But if it's the same problem, & it's a serious problem that affects others, & just goes on & on, you've almost got to treat them the same as an adult because they're responsible before the Lord if you've done everything you can to help them, & you've taken all these different steps I've already listed.

       66. But with JETTs & Teens, you not only have to take all those steps I mentioned, you also have to answer their questions & give them lots of explanations & make sure they don't have a lot of unanswered questions & things that they just don't understand. Young people need a lot of explanation. Even if they don't know what questions to ask, you sometimes just have to ask the Lord what their questions are, & you then have to try to answer & explain. (It takes time.)

       67. They really need to know things, they don't understand nearly as much as we expect them to. They haven't had experience like we adults have. They know hardly anything about the System. They don't know most of the early Letters--they haven't been around long enough to read them all. There's a lot they just don't know. So some of their problems could be caused by confusion in their mind or misunderstandings that have come up, or bitternesses because of things that happened to them that they didn't quite understand or see in the right perspective.

       68. But after you've done your best to explain & answer & do all these things I've mentioned you can do to help people overcome their problems, then they're responsible before the Lord, just like the adults. But you've got to do all these things first, you've got to do everything you can. But when you've done everything you can--especially really praying for the individual, that the Lord will get through to them--there does come a time where you've got to review & evaluate & see if the person really wants the help & if he's going to change & if he's worth pouring any more into.

       69. Techi & David have their problems, & sometimes they last for awhile--for a few months--& we work with them on it. Thank the Lord, they change & they improve & they win significant victories. Of course, then another problem will usually come up that we've got to go to work on. But they're kids, so they're going to have problem after problem. And thank God, they don't have them all at the same time, the Lord's merciful. They have a problem in one area first, & you deal with that & try to help them & make progress in that. Then something else comes up & you need to repeat the process.

       70. If they had the same problem over & over for year after year--particularly if it's a serious problem that's hindering, harming or dragging down others--I don't think we would tolerate that kind of thing because you know then that they're not really wanting to change. That would mean that they're rebellious & defiant.--Because if they want to change & they want to improve & we're doing everything we can on our part to help them, then you know the Lord will do His part. I'm not talking about the "besetting sins," weaknesses & "thorns in the flesh" that everyone has, & that the Lord uses to keep us humble & dependent on Him. (Heb.12:1; 2Cor.12:7.) I'm talking about when someone has serious problems & they're just yielding to them, & not making any kind of a sincere effort to resist or overcome them.

       71. If you're not failing to do your part to help them, then you know the Lord's not failing to do His part, so if the young person isn't progressing & changing, then he must not want to be changing or progressing, & he's probably defiant & rebellious. The Lord can even tolerate that for awhile, & you certainly want to do all you can to help & to make sure his problems aren't caused by anything that you're doing, or that there are any outside influences that are hurting him or keeping him from making the progress that he needs to make.

       72. Thank the Lord, when we're doing all we can, in most cases the kids come through. There are very few of our kids who are so rebellious & defiant that their attitude is like they just dare you to give them the ultimatum. There are very few of them who have to actually be kicked out or that have to go to the System to try it out & learn for themselves how rotten it is. Very few just refuse to be helped or seem to almost enjoy being problem cases. Thank the Lord, they're very few.

       73. Even with some of our worst cases--kids who were real spiritual problem cases--they're coming through now to victory, TTL! It took a few years for some of them, they were pretty serious cases. But we knew their problems were not all their fault.

       74. That's another important point to remember: Most of the time a youth's problems are not all his fault, they're hardly ever all his fault. Therefore, we take more time & we have more patience & tolerance with kids, with young people, because we know that often their problems have stemmed from others' problems, & that gives us more sympathy for them & more patience with them & we can usually take longer dealing with them & helping them over their problems. Of course, ultimately they have to make their own decisions about what they want to do.

       75. They have to decide that they're going to fight & that they're going to change with the Lord's help, & they have to put their will on the Lord's side. They have to put something in to it too, some real effort. But thank the Lord, the Lord has taken some of our most difficult cases & completely transformed (18) them. It's taken quite awhile in some cases, two or three years, but they're coming out much stronger now & as really beautiful jewels. They'll probably be some of our stronger leaders one day because of all that has been poured into them, God bless them!


       76. We've had lots of people on our Staff who have had long-term problems, & some who still have long-term problems! But their overall deportment (19) & behaviour & dedication & loyalty are very good & are unquestionable. So we can put up with their problems because not only are the people dedicated & they have 90% positive qualities, but in the 10% where they are lacking, they are working on it & they've continued to work on it & they don't have nearly as bad problems today as they used to a year or two ago. So they continue to improve & the Lord continues to help them on their NWOs.

       77. There are lots of problems that are long-term, & that's just the way they are. Most people don't get real instantaneous (20) victories where they're suddenly completely free of a lifetime weakness. Some do, it's possible; all things are possible with God & He does do that sometimes, but normally not. What was your besetting sin a few years ago is probably still your besetting sin, & you still have to keep working on it. But if you're dedicated to the Lord & sold out to Him, it's almost a certainty that you'll be doing better today than you were two years ago. We should all be "going from strength to strength, for the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more & more unto the Perfect Day!"--Psa.84:7; Pro.4:18.

       78. All the people that I know of whom we've had with us or have with us now or have in our Units are doing better today than they were two years ago because they've been working on their weak areas. And in some cases it's taken a lot of work. Everybody has problems, we all have problems, & a lot of them are very long-standing, but I think all of us can say--& probably everybody left in the Family right now, or almost everybody that's in the Family right now can say--our problems are less severe, we're doing better now than we were a couple of years ago.

       79. And if people can't say that, then there's probably some question about them even being in the Family! Because if you really want the Lord's Will, then you're going to want to make improvements in your behaviour.--For your own sake, of course, but mostly for the sake of others & for the sake of becoming a better witness & better example to others, a better tool in the Lord's hands. So if you are sincerely asking the Lord to help you & you want to change, then you know He's not going to fail & He's going to answer. (You're growing!)

       80. So it's reasonable to assume that you will be doing better now on your weaknesses & problems than you were two years ago. You may not be completely over your problems or even out of the woods yet, but you will have made some progress, at least a little progress. Even if you slip & fall sometimes, if you're sincerely wanting the victory, the Lord will help you back up again. "Though you fall, you will not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth you with His hand! For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again!"--Psa.37:24; Pro.24:16. I know some things are pretty tough & we battle with them for a long time, but if we sincerely seek the Lord & really want His help & are desperate with Him about our problems, He's going to help us. He says He'll supply all our need, so we know that's the way He works.

       81. It's like what Dad said in "Old Bottles" (ML#242), if you're not progressing, you're backsliding!--And if you continue to backslide, then you're going to backslide right out of the Family, right out of the Lord's Will. But if you're making some progress, even if it's not a lot, if you're steadily making some progress, then you're going forward & you're progressing & the Lord's going to give you credit for that & continue to help you as long as you continue to want to be helped. PTL! (Terrific! Amen!--D.)


The following definitions are based on how the words are used in this Letter. Please consult your dictionary for other meanings.
       (1) Catalyst: a person or thing that brings about some change without being directly affected itself
       (2) Ultimatum: a final proposal or statement of conditions, acceptance of which is required under penalty of ending talks or negotiations
       (3) Wayward: turning from the right way; disobedient
       (4) Castigating: criticising or rebuking severely
       (5) Perpetual: never ceasing; continuous
       (6) Injunction: a command; order
       (7) Admonitions: gentle reproofs or warnings
       (8) Wilful: wanting or taking one's own way; stubborn
       (9) Indulgence: taking part in some act
       (10) Excommunicable: punishable by excommunication, as an offense
       (11) Unsanctioned: not sanctioned or approved
       (12) Accountability: the state of being held responsible for carrying out one's obligations; responsibility
       (13) Lax: not strict; careless
       (14) Infringements: violations of the law
       (15) Fundamental: essential; basic; indispensable
       (16) Peripheral: of the surface or outer part
       (17) Substantial: strong; firm; solid
       (18) Transformed: changed in condition, nature, or character
       (19) Deportment: the way a person acts; behaviour; conduct
       (20) Instantaneous: happening or done in an instant

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family


Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family