Monday, April 25, 2016

What Wouldn't Jesus Do?

If you're from any era pre-2010, you've most probably heard the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?". It's a good phrase. Makes us stop and think about our actions and reactions, just as the clever person that coined it intended, I'm sure.

But here you are. This is the moment. Real. Life. And something crazy is happening. "Quick! I better glance at my WWJD silicone wristband from Sunday School to help me stop, think, and solve this problem like Jesus would!!"

But, y'all, what wouldn't Jesus do?!

As Christians, we usually consider Jesus Christ as a figure of grace, humility, patience, and love. He was, after all, the only perfect human that has ever walked this earth. BUT, we usually fail to remember that for Jesus, a little righteous fury or holy indignation wasn't out of the question.

If you walked into a church to find it being used as a market, of sorts; people buying and selling animals, I'm not sure WWJD is going to help you very much. Because what we perceive as something Jesus would do, is very rarely what He probably would do. Let's talk about this.

     1. Jesus Wouldn't Play the Bystander

The first time I ever heard the term 'bystander' was at the Holocaust museum in Houston. Despite being a new term for me, I knew exactly what it meant. defines 'bystander' as:

"a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part"

That day, at the Holocaust museum, we were told over and over about how World War 2 could have been avoided altogether had the Christians not played the bystander. We were preached at that we must never stand by while the world around us violates what we know to be right.

Later in the day at this museum, we (a group of homeschoolers from our church) saw a video of interviews in which Holocaust survivors talked about their experiences. Because most of the interviewees had strong accents, they played captions across the bottom of the screen. Nearly every one of those survivors spoke of their faith, God's miraculous grace by which they escaped, and so on. While the museum did allow such comments, the captions across the bottom of the video crossed out the 'o' every time the Holy Name of God was mentioned.

One dear lady from our church posed the question "Why do you cross out the 'o' every time the word 'God' plays on the video?". I don't remember the exact answer they gave us, but I distinctly remember it being far less than satisfactory. Why did they cross out a letter of God's name? Why are they treating the Holy Name of the Most High like a curse word? ¹

I left the museum that day feeling much like a bystander. You see, I knew it was blasphemous to treat the name of my LORD in the way which they did in that video, but I did not fight it. I told myself there was nothing I could do about it. They wouldn't listen to me- just 15 years old at the time. The same thing those Christians told each other during their outdoor church services in Austria as cattle cars filled with Jews zipped by on the train tracks, filling the air with pleas for help, only causing the Christians to sing louder to drown out the pleas they thought they could do nothing to help.

Would Jesus have kept His peace at such treatment of His Father's Name? I doubt it.

Would Jesus have sung louder at the church service as all of those Jews were being shipped to slaughter houses via train tracks just 20 feet away from where He sat on Sunday mornings? I doubt it.

What wouldn't Jesus do? Sit back and watch the world around Him doing everything wrong.

     2. Jesus Wouldn't Wear Blinders

Jesus Christ was a busy man, wouldn't you agree? He went places, saw things, healed people, ate meals, and died to pay the price for all of our sins.

If Jesus were alive today, what would He do? Really?

Right now in America, the womb is the most dangerous place to live. Would Jesus Christ, in all of His glory, look at these stats, see what's happening, go and pray about it a couple of times, and move on with His life? NO. My goodness.

Sure, praying is a good start, and then volunteering at pregnancy centers is great. But what would Jesus do?! I have no idea! But He most definitely would do something big to end it. Babies. Tiny humans that have no choice whether to live or to die. Murdered because of inconvenience. What wouldn't Jesus do to save them?

We, as Christians, get these blinders on, in life. We see this special path lined up right in front of us, and we charge, more or less like race horses. We might see the abortion stats as blurry lights floating somewhere in our peripheral vision, but we just tell ourselves that this is how the world is right now. We can't do anything about it, little ol' us. Let's just put our heads down and get on with our own lives.

What wouldn't Jesus do? Focus on #1 and blur out the world around Him, and their problems.

     3. Jesus Wouldn't Expect it From Others

Another thing we seem to do as modern Christians is expect the bigger, better, more mature, more well-known, or whatever, Christians to deal with these huge, colossal problems. We expect that if we vote for a President that attends a church, the entire country will have another Great Awakening (wouldn't that be amazing!). We expect that somebody else will do something big to end abortion, or other issues facing this present, evil world. But, why can't that "somebody else" be you?

If Jesus were walking among us, He wouldn't wait for Mike Huckabee's new book to reach the heart of millions, and convict congress to outlaw abortion. He wouldn't wait for the Duggars to say something profound on FoxNews, or Joel Osteen to give a speech. He'd go do something about it. He would go. He would do. So, next time you glance at that neat-o WWJD bracelet, think about going and doing. Because, while Jesus would want the bracelet to make you stop and think before sinking that hateful comment, that's not all Jesus would do, and isn't the end the plans He has for you.

Have you ever heard the phrase "be the change you wish to see in the world"? Well, Gandhi said it first, so let's not put too much glory on it, but if we apply it to our Christian lives, maybe we can be the person everybody's been waiting for to do something big.

What wouldn't Jesus do? Sit back and expect others to do what He sees the world needs.

     4. Jesus Wouldn't Stop at Praying

Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before going to sacrifice Himself to pay the price for all sins ever committed. He prayed. YES! We should pray! You know how to do that!

But, you see, He prayed before He did. He didn't pray, and then, forget about the whole mess of dying. I mean, wouldn't it just be more fun to take a couple weeks to get away from the stress of miracle-working, relax on a beach in Heaven? Duh.

But He prayed, and then He did.

Sometimes when I pray, I pray and then I do nothing. Like, I pray that so-and-so would be comforted and have His peace during this rough trial or health struggle or financial burden, and then I say "amen", and it's over. Why couldn't God use me to comfort them? Why couldn't God use me to reassure them of His sovereignty, and point out verses to help them find peace in and through Him? Why not me?

What wouldn't Jesus do? He wouldn't pray for so-and-so to be helped, and then not go and do it Himself. He wouldn't pray for an end to abortion, and then say "amen" and forget about it. He wouldn't pray for our country to be restored unto the Biblical foundation upon which it was founded, and then not show up to vote on election day.

It's simple, really. Just hard.

What wouldn't Jesus do? Give it to God and go to sleep.

     5. Jesus Wouldn't Act Like a Hippie

Okay, let's face it, those WWJD bracelets that all Sunday School kids acquire at one point or another are all to make us "Stop and think on how Jesus would handle this", and that's a good thing. Really, truly.

"So," we're told, "if somebody at school is giving you a hard time, before you hurt him in any way, fist or words, think about what Jesus would think about this situation. Jesus wouldn't beat up on bullies, or call them nasty names..."

Okay... so, give them a daisy, call them an angel, and forget the whole thing ever happened in the first place? Pinch their cheeks and tell them how adorable they are when they get angry? Since there really isn't a guideline we can look at to see how Jesus would handle bullies calling our little sisters fat, and since we can't simply just open this manual up to page 4,724 to see how Jesus would handle bratty neighbor kids smashing pumpkins all over our yard, I don't see how this is helpful much, besides giving us a second to breathe and release the anger.

But, let me tell you guys, Jesus Christ was no hippie. It wasn't all love, rainbows, and unicorns, and He doesn't care so much if you cut down trees. If you hurt His earthly little brother, I'd think that you'd better make a run for it, 'cause Jesus knows, and He's coming for you. He might or might not break your nose, and He isn't going to call you dirty names, but after He's finished, you'll wish He had. At least, this is my picture of Jesus, from what the Bible tells us. He'd take it Himself, but don't touch the people He loves.

Here's the deal: right, we shouldn't be punching people or cursing at them, and yes, we should take a second to breathe and think before acting hastily. But, please, I beg of you, use the opportunity. Find a way to show God's love. Figure a clever way to slip in some Bible verses regarding the controversial topic at hand.

Furthermore, not everything is cool. If some people want to kill babies, and you just personally don't, that still isn't okay. Jesus wouldn't have dealt only with His own problems, and let everyone around Him commit pre-meditated murder in the first degree. Please. That kid bullying your little sister? It's not okay. It's not always more Christian of you to forgive and turn the other cheek. If he's bullying you? Sure. But not your little sister.

What wouldn't Jesus do? Turn the other cheek when God's law is being broken.


What other things can you think of that Jesus wouldn't do? Comment and let me know your thoughts!

¹ I've been informed since the publication of this post that Jews sometimes spell out the Name of God in this format as a sign of respect, which is definitely something I had never heard of before. I leave the post as it was, and add a hope that maybe the staff at the museums would better educate themselves on these customs, so when asked they might have a better answer than something about offending Muslims...


  1. This is all true and encouraging, but what CAN *I* do to stop abortion or whatever?!?!It's not as simple as you are trying to make it seem. What could those Christians singing at church during the holocaust could have actually done?!? Prayer is the most powerful thing in the world! It's kind of the best option!

    1. You're totally right. Change the world one prayer at a time. But when ALL of us Christians sit back and wait for somebody else (because, like you said, what can *I* do?!), it's just one big domino effect of nothing happening. Ever. I don't have the end-all, cure-all solution for any world crisis, but God does! Prayer is the most powerful thing in the universe because it moves the hand of God. But you and I, sometimes, are the hands of God! God doesn't need your brain to figure out how to solve the problems He's already solved, but He could really use your hands and feet. We're called to be tools and instruments for His use- not advisors to figure out how to solve His world's dilemmas! Ultimately, though, Faith is where it's got to start. It's going to take a lot of faith to get over the "little ole' me" mentality. The Christians during the holocaust saw themselves insignificant warriors against the raging darkness of those events, and they forgot to consider that this war is already won! Just imagine if there had been one hundred Corrie ten Booms! There were ways to help, for those who counted their lives less important than the cause of Christ. Have faith! If you don't believe God can use you in a big way for Himself... He won't.

  2. There is actually a probable reason why they formatted the Name of God that way: it's common practice among Jews so they don't spell out and thus risk disrespecting God's Name. (No, I don't agree with the practice either, but its intent is at the other end of the spectrum from blasphemy.) Read more here:

    1. Hi Jason!

      Wow! How interesting! I had never heard about this before. Thank you! I have updated the post to include a footnote with this newly-learned information. I hope the museum staff can better educate themselves on these customs in the future; a Jewish sign of respect would have been better received than a mumbling about offending Muslims...


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