“Jesus Wouldn’t Like That…” and “What Would Jesus Do” Shouldn’t Be Uttered Anymore

I once had a teaimagescher in High School tell me that Jesus wouldn’t like that I told a kid to kiss my ass.

He was probably right, I guess, if I thought Jesus had an opinion on my language when there are wars to be fought and bellies to be fed and slavery to be abolished and the kid in my theater class was getting picked on by another teacher because he had good hair and he liked  to shop more than he liked shop class, and nobody said anything about it.

Not to mention that the kid I had cursed at had been picking on me mercilessly for two years, and I finally had gotten the nerve to tell him that I wasn’t interested in being a chew toy for him to throw around to impress his friends anymore.

I wonder if Jesus has an opinion about that.

We talk about Jesus all the time as if Jesus is opining about our every move, and while part of me thinks this is a healthy response to a theology that reinforces the nearness of God, it can sometimes just be plain stupid.

As catch-22 as “What Would Jesus Do,” when we imagine that Jesus wouldn’t “like” a particular action, I wonder what kind of guilt we think we’re laying on the person.  I think that they’re “Rubik’s Cube” questions.  We puzzle them about, except that with these cubes, there’s no solution.

I think we ask these questions and make these statements because we’re trying to escape the fact that we don’t like it and we don’t know what to do (or we do, but we’d like to pretend we don’t so that we can justify our actions by saying we prayed on it).

When we’re held up a mirror and the truth about ourselves is exposed, we don’t like it.

Truth is, that teacher saw that kid pick on me about 10 times a week for two years.  I wonder if Jesus has an opinion on that.  Maybe that’s why he didn’t like me telling the kid to kiss my ass; I had gotten the guts that the teacher had lacked.

Or maybe the teacher didn’t care.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that we don’t like mirrors. We rebel against them.

Like when I read a little blog the other day where a pastor goes off on Hollywood for flaunting what he calls “anti-Christian propaganda.” It’s a preview about a kid’s movie that talks about how some families have a mom and a dad, while others have two mommies and two daddies, or one parent, or a whole bunch of relatives in one house. Movie looks cute.

Apparently this is propaganda and oppressive for this particular parent.

God forbid that his children hear that families come in all sorts of forms (as if the kid can’t look around and see that).  How dare Hollywood expose his children so such truth?!  The bubble of brainwashing is burst in such ways; that’s not what he wants as a parent, I guess.

I imagine he doesn’t think Jesus would like that.

So I wonder what he’ll do when his kids get invited over to a classmate’s house who has two mommies.  And I wonder if he’ll consider, before uttering “Jesus wouldn’t like that,”  how one of those mommies was forced by society into a loveless marriage at a young age because she had been told that Jesus wouldn’t like her acting on her attraction to women.  And she had broken free of those societal chains that were killing her insides, speaking up in a way that society couldn’t or wouldn’t and found a way to be more whole.

And then I wonder if he might consider that Jesus wouldn’t like his child turning down an invitation to celebrate another child’s birth just because the sight of two mommies might cause some cognitive dissonance for that young kid being raised in a bubble full of half-truths.

Because, as much as the father doesn’t want to believe it, the child will be living in a world where there are two mommy families and two daddy families and divorced families and all sorts of families.  And to pretend that they won’t, well, I wonder if Jesus would like that sort of ignorance…

See the kind of bind we get in when we think like this? We pretend to pit Jesus against these situations when really all we’re doing is crashing the mirror set up in front of us because we don’t like being shown truth and our own inabilities to deal with life situations.

Because my teacher didn’t like being confronted with the fact that I had been picked on in front of him for far too long without him saying a word, and I wasn’t having it from the bully or from the voiceless teacher anymore.  And this father doesn’t like the fact that love comes in a few different forms–even if he doesn’t approve of them–and his speaking out against same-sex couples, his flaunting of his “traditional, Biblical values,” is now being drowned out by other voices of love as he cries out that he is now the oppressed one.

Jesus wouldn’t like that, I think.

And I wonder what Jesus would do in that situation.

And as you sit with those unsolvable Rubik’s Cube questions, perhaps you’ll just come to see, as I see, that they are manipulative ways of trying to get around the fact that we’re sometimes confronted with our own shortsightedness and don’t like it.

Perhaps we shouldn’t get Jesus into the damning business like “Jesus wouldn’t like that” does.  And perhaps we should get Jesus out of the “choose your own Christian adventure” business like “What would Jesus do?” tries to press on us.

Instead, why don’t we live like Jesus lived. Or try to.  And I don’t think you have to ask WWJD in every situation to try to live like the Christ.  We have a pretty good understanding of what Jesus would do: love God and the neighbor as yourself.  Give of yourself for others. Get mad at injustice in the world and act on it, even if it kills you.  Be peaceful. Forgive.

I mean, I guess we can look at the rampant malnutrition in a world full of food and say, “Jesus wouldn’t like that…”  But we won’t, by and large.  Because there’s probably not enough guilt in the world to make us change our economic practices and allow the food insecure to eat well.  We’ll just save Jesus’ damnation for people who use the word ass…

I’m a reluctant Christian sometimes because we’ve confused trying to predict how Jesus would act in the 21st Century and what he’d opine on 21st Century problems without even mastering how to live like he did in ancient Palestine first, and we call it “Christian values” or “the Christian life.”

When you’ve mastered loving your God and your neighbor as yourself, then perhaps we can ponder what Jesus thinks about movie previews and what Jesus would do about it.

My hunch is he’d smile and mark his calendar to go see it.

100 thoughts on ““Jesus Wouldn’t Like That…” and “What Would Jesus Do” Shouldn’t Be Uttered Anymore

  1. I think rather than ask What would Jesus do?, we can ask How would Jesus see?

    When I teach my 5-year old Sunday School class about the trinity, I have them make a 3-sided telescope out out paper. They look through it at each other, and see a person who God created, Jesus loves, and the Holy Spirit wants us to help.

  2. A very nice post I must say… I always picture Jezus in character a bit like my (very Catholic) grandma. Basically the nicest person in the world, who would of course never swear himself, but wouldn’t go all nuts if someone else did. Some Christians nowadays are just too uptight with some stupid details (in my eyes)… No cursing, no drinking, bla bla bla… In the meantime they are too busy judging people that they forget to love their neighbors.
    We wrote a post about religious people judging people that drink, but it can just as well be used for cursing. Here it is:
    In addition we just had one that talks about drinking in Islam:

    The message is basically the same for every religion I believe. Nowadays the fanatic believers focus on all the wrong stuff. It’s not so difficult. As the Australian comic Jim Jeffries formulated it in one of his shows: “The Bible should just be one page with the text ‘Don’t be a cunt’. And if you live up to that rule each day of your life, you’re a good person.”

    Simple as that, but quite true!

    • You know, I’d prefer a one-line Bible that says, “Don’t be GAY.” I mean, just using “gay” like people do naturally nowdays — don’t be nasty, mean, evil, shitty. It’s not a homophobic slur, jeez, don’t be so uptight! It’s like a figure of speech! It’s totally not a homophobic slur! Some of my best friends are gay!

  3. Whenever God and the son of God becomes an object for humans to attain more power over an individual, or, in other words, a guilt-inflicting way for another to gain power over you, it ceases to be of God. We are meant to rebuke sin because it is bad for us, not because it is a way to successfully put others down.

    • I think you said it all in your comment. People use God to attain leverage. I am a Christian, and have been my whole life. But I have seen countless times where people use the fact that they believe against other people. Who are we to say what Jesus would or wouldn’t like? Jesus is perfect and we as imperfect beings cannot fully understand that. What we do not understand should not be held against anyone else.

    • Interesting thoughts. I haven’t typically thought of WWJD as condemnatory, but rather as a means of exhortation. I love the insights you have. People often focus so much on what Christians shouldn’t do that we throw the things we should be doing out the window. The Bible refers to homosexuality six, maybe seven (depending on interpretation), times. How many times does it say to take care of the widow and the orphan among you? HUNDREDS.

  4. I’m not into the whole God Thing at all, a blaspheming Atheist is what I am, but this was great reading. At the end of the day it only maters what we do, because good is good, right is right, regardless of by whom, where and when. Great post. Cheers.

    • Sometimes I’m a blaspheming reluctant Xtian (though I try not to be). But I definitely curse too much. So, we’re not too far apart 🙂 thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. I think Jesus would most definitely not like the “business” that churches have turned into. Starbucks in the lobbies and more “social club” than “house of worship.” Every time I see another mile-wide parking lot being dug and gigantic fancy new church being erected at a time when people can barely feed their families – I wonder if this is what Jesus wants them to do with their money.

  6. I always thought instead of Jesus, what would reasonable and rational people do that would not harm anyone and help the situation would be a better standard. In fact Jesus did some things he probably should not have done. Mankind needs to understand that if Jesus was the Son of God and since we are in his image than Jesus is everyman and therefore is capable of mistakes. That is the basis of salvation. Jesus not only died for mankind’s sins but for his own.

    • Jesus had no sin … that was the whole point of HIS stripes! He was struck over 5000 times for sin He never had a part in!! Jesus was/is God in flesh (as we understand). Lean not on your own understanding! The ‘Holy Spirit’ is the teacher of all knowledge in God’s truth. Without His spirit, we can not understand scriptures’ … It is ‘man’ (human) that dictate’s the church outline’s … Not God! The only way, truth, life is through this fact! JESUS DIED for our sin (sinful nature, not His).

    • You are dilusional and heretic at best. Either you believe what the Bible says or you don’t but don’t try to change what it says. He committed no sin and never did any wrongdoing to anyone.

      • The parts of your comment that I understand, that I’m delusional and a heretic, are points we’ll just disagree on. I’m not sure I accused anyone of wrongdoing, so I’m unclear on that part.

        Also, I really don’t like the phrase, ” The Bible says…” The Bible is a unique library and is the norm for Christian faith, but it does not *say*. The authors say. They are inspired to say. But let’s not venerate the Bible itself as if it speaks. I wrote a bit about that last year in June I believe where I noted that someone stole Jesus and put the Buble in his place.

  7. Personally, I never cared for that WWJD line (or the endless spoofs that followed, e.g. “What Would Elvis Do?” It is too trite for me. Great post. And by the way did Jesus ever have anything to say about gay people?? He had a hell of a lot to say about rich people, I know that.

    • I don’t think He’s recorded as saying anything specifically about homosexuality, no (maybe He didn’t need to . . . it was generally regarded as Just Wrong, pretty much everywhere, at the time), but He did define marriage, quoting Moses, as 1 man + 1 woman, permanently, in answer to a legalistic question about divorce from some religious teachers. (I’m my husband’s 2nd wife [he was divorced, altho she later died of cancer] so yes, He was talking to me!)
      Jesus actually did have more to say about people who wouldn’t acknowledge their own sins.
      My husband once wrote a tract based on the WWJD, which basically ended, “and what does Jesus want ME to do?” which I think may be what Reluctant Xian’s teacher should have been asking . . . .

      • Thanks for your comment.

        It’s clear we come from different places with regards to interpretation. Jesus didn’t define marriage at all. His (few) comments on the subject were descriptive, not proscriptive. And homosexuality was common in all cultures and accepted in some (Roman and Greek Civ 101).

        But back to the topic of the post, WWJD, even if it is a question of what I would do, is too often used as a vacuous way of being pious.

        I do appreciate your reading and commenting, even though we don’t agree. And although I don’t ask myself wwjd, I do consider the implications of my words and actions.

  8. Interesting thoughts. I haven’t typically thought of WWJD as condemnatory, but rather as a means of exhortation. I love the insights you have. People often focus so much on what Christians shouldn’t do that we throw the things we should be doing out the window. The Bible refers to homosexuality six, maybe seven (depending on interpretation), times. How many times does it say to take care of the widow and the orphan among you? HUNDREDS.

    • Sin is sin, no big or little!! God wants us to LOVE one another. There is no sin in His love for us or our’s for Him… who loved first. He want’s us to live in the Paradise he created for us ‘now & forever’ until the day of a new heaven & earth. We can not live &/or thrive in the dark! God is light … He is Love … He is good … He Loves unconditionally!

      • That all sounds really pretty. I’m not going to debate semantics here.

        The main point of what I am saying is that, regardless of what specific behaviors someone views as sinful, there are sins of commission and sins of omission. We often address the first, and rarely speak of the latter. I see a lot of Christians who are more concerned with perpetuating their own moral code than living as Christ lived and helping others. This is a problem.

  9. I think we shouldn’t even ask what Jesus would think or put Jesus in the situation. I think we should ask, “What is the right thing to do in this moment”, and actually think it through based on our own values of right and wrong, rather than what a bunch of old men in the 5th century believed Jesus wanted from his followers.

  10. 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart. 2. Treat your neighbor as yourself. Those are the two most important commandments that Jesus actually said. So, hopefully, everything else can be based off of that.

  11. I cannot tell you how much I love this. I, like you, am a reluctant Christian. Reluctant because I don’t conform to the mold that many of my fellow “Christians” believe I should (I have tattoos! I let my children listen to pop music! I write scary stories for a living! Aaaaahh!), and because I, in turn, think their ideas of WWJD are insane and their cherry-picking Scripture interpretations are offensive. Offhand example: I have a relative who writes to anyone she feels doesn’t live up to her standards, and warns them they are going to…y’know, the fiery brimstone place. Ah, yes. Done “out of love”, I suppose? Just as the admonishments that I should dump all of my gay friends before they drag me away from Christ? My disillusionment probably started in 8th grade, when I watched a fellow student get sent to the principal’s office for saying, “Oh, man!”, which the teacher called “an obvious condemnation of God’s greatest creation”. /facepalm

    I don’t think we KNOW what Jesus would do in most modern situations. But if it feels self-gratifying or leaves us with a little tingle of “I was right” pleasure, that’s probably not it.

  12. Interesting. It’s a good read, but I’m a little confused; are you saying Jesus would look at a reality like poverty and say, “I like that?” It seems like you’re not trying to get rid of the mindset of “What would Jesus do?”, but rather merely picking and choosing what aspects of what He would do. Does God not have an opinion on the 21st century? Are morals not something he’s concerned with any longer?

    • I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that the majority of Christianity dare not ask if Jesus would condone poverty because we aren’t willing to change our economic behaviors to change poverty and the systems of poverty. Instead we use it for stupid things…like cursing.

      And I don’t think we should try to pick God’s brain on 21st Century issues. The ancient texts inform us, but to ask WWJD seems to more be a way of comforting ourselves than actually delving into the mind of Christ. I think we should abandon it; it’s a vacuous statement nowadays.

      Thanks for reading.

      • You’re welcome, of course. But if we are not to use the ethic put forward in the Bible, then what purpose does that ethic serve? You yourself said that we are to love our neighbors and God, as Jesus commanded. Is that not an application based on the words of God?

        And which 21st-century issues? Any of them? Surely you don’t mean that the ethics espoused in scripture must be abandoned?

  13. Your opening example reminds me of one of the big problems I see in the church. Those higher on the social and “spirituality” ladder are allowed to pick on or bully those beneath them. Calling a higher up on his or her behavior, no matter what language you use, is always frowned upon. Young people can see this double standard, and that is one reason why they leave the church.

  14. Well, we do know, that the Bible isn’t exactly in favor of homosexual acts (remember one of the letters of Paul, don’t know which one) We also know, that Jesus did forgive the adulteress, many think she was Mary Magdalene, but he also told her to go and sin no more. As for cussing, according to the gospels he never did that, but on the other hand he did tell off the Pharisees a few times in no uncertain words, but he had no need to use body parts for that.
    Although Jesus had most likely long hair and a beard, I just can’t figure him as a Hippie or a Hollywood movie-fan for that matter. He demanded quite a lot of his followers, like sell all your stuff, give to the poor and follow him.
    A lot of people didn’t think him to be easy going and the “nicest guy they ever met”. Too often he told folks exactly what they didn’t wanna hear, put the finger into the wound so to speak.
    And he wasn’t exactly one to blend into the mainstream, that’s why they killed him remember. Though he did eat with the most hated guys and girls in his land, the prostitutes and the tax-collectors, that’s because he thought that they wanted to get their act together, while the pharisees were a lot worse and had no intention of doing so.
    The Jesus I see, is. not the one who’d condone the oversexed culture of our time where sexual pleasure has become “the new opium for the people”.
    But he’s be the one who’d care about the things that really matter, about the crimes of society. Today my guess is, he would have a lot to say about American and NATO wars and war-crimes, about Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and about the country who build the a-bomb first and was the only one who used it (twice)
    And if you aren’t too chicken maybe you’d check out how I picture Jesus today, but beware it is really, really frightening and most Christians I know are too scared to look too close at those things:

    • I´m sorry, Pastor, I didn’t know you who you were, when I wrote that comment. I don’t mean any disrespect.
      I recently had watched the Guantanamo video and I was sad and frustrated. Then I made a poem about what I’ve seen. When I read the article and the comments I assumed you were a young adult male. For some liberal men I know about the only interest in human rights they have is to protect sexual freedom, while not caring about the real suffering in the world.
      As for the subject of homosexuality as a Catholic I could discuss pages and pages of why the Catholic Church has the position it has, not only for biblical or otherwise doctrinal reasons, but for physical and psychological reasons as well.
      But I think you won’t have the time for a discussion like that. So, sorry again for being a bit offensive.

  15. I think many people ask “What Would Jesus Do?” as a way of tying their own beliefs and actions to Jesus–whether their beliefs and actions have anything to do with what Jesus would or would not do. For me, pondering how Jesus would have reached out to gay men and women, people who are bullied and stigmatized for being who they are (and let’s remember they are made in the image of God!) and told that they must be someone else in order to be accepted. I think Jesus would have offered love and acceptance. I think he’d have insisted that loving one another is far more important than attaching labels to people or attempting to act as judge and jury here on earth.

    Your high school teacher, though. Holy moly. Talk about missing the point.

    • I would like to imagine that Jesus might attend the movie with a gay couple and their kids who are good friends with him and afterwards go for ice cream and talk to the kids about how they felt about the movie and their family. Because Jesus would care about the kids, regardless of his views about their parents sexual orientation. And I like to imagine that he would care more about how they treated each other than their sexual orientation anyway.

  16. @Instead, why don’t we live like Jesus lived. Or try to. And I don’t think you have to ask WWJD in every situation to try to live like the Christ. We have a pretty good understanding of what Jesus would do: love God and the neighbor as yourself. Give of yourself for others. Get mad at injustice in the world and act on it, even if it kills you. Be peaceful. Forgive.>>>IN a nutshell this is how I live..And am attempting to do so even more; daily. Doesn’t get much simpler than that; though folks often complicate this topic. Why? Because it isn’;t always convenient to do so..2 thumbs UP on your write

  17. I think Jesus would like your post – your attitude: you voice not your own assumptions but ask what would Jesus said, so you expand your horizons tremendously and set a pattern for us. Thank you.

  18. I do not think we should retire the comment ‘What Would Jesus Do’ but retire what we have made it to be. Jesus is never judgmental, condemning, pushing people by guilt, He is loving, gracious and merciful. And He is also Holy and Just. To live as Jesus lived is to Do what He done based on truth and not on personal preference or social acceptability.

  19. These days, because of the media and the Christian Right’s control over what is said about Christianity in general, I think of myself more as a follower of Jesus. If he had a Facebook page, I’d friend him.

    Jesus said “Love.” That’s what it boils down to, and all the Paul and Pauline writings taken out of context will never overshadow Jesus’ message of unconditional love, of speaking truth to power, of looking out for the little guy. I am a member of the Christian Left – the United Church of Christ. We are Gospel-based and embrace ALL, welcoming and encouraging LGBT foiks, people with mental disorders (like me, and I’m the pastor’s WIFE), different abilities… we are this big family of folks who were rejected by their churches of birth; people who never thought they would find a faith community because of all the rules and the hoops to be jumped through; and simple, flat-out prejudice that exists in too many churches today.

    We don’t put up with “that’s so gay” phrases among our youth – but we take the time to teach them WHY that is hurtful. We also have a program for high school kids that deals with human sexuality, relationships of all kinds, and how to get along in a rapidly rabid world.

    I applaud your words. I don’t think you have to be reluctant, although its an intriguing name. I think there are many ways up the mountain, and you are following yours. Amen! Amy Barlow Liberatore, Madison, WI

  20. WWJD? Well one thing He DID was to make a Whip and throw the Money Changers out of the synagogue/Church. I love that story. Wrong is wrong.

    He also called the “religious leaders” snakes, vipers, and other nasty names.

    He most likely would NOT have turned a blind eye, like your teacher did, when you were getting bullied.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  21. Why did anyone ever ASK this question?
    Just like your article mentions the poor, the hungry, the broken, Jesus clearly spent his time helping those (“bellies to be fed”).
    Rarely, in his few years of ministry did He rebuke or criticize people for their sins. In fact, He stood between a woman and her condemners, telling them to grab the first stone when they became perfect (paraphrase).
    The times he DID rebuke: People in the temple exploiting the ones coming to worship by selling shit.
    Pharisees bitching that he had broken a dumb rule of the sabbath by helping someone.
    I think what he would do is very, very clear.
    And the ones asking aren’t cracking the book they are using to thump with.

  22. I think the irony is that the What Would Jesus Do? movement really started as a form of self reflection and effort to be as Christlike as possible. What it’s turned into is yet another way to be judgmental of someone who doesn’t share our exact views. *Our in the general sense.*

  23. I think you’re way too hung up on Jesus. No need to feel so harsh about it. It’s merely a faithful Christian’s shorthand for the more secular “What’s the right thing to do in this situation?” If you never ask yourself that question, then you must be extraordinarily gifted with an innate morality.

    • Thanks Paul; I get that. I just feel that it’s become too much of a thing in itself. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  24. Not to mention that asking WWJD alienates all non-Chistians who *gasp* can and do follow moral paths in life. Morality and ethics as taught via Christianity have good lessons, but I feel morality should be based not on a named version of a holy being (pick one, any one), but rather on one applicable to all human beings regardless of their beliefs or disbelief.

  25. This is a bad-ass (damn good) post about living like Christ did. I have noticed a lot of non-Christians who live more Christ-like lives than the damn self-professed Christians. What a shame! I wonder what Jesus would say about them. And I love the statement you made about us not having enough guilt to change how we are distributing food around the world which causes continuation of starvation . It is more comfortable to try to make those who say “ass”, endorse homosexuality, and believe in evolution feel guilty about their behaviors than to make ourselves feel guilty about more important things that we do on a daily basis. Keep it up!

  26. Yeah, I never liked WWJD either. I felt like it was a Bible School game that had grown up, with no one good answer, certainly not one I could figure out and reproduce. Acts begins with “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all Jesus began to do and teach until the day He was taken up…” This makes me think the real question is “what is Jesus doing, right now?” No longer a sterile guessing game, we are actively seeking the God who intervenes in space and time.

  27. Jesus’s ministry was held outdoors and was open to everyone…he preached about love and peace and forgiveness…messages that are still very relevant today but unfortunately have gotten buried beneath judgment and expectations that have nothing to do with his ministry.I think I know what Jesus would have said to your teacher…idle minds feed idle tongues.

  28. Congratulations on the “Freshly Pressed!” Good words, too. Well said. The sad thing is that “WWJD” is supposed to be something introspective for me to consider before making a decision about something. It is NOT supposed to be something to throw at someone else to induce guilt. The whole point of Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps, which is where this phrase originated, was for a community of believers to attempt to live their lives like Jesus did, with life-changing results. Of course, it’s fiction. But the message is pretty much the same as yours, I believe. We need to be more concerned with living like Christ lived than worrying about what other people are doing or saying.

    • I agree with you. I am a new blogger so I have been looking at all kinds of topics. Just exploring ,when I came across this post.

      The saying (WWJD) is something I will ask myself at times, but I have never used that on others. I feel it is something to kind of keep my own thoughts and actions in check. Not a hammer to judge others.

  29. I find this to be absolutely true. I also find that Christians who throw the “Jesus wouldn’t like that” comment around are often the same ones that make piousness a competition. We’ve all gone to church with them and there is always a voice in my head that goes, “I do believe you are completely missing the point, sir/madam.”

  30. I have often thought that some people who intoned, “WWJD?” really had no idea what Jesus would have done in a certain situation. Jesus loved the oppressed, the broken, those whose sin cost them societal approval. He interacted with them publicly. Yet, while loving them and forgiving them, he still could tell them, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus’ loving and forgiving does not imply his approval.

  31. I had honestly just assumed WWJD and the like was intended purely as a guide- or a challenge- to Christians in how they go about their lives and how they see the world. Never as a means of criticising the behaviour of non-believers, or those who may or may not be so. Let’s be fair, there are those who could not even care less about what Jesus would do or what Jesus would think. Our job, presumably, is first to present to them the fact that Jesus matters at all, and be willing to show that we are sincere from how we come across and the way we live. Which, I’ll admit, I fail at constantly.

  32. Excellent post! I’ve always said I should tend to your own garden before pointing out of the weeds in others. I feel that my garden is such a mess, that it pretty much occupies my time. I’m not sure what Jesus would do, and for me to assume such would be absurd and downright laughable. I’m a deistic christian so that entire “assuming you know Jesus personally” thing is out 🙂

    I also live by a code that my uncle used to live by: Never tell someone that they are going to Hell. You may be in line in front of them. That idea keeps you pretty grounded when you get ready to get on your WWJD high-horse.

  33. The phrase WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? comes from the most popular novel of all time. IN HIS STEPS in 1897 by Charles Sheldon. I do think it has been misused. I saw a hat in a book store for 18$ once with WWJD on it. I’m pretty sure Jesus would have spent the money on something else. I also think that the phrase was for self examination not for putting a guilt trip on others.

  34. Hmm, good food for thought. Your phrase “perhaps you’ll just come to see, as I see, that they are manipulative ways of trying to get around the fact that we’re sometimes confronted with our own shortsightedness and don’t like it.” I think that may be the crux, or bane of our christian walk. Who likes to be told they are wrong, and then where does that victim mentality come from??? It comes from the fiery darts of hell…my theology.lol
    Look to thine own self and master that with God’s assistance, and leave the others to theirs as well. Although, there is the time that we should go humbly and say that there is a problem, can I help. Being pompous and beligerent as the pastor was is defiintely not what God had in mind. (Matthew 18)
    Good points here, I like it.
    Blessings, Marsha

  35. Sorry your HS teacher was a douche, but “What would Jesus do?” Is a GREAT rule of thumb in our everyday lives. It is also, to the extent it’s true, a GREAT way to hold people accountable to morality. It also shows that authority is not in me or you, but in Jesus.

    Now sure, some people abuse it. That’s when you call them out. “No he wouldn’t! He would say this and this is why,” you might respond. Call them out as a hypocrite and turn the tables on them, holding them accountable.

    My parents told be WWJD a few times. I used it on my dad once, while I was still at a very young age, and he said, “You know what, you’re right.” That was a huge lesson in my life. As a little kid, as long as I am right with Jesus, I have power greater than full-grown adults or anything else.

    If we leave Jesus out of the equation it’s me vs you. If we bring him in then it’s my interpretation vs your interpretation. There’s still a key difference, even if we disagree still. That difference is that we both understand that Jesus is right and that’s a great lesson at the end of the day.

    • Hey John,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you gain some good from the phrase, I just think that’s it’s been overused and has become trite and vacuous and is a false use of piety.

      Thanks for commenting, though!

  36. Pingback: Posts I enjoyed… | The adopted ones blog

  37. I both agree and disagree. Jesus is an Ascended Master of Devotion and Abstract Idealism. This was the quality he embodied. So, the question, “what would Jesus do?” if put in this context, may be quite helpful, for it begs the receiver to consider what he or she is devoted to. If this is clear, they can act accordingly, with the added wisdom that whatever it is they are devoted to is an abstract ideal, and so, not the only way.

  38. “cognitive dissonance…..” I like that phrase, but the real thing is painful and uncomfortable. But there’s not much growth without it — intellectually, spiritually, personally, pretty much any “-ally.”

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