What would Jesus do?


Well-Known Member
Reaction score
For the Parsons District Newsletter of the Kansas East Conference
What would Jesus do?
By Bobby Neal Winters

We see these WWJD bracelets that the kids—and others—wear. They ask us a question: “What would Jesus do?” This question, and the act of wearing it, represents some healthy sentiments, a desire to be like Christ, a desire to be recognized as one of His, and so forth. It is not a bad place for young people to be on their Christian walk, yet there has to be more to it because there are problems if asking the question is all we do. This is because if we ask the question, we desire an answer, but there are times when we either have no idea what Jesus would do, or we have an idea, but it is wrong.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I ask myself the question “What would Jesus do?” and I have no idea what the answer is. If I am to be honest with myself, this is at times when I am in positions where Jesus would never have allowed himself to be. I suppose at those times I should have asked myself the question sooner in order to prevent getting to that place, but those suggestions are rarely comforting at the moment of need.

Regardless of any personal poor planning, we do live in a fallen world, and there are times when because of that we will find ourselves in ungodly situations. In times likes those, in times when we are in positions Jesus would simply never be in, the question should become “What would Jesus have me do?” However, this question runs into the same problems as the first one when we ask it, so we either have no idea or we do have an idea but it is wrong.

This all leads me to another question. How do we know what Jesus would do or have us do?

I think this gets to the meat of the matter. If I know what Jesus would do and if I am capable of following the path Jesus would take, then I am in perfect harmony with Jesus and consequently in perfect harmony with God.

I cannot speak for you, but I am not there yet. This means either I don’t always know what Jesus would do, or I am not willing to do it. I find it likely in my own particular case that both of these statements are true. With this having been said, let me ask again. How do we know what Jesus would do?

One answer would be the aid of the Holy Spirit. I believe this. Much of the time when we are about to do something wrong, we know it is wrong. This is what causes us to ask ourselves what Jesus would do. The trouble with this is there are so many voices speaking to us beside the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gets shouted down.

Another answer—and I think some of you are there before me—is Bible study. Jesus is the completion of God’s Law which is revealed to us in both the Old and New Testaments. I will say this, I will say that it is good, and I will also say it is not going to be perfect. The reason is simple. There have been many great minds which have studied the scripture over thousands of years, both before and after Jesus. Many of those great minds have disagreed with each other. That means someone is wrong, and you and I are liable to be among them, at least at times.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t study the Bible, but that we should study it with the check of a group of believers. In our case, that group of believers would be the United Methodist Church. Our church interprets scripture through Tradition, Experience, and Reason. We are not perfect, far from it, but I do believe the Holy Spirit dwells among us.

Given my statement that the United Methodist Church is not perfect, where does that leave us?

We must admit to ourselves there are times when we will be wrong in what we choose. Given that we simply need to admit to ourselves this is likely. There are times when we will be wrong. And there are times when others will be wrong. We must therefore resolve to approach each other in grace and love.

This is what Jesus would do.

(Bobby Winters is a Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University, a weekly columnist for the Pittsburg Morning Sun, and a Certified Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church. You may contact him a bwinters1@cox.net or visit his website at www.okieinexilepress.com.)<o:p></o:p>
Kindest Regards, Okie!

Good to see you back around after your (hopefully brief) hiatus.

There's something about the whole WWJD thing that disturbs me, and I can't put a finger on it. Oh, it's a cutesy little bit o' nothin' that gives children something to do and a nice little mnemonic that seems to work even on adults. At least, for recalling the words, not necessarily the meaning behind them. It even seems to be a rallying call at times, a standard to bear, a guide on to follow behind as one trudges into the rat race battles...

Perhaps therein lies some of my disquiet. It seems a battle standard, waved by those who seldom fully comprehend the meaning of the words behind it. And of course, as politics makes every one of us a strange bedfellow, when one's cohorts wave this particular banner, one finds oneself automatically singing its praises! Almost too automatically...Pessimist me.

I have seen people wave this banner, WWJD, in support of things we have no idea what Jesus' true stand might be. For or against gay marriage, for instance. I've seen the banner raised by both sides, and both sides are equally voiciferous that they "know" they are "right." How can we now for sure, WWJD, short of miraculous visitation?

Or those who raise the banner in complete oblivion to what Jesus actually is recorded as having done...such as the recent discussion around sacrifice.

Yes, Okie, the whole WWJD thing troubles me on a deep level, and I'm not quite certain why. I find myself hoping its a fad, something that will quickly fade away. Of course, its been a bit too long now for "quickly," but one can still hope it fades away. Then maybe I can get rid of this uneasy disquiet that I can't quite put a finger on...
okieinexile said:
We must admit to ourselves there are times when we will be wrong in what we choose. Given that we simply need to admit to ourselves this is likely. There are times when we will be wrong. And there are times when others will be wrong. We must therefore resolve to approach each other in grace and love.

I really liked this piece - especially the subject matter tackled - and the conclusion. :)