WWJD · 18 April 2015

The thought behind WWJD (What would Jesus do?) is a quaint, but misguided ideal of divine guidance.

It has taken me many years to come to this conclusion. Not because I am trying to justify my actions or inactions. I just know that it is hard enough to figure out what I would do in anybody else’s shoes. And asking what Jesus would do in my situation is even more difficult. Probably even ludicrous. After all, asking what Jesus would do is asking what a perfect person, who is also completely God, would do.

But just because I think that asking, “What would Jesus do?” is a silly question, I do not think the motive behind asking the question is ludicrous whatsoever.

The reason Jesus followers have WWJD bands around their wrists or bumper stickers on their cars is because they want to be obedient. They know that they can discover God’s character by reading His Word, the Bible. They know that they can find the historical Jesus who turned the world upside down. Unfortunately, they cannot really know what Jesus would do. For like I already said, Jesus was completely human and completely God. He was a perfect person and so we cannot really know what He would do since none of us is even close to perfection. Regardless of how highly we might think of ourselves.

Now, I know that there are some WWJD wrist band wearers and bumper sticker toters who have little regard for what they are asking. There are some who just want to check the box and think that they are earning their way or at least mitigating their way into God’s heart. These misguided souls are not the ones I am writing about. They are not the ones who have gotten offended that I have dissed their paraphernalia. (But they are the ones who got offended at the last few sentences.)

These might also be the people who start with the same thought that I have already given (that WWJD is ludicrous), but conclude that since they are not perfect, they are off the hook. They cannot know what Jesus would do, so they can do whatever they want. Jesus will still forgive them. Unfortunately, they are not off the hook. We all answer for ourselves in the end.

Still, there really are people who earnestly seek to do what Jesus would do. And even though they might be asking the wrong question, their hearts are in the right place. After all, they want to be obedient to the Master. They want to follow the Messiah. They want to please Jesus. Which is why they ask the WWJD question in the first place.

I would like to give these people my own perspective on a better question to ask than “What would Jesus do?”

We know that we cannot be perfect so we cannot really know what Jesus would do in our shoes in any given situation. But since we can know God’s heart, we can know what He would want us to do in most situations. We just need to know His Word and ask a slightly longer but still simple question.

Unfortunately, the simple question is not so easily made into a slogan to be placed on wrist bands or bumper stickers. It is not a question that can easily be dismissed as silly or ludicrous. It is a deep question for the true believer and must be asked every day. The question is: “Would what I decide, what I say, what I do, elicit the response from Jesus, ‘Well done good and faithful servant,’?”

People might think that this is too hard. They might believe that we cannot know what Jesus would say when he sees us do or hears us say stuff. They might complain that it is too hard to ask the question for each decision we make. But the true believer, the true follower, knows that we can know if Jesus would be pleased. He already told us how to please Him. He simply said, “Love God. Love others.” Then, He spent His whole short life showing us how to do both. He showed us and told us how to be good servants.

My whole life, I have worried that when I die, I would hear the worst condemnation of my Lord. I have worried that I would hear the words from the parable of the talents, “You wicked and slothful servant.” For those motivated by the negative, we could ask if God would give us that response to our words and actions. If so, we know what we should not do. But I do not like that thought. I cannot stand the thought of being so condemned by those words. Often, those words of awful truth.

I do not want to be a wicked and slothful servant. I want to be a good and faithful servant. So I try to ask myself whether what I say and what I do will elicit that response. I try to be obedient to the One who paid my debt. The One to whom I owe my allegiance.

I wish I could come up with a good slogan for those who need wrist bands and bumper stickers, but WDGAFS (Well Done Good And Faithful Servant) does not really work so well. Even LGLO (Love God Love Others) does not roll off the lips very well. Fortunately, somebody has come up with a slogan for our church. L3 is not a new element, it stands for “Love God. Love others. Live generously.” It works nicely for those who need a slogan. For those who want a simple reminder to be obedient to God.

I am thankful that I can know the heart of God. I am glad that I can know how He will respond to my words and deeds. Even if I do not always please Him. And even if I cannot ever truly know what Jesus would do.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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