If you were part of a Christian youth group in the late ’90s or early 2000s, you probably had one of those cool WWJD bracelets. And we’re not going to dig on that. It’s a nice reminder to look down at something and think to oneself, “What would Jesus do?” in a given situation.
These days, “What would Jesus do?” seems to be as important of a question as ever. However, because there are so many Christians who are mean, hurtful and violent toward others, we think it’s even more important to ask, “What would Jesus NOT do?”
What would Jesus NOT do?
We obviously cannot claim to speak for Jesus, but we have a pretty good idea of His character from what we can read in Scripture. We think if Jesus physically manifested Himself on earth right now, he would not be:
- Separating children from their families at borders — Jesus would never harm the immigrant:“Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it! Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you.”
– Hebrews 13:1-3 (MSG)
Excluding the LGBTQ community — Jesus wouldn’t kick a gay child out of His home onto the streets, and He wouldn’t refuse an LGBTQ person from His temple:
“Jesus responded by telling still more stories. ‘God’s kingdom,’ he said, ‘is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come!
‘He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, “Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!”
‘They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up on the messengers and then killed them. The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city.
‘Then he told his servants, “We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.” The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on — every place filled.’”
- Matthew 22:1-10 (MSG)
- Encouraging violence — Jesus wouldn’t be celebrating brutality shown toward peaceful protesters seeking justice and equality:“Jesus said, ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: “Love others as well as you love yourself.” These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.’”
– Matthew 22: 37-40 (MSG)
- Bible thumping — Wait, you don’t think Jesus, a centric character of the Bible, would be a Bible thumper? That’s right. We don’t, and it’s because of the Bible that we don’t:“Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. ‘The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
‘Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called “Doctor” and “Reverend.”’”
- Matthew 23:1-7 (MSG)
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