October 2, 2011

What Would Jesus Do?

Moral people aren’t conflicted by choices between good and evil.  In a sense, they’ve already made such decisions in advance and know what to do without a second thought.  They realize, however, that life sometimes demands they select the lesser of two evils, or one good over another.  Moral people are tortured, for example, when forced to choose between a personally fulfilling career and more time with family. 

Standing at such a crossroad, many people ask: What would Jesus do?

The implications of the question, however, are seldom considered.  Let’s be honest, what Jesus did is emulated by only the rarest of us.  He forsook the world at an age when most people are seeking material wealth and taught His gospel of love without consideration for “purse or scrip.”  In this way He practiced what He preached, living true to His admonition to neither reap nor sow and to give freely to the poor.  He overruled the Mosaic notion of justice by telling His followers to forgive unconditionally and “judge not,” then He supported the view by reproving those who would punish an adulteress according to the demands of the law.  Jesus understood that justice has little to do with punishment for crimes, but that it refers to doing what is just, which is another way to describe doing what is right.  In that way, He despised the kind of legal wrangling that remunerates lawyers handsomely, but ignores the Golden Rule.  Jesus was also a peacemaker, who would be puzzled today by the violent metaphors used in hymns sung in His honor.  Would the Savior—who told Peter to put down his sword—condone our references to “Christian soldiers, marching as to war”?  Rather, I’m sure He’s horrified by the violent acts committed in His name. 

What would Jesus do? 

Something quite unlike the actions of His mainstream followers.

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