It’s on teen wristbands, hats, and t-shirts. I even once saw WWJD? tattooed on a young woman’s arm.
The idea, of course, is that we should continually ask ourselves: What Would Jesus Do? as a way of ensuring we will always do the right thing.
The question has become so commonplace, that I think most of us never pause to examine it. Or even to ask if this is an appropriate way to determine what we ought to do.
Eric Sammons offers his take on the phrase, along with five examples of things Jesus did that we absolutely should not do. Among them:
“You have the poor with you always, but you will not always have me” (Matthew 26:11)
Christianity has always been clear that we have a duty to care for the poor. In fact, we recognize that when we serve the poor, we serve Christ (cf. Matthew 25:31-46). However, when the disciples were indignant that a woman “wasted” an expensive bottle of ointment on Jesus instead of selling it to help the poor, Jesus made the startling statement that the woman’s action was superior to helping the poor. If any of us were to think that service to us was more important than serving the poor, we would be deluding ourselves.
What this example makes clear is that the real problem with using WWJD as our guide is that Jesus is not only a man — he is God. There are things — many things, in fact! — that are appropriate for God to say and do, that are not at all appropriate for men to do.
I like Sammons’ suggestion that instead of asking ourselves “What would Jesus do?” we should be asking ourselves, “What would Jesus have me do?”
But now we have a marketing problem. Because WWJHMD? just isn’t as catchy as the original.
(cross-posted at Faith & Family Live)