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"Truth from a Rubber Bracelet"
Debbie Dartt Ministries © 2016
I have a nephew, his name is Rain and he is very bright. He’s not just a little smart. He is a National Merit Scholar and was Valedictorian of his high school class. He has since graduated from an engineering school and is an engineer in the Air Force. What I love about Rain is that he is not just book smart, you can also have a conversation with him and laugh with him. He is clever and witty, he has been since he was very young. One of my favorite stories about him is when he was somewhere between 4 and 6 years old he was walking through the mall with his family and he got tired and decided he didn’t want to walk any further and plopped himself down and wouldn’t move, demanding someone carry him. My brother-in-law tried to reason with him and like any good, christian father he played the “Jesus card”. This was back in the day when everyone had a WWJD t-shirt, bracelet or temporary tattoo, so my brother-in-law leans down to his immobile son and asks “Rain, what would Jesus do?” and Rain’s answer was perfect -“He’d carry me.”
Well, the WWJD fad has passed. The irony, that seeking Christ to guide our actions became a money making marketing sensation is just beyond explanation and for that reason I must admit that I am glad it is over. But there is another reason that I am glad it’s over. Just like my brother-in-law using the concept to manipulate Rain's behavior, we looked at this trend as a way to get people to act the way we thought they should act. It became about us and what we do rather than about Christ and who he is.
We don’t need to ask the question, because we know EXACTLY what Jesus would do. Jesus would spend time with people who had chosen a sinful lifestyle so he could show them he knew them and loved them and offer them mercy and grace. He would touch the unclean at the risk of being accused of being unclean himself so that he could heal and restore. He would give up the position of highest respect and authority to become someone without so much as a place to sleep, to be spit on and mocked, to be hated and doubted and betrayed by his closest friends.
There is another, equally important question that will probably never be printed on a t-shirt—What wouldn’t Jesus do? From scripture we also know the answer to that one - He wouldn’t require people to change before treating them with love and respect (remember we were still sinning when Christ died for us). He wouldn’t allow us to be tempted or tested without providing strength in our weakness. He wouldn’t leave us as orphans. He wouldn’t leave us at all without sending His Holy Spirit to fill and empower us.
The answer to our WWJD question is a lot more difficult than just obeying the rules and modifying our behavior, because it’s not about our behavior so much as it’s about our attitudes and motivations. Rules are easy to follow but they don’t bring about a change big enough to empower us to really do what Jesus would. For that we would need to love like Jesus loves, forgive like Jesus forgives, be humbled like Jesus was humbled. That may be a little more than we bargained for when we bought our rubber bracelet emblazoned with WWJD.
The beauty of the situation is that he doesn’t require us to do any of it alone, but he makes us new and he teaches us what it means to be forgiven, then he fills us with his Spirit. That is when we can put on our bracelet or t-shirt and point to our bumper sticker and know that the answer to the question is exactly what Rain said it was…What would Jesus do?…He’d carry me.