“What Would Jesus Do?” Is the Wrong Question. Start Asking This Instead.

I can’t make one more decision. My Friday errands threaten to overtake me as I drive from store to store. There should be combat pay for Decision Fatigue.

As I approach a sign-toting young man asking for money, I’m conflicted. I’m not opposed to sharing my good fortune with others, but

  • Does it do any good?
  • Or are the funds used for drugs?
  • Will the money provide a needed meal or medical care?
  • Or is it an avenue to perpetual dependence?
  • Which action is kindest?

I get closer to the young man and see the tell-tale numbers: 420. Relief washes over me and I stop grasping for the wallet in my oversized purse. The marijuana code eliminates the conflict in my mind.

But as I drive away, the question lingers: Why is it so difficult for me to decide what to do?

I recall a bracelet-wearing trend that reminded Christians to keep their lives Christ-centered. Youth adorned their wrists with colorful plastic bands bearing the letters WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? .

  • Want to go to the big party this weekend? — What Would Jesus Do?
  • Is it okay to copy my friend’s homework this one time? — What Would Jesus Do?
  • What if I don’t want to spend time with my elderly relative? — What Would Jesus Do?

I like the idea of it. What Christian doesn’t want to model his behavior after Christ?

But it’s the wrong question.

At least, it gives us an incomplete picture.

Because when I ask ‘what would Jesus do?’ sometimes I don’t know the answer.

And I’m not alone.

Many current controversies are the result of individuals trying to discern Jesus’ viewpoint.

  • Abortion.
  • Same-sex marriage.
  • Homelessness.
  • Drug addiction.

We can argue points from the Bible verse-for-verse, but it doesn’t always get us anywhere because we’re human.

So human.

And sometimes when I ask ‘what would Jesus do?’ it’s easy to respond with, “but I’m not Jesus.”

Jesus was perfect and he followed God’s will perfectly. Although I try to be Christ-like, I admit I fall far short of the goal.

After staying up too late watching little-known British comedies, I drag my bleary-eyed self to my son’s room to say goodnight. A teenager with off-kilter circadian rhythms, he instead initiates the most interesting theological discussion.

Noooo! Don’t talk about God at this hour!

What would Jesus do?  Jesus would start up a conversation about God and spend all day, way past dinnertime, answering questions about His Father.

But the human part of me says, I’m beyond tired. And didn’t Jesus go away alone to pray and rest sometimes, too?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine to ask “What would Jesus do?” In fact, it convicts me in my core.

Should I watch this movie? What would Jesus do?

Kendra Burrows
Kendra Burrows has a passion for tending her earthly and spiritual gardens. Some days they overflow with blooms, other days the weeds threaten to prevail. In either case, she strives to mindfully recognize God’s grace in her daily life, and to encourage others to tend and nurture their own beautiful gardens. Kendra and her husband have three mostly-grown kids & a son-in-law between them. During the rainy season, she teaches psychology at the local college. Connect with Kendra at www.kendraburrows.com.

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