When our children were growing up, they often wore these bracelets with their teen-aged friends. Colorful, clever, with a clear message that served as a reminder to think through what Jesus would do in whatever situation. The bracelets were a cool youth group theme at the time, but it’s been almost twenty years, and I still find myself using those words when I’m thinking through my options.
Mission accomplished, Bracelet.
The idea was simple to remember but difficult to execute. What if…
Someone cuts you off in traffic?
Breaks a promise?
Talks down to you?
Makes a fool out of you at school? (Or you do it yourself)
Jesus had a way of doing the opposite of what came naturally or was expected. So, how would Jesus handle it? What would he say or do? How might he act?
Life was much simpler then. Less angry and confrontational. More accepting of others’ beliefs. More united. Less divided.
The world sure has changed, but Jesus has not. He still loves in the most personal ways, sees right through us, and beckons us to a life of peace. He still places people in our path for a reason and knows that we’re much better off when we lean on one another.
On a nice walk the other day, I wondered what Jesus would do in today’s broken society and divided culture. What approach would he take? How would he reach out to others in an environment that spent a year teaching us to keep our distance and assume everyone is a threat?
Instead, all I could produce was a list of things he would never do:
1) He’d never withdraw from those who are hurting.
2) He’d never stop going to church out of fear or convenience.
3) He’d never say it’s time to give up. To stop trying. To stop loving or lifting others up.
4) He’d never let the nightly news tell him how to feel or act–nor would he let it tell him whom to be angry with.
5) He’d never be too busy or too afraid to look someone in the eyes and acknowledge their story.
Jesus had a way of changing people’s stories.
It’s been a long time since I’ve made that kind of difference, after a long season of isolation and protecting myself against the dangers of the world.
I don’t want to offend anyone, so I’ve learned to keep to myself.
That’s exhausting and takes a toll over time.
The best way to break out of this slump is to ask myself what Jesus wouldn’t do, and then stop doing those things.
Don’t do what Jesus would not do. A simple idea, but difficult to execute.
But I’m sure willing to try it, with or without a cool bracelet to remind me.