WHAT WOULDN’T JESUS DO?

In a recent message I made fun of Donald Trump’s hair and how most of us see him differently than he sees himself. I implied that he seems to think he is quite awesome, but we see him more like this;

We then all had a good laugh at The Donald’s expense and I went on with my sermon that made a point related to my subject. The particular message was all about not thinking more highly of our self than we ought, and that pride is the one disease that makes everybody sick but the one who has it. I almost always use a contemporary example in every sermon to illustrate my point. Poor (read rich) Donald is just such an easy target I couldn’t resist. When the sermon aired I received a very irate email from a viewer. He was shocked that I would make fun of Mr Trump. I get lots of complaints from viewers but honestly I did not see this one coming. I mean, let’s face it, Trump paints a target on his chest. He is just so ridiculous you can’t really take him seriously. He craves the spotlight and loves attention. He has essentially created his own Truman Show and cast himself as the leading character. He has done everything but name it the Trumpman Show. If you live your life out loud on television for the world to gawk at you, you have to expect a few pot shots from the cheap seats. He is a caricature that invites ribbing.

The TV viewer who sent me the email demanded that I apologize ‘on air’ to Mr Trump.  To me it would be like feeling bad for making fun of Donald Duck and publicly apologizing. Donald (the Duck) is not waiting for my apology and I am quite certain neither is Donald (the Trump). However, I actually did see the viewer’s point. Trump is still human, has feelings, and besides what has he ever done to me? I don’t even know him. If I did, we might be great friends. As a television personality myself, I am probably more like him than I am willing to admit. The biggest difference is he has more money… but I have way better hair.

At any rate I was feeling a little bad that I had picked on the poor defenseless Donald… then my critic played the WWJD card.  “Would Jesus make fun of Donald Trump?  Don’t you know that Jesus loves Mr Trump and would never make a joke at his expense?”  Okay sorry, but I am so sick of hearing WWJD as the singular criterion to judge what is right or wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I think contemplating what Jesus would do in our ‘own’ situations is a helpful practice that can often keep us on the right track. But nowadays it has become a club to smack ‘others’ with.  We remind others what they shouldn’t do, by telling them what Jesus wouldn’t do. The gross misuse of the expression has become the sanctified way to criticize the behaviour of other Christians.  We have changed WWJD from What WOULD Jesus do?  (as a personal guiding principle) to What WOULDN’T Jesus do?  (as a condemnation of others)  I continually hear the words from my critics; “Jesus would never do that!” Are we sure about that? Do we really know what Jesus wouldn’t do?

There is ample evidence to determine what Jesus would do in a given situation… forgive a sinner, love an enemy, or bless a persecutor. Once you get into what Jesus wouldn’t do, you are into serious speculation. For example, would Jesus go water skiing?  Of course not, Jesus walks on water. Taken to the inferred conclusion; if Jesus wouldn’t water ski, then neither should you! And perhaps you lack faith if you aren’t prepared to walk on it. Would Jesus go to a football game? We have no evidence of Jesus taking an interest in sports of any kind. There go your weekends!

Would Jesus go on a Caribbean holiday?   Absolutely not! Jesus never spent a single moment pursuing worldly pleasure. The only recreation He ever had was retreating for long extended times of prayer and fasting in remote places.  So for your next holiday, check Expedia.ca for deserted mountain getaways without indoor plumbing. Would Jesus get married?  Uh Oh, I am too late on this one. Would Jesus buy a house?  This one is even clearer.  Birds have nests, foxes have holes but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head.”  Time to sell the house, give all the money to the poor and move into the homeless shelter. The possibilities of what Jesus ‘wouldn’t do’ just go on and on. The church would be a interesting place indeed if it only contained homeless, single, sandal wearing, unemployed carpenters that speak in parables.

By now I am sure I have aggravated at least a few people who would say, “Those examples are just silly, those things were not part of what Jesus came to do.”  Exactly!  Now we are getting somewhere. So, when my critics say, “Jesus would never tell a joke like that”.  I say, “Of course He wouldn’t. He didn’t tell any jokes at all”. (Pity, I think he would have been hilarious and He had lots of material with those screw-up disciples. But, I suspect He couldn’t risk the simpleminded among us not recognizing His sarcasm. So instead He stuck to the script most of the time.) Secondly, I like to remind them, “Yeah, I know, but I’m not Jesus”. And I am not joking. We are not meant to be just like Jesus in all things. That could get you into more trouble than you bargained for.

What I am really trying to say is we cannot use WWJD to dismiss the actions of others as invalid. Last week I wrote a blog on Rob Ford and Justin Trudeau and their respective bad examples of drug use. I was immediately met with the predictable, “Would Jesus criticize a political leader?” The answer once again is ‘No’. That was not something Jesus did. Christ came with a very limited scope of ministry. He came as a Messiah to reconcile man to God not to reform His culture. As I have already pointed out, there were many things He did not do as they were not pertinent to His cause. Just because Jesus didn’t do something, doesn’t necessarily mean He wouldn’t,   

What Jesus did or didn’t do, in of itself, does not always determine whether it is right or wrong for us to do it. John the Baptist received higher praise from Jesus than any other person in history. Yet, he was beheaded for criticizing his political leaders (namely, King Herod). In the Old Testament the role of a prophet very often included criticism of political leaders. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah… they all challenged the bad behaviour of the kings of the earth. In the history of Christianity, the church has always been the force for righteousness, calling out right and wrong. Jesus never spoke a single word against slavery, yet fortunately Christian men and women did not mistake that as a mandate not to so themselves. Notables like William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln and many others devoted their lives to the abolition of slavery and today it is illegal in every nation of the world. Thankfully, they didn’t have people pointing at their WWJD bracelets and telling them that Jesus wouldn’t do that. Instead they went ahead in their God given roles and changed the world. Yes, we should all strive for the character of Jesus. No argument there. However, we need understand that God calls each of us a unique role in advancing His Kingdom, which will unquestionably differ from Jesus earthly ministry.

Part of my calling is to challenge the broken values of a fallen culture on things like, drugs, divorce, sexuality, abortion, materialism, etc. Is that what Jesus did? Nope. Is it biblical? Yup, and I am more than aware that it will provoke disagreement and sometimes anger. In my mind I succeed when I get Christians thinking and talking about the tough questions. If we are not careful, WWJD can be misused as an excuse to do nothing and to judge those that are trying to do something. That would be a far greater evil. Edmund Burke a British Christian MP in the 1700’s once said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

 

 

 

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18 Responses to WHAT WOULDN’T JESUS DO?

  1. Steve says:

    The Lord showed me a picture of many Christians a while back. There is this thin layer of false front that they are living in but behind all that is all this black stuff. A mountain of crud. And He showed me that all that crud is soon going to burst through that thin layer and then all these people are going to have to deal with that mountain they never would face before.

    • Steve says:

      But Jesus is going to bring a revival through repentance and turning from our wicked ways and back to our Savior Who bought us with His own blood! What a PRICE He paid for our sins!

  2. James Fehr says:

    Love your explanation, if you have a few (I’m better than you) people giving you a hard time, don’t worry about it ( don’t think you do) Those are the only people Jesus had issues with to 🙂 Love your messages.

  3. Steve says:

    Isn’t it awesome that Jesus has so much mercy for us!
    Mercy is rising! Mercy is rising! Mercy is (((RISING)))!
    Can any1 see, a revival is coming! The devil is NEVER going to stop it! NEVER!

  4. Jo says:

    I have heard enough of the Donald Trump jokes myself, I don’t really know anything about him. Constantly picking on him and making jokes about him are just a way to puff your yourself up and make people laugh at your jokes. Its not nice at all. none of us are excluded, I have said or thought mean things before. We all say things that we wish we wouldn’t have said. Anyways, Pastor Mark you are human too. I believe you are a wonderful pastor and a great person. but its time to move on from this.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Yes, it is time to move on from The Donald… I’m thinking Chuck Norris.

      I believe most of us are far too easily offended. We live in a culture of hypersensitivity. People get bent out of shape everyday because of the most petty of things. I think people take themselves waaaaay too seriously. Personally, I think it is healthy to poke fun at ourselves and even our differences. For me no one is off limits, but in fact, I poke more fun at myself than anyone else. I do it deliberately as a provocation not to take ourselves too seriously. If that is a sin, then I am guilty as charged. But to me the far worse sin is the political correct hypersensitivity of our culture.

      • Zohan says:

        Before you take on Chuck Norris you may want consider this. Chuck Norris was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the gift of “beard”. Jesus wore it proudly to his dying
        day. The other Wisemen, jealous of Jesus’ obvious gift favoritism, used their combined
        influence to have Chuck omitted from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kick related deaths

  5. Bruno says:

    I’ll actually comment on this week’s video instead of this hairy situation!

    I’ve currently been living and working in Thailand for a year and the discussion about beggars and the “giving vs. not giving” is definitely on everyone’s lips all the time. Aside from small organizations, World Vision is definitely the big one that is very active in that domain. I see websites bounce back and forth about the danger and spiral of giving to child beggars rather than organizations and I definitely understand where they are coming from and the points they make.

    But your mention of “they’re still here 25 later on!” is definitely imprinted in my mind. Wow does it make a hard dilemma even harder.

    What normally happens is that people here become critical, they’ll “judge” who is a real beggar and who is not, who seems like they’re begging and who is running a mafia-backed business (nothing more heart wrenching than seeing a lady with a baby in her arms and noticing that she’s not always holding the same baby…) and on the other side giving directly makes us feel better but is not always the best overall choice. We let our emotions dictate us.

    And…. on the other hand, the other annoyance is that a lot of the people who say to “give to organization” instead justify themselves and won’t give to organizations because they, in turn, are as bad in their mind, etc. So we have people who don’t give to beggar but won’t bother finding an alternative now that they are justified.

    It’s a tough decision, after seeing a lot of those sad situations, I can definitely see where you are coming from.

    Wouldn’t it be great if those discussions were to appear on the radio and t.v. more often than the hot button issues that you mention at the beginning that are just talked about over and over.

  6. tim says:

    What wouldn’t Jesus do?.. well for start this blog and probally not the one before. your all over the map. If your a tolerant pastor whtas all the fuss of a parliament staff smoking a little pot. I need to ask if you have smoked pot.) I dont however, expect an answer). Simply because if you answer yes your implicated and your credibility shot. And if you answer no. Ypur totally out of touch with main stream society and should not be blogging on these matters. In a matter of closing I attended COTR and met with you personally. that was a long time ago and prefer now to sit on my couch…well you get the picture

    • Zohan says:

      What would Jesus do? He would have answered a question with a question too.
      Oh I have one. How is it that christians with some brains start thinking like non-christians
      when they sit on their couch breathing in the second hand pot smoke of Justin Trudeau?

    • Marilyn says:

      Tim – Are you implying that the only way to know about something is to do it yourself?
      By that token, you’ve just denied the credibility of countless doctors out there who treat countless diseases because they haven’t had these diseases themselves. Similarly, I haven’t had a child but I know that childbirth is extremely painful.
      Just a thought.

  7. no name says:

    Pastor Mark,

    you are awesome! you hit every point straight on and that’s why people get mad at you. Truth is a hard pill to swallow (most of the time anyways;) and actually when Jesus preached the truth people got pretty mad at him too. I think it is fine to pick on Trump or Ford or any one else to make a point. I am also confident that if Trump or Ford came to Church of the Rock you would embrace them (as a child of God) and help them deal with whatever they are going through.

  8. Evelyn Bennett says:

    What would Jesus Do would not be so bad if it was used properly. It is like the difference between ethically being right or wrong. You cannot use your personal desires or determine when the situation suits you.
    I have not read your whole blog. I will get back to it when I have time. Might respond again.

  9. Jess says:

    Dear Pastor Mark..!!

    I enjoyed your program I saw about “Not Eating Pork”. I was really relieved that at least someone knows and respect something of the Bible ( though not the distorted/corrupted/translated, with all wrongly translated names ) Bibles of this day) I said wrongly translated names because English language was not even conceived during the time of original Bible, leave alone the English names mentioned all over.

    Anyway, the point is that Eesa (Jesus) was not born in Texas or London. He was a JEW and from Jewish family; and he practiced the same religion of Musa (Moses) and prayed to “Allah”(God) in English) of “Ibrahim (“Abraham”). Eesa (Jesus) mother Brest fed him, cleaned him, washed him, fed him like any mother. If God wanted then HE could also have created miracles that Jesus wouldn’t need to be brought up like other humans.

    After all “Allah” (God) also created another but FULL Grown human (Eve) before with HIS miracle; or not..? 🙂 HE shows and gave miracles to all HIS messengers. HE does what HE does. HE does NOT need Son or family..!! Period…as mentioned in HIS very 1st of Commandments given to Musa (Moses) So please check it and understand it again..HE IS ONE AND
    ” 1 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
    2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God am, what I am, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.

    Yet today’s so-called Christians call Jesus as HIS son and worship Jesus images and Statues in each and every church..? ! wow..!
    And love eating “Swine Flesh”..?? expecting forgiveness…without repenting.? Moses threw the tablets on the sinners and cursed them all who in his absence went back to their evil ways..!

    With best of regards and hope that you turn your ways for other good as well. Remember there is no God but GOD.

    Jess.

  10. Jess says:

    Send me an email if you like to learn and discuss more…GOD Willing…I could convince and show you to realize what the true religion of submission to GOD is..GOD of Abraham & Noah..! The religion which Eesa (Jesus) followed & preached as well..!!

    Jess

  11. Christie Braun says:

    What would Jesus have done? Well why speak in past tense? Is Jesus dead to you? A personage who lived before you that bears no consequence to this modern world? He is here, now, with you. Concern yourself with that. Speak to God of your concerns in the name of Jesus, Blessed God, Amen.

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