Do You Remember WWJD? – What Our World Needs Now

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The phrase, “What would Jesus do?” became popular in the United States in the late 1800s after Charles Sheldon wrote a very popular book titled In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?

Janie Tinklenberg, a minister from Holland, Michigan, read the book in the 1980s and was so taken by the phrase “What would Jesus Do?” that she came up with the acronym “WWJD.” She made friendship bracelets for her youth members to wear as a reminder to make good moral decisions. The bracelets became very popular, and to date, close to 17 million bracelets have been sold. I have pondered this question several times and concluded in all situations and circumstances that Jesus would be kind, loving, and gentle.

This week, we are focusing on the fruit of the Spirit gentleness.  Gentleness is defined in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology as: “sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior founded on strength and prompted by love.”

Jesus was very gentle with people. Read the definition of gentleness again and focus on “behavior founded on strength and prompted by love.” He was different from the Pharisees who were often harsh, hateful, unkind, and judgmental toward others. One of my favorite Bible stories as a child was of Zacchaeus. It can be found in Luke 19:1-10.

Here is a quick paraphrase: Zacchaeus was a hated tax collector who became rich by cheating people out of their money. One day, Zacchaeus heard Jesus was in town and was desperate to see him. There was a crowd of people, and because he was short, Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore tree to get a view of Jesus. Jesus stopped at the tree and (basically) said, “Come down from that tree, and let’s hang out at your house.” People nearby grumbled, “He is going to spend time with a sinner.” (That sentence always makes me roll my eyes. DUH, you hypocrites, we are all sinners!)

Please note, Jesus stopped what he was doing and spoke to Zacchaeus gently—even though he was a sinner. Jesus went to his house and hung out with him—even though he was a sinner. Jesus saw Zacchaeus through eyes of love. He saw Zacchaeus for exactly who he was: a dearly beloved child of God. Jesus didn’t focus on his sins; he wasn’t harsh or judgmental. And because of it, Zacchaeus was changed.

Luke 19:8-10
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much. 9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.  10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.

Jesus looks at you and me with adoring eyes of love, kindness, and gentleness. He sees us for who we were made to be. Jesus wants to spend time with us and change us. He doesn’t see our sins or failures—he sees us as his dearly beloved. I want to automatically think in all circumstances and situations: “What would Jesus do?” and do it! What about you?

How has your perception of gentleness changed? How has Jesus been gentle with you? How can you be gentle with others?

Next Steps:
Spend time with Jesus. Ask him to change you and fill you with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Jesus, I am overwhelmed and joyful that you love me so much. You choose to see the best in me always. You are so gentle, kind, and loving to me. I praise you for all your blessings. Help me to grow closer to you and become more like you. Help me to behave in all circumstances and situations as you would. Help me to bear much fruit and for my life to bring you glory. Amen.

This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.

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2 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Thanks for your insights today Martha! Sometimes I forget that Jesus came to save ALL sinners. Jesus is kind, he leaves and loving.

  2. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    “He doesn’t see our sins or failures—he sees us as his dearly beloved.” That’s pretty freaking cool! Good entry, Marsha!

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