Home > Rob's Blog > WWJD Isn’t Rocket Science

WWJD Isn’t Rocket Science

WWJDI find myself shaking my head a lot recently. I don’t think it’s a tic. It tends to happen almost exclusively when I read certain news articles these days.

For example, I found myself shaking my head when I read in an article lately that WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) – while admittedly a useful question to ask in some circumstances – can’t help the Church with how to respond to LGBTTQ* issues, since Jesus didn’t talk about that kind of behaviour in the four gospels. The writer reasoned further that since Jesus was silent on the subject He must have thought it wasn’t a big deal.

Aside from the abysmal logic built on an argument from silence, I disagree with the idea that we can’t ask the question “What Would Jesus Do?” to help us form a right response to the particular issues about sexual behaviour that we are facing in our society today.

To bring younger readers up to speed, “What Would Jesus Do?” was a popular youth movement in the evangelical Church in North America in the ‘90’s. It began as a reminder to believers to consider Jesus as they made decisions – big or small – in their lives. Soon teen Christians all over the world were sporting “WWJD” wristbands and other merchandise. It became so popular that the world even noticed it long enough to make fun of it. Nonetheless, increasing numbers of Christian youth began referring to this helpful question as they faced complex challenges and choices in their own lives. For many, WWJD was a life-changing movement.

So why wouldn’t the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” be valid in determining how the Church should respond to the shifting social sands these days, especially when it comes to LGBTTQ* issues? Does the fact that the Lord didn’t discuss these things specifically in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John make it impossible to gain helpful insight into how Jesus would weigh in on the debate? I don’t think so.

WWJD isn’t rocket science. You just have to look for a similar circumstance in the Bible to the one you’re facing, observe how Jesus responded, and seek to do the same. With a bit of skill in sincerely searching the Word of God and applying some reasonable principles, we can gain a lot of insight into God’s heart for today’s world.

For example, a Biblical description of Jesus facing something similar to what the Church is challenged with today regarding sexuality and gender issues can be found in the book of John, chapter 8. Here’s how the story goes…

The scribes and Pharisees were upset enough with Jesus to resort to ways to fatally trap Him in His own words, which would discredit Him and leave Him open to prosecution. Knowing that He taught uncompromisingly about both the righteousness of God and the mercy of God, they felt they could easily ensnare Him by getting Him to comment on a sexual sin issue. In those days, they had very stiff penalties for all forms of forbidden sex, including adultery, fornication, incest, bestiality, and same-sex sex. Considering that even in Bible times, they were not unfamiliar with sexual issues (people are people), it was relatively easy to catch someone in the act. The person they found happened to be caught in the act of adultery, but any one of these sexual sins would have served their purposes.

So the trap was set. They would drag this person in front of Jesus, and get the Lord to comment on the case before they stoned her to death. If He said, “Let her go”, they would jump on Him for not upholding God’s law, and if He said, “Go ahead, stone her”, they would shame Him by saying, “What happened to the love you teach about? Maybe she was abused by her husband and ran to understanding arms, or maybe she was just drawn into a forbidden sexual relationship by falling in love with someone else. Was that really her fault?”

It was perfect. Or so they thought. So they dragged her to Jesus and demanded His opinion about what should be done with her.

And What Did Jesus Do? John picks up the story:

“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.””

That answer wasn’t what they expected. Somehow, Jesus upheld God’s law – He didn’t say not to execute justice – but He turned the spotlight back on their own hearts. And John records that one by one, they dropped their stones and shuffled off. The story continues:

“Jesus stood up and said to her, ” Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, ” Neither do I condemn you…”

Jesus, being sinless, was actually the only one who could cast the first stone. And He chose not to.

So, What Did Jesus Do in this situation, and how we can imitate Him today? Well, it’s clear that He didn’t give us permission to condemn those in sexual sin. And the reason we can’t just write people off is that we’re all in need of God’s forgiveness for our own sins. With this in mind, it’s obvious that we won’t be on the right side of God by becoming anti-homosexual activists, complete with labels to apply and vitriol to spew. So let’s not go there. It’s not what Jesus would do.

Perhaps you noticed that the story isn’t finished yet. There’s more. After saying, “Neither do I condemn you”, Jesus said to the woman, “Go, and from now on sin no more.”

So What Did Jesus Do there? He upheld the profound compassion and mercy of God without feeling the need to deny the woman’s sin. In fact, having exercised the immense love of God by withholding judgement, He cautioned the woman to treat her sin as sin going forward, and to battle the temptation to justify it or indulge it. And I personally believe that the woman’s powerful encounter with Jesus Christ was transformative  – that by the grace of God she was able to go on without giving in to the impulses of sexual sin. Encountering Jesus can have that effect on people.

So, WWJD about LGBTTQ*? I believe we would be faithfully imitating our Master by extending God’s compassion and mercy to those in sexual sin, without having to call wrong right.

Whereas determining What Jesus Would Do in this situation isn’t too hard, actually managing to do it does feel closer to rocket science. We need to Fully Rely On God as we ask Him for the wisdom and courage to respond these challenges as Jesus would. Whatever it is, I have a feeling it won’t be popular with the world.

But then again, neither was Jesus.

May the Lord bless you,

Rob    

  1. Christopher
    July 14, 2016 at 7:11 am

    I once worked with someone who was confused about his sexual interests and was seeking counsel from a few sources. We had been working together for many months and he knew I was a Christian and that I would not support any sexual activity outside of marriage. But he knew I cared enough that he could tell me without fearing my reaction. I told him, “I won’t support any bisexual choices you make, but I will always love you and support you!’ He appeared so relieved and confident that I was still ‘on his side’. We went to Klinic where he met with a counsellor and while I waited in the lobby, I shared something of my faith with a young lady who was waiting for her own cousellor. She asked me, ‘What do you think of homosexuals?’ I joyfully responded, ‘I love homosexuals!’ I think that was the answer she wanted to hear. And then, without skipping a beat, I added, ‘And I love thieves and liars and murders’ with just a few other words about God’s love in my life. I remember that her counsellor arrived that moment and she took the opportunity to exit the awkward conversation. If I could speak with her again, I would say, ‘You might feel like being homosexual is part of who you are and you can’t change that. But everybody is tempted to do something. The thief feels he must steal. The liar feels he must lie. The murder feels he must kill. I have my own temptations. I can follow my feelings or I can follow God. But only God will lead me to real life. If I follow my feelings and walk away from God, death is at the end of the road.’

    There are plenty of other homosexuals, liars, thieves and murderers to talk to today. I pray I remember to ask Jesus, ‘What do you want me to do?’

  2. Pete
    July 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I have a very difficult time abiding with the teaching/preaching/proselytizing of homosexuality and those doing it whether straight or queer. We are supposed to Do As Jesus Did: love the sinner but hate the sin. But its difficult to separate the two- especially when “they” are Pride-ly rainbow waving and flaunting it in your face and you are made to look like you are the bad guy for not accepting this “lifestyle”; a life style fraught with twisted/depraved sexuality that doesn’t recognize, diminishes or denies the extreme and extremely dark and physically, mentally and spiritually dangerous side of this “practice”.
    The motto or mantra aka lies of this faction of the ‘sexually liberated’ has been “its ok”, “you dont know ’til you try it” and my favourite “it doesnt hurt anyone”. When 1 in 5 homosexual men are infected with HIV- and half didn’t even know until a random testing- the lie becomes purposefully insidious and malevolent in the telling.
    I can remember back in the 80’s when the news had a segment at least once a week about the spread of AIDS; where and who it was affecting when the medical establishment was still in the dark about what it was. Now it would be considered “homophobic” (which is a misnomer; I’m not afraid of homosexuals. its quite the reverse.I’m misomophilophilic as they say “in the Greek”) or a “privacy issue” if a news service were to report that HIV and AIDS is at EPIDEMIC levels (again- even after ALL the condom ‘education’) among homosexual men; the reason why 10’s of 10,000’s of hemophiliacs and other receiving blood products in hospitals died; why ALL blood must be tested for HIV/AIDS now; how not being “open” to having a homosexual man coach boys or be a scout leader tends to end with apparently unforeseeable tragic results of child molestation or worse. but it surely doesnt hurt anyone. not even entire societies that are open, tolerant and even embracing of it. Dont be such a red neck bigot homophobe hater..
    What Did Jesus Do when the people wouldn’t listen to the earthly things, never mind the spiritual things? He knocked the dust off His sandals and moved on to those who had an ear to hear. He told them to follow Him or don’t. He said let the dead bury the dead. It sounds harsh but no less harsh than the hell He is tryig to save us from. But as The Holy Spirit once told me when I was feeling demoralized, dejected and down right rejected by a world that would only turn a deaf ear to The Truth: even He could not convince or save His entire nation, forget the entire world- and He was God.. only some seed falls on good earth and takes deep enough root. This is part of the patience of the saints..

    As an aside, its interesting that the Lesbian, “Gay”, Bi, Transsexual, Transgender, Questioning* community choose the word ‘pride’ as a signifier, cause those in the know, know what follows. The disproportionate share of the spread and infections of HIV/AIDS and severe alcohol/drug abuse in that “community” being a pretty fair indicator of the truth of that verse and the nature of that ‘deathstyle’. cultish almost really..

    the asterix* now at the end of that is actually a semi-colon but confused and/or questioning its grammatical function and/or implication..

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