Select Page

So you’ve probably heard the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” before, right? But have you ever really stopped to think about it? In today’s fast-paced and often self-centered world, the concept of emulating Jesus’s actions and showing kindness to others might just be the key to creating a more compassionate society. This article explores the power of the “What Would Jesus Do?” mantra and how small acts of kindness can have a ripple effect that spreads love and positivity. It’s time to turn that question into action and bring a little bit of Jesus into our everyday lives.

What Would Jesus Do? And Acts Of Kindness

Understanding ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

Origins and Purpose of the Phrase

The phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) originated in the late 19th century and gained popularity in the 1990s. It was inspired by Charles Sheldon’s novel, “In His Steps,” where a minister encourages his congregation to ask themselves the question before making decisions. The purpose of WWJD is to guide Christians in their daily lives, encouraging them to emulate the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Modern Usage and Interpretation

In modern times, the phrase WWJD has become a popular slogan and a moral compass for many Christians. It serves as a reminder to reflect on Jesus’s teachings and consider how he would respond to various situations. The interpretation of WWJD can vary among individuals, but the underlying message remains the same: to promote love, kindness, and moral righteousness in all aspects of life.

Influence on Christian Faith and Behavior

The WWJD philosophy has had a profound impact on the Christian faith, shaping the behavior and values of believers. It encourages Christians to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, following his example of love, kindness, and compassion. By constantly asking themselves what Jesus would do, individuals strive to live according to his teachings, deepening their faith and fostering a closer relationship with God.

Jesus’s Teachings on Love and Kindness

Concept of Agape Love in Gospels

Jesus’s teachings on love revolve around the concept of agape, a selfless and unconditional love. In the Gospels, he emphasizes the importance of loving God with all one’s heart and loving one’s neighbor as oneself. This agape love goes beyond mere affection or preference; it is a sacrificial love that seeks the well-being and flourishing of others.

Jesus’s Golden Rule

One of the most well-known teachings of Jesus is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This principle encapsulates the essence of kindness and empathy, urging individuals to treat others with the same respect, compassion, and generosity they desire for themselves. Following this rule promotes harmony and fosters a sense of community.

Lesson of the Good Samaritan

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches about kindness and compassion towards strangers in need. The story tells of a man who was beaten and left for dead on the road. While a priest and a Levite passed by without helping, a Samaritan, traditionally considered an outcast, stopped and cared for the wounded man. This parable challenges believers to extend their kindness to all, irrespective of social or cultural differences.

What Would Jesus Do? And Acts Of Kindness

Manifestations of Jesus’s Kindness in the Bible

Healing the Sick

A prominent manifestation of Jesus’s kindness in the Bible is found in his healing ministry. He showed compassion towards the sick, disabled, and those suffering from various ailments. Through his touch and words, Jesus’s acts of healing not only physically restored individuals but also offered them hope, love, and a renewed sense of belonging.

Feeding the Multitude

Another powerful manifestation of Jesus’s kindness was his ability to feed the multitude. In the famous miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus multiplied a small amount of food to feed thousands of people. This act of compassion demonstrated his concern for the well-being and nourishment of those around him, illustrating the principle of selfless giving.

Forgiving Adulterers and Sinners

Jesus’s kindness extended even to those deemed social outcasts or sinners by society. He offered forgiveness and redemption to adulterers, tax collectors, and others who were marginalized. By doing so, Jesus exemplified the capacity for love, compassion, and acceptance, showing that no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.

Jesus’s Self-Sacrifice as the Ultimate Act of Kindness

Understanding Sacrifice as an Act of Love

Jesus’s ultimate act of kindness was his self-sacrifice on the cross. He willingly endured suffering, humiliation, and death to atone for the sins of humanity. This act demonstrates the depth of his love for humanity and his desire for their salvation. Jesus’s sacrifice serves as a powerful example of selflessness and inspires believers to emulate his sacrificial love in their own lives.

Jesus’s Sacrifice and Resurrection

The significance of Jesus’s sacrifice lies not only in his death but also in his resurrection. Through his resurrection, Jesus conquered death and offered the promise of eternal life. This act of kindness provides hope and assurance to believers, assuring them of God’s love and the victory over sin and death.

How Christians Interpret and Emulate This Sacrifice

Christians interpret and emulate Jesus’s sacrifice by embracing a life of selflessness, service, and love. They strive to live in accordance with his teachings, recognizing that their actions have the power to impact others positively. By following Jesus’s example of sacrificial love, Christians aim to reflect God’s love and bring about positive change in the world.

What Would Jesus Do? And Acts Of Kindness

Applying ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ in Everyday Life

Kindness in Interpersonal Relationships

Applying WWJD in everyday life prompts individuals to treat others with kindness and respect in their interpersonal relationships. It encourages actively listening, showing empathy, and seeking to understand others’ perspectives. By embodying Jesus’s teachings, individuals foster healthier and more meaningful connections with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers.

Giving and Helping Others

WWJD also guides individuals in acts of giving and helping others. Whether it’s donating time, money, or resources to charities or volunteering in their communities, Christians who embrace the WWJD philosophy seek to uplift and support those in need. They recognize that by serving others, they are serving Christ himself.

Practicing Forgiveness and Understanding

Forgiveness is a central tenet of the Christian faith, and WWJD reinforces the importance of practicing forgiveness and understanding. By following Jesus’s example of forgiving those who wronged him, individuals can cultivate a spirit of reconciliation and peace. This willingness to forgive can lead to personal growth, healing, and the restoration of broken relationships.

Influence of ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ in Charitable Acts

Christian Organizations and Philanthropy

The WWJD ethos has greatly influenced the establishment and work of Christian organizations dedicated to philanthropy. These organizations actively engage in charitable acts, addressing various social issues such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, and healthcare. By asking the WWJD question, these organizations strive to align their actions with Jesus’s teachings on compassion and justice.

Emergency Aid and Relief Efforts

In times of crisis or natural disasters, the WWJD mindset motivates Christians to respond with compassion and provide emergency aid and relief efforts. These acts of kindness offer practical assistance and support to those affected, embodying the love and care Jesus demonstrated towards those in need.

Promotion of Social Justice

The WWJD philosophy has also inspired Christians to advocate for social justice. By addressing systemic issues of inequality, discrimination, and oppression, individuals and organizations guided by WWJD seek to create a more just and compassionate society. Their actions are rooted in the belief that every person deserves dignity, fairness, and equal opportunities.

Critiques and Controversies Surrounding ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

Accusation of Oversimplification

Critics of the WWJD movement argue that it oversimplifies complex ethical and moral questions. They contend that reducing ethical decision-making to a simple question may not adequately address the nuances and intricacies of different situations. Some argue that a deeper understanding of ethical principles and critical thinking is necessary for making well-informed choices.

Dangers of Misinterpretation

Another critique revolves around the potential for misinterpretation of Jesus’s teachings. The diversity of Christian beliefs and denominations can lead to differing interpretations of what Jesus would do in various situations. This can result in conflicting actions and interpretations, potentially causing harm or confusion rather than promoting kindness and compassion.

Issues of Context and Historical Understanding

Critics also highlight the challenges of applying a phrase developed in a specific historical and cultural context to today’s vastly different world. The situations faced by Jesus and his followers in biblical times may not directly relate to the complexities of modern life. It is important to consider context and evaluate the relevance and appropriateness of applying WWJD to contemporary issues.

Role of ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ in Christian Children’s Education

Teaching Empathy and Kindness

WWJD plays a significant role in Christian children’s education by teaching empathy and kindness. Children are encouraged to imagine how Jesus would respond to situations and consider the values he embodied. By introducing the WWJD question early on, children develop an understanding of the importance of compassion, forgiveness, and treating others with respect.

Use in Sunday Schools and Christian Education

Sunday schools and other Christian educational programs often incorporate the WWJD concept into their curricula. Teachers utilize stories, role-playing exercises, and discussions centered around hypothetical situations to engage children in critical thinking and decision-making processes. This approach helps children internalize the principles of love and kindness, fostering character development and moral growth.

Popular Children’s Books and Media

Numerous children’s books, songs, and media have emerged around the WWJD theme, providing easily accessible resources for kids to learn about Jesus’s teachings and their application in daily life. These materials often feature relatable characters and relatable situations that illustrate the values of kindness, forgiveness, and compassion.

Impacts of ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ in Modern Culture

Influences in Media and Literature

WWJD has made a significant impact on modern culture, influencing various forms of media and literature. Books, movies, and TV shows often portray characters grappling with moral dilemmas and asking themselves what Jesus would do. This representation has helped raise awareness of the WWJD philosophy beyond Christian circles, sparking discussions about ethics and moral decision-making.

Depiction in Inspirational Stories and Movies

Inspirational stories and movies drawing inspiration from the WWJD concept have become popular, depicting characters who face challenging situations and choose to respond with kindness and compassion. These stories serve as moral lessons and encourage viewers to reflect on their own actions, challenging them to consider how they can apply the teachings of Jesus in their lives.

WWJD Movement and Merchandising

The WWJD movement has led to the production and popularity of various merchandise that prominently feature the phrase, such as bracelets, t-shirts, and bumper stickers. While some view this as a way to spread awareness and encourage reflection, others critique it as commercialization or a superficial expression of faith. Nonetheless, the movement has undeniably raised awareness of the WWJD philosophy and its underlying message.

Future of ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ in Christian Faith and Practice

New Generations and the WWJD Question

As new generations grapple with the complexities of an ever-changing world, the WWJD question remains relevant and essential. It offers a compass for navigating moral dilemmas and encourages individuals to reflect on their actions and choices. As technology and societal challenges evolve, the WWJD philosophy can adapt and provide valuable guidance for future Christian generations.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Modern World

The modern world poses unique challenges and opportunities for the WWJD philosophy. In an interconnected and diverse global society, the application of Jesus’s teachings can extend beyond individual interactions to encompass broader social, political, and environmental issues. As Christians seek to address systemic injustices and advocate for positive change, the WWJD question can guide their efforts towards creating a more compassionate and just world.

Adapting the Message for Contemporary Challenges

To remain relevant, the WWJD message will need to address contemporary challenges, such as ethical dilemmas arising from technological advancements, environmental concerns, and societal changes. By continuously reflecting on Jesus’s teachings and actively engaging with these challenges, Christians can adapt the WWJD philosophy to effectively address the complexities of the modern world while maintaining the core values of love, kindness, and compassion.

In conclusion, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ serves as a guide for Christians, inspiring them to live lives of love, kindness, and selflessness. By examining Jesus’s teachings, his acts of kindness in the Bible, and his ultimate sacrifice, believers find inspiration to apply the WWJD philosophy to their daily lives. This mindset influences individual behavior and shapes charitable acts, while also prompting reflections on broader societal issues. Though not without critiques and controversies, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ continues to play a vital role in Christian faith and practice, fostering empathy, empowering future generations, and inspiring positive change in the world.