What Would Jesus Do Made Simple

There are two types of people in this world—those who think they know what to do with Bible Law (Torah) and those who don't. I happen to fall into both categories. I mean, I know the Ten Commandments by heart. But then there are the gray areas and the things I don't know what to do with. How would Jesus handle certain life situations where there are not specific commands or principles?

Living under roof with an abusive spouse. Personally, I don't believe this is the kind of suffering God meant when He said to suffer for His glory, where women are stripped of identity and children live with lifetime scars (physical and/or emotional) and insecurities.

Living under roof with an harmfully addicted spouse. Principles from marriage help books such as loving your spouse unconditionally, laying off the pressure and nagging, changing yourself, and pulling away from them so they will gravitate back toward you do not work on spouses with serious addictions. Should you stay in that kind of a household, accepting the addiction and all the behaviors that go along with it—lying, overspending on the habit, all forms of abuse, and neglect of the family—choosing a path that makes your whole family sick?

The law of the Old Testament. In Leviticus 19, you find confusing laws such as, "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head," and "Do not put tattoo markings on your body," right next to "Do not practice witchcraft." How do we know which ones to keep and which ones to ignore?

Jesus upheld only two commandments in the New Testament.

Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Whenever you wonder what Jesus would want you to do in any given situation, or how many rules you should allow people and churches to impose on you, or how to give your friends the best advice possible, here is the very, very simple solution. In everything you do, ask yourself (or have your friends ask themselves), "Is this thing I'm doing, or that I want to do, in keeping with loving God with all my heart?" Next, "Is it in keeping with loving my neighbor as myself?" It should always follow that order. Loving God with whole-hearted devotion is first and supersedes our devotion to people.

Remember, this principle will be applied differently for different people. One person living with an addict may be thriving, still able to grow deeper in their love relationship with God. Another may be so oppressed, controlled, and beaten down that they can only think "survival." The answer for both people is the same—loving God above everything else—but they may each have to pursue a different course to make it happen.

About the rest, apply common sense. Does getting a tattoo or a Mohawk in and of themselves keep you from loving God or people? Not necessarily, but the question is, what is your motive in getting them? Is it based in loving and glorifying God, or drawing attention to yourself? 

Does participating in witchcraft affect your love relationship with God? You bet! And remember, when dealing with gray areas, what may pull one person down may not affect another person the same way, so we must always be careful to let each person decide for themselves.

And that is how you decide what Jesus would do, very simply!

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