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Monday, February 02, 2009

A helpful tool?

I got on the train this morning, and shortly after taking my seat, I heard Jesus calling me. "Excuse me," he said--the smell of alcohol on his breath was overwhelming. I looked up and the young man asked, "Hey, man, do you have a couple of bucks I could have? I need to get a new driver's license, which is four dollars, and I don't have any cash."

I lied, saying, "No, I'm sorry I don't have any cash with me." (I had $3 in my pocket.)

He polled the rest of the car, but no one would give Jesus any money. One woman, who like Jesus was wearing pretty scruffy clothes, told him about a place where you could get public assistance for stuff like this on Jefferson Street, downtown. Jesus asked another guy to borrow his phone, a guy who'd already refused to give him any money. I heard Jesus tell the person on the other line that it would be good if he or she could just send $150 dollars to keep him afloat until he got paid by his job. He assured this person that he would not use the money to drink, and that he had not had anything to drink for over two weeks. He said, "I love you too" as he hung up.

The ticket taker boarded the train, and Jesus made a speedy exit--Jefferson Street was still many stops away.

On reflection, considering this very literal view of "whatsoever you do," I wish that I had not lied. I wish I had told Jesus that I would not give him any money. And, I think if faced with Jesus sometime in the future, I would feel comfortable with taking that stand.

What do you think, is "Would You Do This to Jesus?" as good a tool as "What Would Jesus Do?"?

5 comments:

Lin said...

Absolutely. In fact, it may be more useful. That's why we should get some people together & make a trip to the border with water again soon. Jesus texted me yesterday and said: "Xing border soon. GTB thirsty."

Eloquent, Jim.

Anonymous said...

I believe they are the same.
I am a bit confuse of why you are calling the bum "Jesus". I can see Jesus looking like a bum but He is surely no alcoholic. Jesus would be asking for something of greater need such as food, water, clothes or healthcare. Jesus in my view would be more the woman wearing the scruffy clothes who directed the bum to a place where he can get help. Clearly he is not interested in getting any type of help.
It is normal to feel the need to lie instead of telling the truth which is more humbling. It is part of our spiritual growth.
People have a way of manipulating those that are kind-hearted. I pray for God to keep my heart, eyes and ears open to serve Him as He wishes, and to let me know of those that are simply hunting for a doormat.

JimII said...

Jesus said that whatever you do to the least of these, you do to him. So, the tool of calling the young man Jesus, is to focus my response to him. It puts me in a very different spot to think "What if I were Jesus," then to thing "What if he was Jesus." What if Jesus asked you for money to further his addiction?

Now, these things are just tools. You are right, Jesus was not an addict. But of course, the WWJD tool is not intended to suggest that we are divine like Jesus, right? Both are intended to help focus our judgment.

"It is normal to feel the need to lie instead of telling the truth which is more humbling. It is part of our spiritual growth."

I think I agree with you that to lie in this case is normal, but that it is something that I should not do. My point is, that by considering things from the perspective as if I was responding to my Lord and Savior, it directs me to find the indefensible parts of my actions. I am not sure that thinking what would I do if I were the Lord and Savior does that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.
"What if Jesus asked you for money to further his addiction?"
You really made me think about this. It is easy to say....Jesus would ABSOLUTELY not ask you to do something like this. However, we know God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen 22). To me, the old testament shows us wonderful lessons from individuals' lives. I learned through Abraham that God desires dependence, trust and faith in Him- not faith in our ability to please Him. With that lesson, then what was in your heart when the man asked you for money? Because I do not know, then I cannot tell you what would have been the correct respond.

"Now, these things are just tools. You are right, Jesus was not an addict. But of course, the WWJD tool is not intended to suggest that we are divine like Jesus, right?

To me, Jesus came to show us what Godly behavior should be. Jesus said "For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it."(John 12:47). Believe me, I know I am not divine like Jesus. I love reading the book of John because it is amazing to see what Jesus went through and it helps you understand WWJD which is humbling. But Jesus, made it clear we are not to judge.

"Both are intended to help focus our judgment."

This can be dangerous, especially to our friends that are non-Christians. It can reinforce that we are judging them where clearly us Christian are in no position to judge. If you mean...judging ourselves. Yes, I agree. But as for judging others, Jesus never came to do that. He will when He comes again. But living a Godly life now for us means we are to love one another despite our differences. The hardest part is to separate behavior from the person. Love the person, but it is okay to hate the behavior.

When I mentioned that it is normal to lie, that is the very reason that we need a Lord and Savior. With Jesus strength, we can do beautiful things. I am not saying that people that do not believe in Jesus cannot do beautiful things. But, from experience, it just seems it takes much less effort to do great things through Christ than alone.

Sorry for being so wordy!

Anonymous said...

I guess the answer to your question is:
1) WWJD is a basic wtoo of helping you make decisions without letting your own selfish bias take over.

2)Give to others as if they were your Lord and Savior tool---Jesus made this clear as to helping others with certain needs. Many people have many "wants" and not necesarily true needs. The wisdom of knowing the difference is crucial because you can cause more harm than good by giving to their wants.