It’s the timeless slogan slapped on our wristbands, t-shirts and bumper stickers: What would Jesus do? We use it for marketing, advertising and everything else under the sun, but do we actually practice the very words we preach?
When the answer is clear and painless, we happily allow this question to flood our minds and direct our actions. But would we dare allow ourselves to ask this question about a topic many find controversial, a subject often viewed as completely off-limits?
When we don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle, we often find it easiest to look the other way—out of sight, out of mind. Or perhaps we believe it necessary to ruthlessly express our disapproval of their way of life.
But what would Jesus do if He didn’t agree with the lifestyle of another? Would He insult or humiliate them? Would He make every effort to tear them down? Would He ignore their existence?
All throughout Jesus’ time on earth, He did the exact opposite. Jesus showed unabashed, unfiltered love to everyone with whom He came in contact, and He met plenty of individuals who lived lifestyles contrary to the general population.
Jesus had a propensity for reaching out to those the world considered “sinners.” He did not hesitate to befriend thieves, prostitutes and even adulterers. He loved boldly and freely; not once did He stop and question if His love would make it appear that He was condoning their lifestyle.
It is impossible to deny the fact that the message of love and peace were at the core of Jesus’ life and ministry; through his radical inclusivity, He showed us the way and led by example.
Biblical analysis is a magnificent foundation for belief, and love is an excellent motive for action. Fear is a lousy excuse for both.
Using the name of Jesus to ostracize or insult another is completely contrary to what He taught. If we find ourselves using religion as a justification for rejecting, disenfranchising, mistreating or persecuting one another, we are doing it all wrong.
Instead, we must not operate out of fear or hatred, but out of love. We recognize that all people—all races, all sexualities, all humans—are created in the image of God and, therefore, are sacred and worthy of love.
Throughout His life, Jesus made one thing crystal clear: His love has no qualifications. Therefore, our love should have no qualifications.
We love this way because this is how Jesus loved us first; it’s what Jesus would do.