“But what would Jesus do?” the man challenged.
In recent days I spoke with a parent who many times past the first has taken the “tough love” approach with his young adult child. He grieved as we spoke, was quiet and pale. I tried to console him by validating his actions, “You did the right thing, though.” I know this man well, am privy to all the sordid, long-lasting actions; know of his love and kindness and care of his now adult child. He has been more than fair, long-suffering, loving and supportive.
He stared at me. “Did I? I’m not sure.”
Seems that at the last encounter with his child, someone else was there, and that person castigated the father for not continually taking back into his home his adult child. It does not matter what actions have taken place; the blatant disrespect does not count, nor does the lying, drunkenness, disregard for others, disappearance for months on end, laziness, lack of dependability…“None of it matters,” in essence said the man. “This is your child, and no matter what he does, you should always provide a place for him.”
The man concluded his argument by looking straight into the father’s eyes and saying, “What would Jesus do?”
And now the hurting father looked into my eyes and said, “I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing. What would Jesus do?”
What would Jesus do? How would He respond? What steps would He take?
The Bible gives us at least two hints.
One. He left the safe flock of sheep, went into the night, and brought home the wandering one.
Two. He plaited a whip and drove from the temple the money changers who were disrespecting God’s house, who were making it a den of thieves.
Since my conversation with the troubled father a day or so ago, I have thought much about this subject, and, trying to be objective and fair have considered: “What would Jesus do?”
I believe He would do as did my friend, for He is a loving, kind Father. But He is not a wimp, and although His teachings include “turning the other cheek,” and “giving away a coat,” it also encompasses driving cheats from the temple, and saying to the rich young ruler. Give away your riches, or you can’t walk with me. And when the young man could not make that dedication, he walked away–sorrowfully, yes–but he walked away. Nowhere in scripture do we find that Jesus ran after the young man, saying, Oh now I’ve changed my mind. If you find my sayings too hard, just ignore what I previously said. Just do what you can. Come on now and walk with me.
It’s a grievous subject, one that causes deep inside weeping as I write. I know we have spoken of this before, but today it weighs heavily on me.
What do you think? What would Jesus do?