About a decade ago, the Christian catch-phrase was “What Would Jesus Do?” abbreviated WWJD to gain appeal with pop culture. The phrase became so popular even within secular mainstream that irreverent variations began to show up on t-shirt designs. The clichéd phrase lost meaning to those touting bracelets with the letter WWJD embossed on the silver plating.
It’s the hypocrisy of the question not being lived out that rubs me the wrong way. If you ask the question, find the answer and then do it. Too many people only want to ask the question but not live out the answer.
I have somebody in my life that is needy. We all have somebody in our lives that are needy. Not only is this person needy, but also prideful, self-absorbed, and unteachable. This person also requires financial assistance – assistance which I am able to provide. I don’t want to - at least not just help. Every Teacher inclination in me wants to help and teach, but the present situation isn’t a teaching moment, it only calls for help.
As I was venting a friend challenged me by asking,
Do you want to be like Paul, who preached ‘right living’? Or do you want to be like Jesus, who loved mercy?
I already knew what Jesus would do. He would be merciful. My problem is not what would Jesus do, but how would Jesus do it (HWJDI)? Mercy is difficult for me. On spiritual gift aptitude tests, mercy rates between 0-1. But just because I don’t score high on an aptitude for mercy, I’m not excused from showing mercy.
Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
The Bible says, ‘freely you have received [mercy], freely give [mercy] (add-in mine). It tells us God loves a cheerful giver. We’re supposed to give freely, without exception and without strings. Sometimes mercy is giving means financially, sometimes mercy is different. There is not cookie-cutter formula to follow every single time.
Through Jesus, mercy is displayed in many different ways. He didn’t have a formula but he did tell us something important. Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing. Therefore, we need to do what the Father is doing. The way we do that is to know the Father and the way to know the Father is to spend time with him.
King David is considered a ‘man after God’s own heart’ and yet he displeased God by thinking winning battles was a formula. He lost a battle when he didn’t wait to hear from the Father. I need to be more dependent on the Father so that not only will I know what would Jesus do, but how he would do it.
Do you struggle with showing mercy? What does ‘showing mercy’ mean to you? Does it change in different circumstances? Answer in the comments.