What Would Jesus Want Me To Do?

by Major John Ferreira

These days, it seems, we can all too easily find ourselves caught up in the expectations of movements, philosophies, and orthodoxies that require extra-careful thought, behavior, and attitudes in response.

For instance, I am expected to consider the choices of people that I may well not agree with, and yet to consider those choices to be as legitimate and right as the choices I make. That is when I can start getting judgy. How can they think what they are doing is OK? It’s against God. I can all-too-easily begin to see them as the choices rather than as people.

Additionally, I can feel compelled to tolerate and accept all choices as being legitimate alternative truths in today’s social climate. Again, I am not seeing people, but their beliefs. This can cause inner conflict as I desire to be Christian and get along with people I interact with in life.

Candidly, what I sometimes find more challenging are the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of my fellow Christians. I came to salvation later in life when my opinions, morals, and social mores were well established. It can make it hard to feel like I fit in. What causes me to contemplate this conflict of interests is my relationship with Jesus and my desire to follow Him—in a sense, wishing to please Him before pleasing others.

This is not a “What would Jesus do?” reflection, but rather what would Jesus want me to do? My belief is Jesus wants me to love all people and cut through the polarizing camouflage of choices, prejudices, opinions, and behaviors and to see the person whom Jesus died for.

In Matthew 5:44 Jesus instructs us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I can too easily consider someone an enemy and a persecutor merely because we disagree on a matter. I wonder if Jesus were conducting His earthly ministry in these times, how often he would say to Christians, “You have heard it said, but I say to you.” I think many of us would be in for a surprise. Can I think of any person Jesus would not touch and offer grace?

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, describes what love is and is not. The application of this love, which is made possible by God, brings peace to me. Simple tolerance does not. Mere acceptance does not. Agreement is a momentary thing. Judgment and ill-will bring the opposite of peace. Love is the cure for worry. Love is the antidote for bitterness. Love is the ultimate stress reliever. Applying love enables me to recognize what hand I may have had in a situation. Love is never inappropriate. Loving reminds me of the joy of my salvation.

And that was quite a day.

Major John Ferreira is a retired officer who serves as bandmaster for the Old Orchard Beach Corps, Maine.