Rules of Engagement: Acting and Reacting Like Jesus

Rules of Engagement: Acting and Reacting Like Jesus

 

When I was in seventh grade, I started wearing a WWJD, or What Would Jesus Do, bracelet. It was trendy and my church friends all had one. Mine was navy. I wore it all the time and thought it would explain to the world why I didn’t say certain words or go to parties with my school friends. My WWJD bracelet was my non-verbal declaration, ‘I’m a good girl. I’m a Christian.’ Little did I know that what Jesus would do meant a lot more.

Jesus began His earthly ministry by collecting a motley crew of disciples and instructed them, ‘Follow me.’ (Mark 1:17, Matthew 9:9) Over the course of three years, they were taught how to walk like Him, talk like Him, and proclaim His saving message: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ (Matthew 4:17) After Jesus ascended into Heaven and their living example was with the Father, the disciples may have wondered to themselves ‘What would Jesus do?’

So What Would Jesus Do?

Today, I find myself wondering the same thing at times. Difficult family dynamics, hard conversations with a friend, or sheer exhaustion at the end of the day make it hard to lead like Jesus. Goodness, sometimes it makes it hard to remember the name of Jesus! When we engage and interact with others, whether on the job, in our homes or churches, at the gas station, we are called to act and react like Jesus.

Exodus 34:6 says, “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

In this passage, we see the character, the very nature, of God described for the first time. This character was made manifest in Jesus. Here’s a glimpse of what Jesus did:

  • Showed Compassion and Kindness

Jesus felt compassion for the people he interreacted with. In Matthew 14, He felt compassion and healed the sick. In Matthew 15, He felt compassion and recognized the people’s need for food. In Matthew 20, He felt compassion and restored their eyesight.

Ultimately, Jesus mission on earth, to seek and save the lost, was motivated by compassion and kindness. When we seek to follow and lead like Jesus, compassion and kindness are central.

  • Was Slow to Anger

James 1:19 echoes the importance of this characteristic saying, “

Jesus was patient. He was patient with a multitude of people that I know I would have had trouble being patient with. Patience, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), is one of the rarest and most important qualities when we are interacting with others.

  • Forgave

When Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:12-14, He specifically illustrated the importance of forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. Jesus said, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

That’s a pretty clear directive. As followers of Jesus, we must forgive. When it’s hard and ugly and bitter and painful, we are called to forgive.

Even though I don’t wear my WWJD bracelet anymore, I understand the importance of its reminder much more. I am called to live as a Christian, coming from the Greek word meaning ‘little Christ’, in the world so ‘they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ.’ (John 17:3) Let’s ask the Father for the ability to do just that.

Father, you are so worthy of praise! Thank you for Your loving kindness, patience and forgiveness displayed for us in Jesus. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit to be an example to others in leadership and life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

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Chelsea Arrington