- michelle m. davis
When I was a little girl, sometime around the third grade, WWJD (What Would Jesus
Do) bracelets became popular. I had one, and I wore it proudly. It was a silver cuff,
about a half-inch in diameter, with capital letters clearly engraved. I have no idea
how long it stayed on my wrist or whatever happened to this bracelet. Yet, as much
as I liked wearing it, I really don’t believe that my nine-year-old self seriously
contemplated what it asked… What would Jesus do during a conflict on the
playground, what would he do if his favorite TV show was on but he had
homework… you know where I’m going, don’t you? In essence, this bracelet
represented more of a fad for me than it did an actual conscious exercise.
But while reminiscing about this bracelet, I realized that so much of what we
contemplate today actually revolves around “what Jesus would do.” I’m not talking
about answering this question from a religious context. You don’t have to be
Christian to follow this philosophy. It could be - What Would Buddha Do? Or even
What Would Gandhi Do? And, it doesn’t have to refer to a supreme individual. I
could substitute my first grade teacher’s name – What Would Mrs. Goodling Do? The
point is, how would someone who we respect, look up to act in a situation similar to
one that we’re in? Would reflecting upon that help us determine the best response? I
The essence of this message is to encourage us to become our highest self, the
person who we know we can be, the one who we want our children to view us as.
Are we being kind? Are we being considerate of others? Are we doing what is right?
Are we treating others and ourselves with respect? Are we taking care of our
environment? In essence, “WWJD” applies to almost every decision we make.
So what happens when we acknowledge that Jesus (Gandhi, or Mrs. Goodling)
certainly wouldn’t have done what we just did? Does that mean that we failed, that
we are a bad person? I don’t think so. Personally, I’m not a big fan of dark/light,
good/evil or any other dichotomy like that. While many acts definitely fall into the
“no way in hell should this ever be acceptable,” I think that we often judge others
without totally knowing their story. I know that I have, and it’s something that I
regret. I’ve come to realize that our world isn’t as simple as black and white. Life is
complicated. Until we walk in another’s shoes we cannot understand why others
choose what they do. Yet, that doesn’t mean we still should not be asking ourselves
WWJD. After all, this is our journey, our choices, our life.
WWJD is not about creating a perfect existence. Maybe the purpose of WWJD is to
help us recognize the reason behind our actions, the “whys” behind our behaviors.
For then we can begin to understand our motivations. And when we act in ways that
we are not necessarily proud of, my guess is that fear was the motivating factor, not
While my WWJD bracelet is long gone, I will try to remember those initials as I go
throughout my day. Perhaps it will help me with even the little things… picking up
someone else’s trash, holding the door for another, or smiling at a person I may not
normally notice. But, could it also influence the big stuff? Might I listen with more of
my heart to a friend in need, could I be more present when my husband walks into
the room, would I be less critical of those I’ve judged in the past? Could I ask what
Jesus would do and then pause to consider the answer? After all, it’s not that
complicated? Might those four letters help guide me to become a better version of
myself? Could asking show me another way? Perhaps. I’m willing to give it a try.
After all, there are two main forces in life… fear and love. Let’s try to choose love. I
know it’s what Jesus would do.