Originally published Nov. 16, 2016.
Driving to work a few mornings ago, I pulled up behind a car at SR 410 and Mundy Loss Road. The car had a sticker in the window that said, “Don’t believe everything you think.” I laughed and rolled my eyes and acknowledged, “Isn’t that the truth!”
Then it occurred to me, “What if I believed instead everything Jesus thought?” Hmm. As much as we say we do, I don’t think we really believe entirely all Jesus thought…or sometimes even a little bit of what he thought.
For instance, Jesus thought all of religion could be encapsulated in the saying in Matthew 7:12, “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Everything in religion, all of the dogma and doctrine and rules and regulations and traditions are encompassed in the Golden Rule…according to Jesus. He said essentially the same thing in Matthew 22 in response to being asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He replied, “Love God with all of your being and love others as you love yourself. All of the Law and Prophets are contained in this.”
My oh my. Did you know that? Religion, Jesus evidently thought, is actually all about love. Its compassion and benevolence and kindness and justice and humility and forgiveness and thoughtfulness and graciousness. Even in the face of domination and malice and hatred and prejudice and violence. It’s not easy…but it’s what Jesus thought.
If what Jesus thinks is true, how might that impact our thinking and how we live?
Well, Jesus thought people should be forgiving – even of their enemies. “Love your enemies and pray for those who do you harm,” he said. He thought we should serve each other and even said that was his reason for coming to us…”I came to serve not be served…” And he always seemed to think it best to want the best for others. Even on the cross he cried out, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
What if we thought like Jesus? What if spouses chose to serve each other rather than try and control everything? What if that person at work who churns your stomach was someone you began to pray for? What if that family member that aggravates you and you’re bitter toward received forgiveness from you instead? This is not easy by any stretch of the imagination!
What if, and this seems kind of crazy, nations started acting this way toward each other – bombs of compassion and missiles of benevolence and mortars of kind acts toward one another? Is it too crazy to think like Jesus?
I can’t always trust what I think – I get too aggressive sometimes and too unkind and too bitter and too opinionated. I think I need to think more like Jesus. Amazingly, that car window sticker just might be right. I can’t really trust my thinking all the time so that’s why I think I need to start taking what Jesus thinks more seriously –how about you? It could make a world of difference!
Jim Thonburn writes from Community Presbyterian.