Tag Archive for WWJD

Jesus Did It For His Family. Will You?

way to the GodThe religious leaders had determined to kill Jesus several months ago, right after He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:53). Months before that, Jesus had begun telling His disciples that He would be crucified and buried. Now the time had come. The leaders had paid a traitor to identify Jesus in the garden. They had arrested the Son of God and tortured Him in preparation for His crucifixion. More than enough time had elapsed for Jesus to grow bitter in response to the constant traps, manipulation, and name-calling; but, He did not. He could have allowed resentment to rise up in His heart in response to the lies, the mockery of a trial, and the total disregard for His life; but, He did not. When they mocked Him, beat Him, and spit on Him, He could have blown up in a righteous rage, called down ten thousand angels to exact a righteous judgment and stood in victory over the defeated rubble; but, He did not. Instead, Jesus, an innocent, appeared to be broken before His accusers—beaten and bloodied, surprisingly humbly, and silent.


We would understand it and even been sympathetic if He had muttered curses at the people who watched Him carry His cross; but, He did not.  He could have cried out against the character of those contributing to His death, cast an angry glare at those yelling hateful names and cursing epithets at Him; but, He did not. I would have expected somebody in His shoes to harbor a silent desire, for revenge and carefully contemplate how to execute a host of malicious acts upon His enemies after His resurrection…but, He did not!


No, Jesus did not respond with anger, wrath, bitterness, or harshness. Instead, He revealed kindness and compassion. Rather than utter threats, His speech revealed kindness and truth to the one man who had the power to crucify Him (John 19:11). When soldiers beat him, He said nothing. He simply accepted their hate and committed Himself to “the one who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). When a convicted criminal recognized the justice of his own punishment and repented, Jesus responded from a tender heart of compassion and promised him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). As Jesus’ mother stood nearby weeping in the arms of a disciple, Jesus did not think of His own pain and isolation but offered words of comfort and care to His mother—”Woman, behold your son” and to His disciple, “Behold your mother.” In the midst of personal pain and suffering, He saw the pain in His mother’s heart. He reached out to her in compassion and assured her needs would be met. Jesus even looked with compassion at the crowd that mocked Him and spat upon Him; and, rather than condemning their actions He prayed for their forgiveness: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

cross against the sky

Even while enduring the humiliation, pain, and despair of crucifixion, Jesus acted in way that put flesh and blood to Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”


He gave us an example of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness to follow in our own lives. He showed us how to do it under the worst of circumstance…during the absolutely worse day of anyone’s life! Following this example begins in the home…in relation to our spouse and our children. Just as Christ showed us kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, we need to show our family kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.  You will have days that seem to go from bad to worse in your family. Your family will have disagreements and arguments in which you or some other family member will make harsh comments. A curse word may slip out. Bitterness may threaten to rise up in your heart or anger lash out in your speech. Temptations to say something harsh about your spouse’s character or your children’s intention will arise. Your children may even slander your character. This is the perfect time to follow Christ’s example…to “be kind and compassionate…forgiving…” Jesus did it for His family. Will you?

The Avengers, Jesus, & Family

What do the Avengers, Jesus, and family have in common? Two things. First, they take action…lots of action. What would the Avengers be without action? They are, after all, “action heroes.” When the Avengers were not involved in action, the enemy seemed to gain strength. They had to take action in order to weaken and destroy the enemy. Jesus was also a man of action. He took the initiative to come to earth and serve. He was actively involved in the creation of the world and He actively engaged all spheres of life during His human journey on earth. Now, He remains actively involved in the world through His Holy Spirit. I recently read Brennan Manning’s A Glimpse of Jesus. In one chapter, Manning states that Jesus “calls us not to fear but to action. Procrastination only prolongs self-hatred.” Jesus was, and is, a Man of great action. 
Second thing the Avengers and Jesus have in common? They do not act alone. Instead, they act “in one accord.” The Avengers had to “act in one accord” with one another in order to have success. They could not just look out for their own personal interests and neglect everyone else. That led to arguing, one-upmanship, suspicions, group weakness, and vulnerability. They needed one another; they needed to work together in order to accomplish the goal set before them. Jesus did not act alone either. He acted in accordance with His Father. He did what His Father was doing, said was His Father was saying, and went where His Father directed. Jesus also picked 12 men to work with Him during His earthly ministry. These 12 men helped feed the five thousand, prepare the upper room, and even proclaim the kingdom of God. Jesus still wants His people to “act in one accord” with Him and one another. We are told to “not look out for our own personal interests but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). We are to encourage one another, lift one another up, comfort one another and admonish one another. We are to act together.
The Avengers and Jesus are both people of action. They had to work together to find success. What does that have to do with the family? Do I need to say it? I can’t hold back…I have to say it. Creating an intentional family demands that we take action and that we “act in one accord.” If we want our families to grow healthier and more intimate, we need to take action. Start doing the work to create a healthier family today. Take action. Do not procrastinate…that could lead to disaster, feelings of insecurity, and even self-hatred. Do not get sidetracked and distracted from action by dwelling on disagreements and petty jealousies…that will surely lead to disaster. Instead, start doing the little things that bring health to a family. Become a person of action in your family today. Initiate the action of encouraging family members, saying “thank-you” to family members, and engaging in courteous behaviors like holding a door open or getting a family member a drink.
And, while you are taking action, remember that healthy families act together. They do not just look out for their own personal interests–that leads to arguments, one-upmanship, suspicions, family weakness, and vulnerability. Instead, look out for the interests of other family members. Give up that last cookie and let another family member have it. Give up fighting to be “first in the shower” and let your brother go first. Volunteer to clear the table or wash the dishes or help with the laundry or…well, you know. The list of actions you can take to strengthen your family goes on. Reach out in love to actively support, encourage, comfort, and forgive one another. The actions of love done in “one accord” will take your family to new heights of intimacy and joy. Start today!

Family Life at the Foot of the Cross

Yesterday we celebrated Easter. During the weeks leading up to Easter, I spend time thinking about Christ’s death on the cross and His victorious resurrection on Easter morning. As I meditate on these events, I recall hearing people speak about living in the shadow of the cross. This year, though, I thought about family. I contemplated what it would mean for our family to live in the shadow of the cross. How would family life change at the foot of the cross? Living at the foot of the cross promotes a healthy family life. Here are just 5 of the powerful lessons families can learn at the foot of the cross.
Give Sacrificially: Jesus gave sacrificially to restore an intimate relationship between His creation and His Father. He gave up His home in heaven. He gave up His reputation. He gave up His eternal nature as Creator to take on the nature of a servant. While on earth, He gave up His heavenly authority and submitted to the authority of His earthly parents and His Heavenly Father. Ultimately, Jesus gave up His life on the cross to make it possible for us to become sons and daughters of His Father. Giving sacrificially to our family promotes security, unity, and peace. Recent research suggests that 50% of married couples who report giving generously (sacrificially) to their family are “very happy” (sacrificially) while only 14% of those who do not give generously are happy. Give yourself to your family as Jesus gave Himself for us.
Share Kindness: As Jesus hung on the cross, He asked John to care for His mother and His mother to accept John into the family. Even as He suffered, Jesus made sure that His family was cared for. Jesus exhibited a deep kindness and compassion for His mother in this act of kindness. Families that live at the foot of the cross do the same; they share kindness and compassion with one another. They take action to meet one another’s needs. Their actions reveal that relationships matter, family is important, family members are valued. Show compassion to your family. Reach out in kindness to meet your family’s needs.
Forgive: Jesus also asked His Father to “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus could have easily harbored anger, bitterness, and resentment at the cross. Instead, He gave those who crucified Him the benefit of the doubt (“they know not what they do”) and offered them forgiveness. He forgave those who treated Him harshly. His forgiveness opened the door to reconciliation, restored peace, and invited intimacy. At the foot of the cross, we offer forgiveness when family members offend us, hurt us, or treat us harshly. The shadow of the cross shines brightly on a forgiving spirit and brings peace, restored intimacy, and deeper love to the forgiving family.
Trust in the Father’s Care: Jesus proclaimed, “Into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” He rested in His Father’s love. He gave His troubled spirit and anguished life into His Father’s care. Families living at the foot of the cross can give their troubled spirits, their worries and concerns, their anxieties and fears into the Father’s care as well. We can rest in the assurance that our Heavenly Father will care for our whole family. We can rest in His love for our family, knowing that He will never leave us, even in the midst of dire circumstances.
Hope for Tomorrow: Jesus could “endure the cross” and “despise the shame” because of the “joy set before Him.” He knew that Friday looked bleak, the cross appeared victorious, and His life seemed to be slipping away…but, Sunday would bring renewed hope. Sunday would bring new life, new assurance, and new joy. Families that live at the foot of the cross live in the assurance and hope of Sunday. They live with the assurance that our Heavenly Father ultimately has all things in His control and, because of that assurance, we can move into the future with a “joy set before us.”
I realize that Easter Sunday is past, but the hope and assurance of Christ’s resurrection lives on at the foot of the cross. When families give sacrificially, share kindness, offer forgiveness, and trust in the Father’s care they find the assurance of greater family intimacy and joy each day…all at the foot of the cross.

The Full Extent of Love

Preparing for a Sunday School lesson based on John 13 caused me to pause…and think. John 13 describes the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. One reason He washed their feet was to “show them the full extent of His love.” As several of my friends like to say, “That raises a question.” What would I do to show the full extent of my love for my family? I do love my family…no doubt. I would do anything for them. I believe I would die for them if need be…but would I wash their feet?
·         I would work long hours to make sure they live a comfortable life…but would I clean up their dirty dishes or change a dirty diaper?
·         I would encourage them to use their talents and improve their abilities…but would I offer a simple thank you when they open a door for me?
·         I would sacrifice time and energy to watch them perform as part of a musical group or sports team…but would I sacrifice the same time and energy to patiently go over a tedious 6-month schedule of activities ahead of time? Or sacrifice the last piece of cheesecake by giving it to another family member?
·         I would shovel the driveway and salt the steps so my family can safely go about their day…but would I think to ask them about their day and then take all the time necessary to listen to their answer?
·         I would do anything to promote their eternal joy and emotional strength…but would I willingly suffer the pain I feel when following through on some necessary discipline?
·         I would gladly sacrifice my own pleasures to give my family every pleasure…but would I pick up all the little toys, socks, and gadgets with the same pleasure?
·         I would teach them my favorite activities and introduce them to my favorite shows…but would I just as willingly let them teach me about their favorite music, show, or activity?
·         I would willingly and even joyfully mow the lawn and grow fresh vegetables so we can enjoy our yard in summer…but would I joyfully take out the garbage?
·         I would sacrifice a day of work and rest to enjoy a day at Kennywood with my family…but would I clean the kitty litter without complaining?
·         I would give my life to protect my family…but would I “sacrifice” the favorite chair in the living room or the “shotgun” seat in the car?
It’s easy to show our love by doing those things we enjoy or those things that make us look good. Even though those things show our love, it’s the daily, menial acts of service, honor, and grace that show the full extent of our love. So, the question remains…I’m sure you would give your life for your family, but would you wash their feet?