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Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Would Jesus Do...Today?

WWJD. We all see it. We all know it. It's, perhaps, one of the most well known things in this world. It's a huge seller merchandise wise; bracelets, rings, watches, bibles, and have WWJD on them. It's a question that's become a money maker.

Is it a difference maker though? That's the question I have tonight. It's been on my mind for awhile now. On my class ring, on the left side, is my name at the top and WWJD right below it. I designed it that way so I would be reminded every time I wore the ring of that question. I only wore for about a year though because after my senior year in high school the ring no longer fit my finger; I not only put on the freshmen 15 at college I probably doubled down. At any rate, wearing it hurt, it didn't fit, and frankly being reminded constantly of WWJD only led to me feeling guilty when I screwed up.

So I stuffed it back in it's ring box, and let it sit. And sit it did for years until these last few months where thanks to my rather large weight loss, I could wear my ring again...just not on my ring finger. Cause now the ring was too big. So I stuck it on my index finger (and every time I do I say in my head "The power is yours!") and wear it that way. It works.

Earlier this evening I went out to get food with a buddy of mine. On the way to the local Walmart (and their McDonalds-I didn't eat anything of course, it's McDonalds!) I received a phone call from another friend of mine. And she needed a favor.

This is the part where you should roll your eyes. "Female friend in need of a favor? This is predictable." You know what, it is actually really predictable. I predicted it in my head as soon as the words "I need a favor" came out of her mouth. It's obvious, right? She needed some money.

You see, I've been friends with her for over 5 years now. In that time, she's never asked me once for money...this was the first time she ever did. You know what this money was for? Medicine. She needed to refill a prescription for some pain killers because of her ovarian cyst (for those unfamiliar with ovarian cysts, they are quite painful when they act up).

Now, obviously, this looked like a scam.

But as my mind was working to come up with a decent excuse as to why I couldn't let her borrow some cash my eyes caught sight of my ring. "Zach, WWJD?" said my ring.

Immediately I felt like a dick for even considering lying. So, I said yes. She was clearly in pain over the phone and this cyst thing had been going on for a few wasn't out of the blue. Did it look like a scam? Yes. Was it one? I don't think so. Notice I said "think" there.

So, we met at the Walmart, I gave her the money (not a large sum, like 20 bucks-not even a tank of gas, not even close) and she was quite grateful. I got like three really long hugs in the span of five minutes. We talked, I made SURE to tell her that the money had better be used for what she said, otherwise I would be very unhappy; I made sure to let her know I didn't want to be stabbed in the back. She didn't waver from her account of why she needed it and she seemed truthful. She had never lied to me before...why start now, right?

After about ten minutes we parted, she went on her way, and I went to the Walmart McDonalds. I talked with my buddy about it and he pretty much agreed with my initial thought; it was scam and I had been had. We discussed it pretty much the entire meal (I didn't eat, so the meal was a third of the time it would have been had I eaten; I eat slow) and after the meal we took to wandering around Walmart, looking for interesting things, and we continued to discuss it.

The more we talked about it the more I began to think he was right; I had been scammed. This was classic and I'm a sucker for cute girls who bat their eyes at me (my buddy was sure to point this out multiple times, cite examples, ect). But I kept glancing back at my ring and "Zach, WWJD?" continued to glare at me.

I grabbed a Lipton Diet Green Tea on our way out of Walmart (I was strongly considering a bottle of red wine and just drinking half of it to induce drunkenness...but then I remembered the last time I did that and the nasty hangover I had the next day. I didn't want to be branded "lightweight" this early in the year) and we parted.

Instead of heading home, I headed to the local park, parked the car, sat on a nearby bench, and drank my tea. My head was swimming with the possibilities. Had I just enabled something horrible? Some sort of secret drug addiction I didn't know about? Would I be called upon again for a "favor" and be forever anchored with the nights events?

Yet again, I couldn't help but glance at my ring. "Zach, WWJD?" it asked once more.

Jesus, in my opinion of the situation, would have helped her. He would have done his "You are healed" thing (can't buy that at Walmart, but you can get everything else) and she would have been fine.

"Had Jesus been in my position today, what would he have done?" I asked myself on that cold and uncomfortable park bench (at least it wasn't wet). In that case, had Jesus been in my exact position dealing with everything I'm dealing with...he would have helped her.

I'm two for two at this point but I reminded myself that I live in a cynical world. My first thought of "scam" would have been Jesus' too if he were in my exact position I think. And really, if our positions are reversed, and his ring says "Jesus, WWZD?" would he have helped her?

Based on my past cheap bastard tendencies, my ability to make up a decent excuse on a dime, and more...I would think if WWZD was a phrase people wouldn't help anyone; Jesus would have made up a decent excuse, expressed his sympathy, hung up, and went about his evening.

Luckily for all of us, Jesus is Jesus and I'm me. But it still sucks to realize that.

We live in a cynical world that has taught us not to trust people at their word. Every day people trust someone they think they know and that trust gets betrayed. It happens too easily and too often. So, if Jesus were alive today and someone asked him for help-any kind-I think he would help.

But he'd have to think about and that's a sad comment on our world today. I'm pretty sure that with all the great things we have in this world today that Jesus is thanking God that he was born in a manger and no one tweeted about it to their 60,000 followers, one of them who happened to be Herod (seriously, if that happened, Jesus would have been killed by Herod and we'd be way, way worse off).

The end result of tonight was that WWJD was a difference maker for me.  I think I made the right decision but I won't really know...maybe I'll never know. The fact is that I'd rather be trusting of a person and stabbed in the back then so cynical that I'd never give anyone a chance. Being that cynical is no way to live.

With that said though, I still have those lingering doubts...I can still justify to myself the cynical take on the entire thing. That will pass with time and prayer. But the fact I have them says a lot I think.

I'm pretty sure most of that a lot isn't good.

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