I read an article in the Economist that showed religious people are much more likely to be compassionate if they will simply ask one question: “What would my god want me to do?” It doesn’t matter the faith, that single question seemed to change many people’s response to how they would treat other people- specifically people outside of their own faith. In other words, we are a rebellious, forgetful people. We forget what we believe and often pridefully rebel even when we know the right answer. I’ve seen this in my own life. I know that Christianity was built on the backs of self sacrificing believers who ministered and gave to the poor and sick, yet I find my self actively Iooking past them. I know that faith in Jesus should mean that I actively rearrange everything in my life around him, yet I struggle with simple decisions, like praying more.
Although every faith seems to struggle with this prideful and forgetful rebellion, the only solution I am drawn to is Jesus. Instead of offering a system that will change my behavior and increase the lifelong struggle within me, Jesus only offered himself. He allows me to simply let the other things fall away.
Yet I do think the simple question asked by Charles Sheldon in the 1800’s or the Imatatio Christi in the centuries before that still has value:
What would Jesus do?