It’s interesting that there are a whole bunch of movies, books and sermons out there are titled ‘Things I Wish Jesus Never Said’. I think this is because Jesus gives us a lot of very difficult commandments… love your enemies, renounce all possessions, and forgive again and again.
In addition, Jesus says, “if you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Can we really say we keep Jesus commandments?
If we really love Jesus, we will do what he says. We will visit the widows, give our money to the poor, treat everyone equally, and tell everyone we know about him, not worry about tomorrow and spend our lives as a servant for others.
Here are some of the commandments we are given that perhaps we wish Jesus never said.
Then Jesus said to the man who had invited Him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbours. Otherwise, they may invite you in return, and you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. (Luke 14:13)
If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. (Luke 7:3-4)
But just because they are hard to take, does that mean we shouldn’t take them literally? If we don’t do these things, does it mean that we don’t love Jesus?
There was a really interesting and controversial viral video by Jefferson Bethke entitled, Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus. Here’s a section from it.
“They can’t fix their problems, and so they just mask it
Not realizing religion’s like spraying perfume on a casket
See, the problem with religion is it never gets to the core
It’s just behaviour modification, like a long list of chores
Like, “Let’s dress up the outside, make it look nice and neat”
But it’s funy that’s what they used to do to mummies while the corpse rots underneath…
Because if grace is water, then the Church should be an ocean
It’s not a museum for good people- it’s a hospital for the broken”
I find this poem really thought provoking. It’s interesting that often we don’t keep Jesus commandments, and it is obvious to people like Bethke and I worry it is obvious to others who visit us. It is the total opposite of what God intended for our religion to be. Jesus wanted our “light to shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:16).
If we did love Jesus, we wouldn’t be living how Jefferson describes ‘masking our problems’; we would be confessing our faults, not hiding them.
Confess your faults to each other (James 5:16)
We wouldn’t be worried about our outward appearance looking ‘nice and neat’ but rather focusing on becoming godlier and doing good.
Your beauty shouldn’t come from outward adornment…but from beauty within. (1 Pet 3:3-4)
Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:28)
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:20)
We would be welcoming to the broken, not just asking the good people to join our display.
For there is no partiality with God. (Rom 2:11)
If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," doesn't this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? (James 2:3-4)
Most of all, we wouldn’t be consumed with these petty problems and we wouldn’t be causing people to hate religion. We should be focusing on the positive.
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. (Ecc 3:12)
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:27)
So this week, let’s try aim to be better at taking Jesus’ commandments literally, to be more welcoming and giving, to be more forgiving and ultimately, to be more like God.