Friday was a PA Day for my 3 daughters. They'd had a late night the day before and woke up a little out of sorts. They fought about silly little things all day and by lunch time I was thinking some very unpleasant thing about who ever came up with the idea of a PA Day.
I put lunch on the table and called up the stairs, "Kids! Lunch is ready!". My 6 year old had forgotten something up in her room and as she made her way up the stairs in a hurry to get it, she came face to face with my 8 year old who was on her way down for lunch. Now, the problem was that they were both on the same side of the staircase (the one with the railing), and neither one was willing to move. "Mom! She won't move!" They each cried out to me. I came around the corner to straighten things out and was hit by an onslaught of all the reasons why they shouldn't be the one to move. "I don't feel well. I could get dizzy and fall if I let go of the railing!" , "I was here first! " , "I'm not moving! I always have to move!". As I stood staring at the ridiculous scene going on before me, I lost it. I blurted out the only thing that came to my mind, "Girls! What would Jesus do?" . My 8 year old looked at me, her little eyebrows knitted together, and a look of sheer determination on her cranky face, "Jesus didn't have a sister!" .
The thought had never occurred to me. The bible tells us that Jesus was tested in every way we are, but what my daughter said was true; He didn't have a sister, or a difficult spouse, or credit card debt, or cranky children or even an unreasonable boss. Her response stumped me.
I fed my kids lunch and began to pray. God, how could you understand what we are going through, if you've never been in these situations? It was a clear answer. It isn't the situation that causes the problem, but our reaction to it, our feelings that bubble up. Anger, frustration, fear, physical and emotional pain and suffering. These are the things we struggle with...and so did Jesus. He was tempted by sin just like we are. He dealt with all the other feelings we battle, so because of that, we know He understands.
I met my daughter in the kitchen after lunch and said,"You're right, Jesus probably never had a battle of wills with a sister on the stairs, but he came up against some pretty nasty people. He felt angry and frustrated just like you did on the stairs, but instead of thinking of Himself, he put the needs of others first." She looked into my eyes and asked,"Like when He died on the cross so we could be forgiven?" I nearly fell over backwards. Yes! She understood! "So, back at the stairs, what would Jesus have done?" I asked. "I guess if Jesus let people put Him on the cross and chose to stay there and die, he probably would have gone around his sister on the stairs." She fidgeted and looked at me, "Can I go play now Mom?". I patted her head and sent her off. She has no idea how much she just taught me, I thought.
I am so grateful for the perfect example the life of Jesus is to both me and my children. If we can figure out what Jesus would do, (which, by the way, is often NOT what We would do) then we can feel good about our choices, and likely be a light in the darkness to those around us who are unsaved. Nothing stands out in a messed up world like someone who really lives what they believe. Someone that truly does what Jesus would do.