So much depends on the heart--

"If Jesus were in this room, what would he say?"

A common question from parents and Sunday school teachers to kids when they're misbehaving. Whenever it was asked of me, I had it in my head that Jesus sat in the corner, quietly observing, not saying anything unless asked and then he spoke short proverbial phrases.

Now that I'm a bit older than eight and I've had more time to understand the Jesus in the Bible, I realize that the question is fairly open ended, as it should be. Especially when it comes to matters that aren't specifically addressed in Scripture. When we need guidance, our natural tendency as humans is to want a straight answer. I've often wished I could hear Jesus' audible responses to my questions. How much TV is too much? Should we or shouldn't we use birth control? How much do we need to give to be considered generous givers?

I'm not a parent, but as I've watched friends and family parent their children over the years, I've realized how different kids are from each other, and how differently they respond to love and discipline. A parent knows what each child needs--the content and the delivery of it.

It occurred to me last night that Jesus appears to be the same way. You see this in the way he relates to disciples, to the sick, to the poor, to anyone he comes in contact with. His actions vary widely depending on each of their situations because all of us are different people. He communicates to each of us differently. When it comes to matters that are not commandments (because I do believe there is a right and a wrong and the important commandments are addressed in Scripture) what's right for me may not be right for you. It all depends on our personalities and our relationship with God.

So for example, if Jesus came to visit you, would he enter your living room and suggest you turn off the TV? Maybe. Maybe not. I think he might ask if you're distracted from him because of it. Or if you're distracted from people because of it.

As Paul says, we have freedom in Christ. Freedom to eat or not to eat. Freedom to watch TV or not to watch TV. Freedom to give what we've been convicted by the Spirit to give.

--So much depends on the heart.

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