8 Things I Wish Jesus Had Never Said

Why it's important to explore Jesus' teachings—even the ones we don't like.

It’s the commandments. It’s His treatment of the ones I deem unlovable in my own mind. It’s the drawn out parables used to teach lessons that cut to the very core of my heart and soul. It’s the not only difficult sayings of Jesus, it’s the ones that frustrate us, that confound us and convict us.

As I struggle through the red letters of my NIV Study Bible, I see numerous statements from Jesus that perplex me. To be blunt, there are several things I wish He had never said. For example:

1. That I’m Blessed When I’m Persecuted for My Beliefs

(“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11)

If we can all be truthful, we find some things Jesus said difficult.


Through ridicule and brutal persecution, we are to feel ... lonely? Depressed? Angry? Bitter? No, Jesus says we are “blessed.” It’s hard to think of that especially when we hear stories like what happened at the Zirve Publishing House massacre in Turkey. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our “momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory.” In the end, all of these evil things many Christians world wide face will truly be blessings.

2. That I’ve Cheated on My Wife When I Check out an Attractive Woman

(“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28)

When do you think the moment of adultery occurs? To many men it’s when a spouse has sex with someone outside their marriage. Many women think just an emotional relationship on any level with someone other than a spouse is cheating. Jesus says the tipping point starts when we simply lust after someone who isn’t our spouse. Crushing to the core at the end of the verse is one word: heart. Our lustful affairs don’t stop at our minds. We’re temporarily replacing our spouses with someone else in our hearts. That convicts me greatly.

3. That I Can’t Love God and Money at the Same Time

(“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24)

I think Jesus brings up money here because if there is one thing that distracts us from full dependence on God, it’s money. How much time do we spend on it? Thinking about it? Worrying about it? Working for it? Spending it? Saving it? Wasting it? Stealing it? After all, as Kanye West says, “having money’s not everything; not having it is.” If we could just make a little more of it, we’d be okay. If I can just use it to buy this and that, I’d be fine. If we save enough this year, Christmas will be great. Maybe we need to start seeing all of our money and possessions as gifts from a gracious Giver, and not just means to survive and the source of our pleasure.

4. Not to Worry

(“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear ... “ Matthew 6:25)

$300 billion. That’s roughly the amount of money spent annually by employers on work missed and health care costs related to stress. In America, it’s almost uncool to not have some form of stress or worry in your life. Yet Jesus says that if the birds and flowers are OK, how can we have anything to worry over? I feel sometimes He’d understand my stress better if He sat down with me as I pay bills. I’m sure He would ask me why I don’t ask Him more regularly for help in paying those bills.

5. “Why Did You Doubt?”

(“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,’ he said, “Why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31)

It’s fairly easy to follow Christ’s commands when the balance of the world is swinging in our favor. It’s when the bumps in the road come, the heavy storms, that we seem to waver. Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, so he got out of the boat to go to him. But he got distracted. The wind blew. The lightning flashed. Waves crashed. Cancer struck. Feelings got hurt. Tragedy hit home. Wars started. Pain happened. Yet through it all, Jesus expects us—as He expected Peter—to trust him, even in the midst of impending disaster.

6. To Take Sin so Seriously

(“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” Matthew 18:8)

All I can do is wonder if the things I wish Jesus hadn’t said are really the things He wanted me to hear and do the most.


Jesus doesn’t play with sin. He goes as far as to suggest that any part of our body that causes us to sin needs to be removed. Those are drastic measures. He doesn’t recommend a self-help book or program. He wants total amputation of the things that are causing us to seek pleasure away from Him.

7. To Pay My Taxes and Tithes

(“Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:21)

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Be honest: you don’t like paying taxes. You don’t scrape couch cushions at home to gather extra money to donate to the IRS. Why? Because we don’t always feel like the money goes for our own personal wants and needs. We treat our tithes the same way. Jesus commands us to honor our leaders, both civic ones and church ones. In our age of anti-government rage, Jesus shows us we all come under the authority of someone else. We’re to honor that.

8. To Love My Neighbors the Same Way I Love Myself

(“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39)

Jesus has apparently never met some of the neighbors I’ve had over the years. Not just neighbors but people in my community, church and workplace. Many of these people are hard to love in general, let alone to love as much as I love myself. All that should matter to us is God created us all in His image, and He loves everyone He created. We’re not only asked to do the same, we’re commanded to.

If we can all be truthful, we find some things Jesus said difficult. We can debate over the cultural applications of many of the statements He made. We can add to and take away, twist and rearrange the phrases so they fit our own selfish purposes. I’m as guilty as any other at doing these things. Yet all I can do is wonder if the things I wish Jesus hadn’t said are really the things He wanted me to hear and do the most.

Top Comments

Branson Shaffer

1

Branson Shaffer replied to Christopher Boyd's comment

I couldn't disagree more. And as a history professor, you should know that no serious historian or even theologian considers Constantine a main factor in anything other than legalizing Christianity and endorsing it Empire-wide. Constantine had nothing to do with the development of the Church other than allowing it to spread. Also, the Bible was not created at the Council of Nicaea, and was actually not discussed at all. The Bible had already existed in multiple forms. The Canon of scripture was not finalized until the Councils of Rome in 382, Synod of Hippo in 393, and the Council of Carthage in 397. And if you assume that the Bible that was eventually put together AFTER Constantine was not worth anything but grasping at dictator-like power, you're sorely mistaken on how Christianity has viewed the Bible since, oh only... the beginning of Christianity! Your attempt to seem erudite has only shown that you do not understand the history of Christianity at all. Instead you only go about bashing on groups of Christians that are more likely centuries older and closer to true Christianity than your own.

Steve Cornell

341

Steve Cornell commented…

Great list! Here's another one: "When you stand praying,
if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
(Mark 11:25).

The important point here is being able to distinguish forgiveness from reconciliation, a distinction that many Christians do not understand. I explain it here for those interested, http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2007/07/28/forgiveness-is-one-thing-reco...

41 Comments

Otis Woodward

1

Otis Woodward commented…

Thank you for this brief but powerful list. It really is all about Jesus an everything He did.

Jim VanOwen

1

Jim VanOwen commented…

"Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.” - John Lennon

Truer words were never spoken but things got worse in 325 AD when self-serving murderous dictator Emperor Constantine summoned Christian leaders with inconsistent messages and beliefs to his Council of Nicea. There he would force a single doctrine, what is now called the Bible, to serve his means and ends -- autocratic rule without dissent. Presented at the conference were written fragments that had passed through many hands and most of these scraps had been translated from one language to another and to another. With sketchy and incomplete information drawn from many sources there was confusion and disagreement. Under his heady hand, those who disagreed with the version Constantine was shaping were immediately removed by force and sentenced to life in exile.Impressions of impressions taken at second hand or further from the life of Jesus were cobbled together. In the end, Constantine received the one book that suited his one-man rule.

It takes scholarship and inquiry to set aside the questionable and arrange what Jesus presumably said and to extinguish the nonsensical miracles and myths born of superstition, myth, stretching the truth, and exaggeration. Only what Jesus said, and in rank order verified from more than one source, is the real foundation of Christianity. Those who swallow religious dogma that often contradicts what Jesus meant to convey are lost sheep who can't think for themselves and practice nonsense in the literal meaning of the word.

Christopher Boyd

1

Christopher Boyd replied to Jim VanOwen's comment

Well said. However, as a history student, I can't consider your argument because you have failed to include sources. You seem like an intelligent fellow. Don't spread meaningless information like so many people do. Provide sources to make your argument legitimate! Compelling comment, though.

Branson Shaffer

1

Branson Shaffer replied to Christopher Boyd's comment

I couldn't disagree more. And as a history professor, you should know that no serious historian or even theologian considers Constantine a main factor in anything other than legalizing Christianity and endorsing it Empire-wide. Constantine had nothing to do with the development of the Church other than allowing it to spread. Also, the Bible was not created at the Council of Nicaea, and was actually not discussed at all. The Bible had already existed in multiple forms. The Canon of scripture was not finalized until the Councils of Rome in 382, Synod of Hippo in 393, and the Council of Carthage in 397. And if you assume that the Bible that was eventually put together AFTER Constantine was not worth anything but grasping at dictator-like power, you're sorely mistaken on how Christianity has viewed the Bible since, oh only... the beginning of Christianity! Your attempt to seem erudite has only shown that you do not understand the history of Christianity at all. Instead you only go about bashing on groups of Christians that are more likely centuries older and closer to true Christianity than your own.

Matthew Pate

2

Matthew Pate commented…

2. That I’ve cheated on my wife when I check out an attractive woman. (“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28)

This just reiterates the fact that none are free from sin. As said , you commit one. You've commited them all. This does not mean you are evil. It just points out that we're flawed in our existence and only through christ and the father can one become whole again. For he gives you strength in your weakness.

Which brings me to the next one I would like to bring up and comment about.

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” Matthew 18:8)

This is like the fig tree , but you see. Unlike the tree that was cursed because it was empty of all faith. You're a man and capable of repentance. To cut away the limb is to repent it to the father. Not to other men , not to anyone of the world , but to yourself and your father. You accept the maiming , because with its mark it shows you need of christ and why you shouldnt be so quick to judge others. Because sin is not a mark of damnation , but the opportunity for salvation. Jesus ensures us of that. The sins we are all guilty of (1st john) no longer has dominion of us. Thus is why Jesus summed up ALL sins into only two. The first is to serve and love god before all else. The second is like the first

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39)

Because it is in that act of forgiveness for others. No matter how flawed they are. We carry out the act of christ. If you damn someone else for their sins. You are saying Jesus was a liar , and in the very same act commit murder. Not only of them , but of yourself. As you're saying they do not deserve eternal life. In which case neither would you.

5. “Why did you doubt?”

Kind of speaks for itself after what i've said.

3.That I can’t love God and money at the same time. and 7. To pay my taxes and tithes.
Go hand in hand. Why did Jesus say to give to ceaser what is ceasar? What did he ask them? "Who's face do you see on this denarius?" Ceasers , not gods. Which means it is of this world , and if it is of this world. It is of sin , and that means the beast. Why can you not love and god and money? That should be obvious. It is a tool that is used to submit you into slavery..not for the will of god (of which slavery is to be accepted) , but to the beast. You see that is where the slavery bit comes into hand. If you love the money in which you're bound in chains to use. Then you're in no way thinking of others. Your goal is greed. It is not money that brings you your house and goods. Bartering brings you those things. In which fish or work could be traded. Money on the other hand is meant to be lusted for , and carries with it the mark. Which you can love , or reject. Even if forced to use it.

4. Not to worry. (“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear ... “ Matthew 6:25)
Because if we're all truely of christ , and love each other as commanded. We would give drink to the thirsty. Food to the hungry , clothing to the naked. We do it not only because we will pity for them , but if you're of christ , a christian. Then you too are that person. As he is like the least of us.

Finally I move to the last but not least.

1. That I’m blessed when I’m persecuted at for my beliefs. (“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11)
It is a blessing to be crucified , and sure it is a scary thing. Even Jesus himself went and prayed at the olive grove. Asking God to take the cup from him. He too stumbles in fear , but in the end. Any real christ-like human being. Will say "If you will not remove this cup of your own will. Then may your will be done."

Amen , and god bless you all. Isnt it beautiful to be loved so?

Matthew Pate

2

Matthew Pate replied to Matthew Pate's comment

I would like to add for aesthetic purposes. The mark is of the hand , to be exchanged , and most all of you know of the number in your head. Exactly how much your worth is. Loving money means that you're loving of the world. Which is accepting its mark. This does not mean in bartering with it , and leaving it simply to be another means to an end. I.e. To cloth a homeless person. You're then denying the beast its purpose. You're saying i've no need of this , and in that act reject the mark.The difference of loving each other. To clarify , is that we're of god. Not of the world. Our sins are of the world , and thus just another beast. The beauty of loving each other so encompassing. Is that you're like the servant whom's master gives 5 gold bags. By showing others whom may think they are sinners that are doomed. That they too are loved. You're multiplying those bags of money. You're in very much effectively giving faith to others. To deny anyone , gay , lesbian , murderer , thief , child-molester or even those of other religions. Any kind of chance at salvation. Is to be anti-christ. You're only making it harder and harder for gods mercy , and Jesus loving sacrafice to spread as the wild fire it was meant to be. As 1st john says. Many will come of us , but they will not be of us. For if they were of us , they would still be of us. Meaning , so many christians will be confused by the priests that make the house of prayer a den of thieves , or that they wear the robes for prestige and to be placed at the table. The reason there is no rabbi , but you're all teachers. Cause without the fellowship with God , and in that the powerful and all conquering love. We cannot make Satan irrelevent , and in effect. Eliminating him. Cause that is what he wishes. To make you all think Jesus was a liar , and that he never existed. When it's an obvious fact this world and its evils. Would be far less potent. If we all started to understand why GOD IS LOVE.

Nqobile Vundla

2

Nqobile Vundla commented…

well said. thanks for the reminder. The Christian walk is a narrow road, and the road signs are hard to keep. these saying are hard, very hard but daily we pray asking God to help us. Thanks

Nightstalker

17

Nightstalker commented…

The tithe was abolished with the Levitical priesthood.

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