Guest Author: Ruth Thomas
Watch “Restored: On the Brink of Abortion“
A couple of passages as our foundation:
Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” | Mark 2:15-17
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. | Romans 12:4-5
Imagine you rush your friend to the emergency room. This is not just a high fever or a small laceration. Your friend is hemorrhaging from the head and desperately needs help. Now imagine the doctor walks in, sees the injury, writes down a few things and casually walks out. First of all…
Second of all, I’m pretty sure there should be a little commotion as professionals rush to care for your friend. After you stand in the room, shocked and a little baffled at the response, you walk to the door and peek outside. Most of the professionals are standing at the front desk making jokes, sipping on their coffee, and waiting for the next group of sick people to run in to be diagnosed.
What are you feeling? Anger? Confusion? A tingling in your fingers as you itch to slap one of these “professionals” and hopefully bring them back to reality? That’s exactly how I feel. The setting is a little bit different but the idea is just the same.
The story of your friend in the hospital connects to the passage from Mark. How often have you read this portion in Mark 2, thinking that Jesus was sitting with people who opposed Him or didn’t believe in Him? I know that’s the picture I’ve had come to mind many times. The term “sinner” is a category we all fall under. For those of us who are the Church, we are sinners redeemed by Jesus’ blood.
Nothing more, nothing less.
The passage from Romans points to the fact that we all, as sinners who have believed in Jesus, are a part of the body of Christ.
What brings me to a place of confusion is when I see people “bleeding out” in our churches and the body of Christ ignoring their pain. We stand at the front desk sipping coffee while someone in need is waiting to be helped. However, when we do outreach as the Church, we have no problem being around those who are bleeding out or deathly ill. Put the tag “mission trip” on it and oh man, even more people are on board!
Imagine your friend, having been seen by this doctor who clearly does not care, begins to flat line. The doctor saunters in, does barely what is necessary, and then nonchalantly pronounces your friend dead. As the doctor leaves the room he, along with the other professionals present, shake their heads. They talk about how sweet your friend was. They lightly pat each other on the back and then get back to work.
Now, what are you feeling? Sorrow and frustration? More confusion? The whole situation doesn’t even feel normal!!
- If this happened in real life that doctor would definitely get sued. A professional failing to do everything in their power to save a patient is basically murder!
- How can these doctors “shake their heads” over someone they did not even reach out to and help – even though they were fully capable?
I have heard a lot of: “No one has taken the time to care about what I’m going through” this past year from many people. Christian people in Christian communities.
I have been on both sides: the doctor and the patient. I have watched people sit in pews injured, and I have done nothing about it. I have also sat in a pew injured, by my own actions and also by those in my Christian community, and I have watched people step away out of fear of “getting blood on their shirt.”
If we are the body of Christ, then what are we doing to repair the brokenness inside the church? The bloody mess we are quick to run to if the tag “outreach” or “mission trip” is included, we so blatantly run from with our noses in the air when we are inside our churches. If we leave those who are sick to sit in our pews until death, what does that make us? Sounds like murder in the church to me. No lawsuits, probably no angry families, but there is definitely
We are all sinners. For those of us who have laid our lives down to follow Jesus, we are sinners redeemed by Christ. Never in this life will we stop feeling sickness, pain, or death. But within the walls of the hospital…within the walls of the church…
won’t you help?
Won’t you reach out to those in need and be the hands and feet of the Healer? Even those who are redeemed are broken. Church, let’s not ignore our fellow believers who are hurting!