Aug. 1, 2016

Playing Doctor

For the majority of my Christian life, I tried to fix everything. I tried to fix people who didn’t think like me. I tried to rescue those I labeled “broken.” I really worked on those that I loved the most so I could hear the whole world sigh and say, “Isn’t she something?”

When I say the “majority” of my Christian life, I probably should say just about all of my Christian life. I became keenly aware of God, Jesus’ sacrifice, and God’s personal love for me when I was seven years old. My church calls this experience “being saved.” I turned my life over to God’s service at the age twelve understanding that my soul was spiritually connected to issues of social justice. My church called this “surrendering to a call.” I wandered in the wilderness of religion and denominational teaching for 40 years. In a parking lot of what was then Cedar Bayou Methodist Church before I served as a professional speaker to the unemployed, God swooped down in a mighty and miraculous way whispering, “Roni, I AM the Doctor. I need you to be My nurse.”

Christ came for the sinner and we are all sinners. In the book, “The Name of God is Mercy,” Pope Francis shares how he hopes that the Church will reveal both its maternal and merciful side. He goes on to teach, “The Church goes forth toward those who are wounded, who are in need of an attentive ear, understanding, forgiveness and love.”

How then do we find ourselves so obsessed with playing doctor? We want to take the lead in examining, diagnosing, and operating on the world. At times, I want to scream, “Please, let God fix it!” Each time I am tempted to fix the problem of others wanting to fix everyone else, God reminds me that I was once caught in a world of criticism and condemnation, too. I sat out to rescue anyone and anything that I did not like and those I felt were somehow more sinful than me. I constantly tried to prove others wrong instead of listening to understand them.

God needs Kingdom nurses. He needs workers to back Him up. He needs assistants to make His rounds with Him. He needs us to be willing to prepare His “patients” for His salvation. Our judgmental words do not save. Our self-righteous actions can actually do more harm instead of promoting healing.

I still find myself at times and in certain situations wanting to fix everyone and everything. It’s during those times that God reminds playing doctor is just another prideful attempt to play God.

“As Jesus was at supper in <Levi’s> house, many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples. For there were many, and they followed Him. When the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with the tax collectors and sinners? When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:15-17