Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
- Psalm 51:7-9
Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.
The look on their faces testifies against them;
they parade their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
They have brought disaster upon themselves.
- Isaiah 3:8-9
Yesterday, I told a true account of our exciting Easter weekend, but I think a fictional story may be good as a follow-up. Let’s call the kidney patient, Gisele. That sounds exotic.
Gisele had the same thing happen to her that happened to my wife. Her bleeding was not confirmed to be stopped when she left the clinic, and she nearly died as a result when she started bleeding again after being dismissed from a dialysis session. Gisele went to the ER, since the clinic had already closed for the day.
But Gisele needed dialysis, and the same group ran all the dialysis centers in the area. Gisele had to trust someone. She went back the following week to have dialysis and there were auditors from the state board watching everything that was being done. Gisele did not want the person that screwed up the previous week to touch her, but another nurse volunteered. He treated Gisele with perfect charm and impeccable detail to every procedure. He went beyond just doing his job, but he also was kind. As he disconnected Gisele from the machine after her four hours of dialysis, he whispered in her ear, “I am not here for your next two dialysis sessions. I am sorry. I cannot protect you. Be careful.”
Why did this nice nurse say such a thing? He was a Christian, and he knew Gisele to be a Christian as well. While Christians love other people, even their enemies, the general idea of the secular world is that “Christianity is universally toxic.” The Christian nurse knew what might happen two days later when he was not there to protect Gisele. The other nurses did not care. They did what they were told, cutting corners if they were not being audited, and showing about as much love for their patients as you show a lump of mud that is stuck to your boot. (Remember, this is fictional and dripping with exaggeration.)
Two days later, the auditors were gone, and no one spoke to Gisele at all. While all but one nurse worked the sparsely filled side of the room, the nurse from a foreign country who had just been hired worked the rest of the clinic, never having a break, but retaining a professional demeanor.
Gisele felt sorry for the one man who worked constantly while the others drank coffee and joked. She also felt that she was particularly being placed in the proverbial doghouse. No one would even look in her direction. That was highly irregular. They always rotated through the room to check on people, but she was ignored – except for the overworked foreigner.
When she got home, she called a friend who had dialysis at the same clinic on different days. Her friend said that she had seen several patients return to the clinic, because the bleeding had not stopped. Now Gisele knew why the auditors had come. She was not the only one who had been rushed to the door to make room for the next patient, but she was the one that led to the audit. She was the one who had gone to the ER.
The nurses treated Gisele as the problem. They never considered that their attitude had led to the problem.
Gisele needed dialysis to live, but she was afraid to return to the clinic, not knowing if her protector would be there or not.
Thus ends the fictional story.
The Scriptures show two different responses to sin in our lives. David, the psalmist and king, pled with God to cleanse him from his sin. He begged that God would hide His face from his sin. In Isaiah, Isaiah tells of how Judah was flaunting their sin. They could care less, but they would someday be taught the error of their ways.
What happens when the only reason for you to be kind to someone else is that you are being paid to do so? At some point, your true colors will show through.
There are many nurses who give their undivided attention to their patients and not all of them are Christians. But it makes you wonder when people think of Christians as being toxic, but in time of need, they prefer the tender touch of the nurse who really cares and the volunteer who is giving them a free meal.
Christians continue to get a bad name in this hostile secular society, but when others need someone, it is often the Christian that comes to their aid and the aid is accepted.
But even Christians can falter. What do we do when we have made a mistake? Do we readily admit the mistake? Or do we gather together as a united front against all those who could expose our mistake?
May we choose wisely.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.