Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Treat the Patient...

"Treat the patient, not the disease." Such goes the ancient precept. Perhaps once observed, but now ignored. We explain our shift of emphasis with statements like this: "It's more economical to treat the disease and not the patient." "We're trained to diagnosis the disease, not the patient." "If the disease is healed, then the patient is healed."

Most illnesses do not strike like lightening. The ground is prepared for years, through bad habits, stress, emotional and moral problems, and maybe most significantly -- the 'secret tragedies' in every heart. "Man does not die," a doctor remarked, "He kills himself."

Every act of physical, psychological, or moral disobedience of God's purpose for our life has its inevitable consequences. It's the call of the church not to merely treat the illness (sin) but to treat the patient (what caused the sin).

But we don't have time or, more honestly, we don't want to take the time. It's easier to write a prescription -- 'be saved' and 'join the church' and 'come to the meetings' and 'give your time and money'-- then to help people resolve the 'secret tragedies' that keep them sick.

Jesus took a different approach. He understood the disease. But he also treated the patient. His aim was to bring us into relationship with His Father and thereby to bring us into complete wholeness--inside and outside.

Jesus isn't interested in just curing one part of us, He wants to cure all of us--spirit, soul, and body. We discover His wholeness when we bring ourselves under His sovereignty.

"May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together -- spirit, soul, and body -- and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23).

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