How is no healthcare for some people loving? I have to ask, since a state with a 70% Christian population just made it harder for some people to get healthcare. Even if those people were enemies, Jesus told His followers to love them. Was Jesus wrong?
Let’s begin with a really simple take on our question.
Does it matter who those “some people” are that won’t get health care?
The sad reality in this country, and probably lots of others, is that yes it most certainly does matter.
In poor countries, many people don’t get healthcare. Maybe even most people.
But the U.S. isn’t poor. Yes, lots of people here are poor. And the government owes more than 3 Trillion dollars! But we are not, as a nation, poor.
Why not? Because some people are obscenely rich.
What’s that got to do with healthcare?
That scenario of the filthy rich means, among other things, they get to decide who gets healthcare and who doesn’t in the areas where they donate money. And then they feel good about it. All the while, ignoring the fact that so many people around the world can’t afford basics like food, shelter, and healthcare because they didn’t get a living wage from the obscenely rich people who some worship as great philanthropists.
But guess what? That’s not even the issue here. As much as a problem as that is, it’s not to blame here.
And then there’s the high price of healthcare. The costs of medicine, equipment, and services. Although, it feels like most of the profits go to a small group of people at the top of the “food chain”, and to the shareholders. Yes, some doctors make a lot of money. But not like the execs and others at the top.
But – that’s not the problem here either.
If it’s not money, then what’s the problem?
I suspect, since this is a site about Christianity, you expect me to pull out the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Well, let’s not disappoint you. But, be prepared to be surprised.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
10:25-28 pp — Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31
Lk 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Lk 10:26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
Lk 10:27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’’”
Lk 10:28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Lk 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Lk 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Lk 10:36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
Lk 10:37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
In this parable, the Samaritan cares for the man who was beaten and robbed. He paid for the care and a room at an inn.
Maybe you wondered about the rich people I brought up first. Well, the only people these days who could even think about paying for healthcare for a poor person is a rich man. It doesn’t matter if he’s Samaritan or not. Besides, in this country, or many others, what are the chances of a Samaritan being around?
But there could be someone hated, with lots of money. Although, money is still the key. Why? Because in addition to the healthcare, and the room at a hospital these days, and post-hospital care if needed, there are other considerations. Like the lawsuit if something doesn’t go perfectly.
Or, sometimes even the lawsuit even if things do go well. The claim? That the person made things worse by transporting the man on his own, rather than calling for an ambulance. Or the person was taken to the wrong hospital and therefore didn’t receive the best care. And on and on and on.
Was Jesus wrong with the Parable of the Good Samaritan?
Does this mean Jesus was wrong with the Parable of the Good Samaritan? No. Things have changed. But the Bible is supposed to help us even now, isn’t it?
Uh – yes. And it can, if we let it.
But first, another example.
Should people we hate get healthcare?
Uh oh. This is gonna get messy. We love to hate things. We even love to hate people. So you’re probably already thinking about ways to say no, “these” people don’t have a right to receive healthcare.
Here’s something Jesus said that never changes.
Love for Enemies – Luke
6:29, 30 pp — Mt 5:39-42
Lk 6:27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Lk 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
There’s a thought some might like to remove from Christianity. Come to think of it, it’s a thought some have removed from their brand of Christianity.
But Jesus said it. You know, Jesus Christ? The guy who’s responsible for the name of our religion – Christianity? How can you remove it? Or ignore it?
But let’s leave Christianity for a moment. Have you ever read the Hippocratic Oath? Medical students take some version of it when they graduate. Apparently, there’s more than one. Below is a modern version, written by Louis Lasagna in 1964.
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.Author NamLouis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University
There’s a lot of good stuff in there. But I do want to point out one thing in particular for today’s topic.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
Did you notice, there aren’t any exceptions in there? There’s no classification or list of anyone that the person taking this oath is allowed, expected, or told to exclude from the oath. Everyone is to be treated.
Of course, there are the usual things these days, like getting paid. That means for some, maybe even many, doctors will pass a potential patient on to another location, such as an emergency room, to be treated. There are places of, let’s call them last resort, where people with no ability to pay can be treated.
There are also, sadly, people who will become penniless, and even homeless, because they can’t afford to pay but the government won’t step in until the patient is broke. And homeless.
A personal side note on care for some people – healthcare or otherwise
You may wonder why I bring these things up. Not, they aren’t directly on point. But it’s something I have experience with. For many years I had no health insurance. I couldn’t afford it. It was either get insurance or have a roof over my head, which was above someone’s garage, and eat. The choice was obvious.
My parents could’ve helped. But they didn’t. I survived, thank God. And as soon. as I did have insurance, found out my blood pressure was 180 over 110. It was a minor miracle that I survived.
Many years later, my mother’s parents were facing going into a state “retirement” home because they couldn’t afford to stay in their own house. A house my grandfather built himself. My parents could’ve helped. But they didn’t.
They lived in a state that would help, but only with a matching of funds that was paid for by their lottery system. Over the course of ten years I spent more money than I had to keep them in their home.
Even church people tell you not to go into debt for something like this. Especially not to the point that I did. But I felt like God was asking me to do it. And so, I did. It took years to get out from under paying off one credit card with another one and transferring balances to zero interest cards to help save money on that.
I’m not recommending you do that. I am pointing out that it is a reality in our world today. Even in our allegedly rich country.
It’s a sad state of affairs. It’s hard enough to get by. Too hard. Way harder than it needs to be.
So when someone does that’s behind this story, I have to write something. Especially to my fellow Christians who are supposed to love everyone. Even the very people we think are our enemies.
What’s behind this question – How is no healthcare for some people loving?
So, after all that background, why am I asking, “How is no healthcare for some people loving?”
First of all, this is a case where even someone who can afford healthcare might not be able to get it.
Second, it happened in a state where 70% of the residents claim to be Christian.
I know, I write all the time about not mixing religion and politics. And I’m not. I’m not now, and hopefully never will promote pushing any religious value on anyone by way of the government.
So, what’s happening? Well, here’s the headline:
DeSantis’ new law: Doctors can’t deny treatment for unvaccinated patients but can refuse LGBTQ ones
In Republican Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Free State of Florida,” as of July 1 it will be illegal for physicians and other medical professionals to refuse to treat unvaccinated patients. It will be illegal to mandate vaccines. It will be illegal to mandate the wearing of masks. It will be illegal to require a “vaccine passport.”
But, also in Ron DeSantis’ “Free State of Florida,” it will be legal for a physician or other medical professional to refuse to treat a patient who is LGBTQ for a “specific health care service” if it violates their “conscience.” And legal for insurance companies to refuse to cover patients who are LGBTQ for a “specific health care service” again, if it violates their “conscience.”
There’s nothing in the Hippocratic oath excluding people. And, by the way, corporations and companies do not have consciences. That’s something God gave to people. Companies and other entities are not, in God’s eyes, people.
Jesus never said anything like this was expected from His followers. In fact, He said the opposite, as we saw above.
Heaping coals on their heads?
Maybe they think they’re following Paul’s advice about “heaping burning coals” on someone’s head?
Of course, that’s not something meant to be taken literally. It’s quite clear that Paul didn’t tell us to actually do that. Here’s the passage. Just from the NIV section title – Love – you know it wasn’t about doing that.
Love – Romans
Ro 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Ro 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Ro 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Ro 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
So – did you catch all the things we should/shouldn’t do?
- Be sincere
- Hate evil – that’s not people who do evil, but the evil that people do. There. is a difference!
- Serve the Lord, including obeying His commands.
- Bless those who persecute us. Bless – do not curse.
- Do not repay evil for evil.
- If possible, leave at peace with everyone.
- Do not take revenge. That’s for God, not for us. A note here – part of that’s probably because we don’t necessarily know who is going to be forgiven by God, no matter what their situation when we come across them.
- If our enemy is hungry, feed them.
- If our enemy is thirsty, give him something to drink.
I fail to see how refusing healthcare fits in with those examples of what love is and should look like.
And now, for the burning coals portion:
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
Clearly, Paul isn’t telling us to pour burning coals in someone’s head. Rather, Paul is saying that it’s often hard for someone who hates us to accept kindness from us. Of course, that situation only occurs when we do actually show kindness. When we hate those who hate us, it just ends up in a spiral of never-ending hatred. Someone has to end it. And it’s supposed to be us trying to end it, by showing the kind of love God showed us, when we hated Him.
Imagine if God hated us. How would we ever come to love Him? Now, imagine, if we hate someone, how are they ever supposed to com. to love us? And how are they going to get past their hatred of us and begin to even consider loving the God we claim to follow and represent?
Conclusion – How is no healthcare for some people loving?
How is no healthcare for some people loving? It’s not.
But if people die because someone or some company used this law to refuse to give care, there is a name for it. And it’s forbidden in the sixth commandment.
I just cannot believe where this country is now. Especially when we “blame” it on Christianity. When I was working, I never would’ve even thought of providing services to someone I didn’t like or disagreed with.
I can’t imagine how I would’ve explained that to God at the end of my life either. Can you even consider, what if Jesus asked you if His suffering and death wasn’t enough for us to learn from Him and be nice to people He created, and who He loved? I wouldn’t want to have to do that, although I’m sure I have done exactly the thing I just said we shouldn’t.
But what if we don’t believe it’s wrong, and don’t ask forgiveness? Then where are we?
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