Monday, June 27, 2011

Changing the World ... One Person at a Time

Last week six doctors gathered at one of their homes to begin planning for the first Orlando chapter of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. These associations "exist to motivate, educate, and equip Christian physicians and dentists to glorify God by living out the character of Christ in their homes, practices, communities, and around the world." Now that's a mission statement I can internalize and resolve to live out!

As I contemplate the things we need in order to live out the character of Christ in our personal and professional lives, my thoughts turn to the patients I've seen this month. You see, for the first time in twelve years I'm working at a secular clinic. I recently met a young man with HIV and depression who feels spiritually and emotionally lost. Two weeks ago I met a man in his fifties who hadn't seen a doctor in over six years because of fear -- so he now has very advanced diabetes and heart disease. I met a woman with panic attacks who has no community to speak of, and a young man in the midst of a disappointing and painful divorce.

How can I possibly help restore wholeness to these broken lives while neglecting the emotional, relational, and spiritual elements that affect their health and well-being? It is not possible -- not if I want to really help them.

Twelve years ago, a simple prayer began a transformation in me whereby I stopped being one more doctor and started to grow into a Christian physician. To me, that means that I started living out my faith in every area of my life, not just my private prayer life. Although faith is intensely private and grows by leaps and bounds in the intimacy of personal prayers between an individual and God, faith that changes the world is often public. And I have chosen to go public in spite of my fears.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." What a shame that a man who stood for non-violence, peace, and unity had such an opinion of Christians. As followers of Jesus, we must not simply walk alongside Him passively or follow at a distance. Our calling is to become like Him, and that happens one day at a time, one action at a time, one thought at a time, and one prayer at a time - as we stay close to Him.

It is so critical to find mature Christian mentors who can challenge, encourage, and help to keep us accountable and on track. It is even more compelling to become one of those mentors. 

In modern, Western healthcare, it is so easy to become discouraged and apathetic by the challenges we face every day. Yet, we have the awesome privilege of being Christ to those in need, often during their most vulnerable and terrifying moments. It is my hope and prayer that, as I treat hurting people, they will leave thinking, "I like your Christ, and I'm starting to like Christians. You look so much like your Christ."

In Hope and with Joy,
Dr Mari

I published a devotional for healthcare professionals and caregivers in 2012. Visit my author website to read more about Walking with Jesus in Healthcare.

6 comments:

  1. I spoke about mentors recently at a workshop, discussing the importance of having strong & faithful ones. I hadn't thought of myself as a mentor until reading this! When God directs our steps & we live out-loud for Him, passion just exudes from us...sharing His love and hope becomes the "mentor" through us! Thank you Lord!

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  2. I couldn't agree more! And when we choose to believe rather than fear, courage and creativity follow... and wonderful resources like Hope Matters Productions are born! Keep on mentoring and sharing hope with those in your path. Thank you for sharing!

    "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
    - 2 Timothy 1:7

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  3. This is such an important reminder - that we are to look like Christ! Let's that CMDA becomes a venue through which we can accomplish this in our work lives. Thanks Dr. Mari!
    Ann

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  4. I trust that it will! Many blessings to you, Ann. Thanks for visiting Dr Mari's Faith Stop!

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  5. Exitoso mensaje!!! Estoy muy orgullosa de ser tu amiga. TE AMO.

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  6. ¡Muchas gracias! No sé quién eres pero gracias por tu mensaje. ¡Muchas bendiciones!

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