Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care and Christianity

Well, now that we have all had a chance to catch our breath after the signing of the Health Care bill, it's time to take a few steps back to really think about how a Christian, not just an American, should think about Health Care. Let me preface everything I am about to say by being clear that I have NOT read the 1990 pages of the bill, so my comments will not be on the substance of the particular bill that just got signed into law.

Now, as a political and fiscal conservative, I could rant on and on about how I don't like big government, how I don't believe health insurance (which is really what I think the debate is all about) is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, how a multi-billion dollar expense when we already are fiscally irresponsible is a bad idea, and many other things. But, I want to approach this issue not as just an conservative American, but as a Christian.

So, here goes:

1) God is concerned about people and we should be, too.

This is not just an American issue, but a human issue. As Christians, we ought to be concerned about the well-being of all human beings and should be willing to sacrifice our "rights" and money to help others. You know, the whole "do unto others" thing? The Reformers rightly understood that the negative commandment to "not murder" presupposed a positive command to care for others well-being.

2) Christians, above all others, should be giving people.

The Bible says that to whom much has been given, much will be required. Now, without taking this verse completely out of context, the general principle is that we as Christians have been given more than anything this world could ever offer. Is it really too much to ask that we are willing to give of our possessions to others to help meet their physical needs?

3) Part of the responsibility of the church is to help those in need.

Of course, the Bible is clear that our primary responsibility is the spread of the Gospel and that, even as far as meeting physical needs is concerned, our responsibility is primarily towards "brothers" or other believers. But we can't get around the biblical mandate to look out for the needs of others and to put "feet" to our words. James 1:27 says "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." Perhaps, if the church wasn't so busy building coffee houses and softball fields on our properties, we would have more resources to do what we don't think the government has a right to do.

4) The answer to everything is never government, but always God.

We must understand that we shouldn't get so caught up in politics that we forget our primary responsibility as Christians. Although we are citizens of our particular country (in my case, the United States of America), ultimately we are citizens of heaven. And our primary interests and responsibilities are not related to our earthly home, but our heavenly home. We should be more concerned with the glory of God and the spread of the Gospel than proper functioning of the civil government. Of course, that does not mean that we pull out of government and put our heads in the sand. It means that we seek to make government better to the glory of God while recognizing that we are ultimately dependent on Him, not that government.

This issue is not a simple cut and dry issue. It is very complex and very complicated. As we respond to the events that are currently taking place, we must remember to do so with patience, love and a view to honoring God.

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