Health care has been a topic of heated debate in the past several months. It’s been discussed from every possible angle, except one . . . What would Jesus do? For those of you who are wondering, “Did he just throw that line?” Yes. I did. But forget about the bracelet and let’s connect the dots here. To the surprise of many, we can learn a lot about this debate from what Jesus did. And for the Christian, life is to revolve around doing what Jesus would do. So, with an issue that would fundamentally change the way Americans live (or die, as it may be), why not consider His opinion?
Whether conservative or liberal, the debate rides the fence on three issues: compassion, fairness, and utopia. When we compare these issues to the redemptive work of Christ, there is revealing truth that should clarify the health care debate for us all.
First, let’s examine the issue of compassion. Those who call for health care reform tell the tragic stories of victims who suffer at the hands of the existing system. They hope to inspire compassion that leads to radical change, while opponents save their compassion for those that would lose benefits due to reform. Then there is fairness. Reform advocates believe that everyone deserves the same coverage and that this should be enforced by law. Dissenters say that this leads to nothing but entitlement, which they feel is a myth. Instead, people deserve only what they earn for themselves. Finally, there are those that believe we can achieve utopia in this world as it is. They believe that people get better as generations go by, and that we are smarter, more enlightened, and more capable than any past generation. They feel that health care reform is a progressive step in the right direction.
So what does redemption say about health care reform? Well, a lot of those on that train are the same people who use the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) to condemn judgmental Christians. While what this Scripture says is highly important, what it doesn’t say is equally important. And when it comes to compassion, nothing is said about legislation. Instead, the greatest show of compassion from our Savior was done of His own free will. When a disciple tried to fight the mob that came to arrest the Savior, Jesus said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53) While Jesus’ work spoke volumes about compassion, they said nothing about coercion.
When it comes to fairness, I’m thankful Jesus didn’t have much use for the idea. He told the adulterous woman that her sins were forgiven. He asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him, because they didn’t know what they were doing. Romans 5:8 tells us He died for mankind while we were still in our sins. Fairness wouldn’t have let those stories end the way they did. Yes, fairness is a foreign concept in the Bible, and it makes me wonder where it came from in the first place. And entitlement just reminds me I was entitled to an eternal residence in Hell. People in their illusion of their own righteousness are feeling as if they are entitled to a far different destiny than reality suggests. And do you think for a moment this has nothing to do with why we feel as if we are entitled to free health care?
Lastly, Jesus spoke of a utopia, but He said before we see that, He would come and get us to take us there. In John 14, we have the picture of utopia described for us by Jesus Himself, but verse 3 makes it clear that it is not here, not now, and not made by man. It is later, prepared by Him, and involves a trip to somewhere else.
So with Jesus, compassion is best when done voluntarily, and fairness wouldn’t pan out how we think. And utopia: it’s not here, not now, and not of our own making. Jesus does, however, uphold the commandments that condemn stealing, whether it be from an individual or future generations that would pay for our mistakes. And he preaches we should be dependent on Him, not a government. And don’t think for a moment there’s nothing you can do about this issue. You have congressmen and senators who need your go ahead to vote for what they already know is right. Their phone numbers are just a Google search away. What would Jesus do? You tell me.