by Lori Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld
“And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:16-17 ESV
My husband and I used to love watching House. You remember the medical drama about the damaged but brilliant doctor who solves medical mysteries that elude other doctors? He was usually the last hope for his patients and because of that, unlike other medical shows where a patient is devastated to receive a dire diagnosis; these patients welcome the life-altering news.
Why would anyone welcome a bad diagnosis?
It’s because the patients have suffered with symptoms that they know are real. They’ve tried dozens of other avenues for treatment and cure. Usually, the incorrect treatment was not only ineffective for solving their problem; it created more problems and sometimes threatened their lives.
The correct diagnosis, even if it is a terrible one, is better than suffering in the dark.
My husband’s life became a real-life House episode for over five years. He battled a mystery illness and pursued courses of treatment that created more problems than they cured. When we prepared to visit a new doctor to receive test results, we’d be more devastated to have no answers than we would if we were receiving news of a life-threatening disease with a name.
My college professor used to say “the facts are our friends; truth is always on our side no matter what that truth is.” An inaccurate diagnosis, a wrong course of treatment, false hopes – these are the enemies – not the truth.
Which is why most Christians were relieved to learn the condemning news that they are sinners with no hope of saving themselves.
See, we knew something was wrong inside us. We suffered from the symptoms but could not find the cause no matter where we looked. And boy, did we look!
We pursued all kinds of false diagnoses. We tried every self-help treatment available and followed each healer who told us they knew the cure for what ailed us. Those false cures were not only ineffective; they created more problems, some of them life-threatening.
Then, one day, someone told us they knew what was wrong with us. That person may have exhibited compassion, or they may have been as cold as Dr. House, but they knew the truth about our condition – we were sinners with no hope of saving ourselves, facing a sentence of death.
Rather than be offended or devastated by the news, we were relieved to hear the truth that somehow, we already knew. We’d suffered the symptoms of our sinful condition for so long we were ready for the cure.
And THAT was the good news. The cure was available for us. We could be healed by trusting Jesus Christ with our lives. No longer did we have to search bookstores and drugstores, gurus and shamans, backrooms or bedrooms for treatments that only quieted the symptoms but did nothing to touch the disease. Now we were free to pursue the effective treatment available through a relationship with the God of the universe.
Just like on House, for some the evidence of the cure was immediate, for others it took time, but the Great Physician has a 100% survival rate among those who are willing to receive the truth and trust His prescription for their lives.
Not only is the survival rate 100%, but the effects are extended release – they extend into eternity.
About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.
Join the conversation: When did you receive the correct diagnosis on you spiritual ailment?