What happened to the Christian practice of visiting the sick? It seems we have traded our compassion for judgemental quarantine along with the rest of society. Here’s a glimpse of our worldly mindset. Bear in mind, those who profess the love of Christ are speaking.
“Honey, don’t play over there. Jeanie has a runny nose.”
“A family who has had sick kids all week with a stomach bug are planning to attend my kids’ party this weekend! How can I politely ask them to stay home, without hurting their feelings?”
“Did you see that kid coughing in the nursery? I’m going to get my child and go home. I’ve had enough of my kids being sick this year. I’m not going through that again.”
“How dare Bob come to work today spreading his germs around to the rest of us? I can’t afford to get sick.”
“What are the Johnson’s thinking, taking those beautiful children to the mission field? Who knows what kind of disease they will expose them to!”
I will not jump on the bandwagon and comment about the “irresponsibility” and “thoughtlessness” of the ill being present in public situations. We have become overbalanced on that issue. The church needs to hear some shouting on the other side of the scale to which I’ll lend my voice. WHY ARE WE AFRAID OF THE SICK? I think if you weigh your answer, you’ll find it wanting.
In the early days of Christianity, the Christians heroically embraced the sick in times of pestilence. Roman historians contrasted the concern of the Christians with the indifference of the general population. They were known for hastening to side of the unhealthy as others were rushing away. Christians stood out because they were not afraid of sick people. And this wasn’t the common cold or flu we are talking about, but plagues and poxes! It wasn’t a lingering cough or sore sinuses they were chancing, but a painful death, maybe without the same compassionate care they were offering others. It was nobility of the highest order, that had no thought for it’s own welfare.
“I was … sick and you visited me … ” Jesus said.
The righteous will reply, “Lord, when did we see you sick and visit you?'”
The King will reply, “The truth is, whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers, you did for me.”
I think its time we traded our vehmient self-concern for sympathetic regard; a kind touch instead of turning away; and a gift of hot soup instead of a cold shoulder.
This site offers ten tips when visiting a sick friend.
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, preached a sermon reminding his flock to visit the sick.