Thursday, February 16, 2012

Like a Hospital

Matthew 9:12 When Jesus heard this, he said, "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do."

            I remember the first time my mom asked me to go. I was apprehensive about going because I’d been around those kinds of people all my life. If I had a choice, I didn’t want to be around them again. Still, I went so I could support her and because she really wanted me to go. It was important to her. The place seemed secretly located to me; right next to a barber shop and a glasses store. The blue door looked old and worn. I walked in dreading that I was there, but as soon as I was inside, the room felt different.

            It was a nice kind of cold, the kind that leaves you feeling refreshed. It was dark in the sacred way. I could almost imagine that only candles lit the room, but there weren't any candles. Chairs lined the walls and surrounded the middle table. There were a lot of chairs for such a small room, but there still was a lot of open space. Bricks covered the walls. Most had writing on them. The blank bricks were waiting for someone to achieve them, so they would have truth on them like the bricks with writing. On the wall that didn’t have bricks were the twelve steps.

            I’m not sure I had ever felt God’s presence so strongly in any one place before, but He was there in the place where Alcoholic’s Anonymous meetings were held.

            In this meeting broken people, who knew fully well how broken they were, came together to listen to each other and help each other heal as a community. No one thought themselves righteous. Everyone listened to one another. And they all were there with the purpose of trying to make themselves better because they had seen how much they’d hurt the ones they loved, possibly with the exceptions of those who were required to be there by law. Even most of those ones learned from these meetings. The people here had seen the need for change in themselves and came together to follow their own kind of law, which reminded me of another law.

            I don’t hate the church or religion. Church is a place where God’s word is taught and hopefully the majority of people go to try to apply the word to their lives. Church is also a place of community, where people pray for each other and try to help one another. But church isn’t always like that. People don’t like church because they expect it to be God’s place of good people, but church goers and the church don’t live up to such high standards of righteousness. In AA meetings, everyone knows what kind of people go there. No one expects them to be righteous, so the people who attend don't really have much of a standard to live up to. So when they do end up being good people (which I think most of them are), people are happily surprised.

            I think what people fail to realize is that the people who attend AA meetings, or any other type of meeting for broken people, are the same kind of people who attend church. Yes, the church should have high ideals of living. Yes, people should try to live up to them. Yes, sometimes they can. But no, most of the time they don’t.

            When Jesus is referring to the sick people, he is referring to the broken people, the people in need of healing. Healthy people are not broken people, but who is ever in perfect health? AA is like a hospital, where people come to be healed. Church should also be like a hospital, where people acknowledge they are sick so they come to be healed and help heal others. The most welcome people in AA are alcoholics.

            The most welcome people in church are the righteous. This is not how the church should be. When I go to church, most people seem very cheerful. There’s a lot of greeting going on. People are in Sunday church attire. I’ve never seen someone who looks like they’re homeless, or like they do drugs. If those kind of people came, what would happen? I’d like to think that someone who is on drugs and looks “high” would be welcomed with open arms, but I’m more inclined to believe that the people of the church would shun that person. “That person shouldn’t be here because he isn’t living the way God wants him to,” is what I expect people would think. Who can live up to God’s standards and the way he wants us to live? No one. Not one single person, except the one who already did.

            What would it look like if the church brought gang members inside, if everyone accepted them and wanted to help heal, but also show that they themselves are sick too? If homosexuals were welcome? If the homeless were welcome? If the alcoholics were welcome? What would happen if the sick people were the ones that were welcomed the most? Church wouldn’t just be a place for the so-called righteous to be good Sunday goers, open up their bibles for an hour, and then leave. Church would be like a hospital, where God would be the doctor.

Last thought: Don’t leave the church or religion because you think its flawed, but instead try to make it better. Be the example.

1 comment:

  1. That was well written with a perfect last thought.Thank you for writing it.