I had a reader send me an email a while back. She said she thought she might be friends with me, but she was unsure as I seem to be an "in your face" Christian. I was shocked. She was basing this on my old side bar that had steps of how to become a Christian. I was actually tired of that sidebar and had been thinking of changing it for months, but couldn't come up with anything...
Anyway, that sidebar was basically a spin off of the "ABCs" that our church teaches every single child that walks through the door during Vacation Bible School. Call me crazy, but if it's unoffensive to children, I think that adults can handle it. Other than maybe kids are more willing to admit they've done wrong and the only way they can ever get to heaven is acknowledging that they have sinned and they need a savior. (Romans 3:23)
But that is not what this post is about. This post is about conversations at work. Conversations that perhaps paint me as an "in your face" Christian.
One of my coworkers was asking how to join our church, "Do you have to take a class or something?" My response led to a discussion about salvation, and my belief that once saved, you can never lose your salvation. It is always secure. (Romans 8:35-39, and here's a great article on secure salvation) God promises us an eternity spent with Him in heaven...
I guess that's a pretty bold conversation to have in front of a mixed crowd.
Yesterday I had a very trying patient. He did not want to be there. He was adamant that nothing was wrong with his dialysis graft, and that we were wasting his time. I told him that if the dialysis unit was wrong, then he could go gloat to them, but if they were right, he would be glad we saved it before it failed completely. There were many, many conversations with him that day. Trying conversations. Conversations where I struggled to be patient and kind...
When we were back in the procedure room, and I was getting the patient situated with monitors and warm blankets, and asking my last minute safety questions (which I had already asked as soon as he arrived, but we double check in procedure) he began to be belligerent and confrontational saying he'd already answered those questions and he wasn't a liar, so I needed to quit asking the same questions over and over...
The doctor walked in. "Andi, would you like to do a time out now?"
Translation: Would you like to do the time out (a safety tool where we all verbalize what procedure is being done and I compare the information with the patient ID band and consent form to be sure we are all doing the right procedure) so you can give this fellow some sedation and SHUT HIM UP?
At least, that's how I interpreted his wink and smile...
So, I gave the patient his sedation.
A few minutes into the procedure I realized I'd forgot to offer up prayer before we started, so I just paused a moment in what I was doing and said a quick blessing over the patient...
Fast forward about 20 minutes into the procedure. The doctor had failed to mention he was about to stretch open a narrow spot in the fistula. Or I hadn't heard him say it, which is a real possibility. Angioplasty in a dialysis fistula is very painful. There is really nothing I can do to make it not painful, other than a dollop more of pain medicine mixed with some Versed to make him forget he ever felt it...
He woke up when that balloon inflated and started yelling and was very angry because he claims we said it "wouldn't hurt." Which is totally untrue. We would never say that because, as I said, angioplasty hurts. You can't numb the inside of vein walls.
I gave him a little more medicine. He went back to sleep. And this time I tried to be more diligent about watching my monitor, the patient, and to see if the doctor had the tool out for angioplasty (I do not remember the name.)
I noticed he was reaching for it. I asked if I could premedicate before he stretched. "Sure. I know you don't want to have him wake up again." Again the wink and smile.
"No. This is just me being Jesus here."
"BEING Jesus? What does that mean?"
"Now, don't go thinking I'm being blasphemous. That's not what I was saying. As a Christian, I'm to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around me. (Philippians 2:3-7) That includes taking good care of my patients and making sure they don't feel/remember when we hurt them. You know, show the world who Jesus is."
He looked at me slightly askance.
"Testify, Andi. Testify," the scrubbed in radiology tech said.
And the doctor had no comment to offer to that.
In hindsight maybe I am an "in your face" Christian. If being an "in your face" Christian means I pray with patients before procedures, and any time I sense they are scared or nervous about results. I talk about my relationship with Jesus, and what He is talking to me about right now. I put up index cards with the memory verse I'm working on memorizing next to the computer at the nurses station. I talk to my coworkers about what Jesus means to me, and I will call us out to "have a little Jesus in our hearts" when we are being cranky and having a rough day.
I guess if you take those things into consideration...I must be a pretty "in your face" Christian.
And I'm okay with that.
As a Christian, I'm called to be like Christ. Loving. Gentle. Compassionate.
But Christ was also honest. He did not worry about offending people when He called them to Him.
Sometimes I think as Christians we struggle with sharing the gospel, for fear that we will offend someone. I worry that they will say I'm being self righteous or judgmental by saying "There is only one way to heaven." But that is the truth. The Bible clearly says "No man may come to the Father except through me." (John 14:6-9) Translation: The only way to heaven is through Jesus. And Jesus calls us to confess our sins and profess Him as our Savior and Lord.
If we claim Christ as the savior of our lives, yet fail to share that salvation message with others around us, then we are failing to do what Christ commanded us to do. (Mark 16:15) If I proclaim Christ is my savior, yet fail to show love to those around me, I'm failing to do what Christ called me to do. (John 13:34-35) If I proclaim Christ as my savior, and yet do not do my job to the best of my ability, (Colossians 3:23) giving God glory in every part of it, then I'm not doing what I was called to do.
Christ paid the debt for my sins. He took the burden of my sins, even though I did NOTHING to deserve salvation, and carried them to the cross. (Romans 5:8) Because of His faithfulness and love, I have the promise of eternity in heaven. He did not promise that the journey to heaven as a follower of Christ would be easy. He promised me the exact opposite. The Bible promises trials of all kinds. And it promises strength to get through those trials. (Philippians 4:13)
Not an easy journey. Strength for the journey. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
So. That's what God is talking about with me lately. What's God been saying to you lately?