In the setting of a trauma center, trauma surgeons are responsible for managing patients with numerous acute emergencies. For example, if a patient rolled through the doors following a head on collision at 50 miles per hour, they may have a liver laceration, ruptured spleen, collapsed lung, broken ribs, and a femur fracture. While an orthopod would primarily be responsible for the femur, the trauma surgeon is responsible for the rest of these maladies with the aid of the trauma team. After diagnosis, he or she must prioritize which of these issues to address and in which order. Which condition should be addressed first? Which of these problems, all acute individually, should take precedence over the other? The treatment plan and manner in which the patient is addressed is literally a matter of life or death.
In the setting of a church, a person generally presents with multiple problems. A person may have had a rough week at work, marital problems, regrets over past words or thoughts, a new decision on the horizon, a recurrent alcohol addiction, and bills coming up too. All of these represent obstacles in their own right. One person having to deal with all of these things seems overwhelming in a way. Luckily, our “trauma team” is composed of a pastor, assistant pastor, and fellow church members and can offer consolation, advice, company, and prayer to help our brother or sister in Christ overcome these obstacles. In fact, we are called upon as Christians to do so.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25 KJV)
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 KJV)
In addition, the function of the church is two fold in nature. Edifying of the saints and helping us to establish our Christian walk and build a strong doctrinal foundation is one purpose. The other is toward those who have yet to accept Christ as savior. In this regard, the church acts as a beacon of light and a hub of information, beckoning those lost souls in so that they may come to know Christ as Savior. Of course, it should burden us that these souls would be on their way to hell, but we find that all of those lost souls who find their way through the church doors have personal problems on top of their great underlying problem.
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6 KJV)
It should come as no surprise that when we get saved, God isn’t particularly getting a sweet deal. Sinners come broken, battered, and without any other option to the only One capable of healing such a helpless condition. Similarly, our “trauma team” aids in pointing these lost souls to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, through scripture. Our job as Christians is to act as beacons that continually point to Christ. In this capacity, we are to show through scripture how a lost soul find salvation.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Phillip that he should come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:30-31 KJV)
By this reasoning, it would come as a surprise that often times when presented with opportunities to lead a lost soul to Christ, we focus instead on overlying problems. “Favorite sins” is a term that I have found most appropriate for this attitude. Particularly, the focus of our conversation with a lost person often times focuses on a specific aspect of their lives that contradicts God’s teaching as to how we are to live our lives. A few come to mind, but all bear the same essential problem with approach. What good is sobriety to a person who has never accepted Christ? That is to say, eternally, between choosing to consume alcohol and choosing to not accept Christ, which will bear more weight, eternally speaking? What about heterosexuality? Use of profanity? This poses a bigger question. What choice of action here on earth could outweigh the consequences of not accepting Christ as Savior?
Although we shouldn’t deny that the previous examples are condemned in God’s word, a point that should be made is this: ANY man or woman without Christ is in a state of eternal peril. Sexual orientation will not dictate your eternal destination, nor will your language, alcohol consumption, language, or any other action you may take. This dire matter is dictated by one thing: Have you been saved?
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 KJV)
So as Christians, our duty should be to do everything we can to point someone towards Christ so that they can be saved. This is IMPOSSIBLE if you have taken what precious time they have given you to single out a single lifestyle choice and berate them for it. In essence, you are using a water gun on a raging grease fire. While whatever habit or choice this person has may be condemned in scripture, to what effect would their correcting it have eternally? If this person is unsaved, what eternal benefit will it be to them that they correct their actions? If your efforts to correct this person proceed with the most optimal result, they will be no more saved than when you started, and generally, most people do not take kindly to being scolded. Humans are proud creatures, much to our own demise. When you choose to take your time condemning whatever behavior you deem is worthy of this condemnation, you could very well slam shut a door that could have been used to lead them to Christ, and this could have very dire consequences for both parties.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV)
To have blood on our hands at the Judgment Seat of Christ because we misused our time to witness to a lost soul is a frightening thing. You could very well be the last Christian a person talks to before they harden their heart, or even die. Examine your priorities. Are your actions a result of godly motivation, or personal motivation? Are you more concerned with a person’s life on earth than in eternity? As a trauma surgeon, will you be more concerned with a broken femur than the patient’s heart stopping? Does a laceration warrant more attention than a heart attack? We must prioritize our course of action. It is literally a matter of life or death.