Exploiting the patients....???
I work with many patients who are terminally ill. I have heard people say that sharing the Gospel with a sick patient under our care is, “exploiting his vulnerability.” What is the right perspective?
The simple answer is NO. Let me explain the background of this idea of "exploitation".
The word ‘EXPLOITATION’ needs clarification. The meaning of this word is: "doing/using something for a selfish gain at the expense of another." So it is a myth which needs to be cleared. When we share the gospel we do it out of love, not for our selfish gain and not even to improve our statistics in the spiritual score board. Apostle Paul says (2 Cor.5: 14)"love of Christ compels /constrains me "."Woe unto me if I do not share the gospel" (1 Cor: 9: 16). Two loves meet/work together whenever the gospel is shared - love of Christ and love for the other. When we truly love some one e.g. our patient we will naturally, share Christ.
Another misconception in the mind of many is that faith is only a personal matter and hence one should not trespass the privacy of the person. Let us remember that for a Christian, faith can never remain only as a personal matter. Jesus has clearly given us the command and mandate to go out into the world and share this good news to all (Math.28: 18-20). So evangelism is our Mission and it is to be done with respect and sensitivity.
Sharing the gospel is sharing the Good News, in fact, the Best News. It is in essence sharing Jesus Christ. Jesus belongs to all, not just to Christians. Remember that by sharing Jesus and the eternal life in him, is loving some one… Love is giving our best to another. What is the best that we can offer to any one? Is it not Jesus? He is the best we have received in life and so He is the best that we can give. On the other hand, by withholding the gospel are we not withholding the best to some one whom we love and care?
Sickness is a time of vulnerability; so also, it offers an opportunity to pause, halt on the track of our busy lives, to think of deeper issues of life. Hence, it is a time of respite and one is more open to eternal matters during an illness.
When we care compassionately it is an opportunity to share the most important issue of life! “Meet A Need And Meet The Need.” The time of vulnerability during sickness leads many to despair and fear..and on the other hand, the Gospel, by the Holy Spirit, leads a person to hope and eternal life. So, may our lord Jesus help us all to share the gospel unashamedly but with love, humility and sensitivity. Often prayer with the patient is an opening in this direction.