“Do No Harm” to the Boston Bomber

Scott AtteberyChristian LivingLeave a Comment

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Yesterday’s newspaper reported that one of the Boston Marathon bombers was alive and in custody at a local hospital. More specifically, the bomber is being treated at the same hospital as eleven victims of the bombing.

That’s quite a powerful picture, isn’t it? Certainly the thought of a terrorist being treated alongside his victims provokes a myriad of emotional responses.

Some may say, “He doesn’t deserve such treatment,” or “what a slap in the face to the survivors.”

Another group of people may fear for the security of the survivors (as well as the rest of the hospital) while secretly hoping the bomber gets worse treatment.

Others may ponder the strange juxtaposition while admiring the power of medicine’s Hippocratic oath, which explicitly states that a doctor shall “do no harm” to his/her patient.

How does a gospel-perspective view the scene? Perhaps it’s a simple as this: The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Boston Massachusetts paints a stunning picture of the gospel where every sinner, no matter the record, is treated. And the over-riding message of grace erases any pecking order for sinners.

Remember, Christ’s admonition to “Judge not, that you not be judged,” (Matt. 7:1) specifically forbids one human determining whether or not another human deserves grace. What is the basis for this teaching? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Certainly, if we dig deep enough, we can find reasons to withhold grace from everyone –that is, until we consider that we are the undeserving recipients of grace as well.

The Hippocratic oath, like the gospel, causes us to look past “a record of wrongs” (I Cor. 13:5) to man’s fundamental need: life. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

When the Great Physician treats sinners, He does not allow any record of wrongs to impede His treatment of grace. And I am forever grateful.

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