As we move through the final days of Passion Week for the Christian community (Jesus’ final days that include his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection), I wanted to share another of Siloam’s core values that guides us as a ministry: Compassion.
Active, compassionate care means caring intentionally for the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. The biblical concept of health—rooted in words like Shalom (Hebrew) or Sozo (Greek)—implies that man is a unified being, who is not so easily reduced to component parts as we might like. In fact, both of these words can be interpreted to mean not only health, or well being, but also convey the concept of “salvation.” Compassionate care for the whole person means seeking to alleviate suffering, and this may occur on many levels. As we begin our relationships with our patients, we will seek to be genuine learners of their suffering. This includes learning about their various social, religious and cultural backgrounds as we “incarnate” ourselves into their special contexts. By building a base of mutual respect, we commit to explore issues beyond their presenting medical issue, asking permission as appropriate. We do not condone forcing any beliefs on anyone—biomedical, Christian, or otherwise—but rather, from an early stage in our relationship with a patient and with the humility of Christ, will seek to discern where God is already at work in their life. Compassionate care then means being prepared to help them take the next, appropriate step with God—or to refer them to someone who can. In the meantime, compassionate care also means being willing to enter another’s suffering and share it with them when it can’t be alleviated.
The good news is that the incarnate God is still with us through the Holy Spirit…helping us to be compassion to the world! Have a great weekend!