Prescription without Diagnosis = Malpractice

The wiring in my brain crosses in funny ways sometimes. Three different streams of thought flickered through my head at the same time today.

First, I was reading Jay Guin’s blog, and he quoted one of his fellow elders as saying, “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” And then I thought of a recent episode in my sister-in-law’s life.

She had been having this really weird rash/skin outbreak on her face that looked for all the world like a chemical burn, but without any exposure to chemicals! She went to the doctor, got some stuff to treat it, and it went away for a little while. When it came back, she couldn’t get in to see the same doctor. Let me explain the scene for the encounter with the new guy. “No, wait. There is too much. Let me sum up.”

She sits in the exam room for about 10 minutes before anyone comes in. Then this “doctor” strolls in and sits down with his head in a file. Maybe it’s hers, maybe not. Doesn’t look up. Doesn’t make eye contact. Doesn’t introduce himself. DOESN’T EXAMINE THE SPOT IN QUESTION.

Keeping all that in mind now, here’s what he said: “Hi. You have contact dermititis. You need to stop using everything you currently use on your face – soap, face wash, makeup, everything – and wash with Dove soap for 2 weeks.”

Sister-in-law: “I’m allergic to Dove soap.”

“Doctor”: “No one’s allergic to Dove soap. Do it.”

Sister-in-law: “I had this outbreak a few weeks ago and the doctor then gave me (some medicine or other) and it went away. Can’t you give me another prescription for that?”

“Doctor”: “Ma’am, I’m not giving you anything. Go wash with Dove soap. Goodbye.”

Imagine how frustrated and angry and hurt you’d be by this encounter. Someone is getting paid to help you, to get to know what’s wrong with you so that they can do their best to help you take care of it, and instead they completely ignore you and say whatever seems best to them. I know I’d have been angry enough to lay my hands on this guy’s shoulders and say, “Stop. Look. At. Me. Right. Now. That’s better. Let’s start this conversation over. What’s your name?”

You see, when someone barges into your life, a total stranger, sits themselves down in front of you and tells you they know exactly what’s wrong with you and exactly what will fix it — it is really offensive, insulting, disrespectful, arrogant, and infuriating.

Are you waiting for the third thought I had? Here it is: see if you can find the connection to the other two.

“I really hate the bumper stickers that say, ‘Jesus Is The Answer!'”

in HIS love,


About Nick Gill

orphan-poet-adoptee-soldier-prodigal-servant-husband- counselor-desperate seeker after my Father's face "I feel my body weakened by the years as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death, or is it that they fear the joy of life?" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Posted on 21 November, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. yeeeaaaaahhhh. i feel ya.
    we jump ahead, same way we do with the plan of salvation, we jump to fix without listening or loving. good stuff, thanks

  2. Good one Bro! Now we wonder why our so called campaigns are not so sucessful. Our entire strategy for sharing Christ must change. Sharing the journey by listening, loving, telling your story, being open and vulnerable, and just simply honest about our lives to others must take place or those in need of the good news will see right through us. Great post Bro!

  3. Thank you, guys! my eyes bugged out a little bit when i realized just how irritating that bumper sticker really is!

  4. Aww, I like those bumper stickers! ‘Cause no matter what the problem is I’m currently facing, seeking Jesus IS the solution.

    BUT I guess I can see where you might think they’re not the most effective evangelistic tool. 😉

    Other than the bumper sticker, however, I totally agree! I can’t tell you how often I’ve wanted to get a hold of one of my angst-ridden college-age co-workers and tell them “You just need Jesus and everything will get better!” But that won’t work unless I’ve gotten to know them better, established a connection with them, then I might be able to reach into their souls and see what holes Jesus might fill for them.

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