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Pre-Existing Condition

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Pre-Existing Condition

As the country currently debates the Affordable Care Act and its possible replacement, the American Health Care Act, a major point of contention centers around what to do for people with preexisting health conditions. Should they be covered? Should they not be covered? Should they be covered but charged a higher premium? These questions are being debated and discussed, but Congress can’t seem to find any consensus regarding their answers.

There is a bigger issue here, though, that affects every single one of us. The truth is we all have a preexisting condition: Sin. Because of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, all of humanity must deal with sin and death. As a part of our Articles of Religion, here’s what we as United Methodists believe about original sin:

We believe man is fallen from righteousness and, apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, is destitute of holiness and inclined to evil. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
— Article VII, “The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church,” Par. 104, The Book of Discipline

In other words, although we are created by God in his image and loved by God, we all have, as Charles Wesley puts it in his powerful hymn, Love Divine, all Loves Excelling, a “Bent to sinning.” We all struggle with our human nature (see Galatians 5 for a good description of this struggle). We all need the grace of Jesus Christ in our lives, the salvation that removes the power and stranglehold that sin and death has over us. Once we turn our hearts over to God and invite Jesus Christ to be Lord of our lives, we are set free to be the people God desires us to be and live the life that God desires us to live. It doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but it means sin’s power over us is gone as we repent, receive forgiveness, and are restored to discipleship.

As disciples of Christ who are called to be, “the extension and embodiment of Christ’s ministry here on earth” (Thomas Oden), it would serve us well to use the lens of the Gospels to explore the current healthcare debate and every other issue. It is certainly worth asking, “How did Jesus live his life and relate to those who needed care, those who were living lives of sin, those who were searching for more, those who were wealthy, those who were poor, etc.? How can I be an extension of and an embodiment of his ministry in my daily life?” As we come to know Jesus more intimately, we will be able to answer these questions more fully have a deeper impact in the world around us.

God offers universal coverage of the preexisting condition of sin through the person of Jesus Christ. There are well over 200 million Christians in the United States; think of all that could happen, all the ways God’s Kingdom could come here on earth as it is in heaven, if we could live like Jesus and love like Jesus. I can’t speak for the other 199,999,999, but today this one is going to give it a shot.