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A Letter to a Doctor


Sue replies to a U.S. doctor who is doing research into anonymous live organ donations. It gives some insights into her faith, if not the faith of our members in general.

I'm going to share a bit more deeply about my motivations and my faith in God, which for some people, is very hard to understand. I hope you can understand me. I hope this is not too "preachy" for you.

Faith without actions that prove it, is dead faith. (I didn't make that one up; its a quote from the Bible--James 2:26.)

You say, "There are millions of people who believe in God and life after death and millions of people who feel happy when they help someone else, yet you and your fellow Jesus Christians are the only group in the universe that I know of, willing to donate a kidney to a stranger."

My answer: There always has to be someone who does things first. I don't think we will always be the only group in the universe to do this. I'm sure there will be others, if there are not others already.

The concept of laying your life down in love instead of fighting to protect it, is one of the radical differences between the Jewish religion (the Old Testament in the Bible) and true Christianity (the New Testament).

It's true that there are millions of people who claim to believe in the existence of God. However, I think real faith is a lot rarer than you think. Real faith leads to radical changes in your behaviour, changes which may risk the life of the person with the faith. You see, if you really believe in God and in life after death, then you will not be afraid of dying in order to follow and obey the God who is going to lead you to life after death.

From what I can understand, that, basically, is what motivates suicide bombers. I think they are mixed up in thinking that God wants them to kill; but I think they are willing to die for their cause because they have faith in life after death. I respect the fact that they have such faith, even though I strongly disagree in what they are doing (i.e. killing innocent people). Perhaps they are "sincerely wrong".

Anyway, of these millions of people you think have faith in God and faith in life after death, how many of them do you think would be willing to die for their faith? When it comes down to it, probably very few. So, do they really have faith in God and life after death? I don't think so. They have faith in something, but it isn't a combination of faith in God and faith in life after death, otherwise, death in obedience to God would not make them suddenly change their minds.

Having said all that, I don't think donating a kidney is seriously life threatening, unlike a lot of courageous things thousands of people in history have done that really did cost them their lives. I understand I am facing the small risk of losing my life through this operation, but it is only a small risk.

I will try to explain why I (and others from my group) are willing to face that risk to help someone in this way.

The group I belong to is pretty extreme about faith in God. We don't compare with the suicide bombers or other terrorists, in case you think that, because we don't believe that using violence will achieve anything. Real power comes from love. I know that sounds pretty airy fairy, but real love is not airy fairy.

We follow Jesus. Jesus said direct stuff about what it means to obey and follow him.

The obvious comment from Jesus that relates is this: "Love God with all your strength... and love your neighbour as you would love yourself." Matthew 19:19 This command is supposed to encapsulate all of the teachings of the Bible.

Another one from John the Baptist, a Jewish prophet is this: "Let him who has two give to him who has none." Luke 3:11

Of course he wasn't referring to kidneys, but he was referring to some pretty basic human needs, i.e. food and clothes.

Jesus also said, "Heal the sick." (Luke 10:9) I don't have miraculous powers like Jesus did, and I am not qualified as a doctor or medical worker, but I can help heal someone with kidney disease (if all goes well) with the help of a lot of other medical workers, just by donating my spare kidney.

In the Bible St. Paul says "I beseech you brethren, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service..." Romans 12:1 It could be saying that it is only reasonable to sacrifice part of your body to help someone else who is in need.

Jesus also says: "If you love them only that love you, what reward have you?" Matthew 5:46 "Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for a friend." John 15:13

Anyway, this is just to mention a few of the teachings of Jesus and others in the Bible, that should help you understand why I am doing what I am doing. It is because of my faith in God and my desire to try to do what I think he wants me to do. Is that crazy?

Perhaps some (who don't believe in God) would think it is. But not if you believe in a real God who can give immortality to his followers.

I'll answer your questions below:

1. Did you decide to donate a kidney before or after you joined the Jesus Christians?

I've been working with the Jesus Christians for 15 years. I decided to donate my kidney after joining them. I started considering it about two years ago.

2 Were you exposed to any form of group pressure (positive or negative) to donate?

I was not pressured to donate. On the contrary, other medically trained people in my community have made the risks very clear to anyone considering donating. (See articles on our website.) We are all aware that this is a decision that cannot and should not be made lightly. If anyone donates under pressure from others in the community, it would be wrong.

3 Has anyone close to you experienced a life threatening illness?

Not really. A girl I went to school with had leukemia, but she was in remission the whole time I knew her. My father had a disease which slowly killed him, but it was something I probably found easier to accept than other people because he had it first when I was very young, and I grew up with it over 10 years.

4. Did you have a happy childhood with a healthy supportive family?

I had a very happy childhood with a great family. I am more fortunate than probably 99% of the world's population in that respect.

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