Stephen offered an interesting reply yesterday, and I want to respond to it. Here's part of what he wrote:
...it is a stretch to think that everyone will forgo payment for professional services rendered. The doctor didn't go to work that morning as an act of charity, and he is only using the tools his institutions offer as the most efficient. I think it would be stubborn to insist that he change to your way of seeing things if he's not there of his own accord.
You would be resorting to the use of the "system" to resolve this matter, which would no doubt be stuck in your craw for a long time to come. As you've made such a point of allowing providence to provide for you, it seems prideful to turn it down when it is offered as an act of love.
Yeah, I was wondering about that last part myself. That's why I bounced the idea off a few people first, but they didn't seem to think it was prideful.
Maybe part of why I see this gift differently is that I don't have a need for money. I did have a need for medical care, and that was provided for--that I see as a providential act. But I don't accept this demand for payment as a need on my part. If that doctor really would only help me if he was well-paid for it, then (for his sake) I wish he hadn't helped me at all. I thank God for taking care of the needs I had. I'm sorry for the way the doctor (or his employees) are trying to meet their own needs now.
And I'm actually not insisting that the doctor change. I'd like to appeal to him to change, though I don't know who I'll get a chance to talk to during this process. When I told the billing person today that I couldn't pay, she said, "Then you leave us no recourse but to send it to collections." Of course that's not true. There is another option, and I said that, but if they reject that then I won't fight what they choose to do. There will be no "slugfest." And I will not use "the system." If there will be any attempts at coercion, any use of the legal system, it will be on their part not mine. I simply don't have what they want.
But the deeper I get into this, the more twisted it seems, the more grieved I am that our health care works this way, and the more it seems worth the suffering to make the evil more obvious. For the sake of everyone.
And isn't that the example Jesus set? He went to Jerusalem voluntarily, though he knew what awaited him there, and even though his good friend wanted to spare him (Mt 16.21-25). He simply lived as God taught right in the midst of the world, then suffered the world's response to him. And he even seemed to believe that this suffering (because of and for the world) was the most important part of his life...