Before I became a lawyer, I worked as an engineer on a team that designed hemodialysis machines. While talking with patients going through dialysis, I learned how hard it is to live without a kidney.
Therefore, when I heard about a taxi driver who gave his kidney to a passenger because “God thought it was a good idea,” it caught my attention.
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In the process of giving Rita Van Loenen a new life, Tom Chappell modeled the six disciplines of relational wisdom:
- He viewed Rita’s situation in the light of God’s character and purposes, and sought His leading on what to do (God-aware).
- When he sensed that God was calling him to help Rita, Tom trusted, obeyed and imitated the Lord by making a stunning sacrifice (God-engaging).
- Tom humbly discerned his own values, interests and strengths … even to the point of realizing he had a body part that he could spare (Self-aware).
- When Rita was harsh with him, Tom mastered his emotions and words, thereby resisting the temptation to lash back (Self-engaging).
- Tom sought to understand Rita’s irritability by going to the library to learn about kidney failure, and once he realized what she was experiencing, he felt genuine empathy and concern for her (Other-aware).
- Tom’s compassion overflowed in an act of sacrificial love that not only benefited a woman who had mistreated him but also reflected the love that Jesus has shown to each of us through the gospel (Other-engaging).
I encourage you to follow Tom’s example this holiday season, as he followed the example of Christ. If you’re willing to give up a kidney, I’ve actually got a dear friend who needs one … as do many other people (see the moving stories on this page).
If you’re not in a position to sacrifice a kidney, there are many other gifts you could give this holiday season that would bless the people around you. Gifts of time, listening, encouragement, compassion, hospitality, forgiveness, and material support …
… all of which are simply an overflowing of relational wisdom, the life-changing act of loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself … even when she’s cranky.
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© 2014 Ken Sande
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