When I first started understanding the possible need for legal action, as I lay in my bed in the Neuro Unit of the hospital during my second week, after my first three strokes and before the next three that would happen as that dissected artery continued healing efforts and kept clotting, I was terribly distraught. "He's just a man who made a mistake!"
A costly mistake (on every level), indeed, but none-the-less, a mistake. I know he didn't wake up that morning and think, "I wonder if I can kill anyone today? Or at least do permanent brain injury that will touch every area of her life for the rest of her life?" I hold no ill thoughts at his initial desire to help me.
Be that as it is, his intent isn't the medical reality of what transpired on the morning of October 25, 2011, as he held my head in his hands and encouraged, "Just relax. Trust me!"
Over in the Rehabilitation Hospital (where I lived for about five weeks), I had a wonderful Christian doctor. As family talk of legal action continued, I cornered her one day and asked, as my sister-in-Christ who also happened to have a deeper medical understanding of my future than my family and I could even begin to fathom, what did she think was the God-honoring thing to do in my shoes? I reiterated the idea that I had no desire to "punish" my chiropractor, but I also was getting a lot of information about why I needed to sue anyway. What would she do, and most importantly WHY???
Her counsel, both as my doctor and as a fellow Christian, was that sueing for valid needs was not "punishing" him, but rather it was simply holding him accountable to help provide for the massive needs now before us. She encouraged me that I needed to look toward the long-term welfare of our family and that perhaps this need could be addressed fully through my chiropractor's insurance, but if not, this is exactly one of the kinds of issues we have a legal system to help us navigate. Her words went far to ease my anxiety in the matter.
Then we learned he carried no insurance.
With no malice, we prayerfully attended nearly a year's worth of lawyer meetings, in pursuit of legal action, simply to pay our bills.
We were ready to file when we learned he had moved out of country. This was a low blow. This is when the intent to help me seemed to take a conscious turn away from the intent to "do no harm." This is the root of anger I still wrestle with.
I'm reading through the book of Exodus right now (or rather, the audio on my phone is reading it to me), and came across a passage today that gave me cause to stop and consider...
I should preference my thoughts by saying that I totally believe my Christian faith is build squarely upon a foundation of Jewish Scripture first and foremost (Jesus is a Jew, from the line of David!) and I am forever indebted to my Jewish spiritual heritage, have nothing but the deepest love, respect, and appreciation for the Word of God. I also know we are no longer bound by the Law. Jesus fulfilled it! I firmly believe Jesus Christ to be the Messiah of Scriptural prophecy, my Lord, my Savior, my God!
This clearly stated, the establishment of much of the world's legal system actually can be traced back to the Law established by God, outlining how certain events are to be handled. Because of His rich mercy and grace, we here in Western society, currently enjoy a season of world culture where "eye for eye" type punishments are not observed, where daily offences don't bring about the death penalty!
However, when I got to Exodus 21, I have to say, I felt rather justified, relieved! Finally all lingering doubt that we were well within Christian rights to pursue legal action (even though he took a loop hole that allowed him to avoid legal consequences or any financial responsibility!) were once-and-for-all, put to rest.
Talking of one man's injury of another, "...the injured man does not die but is confined to bed, if he can later get up and walk around outside leaning on his staff, then the one who struck him will be exempt from punishment. Nevertheless, he must pay for his lost work time and provide for his complete recovery." - Exodus 2:18-19
I am up and walking around outside with a cane after an injury that long-confined me to bed. My recovery will never be complete and the expenses to try to achieve and maintain as much recovery as possible will be lifelong. I have not been able to homeschool (my work before the strokes) and my writing ability, while having continually worked on reclaiming this skill, has yet to be proven by a marketable manuscript (my last manuscript took a total of 10 months of active writing, while this manuscript has already taken well over 4 years and is still far from completion - as a point of reference, a post like today's takes me about 5-6 hours to compose now)). At nearly five years out from injury, I have not the physical stamina, mental clarity, nor emotional stability to hold down a traditional job outside the home.
He didn't provide any aid whatsoever. He never did. It was OK to seek legal justice.
In case you are someone, or know of anyone else, facing such questions, I wanted to share my pondering on the topic. Perhaps the Christianity Today article, Should Christians Sue? will be helpful to you as well.
If God has both enabled and prompted you to help with either my general needs fund or my writer's conference specific needs, please visit either of my GoFundMe pages. Even without making a donation, I believe you can sign up for email updates there if you want to receive specific prayer requests concerning financial issues. (I seriously considered NOT adding either of these links to this page, as my ponderings were truly not a plea for help, but I know no one can help if you aren't aware of how, and since the Go Fund Me was a dear reader's suggestion in the first place, it was an afterthought on my part that perhaps this was a reasonable place to share my links.