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Responsible for What You Know

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1 NIV

It was the middle of the night. The only ones to respond to the sudden death in x-ray at the hospital was a medical student, a doctor and a young cardiac nurse. Together they did what they could to bring the man back to life. Then the doctor, a pathologist more accustomed to bodies in the morgue, misunderstood the heart line on the monitor and ordered an injection of a drug the young nurse knew would be fatal.

What to do? How dare she contradict the far more educated doctor? And yet, the state law said that she is responsible for what she knows. If a doctor orders something that the nurse knows is wrong, if she follows orders and the patient dies, she is responsible.

She not only refused to give the injection but when the doctor angrily prepared the syringe to give it himself, she grabbed hold of his arm to stop him, refusing to let go regardless of the struggle. In anger the doctor walked out of the room promising to fire her in the morning. The patient lived because of her intervention and she was never fired.

Responsible for what you know. That’s a sobering thought. I’ve read my Bible more times that I know. I’ve sat under very knowledgeable preachers and teachers. I’ve been memorizing Scripture since I could talk. I know a lot. Am I living by what I know or have I learned things that I’ve chosen to shove aside because they’re not convenient, comfortable or considered acceptable?

What about you?


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I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

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If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at or post them in the comments section below.

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