Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:9, ESV

I had at one time worked in a midwifery clinic that was established by midwives and run by them for more than 15 years. When the sponsoring hospital decided to hire an ob-gyn physician, Dr. Chan, to be the medical director of the clinic, the midwives were extremely unhappy. First, they resented having an MD overseeing them. Second, they did not like the fact that he was male. Third, they did not like that he was a Christian, and they strongly disapproved of his praying with his patients. They did everything they could to make life miserable for him. There were days when Dr. Chan would go home, drop his knees in his living room, and ask God why He had sent him to this clinic. This continued for many months.

One day as we were sitting around the conference table discussing various issues, the midwives complained directly to Dr. Chan about how they did not appreciate some of the things he was doing. The atmosphere was tense. Dr. Chan sat quietly and took it all in stride. He finally said, “I’m sorry.” The attacks stopped.

Later, I asked Dr. Chan why he apologized to them when he had done nothing wrong. He said, “The best way to have them stop complaining is to apologize.” I asked him what went through his mind when the midwives were assaulting him with their words. He said, “I was praying for them.”

That incident made a big impact on me. It made me think of today’s Bible text: “Do not repay evil for evil.” What a role model! It also reminded me of another role model. When the Roman soldiers and the crowd mocked Christ while He was hanging on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Dr. Chan continued working as the medical director of the clinic for six years until he accepted an administrative position in another state. His Christianity permeated every aspect of his daily interactions with the midwives, his colleagues, and his patients. He left indelible impressions on all with whom he came in contact, especially me.

Before he left, the midwives gave him a farewell party in one of their homes. After dinner, they had a little ceremony during which each of them lit a candle and placed it standing in a container of sand. Many gave tributes to Dr. Chan, complimenting him and thanking him for his leadership and friendship.

The most touching of the testimonials was by a midwife who confessed that when Dr. Chan first started working in the clinic, she disliked him intensely because of his Christianity. However, over the years because of his consistent exemplary leadership, she and other midwives had grown to respect and love him, and they would miss him greatly. It was such a touching scene as the midwives hugged him farewell. His Christianity had finally won them over. His secret: a consistent daily walk with the Lord.

This close relationship with the Lord is free and available to every one of us. May today be the beginning of your deeper relationship with your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that you, too, may radiate His love to those around you.

– Caleb Liem, LLUSM class of 1970, is an obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in Salinas, California.