William G. Justice, D.Min., D.Phil., D.Litt., has authored twenty-six books and over 200 articles. He has taught the Bible for fifty years, having begun while a Piloting B-29 bombers for the U. S. Air Force during the Korean War. While serving for thirty-one years as a professional hospital chaplain, he became licensed as a Professional Counselor, and as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and has taught off-campus extension courses to candidates for Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees for eleven colleges, universities, theological seminaries, and graduate schools. For fifteen years, he served as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Oxford Society of Scholars of Oxford Graduate School. Although retired, he continues as a Distinguished Professor, having taught, for several years, an historical course on the improving influence of Christianity on every society into which Christianity has been integrated.
Handbook for Visiting the Sick, at Homme, Hospital, Nursing HHme, Assisted Livingby William Justice
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We feel the urge to visit the sick whether the person is a member of your family, a friend, or a parishioner of your church. Most people believe that all they have to do is to, “just be there.” One dictionary meaning of the word “visit” is, “to go to see for the purpose of providing aid or consolation.” Why not make every visit with the sick more than a social call?
Having spent thirty-one years as a professional hospital chaplain, I have been present thousands of times when visitors were in my patients’ rooms. I have seen good visitors and I have seen some truly BAD visitors.
Having trained hundreds of pastors and several thousand laypersons of churches, I learned long ago that experience alone does not make a good visitor. Even before I had completed my three years of chaplaincy internship and residency in an accredited training center, visitors often appalled me by the things I heard them say and do. I began collecting them and had them published in my first book: Don’t Sit On the Bed. It remained in print for twenty-one years and training centers for chaplains and pastors across the United States used it as a textbook.
A couple of years after it went out of print, I wrote Training Guide for Visiting the Sick. However, I continued collecting ways to improve visits to the sick. Since that training guide is now out of print, retired and age eighty-two, I offer my final words on the subject.
After that first book, Don’t Sit On the Bed, one of the world’s most published authors in my professional field, the Rev. Dr. Wayne Oates, congratulated me for having had “the courage to say the obvious.” Some things I say in this book may insult the intelligence of some readers. Please do not be offended. I’m writing out of experience. I have seen the repeated violation of every suggestion that I will offer. I will sometimes say the obvious.
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