If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
1 Corinthians 12:26 (NRSV)
You know the question – How old are you?
You got the answer – Old enough to know better.
At my age I should know better, but I don’t! I keep making the mistake of forgetting my body needs water. When there’s a lot to be done in the yard I will sometimes work the whole day without resting. Even in 90-degree temperatures, I will bury myself in the task, neglecting my need for fluids. And without fail my body lets me know about my foolishness…eventually!
Here’s the picture: Russell is sitting comfortably after a much needed shower and meal. The TV is on, but Elizabeth cannot hear over the snoring. The blissful moment of an unintended nap is swallowed by a tsunami of pain in the left thigh muscle as Russell is suddenly awakened and catapulted-out of the overstuffed chair by a tidal wave of leg cramp. Yeeeow! Talk about the whole body suffering with one of its members!
There are usually two kinds of reactions to what you just read:
1. Oh, get over it, sissy-boy; you brought that on yourself! If you had any sense you would’ve been drinking enough water today.
2. Oh, my poor, poor child; let me get the liniment – you sit here, while I get you another piece of pie.
There are times when we need both reactions – but you KNOW which one we want!
In the church we have a tendency to do both kinds of reactions to the pain we see in others’ lives. When we see some self-inflicted poverty or drama, we sometimes have that knee-jerk judgment that smacks of told-you-so! Or worse, we just ignore the plight of our brother or sister in Christ, as if it’s too bothersome for our attention. Judgment and ignoring; let them handle their own mess!
There is also the other reaction – naïve over-kindness that is willing to move heaven and earth to rescue anyone and everyone, no matter the cost to life, limb or bank account.
Neither is Christ like!
Jesus never ignored people; he healed them, but He always did so with accountability. There was always a purpose with the power. To the woman caught in adultery, he forgave without accusing (judging), but he did say “…go, and sin no more”. To the leper he healed; then he told him to show himself to the authorities (the accountability of declaring “I was impure; Jesus made me clean”.). In every instance where Jesus helped someone, he tied it to the community and living as a wholesome part of that community.
Jesus was showing us how to live as a body – not disconnected, uninterested, autonomous body parts, dangling in our own agendas and selfishness. And we are to be a strong body – not willing to squander the power he has promised, but purposefully using his name to overcome evil in this world.
More pie theology?
Or will it be strong body of Christ theology today?