Saturday, 27 December 2014
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26
In this verse, Paul completes his thoughts concerning the natural body and how each part interacts with the other parts. His words are a universally understood maxim. He says that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” If a person is walking along in great shape and he suddenly stubs his toe on a rock (ouch!), the entire body will feel the pain, the entire body will be stopped in its motion, and the entire body will work in a harmonious fashion to effect healing.
Blood will be pumped, brain chemicals will be released, tears may be shed, lungs will fill with healing oxygen, etc. The left arm doesn’t continue on the journey, leaving the rest of the body behind. The fingernails don’t leave the body and decide to head back home. Rather, every part stays and each part accomplishes what is necessary to make things right. If the accident was a thorn instead of a rock, the fingernails will participate in the removing of the thorn. The left hand may hold the foot while the right hand does the pulling. Everything is joined in the effort of one hurting big toe.
Plato understood this when he wrote these words – “As in the body, when but a finger is hurt, the whole frame, drawn towards the soul and forming one realm under the ruling power therein, feels the hurt and sympathizes all together with the part affected” (“Republic,” v., 462).
In the same way, when honor is bestowed upon a part of the body, something different occurs. Paul says that “if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” If the back is treated to a massage (oooooh, ahhhh!), the rest of the body shares in the sensation. The mind relaxes, the lungs quiet down to a slow pace, the arms stop worrying about the loads they normally carry. They eyes get heavy and close in delight. It is a harmonious interaction of enormous satisfaction.
Life application: When someone in your church is negatively affected by life’s trials, do you share in their miseries? When someone in your church is honored for their efforts along life’s path, do you revel in their glory as well? This is what should occur. If we truly are a united body, then we should truly be united in that regard.
Lord God, grant me empathy towards those I am united to in this life. Help me to feel compassion for their trials, hurts, anxieties, and times of sadness. Let me not overlook their sad state with a careless heart. And Lord, for those who have received honor in some way, help me to glory with them, rejoicing in their times of happiness and exultation. I know that many people act this way towards me, and I wish to be responsive in the same way towards them. Soften my heart to be a person of empathy. Amen.