Love, Talk, and Behavior
Last week we looked at Paul’s words to Timothy. He encouraged Timothy to show himself an example by how he loved, spoke, and his behavior. We have the same encouragement when we respond to what happens to us in life. It’s in our reaction that tells what’s going on inside. And it’s that example that shows, whether we like it or not.
As we close this series, we’ll take a slightly different look at a related topic.
Back in September, I was supposed to run my first marathon. But I had two strikes against me before the day I was to leave for the race.
My back decided to be really dumb, my Covid test was canceled, and I couldn’t find a place to reschedule (I had to have a negative test to run the race).
The worst of the two was my back. I’m still not sure what happened, but there was no way I could run. Minimally, I could walk, albeit after taking a few minutes to stand from where I was seated. Not fun.
A few weeks after nursing my back, I noticed my knee was beginning to hurt (on the same side). I tried to remember something I had previously done, going back through my last couple of weeks. Obviously, I wasn’t running, and I’d been taking it easy.
But I had been walking differently due to my back.
My knee was hurting because my back was hurting. Not that my knee was having sympathy pains, but because I’d spent a couple weeks walking just differently enough that it caused my knee to be a little sore.
One part of my body was suffering, and another part was suffering with it.
Paul and the Body Parts
Paul brushes against this idea when dealing with the disgruntled and discorded Corinthians and their disharmony about what spiritual gifts are more significant. He builds a case that the body can’t be made up of one part alone. The body can’t be an entire eye, nor can the hand say to the foot it has no need of it. And just before he moves into the ultimate why this is the case (without love, it’s all meaningless Ch.13), he places this little morsel of truth.
…so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same care for one another . And if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if a part is honored, all the parts rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25–27 NASB (emphasis added)
Paul makes a great point we all need reminding of. While we are all individuals, what we do does not happen within our own little individual world. It occurs within the context of everyone else.
Other cultures get this better than Americans do. Take Indonesia, for instance. Their culture places a higher value on the good of the group more than the individual. They would probably ask the question, “How would “fill in the blank “impact everyone else?” before making a decision, acting a certain way, having an attitude, or speaking quicker than you or I would.
Paul points out a culture difference, and with it, a principle to apply. It’s not only ok but expected that we celebrate with others when they are honored, hurt with others when they are hurting, having the same care for one another. Why? Because we are all part of the same body.
We don’t stop being individuals, but we must remain cognizant that our actions do not happen in the vacuum of ourselves. They occur in the context of the whole.
Marriage is an excellent example of this. The husband and wife do not lose their individuality when they “become one.” But they are still one “body.” So how one responds, acts, speaks, and decides will affect the other.
No one person is an island.
The Body of Christ
There are many parts of the human body. And yes, some are essential! But even as essential as they are, each relies on other parts performing their duties to accomplish its own essential role.
The Body of Christ is no different.
We need each other. There may be parts that seem more essential, but even as essential as they are, they rely on others so that they can perform their duties to accomplish their role. It’s this elaborate and elegant ecosystem where we function with each other in mind, realizing that what we do matters to the person to our left and to our right. We suffer with each other, rejoice with each other, and lift each other up.
My Knee Revisited
Once I realized my knee was hurting because of how I was walking due to my back, I corrected the behavior. It was uncomfortable, but after a few days, both my knee and my back began to rejoice together!
We all often need behavior correction. And that’s my challenge to you this week. Make sure your heart is clear between you and the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to reveal areas where you need some correction so that another part and you are working in tip-top shape. We are all Christ’s body. Let’s make it as healthy as we can!
You are loved!