Today I'm a living example of this scripture. I have something wrong in one very small, specific part of my body. But it is affecting every other part.
I have this tendency to pull ribs out of place from simple activities like getting up off the floor. Or sleeping. Mostly they have been in my back, but today it's at the sternum, making moving and even breathing painful. We seem to have some kind of collagen disorder in the family, and this is one of its manifestations.
It's only one, small, specific problem. One little rib not quite where it should be. But oh, it makes me wince.
One of the things I love about the Bible is how lessons are drawn from everyday things. We've all suffered from some type of body ache or pain, some much more painful than others. We all know how much our total being is affected by each one. We can relate.
Paul is using this simple, everyday example to illustrate the unity and empathy within the church. When one suffers, we all suffer. To the degree we have the heart of God within us, we will care for one another like our whole body cares when we hit our finger with a hammer. We don't have to conjure up caring in the latter case. It's automatic because it is, after all, our body, with each part interwoven and effected by all the other parts.
Likewise, the body of believers does not have to work up empathy for hurting brothers and sisters. If the empathy isn't there, then I would question how much our lives are really yielding to what God is speaking to our hearts.
When we are in pain, our functioning is impaired according to the level of pain. I, for one, am pretty useless in terms of my personal activity when I'm hurting.
I think God's people are similarly effected when another member is hurting. Normal activity is not effective until healing has occurred. It isn't helpful to focus on normal functioning. Normal functioning is not possible. Everyday body life cannot go on until there is a cure for the wounding.
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