For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
I wonder if some of us have let the Christianese vernacular water down the symbolism of the church as one body and being members of that body. Consider your own body. I have a friend who had a toe amputated last year. That toe was a member of his body, it took surgery, cutting, and pain to remove it. When it was removed, he missed it. He didn’t want to lose a part of his own body.
Does a part of your body hurt? Can each part of your body feel the pain that your tooth, arm, ear, or whatever feels? When you eat your favorite meal, is it just your mouth or stomach that celebrates and feels the satisfaction? Your body is a unit, what is happening with your toe, is happening with you. We are all members of one body, we belong to one another. We are responsible to one another.
My friend, who lost his toe did all he could to save it. He didn’t want to have his toe amputated, he underwent many lifestyle changes and medical procedures to keep his toe. Eventually, he had to choose to lose the toe in order to save his foot. He chose to save his foot.
When we see that a part of the body needs attention, needs help, needs anything it is our responsibility to love them enough to bring them back into health with the rest of the body. It is our obligation to take care of our body, we are the Temple of God, not only individually, but as the church (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
A few verses down in Romans 12, Paul talks about our obligation to each other. Romans 12:9-21 reads,
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Notice that nowhere does it say, if you’re hurt or offended pity yourself and hope someone cares, love only if you are loved first, outdo one another in receiving honor. If we are to love one another as Jesus loved us (John 15:12), then we love completely regardless of how badly the other acts or treats us, regardless of whether they deserve our active and tangible love.
Paul gives us more advice about to treat one another in Ephesians 5:15-21
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ
Our behavior is a deliberate choice, be careful then how you walk. We are commanded to submit to one another out of respect and devotion for Christ. Treating one another like that is a way of worshipping God, it is a way of saying thank you to Him, and praising Him. Being filled with the Spirit is expressed by our submission to one another, speaking to each other in hymns, psalms, and making melody with our hearts. When we treat one another well, we not only glorify God by acting in Jesus’ image, but we are living that “lifestyle of worship” so many talk about.
The simple fact is, even if you feel alone, even if you try to go through this world without touching one other life, you can’t, you are not alone. As a believer, you do not even have the right to try and go through life alone. We are responsible for the way we treat each other, our love for one another marks us as followers of Christ (John 13:35).
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
We cannot pretend we are alone, we are one body, one church, and we impact each other with our lives. Romans 14:7-12 reads,
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
I know there are people among us who feel alone, it is our joyful onus to love them. If you are one of the many who are hurting, lonely, and suffering, it behooves you to look beyond yourself, reach out and love your brothers and sisters, to serve them, and rejoice with them as they rejoice and cry with them as they cry. Repeatedly the Word of God tells us to live in unity and to treat each other with respect and love and so, live a life worthy of our calling. Ephesians 4:1-6 says,
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Beloved Believer, do not give in to the lie that you are alone, do not surrender to that deceit and live the lie of self-pity which is really self-worship. You are a member of the Church, the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ. If you are lonely today, reach out. If there is no one you can think of to reach out to, reach out to me, I will listen to you, cry with you, and pray with you because you are a member of the same body I am, you have the Same Spirit, the Same Lord, and the same Father as I do. I love you as I love myself because we are part of the same body.