The Danger of Avoiding the Pain-by Joe Wendel

Today’s edition of the Ripple is written by my longest standing friend, Joe Wendel. In the basement of Northeast Baptist Church on a January Sunday in 1979, we met for the first time, and have been friends ever since. We have been through almost every phase of life together except for nursing and learning how to walk, and Joe has been a most faithful and loyal friend to me, sharpening me as iron sharpens iron for almost 40 years now! Therefore I am beyond happy to read his thoughts here today. Enjoy and be sharpened!

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

~ESV

Toward the end of Paul’s section on how the body of Christ should mirror our physical bodies is this simplistic and very “graspable” statement.

In this chapter we receive a powerful explanation as to why each person in the body of Christ may look a bit different…or behave in an odd manner.  Not everyone is a uvula!  (whisper, whisper – Boy is that uvula odd.)

If you are like me, during these explanations and exhortations you find yourself pondering “which part of the body am I?”  You see, most of us struggle with self-absorption at least a little.  My personal case is pretty severe.

Here is how my personal self-absorption goes:

Let’s say I am the right quad in the body.  I am quite good at focusing on being the best right quad I could possibly be.  Who cares about the left calf!? I have work to do here in “Right Quadsville”, and I’m going to do it right!  Of course, there is some part of me that does want the left calf to do well.  I want it to do very well, but I am not willing to think about it much because if it doesn’t do well I know I will hurt.

What this small portion of chapter 12 helps me understand is that when I “cut myself off” from the rest of the body emotionally, I may reduce the amount of my suffering in some ways.  But this lack of interconnectedness also reduces my amount of joy and rejoicing in these same ways.  And… if everyone in the body behaves in this manner, no one will be weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.  Now that is a something worth avoiding!

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