I sprained my ankle last week. Before you ask, no, I was not skiing. Or running or climbing a mountain or hiking. I sprained my ankle when I slipped on a carpet in a school hallway. It hurt. By the time I got home it had swollen up like there was a golf ball on the side of my ankle. I put ice on it for a couple of hours, took some anti-inflammatory pills and headed to bed. The next morning it was very swollen. The golf ball had spread out and my ankle had disappeared entirely. I could hardly walk, I was in pain, and my other leg was getting sore from limping and hopping up and down our stairs on one leg. Thankfully my ankle is now returning to it’s normal size although I have some nice blue, green and black shades on my foot.
The Bible uses the analogy that the Body of Christ, Christians, are like a human body. Every part is needed for something and often the parts we don’t think much of are the more important parts. I get that. We need each other. What I didn’t think too much about was the degree to which other parts of the body suffer when one part is hurt. Yes, I feel badly when a fellow Christian has a problem and is “hurting” but I have never really thought through the ramifications of the whole thing. I sprained my ankle so I couldn’t use my left foot. My right leg took much more strain and got tired. It hurt under the strain of hopping around on one foot. The Church is like that. When one Christian is hurting, others help, take over for the one who is not able to serve. That puts an additional load on those who are helping, those who take on the responsibilities of the one who is hurting. Everyone who is filling in for the hurting brother or sister is under increased stress, under an increased load. They too are hurting, and not just because they feel badly for their friend. They are hurting because of the additional load they are carrying.
So what? Well it is a great reminder that we really do need each other and that in a very real way we all hurt when one of those in our fellowship is hurting. But we joyfully help out because we are family, one family in Jesus, bonded together by His love. I wouldn’t want to live any other way.