A few years ago I watched a video from the "That the World May Know" series. It was titled "Walk as Jesus Walked: Don't Forget Us". It's about following Jesus in suffering and persecution. I'd always thought that while Christians in countries such as China or the Sudan were suffering for their faith, we here in the "Christian" West had it easy. And that is true to a great extent - the biggest thing we have to worry about is having someone make fun of us. The video showed me something that I had never thought of before. In 1 Corinthians 12:12, 26, Paul writes, "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ....If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."
Do we suffer with the parts of the body that are going through persecution and suffering? Do we even know when they are suffering? I think the fact that we generally don't enter into or even know of the suffering of our brothers and sisters is because we have lost that sense of oneness in the body that the early church had. Most of the time we don't even know the struggles that others have in our local churches, so how do we expect to know what goes on around the world? There is no excuse for not knowing what is going on out there. Voice of the Martyrs and other organizations are constantly giving accounts of the suffering in the body. It does take a little work, but it can be done. Find out.
If you want an object lesson about what it means when the whole body suffers because of one part, hit your thumb hard with a hammer. Then tell me if your whole body feels it or if you can keep the effects localized on your thumb. That is how the body of Christ is. Or at least how it should be.
Find out how your brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering. Pray for them. Let their suffering affect you. Above all - never forget them.
Monday, November 1, 2010
From my opportunity to teach in our gathering this morning:
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