In the spring of 2017 I suffered a fall at our local rock climbing gym, resulting in two breaks and a torn ligament in my right ankle. As a result, I have thought far more about my ankle than ever before in my life. At first it was a slow consideration of the ankle as the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong and I learned my new limitations. After three weeks and (finally!) a correct diagnosis, I was very protective of my ankle, hobbling around in my boot and even subjecting myself to the electric cart at the grocery store. Eventually, as it healed, I turned to rehabbing it and pushing through painful stretches to rid it of the stiffness and get myself back to normal.
Through my season of quiet resting with my ankle I have thought a lot about the importance of a fully functioning body. When one member of the body is not functioning properly the entire body suffers. When one member of the body hurts other parts of the body acutely feel the pain. A body is meant to operate as one, with each part doing its own individual part and when it does so it is a glorious thing – but it’s often not until parts break down that we notice the individual members.
Is it any wonder that our Lord used a body – something we can each fully relate to – as the language used to describe our unity in Him.
This is the beauty Christ has created – One body. One church. One bride. Many coming together as one. Unity in Christ. Because of Christ. Under the headship of Christ.
Is that not a breathtaking thought? As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ He loves us individually, knows us intimately, gifts us uniquely and yet makes us His bride, a part of a whole that spans farther back than any of our family genealogies can be traced and farther into the future than we can assume to imagine.
We are a part of a body where our dear Savior is the head.
Just as we are a part of the body of Christ, so too is every other believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as we would never neglect a singular portion of our body (can you imagine? deodorant under one armpit and not the other. brushing your upper teeth and not lower. it’s an absurd thought) so too we cannot neglect any in the body of Christ, and for the sake of the unity of all should seek to lift up and encourage all in the body of Christ.
Neglect of others does not have to be intentional – my broken ankle certainly did not occur from an intentional act – it was most definitely unintentional. But a lack of intention can be so detrimental. Ann Voskamp words it this way in her book The Broken Way;
“There is no apathy in the body of Christ: apathy is what amputates members and limbs of the body. There is no distance in the body of Christ: it’s distance and indifference that dismember the body, and we are all desperate to stop feeling abandoned and cut off. This is the reality of the body of Christ: selfishness is a form of self-mutilation.”
We are to be imitators of our Savior and obedient to His word. Our speech is to be encouraging. Our actions done in love. Our motives pure. We are to be joyful people. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us; “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”
I know this – had my ankle been stronger, had my body been better trained, had I known how to fall properly my ankle never would have suffered the injuries it did. What if this were true of people and their personal struggles, too? What if the older women could encourage the younger ones to love their husbands and children and show them practical ways to build up their families – could this help marriages and families from breaking apart? What if those a little bit a head in this journey would open up and share about their struggles with mental health and the ways they have found to cope – could that help prevent mental breakdowns?
After I had my broken ankle and was going through rounds of x-rays to determine what was wrong with me the hospital required I wear this “Fall Risk” bracelet so all could see and watch out for me. Can you see the irony? I was already broken. Already in pain. The fall risk warning would have been far better suited before my fall.
Friends, as we enter 2018 let’s focus on encouraging others – on building one another up – so that when we fall we don’t break and hurt the entire body.Related Posts: