The body of Christ is a body.
That sounds redundant, sure, but sometimes we fail to see and apply to our lives the principle of interdependence illustrated in body parts. The only way a body part can function is to remain connected to the whole. Connection is required because the body parts are interdependent by design. When we become detached or stay detached for too long, we can become atrophied or useless in our isolation. In spite of problems or hurts that we may have experienced, we remain a vital part of the body and need to stay connected to it for support, love and growth.
One summer on our vacation at a wildlife refuge, a golfer attempted to retrieve his ball from a pond in spite of the fact that there are warning signs posted, Beware of Alligators. The tragedy occurred when he reached in. At lightning speed a large alligator lunged up, took hold of his arm and began spinning as they do to disorient and drown prey. Fortunately, his golfer buddies heard his cries for help and ran to his rescue eventually somehow separating him from the alligator’s jaws.
The man was alive and well, but missing an arm now inside the alligator. The authorities arrived and shot the poor creature retrieving the arm in an attempt to reattach it. Sadly, the surgeons found that the body part had experienced too much damage and could not be reattached.
This event spoke volumes to me about the body of Christ. The man needed his arm. But the arm was no longer useful because it was detached. Likewise, the body of Christ needs you in spite of the fact that you may have become detached. Just as the man’s arm could have been reattached in time, connection with others can surely revive you. In fact, I know of a few believers so detached and beat up that they hardly have life left in them to reach out for help and healing. This situation is more tragic than the lost arm.
Even when we socialize and connect with others on a regular basis, we can remain in isolation feeling lonely if we always hide the hurting parts of ourselves from others. The hurting parts are the places that need attention and sharing them with others is the path to healing. Sharing and connecting on a deep level is found in community.
There are church groups, community groups, A.A. groups, neighborhood groups to explore or consider starting your own group. It is surprising to find how many other people are wanting to connect at a deep level but are unsure of how to find the right people. It is certainly worth the effort in looking because finding and investing in safe people guarantees a satisfied soul. Check out Twelve Step Programs, New Life Ministries and Living Waters Ministries on Resources page or other community resources in your local area.
Now depending on our given temperament, we require different amounts of socialization to stay balanced. For example, extroverts which comprise from 50-70% of the population, feel drained being alone and get energy from people, so they require more social interaction. On the other hand, introverts which comprise from 30-50% of the population, feel drained with too much socialization and require more solitude to recharge. The danger can be that the introverted lone rangers, independent contractors and individualists can easily become isolated. Even a normally extroverted individual who becomes depressed can act as more of an introvert until they recover.
The bottom line is that Christ gave us the ultimate instruction in John 15:12 to “love one another.” This commandment is the backbone of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. Knowing that, we can see that loving one another and isolation are simply not compatible.
If we truly belong to the One True Living God, then loving one another is His command, will and purpose for each of us. It is this process through which He loves, grows and heals us in order to allow us to aid in the healing of others. And it is perfectly okay if we have nothing to give or cannot love others right now. Most of us start at that very place. That condition just means that our real need is to let others love us.
Loving one another works back and forth, in between and all around feeding and healing the body in interdependence. In the process of allowing ourselves to receive love, we are filled with it and (to our delight!) eventually able to overflow that love on to others.
Maybe it’s time to ask God to show you where to take the first step toward loving and being loved within His body.
Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].
Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.