May we never forget that God is building us together as we are joined in Christ to become a beacon of hope to a world that feels abandoned and mistreated. It is our service to the Lord to love the unloving and be reconciled to each other. May we minister to the cuts in our churches in unity and transparency so that when “one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).
I’ve never been the type of person who enjoys horror-thriller movies. If I am going to use what little free time I have enjoying a film, I can assure you it will not be one riddled with gory images of people screaming and writhing in pain.
However, there is one horror movie I can vaguely recall moments from: Saw. I specifically remember a scene where a shackled man was forced to amputate his foot in order to hopefully save his family. The brutal nature of the scene has a way of forcing the viewer to wrestle with what they might do in the same situation.
The Importance of Every Member in the Body of Christ
Of all the different parts of creation the Lord has blessed us to see and study, the human body might be the most glorious. The body works like a well-oiled machine, delivering blood to the right places at the right time, delivering sweat when we are overheating, and even sensing pressure changes in a room when a door opens. But of all the mind-blowing things our bodies can do, I find most fascinating the body’s ability to heal. Even a deep cut, if properly treated, may months later appear as only a tiny scar.
But an amputation is quite different than a cut, even a bad cut. That man in the movie Saw won’t grow back his foot.
In 1 Corinthians, it is no coincidence that Paul precedes his well-known remarks on love with a discussion of the value of each member of the body of Christ. For the sake of unity and diversity in the church, Paul extols the value of every single person in a local body. In 1 Corinthians 12:21 he begins by showing how absurd it is for one part of the body to say it doesn’t need another part. This is why amputation from the body of Christ has such tragic consequences. Needed limbs don’t grow back.
Sometimes, however, a church situation might get so bad that a member could be tempted to think that amputating themselves from the body might be the best (or only) solution—to just cut away and be done. Perhaps in a terrible abuse situation, this is what should happen.
But what if you’ve experienced hurt or disappointment to the degree that you considered walking away from the church the Lord called you to love and serve? Or what if you just felt your role in the church is so insignificant that no one would even know you left?