“There should be no schism in the body;
but the members should have the same care one for another.
And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it;
or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
1 Corinthians 12:25-26
Love seems so easy sometimes. Right? When we’re tucked in bed, warm, after a great night’s sleep, with the sun peeking in on a limitless new day. Don’t you feel that determination sometimes? “I’m going to love everyone! I will not have any ill feelings towards anyone! Everyone is my brother and sister! I will be the picture of grace and peace and wisdom. I am invincible and unstoppable!” And then, when you climb back in bed at the end of the day, you feel a bit sad, because the day didn’t go the way you wanted. Real life can be tough, right? Those curve balls thrown at us that we desperately try to anticipate and prepare for, can still hit us right in a soft spot.
What does it mean to love in real life? How can we love well, when people around us are cranky and messy, and when WE are cranky and messy (Isn’t that the worst? When you realize there is no one else you can blame the mess on)? When we are part of a family, we each are part of something together, but also individuals with our own quirks and challenges. I love the imagery in 1 Corinthians 12: “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” (1 Corinthians 12:14-18)
In our own little families, we need each other. In the family of Christ, we need each other. And certainly in the family of this whole earth, we need each other. When we cast another person aside, we lose a little part of ourselves. I want to tell you a secret… deep down we are all the same. For centuries, we humans have fought the same battles of the heart and struggled to make sense of this life. We have sought understanding and acceptance and to protect our loved ones. We are dressed in different clothes, but we are the same. When we see ourselves in everyone around us, we can turn curve balls into compassion. We can turn strife into strength. Instead of differences threatening us, we can rejoice in the added depth in our human family. We don’t have to be the same as someone else to mourn with them. We don’t have to understand everything about someone to rejoice with them. We can leave that to God. We can decide to trust God with the heavy issues we don’t understand, and just be WITH people through the highs and the lows.
See yourself in the people you meet today. What might they be feeling as they cross your path? There is powerful connection in thinking “I’ve felt that way too.” Resolve to mourn with those who are sad, and to rejoice with people in your path who are joyful. Be prayerful, be purposeful and be present. Notice the beautiful souls around you and reflect back the beauty to them. And just watch where God takes you.