Thursday, January 9, 2014

All Members of the Body of Christ

If we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, all members of the Body of Christ, then we do not strengthen ourselves by diminishing other parts of His Body. If one amongst us is weakened or diminished, then we are all diminished. We have been instructed to forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times; we are called to turn the other cheek again and again. To follow Christ's example, we are instructed to love and forgive those who persecute us ("ikForgive them, Father, for they know not what they do"); the saints provide countless examples of loving forgiveness in the face of anger, hate, and pain. Certainly there are times when we have the opportunity to provide information and gentle guidance, to help others grow in compassion and charity, but never are we called upon to sit in judgement; that is reserved for Him. 

Here's the bottom line: we are all sinners, inhabitants of a fallen world. We all have bad days, feel lousy or hormonal, and fall short of that ideal. But falling short, even knowing that we will fall short, does not excuse us from trying. There will be times when we need to complain, to vent, and let off steam amongst those who understand. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But we should be wary of imputing malice where none may exist. (And yes, some things are truly beyond the pale, and some people lack grace and compassion in what they say.) The simple fact is that a lot of stupid, hurtful things are said out of ignorance or not knowing what to say. Haven't we all had those "Open mouth, insert foot" moments? We should struggle and strive for compassion and forgiveness of those who hurt us, even when the same person does so repeatedly (Remember those seventy-seven times? And no, I would not recommend counting.). And as Rebecca so eloquently said, sometimes my pain is about me and not about the person inadvertently causing it. It hurts to hear one's mother or MIL gush about babies and grandchildren, but her excitement is not intended to cause me pain. Her focus is on the joy of that new life, not my sorrow at what I do not have. 

Lord Jesus Christ, help us to grow towards your example, to love and forgive, that all may be strengthened and none diminished.


  1. Stephanie, I am so glad you posted about this. I have been very inspired by your actions as of late. I think you know what I mean. Anyway, my point is, I cringe when I see people automatically reaching for the most negative reason behind someone's behavior as a matter of course. I think it just breeds continued resentment and hurt. I have done it in my own life and it doesn't end up anywhere good. Yes, there are always the bad apples out there, but in most cases, if these are people that profess to love and support you, I don't think they are truly out to cause pain. Inadvertently, most likely will happen as you state above. Great post. Thank you for bringing this painful topic to light (along with Rebecca).

  2. Beautifully said. It is SO hard to be able to recognize when it is our own pain that is causing the problem, and really requires us to stop and feel that pain - which is scary, and well, hurts. It is SO worth it though and I always feel better - maybe not as quickly, but certainly a more real "better" than the immediate better that venting provides (does this make any sense?). (Oh, and not that I don't vent, I think it has it's place, but as JBTC said, always seeing the negative leads to bad things.

  3. Love this! And the part about counting SO true.