Pristine Grace

When One Suffers!
by Eileen Beckett
When One Suffers!

1Corinthians 12:25-26 “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it”

It should be a mark of a body of believers that even when one member suffers so do the rest of the members. There should be no schism in a body which is; a separation, an alienation causing divisions among Christians, who ought to be united.

Life is hard, that is why we call it a vale of tears. Perhaps you don’t understand that, perhaps life isn’t hard for you. When life is hard “in the congregation” it is even more of a vale of tears because that is where we should be able to have a greater measure of peace. But of course we are sinners so it often isn’t any different, but it should be.

I’m not speaking about strife in an ‘institution’, I’m speaking of the flesh and blood bought body of Christ, people who come together to worship the Lord. We are likened to a body, a body of hands and eyes and other parts that are all needed. One part is not more needed nor more important than another part, the whole body is to be knit together in love. Seems so simple doesn’t it? We have a book full of instructions as to how we are to treat one another, it’s called the Bible! I wonder how often we take those instructions to heart, each of us. I wonder if we really ponder the meaning of say; Phillipians 2:1-3

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves”

Have you ever consoled someone in Christ the same way that you have been consoled, or comforted them in the same love? We are to have bowels of compassion and mercy for one another, we are to be ONE. If we esteem our brother BETTER than ourselves we will be willing to forgive or ask for forgiveness even when we know that we haven’t sinned against them. I was taught that by a very wise and compassionate man, the pastor I had for so many years and believe it with all my heart. I believe that if one of my brothers or sisters has an offence with me and I don’t see that I have sinned against them I STILL ask them to forgive me for the offence because for whatever reason I have offended them or hurt them. I am to do that because I do esteem them better than I am. Too often we want to justify everything in some sense or another and so we don’t esteem them, instead we have strife, discord, and disunity through out the body.

Strife only leads to the warning in Galatians 5:15 “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another”.

Matthew Henry:
“Note, Mutual strifes among brethren, if persisted in, are likely to prove a common ruin; those that devour one another are in a fair way to be consumed one of another. “

John Gill:
“For wolves or dogs to worry sheep is not strange; but for sheep to distress one another is unnatural.”

John Calvin:
"By biting and devouring he means, I think, slanders, accusations, reproaches, and every other kind of offensive language, as well as acts of injustice arising either from fraud or violence. And what is the end of them? To be consumed, while the tendency of brotherly love is to produce mutual protection and kindness. I wish we could always remember, when the devil tempts us to disputes, that the disagreement of members within the church can lead to nothing else than the ruin and consumption of the whole body. How distressing, how mad is it, that we, who are members of the same body, should be leagued together, of our own accord, for mutual destruction! "

When the bond of love is loosened in a body and we are consumed of one another our ‘body’ peace is destroyed and we may well dissolve and be scattered. However, my peace with God can never be destroyed, it is safe in Christ for He alone will never leave me nor forsake me. Amen!