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Harmony Among Members

1 Corinthians 12:26 (ESV) … “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

The harmony Paul wanted among the members had already been discussed in 1:10: “Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won’t be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (nlt). Such harmony happens only when all the members—the weak and the strong, the flamboyant and the quiet, the up-front and the behind-the-scenes—use their gifts, appreciate one another, and care for each other equally. Such caring is demonstrated as they share in one another’s joys and sorrows. As with the physical, human body, one part’s suffering causes every part to suffer. When the head aches, the whole body suffers. When a thumb is hit with a hammer, the whole body knows it. In the body of believers, therefore, if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it. Believers should share one another’s burdens in order to help lighten them. Likewise, if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. There is no room for jealousy or strife when one person receives praise; instead, all should be glad.

Believers need to be able to empathize with others—to join in with their feelings as if they were experiencing the feelings themselves. Christians should rejoice with others, with no hint of jealousy; and they should suffer with them, offering kindness, concern, compassion, and a shoulder to cry on if needed. Following Jesus will mean that believers will have a wide variety of experiences. Christianity neither denies life’s hardships nor dulls life’s excitements. Both laughter and tears are appropriate before God. Identifying with the joys and heartaches of others is an important way for believers to show love and unity.[1]

[1] Barton, B. B., & Osborne, G. R. (1999). 1 & 2 Corinthians (pp. 179–180). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.


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