“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV)
My news feeds were filled with posts about Ohio State quarterback J. T. Barrett’s being pulled over and charged with ‘driving while intoxicated. Now that in and of itself isn’t surprising. When you live in Central Ohio, or in Columbus as I did for many years, Buckeyes football always fills your news feeds. It doesn’t matter what it is. “Defensive Coordinator changes parking sticker” will run for three or four days.
Of course, this is a much more serious offense for several reasons. Ohio State is undefeated, reigning national champs, and young J. T. Barrett is a large part of that success. So his arrest and the potential punishment to be handed down was big news.
We didn’t have long to wait. Coach Urban Meyer reacted immediately and suspended Barrett for the next game. While I’m a Barrett fan, and though he should have started from the beginning this year, I applaud Meyer’s decision. Learning that breaking the rules now will help Barrett in the long run as he continues to grow into adulthood. He broke the law and he potentially put others in danger by getting under the wheel. We can debate if the punishment should have been more, but Meyer leans towards “it’s a first offense, he’s been a good kid so far, it’s one dumb mistake.” reasoning.
While we can debate this, what I found interesting was I saw most comments go away from Barrett and more towards the team. People began to ask, “How will this affect the team?” “How could he be so selfish not the be thinking about his teammates?” “What might happen to the rest of the season.” All the stuff you expect fans to write.
And yes, it’s a bit selfish. It does point to our tendency to think about how any event may affect us personally and then subscribe the appropriate amount of outrage to it. But whether they realized it or not, those fans did put a finger on the pulse of a deeper biblical and spiritual issue. We are all connected. And the decisions we make do affect others around us.
Paul says it this way “Now you are the body of Christ. And each one of you is a part of it.’ We often look at these verses when we are trying to drum up support for a new ministry or we need volunteers. But I wonder if we explore the idea of our being the Body of Christ deep enough? Surly Paul sees this concept as more than a device to get everyone involved.
Think of the human body. Everything is interconnected. When one part of the body, for instance, gets an infection, the entire body is affected. The white blood cell count changes. We develop fevers. Muscles ache, we get nauseous. If it goes too long we may become faint. Let an infection go too long and the entire body will shut down. Death will come.
This is why we can’t “mind our own business” when sin is rampant within the church. While it’s easier to ignore it, we do so at the risk of the entire system think of sin as an infection that will damage the entire system, the Body of the church if the healing doesn’t take place.
I’m not advocating a witch hunt of everyone’s sins. But perhaps we ought to be more diligent when we know our brothers and sisters are struggling, to pray for them. Perhaps our “accountability” groups would be more than just a time of sharing. We’d actually want to know how it is with one another’s soul. Why? Because if you struggle, I struggle. If you hurt, I hurt.
Most of all,perhaps we’d take a long look into the dark places of our own hearts. we’d realize we don’t have the luxury of saying, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” How I live affects my wife and my children even if they never know about it. We are connected. Perhaps walking in holiness would be easier if we remembered our connection. Perhaps.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><