May 07, 2012
by Colleen Swindoll Thompson
Have you ever walked through your house at night in the dark and jammed your pinkie toe into the side of the sofa? That little toe, the one you never think about, is suddenly your primary focus as you jump up and down because it’s screaming in pain—and your whole body feels it. Amazing—one small appendage can reduce a grown man or woman to a writhing mass of tears.
So I wonder, why doesn’t the church react in the same way our bodies do when one of its members has “stubbed a toe” on life? The Bible uses the metaphor of a body in describing the church (Colossians 1:18), and Paul commands us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). When our physical bodies ache and are broken, the whole body—every member—cries out for healing. This should be true of Christ’s body, the church.
How is your local body doing—does it feel the pain of the members and seek healing for them? If you’d like to make your church body a place of sensitivity and healing, the following 10 characteristics are essential for a successful care-giving support system. Its participants must possess:
- A willingness to serve
- A focus on what is important
- A commitment to communicate value (yours, others’, God’s)
- Healthy boundaries
- Emotional capacity
- Awareness of the needs of other people
- Spiritual insight
- Acceptance/esteem of others
I’d like to suggest that you or your pastors and church leaders discuss the health of your church body as it pertains to these 10 qualities as you continue to serve in your local church. May your sensitivity and compassion be a blessing to the body of Christ at large.
Colleen Swindoll Thompson holds a bachelor of arts degree in Communication from Trinity International University as well as minors in psychology and education. Colleen serves as the director of Reframing Ministries at Insight for Living Ministries. From the personal challenges of raising a child with disabilities (her son Jonathan), Colleen offers help, hope, and a good dose of humor through speaking, writing, and counseling those affected by disability. Colleen and her husband, Toban, have five children and reside in Frisco, Texas.
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