“For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:3)
What does it take to attain to a level of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ that we’re willing to give up even our own salvation so that others may themselves come to the Christ that we know? One of the things I think we struggle with—subconsciously or otherwise—is this attitude that we must merely put up with certain individuals until we can either not have to speak to them again or at least excuse ourselves from the room. This coolness is the exact opposite of the fervent love that Paul expressed in the verse up top.
“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)
“And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.” (Luke 15:9)
So, we (the Body of Christ) are not technically a superorganism. The Western honeybee colony is a little more heartless and mechanical than the Church. There are, however, some things to be learned from the inclusiveness to be found in the lowly beehive. Things like teamwork and selflessness and things done according to an order and a pattern (see 1 Corinthians 14:40). Above, when Paul says “all the members suffer with it”, he’s describing a closeness that Christ envisioned, desired (desires) and indeed died to provide for His Body. And when it’s all we can do to darken the door of a building on a Sunday morning, maybe join a Bible study group mid-week and then do the bulk of our interaction and fellowship through social media, I think we’re missing the point of what Christ came to give us. The Body of Christ is supposed to be the most tightly-knit, welcoming, and loving group of people the world has ever seen. In contrast to that, the superorganism certainly helps itself but individuality is nowhere to be found.
“And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate;” (Nehemiah 8:1a)
The thing about individuality is that God gives it. And He gives it more the closer you endeavor to get to Him (see Psalm 134; James 4:8, Luke 21:19, et al.). But watch out. If you’re for whatever reason looking to exclude yourself to the neglect of whatever and whomever the Lord is calling to influence, pray for, and in a word, love, watch out. One’s individuality should never come at the expense of the love and attention we’re meant to bestow on those, our brothers and sisters in Christ, who maybe aren’t where you’re at. After a while, the metaphor of a superorganism breaks down with reference to the Body of Christ. We’re One (see John 17:21), but that doesn’t mean we’re hiding in and among every one else, essentially doing our own thing. There’s a balance.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (and daughters) of God.” (Romans 8:14)
In closing, all I can say is pray for balance. Some people need more love and attention and help than others. And it’s hard to know when to turn off the tap and let them rely on God. It’s certainly not a smart idea to block the Lord from dealing with someone directly—even if it means letting them suffer. God will give you the wisdom to discern when and where and how long and all that (see James 1:5). All you have to do is ask. Like honey, God is always sweet. Unlike sterile worker bees, however, He has no sting. The church shouldn’t either.
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)