Some of us may take membership in a large church body. Some of us take membership in a small church body. Some are seeking membership to a church body. Where two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, there the Lord is with them…and yet, where two or more are gathered, there also might be misunderstanding and frustration among them. Relationships can be messy. Friendship and family may find themselves in quarrel. As Christian sisters, we must remember that we are one body in Christ. No matter the size of our fellowships, no matter the depths of our circumstances, we all are called to honor and care for one another. It is in those actions that we find ourselves in belonging to the unified body of Christ.
“On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12:22-26).”
When we consider the hospitality of helping oneself and others to belong, we ought to live in harmony with one another. By choosing to do and choosing to live by what is honorable to the Lord, we are inviting the Holy Spirit to bring His peace and understanding among us.
1 Timothy implores women to be worthy of respect, be dignified, not slanderers but temperate and trustworthy in all things. Growing in these honorable traits will produce character that will make goodness available to be shared with others. These good traits are welcomed, desired and belong in the church body.
Starting with oneself. What is distinguishable honor as a woman? Proverbs 31 describes to us that a noble woman clothes herself with dignity. Titus prompts us to be mindful and reverent in behavior, to love our family, to have self-control, be diligent in our work, and submit to our headship so that no one will malign the word of God. 1 Timothy implores women to be worthy of respect, be dignified, not slanderers but temperate and trustworthy in all things. Growing in these honorable traits will produce character that will make goodness available to be shared with others. These good traits are welcomed, desired and belong in the church body.
In the care for others, we share the goodness that we mature in with others. Where one may need, we should respond with care. Where there is lack in character, we should be merciful and edify one another as Christ would for us. Where there is dishonor, we should restore them back to dignity. Where there is hope, let us be hopeful with them. Where there is joy, let us rejoice with them.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21).”
Being aware of and attentive to those who the Lord places among you can lead to the blessing of community. We are affirmed in this blessing through God’s word that calls us to “...encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).” Making opportunities for all to belong to the body is an invitation to partake in the grand design that God has composed.
God knows the difficulties that arise with relationships. Even enemies should be cared for. Do not desire to uphold your own righteousness in circumstance and relationship with one another. Rather, allow the Holy Spirit to work within your heart and your mind so that you might be able to overcome temptation by the fruits of the Spirit. Make choices that allow the love of the Lord to flow through you that others might come to know the grace and mercies He has for them.
God has created the body, the church, to be unified with members having the same care for one another. Being aware of and attentive to those who the Lord places among you can lead to the blessing of community. We are affirmed in this blessing through God’s word that calls us to “...encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).” Making opportunities for all to belong to the body is an invitation to partake in the grand design that God has composed. Unification is made complete through the choices we make with regard for one another, and through the honor and care for each other.
Paphoua Hang (N. Xf. Koob Meej Haam)
Paphoua (N. Xf. Koob Meej Haam) serves as the Discipleship Director and alongside her husband who pastors the English Ministry at Hmong American Alliance Church in Maplewood, MN. Paphoua completed her Master of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary and is actively licensed to teach and serve with the Alliance. Paphoua enjoys the art of cooking, beauty found in nature, family time, and cuddles with her two very old and loving shih tzus. Adventures and travel fill her cup with joy, but she finds thrill in the experiences and opportunities granted to her.