1 Corinthians 12:25-26
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.…
Look upon this —
I. AS A FACT.
1. The sufferings of the unfortunate in a community affect each. The sufferings of the merchant whose business breaks down, of the agriculturist whose crops fail, of the operatives who are thrown out of work, affect more or less each individual in the State.
2. The sufferings of the criminals in a community affect each. There is the swindler whose schemes, after enriching his own coffers, break down, spreading disasters far and wide. There is the murderer, whether by assassination or by war, his sufferings, for sufferings he has, affect all in some way or other. The record of the assassin's life, trial, and execution, brings a pang into many a heart. So also wars bring suffering, in some form or other, to every individual in a community.
3. The sufferings of the non-industrious in a community affect each. There are tens of thousands in every civilised community who lounge their existence away in drawing-rooms, clubs, and taverns: they consume all and produce nothing. They sigh out their miserable existence under the weight of ennui; each one of the community is more or less affected. The common stock of human subsistence depends upon labour, and is limited: they therefore who partake of that stock without labour are social thieves. These sufferings may be in body, through deprivation of some comfort, or necessary, or in mind.
(1) By a painful sense of responsibility.
(2) By a painful sense of disgust for the race. Who can see human nature swindling, murdering, idling, debauching, without feeling ashamed of the race to which he belongs.
II. AS A DUTY. We are commanded to "bear each other's burdens," to "weep with those that weep," etc., in fact, to follow Christ. And what was Christ? The incarnation of a Divine philanthropy. Now, the duty of every man is, as a member of the race, to suffer by practical philanthropy with and for a suffering world: so suffer for it as to pray, labour and die for it, if need be.Conclusion —
1. Do not be too severe on criminals. The vilest criminal that England ever produced has been nursed and matured by the conjoint influences of each man's life: each member of the State has contributed a something to produce it.
2. Live to purify the moral atmosphere of the world. One day we believe the atmosphere of the world will be so pure with holiness that human snakes and poisonous reptiles will no longer live therein. Contribute your part to this end, send into it the noblest thoughts, to circulate and breathe into it the purest influences of love and light.
(D. Thomas, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.