I won’t go so far as to say that medical television shows make me sick, but I will say that I do not find them appealing. These programs, however, get one fact right: it is vitally important to stop blood loss. When a patient is rushed into the emergency room with a wound or internal bleeding due to an accident, the first priority is to stop the bleeding. This is a medical fact within a spiritual context. Our bodies are created by God with a blood supply that makes body functions possible. It is a closed system, though, and a loss of blood, however small, is dangerous. Even a very slow loss of blood, over time, can be life-threatening.
God designed our physical bodies to require an intact and functioning circulatory system. He designed the Body of Christ—that group of believers we call the church—to require intact and functioning relationships. It is in relationship that we, as the body of Christ, are able to fulfill His purposes for us. In his letters, the Apostle Paul repeatedly reminds his readers (and us) that we are all members of one body. We are to care for one another because what happens to one of us affects all of us. If one of our members is injured, he or she will not be able to fully participate in relationship as God intends. It is our love for one another that will manifest Christ to our unbelieving neighbors. Relationship is the life-blood of a healthy and fruitful body of Christ.
As we desire the Lord to do His glorious work in us and among us, it is essential that we tend to any blood loss. Blood loss metaphorically occurs when one of us experiences spiritual and/or emotional wounds that are left unbound or when critical needs are left unmet. It happens every time there is unresolved conflict, hurt feelings that create resentment, estrangement rather than reconciliation, gossip instead of gracious and honest confrontation, excuses rather than confession and repentance.
It is exciting to see what the Lord is doing in His local bodies and to consider our role in His kingdom’s work. In order to be fully prepared for this, each of us must share the responsibility to keep our church body strong. Just as it takes an eye or a nerve to recognize a physical injury, I may recognize one need while you recognize another. One brother may be equipped and called to minister to one need while a sister may be equipped and called to help mend an area of brokenness. In our relationships, it is up to us to take responsibility for our own sin and selfishness and respond to the sin and selfishness of others with truth and grace. Confession and repentance, forgiveness, and loving confrontation are all powerful tools that God has provided so that we may stem relational blood loss.
Just like dealing with real blood loss can be intimidating and messy, facing the metaphorical blood loss of broken relationship can be distasteful. The alternative, though, is bleeding to death. I, for one, would prefer vibrant body health, and I encourage us all to join together in seeking to build Godly relationships with our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, relationships that reflect the intimacy enjoyed by the members of our Triune God.