Question:

Hi,

"And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it" (I Corinthians 12:26). The latter part of this verse speaks of when a brethren in the body of Christ rejoices, you are to rejoice with him. Take for example a wedding, baby shower, tribute to a minister or even a graduation. My questions are these: If I am able to attend but do not, have I sinned? Will this keep me out of heaven? I have contributed financially, mailed cards and texted well wishes. Do I have to be present to rejoice or morn or suffer with the brethren?


Answer:

You are reading more into this verse than is there. This is about seeing what happens to your brethren as being an extension of yourself. So when members get married, you rejoice in their happiness, but that doesn't mean you are required to attend the wedding. When a member dies, you are saddened by the family's loss, but that doesn't mean you have to attend the funeral. What is being emphasized is the attitude and the feeling of camaraderie.

  • "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion" (Romans 12:15-16).
  • "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common" (Acts 4:32).
  • "Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (Philippians 2:2).
Now, in sharing with my brethren, I want to be with them during the joyful or sad times as much as I can, but that isn't always possible. But as you are doing, you let them know you are thinking of them. Consider an example from Paul, "Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more" (II Corinthians 7:6-7). Paul wasn't able to be there personally, but he found comfort in the report that Titus brought to him. Frequently in his letters Paul expresses the feelings he shares with brethren on hearing news about them.