At the midway point in David Anderson’s examination of 1 Corinthians 12, our eyes should be opening to the reality of being a part of the Body. Gracism offers us an antidote to the individuality and exclusion that threads its way through the the Church, separating us as though we are unconnected or needful of what other brothers and sisters have to offer. By allowing this to continue, we run the risk of planting barriers that make it much more difficult for us to fulfill our Divinely-assigned work. To this point, Anderson has summarized the complex chapter into the following Gracist affirmations:
- I will lift you up
- I will cover you
- I will share with you
and today, we will take a quick look at the fourth saying I will Honor you.
An important component of the Gracist mindset comes from a refusal to allow dishonor to visited upon any member of the body. Our human tendency to assign degrees of honor to other people runs contra to the biblical notions of equality within the body. Though we may achieve different stations in life and enjoy various successes and failures, in the eyes of God — the one who matters — we are all simply sinners in need of His grace. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that this same graceful vision should be shared among the brothers and sisters of the body.
David teaches us to train our eyes to look out within the Body and extending to all people for those are “honor deficient.” These are people who do not have what the majority enjoy. It may be access to services, it may equal treatment, it could be nearly invisible things that we often take for granted but for some, it becomes a wedge of separation that should never exist within the Body of Christ. The solution for the Gracist is to seek these folks out and honor them. It becomes our job to “invite them to the banquet.” We can be the uniters within the Body, seeking out those whose honor is dirtied or being blocked and find ways of restoring that God given honor to them and bringing them back into the purpose of the Body.
Pastor Anderson offers a simple reminder of our common state before God whose eyes do not divide:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities.
(Psalm 103 8-10)