The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” – 1 Corinthians 12:21 (NRSV) 

Actually, the eye can say to the hand, “I have no need of you.” The eye can discern texture without the hand, after all, and the hand can learn tactile navigation without the eye. The head and feet can likewise disregard one another. The feet can carry the head from place to place even when the head’s thoughts are wandering in the clouds, and the head can imagine new methods of mobility if the use of feet is lost.  

Our bodies, senses, and neuropathways adapt as we live and learn. Our relationships adapt too—Paul’s wisdom notwithstanding.  

Sometimes the toe says to the eye, “I have no need of you,” not because the toe doesn’t need the eye but because the toe is tired of being stubbed hard whenever the eye isn’t paying attention. And sometimes the heel says to the hip, “I have no need of you,” not because the heel is self-sufficiently able to hold the whole body but because the heel has lost trust in the hip’s willingness to show up when it’s time to carry the weight. 

Few of us are so arrogant as to believe it’s possible to go it alone in life. But when we are stubbed or bruised, weighed down or disregarded too many times by other members of the body, we can easily hide behind that defensive declaration: “I have no need of you.” 

The ear says “I have no need of you” to the knee, the thumb says it to the heel, you say it to me, we say it them … until the whole body is bruised and bleeding. 

Yes, it’s possible to function apart, just as it’s possible to dysfunction together. But I cannot claim to be in the Spirit while dismissing you, and you cannot swear to be in the Spirit while giving up on me. 

Prayer: God have mercy, I can be quite a heel. 

 cross-posted with the Daily Devotional

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