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God has gifted every human being with a limited range of certain abilities to accomplish some specific tasks in society. This makes each and every one of us necessary to our fellow human beings.

However, while God empowers each of us to accomplish some tasks in life, He’s also left us with shortages in our skill set. He’s made us dependent upon others to accomplish what needs to be done. God has not made any of us a “renaissance man” – somebody who can do it all. None of us is a Swiss Army knife that can replace an entire set of tools. We can only perform well within a narrow range of tasks.

You see, God has purposely made us dependent upon others. This dependence is essential to our growth. It teaches us humility, patience, and appreciation for others. God designed us to need other people to do those tasks and provide those things for which we are incapable.

Coming to grips with this reality is a major milestone in our personal development. We should be able to appreciate our own gifts yet admit our own limitations. We should also be able to value the abilities of others and understand how they provide what we are lacking.  This is one mark of a mature mentality.

Sadly, many human beings never seem to get it. They stumble through life erring in one of two directions. Many people will fail to appreciate their own abilities and spend their lives trying to be like others whom they consider to be the “model” or “ideal.”  Such people agonize through life with feelings of inadequacy, uselessness, and worthlessness.

On the other hand there are those who may consider themselves to be the ideal. Consequently they neither appreciate the gifts of others nor understand their own limitations. Anyone who’s different from them is considered “broken” or “maladjusted.”  Anyone different from them needs to “straighten out.”  Living and working with such people can be pure hell. Such people will often leave a trail of resentful subordinates and unfinished tasks.

Paul the apostle highlights both of these errors in 1 Corinthians 12:14-25. There he compares the church of Jesus Christ to a physical body which consists of many specialized organs and parts. Some of these parts will say, “Because I am not like the other, I am not a legitimate member of the body.”  They do not understand or appreciate their own God-given abilities, but feel the need to be like others.

Yet other parts of the body will say, “I have no need of you.”  For they consider themselves to be the “ideal organ” who can do it all. And if there are some things which they cannot do, then they dismiss those tasks as unnecessary. Obviously, the body would perish with such a high-minded organ in charge. In fact, there wouldn’t even be a body, if they were in charge. They’d just be a collection of the same “ideal” organs. That’s why God put the brain in charge and not the hand, eye, or mouth. It’s also why the Carpenter is in charge and not the tools.

By God’s arrangement – in society, in the church, and in the family – we all contribute to each other and are all dependent upon each other. There is no escape from this divinely established principle. No human being, no member of Christ’s body, and no spouse is indispensable, nor are they independent. As God has designed every organ in the body to be both essential to the others and dependent on the others, so is each of us to our fellow human beings.

So give up the pursuit after “independent living.”  It’s impossible, unrealistic, and even childish. Maybe certain types of personalities bother you and you’re convinced the world would be better without them. But you’d be tragically mistaken.

Maybe you cannot stand those “computer-brained” nerds and dismiss them as boring and undesirable. But without them our lives would be immensely more difficult, since they’ve created the vast majority of our labor-saving devices and technologies.

Maybe you’re offended by “toxic masculinity” and believe all men need to be suppressed or repaired. But without them there’d be a lot of work that would never get done, a lot of hard decisions that would never be made, and a lot of tyrants who would have overrun America.

Maybe you’re sickened by nurturing and tender-hearted people and their “soft-touch” ways. But without them no child would survive infancy. And those who did survive would be monstrous beasts as adults.

Maybe you consider warm and effusive personalities as annoying and impractical. Like Science Officer Spock (from Star Trek), you “find their irrational emotions a constant irritant.”  But organizations, churches, and homes would languish and die without the humanity and encouragement they bring.

It’s all about recognizing our God-given differences, understanding our own specialized gifts, and recognizing our dependence on each other. Wouldn’t society be immensely more pleasant if we’d only learn to do this? But our toxic society is hell-bent on vilifying and depreciating entire groups of humanity whom God has wisely and lovingly placed on this planet. May God help us all to come to our senses!


PRAYER:  Dear heavenly Father, please shine the light of Your truth into our darkened hearts. Please open the eyes of our confused understanding. Bring us to our senses, dear Father, and lead us – in humility and repentance – into the healing embrace of Your Son. Save us, O God, we pray through Jesus Christ, Amen.

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