COY WATSON WAS a dear friend and brother in the Lord. We worshiped and served together some years ago during my local work in West Tennessee.
Coy was a real “Bible man.” He liked to read and study his Bible. He liked to talk about the Word. He liked to listen to the preaching from the Scriptures.
In the last few years of his life, Coy struggled mightily with diabetes. The symptoms were most noticeable on the toes of his left foot. They tingled and had become discolored. Before long, they had turned virtually black and had lost all feeling.
His physician in Jackson told him that surgery was necessary. Part of his foot would have to be amputated.
His surgeon eventually removed the infected members, but to no avail. The disease was incrementally spreading up his body.
Within weeks a second medical procedure was required. This time he lost the better part of his leg. Gangrene was taking Coy a piece at a time.
Consider for just a moment—did Coy have “just” a toe problem, or did he have a body problem?
Now stay with me for just a moment. Don’t get lost. I sometimes hear people say, “That’s not OUR problem, that’s HIS (i.e., an individual) problem.” Such a statement is not in harmony with reality. People problems are always group problems, not just individual problems. Study a few examples below and then decide for yourself, if this is the case. Is it “just” an individual problem, or a group problem:
- When there’s an alcoholic in the home (Gal. 5:21).
- When there’s a member of the church who is living in adultery (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Col. 3:5-7).
- When there’s a rebellious teenager in the family (Eph. 6:1).
- When a mate is addicted to on-line pornography (Job 31:1; Phil. 4:8).
- When there’s an abusive husband wreaking havoc in the house (Eph. 4:31).
- When there’s a sexual predator living in the local neighborhood.
- When there’s a defiant, obnoxious student in the classroom.
People mistakenly conclude that because they’re not personally engaging in some inappropriate (i.e., “sinful”) behavior that they have no responsibility to the situation. “It’s his (or her) problem, not mine.” Don’t be too sure. What affects one, affects all. Individual problems are group problems.
Scripture teaches, “And if one member suffers, ALL THE MEMBERS suffer with it…” (1 Cor. 12:26; emphasis mine—mb).
I performed Coy’s funeral many years ago. Coy lost his toes, his foot, his leg, then his life. Nina, his devoted helpmate of 51 years, lost her loving husband. His four children lost a caring father. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren lost a special mentor. The local church lost a spiritual leader.
Truth be told, a toe problem wasn’t just a toe problem, it was a very real, deadly serious body problem.
When a brother or sister in the Lord is involved in self-destructive behavior, you and I can’t sit idly by and fold our arms in indifference.
We can’t abdicate our responsibility to get involved (Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20).
A little(?) spiritual gangrene in the toes isn’t just a toe problem, it’s a body problem. Right