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December 2021- February 2022

We Need Each Other


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FIRST GLIMPSE: We Need Each Other

Each year, my high school football team faced an opponent every player dreaded: the School for the Deaf and Blind. For more than a century (football started in 1913), the well-respected institution has recruited top-notch athletes honed for play by high-level coaches and trainers. Each year, teams overcame any physical challenges to field a competitive, hard-hitting crew with a never-give-up, smash-mouth mentality.

They arrived at our facilities in buses our own school could never afford, wore corporately sponsored uniforms with cutting-edge graphics, and flooded the stadium with their loyal fans.
But none of these were the reason our team dreaded playing the appropriately named Dragons. No, it was because those tough-as-nails players couldn’t hear the whistle! The old football mantra about playing to the whistle didn’t apply in those games. The opponents kept coming until they saw the refs charge in from the sidelines, arms waving like runaway windmills. Pity the poor player who didn’t stay alert after the play was whistled dead. An unexpected bone-jarring, teeth-rattling block or tackle was inevitable.

After sustaining a couple of injuries, our coaches instructed the team to do two things: 1) stand stock-still with arms raised from the moment the whistle blew; and 2) do everything possible to prevent teammates from taking an unexpected hit.

Those games are a great analogy for the Christian life. Often, it is not the expected “hits” that sideline Christians in their walk of faith. It is the unexpected attack that catches us off-guard, hands down, at our most vulnerable. Perhaps this is what Apostle Paul had in mind in Ephesians 5:15, when he urged readers to “walk circumspectly,” or more literally, live alertly, head on
a swivel.

The Apostle went on to explain this alert living is especially important during evil days. We must not be distracted from our Christian purpose but listen intently for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. After this terse admonition, Paul switched gears and spent the next 28 verses giving instructions for life together, from marriage and family to church and society.

Why the abrupt shift? Simple, really: we do not live the Christian life alone. We need each other. In a day when attack or temptation may come from the “blind side,” we have a responsibility to guard, protect, even confront one another when necessary to prevent the hit. Paul acknowledged this in Philippians 2:3-5, when he urged the Philippians to be like Christ, putting the good of others first and watching out for one another (verse 4).

German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way in his classic book Life Together: “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin.”

We need each other. Now, more than ever.

About the Columnist: Eric K. Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine. Email:


©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists