Originally scheduled for August 31
We are taught that, as part of communion, we
are to examine ourselves – but we are not taught to examine others
in the congregation.
There are some very practical reasons for this:
Examining others – and we’re good at
this – misses the main point of communion.
It’s a distraction from the passion of Christ.
Like we tell our Little League players, keep your eye on the
Examining others creates hardness of
heart. At communion you
should be getting rid of your spiritual problems, not making them
Examining others makes Judgmentalism
seem to be holy and pious.
We have a good instance of this in the
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a
woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and
she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the
disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, "Why this
waste? "For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and
the money given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to
them, "Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to
Me. "For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always
have Me. "For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to
prepare Me for burial. "Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is
preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be
spoken of in memory of her."
(Matthew 26:6-13 NASB)
Note the reply of Jesus:
why do you bother
the woman? After all,
whose perfume is it? Who
set you up as judge? God
is working in her life too, as well as yours. You may think this is
a waste – but isn’t that much like saying that God cannot provide?
Have you prayed about this, or is it just snap judgment?
If it seems all that important to you, shouldn’t you consider
the harmony of the church and inquire of her privately?
So we are taught to examine ourselves.
May I suggest that this examination should be both diligent
and detailed? It should
produce at least one good result:
you should ask God’s aid in dealing with the problems you
find. The purpose of
this self-examination is repentance.
As Paul tells us, in his famous passage on
But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when
we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be
condemned along with the world.
(1 Corinthians 11:31-32 NASB)
As a Chinese Christian once put it, “Lord,
reform thy world – beginning with me.”