Originally scheduled for September 24
Most of us have heard, many times, that we
must approach communion in a “worthy manner.” For most of us, this
starts with confession of sin and repentance. We have to get things
right with the Lord. Often enough, this concept sometimes excludes
thoughts of others; we look at it as being something we do
individually. That includes, of course, the necessity of our
forgiving others. Many of us have struggled through the process of
forgiveness; often enough, we have to repeat it “7×70” as Christ
told Peter. But we do so, and we think were okay in our conscience.
But there is one nagging little thought that shows up when we arrive
That thought, of course, is the fellow who is
taking communion next to us. We look at him and realize that,
despite our forgiveness, he continues to offend us. He persists in
doing those things that really bug you. Even worse he may be
persisting in things which show his pride and no opportunity for you
to show your humility. What can you do about this?
You could take the high road on this. While communion is going
on, you can say to yourself that you will be charitable and
forgiving — and only later will you confront him. Of course, you
will do this in a decent Christian manner, one on one. No one
else need step into that argument. One might ask, however,
whether or not you really have all the facts. It is even more
deadly to ask whether or not you are speaking the truth in love.
There is also the low road. You can just decide to let everyone
else in the church know of just what a stinker this fellow is,
and how kind and charitable you have been towards him. I will
let you worry about where the limits of slander and gossip might
The truth is, you are borrowing trouble. Paul
puts it this way to the Romans:
you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or
falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
This is the Lord’s Table, not yours. He has
burdened you with the duty of righteousness and forgiveness; he has
not burdened you with another man’s sin. Render unto God the things
that are God’s.
The truth is that our Lord desires to have
fellowship around the
table as well as at the
table. What should you really be doing about the other fellow’s sin?
You of course are expected to forgive. But in addition to that may I
suggest to you Peter’s admonition to his followers.
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love
covers a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8)
if you cannot cure it, cover it with love. Your great love for your
Christian brother and sister should be sufficient to keep harmony at
the Lord’s Table. If you will consider how essential it is for the
harmony of the church that you love one another, then you will know
that communion is one of the most important times to let love cover
a multitude of sins.