Have You Ever Been Too Ashamed to Take Communion?
Recently we were having Communion at church and I noticed that a woman across the aisle from me declined the communion elements as they came around. You have to ask yourself … why would she knock back this special time of just quietly remembering Jesus?
Well the most common reason is that from time to time, because of some recent sin, we feel too ashamed to participate in Communion. Maybe you’ve just had a great big blow-up with your husband or wife or one of your children. Perhaps it’s a sexual sin. Or you’ve just had such a rotten week that you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that you’re completely unworthy.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Cor 11:27)
Have you ever been there?
Let me share a story with you today … a story that Jesus Himself told, about two men who came to “church” with two totally different perspectives:
They went up to the temple to pray – one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed: ‘God, thank you that I’m not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, wouldn’t even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)
So the next time you’re feeling a tad “unworthy” of Communion, please remember this tax collector. Because what Jesus is saying to us through this sinner, is that the moment there’s remorse in our hearts, then through our faith in Him, His blood washes us clean. The moment we’re truly sorry for what we did – though we’re too ashamed even to lift our eyes heavenward – we’re forgiven.
Don’t believe me? Then read the whole of what 1 Cor 11 says about communion. All that’s required here is that we examine our hearts to recognise our sin. Which of the two men in Jesus’ story did that?
And just in case you’re thinking that some great, eloquent prayer of repentance is required, remember that other sinner, the criminal who hung on the cross next to Jesus, who with a repentant heart gasped:
Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. (Luke 23:42)
That’s all he had. That’s all it took. For Jesus replied:
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23:42)