I’ve always found myself with more questions than answers…
So I invite my readers-all five of you-to help me find the answers.
The Bible Gateway devotional focused on 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. It’s talking about proper conduct during the Lord’s Supper, but one part popped out at me:
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. -1 Cor 11:27
The context of this passage is saying that a person should “examine himself” before they take the body and blood of Christ. If not, judgement will come. I get that these acts are sacred, but what I don’t understand is what makes someone unworthy of taking them?
For instance, what if you made a promise before God that was broken later. Would that make you unworthy?
A few years ago, a good friend of mine was getting a divorce. It wasn’t because his wife had been unfaithful (although she was) so much as that they hadn’t been happy for a very long time and simply couldn’t take it anymore. Even though he knew it would happen, he was still really torn up inside about the idea that he might have sinned against God by going through with the divorce. He, like me, believes that marriage is a sacred institution that should last a lifetime-“what God has joined, let no man put asunder.” His concern was that, by going through with the divorce, he was breaking his promise that he’d be with her “as long as [they] both shall live”. Even though he tried like hell to make things work but nothing helped, he felt that he needed to stay in the marriage because that what what he told God (and everyone in that church) he would do when he took his vows. Even when I told him that he technically had what Jesus said was the only acceptable reason for divorce (I was grasping for straws at this point), he was afraid that all of it meant that he lied and, as a result, had been taking communion (the body and the blood) unworthily the entire time.
But was he? That’s my question. Was he “breaking a promise” and, if so, would that make him unworthy?
In light of the verses I mentioned above, is divorce (no matter what the cause) something that makes one unworthy? That’s what the Catholic church thinks, which is why you’ll hear about a Catholic who divorces being denied the Eucharist. Does it matter if the person did all they could and it still didn’t work?
Does continuing to be affected by things in your past make you unworthy? For instance, a friend of mine’s father used to yell a lot when she was growing up. Twenty-something years later, she still gets scared when a man yells at her in anger. Does this mean she hasn’t forgiven her father? They have a decent relationship now.
Does telling “little white lies” make you unworthy? How about “big, black ones’?
Does gossiping make you unworthy?
Does having had sex outside of marriage make you unworthy, even if your spouse has forgiven you? What about premarital sex?
I’ve always felt guilty for thinking badly of people. Even if I there’s a reason to, I felt that this was a failure to love my neighbor as myself. Do these thoughts make me unworthy? After all, adultery and murder begin in the heart (Matt. 5:21-28).
Does greed make you unworthy? Wrath? Lust? Sloth (whatever that is)? Envy? Gluttony? Pride? Because if lust does, I’m screwed.
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for indulging me. Like I said, I have a lot more questions than answers and would greatly appreciate insight from others. What do you think?