Today at church our pastor was talking about “Biblical Community” and what that meant. He used the passage from 1 Corinthians 11, starting at verse 17. It talked about how the church in Corinth was so contentious and there was so much in fighting, they were not being the body of Christ. The church would gather in homes and eat meals together, but some were getting there early and eating almost all the food before others could get there, and so some were going without. And Paul told the church that they were not breaking the bread with the right heart. He said that if any of them were eating the bread and drinking the cup without recognizing the body of the Lord (without examining himself inside) eats and drinks judgment on himself.
Where this is going… our pastor said that communion is only one part of living in community. We are all part of the body of Christ, and the essence of it is, we need to treat each other that way. We need to care for those who need care, encourage those who are struggling, in general, love each other. It reminded me of a story my husband told me.
A former pastor of his had a communion service. Before he served communion, he told people that one of the big things about communion, is that taking it in an unworthy manner is against what God wants. He told them that they needed to be able to take it without any bitterness in their hearts. Bitterness stems from unforgiveness. He told his congregation that if they had anything against another member of the body of Christ, they needed to resolve it first. He made phones available for those who needed to make phone calls, rooms available for those who needed to talk, and after a bit, brought everyone back to take communion together.
Again there is a point… the pastor was talking about forgiving others before taking communion. These thoughts were running through my head today as we were preparing for communion. One of the things we had talked about at my counseling appointment was not only forgiving others, but forgiving myself, for the things in my past. My counselor told me that not being willing or able to forgive myself was a form of pride. Essentially it was saying that what Jesus did on the cross was not enough. That His suffering was not enough to cleanse me from my sins, and that I had to suffer more… it was hard to hear that it was pride. But yet again, God made connections for me today. I remembered my husband’s story, and what my counselor had said to me. And so after the bread was passed today, I had some time to pray before we took it. I made the conscious decision to forgive myself. God reminded me that His blood covered everything I had done in the past, everything that had been done to me, and that He had been there with me in those times, and was with me now. And I was able to let it go, let myself off the hook I had hung myself on. That doesn’t mean that it won’t all come up again, and that I won’t feel guilty, but then it won’t be a guilt of an unforgiven sin, but a “false guilt” that one of my friends referred to. I can remember this day and say, “Nope, I have already taken care of that.” It didn’t feel like a huge change, but I felt a little lighter as I left the sanctuary today, and I was able to share with my community group the change that had taken place before taking communion today.
God has been doing things in the last week, that have started to get me back on track with Him, and back on track with the healing process. I feel so much better than I did last week at this time. Pray that I will continue down the road that God has set me upon. There are still things that I need to sort through, but this has been the first time in weeks that I have been relatively calm, and not dealing with as much anxiety. I understand now why some people after they are under treatment for a while, when they start feeling better, think that they can stop their medications, their treatment plans. Because I have started to feel better and think more clearly, it makes me want to stop taking “the pills” and to just live my life without having to be tied to pill bottles. I know, I know… I won’t, but now I understand why some people do.
Anyway, thank you for your prayers, and Praise God for His faithfulness to me, and His forgiveness.