Another Step Forward
Lately, we've been discussing reconciliation as we prepare our hearts to take communion. I don't know why, but I always thought that was a Catholic thing. Come to find out it's actually in the Bible that we should not only prepare our hearts and be right with Jesus, but also within the body of Christ. In Matthew 5, we are told that if we take our gifts to the altar and know we have something against a brother (or sister), to lay the gift at the altar and reconcile ourselves with our brother before continuing to seek the Lord there. In 1 Corinthians 11:29, Paul says, "For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself." (ESV, emphasis mine). If we come before the Lord seeking to share in all He has done to pay for our sins yet have not done the same between ourselves and the rest of the body (those in Christ and those He has yet to call), then we will be judged for this transgression against our brothers. For Christ explains in Matthew 25:40, "And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’" Revelation!
While we struggle with anger, hurt, resentment toward people in our life who we feel have let us down, done us wrong, have given us less than their best or any such thing, the truth is that all those feelings keep us bound up in chains. Chained to past hurts. Past wrongs. Past, meaning that they are already done. And who hurts because of this lack of letting go? We do. Who is chained to the past, a slave to what was because we cannot let go of it. Can't move into the present. Can't see that we have hope and a future. The root of this, as our pastor shared with us this morning, is our PRIDE. Oh, that ugly word. How often is it the root of all such evil?
PRIDE creates division and disunity in our relationships.
PRIDE leads us to feel disdain for others and builds our feelings of superiority toward them.
PRIDE causes us to hold onto anger, holding grudges and living in unforgiveness.
God calls us to lay down our pride and instead to seek reconciliation. Not just between us and Him through confessing our sins and repenting of them, but by drawing ourselves back to the part of the body with whom we have fallen out so that we may re-member (do this is remembrance of me). To re-member is to join again to the body, to reattach. We cut away the things that cause us to sin and we reattach the things that also keep us separated from God...like removing ourselves from the body or detaching a from another brother or sister. The body is Christ's bride. The whole of it. Each one created in the image of Christ. Each. One. As John Piper said, "The Lord's Supper is not a mere religious ritual. It is a call to love."
So, today, I sought to reconcile myself to people with whom I was angry, resentful, hurt and the like. It was a long afternoon of tough discussions. Lots of tears. Lots of emptying out of the old and ushering in the new. The best conversation was with Pepe. It brought me such healing. I hope it did the same for him, too. Another step forward happened today and I know it has lead me another step more firmly into my future.