Holding resentments against others can cause me a lot of unhappiness. Unforgiveness is the number one reason for spiritual immaturity, hindering my relationship to God, and having clarity to see my own part in the problems of life. I really try to guard against grudges knowing that if I want to be forgiven, I must forgive. I become super-keen in self examination when it comes to partaking of the sacraments in Holy Communion. I take this spiritual practice very serious.
...and when He (Jesus) had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you: do this in rememberance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 1Cor.12:24-25 (NKJV)
So what does this have to do with forgiveness? It has everything to do with forgiveness. As a believer, if you're holding unforgiveness toward another, DO NOT take communion. People say this often concerning a grudge they carry; "I forgive them, but let me tell you what they did to me"... Needless to say, they haven't forgiven at all. The fact that this resentment toward another is living rent-free in your head means you won't let it go. You still have ownership of the grudge. Forgive and forget. It's hard but with God's help, you can do it.
You may say, communion is nothing more than a ritual, no one takes it serious. If we take the scripture literally, then we take the sacraments seriously. Paul tells us why we take this practice in sincerity in the following verses.
Therefore, whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will br guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him take of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner, eats and drinks judgment unto himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 1Cor.12:27-31 (NKJV)
It is our lack of understanding what we as Christians are to be about. We are about forgiveness, love, mercy, and the "O" word...obedience. We want all of the benefits of God without obeying the manufacturer's handbook. Taking Holy Communion must be a serious matter, Christ was broken in body, beaten with many stripes beyond recognition, for our healing. He was put to the brutal death on the cross, giving His life's blood, so we can live, really live. Taking this ritual in an off-handed way is a reflection of our spirituality as lukewarm and as though it meant nothing at all. It meant everything! Jesus said to do this in remembrance of Him. We do this practice once a year in some churches, once in a while in others, weekly in yet others. Is that how often we remember Him?
That sounds condescending on my part, doesn't it. That is not my purpose at all. The point I am aiming to make is that we should see that all our religion, is merely religious acts if we are not portraying Christ to the world. They are meaningless if we live with unforgiveness, anger, if we are deceitful, perverse in our manner of speech. In other words, live according to the world's standard. I heard recently, another Christian say after they overheard yet another christian drop an "F" bomb, "that's just the way people talk these days." I am not unforgiving toward the man for thinking that talking that way isn't wrong, yet I wonder, maybe the passages that tell the follower of Christ to not speak in a profane manner, and all of the dozens of other passages aren't serious.
Let's be serious. We have come to a place in this country, that the Cross of Jesus is under constant scrutiny directly because of Christian behavior, Christian division, and Christian apathy. It is often hard to tell the difference in unbelievers and believers. The secular world has no confidence that the religious take their belief serious. We're divided by many petty doctrines that have nothing to do with redemption, and the ones that are extreme, are the worst, thinking they are the chosen few that God will take to heaven. If that's where you attend...run for it! Not really, but give this thought, all of those thinking they're the "ones," should spend time with the four Gospels, and the conversations Jesus had with the Pharisees.
The greatest killer to the believer is apathy. Apathy toward understanding the tenets they follow. Many believers aren't savvy to the reason Christ died, or what the reason God had in requiring blood. We have to fix this. Foreign countries are sending missionaries to America to evangelize this country, you know, tell us about Jesus. We really need it.
I hope you are concerned as much as I am. I was one of the followers of Jesus that had no idea what Jesus was all about. It took me a long time to see many truths from endoctrination in the gospel of man, to the gospel of Grace through Christ Jesus. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith