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Switch to Forum Live View What makes one unworthy?
2 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2012 - 9:58PM #1
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,167

We may have done this before, I don't know. The forgivness thread got me thinking-

When Paul says that someone who takes part in the Lord's Supper 'unworthily' is sinning, what does he mean? What makes someone 'unworthy'?

Let me explain where I'm coming from. A good friend of mine went through a divorce a couple of years ago. She cheated on him-I'm not sure how many times, but it was more than once. It was an agonizing decision for him, although things hadn't been 'right' between him and his wife for quite a while. The thing he agonized most about wasn't breaking vows to his wife so much as breaking the vows to God that he felt he was making when he said 'I do'. He's a rather religious person and very well studied on the subjects of the Bible and Christianity in general. He was so torn up about it that he told me he wasn't sure if he was worthy to take the Eucharist, or if he had been sinning this entire time by taking it while he wasn't actively trying to reconcile with his wife. When I asked him where he got that idea from, he mentioned the part of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talks about grudges-

"So if you are offering your gift on the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother and then come and offer your gift." (Mt 5:23-24, Holman Christian Standard Version).

He felt that, by filing for divorce, he was 'giving up' on reconciling and therefore forever rendering himself 'unworthy'. Remember, these are the thoughts of someone going through a lot of emotional pain.

I reminded him that a) he *had* tried to reconcile before, but at one point she said she wasn't sure she wanted to be married anymore. Even though that happened a year or so before the divorce and they had gotten counseling from their (Lutheran) priest, things had never really been resolved; b) by cheating, his wife broke the vow and c) his situation fit the description Jesus gave later in the same chapter about divorce. I wasn't saying this to say he had an 'out' so much as that it takes two people to make things work and that he shouldn't beat himself up when he had done everything he could to restore things. If God really is the omnipresent, omnicient being that we believe He is, surely He would know these things and not hold him responsible for something that wasn't entirely his doing. As far as I know, Lutherans don't excommunicate divorced people the way Catholicism does. At least, that's my understanding. I could be wrong.



Honestly, I was trying whatever I could to help him out. But do you think that a situation like this would make someone 'unworthy' in terms of the Eucharist? What sorts of things would make someone 'unworthy' in general, or *is* there anything? Do you think that God considers any 'mitigating circumstances' such as reconciliation not being possible or (in the case of abusive relationships) even a good idea? If not, why not?
 

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2 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2012 - 10:54PM #2
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
Well, you know i hold Paul's teachings at arms length, but as soon as i read your thread title, i immediately thought of Christ's teaching about having something against your brother, and to be reconciled to him(her) before taking communion; i think, Christ being the forgiving sort He is, as insightful as He is, if He knows you made a sincere effort to be reconciled and were rejected(and He'd certainly know this, being a mind-reader and all), then one could in good conscience participate without sinning, imo.

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
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2 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2012 - 1:23AM #3
Rgurley4
Posts: 8,952

The word "unworthy" is used very little in the NT...SEE:
Luk 17:10
Act 13:46
1 Corinthians 11:27


The misconduct: gluttony...eating bread / wine in excess...and not sharing...
being disorderly...SEE: 1 Corinthians 11: 17-22; 33-34
...one is hungry and another is drunk...
...when you come together to eat, wait for one another....


The Lord’s Supper Celebration..."in remembrance of Me"...
SEE: 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26


Compare: misconduct to orderly conduct


27 THEREFORE whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner,
(hungry, drunk, impatient, disorderly, etc)
shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. (an unacceptable celebration of the Lord’s Supper)
28 But a man must examine (judge) himself, (for his sins and claim forgiveness)
and in so doing (first!)
he is to (then) eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks,
eats and drinks judgment to himself
IF he does not judge the body rightly.
30 For this reason (unresolved sin)
many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.(by God)
32 But when we are judged, (by God)
we are disciplined (trained) by the Lord
so that we will not be condemned (sentenced) along with the world. (of unbelievers)


For the RCC doctrines, reasoning and interpretation of these passages:
SEE the "sacraments" of:
1. Eucharist
2. Confession
3. Penance


RCC Reasoning?: unless you have been purified of your sin / sin(s), you are "UNWORTHY" to receive the ACTUAL body and blood of Christ.


Non-RCC Reasoning:


1 John 1: 5-10...John: Jesus the God-Man Is Light...walk in it!
This is the message we (believers) have heard from Him (Jesus) and announce to you,
that (the 3 spiritual Persons-in-1) God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have FELLOWSHIP (spiritual togetherness) with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
BUT if we (believers) WALK in the Light as He (Jesus) Himself is in the Light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the (sacrificial) blood of Jesus His Son CLEANSES us (spiritually) from all SIN.(FORGIVEN!)
If we say that we have no sin (after salvation), we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(BUT!) If we confess (agree with God about) our sins,
He is faithful and righteous to FORGIVE us our SINS and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned (after salvation), we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

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2 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2012 - 4:57PM #4
Jenandew7
Posts: 13,479

As an old Episcopalian, this is the way I take this decision:  When the couple settled on divorce, he had a very difficult emotional time of it.  The two have made peace, but perhaps that peace is not in his heart.  Perhaps he is still hurt and angry, unforgiving of her for what she has done.  As long as this is the case, it is best that he not go to the Lord's table.  I don't remember what you quoted, but there is that bit in 1Cor about eating and drinking death of yourself. 


Forgoing the Holy Eucharist is cathartic.  We don't practice this enough anymore.  I would recommend that a person who has notyet forgiven another should go to the Lord's table, but rather than take the Holy Sacraments, they should cross thier arms over their chest and take a blessing.  When you do this, healing is rapid.  How often do we think we must do this all by ourselves?  But when we turn to Christ we are healed.  I've never had to do this more than one week. 


We were once taught this in preparation for confirmation as part of self-examination before Communion.  I've done it several times in my life.  It used to not be uncommon, but so few have been taught now, it is shocking for someone to do it.  The last time I did this my priest literally took two steps back when he saw that I was crossing myself rather than taking the host.


Self-examination was the objective, where we decided whether or not we were worthy (or prepared) to take the Holy Sacraments.   I think that pride is the only reason to avoid doing this.  We ask forgiveness for our sins and we check whether we have anyone to forgive or if there is someone with whom we need to make peace.  We promise to do better the next week than we did the week before.  If in any of these things we may fail, we should not "go to the Lord's table."  I do think the blessing, though, causes us to ask for help and this is very important. 


I can think of no better way to do penance!


A. 

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. --Isaiah 58:10
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2 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2012 - 8:25PM #5
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,167

Annie, I know what you mean re: unusual for someone to forego the Eucharist if they have something troublesome in their hearts. You're right, we aren't taught much about these things. The problem is, exactly what constitutes 'troublesome'? I say that because people with issues with depression like my friend and myself will often have a hard time telling the difference between the depression talking and what actually *is* a problem attitude. How can we tell the difference?


I will say one thing, their divorce was uncontested and somewhat amicable. At least that way neither of them will be having this hanging over their heads for a long time because the feelings of anger, etc have already been (largely) worked through.


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2 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2012 - 9:41PM #6
Mlyons619
Posts: 16,572

Re;  Unworthy.


We ALL fall short of Salvation on our own.  It is ONLY through the Body and Blood our our Savior that we are MADE worthy of the Father.


It seems that when you feel particularly unworthy of the Eucharist, that's when you need it the MOST...

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2 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2012 - 9:45PM #7
k-bearsmom
Posts: 1,716

Beautifully said Mlyons....full of His grace and mercy!

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2 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2012 - 12:02PM #8
Iwantamotto
Posts: 8,355

While I get the "you have to be cool with God before partaking" thing, supposedly we are all sinners, it's in our nature, so really it amounts to "you have to be cool ... at this time".  However, like it was mentioned earlier, feeling like crap is precisely when you need to feel that connection the most.

Knock and the door shall open.  It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.
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2 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2012 - 12:57PM #9
Jenandew7
Posts: 13,479

Dec 20, 2012 -- 8:25PM, Beautiful_Dreamer wrote:


Annie, I know what you mean re: unusual for someone to forego the Eucharist if they have something troublesome in their hearts. You're right, we aren't taught much about these things. The problem is, exactly what constitutes 'troublesome'? I say that because people with issues with depression like my friend and myself will often have a hard time telling the difference between the depression talking and what actually *is* a problem attitude. How can we tell the difference?


I will say one thing, their divorce was uncontested and somewhat amicable. At least that way neither of them will be having this hanging over their heads for a long time because the feelings of anger, etc have already been (largely) worked through.





Only he could really say when he is at peace.  As I said, Christ works with us on these things if we only turn to him.   Forgiveness, if it is what is required, is essentially already given, but we often don't feel it or accept it.  Any guilt we seem to carry, that too needs to be dealt with because we need to be gracious and forgiving of ourselves.  Any tendency toward anger or unforgiveness, jealousy, desire toward vengence, etc., and these emotions will tumble with our memories. 


I know that when I have someone to forgive, I will forgive, but silly me--I can revisit my emotional baggage in a weak moment.  A friend told me a long, long time ago that it takes a full year to overcome these big disastrous events in life and so no new move should be taken for at least that long, such as remarriage.  This also applies to grief.  By and large, I think he was right in my own experience.  It takes time to heal. 


Even though we know better now that we should be supportyive of others than in the past, when a person expresses weakness, depression or inner struggle they may still be ostrasized for it, told to buck up, etc.  I think we learn this rather quickly and so we don't express our dark and deep emotional struggles.  I think depression can result from this.


Depression may come from suppressed emotions.  We can hide some of these things in the depths of our minds.  Years ago, I did the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  Early on, I found that facing what was buried in my mind was brought out.  I discovered that some pretty inane things had turned into silent monsters and once brought out through journaling and the dreams that came to me at that time, I could banish my them.  But those first six weeks were rough!  *lol* Note that what I am saying here is that there is a difference between overcoming our baggage and suppressing it.  By not looking at it we seemingly move on, but it drags us down at the subconscious level.  I was amazed by how powerful that was and remembering that now it may be time for me to revisit the practice. 


We believe that Christ is in the Holy Sacraments and through them we are forgiven.  Sometimes it helps to cry about it, to develop some sympathy for ourselves before we can let go of our baggage.  This is why doing the Rite of Penance can be so cathartic.  All I can say is that I do face my issues quickly when I forgo the Sacraments and wait a week.  This is just up to the individual as to if it might help and when to do it. 


Annie

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. --Isaiah 58:10
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