The Worst of Lies








Some lies are worse than others. There are some lies actually try hard to ‘do good’ or prevent pain, (does my bum look big in this?…) while others only serve to wreak havoc and destruction.

Yesterday evening at our Yanchep community I was teaching around the subject of communion – such a significant and important part of our gathered experience as Christians – and I was reminded again how deep the lie of ‘unworthiness’ cuts.

‘I can’t take communion because I am not worthy…’

‘When I start to live a life that is Godly and pure, then I’ll come back to the table.’

‘I should let the communion bread and wine pass me by because I don’t deserve to participate’.

You’ve heard this stuff right?

Maybe you feel it.

And it’s such a common lie because it’s been peddled so hard over the years. We need to ‘examine ourselves’ and determine if we are ‘worthy to participate’. We need to earn our way back into ‘credit’ before we think about going anywhere near the communion table.

But its a lie… a lie… the worst of lies because the very place where we encounter forgiveness and grace and the love of a father welcoming us home is at this very table. We come because we are not worthy but because he has made us acceptable to God.

Everyone is welcome at this table no matter how screwed up they are. That’s good news! There is absolutely nothing good in the message that when you tidy your life up you can take a seat. In fact it’s the opposite of everything else the Bible teaches.

Remember how context is everything when it comes to interpreting the Bible? Well when pulled out of context those verses sure do seem to say ‘examine yourself’ to which we add ‘and see if your behaviour stacks up’, and in our psyche we feel that this makes sense. Its’ how life works by and large – but it’s not how grace works.

And it’s not even close to what Paul is saying. This chapter in 1 Corinthians 11 concerns some people coming to the meal early and eating all the best food, and getting drunk on the wine, leaving only the crumbs and the cheap drinks for the poor or the slaves who had to work late.

20When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?


This is the context of his critique. It is not even remotely related to our moral stature before God. If it were then we all unworthy. We can never make ourselves ‘worthy’. Isn’t that the whole point of Jesus’ death and God’s forgiveness?

Paul goes on to describe the communion meal and then says:

 27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognising the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. 33So then, my brothers,  when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

Wait for each other.

Wait for each other.

That’s when we eat and drink unworthily – when we fail to recognise the nature of Christian community and the injustice that gets done when we slight one another and push ahead. Waiting for one another matters to God – because it says we value one another as brothers and sisters. We love each other.

But wouldn’t it be a clever trick to make Christians think they are ‘unworthy’ to participate because of their sin? Wouldn’t it just mess with everything to keep people from experiencing grace and remembering that they are forgiven?

If you have bought this lie then hand it back and breathe in the truth – the good news that says you are acceptable to God because of Jesus’ death and his taking care of our sin.

How did we confuse that with the rich eating all the food?

Perhaps because it’s just the kind of lie that would devastate a community and cripple anyone from finding grace, forgiveness and joy.  It’s a clever ploy – but it’s a lie – the worst of lies.

Treat it as such and know your Father welcomes you no matter what state your life is in.

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