My brother, my sister, how can we prepare to celebrate this Feast that is for us, the believers of Christ, the greatest Christian celebration, especially at this time when we are all confined around the world because of a virus? We very often overlook an important area that could help us grow and prepare to celebrate the Passover the way the Bible tells us to. Have we really made peace with those who have offended us, and have we asked for forgiveness from those we have offended?
Asking for forgiveness, and even receiving forgiveness, is not necessarily an easy thing. In the Word, Jesus gives us the key to obtaining forgiveness that we all so desperately need: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins”(Mark 11:25-26). Forgiving others is a prerequisite for us being forgiven by God! Nevertheless, there are baptized members of the Church of Christ who have ignored or neglected this, so they would attend worship services, have fellowship and celebrate the Passover, while obstinately refusing to socialise or fraternise (or even, in some extreme cases to speak) with their spiritual brothers or sisters, their family members or even a friend them because of an insult or a real or imagined offence belonging to the past.
What does the Bible say about the ultimate fate of an individual who refuses to repent or put aside their animosity and bitterness against a brother or sister, who stands before to Lord for communion? “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, 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. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 11: 26-30). We do not take communion as a ritual! Disagreements and attitudes of non-repentance cause stress and bitterness in the heart, and that alters the soul, body and spirit. This can go as far as to affect health, and can, prematurely, cause death as the Scripture above says.
Nobody can claim to be “worthy” because our “justice” disqualifies us. Thus, we need the Passover and the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. My friends, this is the time we should examine ourselves… well this should be done throughout the year, but above all, we should do it more intensely as the Passover approaches: “But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).
Yes, examining ourselves should be a way to honestly assess everything that is negative in our life. We must examine our works and our thoughts to assess ourselves and to repent of our sins. As believers of Christ, we should not examine ourselves with conceit in order to justify ourselves; we must judge ourselves according to the criteria of the Word: “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1: 23-25). Apostle Paul advises the Corinthians, but also each one of us to take stock of our spiritual condition: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”(2 Corinthians 13:5).
Indeed, we must examine ourselves and not just look at those who have offended or insulted us. Christ alone will be their judge if they do not repent because each of us will one day have to give an account to the Lord. In the meantime, Passover time should remind us of this: “Do not give evil back to anyone for evil. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”(Romans 12: 17-19). Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.