Have you ever had to teach a toddler to apologize? If you have had that experience, you know there is a big difference between saying the words and doing the actions and actually meaning what is said. My son can say he’s sorry and give me a hug, but when he pulls the hair off my legs a second time and laughs, I begin to doubt his genuineness of it all.
Paul had a similar chat with the church in Corinth about 2,000 years ago (and the same conversations are happening today). The church was saying and doing the actions of the Lord’s Supper… but their heart wasn’t in it. How could he tell? Well, probably the same way all the unbelievers around could tell; there were divisions and clicks in the church! Paul told the church, “I don’t know what you’re doing when you have bread and wine, but I can tell you it’s NOT the Lord’s Supper!”
Paul was pointing out that if people in the church were allowing their social and economic backgrounds cause a rift in their relationships, then they didn’t fully comprehend what Jesus accomplished at the cross. They didn’t fully comprehend that they were all on common ground… sinners saved by God’s grace and mercy through faith! Paul then explained that when anyone takes part in communion, they need to examine their relationships and make sure they are treating each person with the same sacrificial love that was shared with them by Christ. Your heart in communion is only as real and genuine as your heart is for those around you.
So, do you mean it? Not just when you’re taking communion… but do you really mean you’ve accepted Jesus mercy and grace? If you mean it, your words and actions will be backed by your heart. Out of your life will flow sacrificial care, compassion and mercy. Not because you’re great and others are not (or visa versa), but because you really get what Jesus did for you.