Last night I talked to a lady, knowing that a few days ago she had been pushed by her husband and verbally insulted. I asked her how she was doing, how her husband was treating her. Among other things, she told me that her husband had been treating her badly for a long time. He usually does not attack her physically, but verbally simply destroys her. She told me with grief that she had not attended Holy Communion for half a year because of this. I was a little surprised and asked her what was her part in this conflict, which made her not participate in Holy Communion? She told me that she does her best to keep the family in peace and that she is pure before the Lord. Then I asked her why, however, she did not attend Holy Communion. She told me that before the breaking of bread, it is always announced that only those who are in peace with everyone can participate, but she is not in peace with her husband. I thought then with pity that the poor woman had made herself once again a victim because of a lack of knowledge of the Scriptures. I showed her what the Scriptures say about Holy Communion: what it is, who can participate, and especially what the purpose is. Then I showed her what the Scriptures say about “living in peace with everyone.” In Romans 12:18 the Apostle Paul writes to the saints in Rome:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. (NASB)
So, it is important to have a clear conscience before God, that you have done everything in your power to keep the peace, and you can participate in Holy Communion.
In fact, it is a reality that you cannot always be in peace with all people (and Jesus said, ” Woe to you when all the people speak well of you; for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way.” Luke 6:26 NASB), but it is important that you are not the cause of the conflict or that you are not the one who maintains the conflict. How can we keep the peace? The apostle Paul also gives some instructions:
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. (Romans 12:15-18 NASB)
How do you proceed if, despite the fact that you are pursuing peace, your husband still hates you and treats you badly? Here is what the Apostle Paul gives next:
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21 NASB)
The phrase “heap burning coals on his head” means awakening one’s conscience. If we behave well with those who harm us, they feel rebuked, and in this way we awaken their conscience and help them to straighten out. Thus we overcome evil with good. But if we allow ourselves to be led by our earthly nature and respond with evil to evil, then we allow ourselves to be overcome by evil.
After talking to this lady, I thought that maybe there are many troubled women who do not participate in Holy Communion because they are abused by their husbands, even though they have no guilt in the conflict that is in the family. This made me write this article as an encouragement for such women. It is important that you have a clear conscience that you are doing everything in your power to keep the peace in the house with a lot of love and patience.
Translated by Ina Croitoru