taking the words of Jesus seriously

This past Sunday, while sharing The Lord’s Supper with fellow worshippers, I was challenged to repent of my sins.

Before eating the bread that symbolized Christ’s broken body or drinking the wine that served as a reminder of His blood shed because of my sins, I did a lot of repenting. I did so, not so much to escape condemnation from God on Judgment Day, but in deep remorse for all the hurts my sins had inflicted on others. I remembered those who may have thought less of Christ because of having noticed things I had said or done.

I am an old man now, but when I reflect on my past, I realize there have been in my attitudes and behavior over the years expressions of the sexism that I now condemn. I know that there have been times when, in the face of racism and homophobia, I remained silent and did nothing – and that silence was sin. And there have been occasions when I have been disingenuous and compromised my testimony for Christ. It would be easy for me to go into specifics, but I don’t know what good that would do. Deeds done in time are irrevocable.

RELATED: A Legacy Worth Passing On: Tony Campolo’s ‘Divine Dissatisfaction’

At this communion service this past Sunday, as I ate the bread and drank the wine, I most of all remembered how my sins have caused Jesus agonizing pain. Upon reflection, I realized that none of the nails that the Roman soldiers drilled through His hands and feet hurt Him more than my own personal ugly sins…and, at this communion service, I repented – big time – and I inwardly wept.

All I can hope for is that on the day when each of us will have to give account of our sins that those who I have offended will have taken on something of the grace and forgiveness of Christ, so that they might respond to me as I know He will.

About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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