Our teachers and leaders tell us we should never take the sacrament unworthily. There are times when I don’t feel worthy, but I take it anyway because I’m afraid of what my parents or other people might think. What should I do?
Each week in sacrament meeting we have a chance to renew a covenant of great value. In fact, it’s the most important thing that happens in the whole meeting, and it should not be taken lightly. If you listen carefully to the sacrament prayers, even though they are the same each Sunday, you can’t help but be amazed by what is promised. We agree to do three things: to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, to always remember him, and to keep his commandments. In return, the Lord promises that we will always have his Spirit to be with us. What a great promise! Having the Spirit of the Lord with you is the greatest feeling of love and peace you can ever have. It’s a feeling that once you have experienced, perhaps at the time you were baptized, for example, you always want to feel again and again.
The sacrament is a weekly opportunity to remember just exactly what it is that we have promised. It is a time to think about our lives, review the things we have done, and resolve to make changes if needed. None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. So you shouldn’t avoid taking the sacrament just because you are working on problems and trying to overcome them. If only people who were perfect in every way were worthy to take the sacrament, then no one on earth would be taking the sacrament.
However, if the life you are living on Saturday or during the previous week just doesn’t match the promises you are expected to make on Sunday, then when the sacrament is passed, you won’t feel good about taking it. Now comes an important decision. Do you take the sacrament just so your parents or friends sitting nearby won’t wonder about you? Are you going to try to hide the bad choices you are making? Are you going to try to ignore that uncomfortable feeling that is nagging you? Or are you just turning off your mind so you don’t have to think about it all?
If you take the sacrament just because you don’t want anyone to ask any questions or because you’re just going through the motions, then watch out—you won’t be getting away with a thing. Mormon 9:29 says, “See that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.” [Morm. 9:29]
We can also understand that if we notice someone not partaking of the sacrament, we should not jump to any conclusions. The feelings that they are experiencing are between the Lord and them. If they ask for your help, you can offer it, but as true Latter-day Saints, we should not make another’s burdens heavier. Don’t participate in making comments or being critical. Those kinds of activities do nothing but hurt.
Incorporating Christ and his teachings into our lives takes time. We make mistakes. We may overlook things we should be doing. But as long as we’re trying to improve each week, then we are worthy to take the sacrament. In fact, taking the sacrament each week can help us prepare for the time when we go to the temple and take upon us eternally lifesaving covenants. If we learn to use the sacrament time as a chance to remember and value the Savior’s sacrifice for us, then as we approach the time to enter the temple, we will find ourselves more prepared and more comfortable entering into the covenants we make there.
When we don’t feel that we’ve been living worthily enough to take the sacrament, it is at these times we must be most careful about doing so. The Lord’s opinion of you should be above all others.
Scott Robins, 18 Ramstein, Germany
I look back to Doctrine and Covenants 46:4, [D&C 46:4]which says, “If any have trespassed, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation.” It may be hard not to partake of the sacrament with your friends watching, but it is my belief that such actions would cause my parents and friends to have more respect for me and a better understanding of the importance of the sacrament.
Jonathan Wood, 14 Byron, Georgia
If you are feeling unworthy, look at your life to see what things are making you feel that way. Then change your ways so you feel worthy again to take the sacrament.
Naomi Barrie, 14 Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Robert Cox, 14 Visalia, California
Recently I did a Personal Progress value experience that involved the sacrament. Because of what I learned, I have some advice. Read Matthew 26:26–28. [Matt 26:26–28] You will find that Christ administered the sacrament to remind us that we can be forgiven of our sins. Think about Jesus Christ and all he has done for us, and remember that we can all be forgiven if we repent.
Kimberly Broderick, 13 Edgewood, Maryland
I saw a Mormonad once that said, “Take it personally,” then showed a picture of a sacrament cup. The sacrament involves renewing a personal, sacred covenant with the Lord. Taking the sacrament is between you and the Lord, not the people in your ward. You should “Take it personally.”
Benjamin Preisler, 16 Ogden, Utah