Lent is all about reflections. Reflecting on the sacrificial sort of love that is supposed to be at the center of Christianity. How have we shown that love to one another, to God? How can we better show that love in this next year, but especially during the lenten season. Lent is penitential. We are penitent for the things that we fall short in, the areas that we mess up, the actions we could have done better or the words that we could have said differently.
Love one another, that is one of the greatest commandments. Notice how I haven’t mentioned giving up something in penitence? I do not fault those that give up sweets, or alcohol, or any other tangible, material thing. However, I do think its just as helpful to reflect on the why’s for giving something up as the actual giving up of the thing. Why give some “thing” up for Lent? Thing being the key word here. We are shedding this thing in penitence. Penitence for what? For what we have done and what we have left undone. I fail to see how giving up chocolate will help is to be better people or better Christians or to love God anymore. We give things up to remember the sacrifice of Christ and our own failings in falling short of the more decent, loving human beings that we could be.
In light of that, for just a few minutes, consider giving up something less tangible. Give up your prejudices, give up your insecurities, give up a worry, give up some problem to God or to the universe or to whatever you believe. All of those negative feelings and things separate us from loving one another or loving God. Pick one of those things to give up during this lenten season. Perhaps in addition to Hershey bars if you still need to give up something tangible.
I’m going to make a better effort to give up hostility and hurt feelings during Lent. Perhaps that will help me to be a more loving and compassionate person. I have never had a terrible time being forgiving, but I find that with the baby and myriad of changes in my life in the last year I am harboring grudges in a way that I have never done. I want to be a good mom, and I truly think that with some effort and a lot of patience that I can be. The good baby step in that direction is the ability to forgive easily and without holding in malice.
What are you giving up for Lent?