Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Guess what's back, Lent Is Back

Today is the first day of lent. It is a time for prayer and fasting and a time for Christians to repent of their sins and learn again to trust in their savior, Jesus Christ. It is a time to focus more on one thing, Jesus Christ and what He has done for us, and therefore less on other things that may be distracting us from remembering all that Christ has done for us. Though, a lot of people seem to take lent as a way to "show off" almost. They seem to use it to tell other people that they are christian and maybe even "more christian" than other people because they are giving up something "so big".

"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others." Matthew 6:5

I know that question becomes a big part of conversations around this time because of everyone's curiosity. "What are you giving up for lent?" To be completely honest, it is no one's business but God's what you are giving up. It is not some show to impress people.

I am a little ashamed and a bit embarrassed to admit that last year I gave up a friendship for lent. One that, I thought, was not very good for me and I thought that lent was a good time of reflection and focusing on Christ and his sacrifice and God's mercy and less on the turmoil and stress of this sinful world. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing, but it turns out that maybe there were more selfish reasons behind that than I thought. But putting someone through that is terrible and will also make that person a lot less likely to focus more on Christ themselves. This is a time to have more opportunities to receive the gifts from God won by Christ's death and resurrection. It is a time to focus more on showing God's mercy and love to others, even though we should do that every day. That was not an excuse to cut someone out of my life and say I was doing it to "focus more on Christ" but I used it for that. I admit that I did that for selfish reasons and I will regret it for a very long time. The good news is that I know God has forgiven me and I thank him every day that we are saved by grace and not by works.

My point is, we tend to use lent as a time for personal gain in some way and it seems to be a little more "me" focused than God focused. Giving some certain food up for a diet and just using lent as a cover for it to make people see it as a more "Godly" thing. I pray that everyone, including myself, will use lent as a time to focus more on Christ and His sacrifice as we prepare to celebrate his resurrection.

So as far as what I am giving up for lent, that is between God and me, and no one else needs to care.

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