While I am used to a couple talks each year about the different views on the practice of Lent, I was surprised how many comments flooded my Facebook page for and against this traditional practice this year. So with that in mind, I was sparked to babble a few words on the topic.
For those who are unaware, Lent is a period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter where a Christian fasts something of value to them to let that craving drive them closer into God. Again, it is a tradition and not mandated by the Bible. However, the principles behind the act are Biblical. In other words, no one has to do Lent but the principles behind it are part of the Christian life on a constant basis.
For instance, we are called to humble ourselves before the Lord so that He can lift us up (James 4: 10). We are expected to fast and with proper motives (Matthew 6:16-18). Fasting breaks bonds, brings freedom, and encourages us to help others (Isaiah 58: 6-8).
I was not raised with Lent but I have partaken of it over the last 8-9 years. The goal is draw close to God, find freedom as He moves, and prepare yourself for the celebration of Holy Week. I have found it to be powerful and worth ever moment of the commitment.
It does not surprise me or bother me when people do not participate, reject the practice of Lent (but hold to fasting and repentance), or have questions about it. However, what is surprising me is some of the comments that are very negative towards other brother and sisters in Christ that do.
I am disturbed when I read comments that seem to be putting down others who practice Lent because they assume this is the only time these Christians are repentant or serving God. That is like putting down others because they celebrate Easter and assume they do not celebrate the resurrection of our Lord throughout the year.
Rather or not you participate in Lent is not the question. Again, it’s a tradition that is based on Biblical practices. You can reject the tradition but claim the Biblical practices in other ways. However, I believe you are on dangerous grounds when you are trashing others in God’s family because of their participation. In some causes I have seen people excel themselves in their own view as better Christians than those who participate which is the opposite of the humbleness that many people seek today.
Let me also note that I am aware that some have had bad experiences in their past with Lent that effects their view of the practice. I get that and fully understand. The only thing I ask when you are talking to others that you are aware of this before you accidently attack others for something they have founds beauty and passion in as God moves. It might even to be wise to try it again with people who are passionate about the God view instead of the corrupted man views.
That all said, the practice of Lent is a “disputable matter”. So with that in mind, I will leave you with this no matter what you perspective on Lent is…
Romans 14: 1-12
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”