Lent has arrived. When I was a little kid, I called it the “fish season” – for unlike most kids, I love fish and prefer it to other meat. So, this time of the year always made me happy because every fast food chain had fish sandwiches and most restaurants had fish dinners. They even served fish sticks in school lunch…Yum! I wasn’t being disrespectful – just being a kid… As I got older, I began to understand the significance of lent and Ash Wednesday through the lives of many of my Catholic friends and other Christians.
Lent is viewed in churches that observe the season as a time of spiritual preparation for Easter. Fasting, doing penance, and abstaining from worldly amusements are seen to parallel the passion and suffering of Jesus prior to and during the Crucifixion. I commend those that whole-heartedly observe this time of reflection, repentance, sacrifice and communion. Fasting is powerful and pleases God. Holiness is the Lord’s hearts desire for His children. I too believe in fasting, repenting, and avoiding the temptations of worldly activity. My challenge is that self-denial and sacrifice would be a lifestyle rather than just a special effort once a year. Allow times like Lent to provide an opportunity to search our hearts and provoke us to greater service.
Sometimes people aren’t very nice…
Mean people spread mean gossip; their words smart and burn. Troublemakers start fights; gossips break up friendships. Proverbs 16:27-28
We get those selfish moments where we are either super-sensitive and we take everything too personal or we’re just the opposite, too calloused, and we fail to realize we’re being a jerk. It happens. Far too often for most of us.
It’s important during these glitches in our humanity to:
a) Shut up – don’t complain, moan & loathe or, on the other hand, brag, defend or belittle. be careful not to use your blog, facebook, twitter, instagram, etc to manipulate or implicate. And then,
b) Get alone with God & His Word. seek the absolute and total truth and be willing to obey (repent, forgive or both). Finally,
c) Always give others the benefit of the doubt. seek the best, believe the best and smile through it (relying on the reality of God’s saving grace to ripple across your face).
Yeah, people will still be mean…
But, we can be better with each and every opportunity, yes opportunity, we have to catch some unmerited pity, punk’ing or even praise. take it all in stride.
Look how Proverbs 16 ends:
Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say. v. 33