Perhaps I should have waited a week or two for this post since we are only a few days into lent, but I think that once in a while it’s not such a bad thing to break your lenten promise.
We give-up or take-on during lent because we want to show our love for God, sacrifice like Jesus did, and improve our self-discipline. If, after all we can say no to the little things, then we may be able to have the strength to say no to the bigger temptations.
At the end of the forty days, what have we learned, what has been transformed, how do we feel?
If I feel proud and smug, if I feel that I really accomplished something on my own, if I feel more self-righteous than others who didn’t do anything for lent then break that lenten promise right now. If I feel as though I really did God a favor by my sacrifice, then break that lenten promise. Lent did not teach you anything of God.
I never get upset when someone breaks their lenten promise because there is much wisdom to be gained. Here are a few of the teachings:
- I am human, I mess up sometimes. You sometimes fall as well, let us be compassionate and forgiving of each other.
- I can do nothing alone. I rely on God for everything. There is a beautiful humility in depending on Our Father and surrendering.
- After I fall, do I get up or do I stay down? I can try again, I can be forgiven for anything, I can start over.
- I am loved, for who I am, not for what I do. I am loved.
Lent is a great teacher if you allow it to be about God and not about ‘me’. Humility, forgiveness, compassion, surrender…..love. There is no room in the desert for pride or ego.
Breaking your lenten promise……maybe it’s not such a bad thing if you allow God to take over.
JT brings us an excellent point in his comment below….Please know that I am speaking more of ‘slipping up’ than an outright ‘break’. Our lenten sacrifices are of much value, but as with everything else, it must be about God and not about ‘me’.