I am very traditional about lent. I have not touched meat or other non-veg during these 46 days from my childhood. It is the way I was brought up and this is the way I am going to be till I rest in the grave. This year for a change, along with meat I gave up tea – one of my favourite addiction.
Many have asked me why should Christians give up any thing for lent. Had not Jesus liberated us from all the bondage and regulations? Does not Paul himself says in Colossians 2: 16 that ‘do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink’? By abstaining from meat or any other thing, will we be able to please God or get his favour?
The answer is a clear NO.
Then why do we do it? or Why I do it?
Lent season gives me a special opportunity to reflect on my life. When I choose to abstain from certain things which are very vital part of my life – non-veg or tea, I consciously choose to give up something which unconsciously became important. This very act shows me what hinders me from loving God more in my life. When I am tormented by temptation to eat meat during lent, it bares my inner gluttonous nature which was well fed all along. My only recourse during this time would be to seek God’s help to overcome this temptation.
This abstinence helps me to discover my deep-seated habits – the seemingly harmless habits which are deeply ingrained in my life. This helps me to discipline myself with regards to how I indulge myself.
This year, as I abstain from tea, I realise that I have a craving for sweets. In order to hide the temptation for tea or some hot drinks in the evening, I eat chocolates more. Though it is an insignificant discovery, it is vital flaw in me which I need to correct.
There is also a practical reason for these abstinences. I would not have an opportunity to control what I eat on other occasions – I love good tea and hearty meal filled with fat. But lent gives me a reason to be moderate and it is the most healthy option.
So, to those who don’t care about lent – I congratulate you on your sense of freedom from rules and regulations. But think about the benefits you reap if you follow some rules on your own. You can definitely opt for this without regretting it.