In addition to giving something up, why not practice daily acts of kindness?
Posted in , Feb 28, 2017
Lent is almost here and I’ve been thinking a lot about what to give up this year. There are just so many things I could banish from my life for six weeks! Chocolate, that’s an obvious one. Diet coke, another no brainer. TV. Shopping. Even sarcasm, as one Guideposts author gave up for Lent.
I needed some inspiration to help narrow down my many, many choices. So I did a little digging online and searched for what people typically give up for Lent. Not surprisingly, chocolate, coffee and social media came up a lot.
In the middle of my research, I came across an old article from Time magazine about Pope Francis, who encouraged Christians to give up indifference for Lent 2015. The article included this quote from John Chrysostom:
“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”
Well, that really got me thinking! Maybe, I thought, I could do something during Lent that would bring good to others.
So I’ve decided that, in addition to giving something up like candy or caffeine, I’m also going to do one good thing for another person (strangers included) for every day of Lent. That could include a random act of kindness or praying for a grumpy person on the subway or writing a thank-you note to someone who really deserves it.
I’ll pick a new person for each of the 40 days of Lent. I’m hoping this little exercise will make me more aware of others and more loving. I’ll report back on my progress throughout Lent.
What about you? What are you giving up–or adding in!–this Lenten season?