It's a root problem

I’m not Catholic and I’ve found it confusing to figure out what Lent is all about.  In the past my Catholic friends explained Lent was giving up stuff as an act of penance.  More recently it is about doing good stuff.  And I recently heard that it’s some of both or that you can choose to do one or the other.

I went to the horse’s mouth to find clarity: http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/faq.php.

Here’s one summary statement from the article I read.  “What we are to give up more than anything else is sin, which is to say we are to give up whatever keeps us from living out our baptismal promises fully.”

Lent is something deeper than giving up chocolate.  And it’s more than performing good deeds.  Lent is about purification. It’s about giving up sin.

When it comes to giving up sin, I’m not doing so well.

Like Paul, I am wretched and the solution has never been giving up sin.  Wish I could!  Oh sure, I can learn to control an outburst of anger.  But I find the problem is more than behavioral.  It’s systemic. I can’t seem to root it out.

Let me put it this way, I can deal with the fruit (outward sinning) but I can’t deal with the root (inward sinning).  The inward sinning is always there.  Giving up something doesn’t help me.  Doing good deeds doesn’t solve my root problem.

I’ve decided this Lenten season I’m giving something up.  I’m giving up trusting in something “I can do” and resting in what “Jesus has done.”  (Romans 7:23-8:1)

Happy Easter!

Grace Freak

Dan Rockwell

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Living, Sin, Uncategorized


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8 Comments on “Lent”

  1. landsway Says:

    I like the way you write. Short and to the point. You are so right; it is not about us but it is all about Him.

  2. cairtree Says:

    Thanks for sharing!I’m going to link to this on facebook if that’s ok! (that’s how i found it as well)

  3. Justin Says:

    Hey Dan,

    I’m tracking with what your saying about lent, but I’m not sure if I completely agree. Growing up in a Lutheran church we observed lent as well. But I really don’t feel our focus was on purification. Sure we did practice a lention fast where we either gave something up or took something on, but at least in the church I grew up in the focus seemed to be more on the remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

    So I am tracking what your saying and I overall agree with what your saying but through experience I’m not sure about that concept.


    • Dan Rockwell Says:

      J. Weav,

      As I wrote this blog the hardest thing was nailing down what lent was all about. It seems to mean different things to different people or groups.

      If it’s about focusing on Jesus, thats great. My comments focus on a narrow component of a much bigger picture.

      Thanks for jumping into the conversation.



      • Justin Says:

        I think that is the hardest part when looking at the “doing” religions. Things aren’t always consistent. And sometimes the people we talk to who are involved aren’t too sure as well. Something to think about I guess.

        Love ya man,

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