Friday, February 23, 2007

The Value of Sacrifice

Sacrifice has a bad reputation. We live in such a "me-first" culture. What I want I want now no matter whether it is good or bad or if it hurts someone else in the process. Sacrifice can be the antidote for that attitude. By giving something up for someone else, we learn to be less selfish, to have more self-control, and to keep our desires in check.

In Lent, we give something up for God. I read an article today that discouraged people from taking on too much during Lent, the argument being that you will just get discouraged when you are unable to fulfill your resolutions. On some level, this is true. You shouldn't try to work on ten character flaws at one time. But I don't think that we should discourage people from sacrifice because it is "too hard" or that they might give into temptation. If you fail at your resolution, you can always start again the next day and the day after that. Also, if you give up a treat or an entertainment (like TV or the radio), know that Sunday doesn't count as Lent (as it is a mini-Easter) and you can enjoy the treat on that day. It is much easier to give something up for 6 days than 40.

David decided he wanted to give up ice cream for Lent. I told him he didn't have to, that really age 7 was probably a good time to start making Lenten resolutions, but he said he wanted to. He is so looking forward to Sunday, but so far he has been successful in his resolution and I am proud of him. I know that for me, giving things up for Lent as a child helped me have the self-control to say "No" to bigger things as a teenager. I hope that this same training will help him say "No" to sex, drugs, smoking and alcohol as he gets older.

Sacrifice does have value, and so, if you haven't already, I encourage you to make one for this Lenten season.

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