If you ever want to stop a priest dead in his tracks, say you’re not giving up anything for Lent.
I learned this fact a few years ago when one of my friends asked me what I was giving up for the holy season. Of course, after explaining myself, the priest acknowledged my reasoning.
You see, nowhere in the Bible does it say you have to give up something for Lent. This is actually a hotly-debated point in Christian religion. Many of the instances of “you can’t do this” come from the laws in the Old Testament.
However, since Jesus did a lot of upheaval in the New Testament, a lot of those old laws no longer stand.
I often explain to my religious friends that Jesus was the final sacrifice. God sent down His only son to wash away the sins of the world. With Jesus being the ultimate sacrifice, the old sacrifices (which are all over the Old Testament) are no longer necessary.
That being said, if you want to give something up for Lent, go ahead! I strongly encourage everyone to find a personal relationship with God. If a sacrifice makes you feel closer to God, you should absolutely go for it. Just don’t feel like you’re being forced to give something up for the sake of appeasing God: that’s not how it works.
What I do encourage is for you to do something productive during Lent. Help out your community. Reach out. Your spiritual life will probably benefit far more from community building than from giving up chocolate for a month.