Lent reminds us of our vulnerability to sin

Lent reminds us of our vulnerability to sin February 19, 2024

In some churches sin is not given enough attention.

In the type of church I have attended the sole contact we tend to have with lent is Shrove Tuesday!  Every year I have been alive we have made pancakes that day. I almost always forget the reason why, taking a break from any special religious festivals till Good Friday.  I don’t think I have ever even given something up for lent. And yet I do recognise the value to our souls of periods of reflection, self sacrifice, and even fasting.


Yesterday I discovered another church minister I was aware of had fallen due to accusations of sexual sin and abuse.  I have made a resolution never to comment on the details of such cases, partly because I do not have the time to investigate appropriately, but also because it is just too depressing.

Whilst it is clearly not a magic cure, perhaps an extended time of remembering our fallen state, and exactly why it was necessary for Christ to come to save us would do us all good. It might even help prevent us from  thinking that  as “good christians” we are now somehow immune to the pull of fleshly desires. Could it even prevent some of these spectacular falls?

As lent is not a major feature in my church tradition I thought I would take a look at other Patheos writers to learn what I can in the spirit of my recent post encouraging us to learn from different kinds of christians.



For many Christians, Lent involves putting off the old self, or giving something up to draw closer to God, as we prepare to remember Jesus’ death and celebrate his resurrection.

This yearly custom recalls Colossians 3:9: “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

The Lenten fast is a ritual that helps us put off our old, sinful selves and put on Jesus, the perfect human being.

Yet putting off the old self happens in a larger context. When I cast off my sinful self, I am not merely casting off my sinful self, but the sinful heritage bestowed upon me by Adam and Eve, the first human sinners. I cast off the old humanity – Adam and Eve – for the new humanity: Jesus.




God can use imperfect people and outright sinners to do great things. Although God can certainly also call those who are already saintly to do great things, often, he calls sinners and makes them into saints. . .

If we read chapters 5-9 of Genesis, we notice moral failings and outright debauchery within Noah’s family. How can he be the one chosen to continue God’s salvation history? Don’t you need a perfect family to follow God? God uses these chapters to teach us something that can help us this Lent: namely, that we do not have to be perfect to set out on the path of conversion. Actually, the fact that we begin this process anew each year signals the reality that none of us are perfect. God calls us to conversion, but he understands that we are all still a work in progress. . .

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, tempted by the Devil and fasting. He was ramping up, preparing for the great mission of the call to conversion: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk. 1:15).



Progressive Christian

Lent is a time of spiritual decluttering and creative transformation. A time of deepening our spirits and challenging everything, personally and politically that stands in the way of experiencing and sharing God’s abundant life. During Lent, we prune the branches of busyness and consumerism so that the light can shine through. We smash the idols of incivility, privilege, and nationalism that stand in the way of authentic worship and service. We let go what keeps us from experiencing God’s presence in our lives and awaken to God’s new possibilities for us and our communities. During Lent, we need to repent, turn around, and move from deathful behaviors to life-supporting actions and attitudes.



General Christian

Christ calls us to more, life to the fullest. This “more” is a product of self denial, of giving away all we have, in order to obtain the Pearl of Great Price. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?

The strange thing about self denial and picking up one’s cross is that rather than being masochistic it is a holistic endeavor. We are made whole from the inside out. The one who was once wounded becomes the medic for their fellow pilgrims.

Less is truly more.

You are freed up to give, in the same manner you freely received grace and restoration from our Lord.

The world may deem you impoverished but you are a child of the King of Kings.




Are we listening to the stillness of Lent this year?

… Lent is not a season about giving things up. It is not a liturgical second chance when we have not followed through on our New Year’s resolutions. Lent is not primarily about chocolate or caffeine, alcohol or social media.

We have begun a season about being honest with ourselves, with other people, with spiritual life.  During Lent, we take honest, insightful looks at who we really are. Lent is about reflecting on what we hold onto which holds us back from becoming our truest selves. We look ourselves in the eye and recognize what we do not truly need.

Lent is a time for us to pause long enough to take time to listen to the sacred stillness within us and around us.



Learn More

Slow Down to Meet God

Jesus Commands: Fast, but not to Impress Others

Imperfect Churches Reflect God’s Perfect Glory

Avoiding holocaust attitudes still common today

Did My Sin Cause Me To Be Sick?


A big sinner saved by big grace. Good Friday reflection

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