By Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas Robinson
This week, we still find ourselves in the season of Lent, that 40 days before Easter in the Christian calendar. As we know, many Christians resolve to give up something: coffee, animal products, certain TV shows, Netflix and the like.
So, let’s look at giving up coffee.
In the grand scheme of things, what is the real value of giving up coffee? Are we becoming better human beings? Are we loving one another as we have been commanded to? And are we even drawn closer to our heavenly Father all because we’ve given up that luscious beverage for Lent?
Now, if giving up coffee tends to lead to what the Christian Scriptures call repentance, then we might be onto something.
However, according to the Christian Scriptures, this repentance comes from the kindness of God (Romans 2:4). In his kindness and love, God has granted us the gift of repentance (Acts 11:17). In light of this kindness, the Scriptures say that God commands sinners to repent — turn from their sins and turn to him, the one who alone can satisfy their souls and meet their eternal needs (Acts 17:30).
So, we see that repentance is giving up more than a cup of coffee. Repentance is a change of mind or purpose. When a person is leading a life of sin, repentance means changing his or her mind about sinning and turning to a life that pleases God.
So, as we reflect and prepare our minds and hearts this Lenten season, to meet and receive the resurrected Christ, of Easter, we must therefore do more, and give up more than coffee.
We must give up the sin that so easily entangles us — the sin that continues to shame and guilt us and the sin that continues to keep us from intimacy with God and each other.
(Editor’s note: Robinson is a chaplain with the 554th Engineer Battalion.)