Have you seen the foreign film, Chocolat? Chocolat tells the story of a young mother, who arrives in a small French village during Lent. And opens a chocolate shop. Her chocolate quickly begins to change the lives of the townspeople. Everyone is trying hard to avoid rich foods during Lent it is agony to walk past the shop with its velvety chocolate smells. You can’t help but think that the townsfolk had missed the point – especially when one of the most self-righteous characters breaks into the shop and gorges on the chocolates inside.
Lent is not about that kind of ‘self-denial.’ There is very little value in simply giving up stuff during Lent! Lent is about giving stuff. Namely, the giving of your life to Jesus Christ. Giving up stuff for Lent simply to be proud, boastful, or self-righteous about your great sacrifice, as many parts of New Testament reminds us, does not really achieve anything.