For Christians, Lent is a season of prayer, self-denial, and service to others culminating Easter; the joyful celebration of hope and triumph over sin and death. Whatever religious beliefs we hold (or reject), the Easter message is universal. For Christians, Christ is the light showing the way out of the darkness. He illuminates the right choices before us through His teachings and His example. We have to make the choices. We are free to close ourselves off and hide in a brooding darkness, continuing to do things we know are wrong, and hating the light that would reveal our ‘wickedness.’

Someone said “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet.” Surely I’m one of His troublesome unfinished works, far from being a complete Christian. Even so, it’s apparent to me that viewing death as the ultimate and inevitable defeat would make it easier to rationalize self-indulgence, bad choices, bad behavior, and a bad attitude. Rather than focusing on what we, individually, can do to help others, it becomes a focus on what others could have or should have done for us. From there, the sins of envy, hatred, laziness, and self-indulgence lead to deplorable and destructive behaviors. How dark must be the world from which comes equating others’ wealth with exploitation, equating others’ success with luck or privilege, and condoning debauchery in the name of ‘tolerance.’ While helping others is the obligation of Christians, it’s also their choice to help those who deserve but don’t expect or demand help and who don’t respond with sullen, hateful, abusive epithets rather than demonstrated, if not expressed, gratitude. The ultimate expression of such gratitude is to ‘go and sin no more.’ Helping others by enabling continued bad choices is to condone those choices, which is a sin in itself.

Whether or not we consider ourselves Christian, Lent and Easter are a time to check our attitudes. Are we avoiding behaviors we know to be wrong? Are we rationalizing our bad choices and failures? Are we treating others with respect? Are we blaming others for our failed efforts or do we acknowledge that we aren’t a failure UNTIL we blame others for our shortfalls? Do we acknowledge our own shortcomings, recognize the help we have gotten from others, and earn that help by our subsequent behavior?


Another View, a Maine Press Association award-winning column, is written on a rotating basis by a member of a group of Midcoast citizens that meet to discuss issues they think are of public interest.

Comments are not available on this story.