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The Upper Room Devotion for Wedsday, February 14, 2024, was written by Cindy Bear of Iowa.



9 “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:9-15 NRSV


Author's Thoughts

I had never given up anything for Lent because the practice did not seem meaningful to me. Then one year on Ash Wednesday, my pastor challenged us to think differently about giving up something for Lent. He asked us to think of a person we were holding a grudge or anger or resentment against and invited us to forgive them.

Years earlier I had gone through a divorce. My spouse had cheated on me again and again. I had been deeply hurt. How could I ever forgive him? I struggled with my feelings. Was I ready to release all the pain he had caused me? Finally I decided that, yes, I was going to forgive.

The pastor asked us to write on a piece of paper what we were giving up. I wrote it down, then folded the piece of paper. The congregation was then invited to burn our slips of paper in a bowl. It was one of the most meaningful Ash Wednesday services I had ever attended.

It wasn't easy to forgive. And by forgiving him, I'm not saying that what he did was okay because it wasn't. But deciding to give up my feelings of hatred and resentment was a freeing experience, and it still is. I could move on with my life without the weight of anger and resentment that I had been carrying around for years. So I would like to challenge you to give up something meaningful for Lent and surrender it to God. You won't believe how liberating it is!


Pastor Anthony's Thoughts


Cindy's reflection challenges us to reconsider what we choose to give up for Lent. Instead of giving up things that are meaningless like sweets or an hour of watching a device. Cindy's reflection urges us to give up something meaningful like gossiping, grudges, complaining, or selfishness. In light of Cindy's reflection, what will you give up for Lent.


Author's Prayer

Thank you, God, for forgiving us. Help us to be as forgiving of others. Amen.


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