Did you know the word “lent” is not found in the Bible, and we’re not commanded in Scripture to observe “lent” in any way. So where does the word come from? It’s derived from the Old English word “lencten” which means “spring”. This makes sense because “lent” is observed 40 days before Easter and spring, which begins around the end of March in the UK.

Even though the word lent is not found in the Bible, fasting, repentance, and other spiritual disciplines are, and these are what make up the period of lent. Please read me correctly; I’m not against observing lent with these things in mind. It’s a fruitful time for many Christians to reflect on their relationship with God and prepare to celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

However, over the last few years, I have noticed a trend of Christian believers going online to declare that they are giving up social media for lent. And while I absolutely respect their decision, I want to suggest that maybe giving up social media isn’t the best thing to do.

Like it or not, social media has become integral to our lives. We use it to connect with friends and family, find information, read the news and even find new opportunities and positive experiences. And as believers, we also can use social media as a tool to share our faith with others. We can powerfully spread the Gospel message by sharing positive messages, testimonies of how God has worked in our lives, and even simply letting people see how we respond to stuff on social media. By using social media in a God-honouring way, we can have a positive impact on the lives of others and maybe find the opportunity to lead them to Christ.

On the flip side, I accept that social media has potential dangers. Spending too much time on social media can lead to worldly distractions, a cesspit of comparison, and even an unhealthy addiction. In addition, it can be a source of negativity and toxic messages. And so I understand that this might be useful to give up for lent.

However, rather than giving up social media, I think we all have an individual responsibility to learn how to use social media in moderation and be discerning in the content we consume and share. I think social media’s potential benefits outweigh the negative, particularly when celebrating important Christian events such as Easter and Christmas. At these times of the year, there is a massive opportunity to engage with those who don’t yet believe. These are seasons when people are, on the whole, thinking a little bit more about the meaning of life, the universe and everything. So with that in mind, could you agree that it’s a little odd that some of us choose to step away from public discourse right when people might be ready to have a conversation about something greater than themselves?

I implore you to consider NOT giving up social media for lent. Instead, use the various social

platforms you use as tools to glorify God and spread His message of love and hope to others. Take opportunities this Easter to share the reason for our faith with others. By using social media in a positive and uplifting way, we can make a difference in the lives of others while honouring God in the process.

Mark Kelly