Shrove Tuesday and confessing sin

Today is known as Shrove Tuesday. It’s the day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

The name comes from a practice in England to “shrive” on this day—meaning confessing our sins and seeking God’s forgiveness.

Since many people fast during Lent, there was (and is) a custom of using up fatty foods on this day to get them out of the house before Lent starts. Hence, pancake time!

With that brief history lesson out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter: confessing our sins and seeking God’s forgiveness.

If you’re looking for a place to start, how about confessing to God the times you have not shown mercy to someone.

Perhaps this is someone in your home. Maybe it’s someone at church. Perhaps there is an important relationship where this has happened. Ask God to forgive your lack of mercy.

Jesus said: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). In fact, he even went so far as to say that if you don’t forgive others their sins, God won’t forgive yours! (Matthew 6:15)

Theologian John Piper says it with memorable clarity: “If you’re a merciless person, you meet a merciless God.”*

All of this is to drive home the point: tell God when you’ve neglected to show mercy towards other people and ask him to forgive you. 

Shrove Tuesday isn’t just about clearing fatty foods out of the house, but about clearing unconfessed sins out of the heart.

Ask God to forgive your lack of mercy.


–Do you want to help? I’m a part of a team walking in The Coldest Night of the Year. It’s a fundraiser for our local youth shelter who has many important needs as they help young people facing all sorts of difficulties. Click here to learn more or to donate. Thank you!

–*John Piper, “Can I forgive someone who doesn’t confess wronging me?” – – Accessed September 25, 2020. 

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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