Dealing With the Responses of Friends and Loved Ones

Dr. Bill Bright

Many people are reluctant to tell others that they are fasting because they want to avoid the sin of the Pharisees: fasting just to gain recognition for themselves.

I strongly believe that attitude is a result of a wrong interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, “that your fasting may not be seen by others” (Matthew 6:18, English Standard Version). His point is about avoiding self-praise, not total secrecy. Our misguided silence can be a trick of the enemy, who does not want us to fast or to share with loved ones and friends the benefits of fasting.

By isolating ourselves from the support of other Christians, we will be more susceptible to doubts and negative influences. We need the prayers of our Christian friends and family members to help us continue when we feel alone and when the enemy tempts us to give up. 

Eventually, people will notice you are not eating. However, I have found that unless you see certain people daily, they do not consider your skipped meal much of a concern. If you are asked, someone who does not follow Christ may be satisfied by such a brief answer as, “I have other plans for lunch today.” Christians should be satisfied when you answer that you are fasting.

If friends and family express concern for your health, ease their fears by telling them that you will stop fasting the moment you feel you are harming your body or if the Lord leads you to end your fast. Tell them you are fasting under your doctor’s care, which I urge you to do if you have any questions concerning your health.

There is usually no reason for telling strangers or casual acquaintances that you are fasting. If you do, they may subject you to a lot of questions that you may not want to answer. But in any case, use your best judgment and the Lord’s leading in telling people about your fast.

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