I’m Giving Up Self-Righteousness For Lent

Erik Cooper

Erik Cooper

by Erik Cooper

I don’t even know if you can do that. Does that qualify? I don’t come from a faith tradition that regularly observes the church seasons, but I see all my Facebook friends giving up sugar, or television, or even Facebook itself, and I think “that’s good….wow, that’s gonna be tough….I hope they can pull it off.”

What’s something I hold onto more tightly than anything? What’s something I could lay down as a sacrifice during this Lenten season?

My self-righteousness.

I know, I know. It sounds all existential doesn’t it? But the last few years have reminded me of something incredibly important.

I’m a broken mess.

Now you wouldn’t really know it to look at me. I’m not a heroin addict. I don’t run around on my wife. I’ve got a good job, live in a respectable neighborhood, do my best to love my kids and give my life to those around me. The addiction I migrate back to isn’t going to land me in any rehab that I know.  It’s socially acceptable. In fact, it’s socially admired.

It’s my belief in me.

I want to fix myself. I want to earn my way. I want to be admired and respected. I want you to think I’m more than I am. I want my good deeds to outweigh my bad. I want to control my own destiny. I want to be my own Savior.

And even though I fail every single time, I crawl right back and try again.

I need the Gospel. I need Jesus. The only One who can really fix what’s wrong with me. The only one who can redeem the power and potential that’s inside of me.

I can’t. But He did. Jesus did.

And so this Lenten season I’m laying down my self-salvation projects. And if it’s all the same to you, with God’s help, I’m not going to pick them back up again.

If you begin recognizing Lent today, don’t allow the ritual to lose its meaning. Let it point you to Jesus. He’s the only place righteousness can be found.

Erik Cooper is the vice-president of Community Reinvestment Foundation, a non-profit that uses business to create sustainable revenue for missions work all over the world. He blogs regularly at beyondtherisk.com.



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