Through a long series of discoveries, my eyes were opened to the fact that I was wearing a cloak of self righteousness. I am not saying that I was not a Christ follower–in truth, I belonged to Christ. What I saw in myself was a goodie two shoes, a brown noser, a people pleaser, a person who needed to be good and right etc. Self righteousness can be equated to setting yourself up as a god. It is a very serious and destructive sin.
Our small group helped me pray through this (check out the book, Pray Through It, by Rob Morissette). This process involves the RIPE acronym for “RECOGNIZE”, “INVESTIGATE”, “PRAY” and “EXPERIENCE”.
The first step was already done in that I recognized that I had this problem. The second step of investigating could usually be done by asking questions of the person involved or their family, especially parents. I had no clue as to the root of this, and my parents are dead.
So as a small group, we incorporated the “investigate” into the “pray” part and prayed as a group that God would reveal where this pattern had started in my life. God immediately gave me a sense that I started this pattern early on in order to steal favor from another family member. Apparently, I had a mistaken notion that there was only so much approval to go around. Approval equated with love in my childish thinking. I set out to get more than my share of approval or love by being righteous.
The “pray” portion of the RIPE process also includes repenting. I asked forgiveness of God and family members out loud in prayer with the small group and spoke forgiveness to any whom I may have felt did not give me enough love in my childish misperceptions. I also looked for vows that I may have implemented in my life. It seemed that I had a vow of ,”I must always be right.” This vow was renounced and broken by the cross and blood of Christ.
The last step is to “experience”, meaning to walk in new freedom. I felt an immediate difference after this process– a lightness and the biggest change that I have noticed since I began this Elijah House “un-peeling the onion” process. (See previous Elijah House entries to understand this reference.) I noticed that I could look in people’s eyes without fear that they will see the phony me inside. No longer did I cringe away from touches or hugs. As a final part of this process, I went to the family member whom I had wronged to make amends. He graciously forgave me.
The biggest freedom in no longer wearing the cloak of self righteousness is this: I am now really free to be fully covered by the cloak of royalty as a daughter of the living God. Great exchange!