Self-Righteousness

Picture by Thiago Cardoso @ Unsplash

Hello,

Today I write on Self-righteousness.

I write about my experience as a warning to others to take heed to their Christian race, lest they fall (1Cor 10:12).

Wikipedia defines Self-righteousness (also called sanctimoniousness, sententiousness, and holier-than-thou attitudes) as a feeling or display of (usually smug) moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person. Self-righteous individuals are often intolerant of the opinions and behaviors of others.

If you had asked me if I was self-righteous before today, I would have quickly responded in the negative. In Christ Jesus, I believe that I stand in His righteousness. However, the truth is that there are aspects of my life that still exhibit self-righteousness, and because I did not understand this, I did not tackle the issues.

The Gospel Coalition’s article, Self-Righteousness Wears Many Disguises states that the scary thing about self-righteousness is that we usually don’t recognize it in ourselves. We think because of our religious practices that we are okay with God. We think because of how we pray that we are trusting in him, not in ourselves.

In my self-righteous state, I did not recognize that;

  • Wrong treatment of people regardless of their status/age was condemnable.
  • Trusting in myself or my abilities in any way was wrong
  • That I talked about other people in bad light because I thought I was better than they are
  • Secluding myself from people who were not ‘spiritual’ enough is not why God called me. 

The list goes on, and this is the way I have lived for a long time.

Forerunner Commentary attributes the following characteristics to self-righteousness:

  1. Balaam’s self-interest in Numbers 22:20-22: 
    • Have I shown selfishness over what I know God expects from me in different situations and circumstances? 
    • Am I hustling to live for God or for me? 
    • The successful life I seek is it according to my understanding or from God’s word to me.
  2. Israel’s disregard of God and spiritual exclusivity from others in Is 65:1-5: 
    • Regardless of people’s status/age/religion, do we offer love and support as we diffuse the knowledge of Christ?
    • Do we feel that we can live independently of others because we are better than they are?
  3. Job’s self-righteous evaluation of himself in Job 32:1-2
    • Are we quick to blame people and circumstances for what God allows in our lives?
    • Do we take out time to examine ourselves with the lenses the Spirit of God provides? 

How should we be before God (From the Forerunner Commentary):

  1. Poor in Spirit (Matthew 5:3): In his commentary, The Sermon on the Mount, Emmett Fox states that “poverty of spirit occurs when a person empties himself of all desire to exercise personal self-will, and just as important, renounces all preconceived opinions in a wholehearted search for God.”
    • Our state before God should continuously be one of, “not my will, Lord, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42We are to continually trust in Him and let go of our understanding of life, people, situations, etc. – Proverbs 3:5-6
  2. Humble (Luke 18:9-14): The Pharisee, considering others as nothing, treat them accordingly. It is typical of human nature to elevate itself while putting down others. The Pharisee compares his flaws, not with God’s infinite perfections, but with the imagined more significant flaws of others. His pride has made him bankrupt of genuine compassion and concern 
    • Are we aware that as we judge others, we cannot show them compassion?When we elevate ourselves above others, we become as gods unto ourselves?
  3. Seeking His righteousness (Romans 10:1-3): 
    • Are we continually living in the righteousness of God, or do we slide in tradition and culture when it suits us?Do we lifestyles founded on God’s word to us or on how we think we should live?
  4. Regularly examining our lives with light from God’s word (2 Cor 10:12): The word of God is a discerner of thoughts and the intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Continuously submit your thoughts, words, and actions under the scrutiny of the Father and have your life examined by Him.

This all comes down to death of ‘self’. I have to die, so Jesus Christ can live through me. Therefore by His mercies, I am redeemed today from self-righteousness, and all justifications of self and I say so!

Till next time, be transformed!!

#selfrighteousness #theredeemed

Links to the articles included are below:

  1. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/self-righteousness-wears-many-disguises/
  2. https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/264/Self-Righteousness.htm