Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
When we are confident in our own righteousness, we can become smug to the point of despising others. By dividing people into the righteous and the ignorant or even immoral, we can become victims of a disdainful piety. Locked in our own conviction that our way is totally correct, we are unable to see the factual or realize that our certainty may be totally unfounded. Unfortunately, this attitude is painfully clear today. Its inability to understand other possibilities and viewpoints fractures the human community and the well-being of all. Jesus condemned such an attitude. He praised the man who saw his own flaws and recognized his need for reconciliation. This man, he pointed out, was justified before God.
O God, be merciful to me!
What makes us confident in our own righteousness? Have you ever been this way yourself? What causes it? Where can you identify it in our present society? How can you help to bring about change?
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. “ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner. “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Self-righteousness is much like a spiritual egocentricity. It constitutes a secular type of love that thrives under conditionality, one which is only existent after an individual meets the adopted standards of the condemner; oppositely, unconditional love is a holy love.
When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person's life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.
Shannon L. Alder
Self-righteous people can talk themselves into forgetting they are part of a civilization. They can then feed on that culture, bringing it down. It’s happened many times in the past. It could happen to us.
The hardest people to reach with the love of God are not the bad people. They know
they are bad. They have no defense. The hardest ones to win for God are the self-righteous people.
Charles L. Allen
The self-righteous never apologize.
The self-righteous rule out the possibility that they are what has gone wrong.
I think self-knowledge is the rarest trait in a human being.
Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement.
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
There is no respect for others without humility in oneself.
Henri Frederic Amiel
Humility is to make a right estimate of oneself.