Sometimes in our zeal and desire to do what is right we slip into an attitude of self-righteousness. Unfortunately, self-righteousness makes us confident of our own conduct, but moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others. It makes us incapable of taking the time to consider the reasons for the actions of others before we condemn them unilaterally. When they choose to distance themselves from this, our attitudes harden.
The spirit of self-righteousness makes genuine love almost impossible because its intractability makes normal interaction impossible. Self-righteousness tends to destroy relationships. Our convictions are not able to be communicated. People begin to think of us as angry, condemning, and uptight.
In its religious form, self-righteousness is a conviction that one is better than others—morally, spiritually and/or theologically. Rather than attracting others to our positions, it tends to make them dismissive. This breaks connections and is harmful to us as well as those with whom we disagree and nothing useful is communicated.
Give me a discerning spirit and an open heart.
Review what underlies your judgments of others. How open are you to listening and sharing in a positive way?
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.’
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable God’s judgments,
and God’s paths beyond tracing out!
You can win more converts with a spoonful of honey than with a barrelful of vinegar.
St. Francis de Sales
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Honesty is the cruelest game of all, because not only can you hurt someone – and hurt them to the bone – you can feel self-righteous about it at the same time.
Dave Van Ronk
When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.
Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.
When you choose to look down on something, you render yourself incapable of understanding it.
Learn the truth…never assume.