January 24

Reflection

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. Our convictions are not able to be communicated.  People begin to think of us as angry, condemning, and uptight. And so, self-righteousness tends to destroy relationships. 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. Self-righteousness makes genuine love almost impossible because it makes normal interaction impossible.

Prayer

Give me a discerning spirit and an open heart.

Action

Review what underlies your judgments of others.  How open are you to listening and sharing in a positive way?

Suggested Readings

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.’
Luke 18:13

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!
Romans 11:33

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.
Beverly Sills

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.
Ernest Hemingway

I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.
Abraham Lincoln

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.
Richard Bach

When you choose to look down on something, you render yourself incapable of understanding it.
Stewart Stafford

Learn the truth…never assume.
Kemi Sogunle

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