When we begin to take pride in our own righteous behavior, it’s very easy to look down on those who don’t behave our way as morally inferior to us. Churches are filled with people who are scrupulous in their observance of a rigid menu of moral standards. They are sincere people who are careful to obey God as they understand God’s laws to be. We need to keep our perspective, and realize that, our rules are not necessarily God’s rules, but our derivatives of what we think of as God’s rules. When we move from righteous living to trusting in that righteous living to give us a standing before God, then it becomes self-righteousness. The problem arises when we are “confident in our own righteousness”, or “trust in” our own righteousness to justify us before God, and then demean others who do not live this way. This leads not to God but to a distorted perspective.
Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.
I will examine my own perception of whose behavior is and whose behavior is not acceptable to God. How objective am I?
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody 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 up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.
Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.
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
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-righteousness belongs to the narrow-minded.