How Self-Righteous Are You?

self-right·eous  adjective

confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others (

It’s been said that the most self-righteous people have no idea they are self-righteous.  It would never occur to them that there was any problem.  If that is so, how can one tell if they are infected with this spiritually dangerous disease?

Last Sunday I preached at Covenant on the prodigal son’s brother and his problem with self-righteousness.  We discussed the danger and the sin of self-righteousness. This is a deadly sin that cuts too many people off from the Lord.

Here are some questions to ask when seeking to determine how serious your problem of self-righteousness is:

  1. Do you find you have a significant lack of patience for sinners and ask yourself “Why don’t they just get it together?”
  2. Do you believe that God owes you a good life for the sacrifices you have made for him?
  3. Do you tend to avoid contact with “sinners” and “those people?”
  4. Are you quick to point out the sins of others?
  5. Do you tend to see other people’s sins as more serious than your own?
  6. Do you believe that you are not being treated as well as you deserve?
  7. Does it not surprise you that God would save you?  Does it make good sense that God would save someone like you?
  8. Do others often fail to live up to your expectations?
  9. Is the focus of your concern more often on external behavior rather than a pure heart?

If you said “yes” to any of these questions, it is likely you are struggling with self-righteousness.

The good news is that the gospel gives hope to self-righteous people.  The Lord’s answer for self-righteous people is to repent of your self-righteousness.  Anyone who is working hard at being righteous as a way to leverage either a blessing or a relationship with God, does not have Jesus as his Savior; he is trying to save himself.  Repent of trusting in your own righteousness. Trust in the righteousness of Christ alone.  Be delivered and experience the true righteousness found in Christ.


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