confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others (Dictionary.com).
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:
- Do you find you have a significant lack of patience for sinners and ask yourself “Why don’t they just get it together?”
- Do you believe that God owes you a good life for the sacrifices you have made for him?
- Do you tend to avoid contact with “sinners” and “those people?”
- Are you quick to point out the sins of others?
- Do you tend to see other people’s sins as more serious than your own?
- Do you believe that you are not being treated as well as you deserve?
- Does it not surprise you that God would save you? Does it make good sense that God would save someone like you?
- Do others often fail to live up to your expectations?
- 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.