Wikpedia says that it’s a feeling of smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person. (Note all the “inflated” words: smug, superior, greater)
What’s frightening is that self-righteousness is so easy to slip into, most often without even realizing it!
Let’s ask some probing questions that have the potential to reveal whether you have blindly become self-righteous. I will lead the way in answering them and allow you a glimpse into how prideful I am.
Do I ask questions with built-in assumptions?
Yes, and sad to say, that I do this most often with my husband. I am not curious or exploring with an open mind or even trying to understand. Truthfully, I am trying to make a point and cleverly disguise it as a question.
Do I tend to remove myself from people who do not agree with me?
Yes, I have. You will most likely find me doing this when I am tired or lacking the energy to listen to another. How sad! No matter the reason, the bottom line is that I miss out on hearing another point of view or gaining understanding as to why someone believes what they do. If I really am concerned about other’s hearts, then I will have missed out on an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation.
Do I find myself critical of others?
This one I like to justify because my critical thoughts are left unspoken for the most part. However, the answer is yes – just because I critique another inside my head does not mean I have not critiqued them!
Do I tend be highly concerned about my image in public?
Yes and the height of my concern corresponds with the how much the audience personally matters to me.
Do I tend to serve others expecting some sort of recognition?
I wish I could say it doesn’t matter to me but my reactions say otherwise. If my contribution is ignored or wrongfully given as credit to another, my feelings are hurt.
Here are a few more revealing questions, but this time I’ll let you lead the way…
Do I have a hard time admitting my weaknesses?
Do I find it easy to build a case against someone that makes me seem right and him/her wrong?
Do I believe God loves some more than others?
Am I overly concerned about who is to blame?
Do I wear my ‘godly character’ like it’s a badge?
The only solution to self-righteous living that our Lord makes perfectly clear in His Word is to kill our pride and embrace humility.
I find this far easier to do when I remember all that I am NOT in my natural state — good, pure, able to save myself, meek, unselfish, self-sacrificing. When these truths aren’t far from my mind, how could I possibly use inflated words about myself?
We are all completely lost. No one could be more lost than you and you can’t be more lost than another. Lost is lost.
And all the lost need a Savior.
God makes it clear throughout Scripture that He hates pride (Ps. 10:4, Prov. 16:5,18) and searches out those who are humble for they are most like His son, Jesus (2 Chron.7:14,Philip. 2:3-11).
“Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.” Mother Teresa
Have you embraced humility?