Being right and being self-righteous

Everyone can’t be right, but everyone can be self-righteous.

This can be extremely hard to see in ourselves.  I know the only reason I can see it at all is because God shows it to me.

Pride is the reason for self-righteousness. Even God’s Truth can be used pridefully and there are many warnings in the Bible about it.

I think it’s the most insidious sin of all. It makes us an enemy of God. It’s distressing and irritating to see it in myself. There are so many ways to be prideful, even when appearing to be humble.

It’s like a virus that attacks your own body and spreads throughout your being. It affects your thoughts, feelings, words and behavior in every way. It contaminates others if they don’t have discernment and alienates us from God and others.

For instance, I could use this blog I created to spread my opinions and pat myself on the back when people agree with me.

It would be more beneficial to me to be rebuked than agreed with.

That last statement was right, but also self-righteous. You might not think so just looking at it, but anything based in false humility is self-righteous and only God would know I wrote that with the wrong attitude.

Aren’t blogs full of someone’s opinions self-righteous at the core?

A person’s opinions don’t matter, what matters is God’s truth. I’m not even sure I can do this without pride.

That’s not good. So, I have to be open to rebuke. I have to be willing to be humbled by God.

Most of all, God’s been showing me lately that I need to be quiet. So, who knows there may be very little posted here after all.


2 thoughts on “Being right and being self-righteous

  1. I wrote this on Rabbi Yisroel’s blog, but I thought I would post it here as well. It was this post that made me think to write it 🙂

    This quote comes from the 11th century Jewish book ‘Chovot HaLevavot’ (‘The Duties of the Heart’).
    “Man is made up of body and soul; and both alike are given us by the beneficence of the Creator. The one is visible, and the other invisible. We are therefore bound to serve Him with a twofold service. That of the body and its members can be fulfilled by the visible activities of man; but the second is a hidden service, which is the fulfilment of the duties of the heart—to acknowledge the Unity of God in our hearts, to believe in Him, to love Him, resign our souls to Him, and make His name the unifying central thought of all our conduct.”

    Sometimes when we question our motivations, it makes us hesitant to do things that are righteous because we are worried about whether we are being self-righteous in our hearts. But I think that God has given us duties in our actions, and duties in our hearts, and although the two need to be offered to Him together, sometimes they are a bit separate.

    Personally, I know that I struggle with both pride and insecurity, which can make me very uncertain about sharing things that I have learnt or about expressing love for God in public. What if I’m doing it to impress other people? I have decided not to let this cripple me, because I do want to share things that are precious for other people to see, and I do want to share love with God in a community together. So here’s what I learnt from Chovot HaLevavot. We can let the duties of our heart and the duties of our actions be somewhat separate, and pray that God will help us bring both halves of obedience together before Him. This means that if something is a righteous action, we should do it, just because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t question your motivations, just do whatever is an act of kindness for other people and obedience to God. And then, when you’re doing those things, you can work on the integrity of your heart. If we’re devoted to letting go of pride and learning humility, then we will be able to eventually bring that offering to God as well as the offering of the good actions we’re already doing. Don’t wait until your heart is fully humble before you start to obey what you know God wants, and don’t wait for your habits to be fully obedient before you reach out in humility. Just bring them as two offerings, and God will work in your life to make a complete picture out of them so that your obedience is alive with a heart of sincerity. Don’t be crippled from doing what you know is right by questioning your motivations… just do kindness and then look to God to help you with humility about it.

    • You’re right… I believe that the habit you’re talking about is really important, and it matters to be aware of self-righteousness in our hearts and learn to be humble by knowing how much we’ve been given, by becoming more unselfish, and by appreciating the righteousness in the people around us as well. May we both be blessed in that! Thanks for sharing.

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