The Wrong Way to be Right: The problem with self-righteousness
Having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior.
Do you ever struggle with this? Have you ever compared your life or your choices to someone else’s and thought “at least I’m doing better than they are.”
Unfortunately, the characteristic of self-righteousness is one that is often attributed to Christians. When we think we know the right way to live, we can become “preachy” or “holier than thou.”
But living in this way doesn’t change hearts.
Self-righteous is not among the characteristics we use to describe Jesus. Isn’t our goal as Christians, ultimately, to follow Jesus and continue to grow more and more like him? The closer we get to Jesus’ teachings, the further we should be from self-righteousness.
In fact, when we are truly living the way Jesus taught us to live, we should be the exact opposite of self-righteous. Rather than being judgmental, we should be offering grace at every turn. Rather than being close-minded, we should remain open. Holding firm to our convictions and beliefs should not preclude us from entering into conversation with people whose beliefs are different.
It will never behoove use to be self-righteous; in our politics, in our beliefs, in our values, in our faith. We just don’t make any progress when we take this approach.
We are all humans, loved by God and riddled with human nature. We are equals, and we owe it to one another to offer humility and grace every chance we get.
This story is part of a new sermon series, called The Wrong Way to Be Right. Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at the human condition, why it's so hard to get along, and how we might work through our differences with new insight.