“He said to them,” You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”
- Luke 16:15
Be careful then how you live…not as holier-than-thou, but in humility; recognizing that we are all in need of the grace and mercy of God. Too many times we witness other Christians (not ourselves, wink, wink) walking in self-righteousness; the ones wearing the belt of arrogance, as if they have it all together; those pious Christians who know the word, yet use it as a sword to rebuke instead of a tool for grace; folks who choose not to see their own failures, but illuminate those of others; people who forget that they, in the scheme of things, are mere filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6); individuals who, for some reason, you can’t seem to tell them anything…they know it all, even before you speak it; persons who downgrade their sin and rationalize their behavior…they pontificate that devil made them do it; some even hurl scriptures back and forth with folks trying to prove their stance… debating until the point where relationships are damaged; those that dismiss the profane behaviors of their leaders…turned them into idols who can do no wrong (even when the truth of wrongdoing is evident); those who are confident in their own righteousness… outraged when someone tells them otherwise; uncooperative, obstinate, and difficult to deal with. I can go on, but you get the picture. Human righteousness blinds us to our need for a Savior. Who needs one when we’ve got it all cranked up?
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
– Romans 12:3
The one who is deluded by their sanctimonious beliefs and behaviors unfortunately have undue influence on others. The “world” is watching. Some who have not accepted Christ see what we do and say, and judge us all because of the actions of a few. The so-called religious, right-leaning-Republicans, aren’t all bad. Those that seem to make unreasonable decisions and say the most unloving things are out in the forefront right now. Sadly, they provide plenty of fodder and ammunition to those who want to make a case why they don’t believe in a loving God. When one is blinded by righteousness they don’t see how their behavior discourages others from accepting Christ. Christians are certainly not monolithic; as the many denominations of churches illustrate. The world may not see nor discern the differences…to them we are all one in the same. Therefore, our positive actions of Christ-likeness must outweigh the haughtiness of a few. We must imitate the attitude Christ; illustrating compassion, kindness, gentle admonition, empathy, humility, boldness, obedience, service to others, and especially his love and forgiveness… at all times and in all places – home, work, family gatherings, church, even when running errands or with friends. In our actions, God is to be glorified. People should see the Christ in us.
Your relationship with Christ is what matters, not your religiosity.
Matthew 6:1 says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Born again doesn’t make you better than others. We are saved by the righteousness of Christ, not because of ourselves. Have you noticed any attributes in yourself that would qualify you as self-righteous? If so, what changes are you willing to make to draw others toward Christ and not away from? I for one must check myself from time to time…lest I condemn someone to the pit because of my unrighteous behavior. What say you?