The dictionary defines being self-righteous as one who convinced of their own righteousness, especially in contract with the actions and belief’s of others. Believing that your ideas and behavior are morally better than those of other people.
But what does the Bible say? Why should believers avoid Self-Righteousness. The Bible states that these people have characteristics that are usually found to believe that they are superior to most, if not all, people. People who think they are “holier than thou.”
The Bible tells us to not judge but to love. Take the plank out of our own eye before we try to take the speck out of our brother or sisters eye.
To fully understand what the Bible tells us about self-righteousness, we need to look at a few examples of self-righteous people from the Bible and how it ultimately led them away from God and His will.
Although the wisdom of Solomon was world-renowned, Solomon had a downfall. He had too many wives, many who were from other countries and therefore had their own gods and demanded proper worship from Solomon. This ultimately went against God’s commands. In 1 Kings 11, we see this at its full extent:
“The Lord did not want the Israelites to worship foreign gods, so he had warned them not to marry anyone who was not from Israel… As Solomon got older, some of his wives led him to worship their gods. He wasn’t like his father David,who had worshipped only the Lord God. Solomon also worshipped Astarte the goddess of Ammon. Solomon’s father had obeyed the Lord with all His heart, but Solomon disobeyed and did what the Lord hated. Solomon hilt shrines on a hill east of Jerusalem to worship Chemosh the disgusting god of Moab, and Molech the disgusting god of Ammon. In fact he built a shrine for each of his foreign wives, so all of them could burn incense and offer sacrifices to their own gods.”Solomon
The second example is the Prophet Jonah. Jonah was at the top of his game as Israel’s prophet. But when God called him to the unthinkable, Jonah thought he could run and hide from the Creator of the Universe.
Even after everything he went through, with the whale, he was surprised that the Ninevites repented and turned to the Lord. He has so upset that God did not spite such a wicked people, that God showed them mercy and grace.
In the account of Jonah, God told him to go the the great city of Nineveh and speak out against it. God told Jonah that He was aware of how wicked it’s people were, but Jonah set out in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. In Joppa he found a ship about to go to Spain. He paid his fare and went aboard with the crew just to get away from the Lord.
These were The who gave false evidence against Jesus because they were too proud to accept that they had faults and not representing the Lord as they were called, this account is seen in Matthew 26:57-67.
One of the most famous examples of self-righteous people were the Pharisees. Jesus always made an example of self-righteousness, and one of the most renowned parables He told was about the Pharisees told in Luke 18:10-14,
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people- robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. As he prayed this, the other man the tax collector standing at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home and was justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The last and the best example is the Apostle Peter. Who could forget Peter’s assurance to Jesus that he would never betray Him only to betray Him 3 times in a row, as stated in Luke 22:58-62.
But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still insisted, saying “Certainly this man also was with Jesus for he too is a Galilean. But Pete said, “Man I do not know what your talking about, “ and immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And thee Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said ti him, “before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”￼ And Peter went out and wept bitterly.
No one on earth is any better than another. No matter the color or language we speak we all bleed the same and we all have feelings, and reactions. God is the only judge. We are called to love each other. Sadly today there are many who think they are better than others because of financial status, and race. We are all born the same way, and we all will return to ash when we die.
How Do We Humble Ourselves?
James 4:19 states, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” This is the most authentic way to remember that we are not better than anyone else. We must constantly look at ourselves with humility so that we don’t think we are better than those around us. We must strive and work in prayer to see ourselves accurately as the fallen sinners we are by nature, in need of Christ our Redeemer.
We have to accept that we make mistakes and stumble. This was the mistake of Sanhedrin and Peter. They did not accept that they could stumble, and ultimately that was their downfall, but the truth is that they could indeed stumble and have faults.
We must accept that we are merely humans and need God to lead us to the path of righteousness. It is not our own mind or being that makes us holy, but only God and God alone will defend us from our sins.
God does not play favorites. Each and everyone of us is unique in the eyes of God, and that is what we should never look down on others, but instead look at ourselves and contemplate if we are worthy of God’s love.