Have you ever been in a situation where someone was literally choking on their self-righteousness?
I’m going to be straight with you. We have ALL struggled with this at some time in our life. And I am absolutely no different. There are times when I’ve thought I was better than other people. Times when I thought I knew more scripture or knew my Bible better. Times when I thought I was more spiritual than my own husband.
Please don’t get the impression that I ever write from a place of innocence. Ha. Actually, I literally just laughed out loud. Innocent. That’s a good one.
I’ve never been shy in admitting my sin and the truth that last year God allowed Satan to sift some nasty things from my life. Some things I knew I was hiding or holding on to, some things I had absolutely NO IDEA were even in there (as in, from my childhood) and other things I didn’t realize were a problem.
I’m not ok with the road I’ve been down. I’m not sure I ever will be. But I am learning to worship and praise God from the depths of my soul for taking the failings of my life to refine and mold something new that is actually beautiful and useful for me (and HIM) in the future.
The uncomfortableness of this mess though is that we can come face to face with someone who is incredibly self-righteous toward us and they don’t even see it. I’m in this boat.
It’s easy to feel anger toward the self-righteous because their self-righteousness keeps ripping open our scabs that are starting to heal. We keep bleeding over and over again with their judgment and ridicule. Their finger-pointing does not lead to healing, repentance, holiness or godliness. It leads to shame, guilt, hiding and the temptation to sin all over again in picking up bitterness toward them.
Sometimes others make open handed comments about our hearts. Blunt statements that they have absolutely no clue about because they’ve never talked to us about the matter at hand, and can truly have no idea what has happened in our hearts.
Praise God almighty that we answer to HIM and He’s accessible 24/7. His mercies are new every morning and He sees the instant heart change. He recognizes true confession and repentance and His forgiveness is instant. And in this redemption process, we don’t owe any humans any explanation except, “I’m a sinner, But God restored me.” That’s it.
I write this today as an encouragement to you reading.
If someone is being self-righteous toward you, take a step back from them and find a quiet place to pray. I know this sounds tongue-in-cheek because we’re talking about some actions and words that can cut us to our core but the truth is, they really have no idea what they’re doing. Self-righteousness blinds us from our own failures and sin and convinces us that it’s our right and duty to play Holy Spirit for someone else and make sure they feel convicted. We think we can guilt others into repentance and change. It’s just as big of a lie from Satan as any other. And they need our prayers. As hard as it is, they need an intercessor.
If you see someone being self-righteous against another -SPEAK UP for them! Do it. It doesn’t mean you’re defending their sin – it means you’re defending their right to claim freedom in Christ. Whether or not they’ve repented, we are all blind to our own sin at times in our lives, and the last thing we need is another person slamming condemnation on us. The Holy Spirit can never do His job to bring conviction and repentance when other humans are in the way trying to do it for Him with judgment. Help clear the path with love; because that’s our greatest calling!
And lastly, if you’re really struggling with being critical and self-righteous toward someone else for their sin, whether it’s something you don’t understand how they could possibly do, or are very frustrated they don’t see it as sin- It is by the grace of God that our eyes are open to any sin. We could/would be as rebellious as any if it weren’t for the mercy of God removing blinders and giving us good conscience and wisdom to know Him and understand His word. Take some time to thank Him deeply and completely for His favor and beg His grace on the person you’re struggling with too. Not only will it give the Holy Spirit room to move, it’ll change your own heart in the meantime.