Friday, June 6, 2014

I was never self-righteous, not even once.

You never thought you were self-righteous, did you?
The title could have been echoing, maybe not in your mouth but in your heart, for so long now.
The first mark of self-righteousness is not admitting to yourself that you are, indeed, self-righteous.

From Merriam-Webster

Self-righteousness is nothing but venom.
It seems good at first, boosting your self-esteem. Boost your self-esteem too high and you arrive at a very dangerous place.

So, what does self-righteousness make you?
      • Judgmental on others. All you see and all you look for are the wrong stuff people think, say or do.
      • You think that you're superior over other people. You treat them accordingly, unconsciously stepping down on them with your words or with your actions.
      • There's a thick wall between you and people. You never let your guards down so they wouldn't see your weakness; they, too become alarmed and not show their true self to you. Thus, a big relationship barrier.
      • You think that you're better than what you really are. All you see and look for are the right things you think of, say or do.
      • Blind to your own mistakes. It is hard for you to see your shortcomings or your sin.
      • The same person as yesterday. Since you are in denial of your own mistakes, you would not know how you can improve.
      • Prideful before God. Instead of seeing the enormous role God has in the things that happen in your life (and be humbled by it), you'll try to take the credit and exaggerate the tiny role you had in everything!! 

"There is no one righteous, not even one;" 
Romans 3:10

Boom, sampal!

Let's check out the context of this verse.
This line was said by Paul to the Romans. He was talking to the Jews, who already learned to recognized Jesus as Lord, but whose hearts were still stained by their pride in how they followed the law. This pride, or self-righteousness made them think lowly of their Gentile neighbors and might also made them the things I've listed earlier. Paul hated this pride before God, and so quoted Psalms and Ecclesiastes. Read more of this in Romans 3:9-20.

This is what the Bible says. Does this say that no one is ever pleasing in God's eyes? No, it doesn't. But it definitely says that everyone has nothing to brag before Him. Every. One. My reflection on this is that every little good thing we do, every righteous corner of our heart, were not the fruits of our righteousness. These, too, are products of His grace, are given and are inspired by God.
So if we do something good or righteous, is it fitting to credit it to ourselves? Definitely not! Because we know how weak, how unholy and how sinful we are.
The strength and the capacity to do good are all from God!
Who, then, are we to brag about what we do for Him?
(you could be a braggart in your heart, ya know, and seem to others like you're the humblest person on earth)

Also, it is hard to bear the guilt of sin, that's why we do things to keep our minds away from it - we focus on the "great things" we do!
You think that because you are such a "good person", God will try to ignore your sins.
You end up judging those who indulge in vices (if you don't), or those unbelievers. If you're holding a position in your church, you could have a tendency to look down on your laymen and think of them as less faithful. Looking so highly of yourself makes Romans 3:10 a verse hard to believe and to understand!
There was a man who committed murder and was brought into trial, before the Judge. He enumerated the good things he's done - lots of charity work, helping old people cross the road and whatnot. He used these to appeal to the Judge. Do you think the Judge would let this man's good works influence the verdict on his murder?
No matter who you have become right now, no matter the position or the number of things you do for God, it is He who brought you here. Your title or the number of years of being a believer do not justify your sins. Learn to humble yourself before God everyday, and regularly reflect on the sins you've committed, let God search your heart deeper until He transforms you through and through.

Because the one who's truly righteous is the one whose righteousness came from God, and not from the prideful self-seeker inside him.

I was the most self-righteous person that I know. God is at work with it, and I learned that humbling yourself before God and allowing Him to change that self-righteousness into something real is very liberating!
How about you? When are the times you think you're most self-righteous? How do you let God pull that poison out of your system?

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