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Self-righteousness is the motive of a person’s heart, while the thoughts and words that flow from that kind of heart condition are an “I am better than you are” attitude. You will know if you struggle with self-righteousness if you exhibit any of these behaviors.
This type of thinking and doing negates the power of the gospel in your life, which loudly proclaims from heaven that nobody is better than anyone else (Romans 3:23). The self-righteous person may say the “ground is level at the cross,” but functionally this kind of person does not live it out before those who have committed offenses against them (Matthew 18:21).
If you believe that no one is righteous (Romans 3:10-12), your attitude toward others who commit sins against you should comprise these things.
The gospel reminds you of your sin against Christ, which is the lens through which you see the sins of others. This perspective puts a governor on your heart while unleashing the sweet Holy Spirit to guard your tongue (Luke 6:45).
The gospel teaches us to show mercy to others (Matthew 18:33)–a kindness that reflects what the Lord revealed to us through the death of His dear Son. Thus, we are enabled to approach others without any sense of superiority (Luke 18:11). The gospel opens the door to this kind of peace-making.
Let me personalize what I’m saying to myself. If I am not the worst sinner that I know, I am capable of doing any sin to those who are “below me” (1 Timothy 1:15). The gospel for this kind of person is in name only because there is no restorative power.
As soon as I elevate myself above another person, the gospel loses its transformative force. Here are a few questions that will help you examine yourself as you engage others in an ever-increasing hostile world.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).