One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others. Moliere
Go put your creed into your deed. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whatever you condemn, you have done yourself. Georg Groddeck
It is much easier for us to point out faults and weaknesses in others than it is for us to recognize our own. It is easier to label others as self-righteous, hypocritical or two-faced than it is for us to see ourselves as such. It is this very thing or condition that is the definition and essence of being self-righteous.
We want to hold others accountable and be judgmental of their weaknesses and shortcomings, but are not willing or able to do the same to ourselves. It is as if we have a need or compulsion to hold others accountable and responsible for our own deficiencies. This makes no sense, is illogical, misguided and immoral, to name only a few things that it can be called. Many of us suffer from this. It is at the heart of prejudice, discrimination, hatred, ignorance and so many other undesirable traits. It is easy to criticize others for not taking care of their dirty laundry or their poor housekeeping while we ignore or sweep our own problems under the carpet. We ignore the obvious. This is what gives self-righteousness such a rightly justified bad name and reputation.
Those in power, throughout history have tended to dispense self-righteousness toward those who are weaker, poorer, less privileged, less educated or different in any way. One race can be self-righteous toward another, one gender toward another, one religion toward another and so forth. Classic is Nazi Germany’s self-righteousness and arrogance especially toward the Jews. Self-righteousness has existed since the beginning of recorded history and probably is just as rampant today as ever.
Self-righteousness is self-imposed from within. There are probably none of us who do not suffer from it on some basis. Some have severe self-righteousness issues that urgently needs addressing. The root cause has to do with a combination of ignorance and numerous issues with the self. The more problems we have with poor self-image and not liking ourselves, the more likely we focus on the faults of others before focusing on our own. The old adage says people who live in glass houses should not thrown stones. One way to avoid or minimize the possibility of being a hypocrite or self-righteous is to be very careful and monitor ourselves carefully of judging others. We should diligently try to be good examples and avoid being self-righteous judges. It is very hard to do.
Challenge: Your time and energy is much better spent examining and working on your own faults and shortcomings than on observing and judgmentally pointing them out in others. Turn your attention inward, not outward. Instead of trying to get others to comply and live up to your standards, make sure you are doing a good job of doing that yourself. Never ever overly criticize in others the same fault and problems you have in yourself.
Wisdom: The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself. Jane Addams
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. I Cor. 1:13
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Galatians 6:3
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5
If we are truly guided by a spirit of love we will overcome our tendency to be hypocritical and self-righteous. If we have love in our heart, we will be more caring and concerned and not be judgmental or condescending toward others. The more we judge others of their shortcomings, weaknesses, faults and problems, the more we will be judged. We are not qualified to judge, God is the only one qualified to judge the thoughts and minds of others.
Prayer: When I am tempted to judge others, help me to see myself as I am and very unqualified to judge others.