Self-Righteous

Statue - man with scrollArrogance toward one’s own righteousness, being judgmental and intolerant

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 the faults and weaknesses in others than for us to fess up and recognize our own. It is easier to label others as self-righteous, hypocritical or two-faced than it is for us to label ourselves as such. It is this very thing or condition that is the definition and essence of being self-righteous.

We tend to hold others accountable and be judgmental of their weaknesses and shortcomings, but are not so willing or able to do the same toward ourselves. It is as if we have need or want to hold others accountable and responsible for what are our own deficiencies. This makes no sense; it is illogical, misguided and immoral, to name only a few things. Many of us tend to be too much this way. This forms the heart of prejudice, hatred, discrimination, ignorance and other undesirable traits. It is too 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 are ignoring 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. A classic example 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 prominent today as it ever has been. It is alive, well and thriving today.

Self-righteousness is self-imposed. There are few who do not suffer from it in some way. Some are severely self-righteousness. The root cause has to do with a combination of ignorance and self-issues. The more problems we have with poor self-image and not liking ourselves, the more we focus too much on the faults of others rather than on our own. An old adage says those living in glass houses should not thrown stones. One way to minimize the possibility of being a hypocrite or self-righteous is to be very careful and not allow ourselves to judge others. We would be a much better person by trying to be a good example rather than being a self-righteous judge.

Challenge: Your time and energy is much better spent examining and working on your own faults and shortcomings than on observing and 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 for yourself. Especially, try to not 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

Spiritual: (NIV)

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. Matt 7:5  

The more we are guided by a spirit of love the more we overcome our tendency of hypocrisy and self-righteousness. If we have love in our heart, we will care, be concerned and not be judgmental or condescending to others. The more we judge others for 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: Anytime I am tempted to judge others, help me to more clearly see myself as I really am.

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