Answers to your questions: Self-righteousness
Q: I know that self-righteousness is wrong, that it displeases God and rubs others the wrong way. I try not to be like that, but I also want to stand up for the right, to think and say and do the right things in order to please God and be respected by others, so it’s sometimes a bit of a dilemma. Where does rightness stop and self-righteousness begin? How can I tell when I’m being self-righteous?
A: Good questions—and you’re not alone in your dilemma. Here are some excerpts of a message that someone received from Jesus in prophecy when she asked Him, “What are the symptoms of self-righteousness, and what can I do to overcome it?” As always, no one can explain things as clearly or well as Jesus. This message can serve as a good “self-diagnostic checklist” for us all.
(Jesus:) Often when you’re self-righteous, you don’t even know it, because the things you’re doing or thinking are good things, or seem like good things. It’s just that they’re not the best thing, or the things that I want, or are not being done in a spirit of love and mercy.
Many times I want to show you a better way, but I can only do this when you humble yourself and acknowledge Me and listen to Me. When you yield to a self-righteous spirit, you’re actually yielding to your own spirit, which is sometimes unmerciful, impatient, quick to judge, critical, thinks that it knows best, and isn’t willing to listen to Me or others.
People make mistakes. People are sometimes lazy. People can be unloving. People have problems. If you feel you are better than other people or that you are above their problems—that you’re stronger, smarter, more capable—then you’re probably even worse off than them because you’re self-righteous and don’t even know it.
If you’re concerned that you may be self-righteous, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I often think I know best, and so reject or argue with what others say, or insist on having things my way?
- Do I criticize people when they make mistakes?
- Do I justify my criticisms and lack of love?
- Do I think of myself as better than others?
- Do I get impatient with others?
- Do I choose to do what best suits my own purposes?
These are all symptoms of self-righteousness. If you find that several of these “shoes” fit, then it’s time to lay down your pride and your own ways and ask Me to help you change.
Now ask yourself these questions:
- How much do I depend on the Lord’s counsel through the written Word and His living voice of prophecy?
- Am I quick to forgive and accept the apologies of those who make mistakes or wrong me?
- Am I willing to apologize to people who I may have hurt or wronged?
- Do I admit that I’m weak and need help from the Lord and others?
- Do I admit my mistakes?
- Do I extend the Lord’s love, mercy, and patience to others?
- Do I forgive others and overlook their faults, as I want them to forgive and be patient with me?
- Do I truly listen to the opinions and viewpoints of others?
- Do I take into consideration that I could be wrong and the other person right?
- Do I try to be an example of the Lord’s Spirit of love in the way I think, react, and interact with others?
If you can’t honestly answer yes to the questions on this last list, then these are also things you should pray for Me to help you with.
Turn to My written Word—read it, absorb it, believe it, and let it change you. Turn to My voice of prophecy—bring your questions to Me and hear My personal Words for you. Turn to others—listen to them and be open to their point of view. Turn to Me—depend on My goodness, not your own. Those are the keys to overcoming self-righteousness.
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