The Temptation of Self-Righteousness

Today’s message in church hurt my feelings.

Let me explain.

Our youth pastor, Joey Silva, delivered a message about the trap of self-righteousness (21.35). We considered King David’s sin of adultery, deception and murder. King David had been unremorseful for a full year, when the prophet Nathan presented a parallel situation of a rich man stealing a poor man’s beloved lamb. David was outraged with the case until the prophet deliberately pointed out that he, himself was the offender – having taken something that wasn’t his (2 Samuel 11-12).

There was another example – this one in modern times. A man shared that his greatest fear was cheating on his wife. Because he knew the potential of his sinful nature, the man guarded his eyes, ears, and was careful in the way he presented himself to women in order to avoid connections with women other than his wife.

THIS is where my feelings were triggered.  Why couldn’t my husband have been this careful? Why hadn’t he guarded himself when talking with co-workers? Why did it take being caught in an emotional affair for him to recognize how a simple pattern of texting had threatened our marriage? 

For nearly an hour, I allowed dark thoughts and angry memories to flood my mind. I yearned to hurl old accusations against my husband. I wanted to shame him for something that was revealed, repented of, and forgiven… FIVE years ago!

Another Option

Thankfully, I had another outlet for my feelings – I turned to God in prayer for wisdom. James tells us:  

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  (James 1:5, NIV)

Because of prayer, the truth of a bitter resentment I’d been harboring was revealed. 

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;  (Hebrews 12:15, ESV)

Even during a sermon on self-righteousness, I quickly became self-righteous and was lured into the trap of being judgmental of others, while my own sin is more than I can handle. 

Jesus himself challenged us: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3, NIV)

For the rest of the day (week, year), I am challenging myself and all my readers to be aware of our own sins. The moment we feel self-righteous or judgmental of another (especially our husbands), we will go to a quiet place and pray for wisdom… and if we’re being honest, forgiveness.

Dare You!


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