“Christians get very angry toward other Christians who sin differently than they do.” ~ Philip Yancey

I am self-righteous.  It grieves, angers and saddens me.   It is a daily endeavor for me not to point the finger at those who are not “pulling their weight” in Christian piety.

I find myself quick to condemn sins that are not particularly challenging to me.  So far this week, as far as I know, I have not lied to a nation or cheated on my wife.  I have not purchased illegal substances for consumption in secret, and while the day is still young, I have not stolen the last breath from someone’s lungs. 

While I can say that with self-satisfaction I clearly can recall in the not to distant days being quite guilty of outbursts of rage, judging the motives of others, and lying. I have great excuses for justifying these “lesser” sins.  In addition to sitting comfortably on my self-righteous perch, I can tell you, that this week I have been unmoved by poverty, racism, sexism, genocide, human trafficking, and homelessness.

Then there’s the Apostle Paul who keeps meddling in my mind.  This spiritual sniper places sexual sins in the same list as “fits of rage,” “discord,” “dissensions,” “selfish ambition,” and “slander” – all of which bar one from inheriting the kingdom of God if not repented of (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In these texts, James, Jesus, and Paul level the playing field on sin, showing that every believer is guilty of so-called “dirt” (1 John 1:8).

For Jesus, lust and adultery are on the same par, the same with rage and murder. For Paul, slander and outbursts of rage are no less serious than fornication.

Have you heard the story about Charles Spurgeon and D.L. Moody? Pastor Frank Viola shares in his blog that, allegedly, Charles Spurgeon invited D.L. Moody to speak at an event he hosted. Moody accepted and preached the entire time about the evils of tobacco, and why the Lord doesn’t want Christians to smoke.

Spurgeon, a cigar smoker, was surprised at what seemed to be a cheap shot leveled by Moody, using the pulpit to condemn a fellow minister.

When Moody finished preaching, Spurgeon walked up to the podium and said, “Mr. Moody, I’ll put down my cigars when you put down your fork.”

Moody was overweight.

George MacDonald famously said, “I understand God’s patience with the wicked, but I do wonder how He can be so patient with the pious.”

All sin is serious.  In relationship we need to call, confront, condemn, and care for people who need God’s grace.  I am convicted today that my Pharisee like sin of self-righteousness was the chief concern of my Savior Jesus.  I grieve God’s Spirit when I self-appoint myself to be a monitor of other people’s righteousness.

Who was Jesus the most patient with?   They are the very people that I am tempted to first condemn.   In Jesus, the pyramid is inverted yet again. The person who is adept at calling “dirt” in others, but fails to see the dirt in himself/herself, is in a very dangerous place.

Every sin comes off the same tree. All sin is serious. All sin put Jesus on the cross. Therefore, we are deluded whenever we lessen the sins we’ve committed and magnify the sin of others … whatever they might be.

Thank God that Jesus has paid the price for all our sins and given us the power to walk free from their dominion. 

3 thoughts on “Self-RIGHT-eousness

  1. Well said…..thank you for your thoughtful views

    On Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 10:11 AM, Pastor Michael Denver Blog wrote:

    > Pastor Michael A.L. Eckelkamp posted: “Christians get very angry > toward other Christians who sin differently than they do. ~ Philip YanceyI > am self-righteous. It grieves, angers and saddens me. It is a daily > endeavor for me not to point the finger at those who are not pulling their > weigh”

  2. I personally am more challenged with judging people who share the same weaknesses as I do. Somewhere I read that people tend to dislike the most in others, the same things they dislike about themselves. This is a great reminder to keep that in check. Thank you…

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