Monday, October 20, 2014

"Self-Righteous" I don't think you know what that word means!

There is a line in "The Princess Bride" that I absolutely love. Actually there are many lines in "The Princess Bride" that I really love. "No more rhyming; I mean it! Anybody want a peanut?" "He's not really dead. He's just mostly dead." "But, what you don't realize is -- I'm not left handed!" I could go on and on and on so I had better stop now and get to the line that I was originally thinking about. There is a scene after the word "Inconceivable" has been uttered by his sidekick numerous times that Andrew the Giants character turns to his friend and says, "I don't think that you know what that word means!" That's exactly the way that I feel when people use the word "self-righteous".

Words have meaning and I think that one of the biggest problems that we have in communicating in our age is that we rarely know what the words that we are using mean anymore. Many times I find myself asking people, "What do you mean exactly when you use the word ____________?" Often, I find that the way they define the word and the way that I define it have very little in common. "Self-righteous" is one of those words. The word comes from the Bible when Jesus deals with the "self-righteous" Pharisees and teachers of the law. It means that they thought that they had the power within themselves to become right in the eyes of God. That if they just did all of the right things, followed all of the right rules, ate all of the right foods, and avoided all of the wrong places and people that they could somehow become what God desired them to become. The problem with such teaching is that human beings are completely powerless to make themselves right with God. That is why Jesus had to come as a sacrifice. His death took care of the payment for our sins. This was something that we were powerless to accomplish on our own.

Unfortunately, the word "self-righteous" has come to be acquainted with anyone that points out the sin in the world around them. If someone calls adultery sin that doesn't make them "self-righteous". It doesn't even make them judgmental. Why not? Simple, the Bible has already declared that judgment as fact. The Bible has done the judging already! The individual is merely point out what the Bible has already proclaimed. I rarely, if ever, encounter a "self-righteous" Christian. The very fact that someone is a born again Christian means that they have declared themselves to be a hopeless sinner in need of a savior that is completely beyond themselves. They have recognized that they cannot make themselves righteous.

What I find is that most of the people that I hear throwing around the term "self-righteous" are in fact "self-righteous." We live in a society that sees no need for a savior. They are not like the Pharisees who thought that they just need to do certain things in order to attain God's favor. On the contrary, they feel that they already have the favor of God and have no need to change anything at all about their lives because after all, "God loves me just the way that I am!" He made me this way so there is no need to change what He has made "Self-righteous" means "religious" in the minds of most people today. "Self-righteous" means church-goer in the minds of most people today.


The reality is that "self-righteous" means, "I don't need Jesus. I don't need the Church. I don't need to read the Bible. I don't need to pray. I don't need to change. I don't need to give. I don't need to be committed to the needs of others. I'm o.k. just the way that I am." We need to start confronting "self-righteousness" in our world with the same force that Jesus confronted it in His day. We don't do that by attacking the Church. We do that by addressing sin and the need of a savior!

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