Self-righteousness is an attitude of moral superiority that is derived from the idea that a person’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those held by anyone who doesn’t hold to the same beliefs and attitudes.
Or to say it more succinctly – self-righteousness says I’m right and therefore superior to anyone who disagrees with me.
But I have a question for you…
Have you ever been judged by someone because of your appearance, something you’ve done, a rumor, or a simple misunderstanding? Have you ever had someone assume things about you without ever talking to you?
Have you ever made assumptions and judgments without pausing to care?
Maybe you’ve caught yourself thinking or even saying:
- Shame on them . . .
- How could he . . .
- I can’t believe she . . .
- I would never . . .
I wish I could say I’ve always been consistently caring and compassionate with everyone but I can’t.
The thing is . . . nothing destroys our ability to love others the way Jesus commanded than our sin-labeling and finger-pointing.
Sin-labeling decides which sins are the “big ones.” The ones we need to call out and judge. And of course, those sins are the ones we don’t think we do. The ones that make us feel comfortable picking up our judgmental word stones and throwing them at one another with all our might.
But Jesus said:
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”Matthew 7:1–2
I don’t know about you but . . . I don’t want God to judge me the same way I’ve judged others. I want Him to cover me with His grace, mercy, compassion, and love.
And He does.
I don’t want other people to judge me either. I want them to look past the surface, the rumors, and assumptions. I want them to care enough to get to know me without sizing me up and writing me off.
But the only way I can is with God’s help. Jesus not only tells us to cover one another with grace, mercy, compassion, and love, He gives us what we need to do so through the in-dwelling of His Spirit. He pours so much love into each us that by His grace there is plenty for us to pour over the lives of others if we’ll only let Him.
So, let me ask you a question…
Are you comfortable being judged the way you judge others? Are you comfortable with the comments you make on social media about people and politicians in the news . . . people you’ve never talked with or even met personally.
I’m uncomfortable with labeling and hurtful comments that are being made about those who don’t follow Jesus, but I grieve when believers point fingers and throw word stones at each other.
Why are we happy when others fall? Why do we delight in pointing out their flaws? Why doesn’t it break our hearts and drive us to our knees? Why are we so quick to add labels like hypocrite or Pharisee to our brothers and sisters and refuse to see those same qualities in ourselves?
Somehow because Jesus publicly called out the “Pharisees” and hypocrites . . . many Christians believe it’s okay for them to do the same. But it’s not!
Jesus knew the hearts of men, and He was and is sinless. You and I are sinners who are incapable of knowing someone else’s heart and mind. We can’t know a person’s thoughts, beliefs, background, wounds, or motivations.
We have one job!
To love others for God’s glory!
Love is our job. Love is our calling. Love is God’s command to us.
Self-righteous judging of others comes from pride but if we’re really being honest, you and I have nothing to be proud of when it comes to sin. God does not grade us on a curve. We are all sinners saved by grace alone!
“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”Acts 15:11
So, maybe it’s time for us to focus more on loving people like Jesus and stop judging them for Jesus.
God had chosen [us] in advance to be His witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with [Jesus] after He rose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead.Acts 10:41–42
Jesus is the only one God has given the authority to judge people. He has commanded the rest of us to show people the blessing of trusting Jesus for forgiveness and freedom forever. I believe there are some things you and I can do…
How to Stop Judging People So You Can Love Like Jesus
1. Stop believing stereotypes – Don’t believe generalizations and groupthink. Refuse to believe that all people of any race, background, or religion all think alike. So you can really…
2. Stop and get to know people – We often judge too quickly. We judge the character of the person based on an individual word or action. If we haven’t shared their experiences it is impossible for us to understand their choices.
I’m not saying we should approve of every behavior but I believe we are called to care about the person behind the behavior.
3. Avoid the social media bandwagon – I know it’s tempting to add your opinions and rants to a post on social media . . . but please don’t do it. Just don’t! When you and I publicly condemn and shame anyone we are not loving like Jesus. He didn’t call out those who were sinners . . . He called out the self-righteous.
So, if we want to love like Jesus we need to…
4. Make kindness and compassion the goal – I have made it my goal to remember that no matter who it is—a political leader, a public figure, a friend, or even a complete stranger . . . I don’t know all the facts and details. And because I can’t know their hearts, minds, and motivations . . . I need do my best to lead with kindness and compassion.
I want to love them with the love of Jesus.
Finally, let’s take a look at what James, Jesus’ half-brother, had to say”
Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?James 4:11–12
And the Life Application Bible Notes add the following:
Jesus summarized the law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:37–40). When we fail to love, we are actually breaking God’s law. When you’re ready to criticize someone, remember God’s law of love…
Can you imagine the difference we could make if we stopped judging people and offered caring compassion to those with whom we disagreed? What if rather than judging them we reached out to them and pointed them to His Word of truth? What if we showed them Jesus?
May we make that our prayer and our heart’s desire.
And just a couple of quotes to consider:
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” ~ Augustine
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.” ~ Rick Warren
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