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RIGHTEOUSNESS/SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS

Related Index Topics: Churchianity, Hypocrisy, Humility/Pride, Criticism & Gossip, Justifying
Yourself, Grace vs. Works.

1. There may be virtues in the man


Who's always sure he's right,
Who'll never hear another's plan
And seek no further light;
But I like more the chap who sings
A somewhat different song;
Who says, when he has messed up things,
"I'm sorry; I was wrong."

It's hard for anyone to say


That failure's due to him--
That he has lost the fight or way
Because his lights burned dim,
It takes a man aside to throw
The vanity that's strong,
Confessing, "'Twas my fault, I know;
"I'm sorry; I was wrong."

And so, I figure, those who use


This honest, manly phrase,
Hate it too much their way to lose
On many future days.
They'll keep the path & make the fight,
Because they do not long
To have to say--when they're not right--
"I'm sorry; I was wrong."

2. A pious church member, who thought himself to be a great Christian, visited the Junior
Department of the Sunday School. The Superintendent asked him to say a few words to the boys & girls.
He stood pompously before them, & asked, "Why do you think people call me a Christian?"
There was an embarrassing silence, then a small voice from the back of the room said, "Because
they don't know you."

3. An Indian & a white man were brought under deep conviction of sin by the same sermon. The
Indian was immediately led to rejoice in pardoning mercy. The white man was for a long time in distress,
almost to despair. But he was at last brought to a sweet sense of his sin forgiven. Some time after, meeting
his red brother, he said to him: "How is it that I should be so long under conviction, when you found peace
at once?"
"O brother," replied the Indian, "me tell you! There comes along a rich prince. He proposes to give
you a new coat; yours look pretty good, it will do a little longer. He then offers me a new coat, I look at my
old blanket; I say, this good for nothing, and brother, you try to keep your own righteousness, you won't
give it up; but I, poor Indian, had none, so I glad at once to receive the righteousness of God--the Lord
Jesus Christ."

4. The theologian, Leonard Bacon, was present at a religious conference. He had made a certain
statement on the floor whereupon a member, opposed to his views, burst forth with the exclamation, "Why,
I never heard of such a thing in all my life."
"Mr. Moderator," appealed Bacon, "I cannot allow my opponent's ignorance, however vast, to
prejudice my knowledge, however small."

5. Men wrap themselves in smug cocoons


Of dogmas they believe are wise,
And look askance at one who sees
In worms potential butterflies.
--Eloise Hackett

6. "My hardest job," said the warden of a great penitentiary, "is to convince youthful delinquents
that they have done something wrong."
7. Have you noticed: WHEN the other fellow acts that way, he is ugly; when you do, it's nerves.
WHEN others are set in their ways, they're obstinate; when you are, it is firmness. WHEN your neighbour
doesn't like your friend, he's prejudiced; when you don't like his, you are a good judge of human nature.
WHEN he tries to treat someone especially well, he's toadying (flattering), when you try it, you are being
thoughtful.
WHEN he takes time to do things well, he's a slowpoke or lazy; when you do, you are deliberate &
careful. WHEN he spends a lot, he is a spend thrift; when you do, you're generous. WHEN someone picks
flaws in things, he's cranky & critical; when you do, you are creative. WHEN he is mild-mannered you call
him weak; when you are, it is graciousness.
WHEN someone dresses especially well, that person is extravagant; when you do, it is
tastefulness. WHEN he says what he thinks, he's spiteful; when you do, you are being frank. WHEN he
takes great risks in business, he's foolhardy; when you do, you are a wise financier.

8. The Scotsman sent an indignant letter to the editor of the newspaper. He said that if any more
stories about stingy Scotsmen appeared in the columns, he was going to stop borrowing the paper.

9. Pope Leo XII, on a visit to the jail of the Papal States in 1825, insisted on questioning each of
the prisoners as to how he had come to be there. Almost every man protested his innocence. Only one
humbly admitted that he was a forger & a thief.
Turning to the prison superintendent, Pope Leo said sternly: "Release this rascal at once. I do not
wish that his presence should corrupt all these noble gentlemen here!"

10. What God requires of us He Himself works in us, or it is not done.

11. There is an Eastern story of a Sultan who overslept & didn't awaken at the hour of prayer. So
the Devil came & waked him, & told him to get up & pray.
"Who are you?" said the Sultan.
"Oh, no matter," replied the other. "My act is good, is it not? No matter who does the good action,
so long as it is good."
"Yes," replied the Sultan; "but I think you are Satan. I know your face; you have some bad
motive."
"But," says the other, "I am not so bad as I am painted. You see I have left off my horns & tail. I
am a pretty good fellow, after all. I was an angel once, & still keep some of my original goodness."
"That's all very well," replied the sagacious & prudent caliph, "but you are the tempter; that's your
business; & I wish to know why you want me to get up & pray."
"Well," said the Devil with a flirt of impatience, "if you must know, I will tell you. If you had slept
& forgotten your prayers, you would have been sorry for it afterward, & penitent; but if you go on as now,
& do not neglect a single prayer for ten years, you will be so satisfied with yourself that it will be worse for
you than if you had missed one sometimes & repented of it. God loves your fault mixed with penitence
more than your virtue seasoned with pride."

12. The man who tries to keep a book account of the good he does never does enough good to pay
for the binding of the book.

13. Morality may keep you out of jail, but it takes the blood of Jesus Christ to keep you out of
hell.--Spurgeon

14. Judge not without knowledge, nor without necessity & never without charity.

15. A young man was summoned before the official church board for selling liquor. "It is true that
I did sell liquor," he confessed, "but I did not know that it was any more wrong to sell it than it is to buy it,
& I know I have sold some to several of the men in this room!"

16. It is religion without love that has been responsible for most of the misery in the World.

17. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength.

18. God will never get His due unless we are totally reduced to nothing, so that it may be clearly
seen that all that is laudable in us comes from elsewhere.

19. To be proud of our knowledge is the greatest ignorance.--Jeremy Taylor

20. A song that never gets an encore is when you sing your own praises.

21. An evangelist could not convince a lady that all the good things she did would not avail in
God's sight. Being very wealthy, she gave a supper to some poor people, & also provided clothes for them.
An inspiration struck the evangelist, & he said to her: "If one of the guests thanked you very much for the
clothes, but said: 'I must make some small return', & rolled up his old clothes in a parcel & asked you to
accept them in return, would you be pleased?" At once she said, "No." Then it dawned on her how useless
were all her efforts to make herself better, & she accepted the Lord as her Saviour & King.

22. A man found an Indian wandering aimlessly in the woods & asked, "Are you lost?"
The Indian replied, "No! No! Indian not lost. Wigwam lost!"
How like that Indian are many who are too proud to acknowledge their lostness & to pray: "God
be merciful to me a sinner!"

23. Across the way my neighbour's windows shine,


His roof-tree shields him from the storms that frown;
He toiled & saved to build it, staunch & brown.
And though my neighbour's house is not like mine,
I would not pull it down!
With patient care my neighbour, too, had built
A house of faith, wherein his soul might stay,
A haven from the winds that sweep life's way.
It differed from my own--I felt no guilt--I burned it yesterday!
--Molly Anderson Haley, 1888-

24. "He is a sinner," you are pleased to say.


Then love him for the sake of Christ, I pray.
If on His gracious words you place your trust,--
"I came to call the sinners, not the just,"--
Second His call; which if you will not do,
You'll be the greater sinner of the two.
--John Byrom, 1692-1763

25. One day a disciple of Mohammed declared: "Master, my six brothers are asleep & I alone have
remained awake to worship Allah."
"It would have been better for you to remain asleep," answered the Prophet, "if your worship of
Allah is to be mixed with accusations against your brothers."

26. Always distinguish between the words, "attain" & "obtain." We can never attain or earn God's
gracious help by prayer or service, but we can obtain, appropriate & take it.

27. We are no less sinners than our audience.

28. If any man must boast of anything as his own, he must boast of his misery & sin, for there is
nothing else but this that is his own property.

29. If we insist on our glory, God will withdraw His.

30. If we think we can do anything of ourselves, all we shall get from God is the opportunity to try.

31. The fatal blow to progress is self-satisfaction.

32. The Bible teaches us to be content with what we have but never with what we are.

33. The faults of others are like headlights on a passing car. They seem more glaring than our own.

34. If you are satisfied with yourself, you had better change your ideals.

35. Men sometimes credit themselves for their successes, & God for their failures.

36. Our efficiency without God's sufficiency is only a deficiency.

37. Believers are no more able now of themselves to think one good thought, to form one good
desire, to speak one good word, or to do one good work, than before they were justified.

38. It is but a short step from the critical to the hypocritical.

39. The only people on the face of the Earth for whom Christ can do anything are sinners who
KNOW they are sinners!

40. No man can push himself ahead very far by patting himself on the back.

41. He who wants only friends without faults will be without friends.

42. One of the powerful figures in Wall Street fell in love with an actress & for many months
danced constant attendance upon her & squired her about in the fashionable circles of town. Deciding to
marry her, he first prudently put a private detective to the job of looking into her antecedents in order to
guard himself against any rash mistake. At last he received his agent's report. "Miss Blank enjoys an
excellent reputation. Her past is spotless. Her associates have been irreproachable. The only breath of
scandal is that, in recent months, she has been much seen in the company of a business man of doubtful
reputation.

43. The most encouraging thing about King David's example, believe it or not, was not his
perfectionism, but his human failures, sins & shortcomings, which gave God a chance to get all the glory,
& show there's hope for me--& you!
I never got too much encouragement from the perfectionism of a man like Enoch, who walked so
close to God, that he got completely out of touch with humanity, so God had to take him out of this World,
because he was no longer any use to Man. I take a lot more heart from the pathetic stories of the drunks &
the harlots & the publicans & the sinners who came to Jesus for love & mercy, & Who treated them
tenderly, kindly & forgivingly, & gave them hope & love & strength! They didn't go to the harsh, rigid,
self-righteous, unyielding, unforgiving, critical & condemning church leaders, who told them to be perfect,
or go to Hell, & laid on them religious burdens that were more than they were able to bear--but they came
to Jesus, for His Love & Mercy, Forgiveness, Encouragement & Patience! Which are you like? Are you
condemning the Pharisees on the one hand, while acting even more self-righteous than they? Are you being
unmerciful while preaching forsake all! If there's gonna be any choice between the two, I'll say unto you, as
Jesus did to them: "I would have mercy, & not sacrifice!--See what that meaneth!" (Mat.9:13)--Dad

44. Louise, a little girl who had begun life in a happy-go-lucky household, went to spend a few
days with a very strict aunt.
One evening, after a trying day when she had been scolded for her small faults even more than
usual, she said her evening prayer. As the aunt passed the bedroom door, she heard: "...& please, make all
the bad people good, & the good people a little easier to live with."

45. Some people have said that Joseph was the only guy in the Bible about whom there was no
recorded mistake. But I can remember when I was a little boy in Sunday School thinking: "What a stupid
idiot he was to go & tell his brothers when having dreams like that!" He was a typical spoiled brat, & if he
hadn't bragged about his dreams, showing off to his brothers about how he was so superior, he wouldn't
have gotten nearly killed & thrown into the pit & sold into slavery in the first place!--Dad

46. A famous preacher I knew, Dr. Paul Gouthey of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Los Angeles,
used to be famous for the words he used when he got stirred up, which were not exactly preacherified
words--"hell", "damn" & few other things. One morning one of the little old narrow-minded long-blue-
nosed self-righteous holier-than-thou saintly sisters came down after one of his sermons in which he'd been
saying "hell" & "damn it" like I do, & said, "Doctor Gouthey, you shouldn't use language like that! The
Lord doesn't like that kind of language, tsk, tsk!" I don't know where she got that idea, it doesn't say so in
the Bible. He looked at her & said, "Sister, the World has heard about me & my language, but who the Hell
ever heard of you?"--Dad

47. It's funny how kids take grades. Did you ever notice that in school when they'd get their report
card? If it was an "A" they said, "Oh, look what I made!" If it was a "D" or an "F" they said, "Look what
the teacher gave me!" That's just human nature & it goes on all through life. If you accomplish something
good, "Hm, look what I did!" But if you didn't do so well, "Hm, look what they made me do!" It was their
fault. She made me do it. He did it. God did it, it was His fault!" People go all the way through life with
that same attitude.--Dad

48. The World I thought belonged to me


Goods, gold & people, land & sea
Where're I walked beneath God's sky
In those days my word was "I".

Years passed, there flashed my pathway near


The fragment of a vision dear
My former word no more sufficed
And what I said was "I & Christ."
But oh, the more I looked on Him
His glory grew while mine grew dim
I shrank so small, He towered so high.
All I dared say was, "Christ & I."

Years more the vision held its place


And looked me steadily in the face
I speak now in humbler tone
And what I say is "Christ alone."

49. Those who demand nothing more than a God of Justice get precisely what they ask; the Bible
calls it Hell.

50. That is the worst sin of all, to even have the slightest idea that you're a little bit more righteous
than God, that God shouldn't have done this to you! When you murmur, when you complain, when you
bellyache about something, then you're saying that you're more righteous than others!--That if you were
boss, YOU would have let you DO it, & YOU would have done BETTER & YOU wouldn't have done this
or you wouldn't have done that!

51. God wiped out a whole generation of millions out on the Sinaitic Desert because of their
murmuring & pretending to be more righteous than God! "WE wouldn't have done this, God! Why did You
do this to us, God? WE would have been gooder than You, God! We're gooder than God!"--And God was
furious with them, knowing how vile & imperfect & iniquitous their wicked, black, evil hearts were, just
through this self-righteousness! It didn't matter if they kept all the other commandments & all the rigmarole
of the tabernacle & all the Law of Moses! No matter how good you are, if you think you're more righteous
than God & you hold it against God because God didn't do this or didn't do that, that very attitude can kill
you! God hates that attitude almost more than anything else! It is self-righteousness, it is accusing God of
unrighteousness! "Can a man be found more righteous than God?--No! Never! No matter what God does,
it's more righteous than anything Man could ever do!--And no matter what Man does, it's never as righteous
as God is!

52. In many ways I'm not so smart, & often I'm very weak, but I think the Lord allowed me to be
that way so I would have mercy on others. Whatever the problem, I can always say, "There but for the
grace of God go I!" It's a lot harder to have mercy on people & be uncritical of them & patient with them if
you're so good or you're so smart! If you're so great yourself, you think, "Why can't THEY be that way?" If
you can get a victory over something, surely THEY ought to be able to. If your reactions are quick & your
intellectual capacity great, you think everybody should be that way. If you're strong & healthy & energetic,
it's hard for you to see why others have to have so much sleep! I guess that's why the Lord let me be pretty
weak physically & even sinful in ways like jealousy & pride & selfishness & sort of slow & dumb so that
I'd remember that I'm just like everyone else & I'd have mercy on THEM!

53. What most of the churches literally teach is that is you cannot go to Heaven unless you do
good & stay good! But that is the most damnable sin of all, to even think you can be good enough to go to
Heaven or be saved! That is self-works, self-righteousness, hypocrisy, & it's cursed of the Devil & is a
doctrine of devils & of sinful Satan himself!

54. The whole idea of this great demonstration of His power is to show that He can save you in
SPITE of everything!--That He can make you useful & do something with you & use you in spite of all
your faults & shortcomings! Even the fact that you're as bad as you are & you still accomplish something
for God is to God's glory, because it gives all the glory to Jesus!

55. People are always complimenting Job for his patience & wondering, "How could God have
done all that to such a good man?" THEY wouldn't have let the Devil do that to him! That's the attitude of
the average Christian. Well, the Lord let him do it to Job because he was such a BAD man, & he was only
PRETENDING to be a good man! And a lot of his so-called comforters, which the church & the preachers
decry, were RIGHT in their accusations & the things they said about him. But Job was arguing about it &
resisting these truths they were giving. He was not accepting it! He wouldn't believe it! He was too proud &
self-righteous & he didn't want to confess it! Until finally God got him REALLY down to where he was
about to die, & so he finally realised the only thing he had was God & the only thing he could trust was the
Lord, not his own self-righteousness, not his own goodness nor health nor wealth nor wife nor family nor
anything but the Lord!

56. People hold it against God because He won't heal them! "If He'd DO it, THEN I'd SERVE
Him.--So He doesn't love me. He doesn't care, because He won't HEAL me!" It's kind of a "me first"
attitude: "You HEAL ME FIRST, THEN I'll believe You, then I'll obey." People with that self-righteous
attitude are saying, "Well, God, if I were You, I'd do things better than You're doing them!--I'D be more
RIGHTEOUS!--I'd HEAL me! I'M more righteous than GOD! I'M BETTER than God! I'm more GOOD
than God! God isn't good, or He wouldn't let all these things happen!" But that's just because they don't
understand God. They don't understand WHAT He's doing or WHY He's doing it, & they'll NEVER
understand until they have FAITH to TRUST Him that HE KNOWS BEST!

57. I'm not denying there are times when we have to sacrifice & suffer, but we don't have to do it
on purpose, just as a self-righteous gaining of personal merit. If we do it, it's because it happens & the Lord
lets it happen, but not because we necessarily ask for it or want it or think we're gaining any righteousness
by it.

58. The basic foundation principle of every false religion is self-salvation, self-righteousness: "You
can save yourself, you don't need God! So what God's got to let all mankind & the whole World do is go to
the very limit in trying to save themselves--which is self-righteousness & which is anti-Christ, which is
denying that Man is evil & trying to prove that Man is good & that he can save himself--& that's the worst
religion of all! But it's the religion of the whole World! It's the religion of the Devil, it's the religion of the
anti-Christ System, it's self-salvation: "We don't need God! We can do it ourselves!"

59. God doesn't use anybody who thinks they're something. He just uses nobodies & nothings that
He makes something out of.

60. There's nothing God hates like SELF-righteousness, trying to think you can earn your own
salvation & you can be good enough to be saved, you can suffer enough to be saved, you can deny yourself
enough to be saved, you can abuse your body enough to be saved. How horrible! What an insult to God!
What ingratitude to Jesus!--Just brushing aside the sacrifice of Calvary!