(This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post.)
In case you missed it, let me just reiterate…my name is Pam, and I’m a self-righteous jerk.
So, you’re a self-righteous jerk, too, hugh? Ok.
Let’s work with that…..
You’re waiting for me to write on how to “fix” you, aren’t you? Yeah…I’m not going to do that.
I can’t do that. I can’t just write a five-step model for you because I believe that the root of self righteousness is a deep seated fear about being rejected. And five-step models are poor replacements for the healing that’s needed to overcome rejection.
I believe we become self-righteous because we figure out that if we play by the rules, then people can’t reject us, or their rejection is now unjustified, and so we find a way to dismiss their criticism. We’re often also guilty of calculated risks, controlling tendencies, suspicion, mistrust, and cynicism.
In our relationship with God, we are prone to behaviors that manifest in two specific ways:
1) Works Righteousness – I know I can’t earn my way to salvation, but I do want to please Him by doing…. Those of us in this camp struggle with fear of man issues all the time. We have difficulty saying no, especially to authority figures. We can idolize beauty, talent, knowledge, and giftings.
2) The “super” grace camp – We preach grace, and give it easily to others, but truth be told, we don’t give it to ourselves. As people press in to bear our burdens and consequences of sin, we often draw back, stubbornly, and insist on carrying it ourselves.
Have I hit the mark yet?
Don’t worry. There’s hope. It comes in the form of carefree timelessness. That’s right. Carefree timelessness. You have to be able to spend time with others and with God with no plan and no motivation, other than enjoying each other’s company. You have to experience people not rejecting you as you let loose. You have to experience not working/counseling/teaching/mentoring/serving others, and still having relationship. It has to be built into your schedule the way you dedicate your time to prayer and scripture study.
You have to experience God loving you for reasons other than your service, your faithfulness, or your dedication to Him or His church.
If you’re not morally opposed, and it won’t make you fall into sin, go have “A” beer with some friends. Women: Don’t go to the coffee shop with your girlfriend! You will end up counseling! Go to a crappy all night dinner and order ice cream and fries. Laugh. Laugh until your side hurts. Laugh till you cry. Be a little silly. Be a little vulnerable.
With God, just go for a walk and be honest with God. Don’t censor yourself. I promise, He’ll bless your honesty.
This WILL be hard …painfully hard. But I pray that God will tie your hands behind your back so that you can experience love and relationship. Because if you struggle with self-righteousness, my guess is that you deeply crave loving, open, honest relationships. You just don’t know how to get there, and you don’t really believe people will accept you for you.
They will. Give them a chance.
P.S. Your just as self-righteous girlfriend might not be the best person to take out to dinner. Share these posts or others like it with them first and see if you’re on the same page. Or, take somebody out that you naturally really enjoy being around.