This is what Jesus hates

Do you know how much Jesus hates self-righteousness?

Do you remember how he interacted with the Pharisees and religious leaders and teachers of the law? They were the epitome of self-righteousness. They were so sure of themselves. They were so focused on the speck in everybody else’s eyes that they couldn’t begin to see the plank in their own eye. It is like they had a log in both eyes.

Self-righteousness often stands in the way of reconciliation in relationships. But self-awareness helps pave the way to reconciliation. And restoring broken relationships requires an incredible amount of self-awareness. That is why we pray “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” — Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Maybe I am not aware of anything that is wrong in me, but if there is anything, I am open and I am willing for the Lord to reveal it to me.

For the spiritually mature, I not only want to identify the problem in me, but I also want to own it, and I want to deal with it. Or better said, I will allow God to deal with it so I can become a little more like Jesus and a little less like me. Fixing broken relationships requires me to own my part of the blame. Few people seem willing to do that. Reconciliation really starts when I look in the mirror.

It is hard to take your eyes off of the other person to look in the mirror when what happened was so ugly. That is why it is important that we be willing to pray, “Lord, is there something I need to own in this?” That question and that prayer could be the beginning of freedom for you and me. I find it interesting it begins with doing something we hope and pray the other person will do.

Most of us have no trouble identifying someone else who needs to do what I am talking about. What is that? It is often self-righteousness. If we are unwilling to do what we are convinced they should do, doesn’t that make us a hypocrite, just like Jesus said?

As followers of Jesus and someone who is spiritually mature, shouldn’t we take the initiative and go first, rather than waiting on the other person to do it? If you go first, your humility might inspire them to see things from an entirely different perspective.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor at The Point in Seymour. You may email him at [email protected]. His weekly blog can be found at Send comments to [email protected].