The Worst Thing You Can Do Is Be Self-Righteous

The Worst Thing You Can Do Is Be Self-Righteous

Go to the gym every day to better yourself, not so you can look better than your neighbor Joe across the street. Go to church every Sunday to bring yourself closer to God and community, but not so you can say you're better than Nick, who comes to church on Easter and Christmas.

69
views

"A cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute," writes C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.

I watched a sermon the other day by Pastor Francis Chan titled "Grace and New Year's Resolutions Don't Mix." In it was a relatively radical message, to me: the danger in making New Year's Resolutions is not failing at your resolutions, but succeeding at them.

Say, in the most prototypical example, you resolve to go to the gym every day, like everyone else. Say when the calendar turns to December 31, 2019, you have gone to the gym every day, you will feel pretty good about yourself. Your body will look at lot better, you'll feel a lot better, and you'll be a lot more in shape. You swell up with pride and confidence about how great you are for having gone to the gym every day. And then you start to feel special, like you're better than the people who failed at their resolutions.

For Chan and in the view of many, that feeling and swelling of pride is self-righteouness. The holier-than-thou sentiment of feeling accomplished and better than other people, well, is a Christian sin. Chan starts off the sermon asking his audience what the biggest sin is. The various evils in Judeo-Christian law are listed: adultery, sexual immorality, lying, cheating. But Chan dismisses these evils as the greatest sin not because they aren't bad, but because there is something much worse: self-righteousness.

Look into the gospels to see who Jesus presents most of his fury and rage. He is not angry at beggars, poor people, prostitutes, or tax collectors, like many in his society were. Instead, Jesus reserves most of his fury for the religious elite officials, the Pharisees. In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus tells us to "beware of the scribes...They will receive the greater condemnation." Matthew 23 is an entire verse of the Bible where Jesus dedicates himself to disparaging the various and plentiful woes of the Pharisees. The word "hypocrite" is used to describe the Pharisees six separate times.

Self-righteousness makes you think you're a good person, one who doesn't need to change anything or grow any part of his or her character. That is fundamentally untrue to any person in the world. We all have plenty of good in us, but also a lot of evil. Self-righteousness makes you believe that you don't sin, when everyone does.

According to Chan, Judeo-Christian law functions not only for us to follow it. Don't lie, don't commit adultery, and don't steal. But Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount that "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." That means that we are all adulterers, much as we are also liers and thieves.

And that means we can't look to another person and look at their wrongs and sins and say, "well, at least I'm not as bad as that person." I will say that when I was younger, I used to think like that all the time. I used to see what other people were doing wrong in their lives, gossip about them, and share the same sentiment that "at least I'm not that person." I bathed then in self-righteousness, and I am ashamed to say that I once did, and sometimes still do. Despite whatever spiritual awakening I may have had, I am still not immune from occasional thoughts of "oh, at least I'm not that person."

Rather, the law functions for us to realize how often we break it, how often we sin. Chan argues that when we look at the law, we should also look in the mirror to realize how terrible and bad we are. When we do that, we become humble instead of self-righteous. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, the truth is that when you can see how great that higher power is, and how pathetic you are by comparison, then you will be absolved of self-righteousness. No, my self-righteousness has not gone away after a good night's sleep, but rather through continuous humbling experiences in which I realize how worthless, and how much I can't walk through life alone, without companionship, without family, without a savior.

So if we were to make New Year's Resolutions, we have to make them right. Let it not be about anything that makes us feel self-righteous. Go to the gym every day to better yourself, not so you can look better than your neighbor Joe across the street. Go to church every Sunday to bring yourself closer to God and community, but not so you can say you're better than Nick, who comes to church on Easter and Christmas.

If we are spiritual or religious, let's make resolutions that bring us closer to our faith. This year, I resolve to counter the self-righteousness I find in myself and seek to be more humble and grateful. Every day I want to pray and remind myself how lucky I am in every respect. I have faith, I have people, and I am alive. That's more than I could have said at any other point of my life. Woes will come, as they always have, and I deserve all of them and more, but they cannot shake how lucky I've been to come this far.

I could do worse than be a cold, self-righteous prig.

Popular Right Now

Signs You're An INFJ, The World's Rarest Personality Type

INFJ, from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument, is believed to be the rarest personality type, and to make up less than 2% of the population. Oh, and I am one.
160211
views

INFJ, referring to one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, has become a bit of a buzzword in the media over the past several years. The reason behind it: INFJ is considered to be the rarest personality type, making up less than 2% of the world's entire population. They are labeled as "The Advocate," and have been described as "mysterious," "intuitive," and "emotionally intelligent," yet the type as a whole is often misunderstood.

Oh, and I am one. Perhaps you are, as well.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, created in the 1940's by mother and daughter, Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs, originally stems from the typological theories of Carl Jung, a prominent psychoanalyst. The test assesses an individual in 4 categories: Extroversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving, and using these criteria, determines which category one’s personality most tilts toward. INFJs would be those individuals whose personalities favor the sides of Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.

INFJs can be difficult to spot due to the fact that they are not prevalent in society and tend to be reserved individuals. However, INFJs make fiercely loyal friends, empathetic and organized workers, and exceptional leaders for causes they deem worthy and for the greater good of humanity.

INFJs often report feeling lonely and "different," and for good reason. INFJs are low in numbers so they tend to have trouble finding others who see the world in the same realm as they do. Most people who are this type have admitted feeling different from their peers since they were a very young child.

INFJs take an all-or-nothing approach to life. INFJs, a curious mix of emotional and logical, do not like to waste their time on anything inauthentic. Although they may dabble with playing the field, INFJs are truly about quality over quantity and will become disinterested in anyone or anything they perceive as being fraudulent, scheming or wishy-washy.

INFJs exude warmness, and others immediately feel comfortable in their presence. It is not uncommon for a stranger to sit down next to an INFJ and within minutes, disclose their most personal secrets, fears and dreams. In fact, this happens frequently to INFJs with seemingly no rhyme or reason. This personality type has a knack for making others immediately feel at ease, and they are great listeners and trusted confidants who speak in human terms and meet others where they are.

INFJs are somewhat empathic, and they tend to "just know" things. One of my favorite one-liners from Game of Thrones is by the character, Tyrion Lannister, "I drink and I know things," and this can often be said of an INFJ, with maybe fewer libations. INFJs have a highly-accurate sense of intuition that they have been sharpening for all of their lives. Without understanding exactly why or how, an INFJ will see, within minutes of meeting an individual, their true character. As a result, they tend to be more forgiving of their friends who exhibit unruly behavior because they can identify the true root of the behavior, such as insecurities or past trauma.

INFJs ultimately seek genuine truth and meaning. This personality type does not care one iota about grandiose tales or extravagant gestures if there is not a true and genuine motive behind them. An INFJ’s calling in life is to seek insight and understanding, and as they develop, they often can spot a lie or half-truth in a moment's notice. If they believe an individual to be a phony or a manipulator, they will have no trouble writing them off. Likewise, this type often enjoys traveling, adventures and experiences that heighten their understanding of the intricacies of life and promote self-reflection.

INFJs are true introverts, yet people not very close to them believe them to be extroverts. This happens because INFJs can be social chameleons and have an innate ability to blend in in any social setting. The INFJ can be the life of the party for a night or two, showcasing their inviting nature and vivaciousness. However, this is never prolonged because, in introverted-fashion, they lose energy from others. Those close to an INFJ know that this type prefers bars over clubs and barbecues over balls, and can give a speech to thousands of people but cringes at the idea of mingling with the crowd afterward. Eventually, this type will need to retreat home for some quiet time to "recharge their batteries," or they will become very on-edge and exhausted.

INFJs have intense, unwavering convictions, sometimes to a fault. An INFJ has certain ideas about the world and a need to foster change in society. These are deep-seated and intense beliefs that they will never abandon. If a career, relationship, or law does not align with their moral compass, an INFJ will have no qualms about ignoring it or leaving it in the dust.

INFJs tend to keep a small circle of friends and prefer to work alone. Although an INFJ may have hundreds of acquaintances, if they call you a "friend," you can be sure that they mean it for life. This type can count their close friends on a set of fingers and they will be loyal and devoted to these prized individuals no matter how much time passes between their interactions. An INFJ can be a great team player but the idea of group projects and collaboration meetings naturally make them sink down in their seat. These are people who enjoy working from home or in a quaint office with a handful of like-minded coworkers.

INFJs cannot stand small talk. This trait aligns with the need to pursue truth and all things bona fide. To an INFJ, small talk not only takes energy, but has little purpose as it is merely speaking to fill silence without revealing any deeper layers of the individuals involved. Do not talk to an INFJ about the weather unless you want to see a glazed-over look. Instead, tell them about the causes you are promoting, the wish-list of your soul, or the way you smile every time you smell lavender because it reminds you of your great grandmother.

INFJs are typically high-achievers and people-pleasers. If you want a task done right the first time, hand it over to an INFJ. They will plan every detail down to the minute and will always deliver a glowing finished product. However, when delivering criticism to this type, do it gently, as they take every word to heart and are always striving for perfection. This type is a unique blend of a dreamer and a doer, but they can easily fall prey to extreme bouts of anxiety or depression centered on feelings of inadequacy or failure.

INFJs are gifted in language and are often creative writers. In accordance with their introverted nature, INFJs prefer to spend time alone and develop enriched inner-lives with many hobbies and skills. This type has trouble conveying their emotions verbally, so they turn to pen and paper. This, combined with their creative nature, leaves no surprise that the majority of successful writers are, in fact, INFJs.

INFJs make decisions based off of emotion and insight. An INFJ judges the world around them and the people in it based off of how they make them feel. This type does not care about track records and performance history, instead they look for the heart of the matter and how a person or company treats them personally. This type will trust their "gut feeling" about a situation and go with that, which has almost always proven to be accurate.

INFJs like to reflect on deep thoughts about their purpose and the world around them. This type is a thinker. INFJs are old-souls who spend a lot of time in their own minds reflecting on their purpose and the meaning behind everything that happens to them. They are often readers, researchers and intellectuals who truly enjoy learning. Although this is a noble endeavor, it is essential that the INFJ has friends, typically of the extroverted type, who can help them to be less serious and relax every now and then.

INFJs are visionaries who always see the big picture. This type tends to always operate about ten steps ahead. They are skilled planners and focus their sights on the end goal and what is needed to propel them there. However, while INFJs are off in dreamland about their futures, they can sometimes forget to be present in the world that is happening now. As a result, they do well with other more grounded types who can remind them to live in the moment.

INFJs are "fixers," and they gravitate towards people who need help. This type loves a good fixer-upper and with their ability to see the "good bones" of another person, their true motives and intentions, and to readily provide comfort and compassion, they fall victim to the Broken Wing Theory, or the idea that they can rescue others who have a "broken wing," or who have been dealt a poor hand. This can be rewarding for the hopeful INFJ but also frustrating and depleting when boundaries are overstepped.

INFJs seek lifelong, true-blue relationships. This type usually finds themselves with intuitive extroverts, such as the ENTPs, ENFPs, and ENFJs. These types connect with the INFJ on the deeper plane of intuition, yet also will get the INFJ out of their own heads and out on the town on a Saturday night.

Think you might be an INFJ? Find out which type you are here: https://www.mbtionline.com/.

Cover Image Credit: www.pexels.com

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Tips On How Not To Waste Your Time When You're Traveling

Sporadic trips are great, but maybe plan a little on the train ride in.

83
views

For New Years, I took a trip to Boston. It wasn't sporadic— my boyfriend and I booked a room at Boston's Verb hotel, situated across from Fenway Park, about a month in advance. However, we didn't look at how we were going to get to Boston until the day before we left, or what we were going to do until the day we got there. If we had sat down and cracked open our laptops for 45 minutes while we watched American Horror Story reruns on Netflix, we wouldn't have spent so much on transportation and walking around in freezing rain looking for something to do. However, while we were content not going out and getting "drunklestiltskin" levels of drunk, it might have been better if we outlined what we were going to do on New Years Day and how we were going to get there.

We ended up spending about $10 to us the T, which isn't bad, but we spent $30 on parking and $45 on Uber rides, which wasn't bad until our last driver took the long way. If we had researched the area a little better, we might have been able to find things to do in the area we were staying, or map out a route to take using public transportation.

1. Book your hotel in the area you want to visit

Walking Dog GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

By doing this, you'll save on transportation costs because you'll either be within walking distance, or public transportation will have stops close to the places you want to visit. You also will be less likely to get stranded in an area you're unfamiliar with.

2. Get an idea ahead of time the things you want to do, and map out how you'll get there

Germany Fun GIF by KiKA - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

This helps you create a budget for transportation so that you don't think you're stranded in an area that doesn't have public transportation. Ubers can be expensive, especially if the driver takes the wrong turn, or wants to learn your life story.

3. Budget so you don't overspend

Giphy

Plan out how much you want to spend on transportation, how much you want to spend on food, and how much you want to spend on alcohol, so that way you don't spend all of your money, and have to create a new life or ask someone to borrow money you may never be able to pay back.

4. Don't be afraid to talk to strangers

Confused Bear GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

My boyfriend and I asked several bartenders where the best place to get a bite to eat would be, and that's how we found our new favorite restaurant— Eastern Standard. It's like the perfect restaurant if you don't think too hard about it. But our server had to tell us the staff at the bar wasn't being paid to endorse or promote it. It was just really good.

5. Look for stuff ahead of time

Chelsea Peretti Gina Linetti GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

If there's some type of public event, or you decide to visit on New Year's, St. Patty's Day, or on another popular date, look to see if you need tickets, and buy those ahead of time. If the weather isn't good, this will keep you from standing in line in the rain only to find out the cover charge is $60 a head.

6. Learn how to read the subway maps

Fail Saturday Night Live GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

Ask someone who's been there and is good with direction, or get an app, so you don't get on the train going in the opposite direction of where you need to be. Boston and New York City should have apps where you can get the live subway schedule, so look for that if you need to.

7. Leave your car if you can

Nicolas Cage Hello GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

Find a good, safe place to park, and if you know you're staying overnight, make sure the garage or lot allows that. This will also force you to explore what's around the area and you may just find something great you wouldn't have found otherwise.

8. Look at peak times

Angry Little Girl GIF by WWE - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

If you're going somewhere popular to tourists, look at peak times so you can plan ahead and get there a little sooner. Standing in line is fun and all, but people can make or break that, especially when it comes to anything getting in the way of food (at least for me).

9. If you're a frequent flyer, try Pre-TSA

Comedy Central Travel GIF by Broad City - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

If you fly a lot, you know TSA security checks can make or break your trip. If you're deemed low risk, you can get through security faster. Apply on the TSA website— www.tsa.gov

10. Don't just look at hotels

Bed And Breakfast Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

For international travelers, hostels can be great. Some will let you stay for free if you do a few chores. Other great choices are Air BnBs and even camping. I also had a friend who couch surfed through an app, but do that at your own risk.

Related Content

Facebook Comments