The besetting sin for many good people who are perceived to be godly people is the sin of self-righteousness. Those who have lived "good" lives and have not committed the obvious sins like drinking alcohol, doing drugs, smoking, cursing, committing fornication and adultery, or a host of other "outward" sins,will have to fight other battles that take place inwardly. In fact, even those who do commit the outward sins will not be exempt by default of committing the inward sins that no one, but God sees. The inward sins take place in the heart, and although they are not worn like an expensive piece of jewelry for all to see, the inward sins will manifest their nasty little selves in a variety of ways. One of the insidious inward sins is the sin of self-righteousness.
The definition of the word "self-righteous" is: Convinced of one's own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others.
In this world, the mirror we too often use to judge ourselves by is others. We want to know how we compare and add up to the people around us. We think thoughts like "I'm not as good as so and so, but at least I'm not like so and so." No matter how good a person is, when looking into the correct mirror, the mirror of God's Word, we find that "...all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"; (Isaiah 64:6). Not for one second should we ever convince ourselves that we are good; when we do, we run the risk of becoming like the most beautiful angel ever created by God, Lucifer--that's right, the devil himself! Lucifer believed his own PR--he was good, and beautiful, and glorious--compared to the other angels. If Lucifer had compared himself to God, he would have realized that he was just like the rest of us--imperfection only made perfect by God's grace. When we compare and sum ourselves up to the only one we should be looking to, Jesus Christ the sinless Lamb of God, we will always see ourselves as we really are--pockmarked by sin.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you are self-righteous:
1. Do you find yourself annoyed by other people's apparent sin?
2. Do you disrespect people who you see as sinners?
3. Do you feel better about your self when you compare yourself to others who you deem as less good as you are?
4. Do you ever feel sympathy for those with "outward" sins but feel judgmental to those other "good" Christians who commit the "inward" sins?
5. Are you slow to see your own faults but quick to point out the faults of others?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you, my friend, along with the rest of mankind, have succumbed to the sin of self-righteousness. What is the cure for self-righteousness? Well, the cure is the same as it is for any other sin--admitting the sin to God and asking forgiveness. Ask God to allow you to recognize when you are falling into the behavior of the self-righteous, and remember to view yourself in the mirror of God's Word.