I am a pastor’s wife. Before I was a pastor’s wife, I was a pastor’s kid. I was in church nine months before I was born. I have a degree from a Christian University. I have heard thousands of sermons, read many Christian living books, and done more Bible studies than I can account for. All of these things are an amazing heritage. And I am proud of the fact that the Church has shaped who I am today.
However, I have a problem called self-righteousness. You see, if the devil cannot make you hate yourself, he will make you love yourself. If he cannot speak to your low self-esteem, he will whisper to your pride.
When I listen to a sermon, I have the tendency to think, “Oh I wish so and so could hear this message.”
The other day I was reading Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book, Unglued, about controlling raw emotions (great read, you should order a copy). And I came to the chapter about people who explode. As I was reading, a little voice in my head said, “Oh you can skip this chapter, you don’t struggle with this.” And in that moment I realized what a total lie that was. Hello, I totally explode at my kids, and way more often than I care to admit.
Jesus hated self-righteousness more than anything. Look at this parable He told in Luke 18:9-14…
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Ouch! What is the solution? For me it begins with awareness. Awareness helps me recognize the lies the devil tells me. Then I pray this simple prayer, “God, please open my eyes to see myself as you see me. Not puffed up and religious, not lowly and unworthy. And whatever you tell me to work on, I will obey”