“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” – Proverbs 16:2
In this one verse lies the essence of righteousness and self-righteousness. Most people think of being self-righteous as being “holier-then-thou” but it’s not. The word righteous means “to be in right standing with God. In other words, to seek the Lord for His position in every situation and take position right where He tells you to. For only then can you be assured that your position will be right. When you choose to trust in your own understanding and stand where you think is right then you are not in God’s right standing, but your own. This is self-righteousness. Simply put, it is trusting in what you think is right instead of seeking God for what He says is right. When you seek out and trust in what He says is right and walk in it, you are walking in God’s righteousness rather then your own. Never put your trust in what you think is right. Your heart will lead you astray every time.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” – Proverbs 14:12
“He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” – Proverbs 28:25-26
The irony of self-righteousness is that it trust in itself, it’s feelings, it’s emotions, it’s desires, it’s logic, and it’s understanding. So it never sees the error in its own ways. Therefore the unrighteous will always accuse the righteous of being self-righteous while having no understanding of true righteousness because they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.
“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” – Romans 10:2-3
Until one stops trusting in themselves they can not start trusting in God, and will call those few that do “self-righteous”, while the truth is quite the opposite. Learn to not lean on your own understanding, stop following your own heart which is deceitfully wicked above all, therefor is always wrong, start seeking the Lord in all things, and trust in Him more then self even when it doesn’t make since. Trust that His wisdom is greater then yours, Trust that His justice is greater then yours, Trust that His power is greater then yours, trust that His knowledge is greater then yours, trust that His love is greater then yours, and trust that His plan is greater then yours. Trust that what He says is right and not what your heart says is right, for this is the righteousness of God.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” – Proverbs 3:5-7
“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” – John 5:30