Self-righteousness vs God's righteousness

I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. In fact, I don't remember when I accepted the Lord but I do remember getting baptized; it was the day before my eighth birthday. While I do love the fact that I've always known the Lord and there are a lot of benefits from this; there can be a few drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that we are susceptible to developing self-righteous and judging spirits.

When you grow up in Christianity you learn what "to do" and what "not to do" to be a good Christian. This can cause a spirit of judgement towards others, which can end up being very unhealthy. I'm grateful for the Pharisees in the Bible and for Jesus speaking straightforward to them, because sometimes I think I start to look a lot more like a Pharisee than a follower of Christ.

A couple years ago I was reading Matthew 9:10-11:
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house,
many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him
and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor,
but the sick. But go and learn what this means:
'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'For I have not come to call the righteous,
but sinners."

As I read this, I was asking myself why we as the church have lost sight of this perspective. Many times we in the church, look down on the "sinners" and would rather not associate with them but we would love to associate with those who "have it all together" and we forget that we too are the sick! Jesus said, "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners." That's pretty convicting for me even now. This passage helps me to keep in mind who I really am.

Anyway, I do believe we are called by God to live in holiness and righteousness but I wanted to know how to live like that without becoming like a Pharisee and so God gave me two phrases that have helped me to clear the muddy waters:

Self-righteousness breeds pride, which leads to a judging spirit.

God's righteousness breeds humility, which leads to a loving spirit.

These phrases have been helpful for me to keep my heart in check. I could expound on the phrases but I think if you reflect on them you will get enough out of it on your own. I so love God's ways because they are much more beautiful than our ways.

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