Is Trying To Be Righteous a Self-Righteous Act? | #MyFridayStory №323

Frans Nel
3 min readFeb 23, 2024
Noelle Otto | Pexels

Pursuing a righteous life often gets misunderstood as “self-righteousness.”

As though trying to live uprightly elevates you above others. But to me, true righteousness looks different. It’s characterised more by humility than perfection.

Righteousness means being in a right relationship — with God and other people. Instead of a means to compare yourself to others, righteousness starts with recognising that we all fall devastatingly short of God’s standards. We desperately need the grace and redemption only Jesus can provide. This righteousness we receive is meant to flow out of us in acts of compassion and love. Generous giving when no one notices. A listening ear for someone in need. Volunteering to do the dishes after a friend cooked you dinner. Playing with a lonely child. Spending quality time with an elderly family member or friend.

Quiet acts of service that expect nothing in return.

The righteous life is often lowly and comes from a place of gentleness that’s behind the scenes. It’s not flashy or attention-grabbing. It’s an old woman praying faithfully for her neighbours. A man getting up early to read his Bible and seek God’s guidance for the day. A family adopting a child with special needs. Humble acts that seem small, but reveal a heart being reshaped by grace.

Does this mean the righteous are perfect? Not at all. Perfection isn’t the goal. An openness to God’s correction and leading is. The righteous still struggle and stumble daily. But they rely on Christ’s perfection to cover their flaws. And they get back up each time they fall, asking Him to refine their willingness. The act is not taken lightly, it is sincere and raw with innocence.

They also extend the gracious love they’ve received from God to every person they interact with. Instead of judging others’ failures, they ask, “How can I help you carry that burden?” This empathy comes from knowing how much they’ve been forgiven. Nothing is self-elevating about this kind of righteousness. It’s a posture of humility. It recognises that on our own we will always miss the mark. But in God’s strength, our flawed yet willing hearts can promote justice, show mercy, and love boldly. A beacon that points others to the One who makes righteousness possible.

Being concerned about what living righteously might “look like” or how you may be perceived and judged by others, should not keep you from pursuing the quality in any way. Instead, do it anyway with a clear conscience that your heart and intentions are centred on love.

May this true righteousness mark us. And may God use our small, humble acts of love to fill the world with unprecedented hope.

Have a great weekend and please remember to be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading. 🙏

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