You think you are a guide for people who don’t know the right way, a light for those who are in the dark. You think you can show foolish people what is right. And you think you are a teacher for those who are just beginning to learn.
You have the law, and so you think you know everything and have all truth. You teach others, so why don’t you teach yourself? You tell them not to steal, but you yourself steal. You say they must not commit adultery, but you yourself are guilty of that sin. You hate idols, but you steal them from their temples.
You are so proud that you have God’s law, but you bring shame to God by breaking his law. As the Scriptures say, “People in other nations insult God because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24 ERV)
Self-righteousness infects all of us. No one is free from it. We look for ways to make ourselves look good, or at least better than someone else. So, we use a sliding scale of "goodness" that makes us appear to be better than others.
This text in Romans was first written with a Jewish person in mind. They knew God, the living God. God Almighty chose them as His own people. Their identity was wrapped up in that belief, and in the (Mosaic) Law given to them so they would be examples to other people who worshipped idols and many gods.
Today, it fits those of us who claim to be Christian believers. We say we know the right way, the only way, and often think its our role to get everyone else following our moral code, because our way is the right way. We can quote Scriptures to back this up.
Only one problem, and it's a big problem. We often don't live up to our own expectations for others. People take note of this—that our example doesn't always match our self-righteous talk.
Christian believers are called to be living examples of the one, true, Living God. As the expression goes, we need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
So, the issue is not knowing the right way, it's living it. Our daily life needs to reflect the gracious and humble nature of Jesus our Lord. ©Word-Strong_2015