Q. How do you deal with religious people that constantly push self righteousness? With one breath they say Jesus is their Savior, and the next breath, they say this person or that person is going to hell because they do this or that. I know Jesus had to deal with this, with the Scribes and Pharisees, but how do we deal with it today? How do we walk in Love and not offend this person who seems to put all their faith in filthy rags, and insists on dressing others in the same clothing?
I am aware of the story, Jesus told of the two men standing and praying…..but what do you say to the one that is proclaiming their own righteousness? Sadly, I find anger rising up in my own heart concerning it, and then I feel guilty, because I fall into judging another. I used to be extremely religious and it made me quite smug… but by the Grace of God, he led me to Pauls teachings which pulled the rug out from under my feet. It was much easier to have faith in myself by keeping all the man made rules, than to be honest with my wretched self and trust Christ to save me. You would suppose that because I too was like this once, I would know how to deal with it, but I don’t. Can you help?
A. Experts say we’re most impatient with the traits we see in others that we have overcome in our own lives. (Think of former smokers for example.) Overcoming these traits tends to make us less tolerant of others rather than more, probably because we know they can be overcome. If we let him, the enemy will use this awareness to defeat us, just like he formerly used the trait we’ve overcome.
If you think of your intolerance as an enemy attack, and treat it accordingly, you can defeat him again. Reject your thoughts of judgment and anger in the Lord’s name (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you (James 4:7). Soon you’ll be at peace again.