Our God is not at all like the false gods and many people.  This quote from Linda Washington in OUR DAILY BREAD is helpful in explaining the uniqueness of the Godhead. “God is not impulsive, suddenly striking out in anger or impatience.”  In the human arena power often turns to a haughty, arrogant and intolerant attitude.  Some leaders in the secular and religious fields develop a self-serving attitude.  Self-righteousness is a term that comes close to defining itself.  It expresses itself in smug, moralistic behavior towards others.  There seems to be little cognizance of one’s own failures, weaknesses and sin and therefore few examples of forgiveness.

The word haughty brings to mind the rush to judgment of Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time here on earth.  They claimed physical kinship to Abraham and Moses but bypassed many of their moral and spiritual teaching to establish conflicting traditions (Rom 4: 16) (Mt 15: 3,6) (Jo 6: 32-33).  They were quick to demand punishment for lawbreakers (Jo 8: 3-5) but had almost no concept of God’s mercy, grace and love (Mt 23: 23).  They saw themselves as superior to the sinful masses and believed that they should teach them the Law (Mt 23: 15).  Yet Jesus called them hypocrites for not practicing what they preached (Mt 23: 2-3).  They were blind guides who desired to lead the blind (Mt 23: 16).

Jesus showed us on so many occasions the patient, gentle, humble and forgiving nature of the Godhead.  He forgave his enemies (Lk 23: 34) (Mt 5: 44) (Rom 5: 10) and wanted to shelter the obstinate and haughty people of Jerusalem with love and protection (Mt 23: 37).  He could read the thoughts and plans of people’s minds (Lk 7: 39ff) and yet he taught Simon the Pharisee by a parable instead of exposing his hypocrisy publically.

When we are totally honest with ourselves, we can see times when we are haughty and self-righteous, (at least mentally) towards outsiders.  It is very tempting to rush to judgment when we observe sinful behavior in people who have not learned and studied the life of Christ.  If this is true, we must step back and remember how much we have been forgiven and how merciful Jesus was and is towards us.  The same attitude is commanded towards our brethren (Col 3: 12-14).  Surely we can be confident without being dogmatic and haughty.

–Jim Bailey