The Christian life can be rather difficult. With all the hard demands of the bible, loving thy neighbor and such, it often seems to me that it is much easier to give the impression of godliness rather than doing the hard work of godliness. So to help whosoever would desire some guidance in these endeavors, I have written briefly what I think to be the most simplistic and pronounced paths down the avenue of self-righteousness.
Hold others to standards you don’t hold yourself.
Rules are difficult. And consequences even more so. Make sure when everything blows up, even if it’s entirely your fault, you do your utmost to ensure you avoid as much blame and consequence as possible. Never stop preaching how important godliness and repentance and gentleness are – so long as you don’t display any yourself (except for here and there). Now I didn’t say you shouldn’t acknowledge your violation of certain standards, but be sure to never allow others to hold you to them. This is key. It’s one thing to be wrong, it’s another entirely to be wrong and have to be treated like you are. I mean, you’re only human, right? It’s very effective to continue being vocal about standards, rules, leadership, godliness, etc. etc., so long as you don’t humbly submit to the consequences of violating those things. That’s just for normal people. You aren’t normal people. You’re a godly Christian!!!
Deflect criticism, consequences, and the difficulty of relationships. Respond only with christian cliche’s.
Unsure what I mean? Here, let me give you an example.
“Hey Charles, I just wanted to let you know, your actions over the last so many weeks have really hurt and wounded a lot of people – myself included. I understand you’re not perfect and I forgive you, but I just wanted to let you know I’m hurting and I would love to find some restoration. I wish you would have gone about things a bit differently. It’s important to me to be able to express myself to you, as your friend. Love, Wilson.
“Hey Wilson, listen bud… I know I should have probably done things a bit differently, but in the end what is done is done. I don’t think its God’s plan for our lives to be going on and on about hurt feelings and broken promises and sinful hearts – that doesn’t accomplish much. I really think its God’s heart for us to just move on, please don’t bring up any of these so called “mistakes” or “actions” again. Also, we haven’t talked in a while (kind of your fault) so I would appreciate if you didn’t evoke the privileged of being “friends”. Blessings upon you!!!! May Jesus shine brightly on you!!!!! Amen. Love, Charles”
Revise history to ensure your reputation stays in tact.
This one is super easy. It just requires a couple steps. First, let a good amount of time pass. It can be weeks or months, depending on the seriousness of the offense. Then, go on refusing to talk about the past because “it isn’t helpful” and ensure that when someone presses you on the matter, you explain God’s good plan for your life and how you just made mistakes like everyone – and it wasn’t really that sinful to begin with. It’s really important you get a few people on your side who don’t really know all the details, and then fill them in with what you need them to know in order for your relationship to continue on like normal. If you get enough of these people, the persons who aren’t accepting your revision and glossing over the damage will seem to everyone to be an outlier. And eventually you can just ignore them and pretend you don’t have any idea why they are so upset. It’s really a work of art. I love this one the most.
Care nothing for the feelings of others, so long as your plans aren’t disrupted.
Listen, we all know feelings are pretty important. Well, at least your feelings. Don’t worry too much about the feelings of others. When Jesus said be mutually submissive, live at peace with all men, cause not your brother to stumble, love all, forgive as you were forgiven, and all that other nonsense – obviously he wasn’t being serious.
You’ve completely destroyed relationships? Nahhhh. Caused undue harm and anguish to multiple people? Pshhh. Snowflakes, I tell ya! Be sure of course to not make it worse, but by all means excuse yourself from doing any of the hard work to find restoration and to help others get to a place of peace. Find a new bubble to live in, and make sure you convince yourself you’re the better christian for it – you wouldn’t want to lose any sleep at night like the friends you’ve abandoned! That would be less than ideal. Why should you bother yourself with crying if they are already doing it for you?
Also, push on into ministry! It’s super key that your “regrettable past” become a nice sermon talking point that you can use to show God’s wonderful grace in your life, not something that actually required sweat and blood to make right. Screwing everything up and then moving on like you didn’t can be used, if retold correctly, kind of like a long season of sex and drug abuse! Such a great testimony for how you were “once blind, but now you see” and all that jazz.
And basically that’s it. There are, of course, a few other steps that I could have added in were there time today. For example, getting upset for no clear reason and then manipulating others into feeling guilt for triggering you is a good one. Oh, and the responsibilities you had here or there? Definitely abandon them and make it known God is moving you in a new direction. It was DEFINITELY God that moved you away from the very thing God moved you toward to begin with. He’s a bit confusing sometimes. The last thing you want to do is convince yourself that it was actually your selfish and broken heart that moved you away from a difficult circumstance instead of the Holy Spirit. That would suck.. like a lot.
I hope this “Guide to Self-Righteousness” has been a good and godly blessing to you today. Continue pressing into the plans the Lord has for you, for they are good! He would not want you to carry a cross unto death like he did – that’s just nonsense! Say and do what must be said and done to minimize as much turbulence as possible.
I mean, at worst you’ll just have to answer to God for everything.