Monday, January 23, 2012

The big problem with self-righteousness

Artist: Nicolas Poussin

The late William Sloane Coffin was (and still is) one of my heroes in life. Here's something he said that I'm not sure I ever came across before today:
The temptation to moralize is strong; it is emotionally satisfying to have enemies rather than problems, to seek out culprits rather than flaws in the system. God knows it is emotionally satisfying to be righteous with that righteousness that nourishes itself on the blood of sinners. But God also knows that what is emotionally satisfying can be spiritually devastating.
Yes, it is spiritually devastating to judge others and, more than that, to justify judging others. Oh, certainly we can be intensely provoked at times. I suppose what really matters is if, upon recognizing how judgmental we have become, we are grieved by that state of affairs or whether we are determined to continue feeling smug and gratified.
~~~

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