Too much righteousness is a bad thing is an implied teaching of some Christians. They fear that a focus on being righteous will make you a Pharisee and a judgmental jerk.
I have always found this a strange thing.
The Pharisees, although having the appearance of righteousness due to fastidious religious works, were not righteous people.
People who need to do religious deeds are some of the worst sinners. The desire to do religious deeds (works righteousness, religious hoop jumping, working off sin, etc) is done to make up for sin.
Trust me when I say that Pharisees were horribly sinful. I know this because they feared dealing with their sin. The need to show off public religious deeds is always a cover for sin.
At the same time and in the opposite direction, the idea prevails that humble people are people who struggle with sin. That non-judgmentalism is only possible if you are a transparent, humble admitter of sin. Sin keeps us humble is the implied lesson.
I wish to counter this idea.
It is my contention that judgmentalism is fostered by sin.
When we sin we feel bad about ourselves. We know the truth about ourselves. In order to justify, or at least feel better, about our sin, we need to tear others down.
We assume the worst in others, because we know the worst in us.
On the flip side, a person who is truly righteous isn’t threatened by others. They live with an awareness of their stand before God. They don’t need to tear others to pieces.
My case in point is Jesus Christ. Christ was without sin and yet didn’t seem too bothered by being around sinners. He, being the only true Judge, wasn’t judgmental.
Yes, He had standards and upheld them. Yes, He told people to stop sinning. Yes, He had huge problems with Pharisees, but He never came across as a judgmental jerk.
Christ saw Himself in relation to His Father. That was His main concern in life. He didn’t have to tear down others to look better; He already knew who He was before God.
Believers are to grow into Christ, to be more like Him. We should be overcoming sin. And, I guarantee you, when you begin to overcome sin, you don’t become more judgmental. You know the battle, the struggle, and the price of victory–what it cost Christ for you.
Only people who truly pursue the righteousness of God can be humble, and only they have a shot at unity with others.