Righteous Versus Self-Righteous

By Stan Mitchell
“A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge,”(Proverbs 29:7), ESV.
The man walked into his home, and sat down to think. The news that his fiancée was pregnant had stunned him. He knew he was not the father, for they had not had sexual relations. Who then?
He was hurt, and angry. He was a man with a reputation for being righteous. So what would he do? Condemn an obvious betrayal? Show this woman up for the wanton and immoral person she apparently was? After all, that’s what righteous people do!
Matthew records that “because he was a righteous man,” Joseph did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace, and resolved to put her away “quietly” (Matthew 1:19).
There is always an element of mercy in a righteous person. Now for the self-righteous person, that’s another matter. The self-righteous love to expose others’ mistakes, and succumb to acute amnesia with regard to their own!
The self-righteous condemns the poor as lazy and dishonest; they expose the sinful as evil and malevolent. The truly righteous, however, care about the poor, and seek to restore the sinful.
After all, the most righteous person who ever lived declared: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

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