Not Over Righteous

Solomon said, “Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? (Eccl. 7:16-17)

There are numerous passages in the scriptures that provide for…a smile. Individuals have taken these verses to justify their brand of righteousness and wickedness.

When reading these passages, a wave of enlightenment comes over them and the thought of preserving righteousness and reining in wickedness is now as clear as a sunbeam, i.e., “Be righteous but don’t overdo, indulge in wickedness, but in like manner, don’t overdo.”

Arrogance and degradation are dangerous characteristics. Self-righteousness and self-abasement will destroy the owner thereof.

Jesus spoke a parable to those who trust in themselves, saying, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:11-14), or some Corinthians, who, “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves,” were without understanding (2 Corinthians 10:12). Thus, the words of Paul are quite applicable, saying, “For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

Also, one should not view one’s sinfulness to the point of self-abasement and thus have no hope, or access to redemption. It is not uncommon to hear an individual say, “My magnitude and number of my sins are so great that God could not forgive me.” The apostle Paul, once said, “Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief: howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering, for an ensample of them that should thereafter believe on him unto eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

Self-righteousness will keep man from enjoying the blessings of God, in that, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Pet. 5:5), while self-abasement will keep a man from hearing the words of Jesus, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Ross Triplett, Sr.