12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, think this way; and if in anything you think differently, God will reveal that also to you. 16 However, let us keep walking in step with the same standard to which we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16 (LSB)
Self-righteousness is a most hurtful thing to come into a body of believers. Not only does it hurt weaker brothers and sisters, keeping them from finding their freedom in Christ, it also keeps those who are in bondage to it from humbling themselves before their Lord. No one in Christ has any business looking down their noses at anyone else, believer or unbeliever. Yes, those with discernment must rebuke and correct, but that is never a license to attack from a motivation of demoralizing or hurting someone else. The motivation must always be from a foundation of humility and love with motivation to cause people to see the truth so they can repent and become restored.
Humility is a not easy to get our minds around. The problem is that pride sometimes masquerades as humility. We naturally act humble from a motivation of pride. It is insidious. Also, most of us have a wrong idea what genuine humility is. Is a person who is self-deprecating humble? What about the person who boldly shares his or her faith with confidence? Our fleshly minds see the former as humble and the latter as prideful, when that is more than likely not the case. If the person full of boldness and confidence is emboldened by the Holy Spirit and their confidence is in our Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit in and through them, then they are actually exhibiting Christlike humility. On the other hand, the one who is constantly tearing themselves down before others could be doing so from a motivation of false humility that is actually pride. The ones who are ready to serve the Lord and do so with enthusiasm and boldness are genuinely humble if their confidence is in God, not their own abilities. On the other hand, those who are always telling others that they can’t serve because they aren’t able are actually responding from their pride. They don’t want to look bad if they fail. They have no faith in God working through them. Do you see how insidious this is?