The Parable of the Pharisee
and the Tax Collector
"Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men -- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14, NKJV)
In the Bible, the Pharisees were often the people who would go to the temple, stand uprightly, and pray loudly in public in order to be seen and heard by others. The tax collector, on the other hand, ashamed of his sinfulness, humbly bowed his head, beat his breast (a sign of grief), and prayed for God's mercy.
The truth is, God heard the cry of the tax collector and not of the Pharisee because He knew the intentions of their heart.
Extremely self-righteous people are the people that will beat you down because you do not do everything as they think you should. It is the person that is sure to remind you what a wretch you are and how right they are in everything they do. Of course, this is how they see it in their own eyes. Self-righteous people often do not recognize that they are self-righteous because they think they are too righteous to fall into the pit of sin. However, a self-righteous person does fall into sin ... it's called pride. They often think they are above everyone else in their uprightness, morality, and justification. Yet, pride cuts people off from God.
A self-righteous person is someone who believes that he or she is good enough to win God's approval. Their righteousness or goodness comes from themselves -- from what they have done -- and that is why they are called "self-righteous."
But the problem is that we can never depend on our own righteousness, for we will never be good enough to win God's approval. Let's be honest, most of us cannot even attain the Ten Commandments for a day. That is why God says, "There is no one righteous, not even one." (Rom 3:10)
We feeble human beings need a Savior. Christ came to forgive us and bestow upon us His righteousness. Are you one trusting in your own good deeds to save you? If so beloved, renounce your dependence on them, for you can never save yourself by your own good deeds or your own self-righteousness.
"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind." (Isaiah 64:6)