I know that the longer I am alive the easier it is to see the issues in other's lives and think that they could be doing better only if they would have done it my way or if only they could see how messed up they are in their life.
And sometimes, way in the deepest corner of my mind, I can hear this little voice saying, "I am justified in looking critically at others because I believe in Jesus as my Savior, I go to church, I read my Bible, my kids and their families are doing well and I am sober for a good number of years. I have earned that right."
De Nial River
"All right, John, remember that infamous river running through Egypt (the de Nial) with its main tributary that obviously runs right through your heart?" Here I am taking credit for the positives in my life when Isaiah 64:6 is thundering in my ears. "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
Every person has the potential for good as well as evil. And every good I do falls short of the expectations of God. By definition, as a Christian, I am a fallen human being whose only good comes from the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ and his saving death on the cross.
How then can I have a holier-than-thou or attitude toward anyone? Self-righteousness is destructive not only in recovery but also anyplace in my lives.
There's even more danger in my desire to look at my own good. 1 Corinthians 10:12 warns, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!"
I was warned many times about over-confidence early on in my sobriety. That remains a priority even now. I need to keep my focus on what I need to do, not what I think I have accomplished.
Focusing on Jesus
If my focus is on what Jesus did for me and then on what I can do to say thank you to him, I will better recognize that all I have I owe to him. I can see how he has blessed me. But I need to be honest that I would have nothing without him.
Might I reach out to others who have troubles? Sure, but not because I think I have it all right. Rather it will be because I want to reflect my Savior's love.
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