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  • John Whitehead

Righteous to a Fault

In my younger days I was never short on confidence. In fact, you could say I was so sure of myself that I was “righteous to a fault”. My willingness to put my own opinions and viewpoints before others caused issues in more than one relationship.


Even so, it did not often matter enough for me to consider the possibility I might be wrong.

So, what makes us this way? Why do we become willing to destroy relationships and hurt people we have in our life to hold fast to our righteous perspectives?


I think in my case it was usually a defense mechanism. I was “righteous to a fault “, simply because it allowed me to shield my insecurities with the appearance of confidence which I believed garnered me respect. At the very least it gave me self-respect which was the most important thing.


Thankfully, through time and experience, I have learned to accept the reality there are many things in life I do not know and understand. The interesting part is this has not created a weakness in my character. I truly believe it has become a strength.

Why do I say this? Because when we understand being “righteous to a fault” really is just being self-righteous; we will begin to see just how ugly and damaging that can be.


The need to be right is the root cause of self-righteousness and I have learned being right is really overrated. You see, even when we are right, it is never worth the loss or damage that can be caused by our desire to hold our righteous attitudes as more important than the people we do not agree with.


This is true because the people in our lives are more valuable than the need to be right.


Do I still think I am right? More times than not would be the honest answer. Yet, I can also say I do not derive my confidence or self-worth from being “righteous to a fault” any longer.


Interestingly, by learning these lessons, I have also learned to see the value found in the people I share life with. It is this intrinsic value of others that helps me prefer relational harmony over personal righteousness.


Do I still have moments of righteous indignation? I suppose, but not at the cost of the opportunity to love and care for someone else. This is not something I have done on my own, this is something the Lord has done and is doing in me.


So, the next time you find yourself holding on to the need to be right. Ask yourself whether the cost is worth the relational price you may pay? If you are honest, your answer will expose the value you place on your need to be right. If you are not, it really will not matter because all that really matters is you are right. Isn’t it?


Romans 3:10, “As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one.


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