10 DEADLIEST Signs of Self-Righteousness You Probably Don’t Know

Do you know that you can be self-righteous without even knowing it? Thankfully, in this post, you will learn the little-known signs of self-righteousness so you can start overcoming them!

CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO LIVE A RIGHTEOUS LIFE. However, there is one particular type of “righteousness” that can easily prevent us from entering the Kingdom of God. In fact, this kind of righteousness had been heavily condemned by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is also the reason that Job was punished by God. This deceptive type of righteousness is so potent that it can easily spiritually blind a person and not even know that they have it.

I am talking about SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. This problem has been a common sin throughout the history of the Church. After all, it is so easy to be self-righteous. It is a human and natural inclination that we all need to overcome.

Watch this video about the shocking signs of self-righteousness.

It is so difficult to detect self-righteousness in our lives. In fact, it takes other people and the word of God to point it out for us. That’s why in this blog post, I want to share with you ten of the deadliest signs of self-righteousness.

10 DEADLIEST Signs of Self-Righteousness You Probably Don't Know

Sign no. 1: Self-righteous people repel others

Have you ever been around a person who made you feel uncomfortable, unrighteous, and guilty because you can see how he OBVIOUSLY show his righteousness? This person constantly rubs on your face his righteous acts and in the process, unconsciously PUT PEOPLE DOWN. As a result, you don’t like to make friends with this person because he has this aura of making you feel spiritually inferior.

That’s exactly what self-righteousness does. IT REPELS PEOPLE. On the other hand, genuine righteousness DRAWS people toward you. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of a righteous Being. He draws people toward Him and not fend them off.

Sign no. 2: Self-righteous people parade their good works

The Pharisees and scribes are the perfect EPITOMAI of self-righteousness. For that reason, Christ ardently reprimanded them. Read Matthew 23, and you will see how many times Christ said, “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees.” Christ stated that we must exceed the righteousness of these people if ever we want to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:20).

Self-righteousness is more of the outward manifestation rather than an inward conversion of the person.

So what’s wrong with the Pharisees and Scribes? They love to PUBLICLY display their righteousness to people. They were “wearing their righteousness outwardly.” When they fast, they want to appear to people fasting (Matthew 6:16). When they repent, they don’t produce the fruit of repentance (Matthew 3:8). When they give alms, they sound a trumpet (Matthew 6:2). And the list just goes on and on.

You get the point. Self-righteousness is more of the outward manifestation rather than an inward conversion of the person.

Sign no 3: Self-righteous people are uncompassionate

Being self-righteous makes you a person without much compassion. Why? Because you see other people full of sins and faults and you don’t understand why they are that way. You have a hard time looking into yourself and REALIZING THAT YOU ALSO HAVE A LOT OF UNCHECKED PROBLEMS. Instead of being compassionate, self-righteous people are very critical of others.

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Sign no. 4: Self-righteous people hate and condemn sinners

Whenever you are in the presence of a thief, adulterer, extortionist, or somebody who have committed a horrible sin, does it make you feel uncomfortable? A self-righteous person hates sinners instead of just hating their sins.

JESUS CHRIST LOVES SINNERS. He even ate with tax collectors and talked to them. He spent more time with the perceived sinful people in His day than the Pharisees who are thought to be “righteous.”

The danger with self-righteousness is it makes you believe that you are in the position of God. You CONDEMN people and pass permanent judgment. You determine who will be part of God’s kingdom and who will not.

True righteousness loves the sinner but hates the sin.

Sign no. 5: Self-righteous people love the approval and praises of men

Among the motivations of a self-righteous person is to gain approval from people. He wants to look righteous, so people hold him in high regards. This is exactly what the Pharisees did. They did their alms in front of many people, disfigured their faces when fasting, loved to sit at the best seats in the synagogues, and enjoyed being called with pompous titles, just to name a few.

Sadly, they have their rewards. They have not waited for a far GREATER reward that only God can give them.

Here’s food for thought:

When we do something good, we do it not to show how righteous we are, but instead, WE DO IT TO SHOW HOW AWESOME THE LIVING GOD IS. We do our good deeds so that people “may see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Sign no. 6: Self-righteous people list their good works

Have you ever noticed how hard it is for us to forget the good things we have done to other people? Every time we do something good, we have this little notepad in our brain where we list all our good deeds. Afterward, we add them all up and show ourselves and others how righteous we are!

Sometimes we think so highly of ourselves that we felt that God needs us so badly. Actually, the reverse is true: It is US who desperately need God!

When we do this, we forget that our righteousness is just like FILTHY RUGS (Isaiah 64:6). Our righteousness pales down to nothing when compared to the righteousness of God.

In reality, it is not our job to list our good deeds. It is God’s. “For God is not unrighteous to forget [our] work and labor of love, which [we] have shewed toward his name, in that [we] have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).

Sign no. 7: Self-righteous people reject correction

If we remain self-righteous, time will come that it will make us callous. We hold on to our self-righteousness and it will harden us. And by the time when we need to be corrected, PRIDE sets in, and we become unteachable.

This hardness of heart may spring from the belief that you know almost everything, that you already know what the scripture says, and nothing new can impress you anymore. You think that there’s nothing to learn anymore and you won’t let anybody tell you what to do. We have become too vain in our thinking that we won’t allow anyone to point out where we might have got it wrong.

True righteous people possess a child-like attitude. That is entirely different to what self-righteous people feel about themselves. Jesus Christ was teachable in spite of His wisdom and divine nature. He did everything and anything His Father told Him to do.

Sign no. 8: Self-righteous people talk back to God

For God to work with self-righteous people, they need to be humbled first. However, self-righteousness may persist.

Like Job, we may talk back to God and rationalize our thoughts and actions. We may show God how rich, how we have increased in goods, and how we have need of nothing (Revelation 3:17). We may tell God how good we are by following His commandments and that He owes us a pat on the back and praises! However, just like the Laodicean church, we didn’t know that we are actually “wretched, miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (same verse).

Sign no. 9: Self-righteous people think of themselves as important

Sometimes, in our zeal and passion in doing God’s work, we fall into the trap of thinking that it’s all about US.

We look at the results of our work and say, “Wow! Look how many people came into the church through me!” “Did you just see that? I just inspired the whole congregation with MY SERMON!” “Look at how much I am doing for the work of the church. I’m sure the church won’t grow without me.” “I pay a lot of tithes. The pastor will surely miss ME if I leave this church.”

This type of thinking is focused on the SELF. Self-righteousness literally means “SELF-RIGHT.” In reality, we must all be “CHRIST-RIGHT.”

Sometimes we think so highly of ourselves that we felt that God needs us so badly. Actually, the reverse is true: It is US who desperately need God!

Sometimes we think so highly of ourselves that we felt that God needs us so badly. Actually, the reverse is true: It is US who desperately need God!

Righteous people DON’T think about the things they lost for following God. But rather, they concentrate on the things God gave them!

Sign no. 10: Self-righteous people wallow in self-pity

Every time a self-righteous is chastened by God, he sulks in self-pity. Instead of seeing trials and challenges in life as a way to develop godly righteousness, they would instead pity and prevent themselves from developing the ENTHUSIASM to fight back.

James said that we must “count it all joy when [we] fall into various trials.” For a self-righteous person, he would just endure the trial and not actually rejoice in it. WE NEED TO SEE CORRECTION AS A WAY TO BRING US BACK TO OUR LOVING FATHER.

When God gives us a trial, it is NOT because He wants to prevent us from getting into the Kingdom, but to help us develop the righteousness that enables us to be part of His Family.

When we are corrected for our self-righteous arrogance, we must have a positive attitude, learn the lesson, and overcome. That’s the only way we can destroy the shackles of self-righteousness that restrict our spiritual growth.

Final Words

Here are the 10 deadly signs of self-righteousness. There’s no doubt; it’s HARD TO SEE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS IN US. In fact, every time we do something good, the natural response is to have a certain amount of self-righteousness budding in our hearts.

However, if we truly see what we truly are without God, then we will realize that our righteousness must be from God. After all, it is CHRIST WHO LIVES IN US, and it is Him who helps us produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Instead of building our own righteousness, WE NEED TO BUILD THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.

This is a profound and significant subject we all need to think about. Self-righteousness is indeed a fatal sin that we all need to overcome, and by being alert to these 10 signs of self-righteousness, I hope we can be more successful in becoming less like us and be more like God!

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46 thoughts on “10 DEADLIEST Signs of Self-Righteousness You Probably Don’t Know

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  2. What I have read here today about self-righteousness make me remember that we have to pick up my cross daily and follow Christ. When we pick up our cross daily it causes us to die to the flesh to become more like Christ.

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  5. For 20+ years I have been judged by the high and mighty self righteous. Was told I will burn in the lake of fire for being Catholic.

    • I was a catholic from birth to the age of 60. When in searching for help, from a priest at the catholic church in the city I had just moved to, he could not give me one scripture to help me, and would not bless my Bible! I left the almost hour appointment dumbfounded. A month later made another appointment with the exact same outcome. Returning to my apartment crying, put the Bible down saying not doing this again! I then a while later researched churches and the catholic Church! To find the most horrendous things I’d ever heard of in my life!! That’s what you need to do. That church is not! What it claims to be and moist catholics May be lost from heaven. The one and Only way to heaven is Believing in Jesus Christ. You must admit out loud… you are a sinner in need of a Savior You believe God The Son (Jesus)always having existed left glory, laid down His glory was born of a virgin wrapped in flesh lived a perfect life, never sinned, she’d His precious blood on the Cross at Calvary to pay the debt for our sins once and for all. past present and future. He died for our sin rose from the dead 3 days later, as the scriptures states, 1Corinthians 15:1-4 is the Gospel. Call on the name of the Lord Romans 10:13 You Believe He was Resurrected from the dead, as soon as you believe-you will be saved. He is the Doorway into heaven. His blood saved us from hell. His finished work (taking all the sin of the world upon Himself that day [to save us sinners] dying on the Cross, rising 3 days later, being seen by over 500 people at once and His Apostles, ascending up to His Father in heaven, alive today, waiting for the perfect time to bring home His Church [believers in His work on the Cross].
      IF you believe ANYTHING other than this- it is a lie from satan and you will not go to heaven. The pope is a liar & blasphemes Jesus Christ. Mary is not to be worshipped, the pope put a statue of balam-satan at the entrance of the Vatican in Rome!!! Research this you will hear it from his own mouth. Much is recorded on youtube of his blasphemy. Much love to you.

    • Sadly, the catholic faith is a false unbiblical faith. It is the works righteous infused grace. Im sure people are trying to warn you! The infused grace is is heresy. The are many problematic doctrines in the catholic faith. You will burn in the lake of fire if you do not repent and trust in Christ grace alone. You need to run very far from the tradition you have come to love. Christ of the bible is not in the catholic church. Christ said if even an angel bring another gospel; he is accursed.

  6. Great article that I read it more than once. One clarification in article “but to help us develop the righteousness that enables us to be part of His Family.”. What do you mean by that as I see the gospel as bringing none of my righteousness that would enable me to be part of his family ? Thanks for post.

    • Hi Steve! Thanks for dropping by.

      Regarding your question, righteousness is defined by the Bible as the commandments of God (Psalms 119:172).

      While it is true that we can’t obtain salvation through our works, God still expects us to perform works worthy of repentance and conversion. He wants us to follow His commandments. In Revelation, we read that the true mark of a Christian is to follow God’s commandments (12:17 and 14:12).

      • Hi, thanks for the response. Yes, he expects that after salvation (meaning in his Family already). So you are saying that none of my righteousness of any type “… enables us to be part of His Family” then ? The righteous shall live by faith. That we are converted (thus in his Family) before we do any righteous deeds as our righteousness is as filthy rags . Any righteous deeds are of no account before we are in his Family but are of account afterwords as we have the righteousness of Christ as part of the adoption. Our good works are a result of the new life and in response to the conversion and not in any way proceeding nor ‘enabling’ us to be part of his Family. I think you would agree with this thus it may be more clear by rewording so it doesn’t sound like I need to do something (self righteousness) to enable me to be part of God’s Family. Otherwise this is a terrific article and I will forward along. Thanks for your time and probably some redundancy on my part.

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  10. Im a little confused. If I post something on Facebook that speaks of my love for Jesus or points someone to Jesus is that being self righteous? It’s almost like I’m second guessing everything now.. when I’m trying to make a statement for what I believe in..is that self righteous? Could use more answwers. Thanks.

    • Hi Sarina,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      The truth is that God looks at the heart. If your intention is pure and you don’t have an ulterior motive of getting praise for yourselves, if you want to lead people to God, if you want to make people see your light so people would praise our heavenly Father, then I would say, that’s not being self-righteous.

      As long as the focus is not in yourself, but to God, then you are doing the work of our heavenly Father.

      I hope this helps.


    • I think it’s only self righteous if you think you are better then them when you decide to post stuff like that on Facebook. It’s like this:

      Say you are helping a new writer fix their typos, but are only helping them because it makes you feel superior about yourself instead of helping them from a place of love. The same can go for spreading gods word. Is it done to make yourself feel bigger, “yay I’m such a good person!” Or is it: “Yay god is so wonderful I hope more people see his truth.”


      I’m such a hipacrite, lol I’m an atheist that can’t see some things and desperately wants proof. Yet, I’m on this website reading all if this to help my son work through his own self righteous, because the words on here are truth.

      The little five year old inner child in me got squashed a littke (nit fully) long ago, but still trys to come from a place if live and non judgment.

      Have a great day.

  11. Hi Josh. This is superb! 100%
    I am new Christian and started sharing the gospel and my faith with my family and friends. This is a wake up call for me. After reading this, I realized that sometimes I demonstrate self-righteousness when sharing the word. Thank you for this. I believe that God has lead me to this article.
    God bless you.

    • Hey TheVADad!

      Thanks for dropping by! Even though I wrote this article, it applies a lot to me. Self-righteousness is too difficult to overcome, but as long as we’re doing our part, I’m sure God is there to help us. 🙂

      I pray that you stay strong and always keep the faith no matter what.

      I’d love to know more about your Christian walk. Feel free to email me. 🙂


  12. Its been my experience that Sign no. 7: Self-righteous people reject correction, is the most telling sign. Folks like this are full of pride and are always in the right, or give that appearance. Also, it seems to me that people like this have either done everything right in life or survived some sort of trauma, adding to there self righteous state of mind. Conversations with such people tend to be one sided or filled with interruptions. They are emotionally exhausting and miserable people to endure mainly because they are unwilling to validate anything remotely close to helpful advise or a correction. After a while you just want to distance yourself from them because you don’t want to deal with their emotional abuse. I will point out that the people I am referring to generally appear self controlled and moral which obscures their self righteousness behavior. Look at it this way. When in doubt ask yourself, in word and deed, who is really being glorified or helped when these people speak? Are they puffed up or judgmental when they speak. Finally Christ did tell us regarding false prophets that they are like wolves in sheep clothing. The self righteous are no different.

    • Hi Rod,

      Thanks for this great insight. You brought up a lot of good points there. I know that self-righteousness can prevent reconciliation and even effective communication.


  13. Hello

    This article just opened my eyes. I have been told that I am self-righteous and never wanted to admit to it. After reading this article, I realise that it is true. I am grateful that I can change and grow in Christ. I will not question God anymore. My self righteousness caused me to think that I was right and morally better than others. I just realised that I also have my own flaws, and judging other only makes me feel better about myself (even though I thought I was not judgemental).

    It also prevented me from accepting criticism, and growth. I will keep referring to this article to remind me of the work that I need to put in. Thank you very much, God bless you!!!

    • Hi Esther!

      I’m glad that this article has helped you. The truth is that everyone has their own level of self-righteousness and that includes me.

      It’s a life-long struggle for each of us to overcome our self-righteousness and human nature.

      Please feel free to go back here and even read other blogs as well. 🙂


    • Hi Kingsley,

      Definitely, knowing the signs and causes of self-righteousness should help. By knowing the cause, you can start there and know what the solution is.

  14. Please do not mislead God’s people. GOd stated that Job was perfect and upright and that he feared God,God referred to him as His servant. Nowhere did it state that he was self-righteous, if he was the enemy could have touched him without God’s permission, then he would have a foothold. But Satan couldn’t hence why God pointed Job out and removed His protection.

    • Hi Eda,

      Perfect doesn’t mean that he didn’t sin. Perfect in Job 1 means blameless or someone who constantly follow God.

      Job has a hidden sin. You just have to read through the book of Job how he tried to explain how his suffering was unjust.

      Satan’s asking for permission from God doesn’t prove that Job didn’t sin. All of us sinned. Job isn’t sinless.


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